The Empty Train

 

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The Empty Train

This was absolutely ridiculous!!! “How the hell am I to reach home now”, he thought !! It was way into the night and he had missed the last coach that took him to his home which was on the outskirts of the city, normally a 25minute ride out past a quiet part of the woods that flanked the city and gave it a picturesque view when standing atop the vantage point in the city center’s park.
Sometimes he wished he wasn’t such an introvert . In fact most people got pretty put off by his normal curt ways and an obvious disinterest at making small talk or standing in the corridor to ask how someone’s sick wife was doing now.
Though quite deliberately cold and loner-like most days , he nevertheless felt that he could do with some company right now…Now that his predicament was worrying him. A trifle selfish one would say but that thought didn’t cross his own mind. He was busy cursing Steve mentally for not insisting on giving him a lift home, but as usual , he had been arrogant and overconfident of catching the last coach home thereby tersely rejecting Steve’s sincere offer. Little had he realised that he was five drinks down after the conference, teetering a little on his feet and had overstayed his welcome long after the official conference got over . The exasperated bartender had tried to cojole him into having his last drink for over an hour while Steve kept tugging at his arm and urging him to get up and leave like the others had long gone.

Having given in after a fight he allowed the bartender to shut shop and be led out into the night by his trusted friend Steve..the only person who had the patience to stay back with him seeing his drunkenness. However , rather than be grateful, he pissed Steve off further by trying to shake him off roughly and yelling rudely at him …something about not trying to be his mother or something like that..he couldn’t remember!!

That must have been the final straw for his well meaning friend cos he soon found himself all alone at the coach station with no coach at hand. There was just the guard who told him to walk five minutes down to the train station and try his luck there cos there was no coach till 7am now.
On reaching the train station he realised that he could just barely catch the last one and though not too steady on his feet, he made a dash for it, scuttling down the 25 steps as fast as his feet could carry him, stumbling onto the platform just as the train screeched to a halt in front of him. Gathering his wits and trying to catch his breath at the same time, he leapt onto the train before this final mode of transport eluded him too, uncaring if he was pushing anyone or stepping on anyone’s feet in the bargain. “Who cares anyway “, he thought!! “If some idiot is going to come in my way of course he’ll get trampled on. Why can’t these f…idiots stay out of my way anyway” !!
Thinking out his offensive play in his mind , he grabbed a seat before any old lady tried to claim it from him and plonked himself down , his head reeling from the effort of the past 15 minutes!!
It took him some time to muster the strength to look around long after the train had left the station and what met his eyes was a bit disturbing!! Forget bumping out people to get a seat, he actually had all the seats , in fact the whole coach to himself!!
This surprised him a bit cos although it was late in the night, being a weekend he knew lots of people caught the last train to the suburbs on a Saturday night and finding himself alone today was strange. He got up to walk down the aisle and peep into the next coach..finding it empty too …and the next and the next. He was getting a little worried now, his intoxicated mind working overtime, goosebumps appearing on his arm and hair bristling at the back of his neck!! Was he in the wrong train, was it a deliberate ploy by some local hooligans to be followed by an attempt to rob him or worse still……!!!
He rushed to the door of the moving train and tried to pry it open , albeit unsuccessfully of course, and then frantically started beating at the glass, panic welling up his throat. As he stood with his cheek glued to the glass pane door, he heaved a sigh of relief as he saw a platform looming up in the distance and took a step back, readying himself to jump out as soon as the doors opened.
Alas that was not to be as the train hurtled along the track showing no signs of slowing down…rather he watched the station go by with ten people waiting to get on waving frantically to try and stop it!!
What the hell was going on!! His mind began to work a bit clearly now and as he saw another small station coming up, he threw himself onto the stop train chain and yanked with all his might!!! It didn’t seem to be working!! He pulled and pulled harder but to no avail and watched wearily as two more stations, many more passengers and time flew by without stopping!!
He sat down again with a thud and looked around desperately as if to miraculously see a couple of seats occupied and people edging him not to worry or be frightened!! The only thing he saw was the feeble lights in the coach dimming on and off, empty chairs shaking as the train trundled along and felt a strange numbness as a cold draught suddenly hit him in the face !!
There was a creepy sensation of not being alone despite the fact that he really was!! He felt as if he was being watched and could have sworn he heard an eerie chuckle near his left ear… As if someone was mocking him!! Oh God where was help when you needed it!! He pushed himself out of his seat and threw himself into the next coach, frantic as though he was being followed by an unseen entity, the cold feeling refusing to go and the mocking laugh getting louder and louder!!
“Why the hell didn’t I just take up Steve’s offer?? Why did I have to be so arrogant and shove him off!! In fact why the hell didn’t I just listen to my wive’s pleas to take the car and come back home early and sober” !!
There were a lot of whys going on his head as he scurried forward, stumbling and stubbing his toes, grasping the chairs to steady himself and looking frantically over his shoulder at nothing!!
As he ran he suddenly felt something cold and steely grip his shoulder and then his neck and as he screamed in terror , the train suddenly lurched to a stop the doors opening in front of him . He shrugged himself free, running onto the platform, yelling for help but the passengers standing around to board the train seemed not to see him…they ignored his pleas and went on their way while he begged a policeman to save him!! Blank stares met his desperation as his unseen pursuer made ground again , landing a freezing hand on his nape and shoving him onto the hard ground!!
He woke up in a sweat finding himself on the hard cold tiled floor while his wife peered over from her side of the bed demanding to know what had happened!! Dazed, he ran his hands through his tousled hair, shaking his head in relief!! Oh Lord, so this is how it feels to be left alone, ignored , fearful and totally isolated!!
Was this how I make the people around me feel?? Was their life like an empty train that I piloted , not allowing anyone to climb on or off..always always selfishly in charge!!

