It was an odd time and the platform was empty.
from a sleeper compartment a middle aged man got down with a small shoulder bag which he clutched with care ,his other hand was closed on a small palm of his daughter ,the child was groggy with sleep and her small frame slowly got down the steps guided by her father ,she never uttered a word of complaint but there was tiredness in that innocent face .
the dawn was a bit chilly as it had rained in fact it was still drizzling he brought her closer to him in a protective embrace on her shoulders he too had a sad drained look to him .
the sad couple walked to the station masters room at the to the other end ,
all the shops in the platform were shut tight and the rare bench had snoring figures
no one noticed them trudging on
the train slowly moved away from the station on to its long journey ,
the station became very quiet .
the station master was in his room poring over his ledger and fiddling with it ,he looked up at the knock by the stranger with the small child ,
yes what do you want ?
Sir we had just arrived from cochin in the train ,sir can we get a retiring room for the rest of the night my daughter is very tired and no hotels would give us a room at this hour !
he looked at them ,the man looked educated and the child was half asleep
how come this time do you belong to Tirur .?
sir we had come here to go to Tirunavaya in the morning but we need to rest for some time till the train from Chennai reaches as her uncle will be in that
we have come to perform rites .
Tirunavaya was a well known place near Tirur where the Navamugundan temple was known for the flowing Bharathapuzha or river and was also very famously known for conducting Hindu death rites .
Oh I see
for whom ?
sir my elder daughter she left us
all that I have of her is in this bag
oh Ïam sorry to hear that
he could see tears welling out of the mans eye
you are lucky today as the retiring room is empty usually we have some railway staff on duty occupying it .
come with me
they followed him
how old was she ?
oh sad and this little one ?
she is just five
he opened the lock of a shuttered room and asked the man to go in
the room may not very neat but it had two beds and was spacious with a toilet but no hot water or anything
its ok sir thanks
you can pay before you leave said he and walked off .
The man kept his bag and made his tired child lie down on a bed and covered her with a thin sheet
he too lay down too in the other bed tired
for a long time he gazed at the ceiling lost in his thoughts and then dozed off
His alarm went off at 5 am he quickly had his bath the water was cold and he wondered whether he should insist on his child taking bath ,
better to ,he thought in that way she need not dip in the river before the rites it would be colder there .
so he slowly nudged her awake .
mollu please get up your uncle will be here shortly and you need to have your bath
she woke up with no protest
he asked her to brush her teeth and take a quick bath in the cold water and he rubbed her dry with a towel
she was shivering the poor thing and he felt cruel
They got ready and then locked the door gave the key to the station master and paid ,
did you have some rest asked the station master
thanks sir we did
that's a good girl there he said to the daughter
the train from Chennai had come by then The uncle came and the trio went as planned to Tirunavaya did all the rites and returned back
while the uncle left to Chennai the man went with his daughter to cochin
it was all over
it started two days later the high fever the shivering for his little one
he blamed himself for that chilly bath
what a fool I was !
I have caused this to my daughter
she really became sick and was admitted in a hospital for a worried week and finally she got over it a very stressful week indeed
Today that little child is on the anvil to become a paediatrician and hopefully will treat children like her
for she s my little daughter