A platform is a wondereful setting for stories. esp fast paced short stories. So many characters so many experiences to tap to enhance and may be to preserve. A couple in the corner whispering to each other shyly holding hands… Or may be the hawkers selling goods.. or that lady with a book reading unaware of the surrounding. Two people arguing about something they will soon forget.. as soon as the train comes. Virar local.. from Churchgate to Virar. Jam packed from the start…..
P.S: This is loosely based on real life experience. Not the whole story ofcourse.
And then there are stories about the dark side of the world… prostitutes.. perverts.. abuse.. theives.. these elements forever spice many a stories.. some of them are real too not just stories… each one of us know about it.. don’t we all.. but we think such things happen to other people.. not us.. we are smart..and we are careful..
Don’t we wear long sleeves.. we only travel in Ladies compartment even if we would love to travel with ‘him’ just few minutes more.. but we don’t… it is not safe we know.. we don’t even travel late in the night.. we are smart.. esp the cocky teen age girls.. just because they wear pants.. wear goggles and carry money they think they own the world..
What they hold is their daddy’s sweat and their mommies unrequited long nights.. ofcourse they don’t know.. their parents would be horrified if they did.. until ofcourse its too late.. then they wished thay had taught more caution..
I was thinking about these ppl.. here I was.. on the railway bridge..waiting for someone… unsuspecting victim.. only I didnt call them that.. I called them students.. in the classroom of life.. only I was the teacher… the best kind… for my students might forget me.. but not my lesson.. ah there she comes… my potential victim.. open honest eyes.. smiling at strangers with impish smile.. as if she holds the key to the world.. if only she knew…
For a moment my heart lurched.. am I doing the right thing ? I have a girl too.. only for a moment.. when fresh meat approaches you.. well.. no justifications.. you want sugar coated lies.. you better don’t read through this..
So there she was carrying a luggage.. probably a out of towner.. too good to be true.. I see that she is raring to break from her monotony.. such ppl are wild.. and easy to let go too.. for they always look forward to the next thing… I approached her by asking an address.. ah they always are so helpful.. stupid girls.. didnt their mom ever admonish them.. ‘Don’t talk to the strangers..’.. but ofcourse they dont listen..
“Excuse me.. Where is the Wellingkar college? “
“The Management college?”
“Yes! We are taking a campus interview there.. I have lost the way.. Can you direct me to it ?”
“But ofcourse! Its very near from here.. Get down the stairs. Catch a taxi.. will cost you around 14 bucks.. lowest meter.” she didn’t want him to be cheated.
“Oh thank you very much. You have been really kind. So what do you do ?”
She told him she was in engineering.. hoping for a campus. Why dont they visit her college? What kind of people are they looking for.. She was intelligent.. and yet naive. Didnt she see? How she has given so much information to a stranger ? Noy my responsibility ofcourse… I lived for such people!
“Listen. I would love to come to your college. but frankly I need more information.. Can you spare sometime? May be you accompany me in the Taxi ride and on the way you can tell me all about your college. Then may be we can decide when to come and all”
I could see the greed in her eyes. She would be popular and all..She agreed ofcourse..
She kept on talking all through the ride.. She took his bullshit story hook line and sinker. God she is too easy!
On the way he said .. why don’t we continue this in a coffee shop? She hesitated a little. She was about to say no.. but the coffee shop was crowded and near the station.. she agreed..
Soon enough he turned the conversation to personal topics. Does she have a boyfriend? How many siblings? What about her parents? what did they do? he said he needs to know background to get her a job.. she was more than ready to reveal…
Once the coffee was finished, he said he has work in the university..
“Would you like to come ? Frankly, I am hoping we can be friends.. now that I have to convince my company to hire people from your college I would need all the help I can get. I was hoping you could be the spokesperson for your college”
It was the chance for her to refuse. She scented the opportunity and like the mouse she is.. she didn’t detect the trap.. He knew he had her where he wanted her to be.. or was it?
It was a long journey.. As we were talking seemingly innocently, I placed my hand on her shoulder. I felt her stiffen. but my conversation lulled her. I was talking about things that she wanted to know about.. places I visited.. things I have done.. about my family.. innane and harmless small talk..
She thought may be that the ‘cool’ people wouldn’t mind after all its just a friendly hand ofcourse. She didn’t object.
But when the hands fell on her thighs she knew something was wrong. She removed it and asked..
“Where exactly are we heading?”
“I already told you. Towards friendship.. good friendship” I replied.
She didn’t say anything for sometime. I didnt say anything either. It has to be from her side. She had even given me her college telephone! When I didnt even reveal my name. And she never asked about my company!
Soon we reached Kalina. For people who don’t know about it. Its a vast stretch of nearly forest *read wasteland* near the airport.. Where the sprawling campus of Mumbai university is situated. One of the deserted place in mumbai where it is virtually not possible. I spelt out my terms ofcourse vaguely. She didn’t agree to it nor disagree to it. Seemed like she was scared. I had to make her trust me first. else It was not possible. My plan I mean. I just can’t take chances.. I had a reputation to protect.
So we talked. I had no business ofcourse. I pretended that I had.. was factitious about it. Did she realize? I was bowled over. She was taking it so cooly. For a moment I thought she was a professional you know.. con… but I was on prowl for years now.. she didnt seem so.. but then we never know.. I needed time to go over what we talked about… I suggested that we go to Thane where we had work anyways and she could get train for her college. Would save her time and money.. Frankly.. I expected her to come out with her plan or refuse me and say that she would go on her own.. She did neither..
I thought I had the catch finally… We went to this exclusive hotel.. The waiters knew about me and my well hobbies… If they found her too young too bad.. 20 year old is not that old anyways.. she was not a teenager legally not a minor..
During the meal I came on to her decisively. She was about to leave. We had to have an agreement. I stressed on privacy and about friendship again and again. I might call her in her college but she shouldn’t tell anyone.. You know the whole deal.. She didn’t say anything.. just smiled embarassedly. I asked her why.. she said she has never had such a weird day.. my heart went to her.. poor girl. I will be gentle with her and slow.. initially atleast.. i promised myself…
I asked her not to worry and to trust me.. soon enough she will be working for me.. that brightened her smile.. encouraged I held her hand.. carassed it.
She shyly withdrew. I liked that. She was innocent. A professional would have let me.. it was just a hand she would have thought..
I asked her leave to go to the rest room. I had something to take care of…
When I went out she had already had her coffee and all set to leave.. I didnt argue.
When I hired the taxi, she said she had to go… she had a cousin living near by and wanted to drop by now that she is here. I freaked out. She was refering to the complex I lived in.. I bolted.. would be an understatement.
On the Thane station, when I checked my wallet, it was empty. My cash My credit card all gone. I called up the credit card company to block the card. I was still late. The card was in overdraft. Someone had just brought a most expensive set of earings and a diamond bracelet. Cine Wonder was just too nearby.
I didn’t report theft. I never called even. I was checkmated. Innocent teenage girl ? My foot! I had got a life lesson indeed. Not all parents go wrong with their kids. Some get it right.