Pune to Mumbai, Overcoming the fear!

"Please pay attention, Pune to Mumbai Deccan express will be arriving shortly at platform number two" The speakers at Pune station blared. 

This was the last announcement to be made about the train. Vinay had a choice to make. He was in the queue to take tickets. At this time, reservation bookings were closed. He tried hard, but any amount of money couldn't bend these rules. General was the only option now. So he was here, only 2 mins for the train to come and Four people ahead in the line. He was not sure yet. Somewhere deep inside he hoped that the average ticket booking time of the official behind the counter must be more than 60 seconds/person. Somewhere deep, he wanted to miss the train
He was also thinking of excuses to make. One of which was "There was a long queue at the ticket counter, and I missed the train"
Like always though, Indian railways always surprises you. The official was fast enough. There was one minute for the train to come and now the only one person ahead of him was almost done getting his ticket. 
"Oh bhavu!! kute zaicha ahe??? Bhai, kaha jaonge" (Brother, where do you want to go)
Another second, he was thrown out of the line. Took another 5 seconds for him to realize that he had frozen near the counter and the people behind pushed him aside.
He heard the train arriving at the station.
The sound of the train somehow gave him strength and he pushed himself into the line. 
"ek Mumbai! jaldi"
He had completed the first lap. He had the ticket. He was smart, not to let the strength he gathered go waste. He used it to run towards the platform and ran till he reached the General compartment of the train. He pushed himself in. As soon as he made way through the crowd and got inside, it struck him again. He froze and the dreaded memories were back.
Ten years ago, he had broke down when he made this journey. He was a kid back then, he was suffocated between the crowd and had almost got into a stampede. That day, his dad consoled him and lifted him in his arms and fought all the people to make sure his kid was fine. Today his dad was no more.
The train jerked to stop and made Vinay come out of his memories. He started feeling a fatigue and was afraid he may collapse. He was a grownup, yet he right now wanted his dad with him.
Something started pricking Vinay on his back. Irritated he turned to yell at the person behind. He saw noone. Again it pricked, he took a glance down to find a kid holding on to his shirt. He stood still. The suffocation was increasing. Now he could hear the child sobbing, his mother behind consoled him. Vinay's eyes met with the mother, she pleaded "Beta, andhar jane do. Bacha hai". Vinay froze.
He was brought back by the sound of the kid weeping now. That was it. Vinay snapped out of his trance. He lifted the kid in his arms and told his mother "Chalo abhi"
With the weeping kid in his arms, he pushed through the crowd. Furiously abusing, he pushed everyone aside and lead the mother to a set of seats near a window. Seeing him another youngster who was sitting, offered his seat. Vinay moved and made the kid's mom take the seat. He handed the kid to his mother and stood there blocking any further push coming from the crowd. The kid stopped weeping.Vinay had a bottle in his bag, he offered the kid water. The kid declined, but smiled at him.
Breathing fresh air coming from the window, Vinay smiled. There was no fatigue or suffocation, all that was left in him was Strength. Strength to push back the crowd and make the kid feel comfortable. He had overcome the FEAR. Dad would be proud, he thought.

-shetty anirudh

Flash Fiction-04
Inspired by Life
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


  1. Claustrophobia, something inevitable in our railways....brilliant write up...loved the message you can't run away from your fear

    1. Thanks Datta Ghosh. Being a frequent traveler in Mumbai locals at peak timings has paid off in some way.. :)
      Keep Reading.


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