|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|SETTING||Railway platform OR Inside Train|
Platform – Short Story with Social Message
All those months of careful planning were finally going to pay off.
He got off from the train into the crowded platform. It was nine o’clock in the morning. He moved the laptop bag from his right shoulder to the left. I should have put it into a backpack, he thought to himself. He swung his right arm and rotated it to ease the pain off his shoulder, almost striking a woman hurrying past. ‘Sorry ma’am’, he muttered. The woman gave him a nasty look and rushed toward the oncoming train.
The trains came and went almost at the speed of light in that station. Where are all these people coming from and where are they going, he wondered. He had to walk a while before he found a place to rest. He bought a cup of coffee and sat down and rested the bag against the paan stained legs of the stone bench . His phone rang. Startled, he spilled a little coffee on his shirt. He placed the cup on the bench and fumbled into his shirt pocket to retrieve the phone.
‘Haan, tell me’, he barked , his voice tinged with irritation, one hand rubbing the coffee stain on his shirt.
The voice on the other side asked him if all was ok.
‘If it is not ok, I’ll call you. Now please stop calling me and asking me for minute by minute updates’, he replied angrily and hung up.
One more train stopped, loaded and unloaded its passengers and left the station.
He looked at his watch. It was almost nine twenty now. He crushed his coffee cup and threw it on the platform aimlessly. The train was approaching. He got up and walked towards it. The crowds thronged towards the door. He quickened his pace and rushed in, grabbing the rod. And as the train started moving he glanced towards the bench where he had been sitting. Between the sea of legs he could see the laptop bag still leaning against the dirty stone legs of the bench.
He got down at the next stop. Everything had gone as planned. All he had to do was to make one phone call. A cellphone was placed inside the laptop bag. He would call that phone and it would ring. Once. Twice. Thrice. The bomb would get activated. The rest, his employers had told him, would be reported in the news.
The platform he stood on was no different from the previous one. The same thronging crowds. Husbands who had said goodbye to their wives and rushing off to work. Fathers who had dropped off their children in schools and hurrying to offices across the city. Wives who had risen at dawn to finish off their household chores and now going to their offices to work . Laughing college students with their dreams ahead of them. Lovers who had exactly five minutes to stop and exchange glimpses between trains.
He stood there and looked at the sea of humanity before him. A sudden wave of remorse swept through his senses. Should he? Shouldn’t he?
He reached into his pocket and took out his phone. He dialed a number.
‘Hello, Police Station? There is a bomb in Seara station. It is in a laptop bag placed near a stone bench. Hurry.’
He threw the phone on the tracks under the wheels of the train hurtling towards the platform and walked away.