A Hope Of Hopes Ends In Hopeless Hopes!
Author: M B J Pancras
The night is partially dark. The waning moon had been expressing her features sadly. The stars also looked dry. It might be a premonition of something to happen before the daybreak. The clock struck ten times.
“Hey, look at your watch. The time is 10. I am hungry. “One of the migrant workers told his fellow-men.
It was lock down period. A virus had sneaked out from the East and spread across the world. Countless people were dying due to the spread of the deadly virus. It was Covid 19. Thirty or forty migrant workers had left their working place in a major city due to the state of sudden joblessness. These migrant workers had spent all their meager earnings and were left penniless except with a few rattling coins. They had packed a few stale chapattis for them and commenced their trekking. The governments had stopped all transportation conveyances as a result of lock down.
“Hey, Ranjit, shall we eat some chapattis? I am also hungry. Call all our fellow-men. All of you come and dine with us. Open your packets.” Said Virnan.
The migrant workers took their way on a railway track. They had thought that following the railway track would lead them to their destination. They sat on a cement pavement near the track and had their stale chapattis. They had a little talk of how to reach their destination.
“Hello, Viswas, I want to see my small daughter. My wife and daughter shall be waiting for me tomorrow early morning. I will reach my town at 6 in the morning. After a year I am going to meet them.” Varun’s eyes shed tears as he had spoken with anxiety.
“My dear fellow-men, I have to see my aged parents who always depend on my meager wages. I have been sending them a little money every month. But now Corona and lock down have turned our life down. Now there’s no work for me in the town. So I am moving forward to my village.” Manjeet expressed his grief.
“All of you had your meal? Pack the remaining chapattis. We may get hungry.” Garish told his fellow-workers.
The orphan like migrant workers resumed their journey with a little energy as they had had a few stale chapattis. The night was completely dark. Even the moon slowly faded away leaving the stars to shine just for a flickering light. The migrant workers were walking back on the railway track.
Ranjit looked at his digital watch, which had been bought from Rotlen Bazaar just for twenty rupees. The watch showed 11 O’ clock. There was an eerie silence. Tiny blinking lights were seen scattered all around at a distance.
“Viswas, I am tired. My legs are paining. Shall we lie down?” Matharai stopped his journey. He stooped down and suddenly fell on the railway track.
“Hey, Matharai, what happened to you?” Sanjay ran towards Matharai.
“Nothing, he’s very tired. Now he wants to sleep.” Kazera convinced Sanjay.
“Ok, we shall take rest this night here. There is no space for us to lie. I think trains are all cancelled due to lock down. So no train shall pass through this track. We will sleep on the track.” A few migrant workers said in chorus.
It was quarter past eleven. All the wearied workers dropped on the track and in a short while they went to sound sleep. One of the migrant workers said to himself before falling into sleep, “tomorrow I shall meet my family.”
There was a rattling noise on the track. The migrant workers did not sense any noise on the track that they had had a sound sleep. Such a terrible tiredness of ceaseless trekking from the town! The whistle of a railway engine tore the eerie silence of the darkness. It seemed a train was on the track from elsewhere. The head light of the engine focused on the front of the speedily rolling train. There was no movement seen on the tiredly sleeping workers. It was quarter past four in the humid ‘dark’ morning.
“Oh, look at the track. Some people are lying on it. Raise the alarm signal.” Suddenly shouted the engine driver to his assistant.
“Yes, yes. A group of people are seen lying in the middle of the track. Apply the brake.” The assistant engine driver raised the signal alarm. The engine driver tried to apply the brake, but the speed of the train did not come down. It was a Goods train. The speed of the train, though normal, could not be stopped immediately.
Alas! The Goods train ran over the workers. There were no screams. Yes. They were out of senses. They were in sound sleep. Almost sixteen workers were crushed over. There were some injured workers who had had their sleep just a meter away from the track. They screamed noiselessly. The Goods train halted on the track a hundred meters away.
The investigation officers and the police arrived at the spot. They commenced their investigation.
There were seen some stale chapattis scattered on the track. Bags and clothes were seen torn and scattered. A few hungry dogs from elsewhere appeared at the spot and were seen consuming the stale chapattis.
“I am coming, I am coming….”There was a recorded voice heard from a doll lying on the track. Yes. It had been bought by a migrant worker for his 3 month girl baby. The words sailed in the nightly air towards newly-born girl baby.
A hope of hopes is still a hopeless hope!
------- Author's Notes -------
This is a short story written based on a real life incident happened in India in Lock down period due to Covid 19.
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