Realisation dawned on him!!

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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Are We Overly Critical of Films?

Disclaimer: these are my own thoughts, individual thoughts , so trollers out there don’t bring out your guns please!! I am not trying to thrust any ideas into people, simply speaking my mind!!

I think I am a very easy audience… It doesn’t take much to entertain me!! I just want a fresh storyline or even if not totally fresh, at least one that’s keeps you in your seat for the 2.5hrs run without making you run for the exit door!!
I am not trying to come across as an expert on films cos that I definitely am not. I am just an audience who goes to the theatre to be entertained, live a new life for a few hrs, relax and have fun… (Of course, a few hot or cute bodies , catchy or romantic songs and mesmerizing locales would just aid the process).
Therefore pls do not think that I have turned into a critic but I allow myself to leave my stressed brain at home as well as my diary on which I jot down points about the movie that I intend to troll virally on social media. I am not one to try and prove a point !! Or criticize unnecessarily or pretend to be a very savvy movie goer… I am simply a common man with an open mind.
Films take a very very long time and a lot of hard work to script, conceive, pre produce, execute, bring to life, edit, enhance with music and finish before they are brought to the audience.
A vision, an idea has to be translated into reel… Actors have to bring it alive, singers and musicians have to pour soul into it , directors have ensure a mere idea on paper is treated properly to do justice to the concept without killing it!!
Money, time, sweat and tears maketh a film.. Not glamour and pomp and show like most people think!!!
I am more open to new ideas, I feel , than most of the trollers or self styled critics doing the rounds on social media. Sometimes I come out of a theatre after seeing a film which received a lot of flack for scripts, or acting prowess’s or music or direction and I think to myself..”It wasn’t that bad..I quite enjoyed it!! Why were the reviews so bad!!??” Obviously either I am not clued in at all to the film business or I am like I said, more opened minded and less inclined to dig out faults forcefully!!
I do agree , of course , that every type of film or genre cannot be appreciated by audience en mass cos every person out their comes with different taste, expectation or background and may or may not understand a particular type of film but that doesn’t not mean that you simply trash everything in the film  just cos it send the car registers ringing!! There is more to film making than mere numbers!! Box office trends cannot be the sole measure for the genius of a movie!
Films are meant to entertain..give us a variety of content….provide fresh ideologies and stories…bring in new faces to present their unique acting talents thereby not boring us with the routine and mundane.
They can be real, imaginative, feel-good or morose. They can be true stories or ridiculously fictitious… Sci-Fi or back-door tales, fables ….they can be funny or dramatic, adventurous narratives or documented ones…they can be dull dark and sinister or adorably animated!! The genres are endless and so should be the opportunity to experiment for the film makers.
The moment we start overly judging each little aspect or detail, questioning if this and that is possible, criticizing imagination and fantasy …trolling story writers or directors or actors, we are effectively telling them not to be experimental, not to think up new content or ways to portray their thoughts… Not to give us something new to look forward to…not to transport us to new realms of life that we could never think of otherwise or give us a reason to forget our own lives and live that of others for a few hours.After all that is why we pay to go to a theatre and spend 2.5 hrs staring at a screen and ingesting useless calories!!
We need to fuel our brains with the impossible, the inconceivable, the real, the monstrous, the hilarious, the depressing, the hopeful, the romantic, the eye-opener, the teacher!!!
That’s why films are made and that’s why we need them.
Let’s allow the filmy people to do their job, to experiment, to deliver, to entertain without pulling out our axes every time and clobber their artistic instincts to bits everytime our minds work overtime and try and analysis and trash everything they attempt to say or do!!
Come on guys ..everyone is not perfect, their work is not perfect, but then nor are we!!
I need entertainment in my life and I am ready to accept dollops of what they are dishing out cos I am not a stereotypical audience and I am not restricted in my interests!! I love variety, I love a good story and I love a new twist to story telling!!
I am not a troller…I am the audience!!

