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Life in Mumbai, one of the famous cities of India, revolves round the railway transportation.  Innumerable people travel by train in order to meet their daily travel requirements, whether for personal or for professional reasons.

This story is set in one such railway stations called Dadar that witnesses countless people boarding on and off trains throughout days and nights.

Rakesh lives in Dadar with his wife. He used the board a train early morning for work and come back late at night. The two were happy with their lives where they had to struggle to make their ends meet. But suddenly, their happiness got a severe jolt when Rakesh lost his job without any prior notice from his employer. With this sudden shock and no other alternate job at his disposal, staying at home throughout the day was getting tougher for Rakesh. Although Reena, his wife tried her best to deal with his mood swings and frustrations, they often ended up having bitter exchanges.

The Power Of Love

In order to find his solace, Rakesh continued leaving his house every morning just the way he used to do for going at work. He boarded the same train and got down at the same station where his erstwhile workplace was. Again he used to come back at the end of the day. Reena used to make food for him, knowing that he would not appreciate a bit of it. He had forgotten to love her; he no longer understood her sacrifices. Rakesh was being more difficult with every passing day.

One day, when Rakesh boarded the train, he saw a man in formal shirt and trousers reading a newspaper on a seat. Beside him was a pretty young lady who was knitting a maroon sweater. It seemed that the two were together, but they did not speak a word. They traveled till their station came almost an hour later. Rakesh saw both of them getting down. The next day, this was repeated. The man was reading a newspaper without talking to the pretty lady who was sitting beside him knitting the maroon sweater.

This went on for two-three months. Rakesh could not yet crack a job for himself; but he still had the habit of boarding that train where he kept on watching that man and the lady every day.

Then came winter. One day, Rakesh boarded the train. But his eyes were constantly searching for something. He saw that man standing near the door. But where was that lady who used to be there with him? Few more days went by. But the lady could no longer be seen.

Rakesh could not hold back his curiousness. He went up to the man and asked, “Excuse me, I am Rakesh. I would like to ask you something. Hope you don’t mind.” The man looked at him, expressionless. Rakesh continued, “I have been boarding this train for past few months. I have seen that every single day you used to sit with a newspaper in your hand and a young lady beside you knitting a sweater. May I know who is she? Why is she not coming anymore?”

The man looked at him and said, “She was my wife. She expired two weeks back. She was battling cancer. The doctors had told her that she did not have much time left with her and she needed rest. But she was determined to spend as much time with me as she could. Despite me asking her to take rest; she used to come with me till my office just to spend an extra hour with me daily.”

Rakesh did not know what to say. When the train halted at the man’s destination, he boarded off. Rakesh noticed that the man was wearing the same sweater which the lady used to knit every day; the only thing that struck him the most was that the left arm had a full sleeve, while the right one was still sleeveless. The lady had left her husband before she could finish knitting the sweater. Just the way, she took the pain to travel with him every day in order to spend some more time, her husband too wore that incomplete sweater which his wife had been knitting for him during her last days.

Rakesh was awestricken. He rushed towards home. On his way back, he thought of all the ignorance he had been showing towards Reena ever since he had lost his job. Reena had been fulfilling her promises silently; but he was no longer the man she had married. Rakesh was ashamed to feel that even though he could see Reena in front of his eyes doing every bit to adjust with his tantrums, he never paid any attention to her. Rakesh just could not imagine how things would be had Reena been in the place of the deceased young woman and he in that of the man with the maroon sweater!

Reena was surprised to see him return so early. She began to lay the table so that she could serve him food. Rakesh went near her and gave her a warm embrace. With wet eyes he said, “I am so sorry dear. I took your sacrifices and your understanding for granted. But it was the power of love that raised my inner voice and made me hear all the wrong doings that I had been doing.”

Photo credits: Tim Geers

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