Silver Lining – Chapter 1


Sushma was anxiously looking at the door ignoring the sea of human figures blocking her vision, she knew it is almost time. Hurriedly she glanced at the giant clock, hanging far away on platform number 1 at Churchgate Station. Her fluttering heart knew something amiss, will she travel alone today? The train’s signal was loud and clear, it is all set to depart. Gloomily Sushma removed her handbag from the adjoining seat to vacate and to face several angry snarls staring back at her. One seat and two dozen contenders, all eyeing for the sparse space. The train began moving, slowly leaving the populace and platform behind.

It was a dreadful day at the factory, Sushma again got an earful from the manager. His main objective is to humiliate me in front of all workers, I feel, she thought to herself. The manager is a short grumpy middle-aged man with a receding hairline and a heavy mustache, that makes him look like a giant rat. She calls him, ‘Mooshaka’ when he is not around, or during breaks while chatting with other female colleagues. No one likes Mooshaka, that’s for sure.

Sushma recently got a promotion and now she has to bear the manager for three extra hours, learning the accounts and logistics. He has no particular liking for Sushma either and thinks her promotion is only due to her shapely body and gender. His recent comment on her upbringing left her fuming red with anger, but she couldn’t utter a word. Only if looks could kill, Mooshaka would have died thousands of times by now.

PDA in the coach informed next station is Virar, she swiftly gathered her belongings and started moving towards the door. Relentlessly she glanced at the coach one last time, only to recall the departure from Churchgate station. Clutching the bags, she departed from the train and started walking towards home.

It was getting dark, she picked up some pace to reach home before father. He would be very upset to find she is late again. From far she could see the lights of the room are on, which means he is home already. A shiver went through her spine, but she continued pacing up to cover the distance. While entering she could whiff the same nasty smell, he is drinking again.

‘Is this the time to come home, who will cook food and give me snacks for drinks? Your mother did not teach you manners’, he yelled at her the moment she stepped inside.

She wanted to reply but kept quiet as speaking would repeat the previous week’s incident. Sushma quickly handed ‘bhajia’ to her father, which she got packed at Churchgate station before boarding the train. She wanted to have it on the train, but then her ally never arrived. Snacks doused her father’s temper a little and also gave her some time to prepare tea for herself.

Dinner was ready even before the bottle could hit the floor, being on time is crucial as even the smallest delay could create havoc. It was past midnight by the time she finished chores and readied the next day’s morning activities. Once on her bed, she glanced at her phone only to realize the next day is a bank holiday; i.e., she and her father together at home for more than 24 hours. The thought only made her uncomfortable and sleep left her eyes.

Last week it was her 24th birthday when neighbors arranged a small surprise party. They played music, kids organized a fancy dress show and dance party with cold drinks, snacks, and cake. She was happiest that day since her mother is gone, they are the only family she is left with.

As usual, father arrived drunk and got furious seeing them celebrating. He scolded neighbors for spoiling his peace and threw everything out in the veranda, when Sushma reprimanded him of his behavior she was beaten black and blue. He blamed Sushma for everything bad that happened in his life, her mother’s infidelity, unemployment; poverty, and above all for being a girl child.

Memories brought tears to her eyes, she wept silently and prayed for a better day tomorrow. Shutting her mind on the memories, she tried to focus on the evening train ride. What could have made Maya miss train today, she kept on thinking repeatedly until her tired body took charge and her overthinking mind got its due?

What happens next? Watch out for next post, coming out soon.

‘This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon


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