Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Removal of Xth board exams

On June 26th , Hindustan headlined, " Khatam Hogi Dasvi Board Pariksha" (The 10th Board exam will be removed). Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal announced the government's path-breaking decision to do away with the Class X Board exams and make it optional, and stressed on the need to de-traumatize education. It basically covered the following points...
1. Children are entitled to have free knowledge. (No registration fees would be required up till Std 12th)
2. A bill would be passed in the current session regarding this.
3. Pressure on children at a very young age due to the current system.
4. To bring the Madarsa Board in the main stream education system.
5. To allow direct foreign funds to the educational institutions.
6. Children are not able to cope up with the 10th boards and only 11 out of every 100 children make it up to College (graduation).
I wouldn’t comment on allowing direct foreign funds to the educational institutions, because I do not have much idea about the same. I would support the bringing of Madarsa into mainstream education system. But apart from these two, there is no point of removal of Xth board exams just because of the reasons provided.

If we talk of pressure, I don’t think pressure is much. Renu Balakrishnan, a creative writing teacher, thinks children are forced to study due the pressure of standard Xth boards, thus losing their options of looking at other aspects of life and are deprived of cultivating other skills. (To read her, http://www.rediff.com/news/column/2009/jun/29/why-i-will-not-mourn-the-removal-of-class-ten-board-exam.htm )
Let me take myself and my brother as an example. I had been not so bad a student all my life. I completed my graduation and masters and have been placed in a good company. There had been ups and downs, but that was not due to pressure. My brother had been a very good student all his life. He completed his engineering degree and has been placed in IBM. Both of us had time to play every evening, read about two books each week from the school library, participate in sports, go to a Fine Arts School every Sunday where we were given class work and homework (I had enough time in the weekdays to complete my homework). Later, I learned stitching clothes and I have enjoyed designing and stitching clothes. One would say, the pressure wasn’t so great in those days. But, I don’t think the syllabus has changed that drastically. I help my younger cousin with her studies, sometimes. She is in class 9th. She is a good dancer, she still takes singing lessons. She practices drawing at home, she goes to the playground everyday. And she is a good student. What more do you ask for?
And for students who are under pressure, it is not because of the class 10th boards, but because of their over-ambitious parents. Their parents need a psychologist.
You talk of missing on their childhood due to exams; class 10th boards do not take away the innocence of childhood as much does the reality shows on TV. The dance competitions (Boogie Woogie, I guess), and there is some audition going on with Alka Yagnik and others for the little champs. Have you ever heard those children? We laugh listening to the way they talk. But imagine such a child at home, talking that way on every topic. It shows arrogance, not innocence. If one really wants to preserve childhood innocence please do away with those reality shows involving children. Let them play yaar! Celebrity and Popularity can wait. Let them grow up.

Class 10th board Exams are important because it prepares you for the more important exams ahead. A minimum pressure is required in every field to thrust the performance upwards. At the age of 15, one is not too young not to be able to take up an exam. In fact, it is essential. The exam helps the student to judge a student’s own performance and level of preparation. Kapil Sibal said there are other ways of judging a students worth. I ask what? Percentile? I guess that would be even more stressful. The presnt system gives value to a student's own performance. A student securing 90% marks is not considered that bad compared to a student who secured 92% marks. They are given equal worth. Now imagine, there are 100 students who have secured 92% marks. Percentiles never judge a student's real worth. It is a good process for admission tests. But for performance analyzing, percentiles, relative grading should be avoided. This would also result in more competetions, more pressure beacuse now the performance of the other students would also matter.

There is more to it. Till now I had been talking about the middle class mass of our society. Let us get down to the lower class people, the villagers. The responsibility that Government school teachers (exceptions are always present. I am talking of the more usual ones) take up is very well known. When a poor child studies in a school, he is promoted to upper classes, without performance. So, when he reaches class 10th, and the board examines the papers, he expectedly fails, and this is the reason why only 11 out of every 100 students make up to College. Pressure is not the reason. The reason is underperformance of most of the Govt. schools. If someone really wants to improve the situation, improve the Government Schools. And to add to the negative side, think of this situation. A student is promoted without performing till class 9th. He fails in STD 10th. Once the 10th board exams are done with, he would be promoted till 11th standard. This time he would fail terribly in STD 12th. I do not see how the ratio of 11:100 is going to improve by doing away with the 10th board exams.

