The Mirror5 mins 291 5 mins 291
She stood at the corner of a piller. "Your attention please, Train number 1****3Kolkata Central Bihar Bidhyavathi express is expected to arrive at 18:22 PM " The loud announcement pierced through her ears, Ayna woke from her thoughts. Ayna wiped her forehead with the aanchal of her purple saree. " When will the train get in?What time did they announce? They said 18... What does that mean? She asked all these questions at one breath to man sitting next seat to her. The bald man fell on deaf ears. He was scrolling down on his phone. "The train... What time will it get in? Ayna asked him again. This time he raised his head and took the effort to answer her "6:22 PM " She scratched her neck in a frustrated manner. How long would they make her wait, She had been waiting for the train since 4, it was supposed to arrive at 4:45.
Now it's 5 15 PM. Ayna stood up impulsivly and walked close to the platform, she peeked on the tracks as if to see if any train was coming. And then she turned to the bench where she sat, by then it was occupied by a mother and her child. She kept moving and stopped next to a platform store. The boy who was dusting the bottle, gave a glance to Ayna, he had expected a customer. Ayna took her mobile phone from her coffee brown colored purse. The words 'Tripurai jewellers ' was printed on it. She was gifted with this purse by Reena, on her birthday. Ayna dialed the number one to make a call. It displayed the name Ratan on the screen. "The train is late.They say that it would be 6 20 when the train gets in? What should I do?
No no... You stay there. I'll call you once I board the train ". She didn't wait for his reply. Ayna smiled.
"Brother, a bottle of water please " She asked the shop keeper boy.
Ayna kept the bottle in her polyethelene bag. She thought about Ratan. He was her customer at the brothel. But he was benign and treated her like a companion. He would often seek permission to her madam and take her to stroll around the city. She had wondered sometimes, how a man like Ratan would have been introduced to a brothel.
Ayna was brought into prostitution at the age of 13. She remembers each and every bit of that day. It was her brother's birth day. Ayna her mother and brother were having a kitty party. A few neighbors were invited over to have lunch. Some one talked to her mother about a highly paid job in Calcutta That betokened a ray of hope on her single mother. They said she could visit her mother whenever she wishes. She was told that she has to move to the city to support her family. They promised her a job in a Cosmetic factory.
"Your mom and brother can move to calcutta, as soon as you find your feet "
That was it. The very next day she had to leave.
Soon she arrived at a station from there two men took her to a truck along with other girls. That was how Ayna first saw sonagachii. The face of the city was far cry from what she had expected.
Ayna reached her shoulder and touched her scar. She vaguely remembered how Madam burned her shoulder are legs with an iron rod. She starved for 3 days, was hospitalized for a month........ 15 years of a captured life. Every time she bathed the scar reminded her of the grime and slime they smeared on the body and mind. Tears ran down her cheeks right to her philtrum. Pink stained tears dripped down to her saree. Ayna took her purse and fixed her gaze on the tiny mirror attached on it. Her lipstick and kajal is all ruined now. If reena had been here she would have shouted at her. Reena was the one who did make up to all the girls over there. Even madam herself asks Reena to do her makeup. Ayna had paid all her debts and was set free by the brothel madam. "If I stay here for a month, I can make more money... So that we can both get out of this hell together. We'll move to my place and live there. Ayna often said to Reena. But she would refuse.
Reena had no hopes about life. She says that her life is destined to rot in this hell.
"I'll write to you, every week. I've asked Ratan to get you a phone. Once you get the it. Ring me on this number" Ayna wrote her cellphone number on Reena's palm. She did not turn back. May be Reena would have cried a lot after she had left.
"Attention please Train number 1****3 is arriving on platform number 3. "
Ayna boarded the train. She did not forget to inform Ratan.
Ayna searched all over her polyethylene bag and grabbed an old photograph of her with her family. She ran her fingers over the picture and smiled. Mother would definitely not recognize her. May be Aman would. He'll be tall, he'll have a mustache. Aman would have grown to a perfect man, whom every women facinates about Every time they get a candy from somewhere, both of them would preserve it. Once the number reaches even, they'll partition it among themselves. Ayna dozzed of with the photograph on her lap.
Suddenly she rose from her sleep, when the train paused at a station "Is it Patna junction?"
"No no Patna junction is the next station "
She got up from the seat. The photo dropped on to the ground. She grabbed it and moved to the rest room. Ayna washed her face and glanced at the mirror.
" Ayna means mirror... You reflect the true self of people when they look at you " she recalled Ratan's words. Ayna took a breath deep down from her stomach and expelled the stress out as she walked to the door.