Shah and Khan were seasoned men. Sharp. Proficient. Mean. Shah, known for his sleight of hands read people’s eyes well. Executed his ulterior moves to perfection. His love for Diamonds and Devils number were legendary. And everybody knew the story behind naming his dog - Jack. Khan was a master strategist and ruthless. Pairs excited him, as he found them easy kill. He was naturally attracted to the colour of blood. He was though, god-fearing and prided himself in carrying the Allah’s number as totem. Their train arrived. They greeted everybody and got ready for a Game of Cards.
"We were waiting for the next train, sitting on the bench, when this boy came running; He had a suspicious body language, so we decided to inform you, Sir," pointing towards a boy, one of the two old men told the Police Officer. 'Beware of pick-pockets', intervened an announcement from the background, just then. "What are you hiding in your hand?", yelled the Police Officer at the boy and forcibly opened his fist, only to find out a note in his hand which read, "I'm claustrophobic, if I faint, please, inform on the following number.”
“See that hot woman?” Both men turned their heads and inspired the wave of her perfume. “Aha!” “Yesterday she invited me to drink a coffee in her place.” “Lucky bastard! And?” “At first, I felt like I was 18 all over again.” Chuckles. “Second brought pains in my loin.” Grinning. “You are taking the blue pill!” “No! I swear no pills! I am healthy for 69.” “Yeah, right! So, what happened next?” “The third let me breathless. I couldn't keep going anymore.” “You don’t say so!” “I know! She lived at the 4th floor and the elevator was broken.”
The two men waited.They were total strangers.But they had two things in common. Both were waiting for the same train, eagerly. They were going to meet their Online Lover for the first time. In the train the lady smiled to herself. She too anticipated ,with a kind of weird pleasure ,the first meeting.There would be two idiots waiting for her.Both were her Exes who had ditched her ruthlessly about 30 yrs ago It had taken her a while to get them here.The last laugh would be hers!
Every day! Every Single Day! No Matter what. Each morning as I take the local to work, till each evening when I get back. On that same bench. Those Two Old Men. As per the Chai Stall Guy, best buddies from that Old Age Home down the street. They Come each day, even weekends, have tea, food and some more tea. Always on that bench. They watch the trains, the people. Observing and commenting, laughing and gossiping, whispering secrets, sometimes sitting in companionable silence, thinking. Having their own kind of fun, as the world goes by.
Two old men sitting on a bench looking very decent, but we all know looks can be deceptive, both of them are staring young girls and taking pictures of them. They saw a girl from behind and she looked very attractive to them both started clicking and talking dirty about her they decided to grope her. Girl was alone, listining music they went near her and touched her and said some vulgar things, the girl got scared and turned her face to them,no one moves an inch, no words, nothing.girl said " Grand pa !!" and ran away.
Look the train which used to look like a rust box has now turned into a beauty queen with blue shade. The chaat wala is also no more and is replaced by a franki and sandwich stall. Remember madhav when we three used to catch this 6 pm local there was such a burst within ourself as if we are now the owners of this local train. It was a long journey of our life where we saw everything happening around ourselves but that one incident of our life when we both missed our 6 pm local to be lucky and our friend was on time to be unlucky to have been killed by the blast.
Arjunrao was sitting besides Duryodhanrao, waiting for the local to go back home, wearing the blue shirt thinking, "That's it. I've had enough. Today I am going to give it to that bitch. I am going to make this the worst day of her life. She left my shoes unpolished, again." While Duryodhanrao thought, "I am going to make this day the happiest day of her life. So what she misplaced my sock. I shouldn't have talked to her that way today. She's going to love these gold bangles that I have purchased from Kumars."
Sitting on the bench of the platform, once again, Vijay and Suresh awaits for the train that will take them back into memories lanes of old golden days. Nothing much has changed at the station since then said Vijay. Except the fact we've gone wane and flaunts wrinkled face, Suresh added. Those days were full of zeal when we used to fly along with the birds and now we cannot even walk without a clutch. Meanwhile, the train blows the whistle, poom poom, and they both happily get into the train.
