It was another normal day for the Mishra family to travel late evenings at Kolkata, scouting through the peak hours of the bustling junctions of Howrah Bridge. They make their way out through the narrow lanes in painted cabs of yellow and white. Mumbling with restlessness, yet waiting for the traffic to fade out.
Momentary loss of time, made them opt for footsteps over the 4-wheeled machine to the Howrah railway station. As they entered the station, it seemed like a Piccadilly Circus. Fumes releasing from the tired trains, with settled hawkers howling with slogans of advertisements for their products. Loud enough to cut across the hurdled crowds running to reach their destinations.
Amongst the swarm was a beautiful doll, clinging to her father’s knee. Scared to adrift amongst the bong crowd. Her steps faltered, to avoid the stampede at the hoarded stations of Howrah. She griped her barbie, to scan through the markets to find something familiar. But her teary eyes and arched eyelids realized, nothing was familiar anymore. Her curled brown rings brushed across her face, hiding something sad and unknown.
Loud scheduled announcements, made them run with paced steps to catch the train departing from Platform # 3 to Varanasi at 6:00 pm. Mr. Mishra threw the baggage inside the coach and hopped in with panting breath along with his 6 yr old daughter. She glared at not so known journey surrounded by strangers.
Mr. Mishra scouted for the confirmed berths, and gathered the baggage’s to arrange them under the cramped berths. A family, who introduced themselves as the Banerjee’s were making their way as the pilgrims with their 7 year old son. They were the new neighbours who were sharing the compartment with Mr. Mishra.
Bhavyanka silently watched Mrs. Banerjee recite stories from the “The Jungle Book” to make her son sleep. She made hand gestures and bubbly voice modulations to introduce the characters of the stories. Bhavyanka was abruptly attentive to the new progress in the events like the rye.
Mrs.Banerjee surveys the new set of eyes encroaching their space and greets Bhavyanka, “tor nam ki?” (What is your name?) With an innocent smile and blinked her eyes to adore a girl child’s cuteness. She replied with battling eyes, “ amar naam Bhavyanka Mishra” (My name is Bhavyanka Mishra). She stared at Mrs. Banerjee in amazement, recognising the familiarity that met through their eyes. Those eyes filled with compassion and love that she missed over past few days. Mrs. Banerjee adored the little girl, and promptly lifted Bhavyanka to settle down in her lap with ease.
A smile of satisfaction drafted on her lips after ages. Moments passed, Bhavyanka felt as if she was cuddled with love and care. Promptly, Mrs. Banerjee caught the little girl glaring at the open sky full of stars through the window with a smile on her face. Curiosity built on Mrs. Banerjee’s mind, and she asked the little girl, “what are you staring at?”
The little girl smiles softly and points at the brightest star in the sky,” There she is! My mom smiling at me for being happy.”
Mrs Banerjee’s looks at the little girl with tearful eyes, and adopts her as daughter in her heart forever. A daughter she always wished.