Thursday, October 1, 2009

The railway platform

His face was distorted with painful efforts to smile.
‘Don’t move’ I said to him ‘I have seen you somewhere.’
He did not speak just let out a lacerated laughter.
‘ Are you dead or alive?’ I asked and looked around in fear. The railway platform was dark and deserted, not even a single lamp was lighted. No one was around.
I looked back at the form lying huddled on the rough, stained floor.
‘I am alive, but I died very long ago.’ He said in muffled tones.

The porter arrived with my bag, my red bag with blue logo. I almost grabbed the bag from his hands and tried to get up from the floor where I was sitting on my hunches, talking to the sleeping man. I could not stand up on my legs and I groped in the dark, to look for my feet.
The porter shook his head in sadness and walked away. His fire engine red uniform was glowing in the dark.
I saw a flash of steel badge on his sleeve. He raised his arm to stop an approaching train. The train stopped.

He turned back to beckon at me. He told me with hand and facial gestures that the train would not stop for long. I must get up and board it as fast as I can.
My bag was not there. The man was still lying on the ground, and I looked around for my bag.
‘Have you seen my bag?’ I asked, as I looked around frantically. The platform was pitch dark and the train had begun to move slowly.

The porter in red uniform was running his fingers along the moving body of the train, walking leisurely, while the train chugged along. I watched him count the numbers on his other hand. One, two, three…
He was smiling.

I wanted to run and catch the train but it had left the platform. There were just long, winding lines of shining grey steel, running parallel to each other, with sharp pebbles in between. A few feet away from me, my bag was lying open on an iron bench. I saw huge bundles of paper, peeping out from the half open zip.

‘How did you open it?’ I asked the man who was still lying on the ground, his face buried in the crook of his arm. He refused to answer me and I was feeling angry with him. I wanted to shake him up but my hands and feet were just hanging by my side. The darkness grew.

‘Okay, I want to wake up now. I want to go home.’ I said to the porter in red uniform, who was silently putting all the papers back in the bag.

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