Day in the life ...
That place was heavily crowded and people where running here and there like mad, for him it looked as if every individual is running behind a dream to achieve, a life to lead, a necessity to earn, a compulsion to live, a ride to an unknown destiny; but everyone has a factor in common, that is, "To make money". That was one of the most busiest railway stations of Mumbai and usually trains there would run jam packed, an aerial view of that train would make you think as if a caterpillar with many hands and heads on its side, is running as fast as it can. People just walk over anything and everything to catch a train, it can be a basket or a carpet, or a trunk box or you or me, they just don’t care, their only aim is to catch that train...
Mumbai is very famous for "Dabba Wala's" whose commitment and the process they adapt in delivering the "tiffin boxes" to their fellow mumbaiker's is something amazing, and to cream it on the top, they have even gone to the IIMs to teach the students about those simple process and methodologies they follow to ensure the safety and the punctuality of their delivery. The style at which those dabba wala's carry those heavy stuffs on their shoulders and head will be amazing to watch, they completely defy the laws of gravity is what I would say. Their knack of getting into the train with those huge baggages will make any one to raise their eyebrows. This guy who came to the station to go to work was in no mood to catch his train today, so he decided to settle near one of the benches.
He was sitting there for a long time, since he is a regular guy in that station lot of people recognized him and also wondered what he is doing sitting on the platform at 8:30 AM where he normally used to catch his train for work. He used to see a couple who always come together and then board different compartments, before they go to their respective compartments they used to hug and kiss each other. Today he saw only that girl and not the guy, he just could not control his curiosity, hence he asked her why she has come all alone today and where is her husband or boy friend, though she gave him a nasty stare, but she responded to him saying that she had fought with him today and hence she did not come with him. At times in life, we would feel more comfortable to some stranger for no reason, and we wud share all our deep secrets with them.
An old lady who used to sell banana's at the station daily in the morning, came that day as well by carrying a huge load of banana on her hip, though she could not carry that entire weight, somehow she will manage to carry it, she knows that the amount she gets after selling those banana's would be of great help to her family to have one course of meal a day. He never buys bananas from her, but he has a soft corner to that old woman, as he feels pity for her that she has to work even at this age. That fateful morning, she dropped down unconscious and lost her banana basket on to the tracks and a speeding express train, just crushed all her banana's in no time, it not only crushed the banana's it also crushed her family's meal for a week. Though there were few kind hearted people to feel sorry for her, amidst of their busy schedule, but none of them came forward to lift her up and bring her back to senses.
There were huts on both sides of that railway station and at any point in time there would be 10 to 20 nude kids who would come there just to waive their hands to anyone and everyone they see in that train. They all would be of less than 5 yrs of age, the age where they really need not worry about anything in their life; in fact they even thought that skipping two meals a day is not because of poverty, it’s just a practice. With their nose dripping all the time and trying to get over that tiny little dam of curved upper lips, they never failed to smile at others and waive their hands. He thought to himself that this is the age to enjoy life without any expectations or commitment; he too went near the kids and enjoyed their innocence for a while. Every adult is a kid inside, it’s just the physical outlook that makes all of us look old, Isn't it?
He missed all his usual trains but he knew that he has the other trains to come so he never panicked. He is coming to that station to board the train for almost 20 years now, nothing has changed in that station or in his life, he is still doing the same work, the trains are still running with same crowd, it’s that same station master, nothing changed in his view, he used to wonder if life has stopped moving forward for him and to that station. He has never seen a quiet and a peaceful place in his life, all he has seen his crowd, congestion, uncaring people, irritated mornings, gloomy days at work, in short, happiness is something which he has not seen for years, he is also one amongst those 100s of people who are running behind money, maybe he is also dragged into that never ending race, he tells himself. Today he is not in any mood to go to work.
It was 10:00 in the morning now and he realized that he needs to eat his breakfast so he went to a shop where he usually used to get his breakfast, but today he was shocked to see a board hanging in front of the shop saying "Holiday due to unavoidable reasons", now he said to himself that he has to go to work today, his wife and his two thin kids came into his mind as a flash, "Yes I need to work for my family", he waited for the next train to come and once it arrived on the platform he slowly inched his way into a compartment and by rolling his 2 by 2 plywood which has four wheels attached to it, which could just accommodate his amputated limbs, he took out this empty aluminum plate and there he sings "Maa tuje salaam, Maa tuje salaam ... Vandhe maatharam ..." and runs his way thru that crowded train which is rushing like mad, as if it too has a dream to achieve.