Jun 21, 2008

Keeranur Railway Station ...

Vinay got off the train on that dusky december morning; it’s been almost two decades since he had visited his hometown. He found that the railway station of "Keeranur" has not changed a bit. He could immediately recollect the face of that station master who was 20 years older now. He just went and stood beside him and waited for him to turn back, initially he could not realize who it was and to prove that he is a strict station master, he demanded "Ticket please" to Vinay, and Vinay snapped him back by saying, "Ticket ? What ticket? Do you know who I am?, I am the best friend of this station master, he used to take me on his back for a ride every evening and then get me plums from that near by tree", that one instance brought a 1000 watt smile on Kasinathan's face, he hugged Vinay and the happiness was pretty evident on his face...

He was surprised to see Vinay and he could not believe that he is there with him today. He asked him that sense of false anger on his face, "You did not tell me that you are leaving when you were leaving this place, how bad I felt you know? Vinay clipped his fingers between his ears and pleaded sorry to him. Kasinathan is one such character who always "forgets and forgives", he is the first person to get a government job in that village and also he is the first person to get an award from the then chief minister of the state MGR, so he has quite a few "firsts" under his belt. He remained single thru out his life and is usually very kind to kids. Vinay recalled this incident where Kasinathan refused to wave the green flag for a train, just because a small kid has lost its pencil between the track, for him the train can wait, but that kid has to go on time to school.

Vinay told him that he is very glad to meet him and never expected that he will be here in the same station. Kasinathan asked Vinay about the reason for his visit, Vinay told him that he just came here to enjoy the mother nature and get mixed with it. Kasinathan told Vinay that he should not stay in any hotel and he has to stay with him in his house, Vinay could not say no to that, because he has no one in that hometown anymore apart from "Kasi uncle". Kasinathan's house was just adjacent to the railway line, he finished his duty for that day, yes there is just one train which comes to "Keeranur" station for a day, and after that there won’t be even any passing trains which come that way. Kasinathan and Vinay walked towards their house and Kasinathan joy was boundless, he felt as if his son has come down to visit him.

Vinay asked the million dollar question where no one has asked Kasinathan till date, "Why didn’t you marry Uncle", Kasinathan who just did not expect such a question to arise at his age of 55, replied to Vinay in his usual humorous manner, "Too many girls came forward to marry me Vinay, but unfortunately I could not tie the knot, because I had flag in one hand and the lantern lamp on the other hand" and made a thunderous laugh. Vinay could see the pain which was hidden behind that laughter. Kasinathan diverted the topic and asked Vinay, "How many kids you have? Why didn’t you bring your wife and kids?" Vinay could just give "silence" as the reply, Kasinathan too does not want to ask anything on that line anymore. He asked Vinay to take his bath and in the meantime he will keep the lunch ready, Vinay told him that "We are going out for lunch uncle, so don’t waste your time", Kasinathan has nothing to do for the day, so he agreed to his plan.

They both took a walk to a near by tea shop and had a hot cup of tea, Vinay was simply admiring mother natures beauty, the sky was painted with all different colors of blue and no artist in this world could spell out such a magical art. Kasinathan was updating Vinay on all the major updates that happened in that village for the past 20 years, he was talking non-stop as if he has not spoken for years, Vinay was happy to be a listener and he too showed interest in knowing so many things, he even enquired about "Rosy" the very famous dog who got media attention overnight when it was sighted feeding a cheetah cub, but unfortunately that was shot dead after it went mad and started biting people said Kasi uncle. Vinay visited his childhood house which now looked like a "Booth" bungalow, he for a moment felt nostalgic when he saw those broken railings on that staircase, coz that’s where he used to sit and slide all the way from 1st floor to ground floor.

Vinay's parents went bankrupt as they lost all their money to a greedy money lender, he taxed them with heavy interests and as a result of that they both committed in that same house, and since then that house has been empty, Vinay was 8 yrs old when his uncle took him to the city, leaving behind this house after that disaster. A thin glass shield formed on front of Vinay's eyes and he was comforted by Kasi uncle, he was the one who first saw the body and alerted the villagers. Kasinathan does not want Vinay to spend more time there, so he took him to the nearby temple, and that too has not changed much. The pond in which he used to catch fishes has completely dried up and the well which he believed that a "One Eyed Rakshash" was living appeared to be vacant, and he asked Kasi uncle whether that rakshash has vacated. That was the story told by elders to keep the little ones like you away from inviting any danger, said Kasi uncle.

Vinay immersed himself in a book and Kasinathan was busy preparing the night's dinner, and they both decided to have it together. Kasinathan decided to continue the morning's topic and started slowly by saying, "It would have been even more nicer, if you would have brought your kids and wife", Vinay said, "Yes, but unfortunately, they cant come here, and I only have to go and meet them", Kasinathan does not know what to understand with that reply, and appeared to be confused. Vinay appreciated his culinary skills and told him that, he would continue to be here forever, if he is cooking like this, Kasinathan was quick to reply saying, "It would be my pleasure", Vinay to feel a sense of "thronging" in Kasi uncle's voice. He thought to himself, "Some people cry for love and some people cry why they love". Vinay spent almost 4 days in that village and Kasinathan too enjoyed his company.

One fine morning, Vinay was not in his bed and Kasinathan thought that he would have gone out to attend his nature call, but even after a long time, there were no signs of Vinay's return, and that day being a working day and its almost time for the train to arrive, so Kasinathan went to the station, and surprisingly the 8:00 AM train did not arrive even at 9:00 AM, and there came a call to "Keeranur" station saying, there was an accident just 1 km away from "Keeranur" station and hence the train will not arrive for another 1 hour, until the body has been removed. Kasinathan rushed to the accident spot, and it was fully crowded and he could not see who has died, but something was telling him that he has to go and see who it is, so he made himself the way and get closer to the body, and it was covered in a white cloth. He requested the police man to take off the cloth, to see who it was, before he could see that, he got to hear someone calling his name and asking him to rush to that "Booth" bungalow.

Kasinathan rushed there to see Vinay hanging himself from the ceiling hook and his suicide note read, "He has killed his wife as she had an illicit affair with her colleague and he came here just to end his life, as that is the same place where his parents died". Vinay certainly went to meet his wife and also got mixed with the nature. Kasinathan felt if he could have had a red flag in his hand to stop someone dying rather stopping the train.

2 SAID FROM THE HEART:

Chan said...

Though i don't accept suicides i liked this story. Nice story mate, nice handling of the situations.

Chan said...

Gud story dude. Nicely handled the ending - though i don't accept suicides i liked the ending.

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