The Woman on Platform 8
The Woman on Platform 8 by Ruskin Bond is a story about love and affection that transcends all barriers of kinship. It is narrated in the first person by a schoolboy named Arun. All the events are seen from his point of view.
The story resolves around Arun's encounter with a stranger - a mysterious woman. The woman in a white sari treats him like a son. She offers him tea and snacks. She helps him feel comfortable. Her dignity and humanity come in sharp contrast with the vanity and arrogance of Satish's mother. Arun's calling her 'mother' at the time of parting is a sweet gesture of recognisation of a loving relationship. As a matter of fact, there is no Platform 8 on the Ambala station.
ARUN, is a 12-year-old boy. After leaving his parents, he travels by bus and arrives Ambala at about twelve noon. He sits on the platform no.8 at Ambala station. His train is to leave hours later at midnight. So he continues to watch the changing scene around. Soon he loses interest in his surroundings. He feels lonely and bored.
Suddenly, Arun hears a soft voice from behind. It is a woman in white saree. She looks pale and has dark kind eyes. She wears no jewels. After a brief introduction, she invites Arun for some refreshment at the station dining room. She takes his hand and leads him away. Arun does not refuse the invitation as he feels it would be too impolite to reject it. The woman seems to take a pleasure in watching him eat.
Arun comes back to platform No.8. Now he opens up and tells her about his school, his friends, his likes and dislikes. The woman speaks very little and listens to him intently. Arun's school fellow Satish, along with his mother, appears on the platform.
Satish's mother asks Arun if the lady is his mother. Before Arun utters a word, the woman comes to his rescue and says that she is his mother. Satish's mother, says that there are many suspicious characters hanging around. She behaves that one should be very careful of strangers. The woman does not feel embarrassed. Satish's mother looks sternly at Arun and advises him to be careful in absence of his mother, and never talk to strangers. Arun irritates her by contradicting her,I like strangers.
Satish seems to agree with Arun as he grins at him. After some time, the train steams in. Satish and Arun board it. Satish 's mother and the stranger stand on the platform talking to the boys. The train starts, Satish says, Good-bye, mother. They wave to each other. Not to be left behind, Arun also utters the farewell words, Good-bye, mother. He continues to gaze at the woman until she disappears in the crowd.
- Shaw, Norah Nivedita (2008). Ruskin Bond Of India. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. pp. 32–35. ISBN 9788126910175.
- Sharma, Radhe Shyam; S. B. Shukla; Sashi Bala Talwar (2000). Studies in contemporary literature: critical insights into five Indian English authors. Sarup & Sons. p. 143. ISBN 9788176251631.
- Khorana, MG (2003). The Life and Works of Ruskin Bond. Greenwood Press. pp. 47–48. ISBN 0313311854.