“Oh Fuck!!! It is 10:30 AM.”
I kicked away my blanket and jumped out of the bed. My head was aching severely, due to the booze of the last night. I cursed Jeet for the sudden plan he made. I usually don’t drink on weekdays. But Jeet emotionally blackmailed me saying he had a break-up with his first love (which he said perhaps a hundred times before), and needed someone to vent out his sorrow. I had no choice but to tolerate his sentimental melodrama that became even more furious after he got high. I reached home too late at night, or rather early in the morning; the time of which I can’t exactly recall.
I looked into my phone. Three missed calls from my manager. Oh boy! I was good as dead. I had an important code release today and was supposed to be at office by 9 AM. It was more than 10:30 AM and I was still at home. I knew my boss was going to grill me today.
I quickly brushed my teeth, took a shower, grabbed my things and was on the street in 15 minutes. The 10:45 AM bus didn’t come. Damn these busses! You never get them when you are in a desperate hurry. It got only today to skip! Had it been any other day, I would have bunked office. But today I couldn’t. I was a critical resource and was needed for the release. I had to go office despite my terrible hangover.
I hurriedly got an auto and was on my way to the station. Halfway to the station, I realized I had left my office I-card at home. Shit! I turned my auto back home. Murphy’s law is correct-when things go wrong, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. I reached the station in some time after getting my I-card from home.
The 11:21 AM local was just about to leave from the Thane station. I jumped into the train that just started to move and quickly grabbed a seat. It was the side seat towards the aisle. Kanjur Station was just four stations from Thane and I should be there soon. But the train halted just after moving for a few minutes and let other trains cross, as if it was making a display of its generosity. “Fuck you Jeet!”,I cursed my friend once again.
Just then I saw them coming- the women in her cheap colorful saree and the kid in her black frock. The girl’s hair was trimmed and she wore black, maybe, because it became less dirty or even if it gets dirty it can’t be seen. She had worn cheap colorful plastic bangles on both her hands which I noticed when she reached near. The mother (I assume the women is the mother and the girl her child) sang ‘Shiri Diwali Sai Baba aaya hai tere darpe sawari..’ in her loud cacophonous voice that was totally out of tone. And the girl, 7-8 years old, extended her hand forward asking for alms from the passengers and making a sad-face as if she has not eaten anything for days.
I looked at them with disgust. The train had started to move by then.’ Who lets these filth get into the trains?’ I thought. ‘The government must take steps to bar them from trains and other public places. In fact they should be locked in a cage and thrown away in some islands in the Indian Ocean. These people don’t want to work. They just want an easy path’. I recalled few days back my pocket was picked in one of these trains. There wasn’t much cash but all my cards were gone including my Driving License, my PAN card and my Voters ID. I had to file an FIR at the police station to save myself in case of any misuse and get everything re-issued. ‘It must be an act of one of these crooks’, I thought. ‘They are here spreading filth and mess in our society’.
In the meantime three stations had crossed. As the little girl approached towards me extending her hand I gave her a look of aversion that made her draw her hand back. She moved on towards other co-passengers, most of whom just shooed her away.
I got up from my seat and moved near the door. I got down as the train stopped at my station and ran towards the flyover to escape the rush. I was taking the stairs when I felt a touch on my hand. It was that dirty little girl. ‘What happened?’ ,I shouted and freed my hand away. ‘Bhaiya, aapka purse gir gaya tha’, she said as she handed over my wallet, which might have slipped out of my pocket, somehow in the rush. ‘Thank you’, I said with a faint smile, trying to hide my embarrassment over my prejudice, wondering who the real filth was. But she ran back handing over my wallet and was long gone before she could hear me.