Sunday, February 15, 2015


LIFE – If we are asked to define it, how well can we explain it in words?
One word, impossible.
A sentence, tough, but not impossible.
A paragraph, comfortably.
A book? I believe that too will not suffice the task given.

But how well we understand it? How well can we analyse it? I tackle these questions every now and then!! I never thought I would get its answer through a real life experience.

I was done with my TCS training in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala) and was returning to Mumbai by train. I was accompanied with ten other friends. Our journey was spanning over 24 hours from Bangalore. Very obvious it was that we were a mischievous group of eleven people for co-passengers.

Decorum was certainly missing throughout the journey. We were having an old age couple travelling with us. He and his wife were carrying a grim on their face all over the journey. Obvious reasons were our shouting and babbling.

Somewhere during the journey all of us shifted to the third tier. And obviously continued our jibber-jabber. I took this as an opportunity and started writing one of my incomplete blog (which is still incomplete). Watching me writing the blog uncle beside me asked if I am a journalist. I politely declined it and told him that I am a writer and write blogs.

He became more inquisitive and asked my whereabouts. I was shocked to see his excitement. I counter questioned him. An uncle took a long, heavy breath and started telling about the numerous things that he did throughout his life. About his daughter and son-in-law. Relevant and mostly irrelevant information. I was shocked to know that he forgot to mention his debit card number and its pin number.

An uncle was a journalist. He has written columns, guest articles for The Hindu – very renowned English daily, was a great orator, appeared live on some TV shows on DD National, travelled most of the European countries, visited Niagara fall, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Son-in-law working at a very high post in World Trade Centre with his daughter returning India a while ago after spending 8 years in the USA.

In short, this man was very satisfied with his life. He accomplished and fulfilled almost everything one wishes in his/her life. I asked him his email address and continued writing my blog. Grim was now replaced with a grin.

The thing struck my head that this is the kind of life I want. I asked him more about his past. I realized that my approach towards my life was similar to his. Meanwhile, we reached in Maharashtra.
We reached Solapur, Maharashtra. A small family with a bald lady (Didi), a child in her arms and a woman (aunty) in her 60s followed her. Their tickets were in waiting list. But as it was daytime they were accommodated easily.

I was done talking with the uncle and then got busy into my writing. My attention was grabbed by the bald lady, she had her head covered with saree and looking outside into infinity. The child was playing with all his enthusiasm.

The lady (aunty) in her 60s leaned towards me and said, “It's her last day today!” I was caught on edge, hearing her statement; she continued, She is having cancer. So, we are going to Tata Memorial Hospital (Mumbai) for her treatment. I was hearing her with all ears, The child is one and half years old. I am very worried about his future. I was all dumbstruck with her claims. She took a deep breath while controlling her tears.

I was feeling terribly bad as well as curious at the same time. Bad for her condition, curious about what they are going to do next. Confused if I should shoot more questions at her, morally I thought I shouldn’t. So, continued my writing!!

Our journey continued, they opened their food tiffins and aura spread throughout the compartment. I could easily distinguish different masalas used in food through smell. Aunty offered me to have some food, which I politely rejected. She guessed that I am not having it because the lady was suffering from cancer. To this I told her that this is not the case, but if you insist I can have some. She offered me traditional Maharashtrian food bhakar-besan. Had she told me that she is having this to offer me; I would have never rejected her offer at first.

I offered the same to my friends. And my friends losing all their senses attacked the food as if zombies are attacking human beings. All food disappeared in glimpse. Watching our interest in food she passed us bhaje, which was like a geek getting 10 GBps open Wi-Fi internet with unlimited disk space. In all this chaos she gulped her food and said, Blessings of you all will help us and the child.

She was calling me ‘Baba’ throughout our conversation, which means father in Marathi.
I intrigued more and got to know they were running on mere monthly pension of 8,000 Rs. from Aunty’s passed away husband. That Didi’s husband left her the moment he was informed about her illness. But telling this, Aunty couldn’t hold her tears and dam busted out with tears.

The child was demanding edibles in train. Knowing the fact that Didi is into last few days of her life she didn’t let him have it. But Didi explained him why not to have stale and junk food. Mother and her love towards her child!!

Before giving a period to this conversation I asked them for their phone number and promised them to help them in every possible way.

Dadar station arrived and I get off the compartment. Took their blessings and Aunty asked me a question, Child, are you going alone? Where are you going to stay? I just told her and assured them that I have a place and people to stay with.

Very soon I started working towards getting some charity/donation/money from various trusts and NGOs. But all went futile, some were demanding long list of documents, some were demanding the patient at their office headquarter (which was not possible for the Didi) and some even asked for politicians’ letters. Knocked as many doors as possible. Tried every possible NGO, every possible trust.

Finally, I myself decided to give a share of my salary in her treatment. And with that, her treatment has begun now.

I deeply remember Aunty’s last words; she said I have met a lot of people, but never like you. May be in our past life you were my brother, father, child. I pray to God that you have all the happiness in the world. Your child will never fall ill, you will have the happy life!!

While transferring the amount I was in a dilemma about transferring the amount. But it was all about conscience. The Didi had two dependents. One her son and second her mother.
A simple train journey witnessed me to two completely different planes of life; on one side was the uncle from Bangalore who was perfectly satisfied and happy with his life. Achieved all things a man can dream of. And on other side a lady fighting with her life, her child’s future and her mother’s life. Still unaware if she will be alive the next day or not.

If we believe, then most of us fall somewhere in the middle of these two planes. We still complain a lot in our life. If we worked a little harder, even these complaints would disappear. But we deprive ourselves from going that extra mile.

I suggest you to keep observing the people around you. I bet you will find yourself a lot luckier than most of people around.

This reminds me of a song-

Kho jana, pa jana, naa pana, hai jindagee jaan le,
Bik jana, lut jana, bas jana hai jindagee maan le.
Ho ho ho karle yakin, jo kal gaya woh phir se aata nahee.
Gujra huva jo wakt hai woh dastak lagata nahee.
Jo aaj hai bas wahi hai tera,
Ha kya teree hastee hai, mittee kee bastee hai,
Pal me hee ho jati hai yeh fana.
Kar salam..!!

Kyun jindagee se ho shikava gila
Yeh hasatee hai rotee hai, jo bhee hai jaisee hai
Jo bhee yeh deti hai woh hai teraa
Kar salam..!!
Pritam Chakraborty, Soham Chakraborty, Suhail Kaul (Life In A...Metro!!)

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