A Slice Of Hell
Neeraj Shinde Wednesday, June 10, 2009 Personal Experiences
By Neeraj Shinde
I woke up wide awake as something hit my forehead just to realize it was a tender foot of a naked baby who was carried by her father back to his seat after a short visit to the adjacent toilet. I noticed the people on the floor shrinking their legs and crouching their bodies to avoid the water droplets that were still drippiling down the baby's tiny butt. Beside my right shoe was the wrinkled face of an old lady who was fast asleep amidst the crowded train compartment that almost lacked even a single square inch of empty space. Over my left was a man wearing a muddy, sweaty, filthy shirt that was constantly stinking worse than the jute sack on which we was sitting upon. I remember that smell - could be of the rotten bodies of dead mice soaked in piss. Just next to him was the body of a young boy resting his head peacefully on his sleeping mother's lap who was hardly concerned of her saree that had already left her shoulders and was already wandering somewhere beneath the lower seat. It was hard to believe that this innocent face was that of the same little rascal who was abusing the man on the opposite seat - fighting over the seat. I moved a little over the right trying to push the person with whom I shared the window seat. No attempt could have accomodated my left butt on the small space I had managed to grab in this general train compartment.
Atop sat two ladies who continously kept speaking on various topics - the make of their mangalsutras, the pickle receipes, the other lady on the bottom seat whom they commonly hated cos' she did not participate in their conversation, their common interests and matters of their common hate, Their talk was endless and so seemed my journey. I picked out my mobile phone and read the time - 01:14 AM. I could notice the motion of the train lowering down and gradually halting down. I lowered down my back finding out a way in between the legs of a young man who almost blocked my sight out of the window. I could see a few lights approaching and a few ones a little farther. And then the railway platform speeding down and down until it came to a complete rest. It wasn't hard to find the name of the railway station since the sign-board straight away faced me from the window. There were people all around, few climbing the upper berths, some on the lower, a few sitting along the gangway and some sleepy ones lying on the floor like dead bodies. The train had halted and most of the crowed kept sleeping. I stood up and checked up my bones, stretched them a little that soothened my body-ache.
A stream of hawkers entered the comparment as I sat back - now on my left butt. It was midnight yet I could see most of the crowd waking up from sleep. Probably the smell of the Sandwitches, Omlettes, Wada-Pav and Idli-Sambaar brought them back from their sleeps. I could gradually feel the odour of all these eatables dominating the stink of the compartment. The young boy who was sleeping on her mother's lap woke up suddenly. He stood up which woke up her mother from sleep too. Soon to find that he stepped up on the hand of the old lady that gave rise to an exchange of a few bitter words between her and the boy's mother. The boy was hungry I thought, as I saw him buying a couple of Wada-Pav from the hawker who was anxiously waiting for customers amidst the sleeping ones.
Five minutes gone and the journey resumed with the irritating stink coming back in place. With some polythene wrappers lying on the floor, some spilled up down the floor - compeling the ones lying down to change their sleeping positions, some awfully ugly yawns and some really stinky, bad, unknown farts it all began again. The old lady went back to sleep. By this time, the young boy had already gulped the two Indian-Burgers he had bought and now was resting his head back on his mother's lap. The man on the sack rested in the same position. The two ladies over the top who talked like old buddies were now found quareling. Another father making his way out through the people on the floor with another naked baby who had allegedly spoiled his father's clothes with some ample innocent shit.
Places go by, time passes by, things keep on repeating and people keep on hoping - to reach their destinations. That's probably the only thing that keep us alive and going in the hell.