Sunshine After The Rain
by Vaman Acharya
Pavanpur railway station was deserted on 15th October, 2000, as there was no movement of passengers and vendors on the platform. The arrival of the trains were delayed indefinitely.
A lone young man was in the waiting room. He was going to Mumbai. The scheduled time of the train towards Mumbai was 5 in the morning. The train was expected to arrive five hours late. One coolie was moving on the platform saw the young man and rushed towards waiting room. He recognised him as Abhishek. Both were in conversation till the departure of the train. Abhishek told him that the purpose of going to Mumbai was to appear for an interview in railways. The train arrived at 12 noon. He expressed thanks to the coolie.
Abhishek occupied his reserved seat and tried to remember the old memories. The train was moving fast.
Abhishek was sixteen year old boy studying in the tenth standard used to spend holidays in the railway station. His house was just three minutes walkable distance from the railway station. Parents warned him not to waste time in railway station and devote the time for studies. His mom and dad agreed after hearing his intention. He managed to score high marks in the examination in spite of regular visits to railway station. Abhishek was very much interested to know about the railway system and the working of the staff. He had an art of making friends irrespective of the age. Right from Station Master to coolie, all became his friends. This was possible for him just within a period of one month. The speciality of railway staff was they belong to different states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. He was able speak in Tamil, Malayalam, Oriya, Telugu and Hindi within a short period. Kannada was his mother tongue.
During the leisure time of railway technical staff, he used to ask several questions pertaining to railways. If he was not satisfied with their answers, he again ask counter questions to know more about the subject. Abhishek was carrying a book daily and sit in an isolated place of the railway station for reading.
After passing matriculation he decided to join Pre-university course in a Bengaluru college. The entire staff of railways felt very much to bid him farewell. He was with them for more than one year. They were like his members of family.
Unfortunately, he lost his parents in the same year due to bus accident. Out of sympathy, his friends and well wishers came forward to help him. He politely rejected their offer. Abhishek was in a position to plan his funds for a college education.
One day, he left Pavanpur in the evening by train and reached Bengaluru next day morning. He was fully aware that he was a stranger to Bengaluru. He spent few days with his classmate and close friend Anand in a single room. He helped Abhishek to get a single room in a good locality called Mahadev Pur. The house owner Ram Lal was a businessman and known
to Anand. Ram Lal was living with his wife Ratna and a college going daughter Mrudula. He was in search of a good neighbour. Before letting out, the owner invariably ensure the conduct of the person. Ramlal agreed to let out the single room to Abhishek without any enquiry. The rent agreement was done. But the surprise for Abhishek was Ramlal’s daughter Mrudula was already known to him. Both were studying in the same class in Rainbow college of Arts & Science, Mahadevpur. She was very much impressed on the day he gave a speech on the 'Present Day Trend of College Education'. The occasion was annual day of the college.
Staying in the same house resulted in more closeness between them. She liked his knowledge and soft nature. Abhishek was not only helping Mrudula in studies, but also keep her jubilant. On the first day, he called Mrudula to meet him in the evening in Vaishnavi park.
She came to the park right time. Abhishek was late by half an hour. She was disappointed.
“Mrudu, I am sorry. I was held up in the traffic. Please excuse me."
“Abhi, no excuse. You have given me time and you have to keep up.”
“Yes, madam I am guilty. I am prepared to accept any penalty.”
“First, I want you to be disciplined. The penalty is you should take me to good hotel.”
Both went to the hotel and returned home early.
Ramlal did not notice the free movements of Mrudula and Abhishek. But Ratna was closely watching daughter's movements. She informed the developments to her husband. He didn't take it seriously. Abhishek and Mrudula completed Pre-university course second year with first class. Abhishek got admission in Paramount Engineering College, Bengaluru. Ramlal and Ratna realised that Mrudula was going out of their control. It was too late to set right the things.
One day, Mrudula revealed her wish to parents. There were serious issues like inter cast, age difference and culture between the lovers. Ramlal and Ratna scolded daughter and warned her not to go ahead. Abhishek vacated the house immediately and stop meeting Mrudula.
Another problem was Abhishek’s friend Anand wanted to marry Mrudula. The proposal was accepted by her parents. But Mrudula wanted some time to decide. She met Abhishek secretly.
“Abhi, our love is pure. Nobody can separate us.”
“Yes! Let us hope our bright future.”
Lovers did not meet for some days.
Friends became foes. Anand created number of hurdles between Mrudula and Abhishek.
The days were passed very fast. Abhishek completed B E degree.
He reached Dadar station at 11 a m and came out of his past memories. He got down on the platform. Abhishek felt somebody touched him in the back. He turned back and saw a girl, who was none other than Mrudula. He could not believe his own eyes. She was in a romantic mood and singing a movie song
‘Abhi na jao chodkar.”
Abhi smiled and put his hand on her shoulder. Both went outside the platform.
Lovers joined together forever to become life partners. ***