Tunnel to Darkness....III

AniM By AniM, 4th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>General Fiction

Travails of two friends working in tunnel under the city

Finding Anand

Aaron asked the woman, 'We are from Anand's village, does he stay here?' The woman merely nodded and motioned them in. They stepped into a dimly illuminated room of approximately eight feet square. The blue polythene sheet covering the window like opening let little light in and whatever little it allowed in, covered everything in a dim blue color. Meager daily items of a household were stored in a corner, a mattress covered with a torn sheet lay in the other. The woman squatted down on the floor and asked them to do likewise.
'You are from Anand's village?' She asked. 'Yes,' replied Vikram, 'We came here to work like Anand and live a life like his, back home we work the mines, and it will kill us before we turn 40.' The woman looked down at the floor and said softly, 'You think this is a life better than that? You're mistaken boys, this kind of work sucks the life out of you too, and you don't save any money either.' Aaron asked, 'Are you his wife? We didn't know he was married...' The woman gave a wan smile,'No, not through any ceremony, we just stay together because it costs less, I also used to work in the subway tunnel, but not anymore...' 'Oh!' exclaimed Vikram, 'We thought Anand was building tall buildings in the city, what is this about subway tunnels?'
The woman looked up at them now, 'Is that what he told you? No, he is just another laborer among hundred others working in the subway tunnel under the city roads. Trains will one day run through them, but right now its only darkness down there...' Both Aaron and Vikram gave a wry smile, 'We know all about darkness and damp earth, you can't even see your own hands, and the shift boss is continuously bullying you, hitting you to move faster, get more coal...How can this be worse?' The woman said,'Then you'll just have to wait and see, won't you? Want to have some Tea?' Both Aaron and Vikram realized that they haven't had anything since the morning and their stomachs rumbled in unison, as if to signal their answer in the affirmative.
'Can we have some rice instead? I mean, if you have it...' Vikram asked hesitantly. The woman nodded, turned around and poured a little rice onto two plates, put some pulses on the rice and handed them a plate each. 'I'm sorry, this is all I have...' she said. Both boys wasted no time in tucking in and within seconds, their plates were empty. Burping in contentment, Aaron said.'This was heavenly, sister....Oh! We don't even know your name!' 'Reena' she replied. 'I am an orphan, grew up in an orphanage, never knowing who my parents are, and ran away from there when I was about 17... Since then I have been laboring here and there, till I met Anand and started staying with him.... Almost three years now'. Reena looked wistfully, as if pondering what may have been if she had taken a different turn after running away from the orphanage.
It was almost getting dark outside by now, the din of the narrow lane outside the curtain growing more loud as many feet seemed to join the multitude outside. A conch shell sounded somewhere nearby, heralding the onset of dusk and the end of another day. A few minutes passed in uneasy silence, when suddenly the curtain parted and Anand stepped in. Shock and surprise slowly spread across his face as Aaron and Vikram's presence registered. He frowned and then smiled, as if his brain was as muddled as his heart, as to what emotion to reflect! He sat down suddenly and asked,'You guys really came here? I thought... I thought you were joking! What are you doing here? Have you come so far to see what I am upto?' His voice rose a notch with every word...

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW

Tags

City, Fiction Writing, Fictional Stories, Labor, Laborers, Railroad Tracks, Railroads, Short Story, Story, Tunnel

Meet the author

author avatar AniM
I have been an avid reader since my childhood and that is my biggest passion! I will write on Telecom, Cricket, Book reviews and some politics

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