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Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Butterfly at the Railway Platform

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The title - A Butterfly on the Railway Platform, may initiate a variety of thoughts in a reader’s mind. For one instance, you may think that the matter may relate to the presence of a team of the voluntary organization working with the street children or the child labor in Delhi since 1989. If you think so after reading this title, it is sure for me that you are a responsible citizen who devotes some thought to the cause of the Rights of Children.

Yes, the voluntary organization “Butterflies” is committed within its mandate to work towards solidarity among NGOs, government and all the civil society organizations for addressing the concern of children.

You may be thinking that a team of the NGO might have gone to some railway junction and have tried to conduct a programme for working or begging children … and the story may go further telling all about the same. It is not. However, let me say that I have not yet seen any organization helping a child begging at a railway platform, or stretching his small hand with palm open before passengers, and asking for money after sweeping the floor of the compartment. Sorry, the title of this story is going to relate to the actual butterfly, an insect, taxonomically belonging to the order Lepidoptera that once visited the platform number one of the Ranchi Railway Junction.

One day we (me and my wife) had gone to the railway station with my son to see him off for Lucknow.Luckily; we had not to face traffic jams, and reached the junction in time. The train was late as we expected to know there, and we had to pass time with our own efforts. After asking a number of questions one by one to the boy, and after getting satisfactory answers, my wife preached something in his ear as most of the mothers do on similar occasions- always try to take breakfast, lunch and dinner in time; don’t forget to carry the lunch box to the college; and yes, don’t forget to take bath regularly; and always do a short prayer before going out for college.

After concluding the session she suddenly turned and went straight to the cold drink shop and bought a bottle of packaged chilled water.

‘Keep it. You may feel thirsty in the way. And yes, never drink water from any other source, or you may fall ill. Pure and uncontaminated water is hard to find these days. I have kept ‘alu paratha’ in your Tiffin box and eat properly before you sleep” talks did not know an end.

The boy took my mobile phone from my hand and started playing with its buttons. He took some pics of us, especially of his mother who was in a multicolor sari with yellow background. I took the cell from him, focused on them and snapped a nice photograph. Soon, a big yellow butterfly alighted on my wife’s sari and remained there with its wings fully expanded on the cloth, as if it did not want to go at all. My wife with her eyes filled with tears and dipped in the ocean of sorrow as her son was about to depart for a few months, could not feel the incident. But both of us spotted the beautiful insect, soon after it alighted on the cloth. My son took the mobile from me, carefully focused its lens, and took a nice photograph capturing the insect in the image. The same is still with us.

Soon the train shook.

“Go and take your seat. The train has started to move. Yes, call me when you reach there. Take care.”

The boy went to his seat first and came near the window so as to capture the last glimpse of his mother with a stream running out of her eyes. The train took speed and all the compartments passed before our eyes one by one. We remained standing there as if our feet had lost the sense of movement. The boy was waving his hand from the window and the mother was seeing his son going away from him.

When we arrived home, the phone rang. “Dad, please mail the photograph of the butterfly to me. The train has stopped for some time due to any reason, but don’t worry. I will call on reaching there. Just, don’t forget to mail the photograph.”
My wife snatched the phone from me and a session of preaching started as all the mothers do to their children studying somewhere away from them.

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