It was afternoon and the station was cavernous.A man named Rajesh was sitting on a bench on the platform.Another man probably same age as of Rajesh came and sat beside him.The man asked Rajesh,"when is the next train"?Rajesh shrugged his shoulders.Soon,both the men saw train approaching the platform.The man got up gave a card to Rajesh and went ahead to board the train. What Rajesh saw was astonishing,'Find your way-Anand old age home'.This meant that the man had seen Rajesh sitting on the same platform everyday but not boarding any train.
Waiting for Mumbai local trains one of those bad habits nobody complains about. Trains are seldom on time and the conjuring crowd only makes you feel lonelier. However, this isn’t the case when you can kill time with others. Two such lucky gentlemen found each other on the platform bench. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get in to the last train that passed by. Fortunately, that was a commonality good enough to break the proverbial sweat. After conversing for nine minutes about things they care about—but seldom expressed an opinion on—they were back to being perfect strangers once again.
“Dada I want my ball now.” “Chotu, train is coming, if I go to get the ball now, I might not come back.” “I want the ball and I want it now.” Chotu whined. The ball that accidently fell on the railway track was far too dangerous to fetch. Dada got down to get Chotu’s precious ball, the train approaching fast. Chotu realized a little too late what he has done. He ran to pull Dada but it was too late, he slipped in front of the train. Years later they both sit and wish that train was late.
It is not a beautiful morning. And not yet dark night. Just an evening. They know morning is over, evening turns into night. They know that day is almost over. "White hair" "Spectacles" "Stitched clothes" They have seen enough. Understood the meaning. They know sun has to set just how it has arisen. When the train arrives, they know that they have to get in.
Abhay and Ashok were sitting at a bus stop. "Hey Abhay why are you so disquieted today, you are always so full of life and in a jolly mood. You handsome old fellow, you have a satisfactory past and well settled future. Kids are abroad. Sorry to say but 'Nagger wife died last year'. Then why sad face?" Abhay sighed "You remember our yesterday's talk you were irritated, as I was shouting over your ears about my favourite colour?" A beautiful lady wearing a dark maroon dress in her mid 50, passes these two friends. "Yippee!!" shouts Abhay "She loves me"
Staring into eternity, were a bunch of haggard faces, with their luggage in tow. The septuagenarians craned their necks to have a better look, only to be met with an unsightly sight of a dead bovine on the tracks. The sole cause of their train being delayed, whilst nearing the station. They blamed their ill-fated luck and got on with an animated conversation about their old times; as to how their hometown was reminiscent of the days, when they were mere lads. The irritability of arriving late at their desired destination was still showing on their faces.
Its afternoon already.This is the place where Raju and many others beg daily,alone,with no friends.No one is there to think of him and no one is there to care of him.Mostly he gets food ,but today is Mega-Blog ,no one is there and he is hungry. Senior citizens , sitting on bench watching Raju 'Helplessly' as many people react on watching such beggar on street.Can't they offer something to him ? Can't they think of their children? It may be just fun or 'Timepass' for them.
He is a very happy and proud father today.Today his daughter is coming back home after completing her MBA from a prestigious institute. In the excitement to meet her,he reached the railway station hours in advance as always,with his best friend.They sat on a bench at the platform chatting. He recalled every moment of happiness he had experienced watching his little princess grow up into a beautiful person. He heard the announcement and turned left to see the train entering the platform.
"Look, isn't she Shreya? who was with us in college." "Wait, let me get my glasses." "Ohh..yes, she is Shreya. How did you recognize her from this far?" "I had a feeling that someone we know is around and I looked around and found her, some feelings submerged under the age burst into the storm of the good old romantic college days. Boy.. Feelings don't get old. I told you, we will meet her somewhere." "True, those were our best days." “You liked her, didn’t you? And you never got a chance to express your feelings, right? ” “No.....”
Rahul came and made his father Sharad sit on the bench and asked him to wait there till he comes back. Rajiv came and made his father Ravi sit on the same bench and asked him to wait till he comes back. Sharad and Ravi waited. They started talking to each other. They got to know each other. In a while they were talking as if they knew each other since a long time. They talked about their lives, their jobs, their struggles, their hardships which they faced in raising their sons. They talked about their achievements. Achievements not in their jobs but in raising their sons. They both said that they had wonderful kids, kids to be proud of. Morning became evening. The sun was about to set. Time had flown and so had their prides. The sons never came. It was indeed a lonely day.
