The world outside a train window looks different as if you are traversing the landscape of a fairytale. Outside window a new world was broadening itself to the farthest of horizon. Sun was climbing on it slowly like a mountaineer. It’s a glittering day with a texture of relax.

           I had boarded the local train to go to Beach station today. Inside compartment there were few people. Compartment wore a dull atmosphere. An intense silence was spreading over to cover it. From nowhere an unknown thought came and collided with my ongoing thought. A name flickered in mind…”Ajay Gupta”….It was acknowledged. It was affirmed. In split of moment, it was overridden by the silence again. As if a small boat was swallowed by the huge waves and it sank shortly thereafter. Train was moving carrying this profound silence.

          It’s just another shining Sunday in Chennai. But for some it is just another day of despair and loneliness surrounded by random faces of others. They all belong to same age group. You see them playing, fighting and crying. Far from their loved ones it is just another day in their knowledge of mathematics for how many days they have been here.

          It is said that childhood has its own color. Its own personality. It plays. It cries. It fears in its own boundary of self.GBH is a bit noisy place with scattered innocence.

            “Ajay Gupta kaun hain yahan?” (“Who is Ajay Gupta here?”)

I called one boy from the herd. He looked at me like a lost soul. I called another boy. Surprisingly, he too didn’t know. But he started helping me as if he just got the most important task in his life. I had received the details of this boy from a friend.

Ajay’s father is a vegetable seller in Mumbai. His mother stays in village Narayanpur (Nearby Prataphgarh, a town in Uttar Pradesh). Ajay stayed and studied in his village until he was misplaced with their parents. He had given us details of their uncles and siblings but that couldn’t offer much help. He didn’t know any contact details either.

I saw a boy sleeping on the floor in corner of hall. I went there and tried to wake him up. He looked like a small bird whose cozy nest was rattled. He put his hands on his eyes while trying to awake. Sunlight coming from window was blinding his eyes. Slowly reality before him came into focus.

            “Tumhara Naam Kya Hai..?” (What is your name? I asked the boy.)

            “Ajay…”  (Still having one hand on his one eye…trying to come out of inertia of sleep.)

            “Pura Naam bolo…” (“Tell me your full name”, I asked him.)

            “Ajay Gupta…”, He replied.

            “Tumhare school ka kya naam hai ?” (“What is your school name”, I asked. )

            “Narayanpur school….”,He said.

           “Teacher ka naam batawo…” (“Tell me your teacher’s name”, I asked him.)

           “N.B. Singh hindi padhate hai…..R.B sir….ab wo dusre class ko padhate hai” (N.B Singh teaches us hindi…R.B sir don’t teach anymore. he teaches another class.)

            “Papa ke paas mobile hai kya..?” (“Does your father have mobile…? “, I asked)

            “Haan…Lekin number nahi maloom hai” (“Yes. but I don’t know the number”, He answered.)

             “Achcha Koi baat nahi….koi bhi aisa mobile number batawo jo tumhe yaad hai.” (“OK No Problem….tell me any mobile number which you remember”, I asked again.)

             “Nahi Maloom” (“I don’t know”, He replied and he started crying realizing that he will not able to see their parents as he does not know these details.) 

I assured him that I will take him to his parents to stop him crying. I started asking other details to distract him.I felt like a failed person before a child.I threw a glance over the hall for a moment. Arnab, sitting by the wall was talking to other kids. Kids at GBH love him. He looked like another kid surrounded by kids. Mukund was taking details from a boy from M.P. Saurabh was talking to hathras kids. These two kids were neighbor to each other and had run away from home together. Ganesh, maintaining a monk like charm, was taking details from a local kid. He looks a very cool guy. I don’t know how he maintains it. May be its readymade.

 Suddenly, the kid with me started running. I caught him with one hand.

                 “Kya Hua…Kyon bhag rahe ho? “  (“What happened? Why you are running?” I asked hurriedly.)

                 “Choclate…” (The simplest answer a child can give…)

Tamil had started distributing chocolates and biscuits among kids. Other kids also jumped to him. 

                 “Achcha…Jao. Aur wapas jaldi aao”… (“OK go but come back soon”…I said to him).

A big smile erupted all over his dry and tear soaked face. Isn’t this amazing? A missing and sad boy sees a chocolate and becomes so happy. Moments lost in fog of time.

 Ajay came back to me. I asked him more details. I noted down everything whatever he told me. But these details were not direct enough which could help us in finding his parents easily.  I called another boy, and started asking details from him. After spending few hours, crew members started wrapping up. It was time to return. We said bye to everyone and started off.

After coming out, it felt very calm. Guys were discussing among themselves about their today’s visit. I was feeling a mild headache, still feeling bad about these kids. They are just small kids. They are in need of purest love and care untouched by the doubts and compulsion of real life. Why they are facing this hardship at this fragile age.  I was still able to hear the noises of those kids behind us which was slowly ceasing out as we moved toward main gate. With a blank notion I looked behind, a boy standing by GBH window was crying while seeing me go….

I waved my hand to him…”Bye Ajay”.

With a four days continuous effort we were able to trace the parents of Ajay. I would like to thank Google almighty for his immense help. With google map I was able to find Prataphgarh and other nearby towns. One day I was just searching for list of schools in nearby towns of Narayanpur. In search result I saw a mobile number of a headmaster ( Sri Dayaram Tiwari) of a school in Prataphgarh. Next day morning I called him. He was very much interested to help us when we explained him the whole situation. Fortunately he knew “ Mr. N.B Singh – Ajay’s Hindi teacher”. He helped me in tracing Ajay’s mother and father.  He personally travelled from Kanpur to the village where his father & mother were staying and passed on the message to their parents. A couple of days later, the parents came to Chennai and took the boy to their home.

                                                                                                          – Basant Kumar Yadav