Somya’s brother Venkat and her sister in law Sarala, were having a whale of a time, enjoying the train journey because they could trap Somya as their Guinea pig for all their entertainment purposes. They were going to Pune by train just for the fun of it.
Her brother a CEO of a finance company and her SIS a vice president of a bank, could never ever understand how their sister could be so foolish in money matters. They could not simply assimilate the fact that in a present day condition how Somya does not know the difference between a closed end and an open end mutual fund, does not know as to which is the most profitable way, to invest one’s money, or cannot even bargain intelligently from a street vendor etc.
Venkat always said that with her double post graduate study she had actually wasted her life by becoming a school teacher, that too after resigning her good bank officer job.
He was now giving his wise advice as usual. “See Somya, you have to be a little smarter and invest for in your future. See Sarala, She is not as qualified as you are. But she joined the bank, slowly improved her qualification steadfastly, and she had reached such high post. Not only that, she had wisely invested all our family money so that in our old age we have so much of finance support. You were all the time stuck with your school job, with a salary which is even lower than an office peons. What will you do in your old age?”
Sarala continued, “See Somya, long time investment is very, very important. Let me know about your savings. I will give you a correct guidance” Somya smiled sheepishly.
Suddenly the train violently jerked and there were screams and shouts and confusion. The train came to a screeching halt. Everyone peeped out and latter jumped out to see what had happened. One of the compartments had derailed and some of the other compartments stood dangerously tilted. Public pooled and pulled out the passengers who were stuck in the partially tilted compartments. Luckily, there were no casualties.
Now though there was no immediate danger, all of them were all left stranded between two mountains and thorny bushes. Many people had not bothered even to bring in a bottle of water as it was a short journey. Now the small children started crying, some in hunger and some for water. Some men started climbing the steep hill, searching for some small streams.
The guard of the train came around and announced that it may take five to six hours before they could pull the compartment with a crane and then bring in another train to transport the passengers. Until then, there was no alternative but to wait.
They all got out and sat in the grass. They had left early morning and did not even have breakfast. Of course, the Royal Blue Express train served breakfast and snacks and tea on normal days. But the train had derailed even before they started preparing. They sat quietly in the hot sun too tired even to speak. Someone said that if they walk two kilometres along the mountain side they can reach a road. But no one knew which the was the correct direction to do so is.
There was an uproar in the crowd as the IAS officer from nearby town came to the spot. He appoligised for the trouble and calmed the people and said that the Railway had arranged for food and water and by half an hour it would reach the accident spot. He said the crane was already reaching the spot and by three fours the train may be able to move. The public surrounded him and bombarded questions at him. He patiently answered all of them
Without wanting it, the mob had pushed Somya and Venkat to the front line.As the officer was generally looking around he suddenly noticed her. He continued to stare at her for few seconds and she was a bit embarrassed and tried to move away from the spot.
By the time he walked towards her and reaching her in two quick steps said his voice bubling with happiness, “Madam, You are Somya Madam am I right?” Somya blinked and in a little bit confused voice said, “Yes, but you…” Now not only her brother but the other entire crowd surrounding them, now started watching them curiously.
He said, “Madam, I am Siddarth your student. Remember how many days you have taught me Math in extra classes because I was not so good in that” Now she recognising him she smiled broadly and said,” You Siddarth. Are you the officer here?”
Unexpectedly and suddenly he knelt down and touched her feet and said,” Madam whatever I am today it is only because of you. I am an IAS officer here in Ulhasnagar. Madam, why you have to wait here in this hot sun for the train? Please come with me to my house. You can later continue your journey by road”
The IAS officer took her travel bag from her hand and started walking ahead. They climbed a slope and reached the road, where his official car was parked. The two police officers standing near the jeep came running and took their entire luggage. They all got into the car. Sidharth was breathlessly talking about his school days his career etc. Soon they reached Siddarth bungalow and received a royal welcome and lunch. All the members of Siddarth’s family came and touched the feet of Somya as her brother and his wife looked on with open mouth. Later Siddarth arranged for an AC car for them to travel further to Pune.
As the car started moving to Pune, sitting in the comfort of the car Somya said,” Look here Venkat. Did you ask me about my investments Right? Students like Siddarth are my long term investment. Any part of the world I go there will be a student like Siddarth for me. Is this not a wise long time investment of mine?” Venkat just stared at her unable to answer