Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Friday evening. That beautiful time when you finally put the horrendous week behind you, and look forward to the weekend full of promises of laziness, sleep and fun all in a span of 48 hours.

Friday evening. When everyone runs early from work if possible. When everyone is in a hurry to get home and move on with life.

I wrestled my way through the crowd, found a comfy spot in the middle of the train, and mentally surrendered to two hours of drudgery. As the local pulled out of the station and began to gain speed, a disturbance ran through the crowd, enough to snap everyone out of their busy dream worlds. Women standing near the door suddenly started screaming hysterically. Next thing we knew, we felt the train jerk slightly. Then everything was back to normal. Everything except the hysterical women at the door.

It took a few minutes for the full story to come out. A man had tried to get onto the train, slipped, and got sucked under the train.
And our bogey had gone over him.
The thuds we had felt.

There was stunned silence in the bogey as the realization slowly sunk in. We had just gone over someone. Someone was probably dead. We were on the train that killed him.
Everyone looked shaken up.

Slowly, people returned to their books and phones, albeit slightly zombie-like. The train stopped at the designated stations. More people got in. Chatter filled the bogey again, as it chugged away from the spot that had changed everything. I spent a restless night reliving those bumps on the railway track, the jerks we felt, the futility of it all.

For the next three days I woke up early in the morning and ran to the door to get the newspaper and scan through it for any news of the person. Was it an old man? Was it a young boy? Did he survive? Were there loved ones mourning somewhere? What did he do? What had his life been like? I desperately wanted to attach some identity to this person, something more than just a bump I felt while standing in the train.

But nothing.

A lot of other important things had happened in those few days. Tata’s announced their new heir, FDI in retail increased, politicians were being politicians, Sachin missed hitting a century. But nothing about a train going over a man at Grant Road. At this point I would like to believe that somehow all this was some huge confusion. Maybe he just slipped and didn’t actually go under. Maybe the jerk we felt was just his bag or something. Maybe the women at the door were mistaken. Maybe someone was plain tired and crazy and hallucinating. Right now, I’d rather believe anything, than the fact that his life was just that insignificant.

I’d rather believe that it was all in our heads.
That the train didn’t continue like nothing had happened.
That life didn’t just go on.
For all but one.


  1. Bumps and Thuds keep coming our way.Some are strong enough to shake us, some not so much. But we still move on. I remember going to office on 27/11, scared and praying at every signal. Of course, nobody worked.. while we were glued to the news updates, there were people still struggling somewhere not too far from us. The point is, we moved on since we were not directly affected.
    As shallow as it may sound, that was the cruel fact.

    The situation and incident were out of your control.

  2. It is a known fact that dozens die on the Mumbai local on a daily basis. Who will weep for them?

    Never forget, at the very least, that we belong to a grossly privileged class, in the context of those directly around us. Always remember the little guy.

  3. @Ruchi - But isn't it sad that the expected thing to do is to forget and move on? Like nothing happened? Isn't it sad that that's how numb and immune we've become? Just that the only time we let it get to us, if even for a few moments, is when it happens right in front of us, in stead of the tv or newspaper.

    I know what you're saying is right, but I still feel sad.

  4. @The Comedian - There are times when economics just sucks.
    I don't think I'm going to forget the little guy in a long long time to come.

  5. Hmm.. was the run and chase to get into the train worth his life? and family?
    Our immunity has gone thicker over the period of time! thinks happening to others.. the people that we dont know, are just a news..! How cruel and mechanical are we?

  6. @Krishnapriya - True. But what is the alternative?

  7. Oh, how horrible!
    To us, he'll remain a bump. To his family, it's a husband, son or brother lost.
    But that's the thing, we move on, perhaps too quickly.

    P.S: Thanks for visiting my blog, or I'd have never found yours:) I like it here, the way you write.

  8. @PeeVee - I know. But the bump is rather difficult to get out of ones head. And rightly so.

    And thank you!! *blushes*

  9. Even I hope it was just a hallucination.

    Anyways, it was a great observation with some smooth writing.

  10. @Neeraj - Well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. But the thought of reality is rather scarring.

    Thank you.

  11. There must be so many bumps so many other people must have felt that day. Destiny seems to be the safest bunker around.

  12. @4:03 - But how sad is it that we finally have to leave everything up to destiny? And accept the bumps as part of the road?

  13. Ouch..
    Added you to my blog roll...
    Take care...

  14. @Madouthere - Thank you. For both.

  15. Shit...don't tell me.

    But I'll tell you what. If something could be done within our capacity, it is prevention. But once a life is gone, can we bring it back? Nahin, na? Phir? And it's not just others..apne saath bhi wahi hotha na? People would move on, in fact..our own people would've moved on. Can you keep every little tragedy of life in your mind? You won't be able to live. That's why we've been given the ability to forget. It's not to become heartless..But to avoid becoming brainless and going nuts.

    Your thoughts took me back to that movie 'Mumbai meri jaan'.


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