Monday, July 26, 2010

The Next Train

Homework is homework, fun is fun. Fortunate are those for whom homework is fun!
A short story I wrote for a college assignment. I know I could have elaborated it further, but I just didnt feel like touching the original thing I wrote.

The evening rush hour was always the busiest time of the day in the city. And if you were at the Dadar railway station at this time, you felt this the most. A sea of humanity making its way back home after a day of hard work. A train would arrive on the station every minute but the sea would just keep on rising.

Raahul Khan stood on the bridge and drew a deep breath as he looked down at the crowd. For the past nine years, he had shared a mutual love-hate relationship with this crowd. He cherished the way he could easily melt into it and be one with it. On the other hand, he hated it for its relentless speed and perpetual hurry. They could be a little more considerate to the next king of Bollywood, he felt. Ever since he had come to Mumbai, his resolve to become a famous actor had just become stronger.

Suddenly, he was jolted out of his reverie by a lot of commotion on platform number 2. A train was just pulling into the station. The train he was supposed to board. With a lurch, he realised that he should have had been on the platform by now. He broke into a frantic run as he pushed the surging masses around him. With practised precision, he navigated past fellow commuters, hawkers, porters and a few stray dogs. A feeling of triumph was rising inside him as he neared the platform, when he bumped head on into a man with an elegant uniform of a black jacket and a shiny badge. The ticket examiner.

“Ticket please.” commanded the TE. He had roamed these platforms for over 15 years now. One look at the startled face of Raahul Khan had told him that he did not have a ticket. Raahul helplessly groped about his pockets and mumbled something about having misplaced it. For the next 4 minutes, Raahul felt about as small as could possibly feel. The TE roared at him about how the youth lacked any sense today and about how people like him were destroying the city. Then he asked Raahul if he was going to pay Rs.500 with a receipt or Rs.300 without one. Ultimately, he managed to pay hundred rupees and get off. And to worsen his misery, his train had rolled out of the station by then.

Raahul was a broken man as he walked away. He hadn’t felt so bad since Sanjeev Dastani had refused to even audition him for the friend’s part in his upcoming movie. Now, not only had he missed his train, he had also lost the money that he had saved up to get a designer haircut. He was suddenly very sick of the city. He hated it.

As he was walking past platform number 4 on his way out of the station, he suddenly sensed a lot of commotion. There was the familiar warning blare of a horn from behind. That thundering of the wheels that he knew so well now. He blinked and looked up at the indicator even as he was carried ahead by the masses. A train was pulling into the station. A train that would take him to his home in the city.

He gave a wry smile. That was the best part of the city. Even if you missed your train, another one would always come along. You just needed the willingness to struggle past the crowds onto it and the luck to be on the correct platform at the correct time.

Maybe it was always worth one more shot.


  1. Maybe some people still haven't figured out the platforms. :)