I think the Government might have another reason for doing away with the class 10th board exams. A person, who has completed education up to class 10th, has a certificate and can apply for jobs. If this issue of certificate could be delayed by two years, so would the application of jobs be delayed by two years. Moreover, once the 10th board exams has been done away with, lesser students would be pass the 12th board exams and lesser people would be able to apply for jobs. I know, you would say that since the Govt. has no jobs in hand to provide to the people, it is better that lesser people apply. That would reduce the agitation. It would reduce the agitation, I agree. But it would also reduce the literacy percentage. Why cheat people? Why can’t the Government come ahead and look for a better solution. After all that is what the Govt. is for. Have you ever thought how it might be, living the life in poverty? What I want to say is, this is not the solution. Solution lies elsewhere. Solution lies in a proper education. Solution lies in educating Indians.

This is totally my point of view. I might be wrong. Comments, Criticism and views are welcome. I would appreciate if bloggers could post on their own blogs. Please leave me the link. I would love to read.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The tribal Woman

I am bad with the eyes.. The two always end up different, especially when I sketch with my imagination. :(

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hoping for more

-->I met the boy
At the evening temple door
The stretched hand, for a penny
And I knew he wanted more

Every night lying by the steps
With The stone under and stars ahead
A dream... warmed and coyed
A mother's touch on a soft bed

The walk by the school
To build a home ...for us. To work.
A silent gaze, A shy look.
A smile... That hurt.

At the end of the day by the temple step,
For dinner, plain rice was all he could make.
He was a kid...
His rough hands could as well long for a cake.

An unexplored world lay ahead...
Yet all he knew was a temple door
A walk to work, back and forth
And a dream, hoping for more !

P.S. : I wrote this poem for a poetry competetion a poetry site. Won a consolation prize. The judge was a friend of mine :P

Friday, June 26, 2009

The busy mee!

I got placed in a company. And I am ready to take up the job anytime they call me up for it. But unfortunately, they aren't calling me now, and the worst part, they aren't even saying when "could" they possibly offer me a joining date. So, right now... I sit at home. Well, I had been out of station for some days but that was just about 3 weeks or so. In short, Right now I have lots of time. And these days, I'm always trying to find something to do. its not that I don't have anything to do. I blog a lot. When I get bored,I make a sketch(which I am good at) or paint (and try to improve my coloring skills). And if blogging as well as fine arts bore me (try only these two activities for a week), I try stitching (read designing) a dress(though not often).

Now lets calculate... it takes me about 3 to 4 hours to complete a sketch, and if it involves colors, it takes about 6 hours. So, if I be sincere, I can complete 1 sketch per day, even after blogging for sometime.(if i am not blogging as if blogspot would pay me).

Being a person, who can spend a lot of time with self, I have hundreds of thoughts going on, that I usually type into notepad. So, on an average I have one post everyday. That makes it a sketch and a post everyday. Other than that, there are other writes. And I would like to put most of them on my blog. But you know what, even though I really have nothing to do... its embarrassing telling people that I actually have nothing to do, and I am exactly trying to kill time to be very precise. And if I would 3 posts on my blog a day........

So, I decided I would stock them up and post on my blog one by one, day by day, as if I had made it up right then. And as a result, Right now I have many things to be put on the blog. (Plans changed though).

Actually think of it this way... how would it be if u find my blog being updated say 4 times a day. People would stop reading (whatever little bundle of readers I have). So, two days ago I came up with a great idea to keep myself. Cooking !! (I remember days when i hated doing that). So since yesterday I have borrowed my mom's kitchen. I am working on my cooking skills and i am not hating it the way I used to. In fact I cook good.

