“But P, why don’t you understand? Facebook isn’t that bad!”, I tried to reason in vain.
“Shalu, we have had this discussion time and again. I do not know why someone would write ‘feeling sad, eating food’ or so. Who is interested if you are heartbroken? And to top it all, there are infinite number of likes and ‘aww..baby, what happened, are you alright’ comments. I mean, seriously!!”, his blood was boiling.
It was early in the morning of August 16, 2015. We were in the Dehradun- New Delhi Jan Shatabdi Express, on our way to New Delhi. After my brief stay of three days with him, I was returning back to Pune to join work when the squabble began. My mind was already clouded with sadness and heartache. So, the spat was imperative.
We sat in silence. I was lost in a reverie of confusion. I didn’t know where my life was heading. He was posted in a more-or-less banished area that I had no choice of leaving my career and joining him. And what career where my manager ruthlessly asserts my requirement in office on weekends and night shifts, because I do not have a family to take care of now? How will I survive alone, without him by my side and far away from my parents? Oh, the darned outcome of being pampered by my husband. Now I need him for anything and everything. Where is that carefree girl of two years ago who lived alone and fended for herself? Should I just leave everything and get back to him?
Lost in thoughts, I didn’t notice the little girl approach. Breaking the reverie, I heard her soft voice say, ‘Didi, ek pen toh lelo‘ (Sister, please buy at least one pen) to a woman travelling in the same compartment.
The navy blue frock was a loose fit. The hair frizzy but braided in two with green ribbons. The sandals on her tiny feet didn’t match either. But her smile was as pure as a white rose echoing the aura of her innocent mind and feelings. The chirpy little girl was brimming with joy and talking non-stop to the passengers. She had a handful of pens on her right while the other was tucked in a small school bag which hung on one side of her.
I observed that she had everyone’s undivided attention, including my husband’s. She approached us and asked if we could buy a pen from her. I knew I had to talk to her and curious spotting her school bag, I asked in my broken Hindi, her name and if she went to school. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she was in Grade 4. Without a doubt, I asked if I could buy all the pens which were tightly held on her tiny palm. Needless to say, she was happy and her smile warmed my heart.
When my husband inquired if she would be going back home, now that all the pens are sold, she giggled, “Nahin Bhaiyya. maine bas abhi shuru kiya hai. Meri jholi kalam se bhari padi hai. Aaj Sunday hain na. Isliye school nahin hai. Shaam ko main apni ma ko saari paise duungi.“, and she opened her school bag in the most innocent way to reveal the bag which was loaded with a lot of pens of different colors and she would give all the money to her mom by evening.
All of us had a hearty laugh by the way she emoted each word and how her eyes widened with glee.
As she moved along the pathway waiting for new customers, I took my husband’s arm and looked in his eyes. We smiled and I laid my head on his shoulder. How silly was I to argue over petty things! Here I was making a big deal out of nothing.
I had choices- to choose between careers, between houses, between You-name-it, I-had-it.
Little Mahi would have been a victim of child labor, of poverty and of scarcity. But she was content, her head held high, not bothered about worldly pleasures and simply had the longing to learn. Her beautiful soul had touched my heart. Even after these many months, I fondly remember her face. I am sure she had inspired one and all present in that train, and all those who cross her life with that innocence, purity and determination.
She would stir hearts and be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.
This post is a part of a contest held by IndiBlogger for YOUTHKIAWAASz’s #SpreadTheVibe campaign
Also, linking to #MondayMusings at Everyday Gyaan.