THE TRAIN WHISTLED, signaling its departure from Kanpur Junction. Rohit Arora, with his dull eyes, was gazing at the receding platform and fading faces of people; his hairs unkempt by the wind and dust in the air. He was lighting his 7th cigarette after he sat for Daltonganj from Delhi. His eyes, sleepless for last three nights with glum and melancholy contained in them, were not looking for beautiful ladies in the bogie whom he usually watched while on a train journey! He was staring straight outside the window at everything that passed by. He was seeing the world with his eyes, running trees, incessant people, unstoppable rivers, calm mountains, chirruping birds and everything else. He was all alone in his world!
Only two days back, his girlfriend left him all by himself. He could not pass the Civil Services Entrance Exam for the third time in his life, which she qualified for this year on her second attempt! Last month he had gifted her a ten thousand rupee phone with all the money he had and it all went in vain. The catastrophic result followed by the break up left him quite empty! He was betrayed both by the heart and the mind!
Two years back, when he was unsuccessful in his second attempt to Civils, he ran away from his home to Delhi after being irritated by listening to the dispiriting and tense lectures at home. Today the third attempt again ended in failure! He didn’t know as to why he sat in the train that was going towards his Home. To break the cold of loneliness, he had the address of his home in his mind and a book of Lenin in his hand that was not opened for last 14 hours!
The vendor selling groundnuts enters his bogie and he remembered how his father bought nuts for him and he ate them while sitting in the lap of his mother! Rohit, a lean and smart boy of 26 was the loveliest and the youngest member of his family that comprised of his parents and an elder sister. Everyone showered all their love upon him! Watching the women seated next to him with her son filled his heart with reminiscence of childhood!
He has now sailed deep in the ocean of memories! He recollected the motley remnants of childhood when his mother used to feed him with her own hands. He used to sleep hiding himself somewhere in the lap of his mother! What a bliss it contained! His sister cooked delicacies for him on each festival and played tinty Holi with him! His father used to bring new clothes for him every Diwali and often scolded him for his mistakes! There used to flow love in his Home! Dark black clouds of recollection that hovered in his mind suddenly outbroke into incessant rainfall of memories! One of the loitering clouds recalled him of the night of Civil Services results two years ago; these drops were painful, they penetrated his conscience!
Despite his hard labour, he couldn’t qualify for the exam for the second time. His father, too disappointed by this told him to stop preparing for the so-called National Hobby of an Indian Graduate- UPSE! Kicked in the teeth by the results and upset by what his father said, he decided in anger to leave the home for good. “I’m going and I won’t come again! I won’t be able to do anything in my life with you all”, said Rohit and left the place as if he was unfamiliar with it. The juvenile anger and unanticipated failure led him to the Delhi bound SwarnaJayanti Express. After two years of rigorous toil at Delhi, the result this year was the same and the disappointment reminded him of his father.
Throwing the 17th cigarette out of the window he stood up and went to the door. Daltonganj station has arrived! Nostalgia all of a sudden overwhelmed Rohit. The clock at the station suggested it was two in the morning. He was not at all exhausted by the 18 hour long journey; at least his face didn’t look exhausted. His sleepless eyes were equally dull and red, as it were at Delhi. While his feet moved towards the lanes to his home, his mind had bundles of questions in it- Would they allow him to enter the house? If they refuse, where would he go? How would he face his family members? … His legs were trembling as if in fear. His body was getting lethargic. Anyway he continued going by! The world for him shrank in his mind! He had never faced such questions while preparing for Civils. For these two years, his father had been searching for him by all means. But he switched his mobile phone and changed the flat where he used to live in at Delhi. By hook or by crook, Mr. Arora was unable to find his son and by now he had left making attempts!
At the door, he was fixed in a quandary whether to knock at the door or not! It was 3:45 in the morning and there was no sign of motion in the atmosphere. Memories of his home started lingering! He went to the back door, jumped the boundary wall to make a way to his home. His legs were shivering involuntarily and an unknown quiver shaken his body. Hearing the sound, his mother and sister sleeping in the verandah woke up. His sister went to enquire who he was but his mother recognized the breath of her beloved from the distance. Rohit didn’t know how to react! His sister yelled, “Babu’s come! Look, Babu has come!” and ran to inform his father. They could hardly believe what their eyes saw. His mother fell unconscious out of delight at the bed. His father hastily arrived and they saw Rohit lying along the side of his mother, asleep! He had his own set of questions for his son- Where had you gone? Didn’t you think of us? … They were getting mad out of happiness! But Rohit didn’t speak! He told his mother, “I would never leave you, Mom!” and slept a sound sleep. His world was back again with him, a luciferous one; What a wonderful world it was!