17:30. Platform # 16 67 f**king years since India's independence and I can't still confess my love for you. Isn't that the reason why we are here today? Yeah! But what would be the headlines tomorrow? "Two 75 year old guys eloped together" Shhhh...Let's just hope the train is on time. 18:30. Station Master’s office. Why are you smiling? Oh! It's the 50th one today, some 20 year old kid threw himself under my train; here to apply mandatory paid leave. 18:45. Platform # 16 Let’s go home, let’s pretend for one more day. Shall we try bus tomorrow?
Partition had drawn quite a many lines-criss-crossed and overlapped on many levels. Thousands had lost, mourned and had made a compromise to be alive. However, spring followed the rust. Hope found its way through the cracks and love blossomed. Imran and Raj waited anxiously for the Samjhota Express to arrive. The engine was now visible. 20 years later, would Simran recognise her friend and lover? , Raj wondered. Imran crossed his legs and rubbed his hands, in an attempt to forget the reminiscence of that winter. His sister had finally arrived home. The two men were now complete.
“Are Desai, where’s that local? Looks like the system has lost its credibility and punctuality today.” “Joshi, how do I know? We’re sitting here only since 11.” “I’m hungry now.” “Chitragupta said that Patel will come in Virar-Churchgate UP. But not one train has arrived, let alone Patel’s. It’s 3.30 now” “This red thread with tracker is too tight. Let’s quickly grab Patel after he falls on the ground & dies in the havoc of people coming out and rush to Chitragupta.” “Huh, Sure.” Albeit, Western Railway’s mega block was tampering with fate, without them knowing.
It was the last chance Geethika had before she quitted finally her dreams of making it big in the big city. An aspiring actress Geethika had come from Meghalaya to Mumbai. She got a call to fly down to Kolkata to meet famed director Chatterjee to sign as lead.But how was she to find money for the flight when she didn't know anyone.Suddenly she saw a banner advertising a photography contest on theme senior citizens with 10000 rupees prize. She remembered the snap she had taken of two old buddies at railway station.
(Year-2056) "You remember that trip in 2014" "Oh that goa trip?" "What would you like to change in past if given a chance" "nothing, it just couldn't be more goofed up than that," "hahaha" "was he this much late at that time?" "should we travel a little in future directly to the spot?" "no, wait, let him come, remember how we kicked him for coming late?" "i think interception was released during this time" "and we got so fascinated about it at that time" "and today we are here [chuckles]"
It was their daily routine. Shankar dada and Shyam uncle travelled to Churchgate from Borivali. They would wake up as per their routine, got ready and met each other at the Borivali station at 7:55 sharp. They would then get on the next local. Shankar and Shyam used to work in gazette office. But they were 63 now, retired since 5yrs. The machines, the Internet had taken over their jobs. They struggled. They saw life walk past them, together. Shyam sits staring at this picture. Shankar is no more. But lessons of life flash the best in memories.
Sitting on the iron bench, Silently they watched life run by. The years they spent running behind it, Now seemed futile. The din of young days had settled down, Life went away like a cruel joke. They were the main lead in their stories, But lived it like an unnoticed extra.
Years ago, they had waited outside school every afternoon, bickering over which one of them deserved her more. She would smile shyly as she crossed by, and neither of them would let the other approach her. "She deserves better than you!" was the mutual verdict. Six months ago, her husband of 50 years had died. Today, they waited outside her house for a glimpse of her. And their arguments began again.
“Well Sethu, Mala Sinha was prettier. You are only lusting after Vyjantimala”, said Uncle1 turning away looking rather miffed. “That’s not fair Raghu”, explained Uncle 2 earnestly,”She had such lovely big eyes”. “Ha! Big yes but you are not referring to her eyes.” “Don’t hold her body against her, she was built like a woman should be. You see the skinny types these day? Ugh.” This Sethu uncle was a man after my own heart I thought as I boarded the Andheri local from Churchgate leaving the two gentlemen to carry on their conversation without being eavesdropped upon.
