Bombai

She sat, smiling, in the kaali peeli, and looked at her phone, trying to open facebook and then closing it up the very next second. The Kaali Peeli pierced through the road, with the Marine Drive by its side,the cool winds from the sea soothed her face, her hairs flew all around, and she seemed to like it. The lights from the lampposts played hide and seek through the windows, falling on her closed eyes,eyes that were beautifully lined with Kohl. She kept her eyes closed,as the kaali peeli ran through the sleepy city.

They waved at a Kaali Peeli and it stopped.
Thank you for lightening up my mood!, she said, I really needed it today. I hope you have a good rest-of-the-night, Mr Philosopher,she smiled
Thank you too for listening to my philosophy, Miss too-tired, he smiled and they had this fleeting eye comnection for a few seconds.
The cab had arrived, and as she was getting on it,she went ahead and hugged him.
I am really sorry but I didn’t ask you your name, says he.
Ohh yes, even i should have had asked,she smiled and looked at him,the winds at Marine Drive played a ruckus with her hairs, which went helter skelter.
It is Tounushree,she said,trying to adjust her hairs behind her ears with one hand, whilst keeping the smile, which seemed a bit sheepish, intact.
Hello Tounushree, This is Hiten.Hiten Patranabish. Nice to meet you,he says,his face flushing instantly as his eyes met hers.
He opened the kaali peeli’s door as she went in and closed it. The engine gave a raging start and the sound dissipated slowly and the earlier calm returned. He looked on and on as the cab pierced through the road adjoining the marine drive.

Doesn’t Marine Drive look Lovely at night. You can literally listen to the waves, the uproar, but their sound has such a balming effect on you. It soothes you, I am feeling so much calm. And so much at peace with myself, she says.
Yes it does. You know, I sit here very often, listening to the waves. We are just a spec of dust infront of these waves and the seas and the mountains. We are just insignificant in the broad spectrum of things. Infront of cosmos, we are nothing. And we keep fighting for power, for authority, for control. I mean, we can learn so much from nature. To be humble,to be kind, it teaches us so many things, he says and she nods, while looking at the Marine Drive, teeming with quite a few people, even though it is 2 am in the night. The cool breeze seemed to lay a blanket of comfort over their tired souls, comforting it from the daily hustle and bustle of work, of life, of responsibilities, it was a balm, a layer of cooling balm for all of them!
They sat there silently, observing and immersing themselves in the cool breeze and the systematic vibrations of the waves hitting the shores, sending, sometimes a flurry of water droplets on them. They seemed to enjoy the silence, oblivious of the surroundings, of the world, as the fluttering winds played on with their hair.
She looked at her watch and then looked at him. Let’s go,it is pretty late, what do you say.
Yes, Sure, let’s. So, Uber or Kaali Peeli?
Kaali Peeli, she laughs, heartily.

It seems you had a rough day, said the figure sitting besides her in the ola pool car.
Yes, it was. It gets tougher and tougher as we move up the ladder, right? she replies and looks at him.
He thinks for a second, and replies, yes probably, but you must not get so much addicted to the prospect of climbing up the ladder that you lose focus on the present,lose focus on living life now, at this very moment,some small moments of joy that could, probably brighten up your day!
I see, she says, but your focus should always be on the future,you got to have ambitions.
I am not telling to let go off your ambitions, that stays and anyways you are working towards it, but sometimes you can take a cheat diet sort of a thing, and just forget about everything and feel the moment. That helps a lot.
Tell me Mr Philosopher, what small thing made you happy today?
It was a goat, be says.
What? a Goat? Really? she was laughing already.
Yes, a goat, cooked goat,mixed with ample rice and ending up in my plate as Mutton Biryani. That made my day today. It was super tasty.
Offcourse, why not! she replies ,mocking him.
Come,why do we not sit for a while at Marine Drive. It would lighten you up, he says.
She thinks for a while and replies, Okay, Let’s.

Yes Maa, I got a bit late today. There is this proposal which got rejected twice by the client and i am super sad and angry now. I will head back home as soon as the cab arrives, Maa. You must sleep now. Did you take your medicines? Yes Maa,.I will drop a message once I reach home. Please sleep. It is 1 am in the night. Yes I had dinner and i am not telling a lie here. Goodnight Maa, will call you tomorrow, please take your medicines. The cab is here! Bye!

