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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Few Hours before 63rd Independence of India

Few Hours before 63rd Independence of India, I entered Ludhiana railway station without being frisked or searched, the station was over crowded due to delay of trains, it took me less than a minute to guess that my train Hemkunt express would be late. I made my way in the mob to check the status of my train which was written on the small white board kept inside the enquiry window which gave me a sense of relaxation that my train was not running late. I pushed a couple of people to make my way away from the enquiry towards the platform no:2 where the train was scheduled to arrive.

The platform was over crowded accumulating 5 times its original capacity, passengers of delayed trains were sitting on the platform as the few benches were pre-occupied, mothers with their kids were sleeping on floors, I peeked into the waiting room which had been filled up to its maximum capacity.

I Getting down to the exorbitantly filled platform 2, I checked my wrist watch hands indicating more than 25 minuets had passed..

I found my place in a dark area near the overhead bridge stairs, soon I had to move to a below the speakers so that I could hear the announcements clearly.

I checked the time it was 11:15 by my watch and then I heard “Ting Tong” train was late by 30 minuets.

I decided to move along the platform, the view on the platform was precarious, Appalling thoughts of stamped, blast, Incident at shivaji terminal on 26th November started running in my brain I started looking for a way out in such a situation as there

was nothing on the name of security.

“Ting Tong” I had to concentrate a lot due to noise and far away speakers which broadcasted 45 minutes late of scheduled time.

Huge parcels jacketed most of the platform, benches were less, passengers who were travelling far places and their trains were delayed had spread sheets on the floor and were trying to catch sleep. Suddenly another announcement and a train arrived on platform 3, I moved away with precaution knowingly that the headcount would be double at the platform and it happened the same. As the train stopped passengers started flogging near the doors of the coach to check their names on the reservation chart, which was creating hurdle for the passengers who were getting of the train. The noises of hawkers selling tea, water, cold drinks started echoing people were running from one end of the platform to the other as the coach numbers did not match the order on the platform. Before the train had left I could feel the vibration of another train hitting the platform 2, Coolies dragging trawlers alongside the train on the platform made difficult for people to move. Kids were crying due to such a chaos and heat, for fresh air I started moving towards the end of the platform.

“Ting Tong” I walked briskly towards the broadcasting speakers and the train was 60 minuets late of scheduled time, I turned and started moving towards the end of the platform.

I could see the green light at the last compartment of the train indicating to leave this mess and soon with the distant whistle of the engine I could see the rats on the railway tracks and can smell the India once again.

“Ting Tong” after the wait of an hour train the prolong awaited train was arrived but at platform no 4.

Suddenly the chaos at the platform increased with a the roaring fiend sized engine moving closer to podium, people started rushing towards the overhead bridge some daring one got on the railway tracks to reach platform 4 as earliest as possible, with in minuets the platform 2 got deserted, I considered myself wiser as I had reservation.

Train halted and I advanced by shoving & searching for coach B1 like others passengers. I grabbed the handlebar of the door and the crowed pushed me inside the bogie, any how I managed to find some space to keep my feet as I did not want to disturb the people sleeping on the floor, lights were off and it was literally impossible for me to make my way for my reserved berth 56. It took me around 20 minutes to reach my birth, but it was not all, I still had to struggle for my seat which was pre occupied by 4 people any how I forced two of them to get off and created some space to adjust my luggage and to sit. I moved my wrist in dim light near the door it was 1:00 “ohh my god it took me 45 minuets to reach my berth”. Hardly had I settled a heavy voice asked me for ticket, I turned my head towards the voice and took a deep breath it was the TT. He asked the other two persons to vacate the berth as they were travelling without tickets, but it did not bother them they ignored and the TT moved further ignoring them.

The person sitting next to me started searching for his sleepers as the train started slowing down at the next station which gave me feeling of satisfaction that I now I could lie down and have a comfortable journey.

Train halted more passengers bordered and the journey continued…

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