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“Why are you standing like accused folding your hands? Come here and sit.” David wanted to get rid of the nagging feeling. Before coming to the village with policemen, David was weighed down by guilty feelings. They waited outside of a house. The house’s courtyard had a number of plants with beautiful flowers.

David doesn’t like anybody calling him a driver. He will retort by yelling, “Am I driving a bus, car, or lorry? I am driving a train. Why don’t you call me a loco pilot?” He never understood why his father always came back to home drinking heavily. When he understood, his father was no more. Once he asked his mother, “why father is spoiling his goodwill by drinking? Despite being a loco pilot why he is drinking?”

His mother would pacify him in reply, “Yes, your father is a drunkard. But he never fell down anywhere outside without conscious or never disturbed others in inebriated state. He is a good father to you and a good husband to me”. Mother will stop in the middle to control the tears. When David’s father died due to medical complications due to heavy drinking, she could only cry helplessly. Since David was a graduate, his father’s came to him. His mother sent him to the job half-heartedly.

After his training, David was working as a loco pilot for goods train. Tragedy was waiting around the corner. With continuous promotions, he became a loco pilot for local passenger train. In the third month, tragedy stuck its first blow. David met with suicide case for the first time. His hysteric yell was drowned in the engine’s heavy sound. Next day he fell ill. When David closed his eyes, he was haunted by old man, particularly his eyes. He was very fragile. The old man welcomed his death with open hands. When the train crossed over the body, David was half dead mentally.

Before the complete recovery from the first blow, he was stuck by the second one. In one of his early morning shifts, he saw someone fell down on the railway track. David was shaking uncontrollably. At the railway station, he vomited in the rest room. He re-grouped himself slowly and read the evening newspaper. The headlines read the old man was crossed over the speeding train in a suicide attempt. David started crying once again. The old man must have endured a lot of pain, jibe, helplessness to take this decision. Again David fell ill. When he muttered in his dreams, David finally understood why his father came home drinking heavily after the working hours.

Station master tried to console him. “I know your father for a long time. He saw a lot during his service. You can stop the train and avert the death by applying the break. When applying the break is not at all possible, what else you can do? Either close your eyes and pray or turn back. No need to be a witness. A lot of animals have been killed by a speeding train. When the train is moving at 90kmph speed, there is nothing you can do. The old man who was run over the train yesterday belonged to a near by town. He was in bad term with his daughter-in-law. It is a case of domestical abuse. Had a argument with daughter-in-law and in the heat of the moment he took the drastic step. Even in the prison, hangmen works to hang the criminals to death. That work is not punishable by law, he is merely doing his duty.”

David’s mother was much worried. Daily she prayed to the almighty to take care of his son. Supreme God also took care of him. Sometimes small animals like goat will be grazing around the railway tracks. Despite the horn sound, at the last moment goat will cross the track. David cannot see the smashed remaining of animals. The blood stains on the wheels was washed away by the heavy rains. When the train reaches the spot, David’s heartbeat often raised to alarming level. His dreams also didn’t help him much. In his dreams, David was walking along the tracks with legs soaked in blood. Next he was again jolted during one of the festival times. His mother as usual prayed to the God, “I am sending my son to the job which doesn’t allow him to spend quality time with his family during festival time also. So, please take care of him. On the fateful day, his shift will be over after that last trip. He also crossed the spot. He was looking forward with heavily swelled eyes. Suddenly he realized that a human just lay down on the tracks. David realized the departing soul when the train rode over the body. Even though the next day was a holiday, he went to the railway station. Station master looked at his sleepless eyes. He talked sympathetically, “You didn’t sleep yesterday also. Don’t worry, this will not add up on your ever growing sin list. The dead lady was working as a prostitute at near by town. Since the people shunned her from the place, she committed suicide. The case has already been closed by the police. Go home and comfort yourself. This is a festival time.”

David consoled his sobbing mother. Slowly, both the engine and his heartbeat started to beat on the same level. He was also able to sleep with peace during the night. Then he saw them on the tracks. At the last moment he honked the horn helplessly. When he saw their age up close, he began to cry automatically. At the last stop, he went to the station master. Station master told him to take rest and sent another pilot for the trip. Police came to the spot and found mangled body parts of male and an unconscious female at some distance from the accidental spot. David became the sole witness. A girl missing case filed earlier made the incident as a murder case.

“This is just a formal enquiry. Go to the village and tell them what happened. Girl’s father is a big shot in that village. He wanted to see you personally”. David travelled with the policemen to the village. David was not able to come out of the jeep. He thought how I am going to face the parents? The girl’s mother is no more. When he came to know that girl grew up with father’s love only, David cried within himself. The meeting was to be held at the house of village’s head. Since the boy’s parent went to work and girl’s father is out of station and three of them will be returning by evening only. David started waiting with the policemen.

David felt uneasy. He rubbed off the sweat from his hand and sat in a stiff position. “Case is already a closed one. Suicide motive is clear. Both were young and fell in love. They faced stiff resistance to their love from their respective families. The young couple decided to end their life. This is final enquiry. If they ask you any question answer them. We will record them”. For David police’s assurance was not enough.

At 4’o clock in the evening, a person stopped by the house. He wore some of the best clothes, golden framed glasses. There was richness in everything about him. He wore a big smile on his face and a political leader was smiling from his pocket. “My apologies. It is my partymen’s marriage. Had to attend. Cannot miss it. So this is the person?” He was directly looking at David. David was surprised by that person’s action. He was acting like he was talking to a long last person. After talking with policemen, he came to David and told him to come aside.

David went along unwillingly. The person asked, “If you don’t mind, may I know your caste?” What is this person? His daughter had missed a certain death by whisker. Not at all worried about his daughter’s health and why he wants to know about my caste? With controlled anger David replied, “Whatever you feel, it is your choice Sir”.

“Don’t be angry. You have done me a big favor unknowingly”. He continued further, “He doesn’t belong to my caste and not equal to my status. Both of them studied at the same school. Is it enough? I tried to convince my daughter. She stood her ground. After all she is my blood. She is more adamant just like me. Next day, you killed him and saved my daughter. Now I want to return the favor. If you need money I can arrange or I can talk to my party for your needs in future. This is only small token of thanks for your help. The policemen also knows this. It is settled with them. Don’t worry, feel free”.

David once again replied with controlled anger, “are you even a human being? I saw both of them holding their hands together. I am not able to sleep. It is her misfortune to be a daughter to a caste fanatic like you”. The person seemed to be unfazed by David’s reaction. After 10 minutes, old couple entered the house. Their physic told them as hardworkers. Except policemen all of them stood up. David began to endure one of the long and dreadful moments of his life. “Tell us. The train that killed your son was rode by this person. Mistake lies with your son also. If you want to tell us anything, proceed further. We will file the case”, told one of the personnel.

“No Sir. We are not saying anything or complaining. What is going to change? Lost life will never return. You cannot bring back my son’s life. We are not complaining against anyone.” Police replied, “Okay, we have recorded your statement” and further asked the girl’s father, “you have anything to say, Sir?” The girl’s father replied solemnly “no need to file a case. Just close the case”. David went to the boy’s parents and asked for their forgiveness with folded hands.

They replied, “We know our son. When he came to know that the girl is in love with him, he told us, he will keep her happy and look after her. Our son would never harm a fellow living being. You are not responsible for his death. It is our bad luck we lost our son. Don’t feel bad”. For the first time, tears began washing away the guilty and burden from his heart as David walked towards the police jeep.

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