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The Window Seat

The local train took a sudden jumpstart sending all the passengers in a frenzy, some of them cursing the driver using some expletives that made some other passengers laugh in unison.

Third last day:-

In all these confusion,he saw her. And realised why did he not see her earlier. He knew her alright, and they travel in the same train for a year alright, they manage to sit infront of each other alright,and he liked her, and she was going to get transferred in 3 days,and there it will all end. Why did his eyes and mind kept concentrating on the newspaper he was carrying, and not on her, sitting right in front of him. If not for the sudden jumpstart, their eyes would not have met and they wouldn’t have smiled.Why he ignored her, he didn’t know. Why she didn’t say anything despite knowing he was there,sitting, like every other day and reading newspaper,he didn’t know. She was sitting with her earphones on, probably on a call or listening to music, he explained to himself.But then their eyes met for a second or two or five, when the incident happened. And those were some eyes! Kohl smeared and fish shaped and large and full of expressions.The saying that Eyes speak a thousand words went true for him, that day. She gave him her typical smile, waved,took off her earphones for a second,saying she would catch up later and got down at her stop,which came in next.And those five seconds kept repeating itself in loops and loops and loops throughout the day.

And why he didn’t reply back to her message saying that his behaviours have gotten really strange, he didn’t know.

We all live in hope. Hoping that we follow the passion we want to,talk to someone we want to and be with that person,or hoping that special someone understands us.But sometimes,even if, the superpowers, if there is any, manages to put us in that zone from where it is ours to hit a home run, we simply mess up!It is not always our fault, but that is how it is.

Second Last Day:-

He Could see her sitting near the train window. He stayed very well hidden behind a sea of people, but his eyes could see her face. Only her face. Through the small opening created between the numerous peoples standing in the train. She frantically searched for a known face and dialled a number. He ignored his phone’s vibration. She kept looking on, her right hand holding her usual coffee while the left one, adjusting some strands of hair to the back of her right ear, that had fallen on her forehead and over her eyes. It was ethereal, she looked ethereal. He knew he had a day left before she goes away, and here is his chance. To get down with her at her train station and ask her out. They have been friends for so long,and here’s the time, so why not! There is nothing to lose here, actually. But what if she reacts,and ends up giving him that fearful look that sends shivers down his spine,and maybe,probably goes on to break his bones.But what if she smiles her genuine smile,which is rare,and looks at him through her kohl smeared eyes. What if! He suddenly found some confidence and pushed some people out of the way, to reach to her, to find she already left. He cursed himself badly. He had this last day with him,though.

Last Day:-

He smiled at her as they sat infront of each other, in the train,with the windows open to them to see the world. He had managed to mumble something about if they could meet for lunch to which she replied by saying she would see since her family is here. And anyways she would be back during holidays,since her home town is nearby. His mind was now jumbled up, completely,not knowing,what to say and how. He cleared his voice and looked her straight into the eyes. He thought he would directly say it to her,but then before he could speak up,the train suddenly came to a halt and an uncle almost tripped over him. And by the time the confusion subsided,her stop was there and she went off, without saying anything. The last day, and she just left. He called her the very next second but she messaged saying she would call back.
Today he cursed himself real bad! He even kicked a brick and ended up hurting his legs, but he knew he had a year and the last three days to say it out. The Cosmos had conspired them to be on the train and eventually the superpowers made way for him to speak it out, to which he faltered badly and messed it all. Maybe she knew all along and just wanted him to say it out. But if she knew it all, and she felt the same, then why could she not say it. If she knew it all, and felt it, was there a need for him to say it out loud. Humans are strange creatures. Some fear to speak out,too engrossed in themselves. And what they fear to speak out about, is love.If you have something in your heart for somebody, just say it.
He laughed at himself.He was frustrated but there was nothing he could do. Except for,going to her office,now. And keep calling her unless she picks up. Wait infront of her office until she comes out and then tell her. Are all these madness worth it. Yes, was the answer that came to him.
He got off the train,ran towards the bus stop while dialling her number!

