CST Station at 7:45 PM on Sunday 21 December, 2008

The loo stinks, the tap runs and can't be closed. The risk of dying of a urinary tract infection or asphyxiation is still the same. The sole policeman visible, young and unarmed, is ostensibly guarding the ladies' first class.

The rather bright lights are a change though, but they seem to make the place seem a wee bit less crowded. Seem.

There are people sitting on the platform, waiting for their trains. Many in their Sunday best. Popcorn-sellers, peanut-sellers, kulfi-sellers are trying to get me to shed some money towards them, even as I wait for the samosa-seller.

It's getting on eight (time for the Titwala Fast to leave), and last-minute boarders are jumping in. The popcorn-seller is taking his last chances before he moves to the 8:13 Khopoli Slow. I don't know how many of the guys around me are pass-holders or even bothered to buy tickets. I do know the police didn't frisk them. Because they didn't frisk me.

The Sunday tradition of husbands and wives travelling together in the general second class is quite alive – which means I will have to stand (or sit) a bit more uncomfortably to keep out of the way of somebody's missus. Her vocal objections being well-buttressed by her husband's manual ones.

The train has pulled out, so no samosas now. Anyway, I'm soon going to forget things, trying to fight off a fourth sitter, or looking out of the window to know when my station's going to come.

There have been just two changes. One, a perfectly unjustified sense of dread as soon as I entered. (That disappeared after the train pulled out). The other was more permanent. There was a hole in a pillar, the sole memory that something unusual happened here.

(Published as a haibun in GloMag April 2016)


And that something has been forgotten again. Convenient, some say. Necessary, say the others. Both are right.

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