Posted by: Sreejith | November 7, 2007

Change Agents

She was lucky to have barely made it across the crossing before the train did. It was always a touch and go ever since the early morning showers had lashed out and kept her waiting at the doorstep. But she wouldn’t be late today.

Just as on any other day, the train pulls into the Irinjalukada station. She braved the crowd to board the train and hopefully to get a seat. On most days a seat would have been a rather tough ask but today luck was in her favor. There were a couple of seats to be had and that too by the window sill. She even thought of probably saving one for her friend who boarded from Angamali. But then holding onto a seat for a couple of stations was being rather rude to those standing and she had personally abused such people in the past. Just then, a middle aged lady came running along to occupy the last of the empty seats and she was glad that someone like her had got the seat opposite. She could now easily strike up a conversation.

The train chugs along and she is on her way again. On her way to yet another day at work. To yet another day of being a role model to hundreds of children. Though she never wanted to be a teacher, yet for 12 years she had been one. And still she continues to hold the future of many young ones in her hand. The responsibility is enormous and yet she is only a human.. only one among a few hundred who catch the 8:45 express to make it to the workplace at 10.

Presently the guy selling the lottery tickets comes along. She gives him a faint smile as she thrusts a fiver into his hand. It was her daily ritual, one she could not forsake – come what may. The 10,00,000 rupee prize would have been more than enough to alleviate her from the daily grind. But then it wasn’t the prize but the hope of winning the lottery that got her through the grind everyday. It numbed the pain of the whole journey. Hope is a drug… its hard to get off it.

The train picks up speed as she looks out the window. The world outside had changed she remarks. Lifestyles have changed, people have changed. Everything has changed she tells the lady opposite her who remorsefully agrees. Life was much more simpler back then, much more hassle free she reminisces. Now people don’t have time to even say hello. Banal as they might seem, a simple greeting brings about a smile on many a face. Suddenly she remembers that she is not powerless. She must remind her class to greet people whenever they run into them. Suddenly there is a small smug expression on her face. She realizes that along with the heavy responsibility, she also wields enormous power. She is a change agent.

The narration is mine but the story is someone else’s. Someone who sat beside me for a few hours on a train.



  1. Brilliant writing bro! Moving. Strangely, it’s not a story that we are not unfamiliar with. I’ve seen it too, very peripherally. never really gave much thought to the fact, but there are so many such people around us, living with a strange idealism and hope. It does occasionally strike me that I am so much luckier. But I envy their sense of purpose sometimes.

  2. Fascinating. Not all teachers realise how big their responiibilty is. Power corrupts. Your friend doesn’t sound like that, though.

  3. Any profession ( more so Teaching and medicine) is nobel as long as we stay in focus. But many a times focus is lost and profession no longer seem appealing.

    Hope is a nice drug to have. It brightens your life .

  4. “Hope is a drug… its hard to get off it.” .. so true!

    she is the vice-versa-spiderman? πŸ˜›
    Instead of great responsibility tagging along with great power …
    she gets great power from great responsibility πŸ˜›

  5. bApHoMEt, many such stories out there. Have faith, the purpose is out there… somewhere.

    AP, i felt so too! anyway she was not someone i knew.. just someone who sat beside me on the train.

    Joy, well said.. i’ve seen teachers who realized that and have become some of the most favorite people ever!

    Rama, Spiderwoman she is not.. if you meant that πŸ™‚

  6. Brilliant..I somehow believe in the fact that till there’s hope, all is fine.. πŸ™‚
    Guess exeriences like these make us understand things, realise how even the smallest denominations in the society make a huge difference..

  7. I like this. The power of a teacher over her young students…I remember how when we were young, teachers words were un-disobeyable (almost πŸ™‚ )
    Beautifully told.

  8. the hope line is very good.

    nothing better than a good story well told

  9. I am contemplating writing a story about a teacher. This one from, you has given me some nice ideas.
    I’m a fan of your storytelling!

  10. Sam, yup! making a difference.. thats a purpose in itself!

    Sporadic, almost.. they were written in stone for me! thank you. though i liked your one on reservations better πŸ™‚

    IV, i see it made you come out of your feed aggregator. must be really bad or really good then!

    Aniket, thank you! glad to hear you got ideas from this. btw this is not fiction πŸ™‚

  11. πŸ™‚ nice to meet such people na…And about greeting people..its oh so much more apparent in my new transport to office.There is pin-drop silence at all times! The kind that makes up dreams of school-teachers 😦 No one talks at allll 😦 😦

  12. that was beautiful…are u the type who watches people?…wish i was…iam the type who occupys the top berth, with a book and doesnt come down untill the train reaches its destination…

    keep writing….

  13. very well parents being teachers I never really appreciated their profession when i was a kid..but know i feel they are really doing a noble job..

  14. Fabulous narrative!

    ‘She realizes that along with the heavy responsibility, she also wields enormous power’ … and with power comes responsibility.

    If only all power-f(o)ul people were responsible…

  15. brilliant narration dude…
    loved the “hope is a drug…”

    outburst: damn you unni! why have you stopped blogging regularly? 😑

  16. Di, aww.. but how come the driver doesn’t talk? must be because the FM is always playing the kannada sakkath hot songs πŸ˜€

    Tys, true.. i am the watch and observe and then do nothing types!

    Mathew, teachers son eh.. you must be very disciplined πŸ˜€

    Sangfroid, powerfoul!! πŸ˜›

    Kunal, thanku thanku. not blogging because on vacation! something shall be up soon though.

  17. amazing when you run across such people.
    Change agent indeed. I’ve never met anyone who does not idolizes at least some teacher or the other.
    liked it very much…

  18. β€œhope is a drug…” Very addictive and oh so powerful…just like this narration.
    Everything is just a part of life, and be it teachers or travellers, its the power you feel ,you have, that can become your strength…

    And its really nice of you to make such observations….of your fellow passengers

  19. Very moving narration… keep writing Sreejith..:)

    Its just amazing to be able to mould and nurture young minds… It is indeed great power. Sometimes, when I see streetchildren, I am overcome with sadness thinking who will shape these minds? 😦

  20. Hope is not a drug my dear… but is an essential part of life… But understand that Hope when utilized in correct ways gets you out of trouble and when not utilized in the correct areas makes people like you feel it is a drug…

  21. very contemplating one..

    Though grooming young kids brings along the power to build a Nation!, each one of us have our own share of things to do..

    but Alas we…!!

    Ill give my own example. Till i finished my graduation, I had this thing sm wer in the back of my mind that I cud do sm thing for society..

    started wid a bit of dat n dis towards it…

    After sm years of wrking, the thot just diminished


    Then die one day, leaving no trail behind…. As I never existed…

  22. You’ve been tagged!! πŸ˜‰

  23. Sreejith, Even though I have not written much comments on your blog, I have read it often. Hence I take to prilivege to tagging ( you. πŸ™‚

  24. Nippo, only a few professions are indeed worthy of being idolized and teaching will always be one of them.

    Prats, the power i feel can be my strength.. very profound indeed. Thanks!

    Ziah, thanks! you raise a concern thats saddened me often too. Hopefully i am on my way to do something about that.

    XYZ, looks like i provoked you when I only intended to provoke your thoughts πŸ™‚ nevertheless you are right but then a drug isn’t that bad until its become an addiction…

    Anantha, You are not alone my friend. I am in there with you 😦

    Sam, phew.. this tag was done earlier πŸ˜€

    Joy, Oops looks like there is no escaping this one. Will do it.. only in due time though πŸ™‚


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