1/14/2015

WHEN THEY SAW TRAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Little away from Hasimara, our taxi made a stop before a stop post, which secures the railway track. We were a long procession of taxis and taking risk upon ourselves, were venturing across the border, travelling homeward. Previous day, due some social upheaval, many killings were reported from some area of Assam which led to official closing of border gates. But the feeling to get home was intense and overwhelming than to care for safety of life and stay back. There wasn’t much days left in my vacation anyway, a quarter being consumed in train travelling already.

From Google
Many vehicles were haphazardly queued behind us. At the very front, we were waiting; not for the train but for the gate to open, which would be done only after the train reaches a safe distance. But the train didn’t even make a slight signal of approaching, let alone of reaching there on time.

Past half an hour later, a senior old citizen, who was on the front seat, began to fidget.

 “When this gate is going to open.”

“Probably right after the train leaves,” answered the already bored driver.

“This thing. Does it ever travel faster?”

“I don’t know. Never watched one travel nor travelled in one.”

“I saw it in movies. Its structure resembles the morphology of caterpillar. Perhaps, it got the same speed.”

The sharp bellowing suddenly diverted our attention to listen to him any further. The sound became more vibrant with each passing seconds as the decibel also rose and so did the faint quaking of the ground.

The grinding of the heavy sets of iron wheels against the track, monster engine and numerous compartments awed both the old man and the driver alike.

Still bellowing, like a mad elephant raged with pain, the train sped on.

Our driver exclaimed at the massive size of it: “It’s like our entire village houses being dragged in line!”

“Silence!” the old man summoned. “15, 16,”

“It’s already 20, if it’s that thing you are counting,” corrected the driver, pointing to the train (probably to the compartments), and amused at having to receive unusual order from his passenger.

“Oh. It seems I lost the count. What’s the total anyway?”

“It’s 22, including the last and the first thing.”

Just then the stop post lifted automatically and the procession continued.

Amidst my amusement, eavesdropping their conversation, I felt pity also for both for obvious reason that they hadn’t got to travel in train. There would be thousands more like them, in the country alone.

I liked to tell them of trains as much as I know. That like other transports, it is also manned. And there’s division therein also – general , where even a crane won’t get a place to ground both its legs; sleeper, though little better, is only a good nest for hermaphrodites, who would threaten us to molest if we give not money on their demand or try to disappear on their appearance; and AC class, the best but which only few could afford. That trains could be even longer than the one just passed. That there are other trains, like parcel van and cargo train, which carry not people. Of countless vendors who frequent both stations and within with their cheap and fake items and edibles and also of never ending disabled beggars.

But the old man was already engrossed in viewing the border plain and the driver busy at wheel. And I was also little sick, replaying the previous train journey. 

*A plain tale from my writing portfolio.*

2 comments:

  1. I find myself in the same category. But luckily, I travelled in one. It is too cool to travel at night.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice post Sonam! Love the conversation that they had and your description regarding the train. Reminds me of my time taking different kinds of train in different countries :) Keep posting la! ^^

    ReplyDelete

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