This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 15; the fifteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
He was walking along the muddy path, slowly carrying a sack full of goods. The wind was chilly but he didn’t feel anything even though all he was wearing was a very old “dhoti”. The sun was setting which made the man take quick steps towards his destination. Ahead, he could see lights. The town was still awake which slowed his pace. He needed a town, which was asleep. He wanted to make a full impact on the people and that could be done only when they were half asleep. Slowly and steadily, he started walking towards the town for he needed to plan everything before the impact; after all he was not alone in this.
Shyam Sundar Sharma was glad that he lived in the outskirts of the town. He loved, when the first ray of sun fell on his face. When the little sparrows come flying into his veranda chirping for food. When the early morning trains whistle, acting as an alarm clock, woke him up. He loved everything about the place he was living in. So what if it was 10 kms away from the hustle and bustle of the town. So what, if every time he needed anything, he had to walk all the way to the town. So what if he was unwelcome in that happy, lively, beautiful town.
‘C’mon, get up or you will be late for again.’
‘C’mon, get up or you will be late for again.’
‘Yeah, yeah, I am getting up,’ he said looking at his wife, who was standing near the bed, waiting for him, to get up.
He looked at her and sulked. With a sigh, he got up from the bed and went straight into the bathroom.
‘Listen, today while coming from work, go to the town. I need some things,’ came his wife’s voice.
‘I am not going into that filthy town,’ he said coming out of the bathroom.
‘Oh yes! You are going,’ said his wife, whose temper, now days were always on the verge of bursting, ‘it is entirely your fault that they threw us out of the town. Because of you, my children are suffering every minute. Why are you so heartless and lazy, living in a town and harassing people with your loud mouth? What wrong did they say? Only this, that you are a worst person to have a job of railway announcer. What was wrong in that? Do you even realize that, that because of you, this town had its biggest railway accident, injuring so many. Do you even care? What kind of man are you?’ she stormed out of the room.
He shrugged and murmured under his breath, ‘what did I say, only truth? Abusing me, every time, they were. And that accident was not at all because of me, what was my fault, if I didn’t go to work that day? And moreover why should I help someone? Everyone should help themselves, after all, it’s written in “Gita”. And anyway, it’s good that they threw us out, at least now I live closer to the station,’ murmuring he came into the veranda and sat on the steps, waiting for her to bring him his bag and tiffin.
‘Here, take your bag,’ she said giving him, rather little forcefully.
‘And tiffin?’ he asked.
‘I will bring your tiffin to the station,’ she said and walked away.
He looked at her for a moment and with a shrug started for his work. He was a railway announcer, the fact that he hated when he lived in the town, for he was the laziest person on the planet and this town had the only station which was 11 kms away. But now, as he lived near the station, he had no more problems in going to the work.
The station was not a very big station for this was a fairly small town. But despite that, many out station trains had a halt here. There wasn’t much crowd usually but if it’s a holiday season, the station becomes jam-packed.
Shyam Sundar Sharma like everyday entered the station and climbed the stairs to his room on the third floor of the building. He had a perfect view of the station from his room, as there was no roof on the platform. He locked the door and sat on his wooden chair, ready for his work.
‘Did you read today’s newspaper, Shyam Sundar?’ asked his colleague who was sitting beside him, reading the morning news.
‘No, what is it?’
‘There is a riot going on in our neighbouring town. Many people are dead. Curfew has been put up in that town,’ he said folding the paper.
‘Oh my god! When did this happen?’ he asked.
‘Yesterday night, everyone was at home, asleep and suddenly they heard shouting and screaming outside.’
‘What was the reason?’ he inquired.
‘No idea, even the police are clueless but I think, the reason is religious as most of riots have occurred due to this. Anyway, what’s that with us? We are safe here,’ he said with a shrug, ‘anyway, now that you are here, I am off to home. Phew! Finally the shift is over,’ he said wiping his brow.
After his colleague left for home, he locked the door once again and sat down with a sigh. He remembered his fight with his wife today and thought of apologizing to her, when she comes to the station on lunch. With that thought in mind, he took the microphone and started his day with announcing about the upcoming trains.
It was 12:30, when his first half of the shift got over. He was hungry and was waiting for his wife to bring him his lunch. He relaxed on his chair when he noticed surprising number of people in the station.
