FAREWELL WITH FRUITs & KNIFE to save thirumangalyam. This Anecdote as told by my spouse's younger sister: It was a balmy night at the long platform number 13 in Victoria Terminus now turned Chatrapathi Sivaji terminus. The huge platform clock hung from roof was indicating time approaching ten o’clock. Beneath a shabby lazily revolving antediluvian fan, opposite of my compartment, a lanky old man wearing a monogrammed T-shirt tucked in ripped jeans and a boy in half-pants on his lap seemed in deep slumber on a concrete bench. My brother-in- law (BIL) who stood close to the compartment window outside was often shifting his gaze to those two on concrete sofa. BIL did narrate couple of his eerie train journey experience. BIL’s friend’s mother Lakumi (L) over sixty plus sporting a large maroon vermilion dot on her forehead and I were allotted seats in Second Class three tier Reserved compartment. L occupied seat by the window and I sat next to her facing forward journey direction. I was pleasantly surprised and greatly impressed when a septuagenarian couple related to L turned up to bid farewell. They exchanged greetings while the old man passed , a mini-basket of cherry red apples & golden yellow oranges along with a fruit knife taped to it, through window bars into the hands of L. BIL & I were introduced to them. As desired by L, under the dim roof-light, I cut the apples into dices, peeled rind of an orange and distributed cut fruits among us. With the glinting knife and few pieces of fruit on it, I left the red plastic plate on small foldable-shelf fixed to the side panel between windows. L desired that plate and knife to be wiped clean and kept in food-basket. The PAS disrupted the cacophony from time to time, indicated that departure of the train likely to be further delayed. Time was nearing eleven, stalls closed, vendors vanished and those who came to see-off other passengers and us had left already except my BIL. The platform looked almost barren. It was past midnight. At a distance seat a lady was joking “yesterday’s train might leave as tomorrow’s special”. The aisle and the passage near the entrance were filled to the brim by haphazardly placed luggage and illegal and or ticketless passengers. The piercing air-horn of local train, at the adjacent concourse indicated that the city never sleeps. A jerk of the compartment at that moment, indicated that the engine had just been attached at forward-end of the train. From PAS, a heavily distorted incoherent voice announced first in Hindi followed by Marathi and English that the train would leave the platform at 0030 hrs and regretted for the delay in departure. The two seen slumbering on concrete sofa, stood up, stretched and lazily disappeared behind a closed stall. Now all set, I visualised the guard at the rear end of the train busy showing the ‘all-ready’ hand signal, waving horizontally the green lamp three times and a man from front engine peeping out. The train began rolling forward gaining momentum. We could watch in dim light receding outline of BIL on the platform waving hands. As the train was picking up momentum, amidst its click-clack, I heard an audible impact; and bewildered to see the unshaven face of lanky man who was seemingly sleeping on concrete sofa was precariously hanging near the window outside of the compartment; while his right hand darted in-between the horizontal steel-bars of the window, his fingers gripping the dangling thick gold chain with Mangalsutra (thirumangalyam in Tamil) that hung from L’s neck. She cried and crooned her neck toward him! The train entered the vast open space with multiple rails and sign-posts flooded by tower lights. In a jiffy, my right hand moved on to the apple-plate below the window, grabbed and gripped the glinting knife from it and punched knife’s pointed end on the wrist of the hand that was gripping L’s golden thirumangalyam. Wide-eyed, I saw blood from his injured hand splashing out staining right-sleeve of L’s white blouse and her chin and cheek. While the chain-snatcher fallen out, a dazed Lakumi aunty dabbed her closed eyes with the Mangalsutra, perhaps thanking her "Lord". I pulled the safety chain which required quite an amount of power. The train squealed and screeched to a halt. Lakumi aunty hugged and cried over my shoulders.