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There will always be some stories in your life which you will never forget. And those stories or incidents can also have a deep impact on our personality. I have always believed that events in our early stages of life (childhood) determine who and what we will finally turn out to be. One of such things that still lingers in my mind is from my childhood days. I don’t really remember how old I was, but I guess I was in the 5th standard.
This was our first trip outside Orissa. We were going to New Delhi. Since I was a child, I was not really a travel freak. My father loves traveling, and he still does. Perhaps, because that was our first such trip, I was excited and thrilled. My little sister was still being carried around in somebody’s arms, always, and I considered myself a grown-up, ready to take care of myself, and “walked” along with them. Ah!! What a trip that was. We covered almost the whole of North India, except Jammu and Kashmir.
Well, the story is about our journey to New Delhi. It was my first journey by train, and my sister’s as well. I guess, she was still too young to know what was going around. And I was very very excited. That was the trip which ingrained in my mind, the fact that “New Delhi” was the capital of India. Being an inquisitive mind, as I have always been, I was expecting this trip to be the most memorable one, and it finally turned out to be one of them. After 2 days of traveling by train, we reached the New Delhi railway station. I was told that my uncle who worked in the Army would come to pick us up.
As soon as the train halted, the whole compartment went berserk. I thought the train would be leaving soon after stopping for a few minutes, as I had been noticing for the countless stations that went past. At every station, people were always in a hurry to either get down or board the train. I sensed emergency. My father started collecting our luggage, my mom picked up my sister. I thought they needed my help. I scanned my eyes over all the boxes, and tried picking up one. It was heavy, but I managed to load it on my arms. My father started moving towards the exit. I followed him. The bag was heavy, but I still carried it with all my strength. My mom was walking besides me. My sister had just woke up amidst all the noise.
I kept following my father, never looking back to check my mother and sister. He was walking, rather pacing away. I didn’t have the time to look back else I would lose him, I thought. Suddenly, I heard someone shout out my name from behind. “Bini, Bini”. It sounded familiar, I turned back to see my uncle running towards me. He came running to me, and asked, “Where are you going?”. I said, “Papa is looking for you”, pointing in the other direction. He smiled and took my hand. We started walking the other way, away from my father. I was wondering if I should remind him again that we should be walking the other way. But I was confused. “Where’s Mom, and my sister?” I thought. After sometime, I could see them, all of them together. My mother was crying, father looked really worried and my sister trying to assess and understand the situation, still in Mom’s arms.
Father bent down and put his hand on my head, and asked, “Where were you going?” I said,”I was following you”. Only then I realized that I was following the brown jacket that my father had put on. I might have been half asleep, and sleep walking then. I don’t really remember.
Being a child, I didn’t know how to react then. But whenever I remember that day, I always feel lucky. I would have been lost that day. At the railway station. The vivid memories of the brown jacket, my mom’s tears and my uncle running towards me still come to my mind whenever I am at the railway station. I feel lonely and sad, whenever I am at the railway station. Whenever I visit the railway station, either to see off someone, or to go on yet another journey myself, a feeling of sadness and loneliness gets over me. The fright of a child of getting lost, the fear of going away from dear ones and the feeling of being among the unknowns still haunts me, and perhaps always will, till my last journey.