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The story “The Woman on Platform 8”, written by Ruskin Bond, highlights the character of a school boy named “Arjun” whose childhood is somewhere depicted as unfulfilled because of his careless parents. The story is about the attachment and affection, which a little boy develops for a stranger woman, at Ambala station.
Arjun, a twelve-year-old school boy, was waiting all alone on platform no. 8 at Ambala station. It was his second year at boarding school. His parents never came to drop him at the station because they thought that he was mature enough to travel alone.
It was a long wait for Arjun, as his train was to come at midnight and he had reached much earlier. He was feeling bored and passed his time watching the scenes around him, reading books or throwing biscuits to stray dogs.
A Women Appeared
Suddenly, a woman in white saree with her dark kind eyes, came towards Arjun and asked him if he was alone. Arjun informed her that he was lonely and his train would come around midnight. The woman asked Arjun whether he was comfortable to go with her for refreshment at the station dining room. Delighted by her kind gesture, Arjun could not deny to the invitation and he accepted to go along with the lady.
The woman asked a coolie to watch Arjun’s possessions and then she took Arjun by holding his hands and led him to the dining room. At the dining room, the woman ordered tea and samosas for Arjun. Arjun started developing a sort of cordial relation with her and cheerfully started introducing himself to the woman.
The woman also took interest in listening to him and watching him eat jalebies. Arjun revealed his likes and dislikes, description of his school and friends. After some time, Satish, along with his mother, appeared at the station. Satish’s mother asked Arjun, whether the stranger lady was his mother. As Arjun was about to confess the reality, the unknown woman interrupted in the conversation and claimed herself to be Arjun’s mother.
Satish’s Mother’s Advise
Satish’s mother advised that one should be very careful of the strangers as there are many suspicious characters hanging around. She further advised Arjun personally to never talk to strangers and be careful in absence of his mother. However, Arjun did not like Satish’s mother advise, because deep inside he was aware of the reality that the woman who claimed herself to be his mother, was actually a stranger.
So, Arjun exclaimed confidently that he liked Strangers. Satish’s mother was embarrassed on her ideas and advise being contradicted. On the arrival of the train, both Satish and Arjun got into the compartment.
Satish’s mother was obstinate in her views and again warned them to be aware of the strangers. She gave Satish some fruits, a chocolate, and a cricket bat. She further advised them not to put their heads out of the window and avoid eating rubbish on their journey. When the travel began to move, Satish said goodbye to his mother, while Arjun was sad to bid the last farewell to the unknown woman. He called her as “Mother” and gazed at her until she was completely disappeared in the crowd.