This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 38; the thirty-eighth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "The Woman on Platform Number 10"
The Woman on Platform Number 10…
The train was slowing down. Dusk was about to fall, streaks of golden hues of the setting sun were still clinging onto the platform's edge. It was a junction station, now almost deserted, preternaturally still in the yellowing light.
Slowly, the train came to a halt. I craned my neck, tried to read the station’s name but the letters were barely visible. A young lady was standing on the platform hugging a rucksack--a strangely self-possessed figure with close-cropped hair in a fever of impatience.But, she had a strange feminine quality of innocence in her, a likable naiveté, so to say. It was clear that she was making preparations to board the train.
A few minutes before the train started, two noisy men entered the compartment in kurta-pajama and leather chappals. One of them looked like a politician,had an elephantine gait, and a general air of having to worry about nothing...kind of attitude. An overnight journey in such a company wasn’t agreeable to me, but I had no choice. Quietly, I took out my Perry Mason, switched on the reading light, shut myself from them.
My peace was soon disrupted by the young woman who was standing on the platform. It was, as if, to rescue me from awkwardness, God had sent her to me. I was pleased. She entered, rapidly shoved her bag under the seat, and claimed her seat next to me. I was relieved. I kept waiting for her to take out an i-pod/ i-pad/ kindle…but, she kept staring at the compartment for some time, then bunched up her sari and pulled her legs up on the bench.
The whistle sounded, and the train started.
I smiled; she gave me a quick friendly glance. I noticed, her eyes had unnatural, abnormal restlessness...she was rocking back and forth against the wall, but was trying hard to calm herself, taking one breath after another; her hands were trembling .... She looked at me worriedly, tried to force a smile--but, her anxiety only deepened.
‘Are you alright?’, I asked softly.
She gazed at me , and in childish exuberance asserted, ‘I’m fine, thank you for asking…', and gulped water from her water bottle. I thought the stuffy compartment was getting on her.., but, strange symptoms persisted, and all of a sudden those shivers theatrically changed into suppressed sobs...I didn't know what to say. Those men were now ogling at her. Everything looked so oppressive, so queer...--oh, it was bad, bad!
I sensed something was wrong. I seldom made small talks with strangers, but, this time, I was all set to probe into her life…so, willingly began a conversation..!
‘Are you travelling alone?’ I asked.
Her red eyes flickered once and she said,’ Yes,…I am traveling alone, going to see my mother, who lives with my parental grandmother, she’s like a daughter to them… she’s fighting cancer…my father left us for another woman. That tall monster is a qualified doctor, who could have treated his wife- but the man is so tinged with treachery, and my mother is a silly woman!’ She said everything, her voice high, determined, But, soon she laid her head on my lap very quiely , and I closed down my book, and started stroking her bony head....
Her sobing stopped; she sat up jerkily, may be, in embarassment --I wanted to tell her--nothing had been misunderstood, no wrong had been done. But, she started blabbering again.This time she looked rebellious rather than nervous.
Relenting, she whispered, ‘The cancer’s inoperable…the family GP said, it is stress taking its toll. It is depression … I wish I could continue with my daughterhood...Why certain people go against the natural order of things…I want to kill that man, I mean, my father and a few more…I’m the kind of person who sticks to her decisions…’
I coughed to prevent her from talking any further. Her constant chatter had now totally modilfied her appearance. I was amazed at the pallor and anxiety I was seeing in that face. Suddenly, looking at the neighbors-- with an expression of intense alarm, one of her hands gently glided into her little traveling bag that was lying beside her. She took out a pen-knife…I cringed.
But, again her small action indicated that she was fearful and nervous. I touched her assuringly, but she shrugged my hands off and explained to me, in pantomime, that I had nothing to fear, since she was there. Her behavior was strange. I hesitated for a moment. Wondered, if I could trust this woman?
Those men were observing both of us. This was only expected, for she had been making ridiculous signs and gestures..
After a short silence, she came close to me and uttered, in an almost inaudible voice: “Do you know one of those monsters is my father..?” Now, she was getting hysterical and inappropriate.
‘But tell me how can I hate my father who gave me so much love…; he took me to bars and to the theaters, we had fun together. I loved him secretly, not the way one loves her father, but as man. But, I hate him now because he’s been open with everyone around him, except for my mother—the only person who really deserved his attention. How could he be so heartless??’
A cacophonous confusion echoed around the coupe…and I saw a stark, but pathetic portrait of her schizophrenic mind.She kept muttering for sometime..
A Doctor was summoned by the Railway Authorities as she was getting more and more hysterical. A sedative was pushed into her veins, to get the situation under control.
A deep peace flooded through her face. I kept watching her, unabashed, till she dozed off..I struggled to keep awake. I looked through the window at the landscape and the fleeting stars, but in a short time all that became indistinct; and the image of the nervous lady probably effaced from my memory... and I was buried in the soothing depths of sleep.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: BLOGGER NAME, Participation Count: 10!! Yippee! I am a VETERAN at last!:)