ZeroZeroZero

She sat near the maximilian square. Thinking. Thinking about the flowing, silvery clouds, in the sky. How it flew over the buildings,non chalantly. The square seemed deserted, the surrounding sound minimal, except for a distant mumbling of a female voice lingering in the distance. Down South, stood an array of trees, the leaves of which shimmered with the golden rays of the sun. Soon, a young couple, probably tourists,came in and had themselves clicked infront of a huge statue of a leader riding a horse. She wondered if she knew who that leader was. Nonetheless, she kept looking around. Two ladybirds were desperately trying to cross a wooden plank which had a big hole in the middle. They seemed a bit confused on how to cross that particular hole. She kept her hand infront of them and they climbed it and quickly she re launched them to the other side. They walked away, happily, perhaps even thanking her by flapping their wings for a second. There was this low rustle, suddenly which took her by surprise but eventually she found out it was the leaves of a tree right above her. The winds grew stronger and the leaves above her swayed in a maddening fashion, also resulting in some dry leaves on the ground rolling around in happiness. Soon a group of cyclists came down, going around her, sideways and crossing her. One of them almost tipped over her while crossing,but managed to keep his balance. She smiled at him, but he did not reciprocate, just looked at her shirt and went away. What was wrong with her shirt, she wondered. She looked at it but could not find anything amiss except for a rectangular wooven frame with 111 written on it.

Meanwhile,the gatherings of the cloud increased and the sun rays slowly started dimming out. She could also feel a raindrop or two falling on her hands,on her spectacles, thereby dimming her vision. The square, which had seemed so positive, suddenly seemed to lose its color. It was dark and frightening. There a sudden and loud bark of thunder and she felt restless. She wanted to just leave the place and run away, far far away. Her heart started pounding like anything. She started remembering something. Something buried in the deepest of the deep corners of her head. She started to have these flashes of her memory coming back. She held her head and tried shouting. But it seemed someone has muted her. Her head started aching tremendously,it seemed it would burst any second now.

She looked around, now tears rolling out of her eyes. It was pitch dark, the square. There was a flash of lightning, and she could see three men coming towards her. Another flash,they were nearer. And another, they stood right in front of her. She was frantic, crying and crying and shouting, which ended up being muted. The next thing she saw was a hand that came and grabbed her, on the neck, and she shuddered in pain. And then some other hands grabbed her…she shouted out loud now, with all her might. With all she had in her.

A pair of re-assuring hands grabbed her. She looked around and she was in a room. No Maximilian square. No men. No grabbing. Only she was sweaty and her vocal chords pained. She buried herself in the arms of Sister Cicily. She kept caressing her hairs and asked her to call down. There was another woman,Sister Mariam with sister Cicily who slowly pushed a syringe into her, on Sister’s indication and she slowly went into a deep slumber. Cicily asked her to keep an eye on her while she left the room. Sister Mariam,nodded her head,and quickly reached for patient 111.

Sister Mariam looked on as Cicily left and took out her phone. She dialled Doctor Pervege.

“There’s an emergency. We need urgent help, doctor!”

A very tense Dr Pervege called out to the hospital, as he started his car.

“Hi Singh, it is an emergency! I am reaching in 20 minutes. Patient zero zero zero is out of her cabin. I do not know how. Before she does anything to anyone, get her.”

Sister Cicily slowly, walked past the neon lighted, silent courtyard,only her heels leaving a sound as she crossed each neon light. Her face seemed calm, but her mind had millions of thoughts going on. She looked around and smiled a twisted smile, her eyes rolling. She tried to remember where Sister Mariam was, for a second but couldn’t recollect. She looked left and right and tiptoed into a nearby room. Before she managed to close the door behind her, a ray of neon light fell on her shirt, which had a text written in a rectangular wooven frame- “Patient Zero Zero Zero”.

Random Ramblings Of the Mind

Somewhere near Madrid

She looked at people that criss-crossed her throughout the streets. Sea of people. Random people. Who are probably crossing her for the first and the last time. For a split second, you see their faces,never ever to meet again. And if you meet, would you remember you have met before? Our mind is capable of so many things, but it cannot store the faces of persons that we see everyday. Can it?
Today she felt a bit different. The people she saw, she tried to dig deep into their faces. She tried to feel them as more than just a random person walking by.She tried to feel about their life. Where are they headed to? What must have happened? What is their purpose of coming to this city? How deep they must have fallen in love, or how many heartbreaks they have endured? A wind blew across her face,she was shocked for a second and she could smell the wind laden with the smell of impending rain!

