Squatting on the mosaic floor,
His hands were busily putting together something.
Two boxes, one big and the other a size smaller;
To steal his attention from it there wasn’t absolutely anything.
The fan turned in full speed over his head,
A smile surfaced on his face as he stood straight,
Wiping some drops of sweat that were on his forehead.
He took a sip from the glass of lemonade that was by his side.
It was a big toy train track, which he had just assembled.
Jet black in colour and in the shape of number eight;
On the tracks were a brand new engine followed by six bogeys.
Next to it was a small Station with a Station Master who held a pair of flags.
With a coal black engine that had a blunt but long nose,
The train looked brand new and its compartments were in dark blue.
They had windows on the sides with tiny people seated in rows.
It worked with a small key that had to be turned to make it move.
One, two, three, four, and he heard the creaking noise,
That was the signal, which the toy shop uncle had told,
He stopped turning the key round and round.
Now the train was all set to leave on its maiden tour.
Holding the train tightly on its track in one hand,
With his other hand he made the Station Master signal green.
Huff and puff noises he made in the background,
Left the train to speed and break the speed of sound.
A round of applause followed as he stood on his feet,
Like a proud owner he watched it merrily.
As he saw it taking a turn around the curve,
He remembered his first trip to Chennai, during the last summer.
The platform was bustling with people from world over,
Everyone seemed like they were lost and looking around;
Like a scattered army of red ants from a broken anthill,
Porters clad in red ran around carrying heavy loads.
Some sat or slept on the platform benches,
It seemed like they were residents with no train to wait.
The announcement sounded like it was from a machine,
Which told the timings of arrival and departure of every train.
The predominant pale blue inside the lengthy compartments,
With a series of fans and lights from one end to the other,
Looked down from above as they hung from the ceilings,
And some passengers were seated with faces covered with newspapers.
Voices from either sides shouting “Tea, coffee! Tea, coffee!!”
People asking for alms singing an old song or wearing a sorry face;
Idli, dosa, vada and sandwiches were at your reach for a sum of money.
Toys, books, maps and charts were also sold by people at every phase.
The train started to move and it gained momentum,
Sitting by the window he felt the strong wind stroke his hair and go.
As the metallic serpent raced over the split Siamese twin tracks,
Hills, trees, bushes and poles played spectators watching it move.
There was so much to see both inside and outside,
His eyes were wide open, in curiosity, like never before.
Dad was right next to him as though he was his Tour Guide,
Telling “Did you know?” facts and stories about everything Puttu saw.
Just then he was interrupted by a hand on his shoulder,
He rushed back from the land of memories.
And turned around to see his mom looking at his prized possession,
She patted his back and praised him for the effort he’d made.
He raised his right brow and flashed a smart smile,
As though this was not at all some kind of a big feat;
Mom asked Puttu “So, when you grow up you’re going to do this?”
Puttu replied “No Mummy, I just like trains ever since I traveled in it”
“I only like trains but I’ve always loved planes.
Trains have a track to follow and they just don’t go beyond.
But Planes have the entire sky as there aren’t ruled by any rails.
I too want to be like them. To soar higher and not be earth bound.”
“Make my own path and go the distance where nobody else has gone.
Pierce through clouds and fly above them. Yet leave no trail behind.”
Hearing this mom’s jaws dropped as she was amazed by Puttu's wisdom.
She lifted him high up and planted a kiss on his little forehead.
He freed himself from mom’s hands and jumped on the floor.
Now the train was about to slowly halt at the station below.
He waved the red flag holding the tiny hand of the Station Master.
Squatting on the floor he turned its key again and set it into motion.