The train was a half hour late. By the time the "express" started moving, it was five minutes past ten at night.
The three people across from me were already in their beds. Next to me was a kid, perhaps about eight or ten years old. And then her mom and dad. They too had boarded the train at the same station and we were all settling into our seats, and were waiting for the ticket inspector.
The kid and the mother were all decked up. The kid asked for her book. The father hemmed and hawed, and the mother opened up the bag and took the book out. The kid seemed excited. So excited that she merely held the book in her hand, and didn't bother to read it.
Soon the ticket inspector came by, and we were all clear to hit the bed.
The dad told the kid it was time for her to climb up to the top most berth. The kid dragged herself, like the kids when they sing "so long, farewell" in The Sound of Music.
She took the book with her. And that is when her problems began.
The dad told her it was way past her bedtime and that she had to put the book away.
It was sad to see the kid's reactions. The excited, happy, joyful girl started crying. Without big sounds. Her shoulders started shaking and tears rolled down.
It is so bloody difficult to watch a kid cry. And that too a young girl who only a minute earlier was such a radiant bundle. But, parents need to do what parents need to do, I suppose.
The father sternly told her to stop crying. She simply couldn't. Which is when he issued an ultimatum:"Stop crying now, ... or do you want me to smack you?"
The mother tactfully whispered something to her daughter, and then asked her if she wanted to go to the bathroom before bed. And off they went.
When they returned, the kid wasn't crying at all. She was normal. All ok. Kids are awesome that way.
She climbed up to the berth where her father had already done up the bed. She lay down.
Meanwhile, we put up the middle berth where the mother was to sleep. I got my stuff organized in the lower berth.
The kid called her father and said in English, "a cockroach is here."
"Not roaches again" I thought to myself.
But, she didn't cry about it. Now, that is one brave girl!
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