Two losers, hah! Waiting for the chick who dumped both of them in quick succession? Maybe. Or their sons who squeezed them dry and disappeared? Hey, what a story. (My boss had again issued a threat of 'no fresh inputs, no job') I stood in front of them in two minutes flat, breathless. They were staring into the distance, unblinking. Almost like set in stone, Or could it be..... Wax! Jeez! The sign below read: "The Indian Railways commemorates these wax figures to you, our valued travellers who thirst for adventure in distant places."
"I hate working undercover. Our heroics never get appreciated.", Vinod grumbled to himself. His friend and partner, Amir, smiled and said, "We service our country, we must keep vigil." They had come to the railway station, on a tip off to eliminate the youth commander of a local terror outfit. Suddenly, Vinod cried out, "Look to your left, he is here!" From a seemingly harmless poly bag, Amir took out a gun and took aim. Two shots later, the dubious man was down." That was my son, Zoaib.," Amir managed to mumble out, as he fought back his tears.
“How things change," he sighed. “How you've changed.” I stayed mum. “You would've never said that 30 years ago," he mumbled. “I could say the same thing about you, you know.” “Oh come-on, no way!” I sighed. “You want to try again?” “Ok, to your left, now.” “7”, I said without missing a beat. “Phew, close enough. I’d have said 8. But still.” I rolled my eyes. “I told you, nothing changed.” “Good. I wouldn’t know what to do if you really did," he grinned. “But the last one was way too pretty to be a 5”.
And for those few moments, the brothers sat, enthralled, watching the unfolding flash mob. Gone were the thoughts of the train they awaited--and their sister's remains, which it carried. That sadness would arrive sure and soon enough. For now, they allowed themselves to be distracted by the song and dance--the life--bursting from the other end of the platform. But this moment, as all moments, would soon pass. In the distance, a train whistle blew. Destiny approached. They had not seen her in years. For the first time in a long time, they would soon be together.
They met every day at the station. They had done this for 50 years. But today it was different. They were chatting when they heard a voice. They turned to look at their left and froze as they saw a flashback of the years behind them. The times they spent together. Two families sharing the same apartment to make ends meet. Moments of joy and fun. So lost they were that they didn’t realise militants with guns running around firing gun shots at random. Several bullets had hit them and they sat there by each other’s side. Dead…
"She's not coming back you know! Why do you have to do this to yourself every year?" "How would you know? You've never been in love." "But I have a wife, kids, grandkids! And you? You live in an asylum. You get one day to spend outside and you choose to just come here and wait for someone who left you ages ago!" "Because, she promised she will come back one day, and I'm still in love, my friend.”
Rajiv had never believed in the afterlife—until he became a ghost. In August 2013, on Raksha Bandhan, his heart stopped while he awaited a train in Victoria Terminus Station. The life of a ghost is a lonely one. Rajiv wished for a companion he could share eternity with. One year later, he spotted his best friend, Sanjiv. just as a train was arriving. Rajiv shoved Sanjiv onto the tracks-killing him instantly. Today, the two ghosts sit together on a bench, searching the crowd for the next member of their “haunt squad.” Don’t walk too close to the tracks.
Together they have worked their way through their past.At present, all that they do, at their leisure, is look at their future, making their way to the place they have already been to.They are happy to be their mentors.They have been partners...through time!
"It's a secluded place to sit and write ourselves for one la_ _ " (he was about to say 'last'). He continued, "No matter how difficult you are to understand, bring them closer to a world that is inaccessible to ordinary organs. I'm ruthlessly beelined." "I served with rhymes and dreams," said another. "It doesn't matter what truth or falsehood there is that I spin from my imagination. You have real thinking and idiosyncratic philosophy." They awaited their last stick of contemplation that they had to offer. Last homage, for both grew wrinkled and wordless. One was 'Story,' and another... ‘Poetry’.
“What’s in this poly bag?” “Nothing! Just few books, I love to read.” “Really! Exactly what?” “Rabindranath Tagore, Premchandra kind of!” “I can sense that pleasure one gets from reading a book, Indescribable! But why don’t you continue the journey with your family?” “Do you think my joints will allow me? And look at their faces; nobody wants to carry a heavy luggage with them.” “So, you’re convinced, you’re luggage?” “Not that, but!” “There is a library nearby.” “So what?” “And I read somewhere ‘Don’t die while you’re still alive’. Come, let’s share the words, our rest journey.”