Somewhere near Budapest

He thought woke up with a sudden shock. He felt his brain cells getting energized. He suddenly felt rejuvenated.He felt he could do anything at that point of time. His heartbeats increased. He didn’t feel the same since a long long time.It seemed he was hibernating for a long long time, and suddenly this particular song,and this book he was reading,as if gave him a shock treatment and here he was,up from his slumber.He needed it.
You live in this delicate cocoon of life,and you believe you are living. You work,take care of your families,take a bus,eat and sleep. You feel restless.You feel you are doing good until suddenly you read this book and feel that,no,you were not living but hibernating, and you thank this book for saving you from the endless loop of hibernation,boredom,monotonous-ness.
A wind blew across his face,he was shocked for a second and could smell the wind laden with the smell of impending rain!

Somewhere near Kolkata

Her eyes measured the darkness in the room. The room was devoid of a presence, a presence which had illuminated the room and her life. Now, what remained, was the crumbled shirt on the corner,a strange smell emanating from it.
Love arrives when it should and leaves exactly when it must. Sometimes it stays forever. Sometimes, probably, love can’t stay. Sometimes, probably, it shouldn’t.
Maybe the next love would be asleep, somewhere,in some corner, in this world. Maybe love will arrive, again, after twenty years. Or maybe love would arrive for a split second, today,and stay for a week.Maybe you are not ready for the next jump at love, and love is not ready for a jump at you.Maybe love is there in every child that smiles at you, in every dog that you play with, in every old age home you visit,in that food that you eat.
You always need someone to get over someone.An empty jar must be filled with water. And empty heart,with a distraction,a replacement.Emptiness is tough guy to deal with. To save yourself from the ever increasing pain, you need to run,keep running to fill the emptiness with a distraction,to fill the hollow with attachments after attachments,and if it overflows,jump back to more distractions.
A wind blew across her face,she was shocked for a second and could smell the wind laden with the smell of impending rain!

Somewhere near Cherrapunji

Rains. Finally the Rains.The Rains make you feel less alone.Imagine sitting all alone,in your room and the sudden downpour makes you feel like, yes, there is a presence engulfing me, my thoughts,my perfections, my imperfections.
You feel about the cloud,that shatters and falls on you in the form of rain.It feels good because you know for sure that things in nature shatters too! Then,the best thing that you can do is open the windows and soak in the rain. Feel the rain caressed winds onto your face.Dance.Sing.Be a bit insane for a few moments.Break the shackles that bind you in your daily routine.Act like a young happy and excited kid without thinking of anybody or the deadlines or the stress. Cause that is what you would remember.Cause these moments are the one to saviour now.Cause these moments are precious.These insane moments are the one to live by!

