Turning Tracks




She could feel herself breathing now. Blood rushed in her veins once again, flowing through every inch of her body. Her face regained its lost color and became almost as bright as the tricolor fluttering in the air. A smile graced her lips and life sparkled in her eyes.  “Ek ticket dedo” (one ticket please) she politely requested the cashier to give her train ticket. Sweat beaded her forehead and she panted heavily, her hands gripping the bag that had her volleyball uniform and equipment.  She stepped into the thronged compartment of a bedraggled train, people shoved and pushed each other trying to make space for themselves. She scrunched her nose almost gagging at the unbearable smell of sweat, cigarettes, urine, everything repulsive and detestable.  The train cried as it began moving, halfway through the journey; she felt a shooting pain against her throat. She screamed in agony, fanatically touching her neck only to find her gold necklace being pulled.  “Chod de warna jaan lelunga!” a gravely voice poured in her ears, the force around her neck magnifying.  She tried to fend them off: kicking, pushing and screaming frantically. That’s when a man spotted her and announced, “Yeh bachi ko bachao koi!” Some relief coursed through her, knowing that at least one of them would help her, but all respite vanished when she saw almost everyone take a step back, no one moved a limb to save her skin. The situation worsened second by second, but she did not stop resisting, by then the goons had lost their temper and were almost desperate for that necklace. One second she was struggling for her life and the next she was thrown inhumanly out of a moving train. All it took was a blink of an eye and another train ran over her left leg. Excruciating and unbearable pain coursed through her body. Lying there on a railway track helpless and handicapped she had almost fifty trains drive through her leg. Rodents, flies and insects feasted on the bleeding and burning wounds of her half dead body. It was a miracle that she lived through the night, even then the next morning people who spotted her red body weren’t ready to take her the hospital, just to avoid government hassles.  But what awaited her wasn’t any less horrifying. The Bareilly hospital where she received her treatment was in such bad shape, that they did not even have local anesthesia, so her leg was sawed off while she was fully conscious. Her condition had worsened so much that the infection had spread into her right leg as well and had to be replaced with a rod. Once the procedure was completed, she saw a stray dog come in and chew on her removed leg.  That day she vowed to do the impossible and shove it in the face of fate. This is the story of Arunima Sinha- the first woman amputee to climb Everest. The first line of this story is taken from Kritika Srivastava's story Snow-White.     Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!