Monday, November 24, 2008
Sohini and that Guy at Tundla
Sohini found herself totally alone once the Jodhpur Mail left the station.
Among the thick mass of fog.
Which is spreaded everywhere.
She took a long breath.
She made her dupatta proper over her shoulder.
She brushed her hands through the uncombed hair.
And then she started walking through almost dark station.
Sohini looked at her watch.
Its four past ten in the morning.
Naturally the whole platform is sleeping.
Shades of dark and faint light dispersing the sky and the universe.
Sohini walked on silently.
She spreaded her eye lids open.
She kept her eyes on the station before her.
Though the word ‘junction’hardly symbolizes now as it is almost silent.
Sounds appearing only as guests in the station. And that also in the mode of passing and halting trains.The usual booming hub of a station is totally lacking here.
What lies in abundance is different sketches of nature.
The sky a pallet of blue where now slowly and slowly splashes of violet purple and red are appearing. Soon the ratio of red would submerge the other as the morning is about to bloom. The air is totally calm though sometimes with frequent moody undulations. Flatterings of birds wings , the wavy flight of them in the sky, pigeons sitting on the roof of the platform slowly twisting their little legs, a smell..a mixture of dust, grass, air and the morning itself slowly filling up the air..
Sohini walking within this wonderful offerings of dawn felt that it is one of the most memorable sight she had seen of a station.
Being herself a renowned reporter Sohini have to travel a lot..she changed trains many times during night, early morning at different places all over the world..but she cant remember such a picture of dawn blooming among a station.
Sohini nodded because she thought, as nowhere she saw such a silence in this time.
And morning demands silence.
And there is a uniqueness that a big station being totally silent.
Sohini stopped. She is now at the middle of the station. She looked around.
People, Coolies , Beggars all lying in the platform some in seats, some in floors.
Dogs roaming. Some running through the tracks.
But Sohini didn’t found what she is looking.
A tea- stall.
In this first week of October the wind is quite chilled.
And so long as long as it was calm it was not felt.
But now the wind is flowing scatteredly.
Flocks of fog now slowly rising over the tracks.
Sohini badly needs a cup of tea.
Because not a single shop is open.
Faint light is increasing now. The clock pointing 4.30 A. M.
Still the station is soundless.
And now Sohini felt that quite strange.
Why not even a tea-stall is opening also?
A Coolie is passing by her side.
She asked about a cup of tea-stall.
The Coolie while passing said ‘ Dukan to hai bahaut lekin aj nehi khulega, aj yahan bandh hai! ( Due to a bandh no shop would open here today.)
Now the puzzle came to be solved.
This is the mystery of such a silent Tundla Junction station!
Sohini felt disgusted.
So she had to spend here the next three hours without any activity.
And she like a crap not brought a single paperback with her this time. She planned to buy it here but naturally now it became vain.
Little traces of sounds coming.
As people who are sleeping are gradually waking.
Sohini felt that she need to go to toilet once to freshn up.
Though the sight of a waiting room toilet doesn’t appear pleasant to her.
But still she went.
After getting rid of the tiredness and combing her hair Sohini felt that only thing she needs now is to change the salwar.
But she gave up the idea.
As soon as she came outside the waiting room Sohini heard the sound of Azan.
Morning blossoming up.
Trains coming, but the local trains all stranded.
Naturally as it is a bandh here.
Sohini started walking.
Still some hours of Train journey left.
Their newspaper ‘The Daily Chronicle’ having its Annual Conference this time in Simla.
Earlier it was scheduled in Mumbai. Due to a change and that also only three days ago,
Flight tickets are nor available.
Thus she had to do the booking like this.
She would meet the rest of the Team at Kathgodam.
Suddenly Sohini heard a different sound.
Within the floating sound of Azan, another sound got mixed.
An unique sound.
And Sohini knew this sound from her childhood.
It is the sound of dhak.
And listening to it Sohini at once remembered that today the date is October 12th and today is Saptami(The firsta day of Puja).
Through the shades of platform a cold wind hit Sohini.
She spreaded her dupatta over her salwar and cardigan.
She felt that a shawl would be a much better option.
The sound of dhak now sounding in rhythmic tune.
It is coming from outside the station.
Sohini ran towards the station gate.
And as she reached there she saw that just opposite to the station there is a pandal where there Durga Puja is taking place.
Sohini came out.
It is morning now.
Scent of flowers filling the air, fog slowly slipping away.
The dhak is beating.
In that very known dancing tone.
Sohini went to cross the road.
Somebody shouted, ‘Mat jaiye bahinji, yahan golmaal ho sakta hai.’(Someone shouted not to go.)
But Sohini hardly cared.
She is Sohini Sen ,renouned journalist of a leading daily newpaper.
She would be afraid of this type of little political disturbances?
And crossed the road.
And soon she came near the pandal.
And then she saw Devi Durga.
What a beautiful Idol!
The Goddeesses is decorated in total white which in local Bengali called’ Daker Saj.
Though in narrow sense some differences can be found of the Idol which easily denotes that this idol is not made in Bengal.
But still she is Devi Durga!
Still it is the Durga Puja.
Still a glamorous spectacle with the right mixture of beating of dhaks!
Sohini took the handycam out , she kept her eyes on the lenses
And at that moment the incident happened.
