Sunday, March 23, 2008

2115 UP on hidden rails

In one summer afternoon I went to Sitarampur Railway Station at quarter to 6 and sat on the bench on the platform waiting for the last train which was scheduled to arrive at 7.30 pm. So I would have to wait. It was not comfortable and rather bothersome to wait for a long time especially as I was a little restless then in my mind for my uncle whom I wanted to meet as soon as possible. I had received a letter yesterday from my uncle requesting me to meet him as soon as possible for an urgent matter. He had not, in his letter, mentioned the nature of his urgency. He was a bachelor and lived alone with his servant cum manager, Bhutnath, who was very trustworthy and had been living with him for a long time. So I was worried with the word ‘urgent’ in his letter although he had advised me not to be worried and read too much about his request. But it is futile to claim a calm poise of mind if one is summoned to visit someone for an urgent but unknown need. My uncle should have studied a little about human psychology!
Naturally the time passed in a slow pace and played tossing with my worries to every conceivable direction. When I took out the last cigarette, moved to the waste-bin and threw the empty pack into it- the small but convincing light appeared in the far end of the rails. Suddenly I felt indebted to the train.

There train was almost empty as it was a Sunday. I sat beside a window and became relaxed. The body had been feeling uncomfortable for bearing for a long time an unusually heavier mind which it was not accustomed to. It was always pleasant to sit beside a window of a train. Though little could be seen through the darkness outside, I enjoyed the cool air blowing gently over my face and hair. Darkness has also a face. Only she prefers to be enigmatic and likes to reveal much while consciously hiding herself. Night, perhaps, showed much-I thought. I went on discovering that we could see the world through eyes which were dependant of light and we could never be independent of those slaves of light in daytime. We were shown only what were there to be shown in this limited world. But in the night we could find in our own way. And we were the limit.

The dots of lights outside ran past my window. I wanted to see more but-they went past before I could grab them. After some time the world vanished as the night grew. Slowly there appeared a sky above and it expressed with its innumerable stars the hidden hearts of all those now gone hidden in sleep.

Suddenly I found brazen light outside. There were so many people running here and there and coolies with luggage on their heads moving in a single direction as men of sorrows with the burden of life move towards a single destination-death. It was a scene of commotion everywhere. There were none inside my compartment. What station was it? I looked at my watch. It was 11.30 pm. I got down from the train and came to know that the train reached its last station. I had fallen into sleep and had been unaware when I went past Giridi –where my uncle lived. I became frightened at this unimaginable situation. I ran to a railway official in uniform and enquired about the next train to reach Giridi. He informed me that there was no train at that hour of time. I would have to wait in the platform to catch the first 2115 DN tomorrow.

I had never faced such a situation earlier in my life as I had never missed any train for not coming to station in time.

This time perhaps the 2115 UP had run through the hidden rails.

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