Sitting on a railway platform and watching the arrival and departure of the trains is the best pastime one can have. At least for this, one need not have the smart phone or the internet. Since you don’t have to catch a train, you can sit relaxing, perhaps sipping a cup of tea and watch passengers rushing for their seats. The hawkers, the porters, the movement of trains, all make it a carnival like atmosphere around. I enjoy this dynamic atmosphere a lot.
I was watching all these events waiting for my wife’s train, which was declared half an hour late. I was sure that the train’s driver had more genuine reasons than mine and that the definition of being late changes from person to person and also based on the position they hold.
I saw porters running towards one platform. I was told a luxury train was arriving shortly on that platform. Perhaps passengers travelling in such trains are more porter dependent. Not because they carry heavy luggage but for the simple reason that carrying own luggage goes against their social reputation.
The platform on which I was waiting for the arrival of my wife’s train was almost deserted. Even the hawkers had vanished though there was an announcement of arrival of some train. After few minutes a train arrived on the platform. I saw it almost half vacant which was a rare site as far as Indian railways is concerned. Perhaps this was the last stop for the train. As usual I saw people rushing to alight. Whether it is to board a train or bus or a flight or alighting these modes of transport, rushing for it has become the natural tendency of people. As if they are the busiest people on earth. This surely causes discomfort to other passengers who are bit richer in patience or who are not capable enough to match the mad rush.
The crowd then started thinning with platform again heading towards the earlier deserted look. The train was still on the platform which meant that my wife’s train was still bit delayed as this train was supposed to vacate the platform. Suddenly I saw an old lady dragging her luggage out of the coach. The suitcase was big and appeared to be heavy enough to resist the pull. It was difficult to make out who was actually pulling whom? She shouted for porter but no one turned up even after repeated shouts. She appeared helpless.
She then herself started dragging the suitcase from the door of the coach to the platform floor. Since there was appreciable space as well as height in between, she was finding it difficult to position the suitcase on the platform floor safely. I ran towards her and before the suitcase could overpower her and make her trip over on to the platform floor, I lifter up that red elephant and positioned it on the floor. A timely assistance indeed!
“How dare you touch my luggage without my permission?” She shouted on me.
I was stunned. I thought I was a hero because of that last second save and she would humbly thank me for the same. But she was yelling at me.
“I know you smart crooks. You will start with a help and then run away with my luggage.” She screamed thanklessly hugging the masterpiece.
How on the earth one can run away with that heavy beast which she herself was finding difficult to move? And as if she had diamonds in that suitcase which people will think of flicking away?
I remained speechless for a while and then uttered, “Mam! You would have fallen hurting yourselves.”
“Is it? I have carried my luggage all the way from New Delhi, you know? My son was supposed to pick me up but he is stuck in traffic. You people wear clothes like kings but indulge in shoplifting. Please mind your business and leave me alone.” She said in a warning tone and started heading forward.
I was still in a state of shock and helplessly stared at her as she was crawling towards the lift pulling her adamant bulldog, perhaps to change the platform and exit.
Unfortunately the lift was not working. After pressing the dead buttons for number of times she started looking for alternative. There was a foot over bridge.
“Was she going take the foot over bridge?” I murmured and placed my vigilant eye over her like a jobless spy. She started moving towards the bridge.
I was sure if she started climbing the stairs pulling that heavy luggage, the luggage is going to pull her down. And it happened!
She could hardly manage to climb 12-14 steps dragging that luggage and suddenly she lost her balance and cam tumbling down with the luggage.
Despite all her harsh words echoing inside my mind, I rushed to the spot.
She was bleeding from elbows and the knees. Luckily the luggage or the stairs didn’t hit her on the head.
As I lifted her, two men started approached me screaming, ‘Mom, Mom, what happened? Are you OK?” Both appeared to be her sons.
“Nothing much, luckily.” I told.
One of them literally snatched her from my arms, “OK. Ok. I will take her to first aid, and you don’t worry.” He started heading again towards the foot over bridge.
The other man took her purse and mobile phone and started collecting few coins that has fallen down. I also helped him and then turned towards the tumbled suitcase. As I touched the handle of the suitcase, the other man literally pushed me away.
“You don’t touch her luggage. I know you people. You will take advantage of the situation and flick away the luggage.”
I was frozen. The tone confirmed that these two men were her sons. The way I was treated in the past thirty five minutes was just ridiculous. Was it my fault that I wanted to help someone? It has been taught to us from childhood that we should help the needy people. Then, why this humiliation? Whether we should help others or not?
I heard my wife’s train approaching the platform. The earlier train had left already. I started proceeding towards the point where the coach was scheduled to arrive.