Short Story - 1 KALI
Here is my first short story , will keep posting some more short stories written by me . Hope you enjoy reading. All stories are fictitious any resemblance to event or person is coincidental :-)
Kali – The train singer
In the year 1994, we moved to Bombay from Ghaziabad, as my father’s services got transferred to the city. I was 13 then and took admission in a class eighth of a CBSE school at Dadar. We rented a house in dombivili.
I used to take 7 am train to Dadar every day and start off my hour long journey. Being new in the city as well as being a very reserved child, I hardly spoke to any body in the train and used to doze off holding a syllabus book more so for reason of avoiding any conversations than catching extra forty winks.
“ Pardesi Pardesi Jana nahi “ shrill voice of a girl younger to me by three four years always woke me up , as soon as she used to get into the train at Kalwa holding two small granite pieces and rattling them unmusically. Her hairs were matted tied loosely in a plait and her thin physique wore a ragged salwar kameez hanging clumsily over her feeble shoulders. Face was dark with clipped lower lip, but it was those jovial eyes which got her some sympathy and some coins in the ladies compartment. I never gave her any money and neither had she begged from me in those two years. She always stood close to me after singing two three songs from the hit list but I use to hate her for it due to her body stink. She use to peep into my books, sometimes tried touching my new “squeezy” water bottle and other times used to just look blankly on my polished shoes. I always behaved in a very aloof manner and never gave her more than a single look.
3rd March 1996 was our farewell day in school before board exams. I wore new salwar kameez and applied make up for the very first time. I stuck to the very same routine and started on my last journey to school, more so to bid bye to the ladies compartment, to the stations I crossed and fellow passengers.
“Didi, sahi – ekdum Madhuri Dixit “ were the words of the singing girl, when I gave her a smile for the first time in those years. I spoke to her for the first time and told her about the farewell party, my admission in Bangalore and career plans. She could hardly understand what I was talking about and even I didn’t realize what it will mean to a child who has never held a pen in hand. She only understood it was my last day on 7 am train and I will receive some gifts from my friends as a partying gift. That day she just sang for me in a low voice standing close to me, it was her way of saying bye. As my station was about to approach, she asked me if I could write her name on her palm as a return gift. I hesitantly wrote “kali” on her dirt greased palm and got down at the station.
Years passed, I completed my education in Bangalore and joined a top tier IT Company in Hyderabad. My job made me travel across length and breadth of country and I eagerly waited for an opportunity to visit Mumbai, the city I loved. Opportunity came soon, as I was chosen on a recruitment panel visiting few campuses in the city. I visited the area in which we lived, everything had changed – new malls all across, lesser trees and more cars. There were new residential complexes and with no known face. I took a local train back to my hotel and my mind kept wandering back and forth switching between past and present.
“ Pardesi Pardesi Jana nahi “ the familiar song broke my thoughts .A girl child barely of five was singing and begged for alms, her mother followed soon behind and it was no other than ‘kali’ .
“ Arre didi , ekdum madam ban gaye “ kali spoke as she hurried towards me . She picked up her daughter and showed me her mangalsutra. I smiled at her and after few exchange of words, when we both had nothing to talk she asked her daughter – “kali, madam ke liye gana gao “. I jokingly asked kali “why you kept your daughter’s name as kali, she is more fair than you”, to which she replied “kali hi likne ata hai, aapne sikhaya tha”
I got down at a station and an inner voice spoke to me “ wish I could have taught her more , so that she could have given a different name , a better identity to her daughter “ .
“Didi, Madam Bye Bye “shouted both the kali’s as their compartment passed by me on the platform.