The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly5 mins 234 5 mins 234
“Hurry now! Its only in the night that we can travel in a group. Jia get up! tonight is not for sleeping, come and help me to pack these things, and be ready before your father comes, come on.”
Jia was a seven-year old girl with a malnourished body but gleaming bright eyes. She was educated but not in the traditional sense. Jia had seen all the sides of the world and she had even divided them into three categories. The good, the bad and the ugly. According to her she was yet to explore the first one and she badly wanted to. she obviously thought that it cant be worse than this, but she was proven wrong each time. But her life-long dream of being in the 'good' world, had to wait for now.
Jia quickly got up tied her hair in a knot, ran to the basin to splash some water on her face and did as her mother directed. Waking up in the middle of the night wasn’t a surprising event for her as the past month had been far past crazy or as she says “ugly” for her.
There was not much to pack as the family hardly owned anything, most of their possessions being at Bhusaval, their village. But Jia, had also grown fond of this place where the MIPC had employed her parents as laborers. Since the past two years the trio had been bricking together a government building and had only three months left in their contract. But the coronavirus lockdown had forced the government to suspend all such operations and thus rendering them all unemployed. From tits and bits the family managed to survive for a week but with no signs of improvement, Jia’s father had finally decided to go back to their village, but going back wasn’t a child’s play and for this very reason her father had gathered his fellow village men to travel on foot at night and to cover as much land as possible or that’s what they were thinking.
Jia on the contrary was even more mature than the sixteen-year old tots breeding nowadays and didn’t create a fuss about anything and after helping her mother pack, went outside to stare at the stars, her favorite pastime. The stars were always a bit distant to Jia, as in seven years of her existence, she had experienced all reality in the literal sense and the stars were the only thing that were foreign to her. on the day her Grandma died, she heard her mother say that, "Grandmother has now become one with the star." Ever since then, the naive Jia had little interest left in living.
Ten minutes later, her father arrived and off their return journey began. Her father decided to walk along the railway line as that would be the fastest journey on foot and he had heard that passenger trains have not been running so it would undoubtedly be safe too. He gathered all the men, women and children and did a second check for anyone who might be left behind, then taking Jia's hand he lead the entourage towards home.
Jia had befriended a four-year old boy, Kamli along the way and they merrily played a game or two, whilst distracting each other from the long walk. She would try imitating Hindi dialogues to entertain the boy who laughed like one who is possessed. she also introduced him to her stars and random constellations that she could think of. This greatly interested Kamli who just looked at Jia's finger movements and then the sky in awe. Jia's temperament found relief indulging in this only, but the misery that was prevalent in the atmosphere didn’t escape her eye. Fear could be seen on every face but with a different shade. After they had covered nearly ten kilometers, Kamli started to grow restless and kept fidgeting. He asked his mother innocently, “Maa, my legs are hurting can’t we stop for a little while? I am so hungry too ugh!” His mother helplessly looked at the little boy and took him up in his arms telling him to rest, whilst she drank her own tears. her legs were trembling with fear and exhaustion but not a second did she halt. Such was the despondency in the group.
After travelling for a majestic thirty-five kilometers the leader of the group, Jia’s father decided that they should halt and rest. They all slept on the railway tracks with the tiles serving as a hard bed and the rails as a rough pillow. Jia laid between her parents. Everyone was so exhausted from the journey that they all dosed off in a minute, but not Jia. She was looking at the stars, drawing constellations via her fingers. She had the belief that the black in the sky represented the darkness spread in the world, with the white tiny dots represented symbol of hope, aka her Grandma.
Jia was so lost in her thoughts that an hour passed away while she was staring at he humungous sky and it took the vibrations on the track to break away her concentration.
She got up to see a freight train approaching. Jia quickly sprung to her feet and frantically tried to wake up her parents who appeared to be hibernating. But she stopped.
Her father’s face, after a long long time was finally at peace, for once in a blue moon he was sleeping soundly and her mother on the other hand had a serene look which was thought to be long lost. Such tired were they, that even a loud approaching train could not break their slumber. Jia grasped both of their hands and laid back between them. She said," Jia The Super Star!"
The train passed away.
Jia and her parents were finally in the good world.