By- Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker

I am a Mumbai girl and nothing defines Mumbai better than its local trains. Over the last few months, I have gradually shifted to using local trains a lot more than my car, which to be honest is more of a burden than convenience, in this over crowded city. Trains are undoubtedly faster when one has to get to multiple hospitals in a single day. Deep down I also feel happy about indirectly reducing my overall carbon footprint and doing my bit for the future generation.

Local train journeys in Mumbai can be quite entertaining and I have come to enjoy them mostly. (Except for the times when one may get crushed to near death!) Very often there are small time vendors selling their goods to the passengers. On one such day, I observed an old lady who walked with the support of a stick. She was extremely frail and bent over. Her head kept shaking with the slightest of movement. She must be in her eighties nearing ninety for sure. As I saw her boarding the train, I thought of getting up and giving her my seat. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. As she entered the train compartment, she stabilized herself on her stick and took out a dozen colourful bracelets from a worn out bag to sell to the passengers. Now, I am not very fond of jewellary but that day, I felt compelled to buy that bracelet. I paid ten rupees and kept it in my bag, knowing fully well that I will never wear it.

A few days later, I saw her again. Bent over her stick, with her head shaking all the time, there she was. Once again, I felt compelled to buy one of the bracelets. The third time this happened, I saw a glint of recognition in her eyes and a tiny hint of a smile. As she glanced at my empty wrists, none of us needed to say anything.

It has been 3 months since I saw her last. Every time I am in that train, my eyes look for her. I wonder if she is well, as I have no way of knowing her whereabouts.

However, the bracelet has found its permanent place as it lies in my bag. I am not superstitious but it is my lucky charm. A charm that reminds me that age is just a number and it is always possible to earn a respectable living till our last breath. Every time I open my bag, the shiny bracelet looks up at me and inspires me to go on, to work hard and to live life to its best potential. And one day, when I close my eyes forever, I will lie there peacefully knowing that I gave it my best, always.

#HerStory #inspiration #motivation #draparnagovilbhasker