Monday, June 15, 2009

From the Diary of a Daily Passenger : Chapter 3

Another middle aged woman was sitting on the floor just beside the fat woman. A baby played in her lap. Must be her granddaughter or grandson. She affirmed the fat lady, “Yes, these men now-a-days, they never care about families. All they know is bidi and friends.”

The baby looked at Anindita, stretched one its arms at her and smiled. It uttered some sounds, maybe tried to say something in his own baby language to her. Anindita smiled back. She bent down and put her index finger into the baby’s palm. The baby grasped it, and smiled. She jerked her hand and the baby was amused. It laughed. The grandmother looked at the two of us, smiled and said, “The baby’s a she. Her daughter.”, and pointed behind her. Anindita looked. It was a young woman with another young girl in her lap, sitting right behind the old woman. The old woman continued, this time in a hushed voice, “She has six daughters. Every time, she hopes for a boy. I don’t know how she is going to marry them off. I was telling her just now to stop thinking about children again. What if the seventh one is a girl again? It is costly, marrying off daughters. Your mother will know, how the thought of marrying a daughter can take off all of your sleep. I know. I have married off my daughters. Bringing them into this world and marrying them to unworthy husbands due to lack of money… Not good. It’s better not to have so many daughters.”

Anindita asked, “She is your daughter-in-law?”

The old woman laughed, “No, No, This woman, she is not my relation; I met her here, on this train. I have just two daughters of my own. Both married. They are educated. Both have passed tenth from school. They can read write so well. I am visiting my elder daughter. She lives in Chhapra.

Flavors of life! Anindita smiled.

The old woman suddenly said, “Can I make a call from your phone? To my elder daughter. I will just say that I am safe and in the train, and I will reach Chhapra in the morning?

Things were fine till now. But why a phone call! When it comes to phone calls, Anindita was a miser. She usually had minimum balance and sometimes no balance even. She gave the woman a pathetic smile and said, “Okay.”

The woman fumbled into her clothes and brought out a piece of paper. She held it into the light and read out a number. A mobile number. Anindita dialed, but the connection couldn’t be established. Anindita checked her phone. To her relief, it was out of network coverage.

Anindita prayed, that the phone stay out of network coverage until she reached Jasidih. It wasn’t far. Maybe ten more minutes and she would be at her station. She said to the woman, “Abhi to network nahi hai. When the network is back, I will connect you to your daughter.

Anindita did not know if the woman understood what she said. Maybe she thought that Anindita did not want the woman to use her phone. She hoped the phone remains out of network coverage area for the next 10 minutes. She would reach her destination by then.

The eunuch woman in the white sari said, “Yeah, now-a-days this is a common problem.”

Anindita looked at her. The woman continued, “Kaun sa phone hai aapka? Airtel?

Anindita said, “No, BSNL

Same problem with all of them.”


The woman beside the eunuch woman asked her something. They talked. Anindita looking at the eunuch woman. She was the liveliest among all, laughing and cracking jokes and also the best dressed, though her looks betrayed her and showed that she belonged to the other illiterate mass in the train. Another woman sitting beside Anindita, smiled and said, “She is my elder sister. She is a good dancer. That is her profession. She looks after our family.”

Anindita realized, she had been staring at the eunuch woman.

She looked at the woman who had spoken. She had been quiet all the while. Anindita asked, “Where do you all live?

Kolkata. But originally we are from Chhapra. My father died when I was a little girl. He worked in a medicine shop in BouBazar. Accident! After that Didi looked after us. We are three sisters and one brother. We were very small then. She married off the two of us sisters. Our brother lives with his family… Separate. And didi now lives with mother. There!”, and she pointed to a very old woman sleeping on the bunk. “We are going to our cousin’s marriage. My Chacha’s daughter. In Chhapra.”

Anindita did not know what to say. She smiled a wry smile.

She dances in a bar. She is a good dancer.” And the woman smiled a proud smile. Anindita smiled back.