Realisation

It was her turn. She nervously wiped off a line of sweat from around her ears. She looked around,all the contestants lined up,their faces gaping with excitement. Everyone wanted to win. She too wanted to win. She needed it, probably more than anyone else there. Or who knew, everyone had their own stories,own struggles,own hardships, probably more than her. She looked at the dish she had prepared for the competition.She was still thinking of a name for the food, as it did not follow any particular pattern. She just mixed and matched the ingredients, some from her own knowledge, some of which her mother and grandmother had taught her. She tried to make her mind understand the fact that she did good. If she even ends up being a runner up or atleast staying in the top five categories, she can end up making a name for herself, and probably open a restaurant, which was her dream project. Her eyes stayed transfixed on the dish she had prepared. All her journey,her forty year old journey,flooded her mind and she, for a few minutes did a time travel to her past. All her memories came to her and they seemed to engulf her, completely. She went in and in, forgetting the competition,her win,her food, oblivious of the fact that the eminent judges kept calling her name to present her dish to them.
She remembered the dingy lanes where her mother and grandmother cooked. The aromas of the masalas travelled across the courtyard to the whole area,taking with it fond remembrance of the food that is getting cooked.
She remembered the refugee camp,where she had started to cook for the first time, after partition,after leaving half of her family back,even her grandmother, whom she never ever met after that tragic breakdown of the country.
She remembered the numerous hotels she worked at,when she needed money, working as waiters,chopping down the Vegetables and secretly looking out for an opportunity to cook something, something new, something offbeat, something better than the regular ones.
She remembered when her husband left her, and she had to forcibly open a roadside food stall, because that is what she was good at, and how it went well,but the shoo had to be closed due to some documents that were not in place.
She remembered her son,coming up to her, one fine day, pitching her with the idea to sign up for this nationwide cooking competition. Her son felt that although it was the women folk who largely cook at home, the main chefs at top restaurants at mainly men.
She remembered the special mixed vegetable curry her mother used to cook, along with that special thick goat curry,that aroma,she could still feel around her. She believed that her mother was with her when she felt that aroma.
She remembered that today, when she was cooking this dish, that smell, that exact smell came from the mixture she was cooking. She remained bewildered,but,yes that was the smell. This time, the aroma was real.
She suddenly rose from her momentary slumber,and looked at the front. Every one were looking at her. Her name was being called,she breathed in a mouthful of air,bought a radiant smile on her face and moved forward towards the judges,the dish in her hand. She knew the name she would pronounce to the judges.
She waited for the results. She was not at all nervous now. Even if she lost, she knew for sure that she would do something or the other with the skills she had. She felt more confident now. She would try and join some hotels or get the necessary documents to re start her stall. She can even start a home delivery. She would have never thought herself, surviving,after the partition, working at a roadside stall,day and night. But she managed to survive. Managed to deal with it, managed to come this far,to this nationwide competition, following her passion, raising a child on her own. Who would have thought! She did it, she survived! And she knew she would continue doing it.
It was time for the results. She stood there, smiling, as the names poured in. The names of the winners. She was trying to understand if her name was being spelled out. But her mind was somewhere else. She knew what was needed to be done. This was certainly not her destination,her journey is wheeling its way further and further and further…

If you’re with me……

All the Neon tinted bulbs in the quaint coffee shop, were sending a handful of slightly tilted sepia toned light on the people engrossed in conversations. The bulbs, sometimes,swayed a little,probably because of a momentary wind,which disrupted their focal points, resulting in the sepia light waves playing a criss cross game with one another.

Outside, it rained. Like never before. When someone entered, with that person, in came, a gush of cold wind, laced with a few wet drops of the rain. The shop was almost full and one can hear the sound of crockeries clinking against one another,the voices intermingling,thoughts being vomitted out,hearts being emptied.

Nirjhar could only hear the rain. Through the walls,through the conversations, through the clinking crockeries. He could hear the rain drops falling into the leaves of the trees, imagining a solid rain drop touching the surface of a leaf and then breaking apart into numerous drops of uncountable,smaller raindrops.Some raindrops falling into tin roofs, somehwere closeby, whereas, some, falling into the road,forming a puddle.Individually, their sounds may seem insignificant, but, together, they created a dream-like atmosphere,a cacophony of dissimilarities,but, which again seemed so much in sync. What an oxymoron!

The door opened, and, in came,a girl. The Girl! Nirjhar rose from his wooden chair,his hands,not knowing whether to go ahead and shake her hand, greet her,wave at her, offer her a seat or hug her.
They just stood there, perplexed and shaking, a bit. Niranjana’s face radiated a sheepish smile,only for a moment, before she broke into a formal smile and sat infront of him.

Nirjhar’s ears now heard some crickets singing in the dark,them seemed to be so in sync to the raindrops. Their voices seemed happy,satiated by the rain. There was a momentary silence,all seemed quiet,it seemed as if they had forgotten the lyrics to their song.Why did they stop, thought Nirjhar. But, they re-started again, in sometime.Gathering the earlier tempo and the sync.

In came two cups of coffee. They haven’t spoken a word since both of them sat there. Nirjhar, lost in his world and Niranjana’s eyes fixated at Nirjhar’s. He avoided her gaze, his eyes moving helter skelter. But for how long?

