And soon enough, as I reached station around 2:30, I found the place choc-a-bloc with people, with fewer than few trains in the past two hours.
The rain had receded a bit, and trains were beginning to come up to Dadar and to VT beyond. There was hardly a place to move on the platform though. Perhaps it was my lack of practice for the past few years, but I admit feeling a twinge of fear at reaching home.
Luck held for me though. Had a train arrived on platform no. 1, I would not have been able to get close to the door, forget about even getting a foot indoors for at least the next two trains. The train however came on platform no. 2. I was suddenly on the frontline.
The train was coming up to dadar, which meant that once the train had emptied out, it’s yours for taking.
Sadly, the women in the train did not perhaps realize the rush they would have to face at Dadar, so they stood peacefully as the train entered the station. The train slowed, and women rushed in, heaving, pushing, jostling, unmindful of the group wanting to get down. I too was among the first to get on the train….inhumanly, unthinkingly pushing past to get to the seats. The entire objective was to GET IN. come what may. Somehow I even got a seat.
And then the real trauma began. The clash of those wanting to come in and those wanting to get out increased. A small child in her mother’s arms began to cry, her brother holding on to his mother’s hand was pressed in the crowd. Women began to panic, trying to push out the crowd. Women on the platform had been waiting for over two hours to get a train. They just wanted to get on the train and reach home. The drama played out in the passage, even as the compartment laid empty inside. Then some women on the platform actually began pulling out those caught in the middle. The mother and her two children came out…shocked and traumatized at the barbarism. Many women who finally struggled out, turned back, and hit and slapped those trying to get in.
We watched this scenario from inside; horrified, yet not knowing what to do. Finally, women straggled in to the remaining seats, hair all out of place, dupattas and bags getting tugged back into its place, shaking in disbelief at what had just played itself out. Most were too stunned to speak. In any case, the train had already begun to fill up, and that left everyone wanting the train to start now. The collective Ah! that went through the crowd when the train finally jerked into motion was an Ah! for a lot many things just occurred.
I hope the little girl who cried and her brother are both ok.