It was a signature nightlife in Mumbai city, with the metropolitan of all hopes and dreams living up to it's potential to the newcomers. The jaw dropping illumination of the Bandra Worli Sea-link shone in all it's glory. The Victoria terminus gave a peek into what the history of this urban community was like. The Bombay Stock Exchange was as busy as a bee. So all in all, Bombay was just being it's usual self.
A taxi driver was catering to the usual demands of his customer. His customer were a couple, in their mid thirties. The husband looked like a typical middle class man. With an untidy stubble, he was unusually masculine. The wife dressed in a sari, wore the look of submissiveness towards her husband. They were speaking in Marathi. Being a north Indian himself, the driver could not understand a word they were saying. But, it wasn't the couple who were drawing his attention, their baby was. Dressed in an ill fitted robe, the baby had been continuously crying since the journey started. The parents didn't seem to mind, they were preoccupied in their own discussion. They were talking endlessly, mostly about their destination, The Victoria Terminus, from the little information that the cab driver could infer. The baby had started crying again. Maybe the baby is hungry, the driver thought, and swerved to the left and pulled over. It was late in the night and The Victoria Terminus wore a deserted look.
The couple took off in a hurry without taking their change. There was something awfully odd about the couple, the driver sensed. But it wasn't his headache after all. He had a long night. His goal was to take them to their destination, he had done that. Efficiently. On to the next customer.
Meanwhile, the couple were inside the architectural wonder, which had served as a hub of the Indian Railways for more than hundred years. The woman, carrying the baby, was long lost, gazing upon the star chambers, and the detailed artwork of the British era architecture. Her husband's voice echoed through the quiet corridor and brought her back to reality. He yelled at her to hurry up.
It was 1:00 in the night. The baby had stopped crying, probably lost in the architecture himself. Whilst the woman was tensed, she started to sway away and imagining what life would have been in the peak hours. The husband pacing up and down the platform, wished this was all a dream. He had never done this before, and probably never will. But provided the circumstances, he had to take such a horrifying step.
The train arrived at last. The last local train of Mumbai, the same as the last call at a local bar. The husband scanned the area, looking out for any potential threat. There wasn't any. The man let his wife inside and then climbed himself in. It was a normal II class compartment, not made for much comfort. They sat down and looked at each other for the first time, contemplating the consequences.
The baby was asleep now. Perfect. The man took out two silk blankets from his duffel bag. He wrapped the baby, concealing his legs, arms, hands, so that only his face was visible. The couple looked at each other and back at the baby. Too late to turn back now. They would never have thought that all of this would lead up to this moment. They were prepared for it, but now that it was actually happening, they felt helpless. They knew they had to do this quick. The train could leave any minute. The woman looked away in disgust and guilt. The man, wiping off his tears, kissed the baby gently. He took him in his arms, careful not to wake him up. He held him and looked at his pudgy face. A head rush. A flashback. His dreaded past. This compelling disgusting job. The woman, couldn't bear any more and got off the train. The man didn't notice, his eyes were on the baby.
The train's loud horn got him back to his senses. He gently wrapped his arms around him put him under the seat. The baby, sound asleep couldn't feel a thing. The man had one last look and got off the train. He didn't see his wife eye to eye. He couldn't. She couldn't either. Nobody had the guts to. They started to walk towards the exit.
The train took off, ten seconds later, with a series of horns. The couple, numb, stared at the train going way, until the headlight of the train faded away in the winter fog. Meanwhile, the baby was still inside the compartment, sound asleep, probably dreaming of Fairy Tales or Action-figure heroes, you never know. But in the real world, he could be just one thing, Abandoned.
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