This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 25; the Silver Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'When Journey Meant More Than Destination'.
I was working in Calicut from few months and I was badly missing my family back in Mumbai. So, I decided to visit them and boarded my train just in time. I thought I had this compartment section to myself and nobody would board the train but once the train started after few mins when my tickets were checked, there was a girl standing near the compartment. She was about 18 or 19yrs I thought. I just checked her out a little bit and she appeared smart. She was talking to the ticket collector in Malayalam asking for a reserved seat. After debating for few hundred rupees he finally agreed to give her the place in my compartment. She felt relieved after her seat was reserved.
I wanted to make the first move and say hello but when I turned to her, she said "hello" -- on the phone !! She made a call to her mom and told her that she got a reservation and all that. Once she was done, she looked at me and smiled. Perhaps she wanted me to stir the conversation but before I could do that the train came to a halt. The girl concentrated on settling down and she took her shoes off and started reading a magazine. I looked at her and gave a hesitant smile and she asked me "Do you want to say something?"
I was very nervous, but I said "Hi, I am Shaleen. Basically from Mumbai but staying in Kerala because of my job."
"I am Meghna, I study in Mahabaleshwar. I came to meet my parents and now the vacation is over so heading back to my hostel."
After few mins I learnt few things about her. One, that she is very soft and naive girl and secondly she didn't wanted to study in a different city from where her family stays. Later she again went back to her novel and settled down.
In the next couple of hours train arrived to Bangalore. One young couple, boarded the train and after some hustle bustle they settled down. Their seat was close to Meghna's seat. They came with lot of luggage as if they were going to attend a wedding or something. I felt like sleeping since it was an over night train, but I couldn't help but hear their conversation with Meghna. Meghna was a nice girl, well behaved, nice communication but I thought for a second how can a naive girl like that go alone to a city like Mumbai and then go to her hostel. Does she have any relative, any friend who is going to pick her up from Mumbai? I wanted to ask this but somehow I thought its none of my business and kept listening to their talks. The couple were Mr. and Mrs. Kumar and apparently they just got married and were going to Mumbai to make some money.
They asked so many questions about Meghna but they spoke very little about themselves. When Meghna mentioned about her hostel Mrs. Kumar suddenly mentioned about her sister studying there and later Mr. Kumar showed his eyes and that made her to change the name of the hostel. I thought it was strange. I learnt that Meghna is a topper in her class and once she finishes her school she aspires to become an airhostess. She looked like an ambitious girl but yet too soft and sensitive. Mrs. Kumar mentioned to her that they had a garment business in Mumbai and she could buy dresses from them. After a while our train stopped at at station where everyone started to buy stuff for dinner. As the couple had so much stuff, they stopped Meghna from buying food and offered their own food.
We were supposed to reach Mumbai in the morning and I fervently hoped that train won't be late and thought of sleeping early to wake up on time. I woke up at 5am in the morning and was glad to know that the train would reach Mumbai by 5.30am. The Kumars were also up but Meghna was still asleep. I wanted to wake her up but thought I should leave this job to Kumars. Mrs. Kumar tried to wake her up but Meghna felt drowsy and she fell asleep again. Later when the train stopped I offered Kumars to help them bring Meghna down and get her stuff but they refused to take my help and said that they would drop her safely home and I shouldn't worry about that. I saw Meghna opening her eyes when I told her "All the best". She wanted to say something but was unconscious but I remember her eyes.. they wanted me to stop right there and take her to the hostel safely.
I don't know whether it was my dumbness or my belief with Kumars I left Meghna with them and arrived home. I spent time with my family for a week and went back to Kerala. When I entered Kerala I immediately thought about Meghna and her habit of reading magazines. I purchased a newspaper and was shocked to see the headline. A young girl murdered and raped in Mumbai station. When I saw the picture, it was hard to believe but it was Meghna. How did that happen? Did the Kumars left her unconcious in the station and left their home. Did Meghna unknowingly came across a criminal? All sort of questions started arising in my mind and I felt restless. I saw the same ticket collector coming to ask for tickets. I told him about the incident and he was shocked too. With his help i got the contact information of Kumars. When I tried to call them it was someone else. I guess their real names were different. I contacted Calicut police and helped them to make a sketch of Kumars. Suddenly, it occurred to me that Mrs. Kumar's sister studies in the same boarding school where Meghna studied and was two years younger to Meghna.
This clue was enough for them to figure out the rest. Soon, I heard back from them that they are Mr. and Mrs. Ameya and they were into kidnapping young college girls and selling them to people in Kerala and Dubai. This whole racket got exposed to the police and they awarded me for giving some clues in this regard. These people targed innocent college going girls and used all the tricks to kidnap them. That day they dragged unconcious Meghna in a cloak room and when she refused to go with them to get sold. They beated her, the guy raped her and later killed and locked her in the restroom. I felt like to kill Mr. and Mrs. kumar or whoever they were. It was very unrighteous thing to grab someone's life.
I went to meet Meghna's family and consoled them. When I saw her picture, I felt like she came right infront of me wearing air hostess dress and saying " Hello sir, what is your destination?". I felt very bad for her journey on that day that became more than mere journey or destination in a real sense!