Dec 04, 2023
Dec 04, 2023
by Sarika Goyal
I have often traveled by a train. The most striking feature of such a journey was the observation regarding soldiers. There is mass movement of soldiers during peculiar times specially deployment at war time.
Such a moment was the aftermath of Kargil war when many soldiers were deployed to new strategic locations and several were rehabilitated with their regiments or battalions. Occasionally some soldiers would sing en route. They would make groups around one or two noted singers among them & chant bollywood songs without caring for any discomfort to fellow passengers. Often the same group has some grave, serious soldiers who constantly stared out of windows more or less blankly whereas within deeper recesses of their mind, they have been speculating some serious issues.
During such journeys, I have seen many beggars enter the compartments at specific stations. Sometimes there is a group of two or three kids where one of them performed with an iron ring, other would sing a song and third one would shake the tail woven into his cap.
Once I saw a cute kid wearing a cap with a tail. His face was like some monarch. Some elders had painted curved moustaches on his face with kohl. He also wore a vermillion mark on his forehead. Though he was shabbily dressed, there was some grace and pride in his demeanor that shone brightly like a diamond in the crown. He used to marvelously shake his tail at the song sung by his sister. Though his body swayed to the rhythm of the song, he was not in a mood to perform before an audience unappreciative of the innocence of a child. He was a victim of cheap sympathy and sheer neglect of humanity displayed by people towards beggars.
If only he could run, he would have perched on some hillock, jumped here and there, smeared soil and dust all over his body, forgotten the command of his mother to eat food in time & wandered here & there unmindful of the cruel world till sunset but he was there shaking his head to earn some pennies that would fetch food for his family or spare the child from the scathing scorn of his caretakers.
More by : Sarika Goyal