She sipped in some coffee. That was a sigh of relief in the disturbing silence that engulfed both of them. He knew, from the beginning, that he had always forced himself on her. Forced her to like him.Against her wishes. Was he what she wished for? Was she what he had wished for? Who can tell him. Who? But, why did she tell him that, it is not what he thinks it to be! It is never about force, and she wanted to know the reason, as to why he secluded himself into a cocoon. Oblivious of the surroundings. Did he really fold into a cocoon? Or is it the real him? Thinking, and listening and analysing things, that remained un-analysed for long.

There was a sudden clinking of the bells. Someone else entered the cafe. His eyes met hers. He thought he saw a tinge of tears spilled across her face, which she tried to control. Her eyes, all muddled with haziness caused because of the tears. Her Kohl smeared eyes, all botched up, mixed with a series of fresh tears. And those Eyes, looked at him, straight. Piercing him, breaking him into pieces. But at the same time, those eyes evoked kindness, love, gathering all his broken pieces and putting them back, together again.

Niranjana’s left hand reached out for a tissue paper, she picked it up and tried to wipe some tear drops from her already hazy eyes. Her eyes could only see Nirjhar. There were other people, in there, but they seemed like some distant dreams, to her. Like some beings who have been erased out of the frame, after being drawn.

There were no songs played, but Niranjana could suddenly hear the opening piano sequence of “Agar Tum Saath Ho” from Tamasha. That was some impromptu jolt! That was some strange co-incidence.

The winds had gathered momentum outside ,and from some minute opening somewhere, they managed to barge in, and the neon lights from the bulbs swayed again, back and forth. She could see his steel,emotionless face for a second and then disappear out of focus the very next second, as the bulbs above kept its pendulum movement intact.

The song started and their eyes met for a split second. Could he feel the song the similar way she did? The lyrics spoke what she wanted to speak to him,the words that were perched on her lips but never could find the space to reverberate out.

As the lyrics moved on(“Pal bhar theher jao,dil ye sambhal jaaye…”) her eyes stayed on him, as if urging him to stay. She wanted to comfort the chaos of his broken heart. She wanted him to feel that,she would be able to deal with all her sorrows, if he is there, if he is there!

She felt she was able to connect to him through this song. The lyrics flowed on (“Behti rehti neher nadiyaan si teri duniya mein”) , beckoning that his forever moving life is where her world lies, and she moulds herself in his habits/ways of life if he is there, if he is there along!

He looked at her , the very moment the male voice kicks in,as if agreeing to the simple fact, as stated in the lyrics.(“mujhe lagta hai ki baatein dil ki, hoti lafzon ki dhokebaazi”), the matters of the heart are just fooling around of the words, and nothing else.Whether you are there, or not there, it does not make any difference, since life would remain joyless and painful as it was before.

She remained dazed throughout the remaining part of the song. Tose starting lines kept reverberating in her mind,playing like an endless loop,over and over again.The song ended with both of their eyes, moist. There was a lightning followed by the thunder and the bulbs went off after fizzing a bit. There was a hush hush silence suddenly amongst the crowd. The cafe suddenly looked eerily dark and cold She looked around for her mobile,s imultaneously wiping out her tears.

The lights came back,in a few moments’ time and the first thing she noticed that he was not there. He left? How? She didnot even hear anything. Why is the movie’s sequence repeating itself in her life? She did not know. All she knew is to go out in search for him.Just as she crossed the entry door of the cafe, she remembered the ending of the movie. She smiled and went after him!

A Typical Bengali Horror Story

Shrey’s happiness knew no bounds when he had received the letter to join as a station master. But,the concern of his family was that the station was in a far off, remote place. Over the time, they, reluctantly had to agree,since it was a really good job and the job market was anyways, pretty bad.

So, Shrey set off for the place, a day in advance, so that he could get familiarised with the new surroundings and also get to know his roles and responsibilities from the retiring station master. After changing trains,twice,Shrey reached a place called Duckbunglow Road. The sound of the train,slowly vanished into oblivion,leaving behind an eerie silence consisting of only the sounds of the singing crickets.Shrey looked around and saw that this was a small station with not many amenities. Few tea shops on the platform,with a couple of people drinking steaming hot tea in earthen pots. Lanterns,being the only source of light in the area,which kept the station from being gulped down into total darkness. It was cold,and Shrey could literally see the area,getting covered into blankets of fog,slowly,with every passing minute. With every passing minute, the area seemed to enter into the realm of darkness,and quietness. The number of peoples kept diminishing,as Shrey waited for the train that would take him to Bahadurpur,with a charminar perched between his lips and a steaming cup of tea on one hand.