On a cloudy evening, waiting for the train, two old friends were talking all good about their wives. The sudden outburst of a young couple caught their attention, which transcended them forty years back when newly-wed they with their wives were on their first trip. For the first time, after loss of their wives, they realized that never was the phrase ‘Life’-partner… was so incorrect! They got into the train, on the way to old-age home and let that evening pass, and ‘live’ that today, with only solace of the memories of their ‘life’-partners!
The announcement made them look away from each other’s hands. The approaching train, the silence that only Surendra and he could hear — the grey had begun to set in. Virendra braced himself. Anytime now, Suri’s hands will start to shake, his tears will flow, but his mouth will fall open, trying to breathe. Viru himself tried blinking back the blurred edges of his vision. The train was almost at the platform. They lost their youngest brother, Naren, to the rush of the railway mob, 36 years ago — and every year since, they came back to find him there.
“Hey, do you think she will come on time this time?" How do I know? Don't ask stupid questions. "You both used to ask me stupid questions even after you had your own families and now you are giving me attitude?" Please Bhaisaab cut the boisterousness. Your this very habit drove her away from us. "I am not solely responsible" Ya it was my mistake too I shouldn't have interrupted... Oh! Here she is. THEY BOTH CAREFULLY BOARDED THE TRAIN BY WHICH THEIR SISTER WAS RAN OVER 35 YEARS AGO TO VISIT THEIR CHILDHOOD HOME.
Dreams…. Intrepid desires, A solitary union, Touch of the sky. Fabled in thy heart Burns a lonely sorrow. To glee, and thy life, Hopes, from me, you borrow. The storm yonder We sink in boat of life, Domination, Love, Power. Aloft a lonely battleground. Jury is divided, Verdict is clear. To thee, life divine. Resilience submits in tranquil sorrow. An unspoken whisper, An unopened gift An invisible kiss Wishes laid dry.
“How much longer?” “I don’t know.” The sounds around them quieted down. The station emptied. Only the two old men remained. The one on the right began to fidget with his pants. They felt odd somehow. Like they didn’t fit anymore. “You think they give us good pants in heaven?” “Why are you so sure you’re going to heaven? The next train just says ‘HE 11:23’” The one on the left gestured at the indicator. It was true; that could mean anything. “I’m being optimistic.” “Let’s just wait for Godot like he told us to, okay?”
While waiting for the train to arrive, Arvind and Sunil sat in silence. The minutes seemed like hours. Arvind saw how anxious Sunil was today. He pondered for a while and asked “What’s the matter Sunil, you look a little shaken up”. Arvind’s responded with a sullen look, “Arvind ji, I am being shifted to an old age home today. My son is moving and won’t take me along”. Arvind knew exactly how Sunil felt. Two years ago he had been placed in a home as well. At that moment they became strangers with so much more in common.
The three of them were friends since forever. Age was only a number. Dwarkanath and Swaminathan were waiting for the third Musketeer, Adil, who was normally the first to arrive. They were late for their bi-weekly session with the NGO, teaching slum children. Dwarka tried calling Adil on his cell but there was no response. “I’m worried,” said Swami, not the first time, “hope all’s well…” The 13:50 fast for Andheri arrived and left, without them. Suddenly, Dwarka’s phone rang, “Hey Adil, what…?” “I’m sorry,” sobbed a voice at the other end, “I have some bad news…”
It had been a long time since the three had reunited. They had decided to revisit their youth this weekend, an evening on the beach, with a bottle of good old JD, and tandoori chicken. They were able to ditch their wives and their Saturday evening bhajans by lying that they were going to visit an ailing friend in the neighbouring town. The munchies were packed and ready to eat. It was already an hour beyond their decided time of meeting, where was Kulkarni and the bottle of JD? They knew Kulkarni’s wife had a nickname, Hitler.
Age is a pathological disease. As Bawa(Pastonjee) , Sidhu (Siddharamaih) & Macwan (Makwana) found out that with age the friendship solidifies and while they moved from greying to empty headed existence, life became simple like childhood. Everyday was a new day & a new challenge to conquer.Just like climbing on a stool was forbidden when you were a kid, currently climbing on stairs could be a big challenge too. Both of them were waiting for Bawa to join the party for a trip to Juhu.... They wondered whether the day had dawned for the big fat Parsi?
