“Lucky day,” Ganesh almost thought aloud. “Bagged the fourth seat!”
Victories over daily battles with fate that a Mumbaikar fights can be relished only by the one who fights them. The train broke free from the pleas of the Masjid station crowd. Through gaps between people standing on every square inch of the floor, Ganesh Tukaram Jamdade saw the buildings, posts and people whizz by. His thoughts started racing along, they travelled to his wife (me made a mental note to thank her for the delicious Potato rassa bhaaji that she had packed for him that day) and his lovely, lovely daughter. During his last visit to his daughter’s school, the teacher was all praises for his little Kavita who was in her fourth grade. “What an outstanding student,” the teacher had said. And he beamed with pride. He had visited the school to pick his daughter up, which was a surprise for her.
This was just a week ago, on his 35th birthday.
Ganesh knew that his little girl was not meant to cook tiffins and dinners like her mother for affluent families. They both were making sure of it, and it was all coming together. A little proof of this fact was in his bag, which he removed from time to time for a moment of respite against the rush hour background. It was a little birthday card that Kavita had made for him. He turned it around, over and over and opened it upside down. Obviously, he didn’t know that it was upside down, nonetheless, he smiled at the warmth that he felt inside on seeing the birthday message in English, which he couldn’t read.
Francis was a no one, a stranger on the train, a companion of a moment who was sitting beside Ganesh, saw the card. He briefly spoke that the card is upside down and smiled.
“My daughter has made this for me,” Eyes moist, Ganesh spoke as if to himself, “She’s studying in Saraswati Municiple Vidyalaya, Kanjurmarg.”
“Very pretty,” Francis agreed, and opened his bag to reveal a plastic folder, which contained his prized possession. A blue placard which had the same little phrase, but in crooked lines, that read
“I got this on my 28th birthday, last week,” Francis said. “My father made this for me. My wife is teaching him how to read and write in English.”
The train entered the Kanjurmarg station for the Mumbai local winners!
(Photo taken from: http://www.ngtaiwan.com/912)