Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Edge

The sun glaring down at my face,the wind in my hair mess me up as I travel to town on a local train(surprise,surprise).No,I am not vivek Oberoi leaning out to catch a glimpse of my 'rani'(though i wouldn't mind it).I am just one among many passengers in the train.

It is peak hour traffic on the central line.People are crammed inside like sardines in a can.The heat and humidity of March adds up to the volatile tempers fraying inside the compartment.All i can see from where i hang is hands,limbs and a few faces here and there.My fingers hold on to the railing desperately.There are about seven more people at the door,who share my fears and enthusiasm in staying alive.together we hang;like festoons on a window;waving along as the train chugs its usual path.

Buildings and shanties pass me as i hang perilously with one foot on the ledge and the other frantically searching for earth.We raise 'one' remaining hand to our foreheads in prayer as we pass a temple.I pray for an extra day to survive.There are many people who sit on the opposite banks of the rail tracks.They are up to their morning 'chore'.This is a regular feature.Not the best view in town,but the most viewed.The morality police never catch us for those,do they now??

The crowd swells to an unbearable limit,as we depart from a major station in the suburbia.For somebody watching from the outside,it might look as if the compartment were bursting at its seams.Inside,jostling and shouting matches take place.The crowd becomes more violent and aggressive.Whoever said that indians are peaceful people,better travel in trains once a while.These ruckus' push people near the door onto the door and we,well....we are just 'touching the train'.We hang on with every pint of energy present in us,for the sake of dear life.

Seconds seem longer than hours in this position.i pray to god to grant me strength,as the train comes to a standstill right above a bridge.I am hanging 30 ft above black,muddied -and dare I say it-water.though my knowledge of geography might describe it as a stream,my sensory organs would disagree.To my eyes it seemed to be a gigantic gutter,while my nose struggled to stay alive over it.


Finally,I reach at my destination.Haggled,afraid and pushed around by eerybody.Though,I have enough adrenalin to keep me going through the day without a cup of coffee.My thoughts wander as i am adjusting my clothes and hair.I wonder why terrorists have to find so many complicated ways to kill a group of people that are anyways struggling to stay alive.

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