The rest of the ten minutes Anindita wondered, what a life it would have been for the girl. She wondered how very different each of these women was. Each one of them had a different story, a different life. Though journeying to different places, yet, at that moment they all were together, like one single family. She had spent two hours with them, yet she didn’t know which person belonged to which family, or even how many families were there. One’s sorrow so easily moved another. One smile infected others. One wouldn’t find sophistication, but humanity in them. After today, they would never meet, or make phone calls, or email one another. But still they traveled as if have been living together for ages.

Most probably the women would stay up all night. The children would sleep. Mothers would talk in hushed voices, not to wake up their kids. Once in a while a baby would cry. Its mother would feed it, or stroke it lightly, until it falls back asleep. Now and then the train would pull up at a station and hawkers would call out, maybe somebody would have a cup of tea to keep them awake and energized to sit up all night. The old man who was sitting at the gate, maybe he would place his rag on the floor and lie down there itself.

And then at six o’clock (if the train be right time, which I guess it wouldn’t), the same compartment would be empty… void of laughter, cries, snores, shouts, fights. Early morning, as the platform would bustle with noise, sometimes a bird’s tweet as it would get lost into the din, and the dark, dirty, lonely compartment would wait for another set of people that night.

Anindita saw the familiar lights of a familiar station. The train pulled up at the Jasidih station. Anindita got up; smiled at the women she had been with, for the last two hours and got down at the station.

(End of one part. A new part and a new chapter starts next... But its going to take a few dyas.. I'll be out of station for a few days... See you once i am ack.. Till then... bbye!)

Notes: (from the diary of a Daily Passenger)

Lots of people are asking me why isnt a dairy being written in the first person? I was thinking about it myself. And let me confess this is an error, I did not think about it earlier.

"Anindita" is actually myself wen i was into internship @ chittaranjan. I was still a daily Passenger, when I had thought of writing the experiences. At that time I had planned to write it in the 1st person, and thus accordingly, the title.

Later I changed plans and thought of venturing into writing something in the 3rd person. (My first write in the 3rd person). The seocnd reason for this change of plan was... other than things that really happened, there are bits and patches of imagination here and there (both of incidents and thoughts), and this time i wanted to keep them off my shoulders.

And trust me, I am having a tough time with this. I usually write in a flow and rarely go back and check what I have written. I have little patience for that, so i often leave behind traces of my old habit of writing in the first person. If you find any... leave a comment. I'll check and correct it.

As for the title, I can change the title now.. but i dont know why, i love this title... So, let it be..
After all... unrecognized writers have the privilege of making errors.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

From the diary of a Daily Passenger: Chapter 2

Another set of women had boarded at Chittaranjan. They had sacks full of something (most probably stolen pieces of coal) and they were trying to make room for the sacks under the seats. As she approached the coop Anindita was in, Anindita realized the air was getting irritating. The lady with the sack tried pushing the sack under the seat and in the process spoiled the fat woman’s saaree with her black coal laden sack.. The fat woman shouted, “Take it somewhere else. There is no place here. Go, Go.”

She snatched the sack and pulled it out of the seat and thrust it away. The lady to whom the sack belonged, shouted back, “Tohre baap ke train chho (Is this you father’s train)?

The air turned hotter. Anindita sat there quietly, and looked at the women. Everybody there participated. The lady with the sack on one side and others against her. The only person who did not participate was Anindita, because she did not belong here. She belonged to the sophisticated society, where people don’t fight like animals, where people don’t fight for anything.

The fight continued for sometime, and then as the lady with the sack turned away losing the battle, Anindita heard the fat woman, still shouting, “Say politely, you were spoiling my saaree. Why wouldn’t I shout at you? Say nicely, everybody is traveling, everybody will have seat. I gave my seat to this girl. Why would I not let you put your sack? Now, put it under the seat.” Everybody else affirmed her.

And to Anindita’s surprise, the other ladies helped her push the heavy sack under the seat. She wondered what they fought for, after all.

