“You like travelling?” A sweet voice reached my ears, the girl who sat just in front of me enquired.

“Not really! I like being home more than roaming here and there though my work demands me to travel most of the time, maybe this is one of the reason I like sticking at home. “, I replied

She smiled at my answer, her eyes could speak far more than her words. The most adventurous task for me was to read people’s eyes. And this girl had something in her eyes which attracted me towards her. She didn’t look like a working woman, but I could sense she was pretty mature for her age. She had these light brown eyes which had a type of shinning I have never seen before. I was lost in my thoughts when she interrupted with another question.

“Do you travel in this metro every day?”

“Yes”, I replied.

I thought it was quite rude to reply with a single word, so I further added words to my answer saying that this was the route from my work place to home. She answered back with a smile. Her smile was an original one, she wasn’t faking it. It was serene and mysterious at the same time. Everything about her made my mind run a numerous number of questions. From the way she sat, the way she looked outside the window, her smile, everything.

“Have you been to Noora?” she asked

“Oh yes! I had to make a documentary about the farmers so I had to stay a couple of days there. It’s really calm in there. I loved that village. The people despite of being poor would treat you as if you are a princess. Their rich hearts have no competition in the whole world.”

While I was saying all this, I could see her eyes shine brighter as if I had given a five year old boy his lost toy out of nowhere.

“That is my village”, she replied

I could see how proud she felt of being part of her hometown but at the same time there was an air of sadness and darkness that prevailed her slowly and slowly. Her eyes got wet and I kept on staring at her waiting for her to speak so that I could end my curiosity of knowing the secret behind her serenity and warm eyes.

She started telling her journey from Noora to Mumbai. She began with a rather shocking statement.

“I was 15 when I came to your city of dreams to fulfill one of mine so that I could support my 3 sisters and a brother. Though it has been six years my living here, this is the first time I am travelling in this metro.”

It was hard time believing her, a girl came to chase her dream six years back and this was the first time she was here.

“I loved dancing and I wanted to be one of the best in the world. There was this man who came in our village who held a talent hunt for the people with a prize of Rs 2000 and a ticket to Mumbai for a video shoot. I was the one who got selected and I still regret that moment. He filled me up with all dreams and hope that I would be a super star someday.

Even my mother was convinced and she blindly trusting that person sent me with him keeping the money for my siblings. The moment I reached Mumbai I was held captive. I didn’t knew where I was, all I knew was this wasn’t the dream I was shown. That man had sold me to a brothel. I was beaten if I cried for home. A year passed but I didn’t let anybody touch me. I would scream and cry and even fight back but losing something which was my own was unacceptable for me. Those ladies tried every effort to break me apart but I was stubborn too. Then someone came who brought light again in my life.

She told me that I would never be able to get out of this area called Kamathipura. The only way to survive was to stay smarter than them and take the control. She taught me dancing and never let any man touch me. All I had to do was dance in the bar. Whatever money I got she would transfer it to my family. Once in every month I was allowed to talk with my family. It took me five long years to gain trust of all those people that no matter what I would always return at the end of the day and today I opened my dance school.

Today is the day I took my first class as a dance teacher not as a bar dancer. Those kids don’t know what I do. They look at me with respect, the respect a bar dancer like me would never get. For me today is the day my dream came true. I know we both are strangers but I wanted to share my story today. Your city is a dream city but often one needs to leave various stations to reach the desired one. I have to go to Kamathipura and dance there too but I know the eyes would not look at me with respect but I haven’t stopped dreaming, I still dream to be free and teach the world I am best at, dance. Somehow dancing in that bar wasn’t what I dreamt of, yet if you give an opportunity I can die dancing”

Before I could even say something to her my station had arrived. I smiled at her, she smiled back but I know I would never forget those eyes. Those eyes in the metro I travelled.