It was the summer of 1993. The Victoria Terminus Station of Mumbai (then Bombay) was bustling with people as usual. A little girl with curly pigtails holding her mother’s hand was trying hard to make her way through the crowd. Her mother was carrying her toddler brother in another arm. As she tippy toed her way amidst the busy station, she couldn’t stop noticing the overcrowding and overflowing of local trains going in and out of the station. Her father walked ahead of them with all the luggage.
The local trains of Bombay were always overcrowded and they halted hardly for a few seconds. Within these few seconds, people swarmed their way in to get a foothold on the train.
The family waited for their train at the platform. The little girl’s father forewarned them to be quick to get inside as they won’t have much time. As the train arrived onto the platform, people started flocking inside. The girl’s dad got in first with all the luggage. Her mother tried hard to make her way in with a toddler in one arm while still holding the littler girl’s hand. As the girl was stepping into the train, she noticed one of her slippers got ripped. She stepped back to adjust her torn slipper. But within a second, the train started moving. Her mother tried to pull her in, but the train got faster. She lost grip, ultimately letting her go. The little girl was left behind on the platform. Unable to get down, her parents were yelling for her from an overly crowded train.
Meanwhile, a generous benevolent man who noticed the little girl being left behind, made gestures to her parents on the moving train that he would bring her to the next station. The little girl was afraid and continued weeping. The man stood by her while waiting for the next train. He tried to console her and asked her few questions. Barely 3, she couldn’t answer much in Hindi. As the train arrived, the kind man carried her to ensure she got in this time.
As her parents anxiously waited for her at the next station, they feared if the random man would hand over their daughter. After few minutes, the man got down from the train with the sobbing little girl in his arms. Her parent’s joy knew no bounds and they couldn’t be grateful enough to the man.
20 years later, she is no longer little. As the girl heads out for work, her father looks at her and wonders, “What if we lost her that day at the station? What if he never brought her back? Very painful to imagine. God Bless the man!”
P.S: The little girl was me!