12 July, 2006

Silence

I got back home this morning in a bus. I was told that the trains were skeletally running between Andheri and Bandra. I reached Kandivli at 10 am in the morning, having spent the night at a friend's place in Bandra right next to where I work.

At 1 pm, I decided to get to work assuming that the buses might have lesser crowds at that time. But on my way, a friend called and we were discussing trains when she said, "The trains are running but at longer time intervals." I asked the rickshaw driver about it, he nodded too. Without a second of hesitation, I asked the rickshaw driver to turn towards the station and not Poisar bus depot. On reaching the station, I saw what I thought I'd never see. On seeing that, I realised that I never would have wanted to see this. There were people around, but there was a strange silence in the air, a strange air of numbness. No one was talking, not a word.

I boarded a Churchgate Fast to get to Bandra. There were people sitting in there too, but there was a strange silence haunting the trains. To give a rough idea of the crowd, it was a normal Bombay afternoon crowd. All the berths were filled with people sitting and there were a few people standing in the gangway. The silence wouldn't go. A few cell phones beeped but the calls were answered in soft tones. The energy had been sucked out of the people. Everytime the train reached a station, people gently alighted and boarded the train, the usual rush and pace was gone. There was no one asking, "Andheri? Andheri?" There was no one talking. There was no one asking, "Kaunsa station?" There was no one saying, "Boss thoda andar shift karo naa..."
Everybody fit in without effort, everything happened without any exchange of words... non verbal communication like a strange bond had been established between all of us.

People's eyes had lost their gleams and the smiles had been wiped away. Everybody had the exact same expression on their faces. I didn't know how to react. I started moving towards the door and so did others as soon as Khar passed by. None of us said a word. Bandra station arrived and people started alighting slowly and someone from behind screamed, "Bandrawaale utro naa!" Everyone just looked around and gave him a strange look which scared me. Half of Bandra station was shut down. Though there was quite a good number of people, but what ticked me off was the newscamera and the news anchor trying to disrupt everything. There was a flock of these people around them.

I looked at them from far, took a turn to avoid them and walked straight out of the station to see a large number of rickshaws standing still outside the station. They were silent too. I took one to where I work, luckily the cars on the road were moving and traffic signal changed blinked, unlike the eyes of my co-passengers.

3 Comments:

Blogger Therestlessquill said...

you're right jugal. the entire city is grim. on the trains, roads, buses, even hospitals. we're all living our lives, but we're all grim.

12/7/06 19:36  
Blogger suniti said...

I felt that grimness too. People are moving around, going thru the paces without the usual zest. I think we have just had enough. The calamity after calamity since July 1st has to end sometime.

12/7/06 19:41  
Blogger Φ said...

@therestlessquill & @suniti..what do they expect out of this..do we have to walk the roads n call upon them from their hideouts for a 1-on-1 fight..may be that is what we have to do..to end all this for once..

hmmm..

don lose hope dear ones..ALL OF US are here..

13/7/06 01:52  

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