I was at the railway station waiting for my cousin to arrive, the train was to come at 11 in the night so I was there by 10:45. I entered the station and heard the announcement that the train is late by 35 minutes. I didn’t had any other option but to wait, I was on the platform number 1, where like me many were waiting and many to catch the train which was running late.
So I went to the newspaper vendor, bought that day’s newspaper, a copy of comic book for my cousin his favorite, then near to that shop I saw a small group of coolie’s (Day labourer) were sitting and chatting. I thought may be they were talking about their pay that day, how good it was for one and not so good for the other.
Everyone was in their uniforms red shirt, white pant some wore black and a big handkerchief like thing on their shoulder (‘gamcha’ in hindi). And I went from there and sat on a waiting bench just outside the waiting room, started reading the newspaper.
A train arrived on the other platform and these coolie’s had reached that platform in no time and started their routine.Few got passengers and few came back empty handed. I was just observing their work and there was 10 min left for train to arrive, and to my fate another announcement came that the train is another 30 minutes late.
I tried to call my cousin but it was also not getting connected, I was also started feeling sleepy so I went to the tea stall and sat there and ordered tea with biscuits. There one of the coolie came to have tea, sat near my table, was about 45-50 age by the look. I looked at him, he looked back at me and gave a smile.
I was waiting to talk to somebody and I just got an opportunity.
So I started the conversation by asking him “how was your day?”
He answered it by saying “just good, not as better as yesterday”.
The guy seemed to me friendly, wasn’t like a frustrated person would kill if anybody asks him how was his day or any other question. I wanted to talk to him, so I looked at him, and as if he came to know about my feeling, and asked me is what else you want to know.
At first I asked him for how many years he is been working in this station?
He said 25 years. He said “well you can say I’m one of the oldest employees of the station”, this tea stall wasn’t even started yet.
He slowly started again, I came here after trying my luck at different jobs, but as I was from a village near by, so it was bit difficult for him to get job easily so he came and asked the then station master for a job, but he dint had any at that time, asked me to work as a coolie for some months, well I started doing it, but as it was a small town then I had to work round the clock for me & my family’s basic needs. I started working day & night. Some days were good like festival season and vacation.
I again asked have anyone asked anything like this before, he said no, you are the first. The tea stall guy came to us & asked do we need some more tea, I said yes for both of us. The tea arrived quickly. And there was the announcement that train is arriving in 10 minutes. I asked him then how you does your family’s basic needs are fulfilled, he said his wife also works now, and some how they manage. He paused for a moment and said I think your train is about to arrive, so you should leave. I said ok and paid for the tea bill.
My cousin came with 2 big suitcases as if he will not go back, he got down from the compartment and I was thinking, why the hell? He is carrying so many luggages if not able to lift it. I was searching for the coolie with whom I had conversation at tea stall. And there he was coming towards us looking for any passengers will give him work, I said hey! Babu, as I din’t knew his name he came and asked do you need coolie? I said yes! And picked the luggage and kept it on his head, as it was his routine and he was strong too and came for village. As we reached outside the station and were waiting for cab, coolie said wait sir I’ll get you a cab and went for 2 min and back with a cabdriver, and my cousin got into it, and paid coolie some money and he said sir it is more then we get I said keep it as you have also helped us in finding a cab, and said thank you and left.
Already my cousin’s holiday were over and we were back in station and I was taking platform ticket, I asked my cousin to take so that I can get a coolie to pick the luggage and I went in to search for the same coolie, I came cross a coolie and asked him that there is a coolie about 55-60 age where is he? He said the old guy I said yes, he said sir please wait I’ll send him and he went away and in 2-3 min he came back with Babu I thanked the other coolie, and he went off. I asked babu to come with me as he has to pick my cousin’s luggage he agreed. We went to the place were my cousin was waiting for me, the coolie picked the luggage and helped us to the platform were the train was about to come, and he left with the pay.
My cousin got into the compartment and train started moving, other passengers were in hurry to get in who got late and so much rush was there, and it happened so suddenly that for a moment I was not able to understand what just happened, some passenger were running to catch the train and to help them babu moved to the wrong side and he fell down were his half body came under the train and somebody saw it and pulled the chain to stop the train, by the time it stopped almost his half body was severely injured, all the other coolie’s came and tried to move him upside, he actually got stuck between platform and train steps to the compartment, he was almost unconscious and was trying to tell something, even medical emergency was called, they removed him from there but his both legs were gone, one below the knee and the other till thigh. I was standing there looking at the things which were going on in front of me, I was like a statue unable to move even though I wanted to move. So one called me and told come let’s help so I went and helped the medical person, babu was trying to tell call home. I asked his other coolie friends if anyone is having his home address or number need to inform soon. One of them told he will inform family members. And his half conscious body and was in dying pain taken to the nearest government hospital. And I left from there to back home thinking about all that has happened. After few days I went to station to ask about him to his friends, one of them came and told he is no more. After accident he was admitted and was In ICU for few days and then shifted to general ward. As he was already lost so much blood and so infection started and all this stress has taken his most of the energy, which is why the body gave up. I was shocked to hear that and don’t know why I felt like crying and tears came out automatically. I said to myself why did this all took place? There was this person whose name I didn’t even knew and tears came for him….