The signal turned green,as a flock of mosquitoes started to irritate Shrey. He picked up his lone suitcase and prepared himself to board the incoming train. The train arrived,looking like a giant monster, breaking through the uncomfortable silence that had gripped the place. There were a few other people as well who came into the station,all of a sudden,to board the train. Shrey entered the compartment in front of him,took a left and found a window seat,empty. Still today, a window seat fills him with happiness. The train compartment seemed almost empty, with a few people sitting here and there, most of their faces hidden behind a shawl or a muffler. The light inside was an extremely low powered bulb,which made it difficult to see anyone, clearly. The train gave a jump start all of a sudden, the horn blowing in full circle and the lubb dubb sound of the wheels clinking on the rails started to gain momentum. The light above him, started flickering which made him uneasy. But he ignored it. He sat back and looked into the darkness. Such an odd place to make a station at. The people,the surroundings seemed so so weird. He wondered what Bahadurpur would turn out to be.

As Shrey slept, with his head leaning onto the window rods,he half heard people coming in and going out, the train stopping at various places,the speed increasing, the horns blowing,and then suddenly realised if his stop went away. He woke up, and it was dark. Pitch black darkness. It took him some time to realise that he was still in that train, with the flickering light above him. He rubbed his eyes, bringing with it a huge yawn!

“Where are you going,Sir,Is it Bahadurpur?”

Shrey went into a momentary shock but then realised there was someone sitting infront of him. Maybe a localite.A passenger.

“Yes,but how do you know?” Shrey asked,still searching for a face to talk to. All he could see was a shawl draped structure,from head to toe.

” I live here sir. And that is the next station, and the last one on this line.” and that man started to laugh in a thin airy voice which seemed to so much frightening to Shrey.

“Ohh,thank you.” Shrey replied, and suddenly drops of rain started to fall,first droplets and then in full flow. As Shrey pulled down the shutters he realised he didnot bring his umbrella.

“I have an umbrella with me,you can take it.” came the reply from the fellow passenger. Shrey got a bit frightened. Genuinely frightened. How can he read his mind. Still,keeping his normalcy in his voice,he asked.

“How do i return you,if i take it. You will also get wet. Where do you stay?”

The reply came in the form of a spine chilling laughter.”I have a umbrella shop,do not worry. I will come and take the umbrella back when needed. Here take it,the train is slowing in now.”

Just as Shrey extended his hand to take the umbrella,the train entered the station and a patch of light fell across them.Shrey felt the hand being so so cold,it seemed as if it was preserved in a freezer for a long long time.And then he saw beneath the shawl was a skeletal body,a skeleton, who was handing him the umbrella, his hands consisted of only bones and nothing else.

Shrey jumped,as if someone had electrocuted him, and just ran out if the train,into the platform and straight into the office of the station master,his heart seemed as if it would break out of his rib cage. The shrill laughter could be heard in the distance.

Shrey looked around. Someone was sitting in a chair near the door. He heaved a sigh of relief. He felt safe. But, wait,why is he draped in a shawl all over his body. Why did the temperature seemed to go a couple of degrees down after he reached here? Shrey’s shout drowned as new round of laughter filled the room. Shrey lost his consciousness.

Shrey woke up, surrounded by a group of people. His head, still heavy. He remembered last night and felt goosebumps on his skin. To the inquisitive audience, he recited last night’s story. They,then,replied that the station where they found him was not Bahadurpur, but a station near to the same place,named Bhagwangola. That particular station got closed long time ago and no trains stop at that place. The place is literally abandoned due to some unknown deaths that occurred in that place. No one ever crosses the area after dark. No one could tell the exact reason how Shrey ended up in the place! Shrey sat there for some more time, bewildered and vowed never to cross that area again,in night,ever again!