Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Around 15 years ago – I would travel frequently by the Deccan Queen between my workplace Mumbai and my hometown Pune.

It was an entertaining 3 hour journey – especially as I loved to observe my co-passengers – and there were so many interesting characters and situations.

This evening – while on my evening walk I suddenly remembered a short story I wrote at that time – 15 years ago – in the year 2000.

So – let me delve deep into my creative writing archives and pull out this story – and abridge and update it a bit  for you to read.

Do tell me if you like it...

A Story

I am going to tell you about a very intriguing conversation I had with a naughty boy while travelling from Mumbai to Pune on the Deccan Queen last evening.

As I walk towards my seat in the Ladies’ Coach of the Deccan Queen  I find a smart boy sitting on my window seat talking to a handsome man sitting on the seat beside him.

“Excuse me,” I say to the man, “this is the ladies’ compartment…”

Before the man can answer, the boy says, “I’m only seven years old – I am below 12 – I can travel in the ladies compartment…”

“Don’t be rude, Rohan,” the man admonishes the boy.

Then the man rises from the seat, moves into the aisle, making way for me, and he says, “Sorry, Ma’am, I am getting off. I just came to see off my son. Is it okay if he sits in the window seat…?”

“It is okay,” I say – and I sit down next to the boy  on the seat by the aisle.

“Actually I was waiting for you to come,” the man says.

“Me...?” I ask, flabbergasted, wondering whether the man is trying to flirt with me.

“My son – he is travelling alone…” the man says.

“I always travel alone…” the boy interjects.

“Of course you travel alone  you are a big boy now aren’t you...?” the father says lovingly to his son.

Then – the man turns towards me and he says to me: “His mother will come to receive him in Pune. – I have SMSed the coach and seat number to her – and my son Rohan has got his cell-phone too…”

“Don’t worry – I will take good care of your son and deliver him safely to his mother,” I assure the man  not wanting to talk to him too much.

“Thanks,” the man says to me.

Then – he turns to his son and says affectionately, “Give me a call when you reach – and make sure you come to Mumbai next weekend…”

“Of course Papa  I will be here to meet you next weekend on Saturday morning. You be here to get me off the Deccan Queen. I have got three days holidays – we will go off somewhere on an adventure trip…” the boy says to his father.

“Yes. Yes. I will do the bookings…” the man says to his son.

Suddenly – we hear the guard’s whistle – the engine blows its horn  and the train starts moving.

“Bye  Papa...” the boy jumps across me and hugs his father  who bends down and kisses his son on the cheek.

Then – the man disengages and quickly moves to the exit  turning once to wave out to his son – and jumps down on the platform

The Deccan Queen gradually picks up speed.

The small boy called Rohan sits down in his seat  takes out his fancy mobile phone  and a pair of earplugs.

My curiosity gets the better of my discretion  and I say to the boy, “That’s a real good mobile phone you have...

“Yes. It’s cool – the latest smartphone – it’s got everything – touch screen – music – internet…”

“Your father gave it to you?”

“Yes. Papa gets me the best…”

“And your mother…”

“Oh – My Mamma is too good – she loves me so much – she takes so much care of me – she lets me do whatever I want. And – by the way – before you ask  I think I should tell you that my Papa and my Mamma are divorced…”

“Oh Dear  I am so sorry…” I say.

“No. No. It’s okay – I am happy they are divorced…” the boy says.

“What...? You are happy your parents are divorced...?” I ask, aghast  totally astonished and incredulous.

“Yes – for me it is better this way that they are divorced. You know – now my Mamma and Papa now have to share me – they have divided me between them – during the week I stay with Mamma in Pune – and I spend the weekends with Papa in Mumbai…”

“But wasn’t it better when you all lived together as one family...?” I ask.

“It was terrible when we lived together as one family. When we lived together Papa and Mamma were just not bothered about me – Mamma and Papa were so busy with their office – their work – their parties  and travelling  and everything – that they just had no time for me. And – whatever little time we were together  Papa and Mamma kept fighting…”

“And now...?” I ask.

“Now – after they have split up and divorced – my life is just too good…!” the boy says.

“Too good…?” I interrupt, taken aback.

“Yes – after their divorce my life has become really good – I like it this way – now both Papa and Mamma care for me so much – they never scold me now like they used to before – now both my Mamma and Papa pamper me so much – just imagine – I had two birthday parties this year – one by Mamma at Pune  and one by Papa in Mumbai…”

“Really...? You had two birthday parties...?”

Yes – and now they let me do whatever I want – they give me so much time – they give me presents – they give me whatever I want – they even give me whatever I don’t want…”

“They give you whatever you don’t want…?”

“Now see –  Papa has given me this fantastic mobile phone – now – once Mamma sees this mobile phone which Papa has given me – she will give me an even better one – or maybe some other groovy stuff – now – after their divorce – it seems like my Mamma and Papa are in competition to make me happy…”

“That’s good – you are really lucky…” I say.

“Oh, yes. I am very lucky – but it is funny  isn’t it…? the boy says.

“Funny...? Whats funny...?” I ask the boy.

“About my Papa and Mamma – when they were married and we all lived together – they neglected me – and now – when they are divorced and we live separately  they pamper me so much. So – now  you tell me – isn’t it better that they are divorced  at least for me…”

I am still trying to analyze the uncanny truth in the young boy’s topsy-turvy logic.

What type of parenting is this...? 
First  you neglect your children when you are married together.

And then  you spoil your kids to glory when you are separated and divorced. 
Strange  isn’t it…? 

And I thought that children were “innocent victims” in divorce situations...! 

Dear Reader: What do you think...?

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1. This story is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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