Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The hillock was mostly bald with patches of green but largely ugly brown. At the summit were two skinny trees with little leaves and not too many branches. The larger of them had Y shape; appeared like a woman mulling with one arm, elbow bent, resting on her hips. The other looked like her child with a basket on head. The visual was disturbing.
Beyond the hillock was a forlorn railway Station. It was mostly empty of people; a single train went up in the morning, the same returned in the evening. The platform was not raised but its vague boundary was marked by red bricks dug into the ground upright. It was at the same level as the railway line. A small three room building in very bad shape served for the office of station master, ticket window etc. Signal towers at each end of the platform and a steel structure at one end of the platform holding a small water tank completed the station complex.
It was twilight time. A lone man with crisp white shirt and dark firmly ironed trouser with a brief case in hand was restlessly strolling up and down the platform. He looked very odd in that milieu, apparently an agriculture implements salesman. He had already enquired with the station master several times about the arrival train. The place appeared to him stuck in some kind of time warp. There was nothing he could do to accelerate passing of time. Then he saw some hope. At distance he saw movement over the railway line, a train was arriving. His hopes were dashed when a goods train came to a halt with nasty shrieks of breaks moving down the train decaying in a wave like surge. The trade mark guard’s cabin was in the middle of the train. He saw a funny character jumping from that cabin, immediately began running towards the engine. He began attempting to climb to the roof of that engine. Strangely it was a diesel engine so the effort made no sense to the man at the platform. In fact he felt fearful for the guard as a high tension wire ran over the track. He hesitated briefly then briskly walked over to station master’s room to report this bizarre happening. He expected a minor eruption of temper but the station master looked at him sympathetically through the thick glasses, which made his eyes look grotesque, said ‘Sorry fellow, a goods train will pass first before your train arrives.’
‘Goods train will pass! It has already arrived and halted. I have come to report the same. A crazy fellow is trying something incomprehensible. Please stop this crazy man.” 
‘What are you talking? The train hasn’t moved from the last station!’
‘I was about to tell you about that crazy guard in that goods train. The fellow will get electrocuted? You must stop him.”
The station master looked at him curiously and got up. When they came out, the sales fellow was shocked to see an empty station. There was no sign of the goods train.


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