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Jul 04 2010

Life is like that!

It was nearing 7.00 in the evening, and I was more than eager for my train to reach Kandivli. Even if it did, it would take me minutes to wade through the enormous crowd that disembarks from the train and walk towards the foot over bridge. Finally, the moment of truth came and I was standing on the platform looking at the sea of people in the 25  meters between me and the foot over bridge.

This was not something new for me. In fact, I did this 5 times a week, every week! There is no point complaining or cribbing about this. The sooner you get through this, the sooner you could get home, and recharge yourself to do the same thing all over again the next day.

But today was different. As I walked, trudged rather, I heard a few people calling out to give them space. The tired looks of people turned into curios looks. And as they realized what it was, they courteously moved aside, giving enough room for those people to pass.

Who were they, I wondered! And as I my curiosity peaked, my eyes fell on a few porters, quite calmly carrying a stretcher with a dead body covered in pristine white cloth, which was only beginning to get stained in blood. The people walking ahead of me, passed a momentary stare at the body and moved on. They had better things to do, reach home, have their dinner and live their normal lives.

This again, was not something that I had not seen before. And like earlier experiences, my body froze for a couple of seconds and my mind went numb. I did not stop there and look at the spectacle as some of the passengers did. I moved on like most others just occasionally looking back to find out more about the person, who like many others perished under the wheels of a local train in Mumbai.

My mind was flooded with thoughts for that person. Why did he or she, have to cross the tracks or hang out from the train? Didn’t he or she care about her family enough to be so careless. What would happen to the family when they discover that their loved one has passed away in a horrific manner?

As usual, I also cursed the government and the railway officials for not doing enough to stop people from crossing the tracks or travelling on roof tops.

With many thoughts, and genuine sense of sorrow in my mind, I walked ahead and finally reached the auto stand. After waiting for quite a long time, I managed to board a rickshaw and while I was seated, I began reflecting on the event again.

It is a cruel world, I thought! Every moment is a struggle. What would happen to the family of that person now? What is that person was the only earning member?

The rickshaw, crisscrossing through the traffic, finally reached my apartment complex gates. I got off, paid the driver and walked in to the complex.

I went through my routine as usual and was ready to hit the sack by 11.00 pm. As I raised my hands before that in prayer, I thanked god for keeping me alive, to begin with..and for everything that he has given me. I also prayed for that person’s soul and his family.

The next day, I started for office as usual. I reached the station and found people crossing the tracks wantonly, as usual.

Nothing changed, everybody moved on. Hope the family of the victim is able to move on too.

Life is like that! Isn’t it?

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Posted in Featured Posts, Life & Culture on Jul 04 by | PrintText Resizer Text Resizer 1 Comment

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  • Santosh Mathew says:

    Ramesh bhai,
    I could almost see the whole scene you described. I remember once while travelling from Borivli to Vasai. I was standing on the edge of the train door barely holding on. Not that I was trying to be a hero, but there was absolutely no place to stand and I just wanted to get home as soon as I could.
    The train stopped in the bridge between Borivli and Dahisar. I was barely holding on and looking down. It would be at least a 30 metre fall on to the rocks. With all my energy I pushed inside yelling like a man facing his death. With that push I tucked my hand onto the door-side bar. As soon as the train arrived at Dahisar, I got off at the station and sat at the bench. I reflected on the near-death experience I had and the foolishness of taking such a huge risk just to get home. I let 3 trains go by. I was not going to play with my life any more.
    From then on I always adviced people to weigh the risk before they cross the tracks. My younger brother often crossed tracks to save a few minutes and avoid having to cross the overbridge. I made him understand that the few minutes and the little discomfort of crossing the overbridge is really worth it. I told him it is ok to reach late to office. If you are fired you can get another job. But you can’t get another life. Like they say “Sar salaamat to Pagdi hazaar”.
    I wish the family of the deceased are able to handle the pain of this great loss in their lives. And God help them tide this time over.
    Santosh.

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