‘May be it’s because of the riots in the neighbouring town,’ he thought.
He stood and yawned stretching himself, relaxing his muscles when he heard a trains whistle.
‘That’s weird,’ he wondered, ‘there’s no train scheduled to come this way at this time of the day.’
The train came whistling loudly and stopped. Everyone at the station, he saw, was looking at the arrived train, in confusion. And in a matter of seconds, there confusion turned into horror, changing their lives forever.
Shyam Sundar Sharma was rooted to his spot. He couldn’t move; he was paralyzed. He couldn’t believe what he saw. It happened in a fraction of seconds. One moment people were looking at the train with a mild interest and the next moment he saw them decapitated with a sword. He watched it all in a slow motion from his room, army of men with deadly weapon in their hand rushing out of the train swiftly and killing everyone who’s coming their way.
He was still standing horror-struck, when a sudden realization hit him. He was safe and he could still save many people’s life. He was rude and shrewd but he wasn’t a criminal. He couldn’t let them just die.
He immediately took his seat, switched on his mic and spoke loud and clear.
‘All those coming towards the station, please turn around and run away from here. There’s an attack going on in the station. Save your life and go away.’
‘People standing at the rear end of the platform, kindly make a line and move towards the Hanuman temple and save your life.’
Sweat falling down from his brow onto his shirt; he was desperately trying to save as many people as he can by guiding them away from the station. He could see people lying dead on the floor, some missing their hands, some missing their legs and some missing their heads. It was like, they were enjoying killing and slaughtering innocent lives. He had tears in his eyes. He was depressed. Never in his life, had he seen such a scene. The platform looked like a river of blood.
He was still guiding the people when he heard loud banging on his office’s iron door. He got scared and backed away from the door and started praying. He knew that the door was made up of iron and it’s very tough to break it but he was doubtful about the strength of the lock. The banging continued for some time and then stopped. He crept towards the door and pressed his ears to the door, listening for any sound. There was none. He was little relieved and thanked God for his luck.
He immediately retook his seat and started guiding people to move out of the station safely but he stopped abruptly. He saw his wife and children coming towards the station to give him his lunch, unaware about the situation at the station.
‘Malti! Bittu! Gudiya!’ he started shouting their name, horrified.
‘Don’t come here, Malti. Malti listen to me,’ he was shouting desperately to save them but his wife was too engrossed in her thoughts to listen to him.
‘Malti, go away. Just…’ he couldn’t complete his sentence for at that very moment, his world turned upside down.
One of the attackers had grabbed Malti from behind and slit her throat. He called his two men and pointed them towards his running children. While the two men ran to catch the children, the attacker started slaughtering Malti’s body, laughing at every stab.
The two men whom he had called came with Shyam’s both the children, struggling to get free. The attacker first caught his daughter and decapitated her, throwing her head on the railway tracks. Next he caught hold of his son, who was kicking his legs in air, desperately trying to saw himself free. While struggling, by mistake he kicked the attacker on his face, which made the man so angry that he first cut off his both legs then his both hands and when the boy’s screams pierced the air, he cut off his head and threw the remains over his mother’s body.
Shyam Sundar was shocked. He just couldn’t bring himself to believe that his family’s end was so ghastly, that his family was no more; that they were slayed in front of his eyes and he couldn’t help them. He was devastated that the last thing happened between them was a fight and not love.
He sank on his chair with grief and remorse, when he heard more screams, bringing him back to reality. He, forgetting his pain, started guiding people with choked voice and teary eyes until some help came.
It was an hour of hell for everybody, more so for Shyam. He was glad that the police came and took over the situation within an hour for he couldn’t have been able to continue more. But he was horror-struck that like many, his life was ruined too.
Some people, who were alive, were praising him like a hero. It was because of his presence of mind that so many lives were saved. He was a hero, a real hero to them. The town, which once had discarded him like a trash, was now begging him to come and relive with them once again. The government declared an award for bravery to be specially given to him. He was getting all the respect and adulation that once his family had wished for. But now, all these praises, all these awards meant nothing to him. He was alone.
Life for Shyam Sundar had changed drastically but he still went to that very same station, everyday, working as a Railway Announcer and living that fatal day each and every day, as if repenting for something. For him, that was Life now, as life goes on...
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