Daily Prompt: Middle Seat

Family values: Conversation sharedDSCN0944 copy

It is most interesting to come across people from different backgrounds when you’re travelling alone. Some leave you bitter while, others leave you with a thought. Usually, I like to plug on to my headphone and observe the activities going on around me. Preferably, I’d rather be left alone. I can go on listening to their conversation from across my seat. 

But again, there are moments when you are drawn to a conversation with some. The most varied experience with my fellow travelers would be those of my post graduation days. Every travelling has been unique. One such trip was, when I was travelling home to Tura from Kolkata by bus. My fellow passenger was a delightful little boy. In the second phase of my journey I had to change bus from Siliguri and that’s where I got a seat beside a 7-8 years old boy. The first thing I notice about him was his smile. He introduced himself and asked me what I do? I told him that I was a student, studying in Kolkata. He than lifted his face towards me and told me that he was working.

He then went on to describe his work and informed me that he can cook and that he helps his uncle in the shop. This may sound sad or terrible to most, knowing that a small boy is being made to work to support his family. But I was taken-a-back by the pride in his tone when he told me that. There was so much maturity in that tone and happiness too. He told me he doesn’t go to school anymore and that he goes home often to visit his family in Tura. When he went off to sleep, I kept looking at him, trying to understand his nature. That small frame of a body, doing so much and yet so proud of his achievements. I couldn’t say I was sad for him, because he had to do so much at such a tender age. I almost envied him, for his courage, for being able to give something back to his family.

In another instance, while travelling from Kolkata to Guwahati, but this time by train, I had the most intellectual conversation with a soldier. Every time I meet one, I kind of pity them for their line of work and yes, some I find very unfriendly as well. But then, once you start a conversation with them you can see the amount of sacrifice that they have to commit to, all in the name of peace. I think they are meant to look mean, so they can personify that unemotional nature, which makes them tough.

I was a student, travelling second class non AC. Soldiers in our place have special privileges to travel without tickets, so this one soldier came and sat next to me. He asked me the usual, like, where I’m from, doing what, etc? Half way through the conversation I felt like I was talking to an older brother who was advising me on family values. I realized how tough it must have been for them to manage only two days break in one whole year. I guess when you’re constantly away from your family; thier value becomes more crystal clear. The soldier informed me that his wife and two kids were living with his parents in his village. The conviction with which he told me to never disown my parents and to always make them a priority in life was so real. I haven’t always been on agreeable terms with my parents, but the value that I received whilst talking to that soldier that day, have always made me realize how lucky I am.

We are such greedy people who no matter what, always crib and complain. That little boy and the soldier are among the most amazing people I have had a pleasure to chance upon. I hope they are well wherever they are.

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