The Journey

We were going to Calcutta in train with a 3rd AC coach from Varanasi. I always get a upper seat in the train for sleeping because my parents enjoy the lower birth and my sister loved the middle birth. Sitting on the upper birth of the train is like watching your loved ones from heaven and I always loved the heaven of upper birth. As we all know that there are angles in heaven and I met one when the train stopped on third station from Varanasi. An American family arrived in the train. A couple with their lovely child of age 14 or may be 15. Mr. Bill was a photographer and Mrs. Flora was a writer. Their daughter was a lovely book-worm because when they got setteled in the train she came on her upper birth and started reading a book written by her mother. After few stations or say few hours we started talking. I love to talk unknown people. She told me that her father is a wild-life photographer and he is a award winner for a photograph of attacking lion. I was amazed with her father’s talent because I love photography and more than that I love to meet photographers. 

“What are you reading”, I asked her.

“I am reading my father’s adventures of photography written by my mother”, She replied.

“Wow! That's nice, Do you go with your father to accompany him?” I asked.

She said “Yes, I have been with my father all the time. I never miss him and he never leaves me alone. He always keep me close to his heart”

“That’s really good and lovable, you make a nice family”, I said

We talked this much and we didn’t introduce our names. So I tried to tell her my name.

“By the way my name is Shiv”

“I am Sarah”

I smiled on his name because some names in English have different meanings in Hindi. She asked curiously “Why are you smiling?”

“Your name means ‘Too much’ in Hindi Language and you have this much of knowledge in this age, that’s why I am smiling.”, she smiled on my explanation.

“Shiv! Do you need tea or biscuit?” asked my mother.

I looked beneth the birth there was a tea seller in the coac, I purchased two cups of tea from him. I saw that my father was talking and sharing homemade parathas with the wild life photographer. I shared one cup of tea with Sarah. She was amazed to see the mud-cup in which she was drinking tea.

“It smells beautiful” she said. “It’s the soil of India” I replied.

“So tell me any adventure of your father, I mean about that award winning photograph. Do you have it?” I asked.

She gave me the book she was reading. I saw that winning photograph printed in that book but did not read the description. It was a photograph of a lion jumping very heavily towards the camera with full of anger and hunger in its eyes. I was horrified seeing that  picture.

I shouted “Oh my God! The lion was attacking your father, it’s a great image but how did your father saved his self?  It’s look like optimum attack of the lion. It’s looks impossible to be escaped from its attack. ”

“Yes it was, but somehow he managed” she replied. “That’s good, very brave. Your father has got a very courageous heart”, I said.

“And he also has so much love for me in his heart. After that event I never leave my father alone because I love him so much and I don’t want him to be in any kind of trouble again. I want him that he always gets such types of photographs. ” she said.

“I am sure he will” I said. She smiled.

The journey from Varanasi to Calcutta is almost of 12 hours by train. Half of the day was covered by the train and the other half was to be covered. I needed to go to toilet so I told her that “I am coming in a minute”

“Take care” she replied.

I couldn’t understand why she said that but I smiled and then went down from that heaven.

After washing my hands when I was going back to heaven my sister said “ab thodi der neeche bhi baitho (sit with us brother)”

“Ok” I said and called Sarah to come down but she was not on her seat. “Who are you calling?” asked everyone. “”I am calling Sarah”, pointing at the photographer

“her daughter, we are good friends now.” I told the photographer “you have got a lovely and smart child sir.”

Everyone was looking at me with their mouth open except the photographer.

“What are you talking about? You were alone all the time up there” said Sarah’s mother.

“No I was with your daughter. Where is she?” I replied.

Her mother started crying, and I got shocked with her behavior.

“What happen? Where is Sarah?” I asked everyone. My father replied “their only daughter died 3 years ago” “What!” I was horribly shocked “I just talked to her for 6 hours. What is all of you talking about? Where is she?”

“She is in my heart” said the photographer giving me a photo of her from his jacket pocket. “Yes, it’s her but what are you talking about? “ I asked. ”she died three years ago?? But I just talked to her, how could this happen?”

“What did she said?” Sarah’s father asked.

“She told me about you and your wife, she told me that you are a award winner photographer and your wife is a writer. She said she loves you and she will never leave you alone”, I explained.

I could see tears of love in her eyes.

“You really talked to her” Sarah’s father said “she was killed 3 years ago and she never leaves me alone”

“Killed??” I couldn’t speak those words properly. “Yes she was killed by a lion”

“Lion?” my mind was so blocked that I couldn’t relate the things. “Please sir, tell me everything” I requested.

“I was in Africa 3 years ago, chasing lions with my daughter. It was the biggest mistake of my life to take my daughter with me in the jungle safari. I was clicking a picture of lion and I was too close to him. He got annoyed and attacked me furiously, my daughter was behind me and she pulled me behind. I got saved from him and also got the award winning photograph but the lion didn’t stop he attacked my daughter and I couldn’t save her. He took the body of my daughter away from me and I got paralyzed. The lion didn’t come for me again, I was crying but I couldn’t move my body. Some rangers found me chasing the roars of lion and they saved me but I couldn’t save my daughter...” he started crying. , we all were crying.

“Sarah still comes to me and I always talk to her but I didn’t tell anyone that I talk to my daughter.”

Sarah’s mother was crying deeply”Oh! Bill” she said and they hugged each other.

I was totally stunned with this event. The photographer gave me the book which Sarah showed me earlier. I saw the photo of that lion and read the description “The lion that killed my daughter”

“What did Sarah told you?” asked Sarah’s mother.

“She told me that she you are a very good writer and she love you both. And she will never leave both of you alone. She said that she want her father to do more photography and win more awards.”

We all were speechless and the train finally got its destination...

The End

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