Two bullets passed narrowly Sohini, one beside her back and another just missing her feet.
In front of her eyes a car was lit in fire.
And at that moment as Sohini jumped at a corner of the pandal a guy caught her hand
and pull her and soon they are running through the back lane of the pandal towards the station.
Reaching within the station, the guy left the hand and said, ‘maf Karna!’
Sohini who got back her breath now said ‘Sukriya!’
The guy smiled.
And then added ‘ Bahar halchal bahaut kharap hai..kal yahan par ek murder hua hai….’
Sohini said, ‘I see’.
Sohini started walking so do the guy.
When Sohini managed a seat the guy said, ‘Apse ak sawal karu?’
Sohini looked at him.
And to her greatest surprise the guy said , ‘Apni ki Bangali?’ in pure Bengali accent.
Sohini got a bit surprised.
The guy wearing very simple dress a brown shirt and a black faded trouser with almost torn slipper.
The picture denotes that he is a local guy and stays here nearby.
Sohini nodded and said, ‘Apnio to tai dekci..’(You also look like..)
The guy smiled and said in bengali that he is.
‘You stay here?’
‘Ha, aknei thaki oi akta choto khato chakri kori….’(He stays there and he do a small job there.)
Sohini thought this guy could give her a trace of a tea.
And surely the guy did.
When Sohini asked he said that, ‘Daran ami panch miniter madhye niye asci’
The guy disappeared.
Sohini saw her watch. Still one and a half hour for her train.
Within five minutes the guy came back with tea and samosas.
Sohini opened her money bag but the guy said,’ Na na , a ki korcen’(He refused.)
Sohini though really thankful that the guy has saved her but still wondering why he is still standing and what can be his motive.
She got again surprised when the guy asked that very question to her.
Sohini smiled and avoided the answer.
The guy said holding a cup of tea, the fact is that he likes Bengali and people from Kolkata. But unfortunately his working place and surroundings are non-bengalees. And moreover he likes to ask things about Kolkata. And then said after a brief, ‘katodin hye gelo Make dekini janen ?’(It is a long time that I saw my mother.)
Sohini though feeling a bit bored but liking the guy’s innocence.
Thus she asked now ‘Kno Kolkata gelei to hoy!’(Why, you can go sometimes..)
Jabo ki kore ja kajer chap!(How, too much work pressure.)
Though Sohini looking at the guy doubted what type of work he do and what type of pressure thus he have to take.
Sohini is getting impatient now.
Thus she took a hundred rupee note and extended towards the guy.
And soon within this sunny morning Sohini saw that the guy’s face became black.
He said, ‘Ata apni ki korcen..’
‘Na, na apni amar janya anek korechen..’(You did a lot for me.)
The guy looked at Sohini and said after a while that I did because you are a bengalee from kolkata and you got in danger.
The guy stopped for a minute.
Then said, ‘Asi’(Bye)
‘Apnar namta?’ Sohini asked.
And then the guy disappeared within the station.
Sohini truly felt bad, but except that she have nothing to do..
How long she would go on talking rubbish with a stranger?
Sohini took out yesterday’s newspaper and started reading it.
Morning changed to day.
Winds lost its teeth.
A Pleasant day is about to begin.
Faintly the sound of Dhak still beating.
The Kathgodam Express inspite of the bandh came at the right time.
Sohini is about to carry her bag when she found that someone had already carried her bag.
‘Kato no kamra ?’Alok asked.
Sohini not knowing what to say replied ‘AC 1’
Alok started walking and soon Sohini found her seat.
Alok turned after keeping the bag.
‘Kno ami firlam janen..karan ami apnake duto mithye bole gecilam..(I came back because I told two lies to you.)
‘Ami akne choto khato chakri kori na..ami akjan Coolie..( I work as a Coolie and this is the first lie….)
‘Ar amr nam Arjun Bannerjee..kicu mne porce Sohini Sen?’
Sohini asked that how do he know my name?
Alok smiled and said that, Because I know you..maybe you can’t still remember me but I can never forget you..as you take away my everything.. my job..my prestige as you in your newspaper accused me for a audit scandal..the money that was lost was later found but I never got back my job..and also my mother left my home..I had no other way..for 7 months I tried for other job but not found any..ultimately I got this job of a coolie..I was bound to take it as I had to survive..but Sohini Sen I would not ask from you any help but only one thing..can you go and tell my mother that I have no faults..
Just this much can you do.. Sohini Sen..I need it ..I really need it..
The whistle of the train came.
Arjun stepped off the train.
And Sohini saw that in corner of his eyes crystal droplets of water shining..
The train left the station.
Soon passed all the traces of the Tundla Station.
Sohini knew that she would travel through thousand stations in future but she would never feel so empty..
As she left in Tundla ..
her clean image..
and her pride of being a successful reporter..
After two months from this morning Sohini submitted her resignation in ‘The Daily Chronicle’ and joined another leading news agency.
Six months from this incident Sohini again toured Simla again through Tundla.
With her team mate.
And there in the Hotel ‘The Himalayas’ they signed in the Register Book as..
Mr.Arjun Bannerjee and Mrs. Sohini Bannerjee.
And Room no 004 is a Honeymoon Suite.