The fat woman sat down again calmly. Her boy hung on her lap. She had such a big tummy that there was very little room in her lap for the boy. She held her boy to prevent him from falling. She was done talking to Anindita. She was done fighting. Now she turned to her fellow passengers.

Don’t you know ? ‘Suraj ki Ma’ (Suraj’s mother) is a very good singer. Ae Suraj ki maa, Sing for us.

Suraj ki Maa answered, “No, I have quit singing. They were old days. My throat hurts.”

“You sang last week, on Rupali’s marriage. I was there. Now sing us a bhajan. You know lots of good bhajans(songs to Gods).

Suraj ki Maa smiled, started to sing in a feeble voice, “Shivji ki jai jai… Bhole ki jai jai…

Anindita did not remember the song except these two chorus lines. It was sung in the local dialect. She listened, as one by one, women joined Suraj ki Maa in the singing.

The song was awful. She did not understand much of it. But even then there was a melody. Coarse voices sang and Anindita found a sense of togetherness, belongingness and joy. Devotion existed but on a lower note. And as she listened to that harsh unpolished melody of different women singing she wondered how many of these women knew each other before they boarded the train.

The song would have continued, but a young lady from the adjacent coop interrupted. She was young, most probably recently married, and looked less than 18 years. The lady or better the girl from the adjacent coop peeked in and addressed the woman who looked like a eunuch and said, “Since then he has not come even once. Will you call him up once?

The eunuch lady replied in surprise, “He got down in Bandel, right? Did he not come back after that?

The married girl shook her head in negative. “Wait I will call him. Don’t worry. Saala! battery bhi khatam ho raha hai. (Even the phone’s battery is almost discharged)”

The lady tried calling whoever the man in question was. She tried a few times and then got puzzled and said, “Its saying that the number does not exist.”

The whole environment went tense. Anindita intervened, “Put a zero at the beginning of the number.

The eunuch lady replied, “But, in Bandel, I did not put a zero. It worked.”

Anindita explained, “When you change states, you need to put a zero. Earlier you were in Bengal. Now you are Jharkhand. So that would be required.

She tried again, “Now it says unreachable.”

Anindita had nothing more to say. She simply suggested to keep trying.

People discussed about the man. Anindita listened. What she deciphered from their discussion was that, this young girl’s husband was taking his wife and mother-in law to Balia for some reason and he was in the general compartment. He came to the ladies compartment once in Bandel to make sure his wife and mother-in-law were alright and has not come back since then. His wife was worried that maybe he had left the two of them and has gone away. The young girl was crying and so was her mother. Anindita could hear them. The lively atmosphere was gone. No bhajans, no fights, no leg pulling. The whole thing revolved round one single thing. The young girl and her mother. One woman sent her 11 year old son to look for the man in other compartments. The eunuch lady was trying the guy on phone. People had those worried looks. The grim looks lasted and the 11 year old boy who had gone to search for the man returned and with him came the man. A movie moment. Anindita imagined him rush into the apartment, hug his wife, look at him lovingly and say, “How could I ever leave you?” She turned to have a look. A dark skinny man in a fiery orange T-shirt, a bidi burning between his lips, eyes set in two big sockets, and pimples all over his face. He came in, looked at his wife and uttered two words, “Stop whining.” And he turned away to look outside through the door.

That was one movie moment. The girl stopped crying. For a moment the compartment lay silent. Nobody spoke.

Then Anindita heard somebody say, “Pagli, You cried like a child. Why would he leave such a nice wife like you? Now stop crying my child.” People started talking. Some consoled the girl, some cursed the man. Some just discussed the situation. It was funny, how completely unknown people could relate so well to one another. These people hadn’t met ever, before this afternoon. Yet, one problem belonged to every one of them. Yet the whole compartment seemed to be a family traveling together. Maybe, because they led a similar kind of life full of similar hardships.

The fat woman, her sleepy boy still hanging from her lap, said to me, “Mera Aadmi is not like this. He looks after me well. Very possessive about me. I was then newly married. And I was talking to a guy in the neighborhood. That night he beat me up like anything and forbade me to speak to any man. He said it made him jealous. He comes to visit me after every two station. Not like that bastard.” And she laughed.

