He notices that the man with the big belly is calling him.
“Pick these bags up and bring them to station number 10.”
The man is wearing a khaki colored suit and is probably a big wealthy businessman. He has 2 suitcases and 3 bags with him.
“Who are you waiting for?”
“Come on. Hurry up.”
He picks up the bags and the suitcases. The bags hanging from his shoulders and the suitcases in his two hands. He starts following the gentleman. Hustling through the huge crowd of people. Through the stairs and the bridges. All the while carrying the big luggage. While the gentleman in the suit ahead of him is moving freely. Swinging his arms. He probably has some reason to rejoice. Probably made a big deal in the city or something.
The porter trails behind the man trying to keep pace with him. The luggage he is carrying is heavy. Very heavy. During his early days as a porter he always had trouble carrying such heavy luggage. Often taking stops. Resulting in him being scolded by the owners of the luggage. But with time his body has conformed to the job. His shoulders and arms have become stronger, able to carry the weight. And though he has become gaunt and weak on the outside, from the inside he has become stronger. Its ironical what fifteen years of hard labor can do to a man.
The stout gentleman ahead of him is almost twice his size. But he can’t carry that baggage. Not even half of it. And that’s probably because he doesn’t have to. After all who would want that when they have the money to hire someone else to that.
“Yeah put it down here.”
The gentleman says after walking from one corner of the station to the other.
“30 Rupees, Sahib.”
Says the porter as if he’s begging for the money.
“That’s too much!”
The gentleman bellows as if the porter has asked for his life. The Gentleman doesn’t mind paying 500 Rupees at some Coffee shop for a Coffee but paying 30 Rupees to the porter for his hard work seems over the top to him.
“The charges are 25 at max.”
Don’t try to cheat me. I come here every month.”
“Okay Sahib, give me 25.”
The porter knows that fighting over 5 rupees with the gentleman is not worth it. It’ll only waste his time. Because though the man is clad in a fancy suite and probably has more money in his pocket than the porter can earn in the whole year, but on the inside, the man is cheaper and stingier than him. Probably that is why he has become so rich.
He puts the gentleman’s bags and suitcases inside the train, takes the 25 Rupees and then sits down on one of the benches at the station for some rest.
He hasn’t eaten since morning and his stomach is now growling. But he knows he needs to save the money. For his family. For his children. So that when they grow up, they don’t have to work like him. And though he is enraged at the rotund businessman, he wants his children to be like him. Human emotions are perplexing.
He puts the money in the safe pocket underneath his trousers and watches the train leave the station.
As the train moves, he sees his life flashing in front of him. How he had a dream of earning a lot of money. Of Becoming a rich businessman. Having a beautiful wife and children who went to fancy schools. How he’d wanted to be everything that the gentleman, who’d just left in the train, was. But he knows that that can’t happen now. And he has accepted that. And so his aims in life have metamorphosed. He now wants his children to be everything he couldn’t be and that is why he works so hard each and every day of the year. To provide the things to his children which he couldn’t get and to make them live the life he couldn’t LIVE.