She stepped down from a usual over crowded train at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus on a humid morning. She adjusted her spectacles which had shifted due to the pushing and pulling of the crowd. She looked around and shifted her laptop bag from her left shoulder to her right. Should have got a backpack, she thought. The platform was featured by the habitual hustle and bustle of people. People who created Mumbai. People who created India. Men. Women. Children. Aged People. Everyone flocked the station. It was a cataclysm which happened round the clock on this station. 

She started walking towards the Ladies rest rooms quietly sweeping through the crowd like a snake. Her formal clothing made her intermingle with the crowd very easily. She kept her eyes low and looked at the ground while walking. She reached the toilets and stood at the basin staring at herself in the mirror. These eyes. Resembled her mother's, as people often commented in earlier days. Her mother lived in a village in extreme aridity. Ah! Remembering those times, still pinched. 

She kept down her laptop bag from her shoulder below the sink and washed her hands off the dirt, when her mobile phone rang. She took out the phone from the inside pocket of her black coat and answered it. 
"Haan, say..." She said with susceptibility. She listened to the other side and replied, "Mai apne aap phone karke, aap ko bata dungi. Do not call till then." 
Hanging up with a sniff, she thrashed the mobile phone inside her trousers pocket and left. She found a coffee counter just outside the rest rooms and stood there. As she looked over at people, her whole life flashed in front of her eyes. 

People were bidding each other with goodbyes and promises to meet soon. Some were meeting their folks after a long time with hugs and blessings. Some were leaving for their daily office routines looking forward to a cosy Saturday evening back at home. This was one of the busiest stations of the country and one of the oldest too serving as both a terminal for long distance routes and commuter trains of Mumbai Suburban Railways.
 She closed her eyes for a moment. Someone rushed past her with a slight push and a few drops of her coffee spilled on her white shirt. She did not mind. She just shook her head softly. She crushed the coffee cup and threw it away on the tracks. A minute later, another train arrived. This one, she boarded. 

With no idea as to where it headed, she stood in the train amidst a crowd of unknown people who happened to know each other with customary smiles. She was sweating near the eyes. Or Crying? 
She did not know what caused this. Her hand moved towards her pocket and she took out her phone. She moved towards the coach gate in the moving train, with great difficulty, cutting through the crowd with "Excuse Me"s and "Sorry"s. 

The train rushed past a huge playground as she dialled a number. 
"Hello, police station?" She cleared the lump in her throat. "There is a bomb at Chatrapati Shivaji station, sealed in a laptop bag, under the sink in the Ladies Rest Room. Please...Please hurry!"
She disconnected the phone and threw it on the tracks from the moving train. 


nirupam gupta said...

nice one yaar

Kirti Kumar said...

great one! subtle yet provoking..

sarika said...

good !

Ruchir said...

Very cool.. :)

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