Anindita wondered, what kind of love that could be. It was so inhumane. But she could see the sense of security in those eyes that came from her husband’s possessiveness about her.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

From the Diary of a Daily Passenger : Chapter 1

30th March.

Anindita left office at 5.20 p.m. It was late. But she was a good cyclist. She could make it to the station on time and so she did. Experience (on board Toofan express) told her that the ladies compartment was better than the others. Since she was not entitled to sleeper class the reason being that she had general tickets, it was better to stay in general compartments.

She sat on a platform bench, looked up at fan to make sure it was running. It was damn hot even at 5.40 p.m. She waited for the announcement. “Your attention please, Train number 3105, Sealdah to Balia, Sealdah Balia Express is arriving shortly on platform number 3.” There was time still left for the train to enter the platform but she got up and walked towards the edge of the platform. She stood there making up her mind to take the ladies compartment and at the same time wondering where the ladies compartment would be. The ladies compartment must be relatively less crowded. After all how many Indian women travel alone. And if they don’t travel alone they do not get into a ladies compartment. And that too women who belong to Balia, a city in Uttar Pradesh.

The train turned round the corner and revealed itself. As it stopped, Anindita realized, she was four compartments ahead the ladies compartment. She ran to it and as soon as she was inside, the train moved. The first thought that came to her was a wish that she hadn’t got into here. It was packed with women, mostly uneducated villagers. There was luggage all around, on the bunk, thrust below seats. Anindita could not find a single empty seat where she could rest her ass and relieve her tired legs. So, she stood there and the first thing she did then, was swear to self that no more ladies compartment after today.

Maybe she could find a little part of an unoccupied seat inside. Hoping, she advanced into the compartment. Women sat on the compartment floor with babies crying and playing. It was hard to imagine babies sitting on the train floor. She remembered, when she was a kid, her mom never allowed her to touch even the train window bars. Sitting on the floor was a far fetched thing even for imagination. As thoughts rained, Anindita struggled through the jungle of women and babies and kids, and suddenly she saw a ray of light, a streak of unoccupied wooden corner of a seat. She almost jumped up to it. But, as she bent her knees to rest her ass into that little corner, someone cried out, “Wahan jagah hai, bathroom gaya hai (That place is occupied, the lady has gone to the loo)”. So much for a little piece of a wooden seat. For a few seconds Anindita stood there, with nothing else to do. And then she said, “Koi baat nahi, wo aayegi to mai uth jaungi (No worries, Once she is back, I will leave the seat)”, and she sat down.

Anindita must have sat there for about 3 minutes, when a huge lady came up to her side and looked at her. Anindita did not like the look. She stood up, moved to one side, and smiled. ‘Smile It solves many problems’, she didn’t know who said this, but at that moment that was the only thing she could do. The huge lady sat down. One-third of her poured down on each side. She quietly stood there. Three more minutes most probably. May be the smile worked. The lady stood up, and said in Hindi which meant, “Sit down, I’ll manage with my son over there.” She moved over to the seat in front and took her son in her lap. The boy initially grumbled but she made him explain, “Where would that didi sit then? Her legs will ache. Would that be good?

The little boy looked at Anindita. And gave a silent nod, climbed up into his mother’s lap and went to sleep. The woman looked at Anindita and smiled. Anindita smiled back and said, “Thanks.”

Anindita looked at the other passengers. There was one woman, lean and thin with a horse like face (long and thin), lipstick, bindi and jewelry laden. She didnt know if they were all of gold or just imitation. Then there was a lady with a white sari, properly pinned up, the makeup was better in a sense it did not make her look so much a villager. There was sophistication to an extent in her face. The face had boyish features. In a sudden look you could feel as if she was a eunuch, but on second thoughts Anindita decided maybe she was not.

Then there was one beautiful woman and she was of course a villager but Anindita thought that she could have surpassed Aishwarya’s popularity had she been born in a proper family and had been oriented in the right direction. There were other women, all villagers or at least looked liked one.

