• Florentina Bernadette

Left Behind?

A girl stands on the platform as a train pulls in or our before her.

A change in the routine, to what I'm hoping, is just not another routine - one that starts much earlier, goes by much slower, but hopefully, has more passion and happiness.

I left home as per schedule, out into the early morning buzz of Chennai city. The clouds were making way for the sun to team up its heat on us, the markets were just being set up, fishes were being carried fresh, in their icy containers from the shores into the city for sale, and traffic was clattering and growing louder by the minute.

I rushed to the elevator of the railway station, after buying my two-way ticket, just as it was about to close shut and take off, leaving me behind. The thought of having to miss the only train around the time that wasn't as crowded as the others and was fast approaching made me frown in my head. I was one of those youngsters who were proud to live where they lived, but didn't fancy travelling by overly crowded public transport or the squashing that came along with it.

Luckily, a young girl, clad in her law-institute uniform, who had to take the same train was kind enough to hold the elevator for me. I thanked her with a flashy smile, the frown in my head disappearing for just a moment - it was right back when I saw my life-saving train pulling onto the platform, clattered!

People were hanging and dangling out on the foot boards from every coach, including the women-only compartments. Deciding to play it just a little safe, I went on-board the ladies coach, my feet just inside and my handbag clearly outside the train, as I grasped one of the doors for dear life. As the train purred out the station, I noticed that the young girl hadn't boarded the train and was instead waving cheerfully at one of her peers just entering the scene.

We passed a couple of stations thus, while I managed to move just a little into the entrance aisle. Before I could even realize it, I was being pushed back and out of the train at the very next stop, where a large number of the female crowd wanted to hop off, while another would by no means give them space to move out. I heard those of the prior group shout, "Only if you got off can we do so. Then you can get back in again!", and the later screech, "I'm not going anywhere!"

The victims were the unfortunate few of us who were trapped between the two and being thrust out of balance and onto the platform. We obliged to the force and waited for the rushers to rush off, but so did the train.

The clocks kept ticking, our schedules kept clocking and there we were - a few hurrying off to our routines not looking back, a few stubborn around our own routines at the cost of others, a few putting our routines on hold willingly to say hi to a friend, and yet another few being made to pause our routines just to take the next, more safer train.