Monday, August 15, 2011

Where am I heading?

I had written this story for a competition, but turned out I have to be 18 to do so.:P But still, for the first time, wrote a story which really made me happy.:P
The train was standing at the Chennai central station. People personified the callous wind, not caring for each other, heading towards different destinations. The train, going towards Bangalore, was filled with people from various professions, aims, families, religion. Amongst all the diversity, there were a couple- Ranjana and Sarthak and a group of some 70 kids, some teachers, departing for a school trip.
Ranjana, was a girl in her 20s. Beautiful, petite and intelligent. She was a very successful person in her job, a highly credited freelance columnist. But one thing she was losing at were the morals of life. She was eloping with Sarthak, a man she met during her field work in Mangalore. She had fallen in love, true love, for the first time. She had known him for 5 months, and sensed a feeling of knowing him for ages. Her mother was not happy about it. She warned her that 7 months can’t decide love, it is just short-termed attraction. She said if she is sensing some connection, she should give it time, and that she is rushing. These two sentences never affected Ranjana. And here she was, leaving her mother, her career at the altar and absconding for leading the altar with a man.
Both of them were seated at the side berth.
“Are you doing okay? Do you really want to do this?”
“I am perfectly fine Sarthak. You need not worry. I am confident about my decision.”
Inside she was not. Her thoughts were clattered. She wanted a signal from God, to prove whether she was correct or not. She was entangled in various contemplations. When she looked at the face of Sarthak, she felt a sense of comfort, but her doubts grew more profound. “Why is this happening? I am in love with him. I know him, I trust him, so does he. Why am I confused?”
Then rushed a happy, merry, loud group of 70 girls and boys, all in their teens, with 5 teachers. They started searching for their seat numbers, and with a smile adorning their flowering face, they kept their luggage and took their seats. Not for a second, they seemed bored. They were constantly shouting, teasing each other, enjoying. The adrenaline rush reflected on their face.

The train gave all of the passengers a jerk, indicating its start towards destination. And when the train finally started moving, all the children shouted “Hurray!!!”. This made Ranjana and Sarthak wear a smile, forgetting the mistake they were committing.

Ranjana, for some time, forgot her quandaries. She asked one of the most bubbliest girl in their compartment- “Where are you all heading to?”
“ We all are going to Bangalore. From there, we will head for Coorg.”
“ Wow, Coorg is an amazing place. You sure will love it.”
Another girl asked her “ Where are you going?”
This made Ranjana wonder. Where am I going ? She was bewildered, as she didn’t really know where she was destined.
Looking at Ranjana’s tensed face, Sarthak answered- We are going to Bangalore for some work.
“Oh!”- and the girls were busy with themselves again.
Ranjana again lost herself in various thoughts. Sarthak moved towards her, and asked “Why are you so tensed? We will do this and then we will ask for apologies.”
It seemed so easy to say, but was it really easy to do?- Ranjana thought. But still she did not want to undo the whole problem. She wanted to go with it, live with Sarthak, be with him, forever.
Some hours passed, and it was night. The girls were getting drowsy and some had already dozed off. Slowly, every girl started calling their parents to assure them their safety.

Jwala, one girl, called her mother.
“Yes Mom, I ate. The food was amazing…..Yes I have kept my luggage properly….Yes Sanjana is there with me…..you too take care…yes I will call you….love you too maa.”

This reminded Ranjana of her first excursion. Her mother had made her favourite dish for the train, and how her friends had hogged over it. How she had packed her luggage, and how she had cried, as if she was leaving her for life.
The last thought shuddered Ranjana.

Ranjana saw another girl receiving a call from her mother.
“ Yes mom..I will take care of everything…no I will keep the IPOD safely… ya..salt was a little less but it was tasty..ok maa..I am sleepy….AYE MOM!!! he is just my friend maaa(giggle)…...yes you too..bye.”
“He is just my friend.”- this made Ranjana go back to the days when used to crush over a boy of her class, and how her mother had come to know about it, and had said nothing but one sentence-“ Just know your limits, that is all that matters.”

Another girl, was whispering to her dad- “ I know papa….yes teacher is right next to us..so don’t worry….I know mother would have been very happy to see me going for my first excursion, but her blessings are always with me aren’t they..….yes I know…….good night daddy…take care.”
Dad. She never got a chance to see her dad. Her dad died when she was 2. Since then she was taken care of her mother, single handedly. Her mother tried to give her everything she wanted, and never made her sense the absence of a father. If mother wouldn’t have been there……..this made her nerves wrack. She did not even want to think of the situation.

But then, she realized, she had left her mother who had borne her, who had taken such good care of her for 20 years, and had not asked anything in return. And here she was, leaving the love of 20 years and joining hands with “True love of 7 months.”

She suddenly felt, she had got the signal, from the children. God had sent them to teach her a lesson. She understood that what she was doing was wrong, and she should undo it. She took out her mother’s photo from her purse and at the same time,she looked at Sarthak’s face, sleeping contently. “What has happened to me! I am so wrong!!!!!!”

But then, she did not want to abandon Sarthak in the middle of the whole problem. She jerked him from his slumber, and told about the whole realization.

“Ranjana, I knew this will happen, because you just wear a mask of a strong woman, but inside you are a fragile, emotional girl. I had seen the hesitation, I had known it since the beginning. When you came up with the idea, I knew you were yourself not confident about it. You realized it through this kids, which was unprecedented. What I had planned was something different.”
“What about it.?”
“ Go check in the next compartment, berth- 54.”

Ranajana, scared, rushed towards the berth, confused, perplexed, scared about it. But at the same time she felt very light, very contented.

She reached the 54th Berth. She saw a silhouette of a very familiar figure, looking out of the window. A word slipped out of Ranjana’s mouth, involuntarily.
“Ma?”
The figure turned, got up and hugged Ranjana.
“I am sorry.”
“ It is Okay, Ranjana. See, you realized your mistake, then why apologise? Rather you should thank Sarthak, who never made you commit the mistake, but experience it and understand the wrong. He is a great person Ranjana. I never had said your choice was wrong, and now I say it more confidently.”
And then Sarthak joined them.
“Well, it is night already, so you both better sleep. We have lots to do in Bangalore.”
“ We have?”- Ranjana, said, baffled
Her mother gave her a smile, and took both Sarthak’s and Ranjana’s hand and joined them together.
“ I need to take this relationship to the next level dont i?"


And then, tears said it all.

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