8:08 Churchgate Slow Train

Every weekday I take the 8:08 Churchgate slow train from platform number two in Borivali.

At 8:40 I get off the train at Mahalaxmi.

At 8:45,  bus number 154 arrives and I arrive at my office between 8:56 and 9:04.

There have been four occasions in the past twenty years when I was late because of a train delay.

Three were due to flooding, in 2005, 2013, and 2014.

The last occurred just last week when a young man threw himself onto the tracks and was killed.

I realized later I had seen the young man before, several times.

You would think it would be hard to notice a single man in all this throng, but he was unusual in that he was always openly weeping.

I can visualize him standing there, holding the bar, his slim body wracked by silent sobs, his young face shining with tears.

None of the passengers spoke a single word to him, myself included.

 

What Pegman Saw: Mumbai

12 thoughts on “8:08 Churchgate Slow Train

  1. A tragic and believable end. I like the way you use the transport detail as a plot device to highlight the ordinary/extraordinary nature of the death. We never know when a word spoken kindly could save somebody from despair.

  2. It’s odd how you can see crowds of people every day, and yet one or two in particular stand out for you to remember. Humans are such pattern-seeking creatures, that way. Of course, if this man was the only one crying in public, and he kept doing it every day, he’d draw the notice of many people And yet, seeing that nobody else talked to him dissuades each individual from doing it themselves, and he remains isolated in his pain even then.

  3. This touches a nerve, Josh. There’s often a homeless guy on our high street who I see crying. He’s usually drunk, so to be honest I avoid him. But I do wonder what turmoil he goes through.
    As Penny sai, the construction of this really highlighted the mundane but extraordinary events, the normal and abnormalness of a delayed train. Really well written

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