‘When you chase a dream, you learn about yourself. You learn your capabilities and limitations, and the value of hard work and persistence. Muneera along with her three daughters was doing that day. That day and in the evening someone was with her at twilight and dawn the next morning hope was getting the required birth’! The place was a train compartment!
‘This is a story that yet again I got to know from my train travels and this one was told to me as I was travelling from Lucknow to Jammu. Mobile phones were a new fashion in those days, not long back though, just a few years back (though now it looks a small time now because of technology) but it was a strange meeting perhaps written in destiny which a lady with three daughters knew and I for certain basically a maverick (because I have never like taking life seriously) never knew! Something that night, something was to unfold a story that I never knew could be possible in the modern day enlightened world!’
‘To begin with the lady never knew where her husband was? But she did say that she was going to Srinagar to track him out and when she showed me his photograph…..I did tell her something……? Today she is well settled not in Moradabad but elsewhere in this beautiful Nation India where one conversation still matters, it could be between a girl or a boy or a man and a woman! But both should be sincere all the way!’ This one is between humans!
‘This love story is different and very different. To begin with as a starter I will tell you that the lady Muneera and her three daughters, Sameera, Samina and Shareeka were almost of similar age, could be an age difference of a year or a couple of them but they were all so cute, they still are. They boarded the train at 7 PM in the evening, travelling to Srinagar with no destination and they met a stranger in the same compartment with berths opposite each other! This is a love story of humanity that started with a small journey but ended up being a phenomenal one of a brother and sister relationship! The kids, all three of them have grown up, not married because they do not want to because they hate the man who ruined their Mom! Muneera was living well and doing well! From Moradabad to somewhere in India (cannot disclose the name of the place, but somewhere in Assam the story is fascinating as the journey of life is)!
-‘While parting ways, that morning. 7 AM next morning as the train Sealdah express was late because of the fog in the plains on that chilly morning was heavy, I knew that the kids and the mother were on a search of a man who had distressed them, but I could not have said so, therefore the only place for that moment was my home! They did feel bad and the next three days was an emotional torture but still there was a hope! I will not say that I could have helped them out rightly but for that moment Moradabad was the perfect destination! But the lady in tears while boarding the train back home from platform Number-2 railway station Jammu, did tell me, ‘I am going back but never forget me’! I never did!
-‘I never did and she never could and the happy re-union was on Bhai Dooj just on Saturday. I thought the story was over but when at my house she along with her daughters stood right on the door as my old mother welcomed her! I was left agape because my dogs (I have several were not barking)! I never knew who had arrived because my own sisters had arrived! When I saw Muneera (now gone plump with age) I was smiling! The kids were mingling around with my mother and my brothers/sisters kids! The big family had united! Muneera never forgot me and I could have never! That is why I said that this is a story of humanity!’
The anticipation is an essential part of an entire train trip. The excitement of going, the places we’ll see, the people we’ll meet, that’s part of the joy of this whole thing…Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life…without excitement you have nothing, you’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming. That whole afternoon I was having the whole feeling as I was about to board the train from Lucknow station! What I was going to experience at 7 PM in the evening I never knew! There were four more characters entering my life which already had so many as it could be of any other human life like me!
Nothing had started before that happened in the evening till seven in the evening when a woman along with her three kids walked into the compartment. Till eight they all were chatting with each other and having the eats that they had got from home somewhere in Moradabad! It was chilly and I could make out that they were not carrying something warm as they carried just one duffel bag (a cylindrical canvas bag closed by a drawstring and carried over the shoulder. The lady had hired a coolie to do so) and I knew that the kids were feeling the chilling cold as rattling out of their mouthpieces had gone silent along with the clatter of the teeth clearly sounding distinctly in my fragile ear drums! The lady was desperately trying to ring up someone by a small instrument to speak upon and was trying to converse. I did not say anything but after my dinner which came from the pantry of the train, I opened up a conversation and the line was, ‘sister you are trying to call up someone but who exactly?’. ‘She did not speak, I knew the reason’! Perhaps she thought that strangers are messy, especially on trains! ’ I never spoke but I could see the children huddled. It was there I offered to give them the blanket over my sleeping bag. They took it gleefully and gradually dozed off, but the lady kept sitting!’ It was Ambala when I saw her under the blanket of the kids! Thereafter this story began in Pathankot and I was about to know about Muneera!
What she told me was heart wrenching! She fell in love with a wretched human being who told her that he was from Jammu and Kashmir. In her entire conversation, I did ask her from where exactly? She did not know but did tell me from Srinagar! Then I asked give me the location? She had no idea? Then I asked her as to why are you going to Srinagar? She said, ‘to search for him’! That was the time when I requested her for her mobile phone? The number she was dialing was not from Jammu and Kashmir. It could not have been! It would have never been! She had been duped but I never told her! That is why I tell kids that strangers are messy!
For five years she had been duped. For the first three years the man was good but after that he never cared! My last question was, did he ever tell you as to what his name was and what he was doing in life, Muneera did not reply but her elder daughter Sameera popped her head out of the blanket did and said, ‘the man’s name was ‘Basharat and we have never seen him’! By that time it was breakfast and the best available at that time was Chana Bhaturas available in plenty at Pathankot railway station at that time vendors and now perhaps shopping outlets !
Heart to heart I knew that this man these children would never see again! So far they have not and how can they again! Strangers’ are messy and in Moradabad this happened! Basharat was not from Jammu and Kashmir! Muneera has now come to know about that and so have the kids! This I wanted to tell this on the train journey but I did not! How could I have! Those three years were wretched ones. My sister (Muneeera) bore that but at least now her kids are doing well!
I have never told her as to where that wretched man was killed! He deserved that! By the way Jammu and Kashmir is the land of heavenly people, he was never buried here but elsewhere but he was! A forgotten identity but Muneera is not, for me she was never!
Four were and so were eight other siblings on Bhai Dooj a couple of days back. The year 2021, the Date 06/11/2021 and the place Jammu! Now they will never go from here! They were in Barama Assam and they were there because of another story! I always talk of characters and images! If we consider each other’s own images, life can be wonderful and delightful! Many think it is not but it is! Strangers are not always messy and strangers are part of some great love stories! When you chase a dream, you learn about yourself. You learn your capabilities and limitations. This I told you in the beginning because that is a necessity now. Relationships are the most important thing in life, and sisters are a part of that till we bid adieu to life!