It is not often that I meet interesting characters in the train. It is weird when I say that because trains are the places where one gets to meet the weird, interesting and basically all kinds of people. But all thanks to my amazing sleeping skills, I end up neither talking nor observing people as such. Yea, I have now mastered the art of sleeping in the trains so much so that I sometimes wonder if it is a inborn trait. It is very rare that I dont sleep in the train and even rarer is the scene when I do happen to meet interesting people. Yesterday was one such day.
I was in the train reading Indian Express when this cute little girl came and sat next to me. She was probably around 8-9 years old and was in her school uniform. I couldn't help but wondering how cute the girl looked with the malli poo(mogra flowers or jasmine)tuck in her hair with the help of a hairpin. I went back to reading my newspaper. Suddenly I overheard other lady asking her about her school. The little girl said,"I study in Balmohan Vidya Mandir in Dader". The lady looked at the girl in marvel and said,"So you daily travel from Thane to Dader to attend school?" The girl nodded in approval. I think the girl had a smug look after seeing the lady's reaction. It's quite a feat travelling daily in train for a girl who is all of eight years old. I began talking to her.
I got to know that her school timings were from 1 to 5 pm. Now trains are usually very crowded in the evenings, its the rush hour. I asked her,"Why do you travel so much? There are so many good schools in Thane too." Then she told me how they earlier lived in Dadar. She's been with this school right from the beginning. I could see that she loved her school and didn't regard train travelling as a bother at all. All through the time I was talking to her, I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that she was so sure about what she wanted. She was quite a social kid and started telling me tales about her friends in her apartment in Thane. "Don't you feel like going to the same school as your Thane friends do?" I asked. She had a ready answer, NO! She proceeded to tell me that she was more close to her school friends in Dadar than her building friends and that she doesn't feel like quitting the school for that reason.
Children more often than not are clear about what they want. The school is an important area of socialisation for a kid. I often wonder how children of parents with tranferable jobs cope up. I mean, schools bring a sense of permamnency, the 12-14 year schooling experience that a child goes through is very important. No wonder some of our best friends are from school. I have couple of cousins who have changed schools frequently because of their fathers' transferable jobs. In a way I think its great as it gives such children an opportunity to make new friends everywhere. but I can't help but wondering at the sadness that might engulf them when they its time to move out. I remember one cousin of mine telling me,"We had just settled down here, made all new friends and now it is time to move out" and then burst into tears. I therefore maintain a certain kind of stability is essential for a child in its growing years. There is obviously lies a difference having memories about a place where one has studied for 12 years as compared to studying in a place for 2 years. Somehow a sense of belonging is lost.
Speaking about trains, today much to my misfortune, I got into a very crowded train. I had a hellish time getting off at Dadar. Goodness....one doesn;t need a workout if one travels in crowded trains like these everyday. I got out of the train gasping for fresh air when I saw this lady who too was in a similar condition like mine. But then I noticed that she was pregnant. She just went and sat in the bench cluthcing her stomach. Holy Shit, I almost freaked out looking at her condition. I mean who in her right mind will board a crowded train like this in such a condition. Thankfully she had her husband alongwith her. Poor thing, really felt sad for that lady. I hope she's fine....:(
P.S: I forgot to add, the girl was accompanied by her mother :)