Friday, March 10, 2006

A Railway Platform

Railway platforms can be rather interesting places if one cares to be an observer rather than fret and fume about the delayed arrival of a train. I had reached earlier to receive my Mother and discovered that the train was due to arrive 30 minutes later that expected. So I stood around and waited amongst the ebbing and flowing sea of people. I observed the arrival of three trains during my wait, trying my best to ignore the rather unpleasant smells all around me which are unique to only India railway platforms.

Bangalore Express arrived on platform 4, hordes of people alighted from the train, women clad in kanjeevaram silks, men in white lungis, children brightly attired, most of them carrying their own luggage and studiously avoiding all the rickshaw and taxi drivers who pestered them. I saw many Europeans and Americans with their back packs, the women had short hair and the men had long hair and were in clothes which had seen far better days. I truly admire their courage to go around India irrespective of language barriers and so many other challenges.

Then came Kanpur Express. This bunch of harried travelers seemed to be in more of a hurry than the previous bunch, there seemed to be more men than women, the Muslims with their white caps and some men in dhotis and Nehru caps. It seemed to be like a rather business like crowd who knew exactly what to do and where to go and traveled light. Incidentally almost all of Bombay's fruit sellers and Building Watchmen are from the UP region and are fondly(?) called 'bhaiyyas'!

Finally the Howrah Express leisurely chugged in after waiting in queue as there were no empty platforms for the train to come in. Many people seemed to be waiting for their relatives or friends, there were many 'coolies' also waiting to leap into the moving train to get customers. People alighted, greeted and hugged; some touched the feet of elders, noisily haggled with the 'coolies' about rates and complained about the food on the train. The 'Coolies' made a killing as everybody seemed to have at least 3 bulky pieces of baggage. There seemed to be a lot of happy chatter all around, some people huffed and puffed as they ran behind the 'coolie' and others walked leisurely.

In all an interesting morning!


Albatross said...

Nicely written. Have you ever waited on a local station platform? It becomes more interesting..there so distinct kind of people that flock in a particular area of a platform ! You can make out where would a ladies compartment would come and where the first class will :)

Though they are so different, they have one aim..get on to the next train before anyone else ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hey chatterbot!

I stumbled across your blog while scouraging the net for 'Phantom ' Indrajal comics. No don't ask me how...I've no clue.

But I'm glad I did. You have a yen for the pen(er, the keyboard)..and this post reminds me of those essays we had to write in school, "An hour at the railway station." :)

Ramble on,

Anonymous said...

By the irrational_rose a wordplay on rational rose, the s/w?


ichatteralot said...

@albatross: I have traveled on locals a few times ... remember getting flattened on churchgate - andheri section! I have noticed the differences in the crowd in the 1st and 2nd class compartments ... I prefer 2nd class as the crowd is generaly very kind and helpful .. if only it wasn't so crowded...

@Sagar: Thanks for dropping by. Wonder why writing essays back in school was so tough ... now its MUCH easier, maybe because we are not restricted to only 3 topics? To answer your question - yes the yahoo id is a modification of the s/w!

The Comic Project said...

chatterBOT :))) doesn't chatterBAI sound much much better

Albatross said...

Well yeah...though the locals are not in a great shape today, they are improving. Have you travelled in the new steel coach trains...they are much I am hopeful !

BTW, there is a new "Bangalore Metro" board right in the middle of M G Road in Bangalore...are things changing here too :P

Kausum said...

chatterBai definitely sounds better ... I am totally for this name ...

ichatteralot said...

@TCP & Kausum: I think 'Bees Saal Baad' was much better than chatterBAI :((