Amit and Smita would take the 5.45 Dadar Fast from work to home every day. One day a terrorist bomb on the train ended their innocent lives. Every year on that fateful day, their fathers would mourn their loss by visiting a temple where they prayed for the young souls and tied a red thread to be worn until the next anniversary. They would then wait for the 5.45 Dadar Fast to roll in, scanning the bogies till it departed. Smita and Amit are buried in their hearts and will only die when the two old men die.
Nanaji asked, “Hey friend, How is it sitting here and observing them?” Dadaji said, “A bit strange. Even though body stopped, mind still runs.” “All these years, we have run against time and faster than life. We fell, got bruises, but rose again ran. Now I think we should allow life to move ahead of us and we will take the back seat.” Nanaji smiled. “Yes, don’t worry, it’s time for our grand kids to start the run again as we did. Look there, I think they already have started… ”It’s your time kids”
Her PG pad lost, Shirley sat on the bench till eternity. “What’s wrong?” they asked. Uncorked, she poured her heart out. They took her home, glad for company. Waiting on the bench for her before all three headed home became a daily routine. But it all ended as suddenly as it had started. She learnt both were terminally ill. She couldn’t see them dying and vanished, but secretly saw them daily. Eyes riveted in her direction, they still waited daily. Doctors believed it was a miracle they were still alive. But hope that Shirley would come kept them alive.
It’s been more than a year since she went with other ladies to Kedarnath. I waved her goodbye from this platform, not knowing it will be our last meeting. A huge flood hit Uttarakhand. I tried to contact her, but in vain. Contacted many people, no one knew. Govt also could not provide her whereabouts. Meanwhile I met Dayanand, he had lost his whole family in the flood. Sitting here, we think... this platform took everything from us. And unknowingly we kept looking in the direction of all incoming trains in hope of our loved ones.
“Hey, look at her!” Mohan blurted to Hemant and then whistled. Both were at Churchgate station waiting for Borivali local when a woman got down from a train. “Mohan, look at our age before opening your mouth.” Mohan argued, “But we are single.” The same women then stopped and asked “How can I reach Colaba?” “Take a train” Replied Hemant. “Train? Stupid! Take an auto,” added Mohan. “Cab! Take a cab,” Hemant said.” The woman smiled and said, “Thanks.” She then winked and gave them a dazzling smile. Both blushed. Then Mohan added, “We still got it.”
“Everything eventually comes to a halt”. “Hmm…” replied Arvind. He knew what Prakash meant by ‘everything’. “But gets started too, again.” He offered some smile as he pointed at a departing train. “Life is no different, my friend.” Arvind added. Prakash ran his fingers through his ageing hair, closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “You know what? I think I've eventually made up my mind.” Arvind waited as he continued a bit sheepishly. “I’ll agree to her proposal.” “I knew it!!” Coming closer, Arvind murmured “I've already booked the tickets for your second honeymoon” and winked heartily.
Life is strange, isn’t it? With time, we tend to forget a lot of things and sometimes, people. Rajesh and Anil met once through the life line of Mumbai – Local Trains. They were just friendly strangers but used to listen to each other every day. Age has taken over them today while they sit together on the same bench not recognising each other. Rajesh is waiting for his daughter and her family to arrive while Anil is just waiting for the next local to board. The very same local where they first met.
2 ordinary old men in their late 60s, waiting for the 7 am train, with matching threads on their right hand which looked like a religious thing, but for them once every year on 31st December , the thread makes them young as soon as they board the train and for an entire day they live as young men gone wild across!! There have been times they have served with their youth instead of fun like in 2011 and so on.
Flipping through the gallery I came across this pic, taken in a railway station. I used to board 7.15 local to college. They were a regular view. Deep blackboard like eyes, with an encyclopaedia of experience within... but always empty. I always wondered how difficult is to live a life..without any desire, any ambition, any tomorrow. One day, they are not there. I became restless, asked coolies. They were ignorant of their presence or ... absence. Worried I was cursing myself, why didn't I talked with them ever. Wanted to tell them...I notice you, respect you, understand you.