Sunday, 19 May 2013

The ageing Platform

                                            The dented goods train chugged out of the old station. The station wore a sordidly empty look. A lonely gas lamp spilled musty light around it. The platform guard made his way back to the shambles called as his railway office. The station 'Ciborna' had been somehow forgotten. The arthritis in his weakened knees kicked in. He let out a sigh and sat on the platform chair, made of solid stone. The guard set the lamp on the floor and dimmed it. The days had gone by. The time when Ciborna was a hub of activity. The hustle bustle of the porters and the screams of the vendors had died out. The hurrying passengers had forgotten Ciborna too.
           The damned new express train bypassed Ciborna running straight through the mountain, which once used to be encircled by the trains going via Ciborna. There was nothing majestic about Ciborna. But yes it was a respite for the train drivers. The drivers would get off the train here for a cup  of tea in those chilly mornings and nights alike. They used to bring in the gossip from the cities. The latest news about the revolutions. The guard used to entertain the chanter. It was a welcome change. The tea vendor used to earn considerably too. Something about Ciborna used to attract the passengers too. The passengers used to prefer Ciborna to the rather more accessible Kelby station. May be it was for the scenic view Ciborna provided or perhaps it was the difference of two rupees in the ticket charges. The guard smirked, probably it was the later. He was 18 when he had started his job as a junior guard at Ciborna. It had been 51 long years. Really long. He should have retired by now. In fact he was awarded a voluntary retirement just 8 years ago. Just when the express way train had started. But no, he wouldn't accept it.

       Ciborna was now no longer frequented. Just a single luggage train made a trip via Ciborna, once a week. The station master had been transferred to Kelby for the expressway train. The station sweeper had left long ago. The tea vendor was no more now. Some how he, the guard was the only one left behind. All to see, Ciborna wither away. Those days of liveliness were mere memories now. Yet the guard had stayed back for his beloved station. The night was treacherous. As a strong breeze blew tugging at the flickering lamp. As the wind finally succeeded blowing off the lamp. But it wasn't only the lamp that had been extinguished. It was the treacherous wind which had blown away another flame.. The withering old flame of life.. And now his body would lay on the stone chair of Ciborna waiting for another week before the next luggage train to discover it lifeless..

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