The fat lady who had given Anindita her seat, asked, “Where are you going?”

Anindita looked at her and realized the question was meant for her.

The conversation continued. In Hindi, of course, with a tinge of local dialect.


Is that your home in Jasidih?


And you study here, in Chittaranjan?

No, I work. Job.” She thought to herself, Children study, she is a grown up now. It feels good to say to people that you are actually a professional and not a student.

Wah, that is impressive. I like girls work. They don’t have to depend on anybody. If husbands come home drunk every night, they can simply leave them and marry a good person. But look at us. We are illiterate, so we tolerate our drunken husbands. We don’t have a way out. If I had a daughter I would have sent her to school like you. What is your salary?

Anindita had been smiling all along, but after the last sentence was uttered, she did not know what to say. First of all the company did not pay her anything. It was just an internship, a part of her curriculum and nothing else. And even if they did pay her, it was odd telling people how much you earn. So, she kept quiet and simply smiled.

The lady waited for a minute and then said, “Oh, I understand, they pay you very less. Don’t worry, it will increase with years. Even they paid my husband very less. He works in hotel. In the beginning he used to wipe tables. They paid him less. Then he was promoted. Now he waits on customers. He gets more now.

Anindita smiled again. That was impressive. She compared the two jobs in her mind. A waiter and herself. The only way she was able to respond, was a smile.

I know, I know. Too much of orange... I wanted it to be a little different. But I am not that good with colors... It happens... The reference picture was obviously better but it too had lots of orange. Good excuse, huh! :P

Thursday, June 11, 2009

From the Diary of a Daily Passenger : Prologue

Anindita was in her last month of the training period. She had been staying in the office guest house but now it was becoming a problem. The only way out was to travel up and down from her home. It was a two hour train journey from her home to her office place. Earlier she visited her parents, her home every weekend, but this last month she changed plans. She decided to travel everyday from her hometown, Deoghar, to her workplace, Chittaranjan. Reasons? Well, there were proper reasons, but that is not a part of the daily passenger’s diary.

Since 30th March she started traveling from Deoghar to Chittaranjan and back everyday. Every morning she would board the Asansol Local at Deoghar station, worked the whole day till 5.30 p.m. and then got back home on board Sealdah-Balia Express. She usually slept during the morning journey. It was early. The train left Deoghar station at 6.20 a.m. and Anindita loved sleeping. She dozed off by the time the train had reached Jasidih Jn. But the evenings were different. Since she had nothing to do on board the train, and no companions to chat with, it was ideal for her to doze off. And she was famous for dozing off during journeys (even on rickshaws). But however hard she tried to sleep on board Balia Express, she couldn’t. She lay back on the seat, closed her eyes, but couldn’t sleep. She could hear people move to and fro, she could hear voices of chattering, children playing, babies whining, hawkers calling out. Sometimes she kept her eyes closed and listened to these sounds, and sometimes she would look at people around her. She didn’t know if she loved those sleepless evenings, but everyday she waited for that two and a half hour journey on board Balia Express.

Those were evenings when she saw people. She talked to some, and to some she did not. She simply watched. And though tired and sleepy from the days work (try getting up at five every morning), she loved those two hours every day. It took her to a world of unknown. Anindita never asked them their names. She knew she would never meet them again; still they were a part of her life. They taught her things that were insignificant. And who knows, may be in this insignificance, lay a little part of her character, her thoughts and personality.

(to be contd.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back Home.

Well...the trip was wonderful. I had fun, loved it and am back again at home. I came back yesterday. On my way back I picked up a friend (she's my friends girlfriend to be precise) spent the day with her. She is a good girl.
So, overall i had a good weekend. And I have no idea about my plans next. Maybe a little trip to Ranchi for a few days. I am actually getting tired of doing nothing. And you know what, I am posting because I have nothing else to do. And I dont know what to write and what not. Or maybe just as I was penning this line I think I do have something to do. So, I leave you here and lets see.. what I can do to keep me busy.