Flowers at the Door

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She was upset, really upset!! Even though she knew there was no point in running the string of events over and over in her mind till she welled up with tears every hour! She was only torturing herself!! There was no one to understand her trauma, no one she could explain to , no one who had enough patience to listen!!
Yesterday had been the worst day of her life!! After years of ups and downs In life she thought that they together had been through the worst and emerged victorious!! Surviving bad times and laughing in good ones. They were blessed to have a loving family and a lot more blessings than many have and yet…
They seemed to be going through a phase…one was run down, unwell and tired most of the time..the other impatient, angry, quick to jump to conclusions, quick to react and with less and less control upon voicing bitter opinions!!
Their banter changing to argument, their jokes beginning to offend, discussions no more welcome, decisions thrust, opinions biased and judgemental!!
Yesterday went a step further..so huge a step that it was more like a leap off the edge!! Hatred poured, accusations flew and acid tongued rebukes and rebuttals surpressed desperate attempts at clarification!!

And he lifted a hand!!!!
She was ruined forever…it had been the last straw and she still reeled from the intensity of the fight!!
Yet she continued , knowing that things had changed forever!! Words once spoken can never be taken back and actions once performed were cemented in the mind forever! But life goes on…ignoring or rebelling!! The children mattered too much so the decision to stay was unquestionable..they were young and she wanted to feel as if she was still needed..for her own peace of mind!!
So the next day dawned..sullen, dull , painful yet normal..there was no way she was going to let her kids know what really happened.
So she went on her way, household chores done, newspapers read, kitchen visited and falsely normal conversations on the phones!!
Just then the doorbell rang!!
Wiping a bead of sweat from her forehead, she opened to door to see no one! Perplexed she looked out over the driveway before the fragrance wafted up and met her olé factory sences!! The smell was divine..floral, powerful and glorious!!
She realised that the the source was right at her feet and as she glanced down , the most colorful and resplendent bouquet of flowers sat adorning her threshold!! She frowned wonderingly as she lifted the basket in one hand while looking for a card with the other but no tell tale slip existed to announce the name of her benefactor! No label, no Note, no address!!
Wow she had a mystery suitor!!
All of a sudden she stood taller, thrust her chest out like a preening peacock , tossed the duster aside and strode confidently  out of the house to see if she could catch the back of the delivery boy or a neighbour who could shed light on the sender of this this array of color and fragrance.
No one was to be seen! Where were the neighbors when u needed them?? Why can’t their nosey selves have been doing their job while the flower guy stood on my doorstep!!
Whatever!!
She went back into the house , did another dissection of the bouquet and sans answers proceeded to wet the moss block that held her treasure in its base. She lovingly placed the basket in the Centre of the dining table where it could be seen best and stood back to admire it.
In fact that’s all she did the rest of the day after making a few phone calls to her girlfriends trying to get insight into who could have felt like filling her world with joy right now.
After meeting with blanks she decided to just enjoy the fresh floral aroma wafting around her apartment and everytime she would pass the table she lovingly ran her fingers thru the riot of red roses, gerberas and carnations cosied up together and smile.
The next couple of days were sad and low, both of them avoiding each other and each other’s eyes yet putting up a show of normalcy for the kids.
It was a Monday morning when the ice broke for a second and he looked up from his newspaper to ask..”You never said anything about the flowers I sent you. Did you like them?”
She turned around in surprise cos this was so unlike anything he had ever done in 20years of their married life! He had no clue how to give gifts or be romantic and flowers were just a waste of money cos they withered away anyway!!
She stood tongue tied and then falteringly muttered, “I loved them..thanks”!!
Astonished and bewildered, she carried on pretending to dust that squeaky clean spot on the lamp , a hint of a smile lurking and threatening to escape in the corner of her lips!!

Somewhere deep down the love still existed!!!

 

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

First Impressions..Hitting The Road!!

While on the first few days of the Candian Rockies tour, I was overwhelmed by emotion and jotted this down while in the coach…my intro to my holiday sojourns in Canada…over the next few days I would love to share some experiences and emotions in detail with you all..most of you have been travelling a lot longer than I have and have more experienced than me but each one has a special one !!!

The Canadian Rockies

Seldom have I been so overwhelmed or humbled by nature as I have been these past few days.
I consider myself a water person (cos I have this love/hate relationship with the deep and mysterious seas but at the same time nothing makes me happier than the sight and sounds of water…nothing can stop me from plunging in at the slightest opportunity ) but now I have been pushed to add myself to a new category too… I am a mountain person too..I am not converted but my loyalties seem to have taken a temporary turn.
I have been amazed, awe-inspired, reduced to tears, frightened, excited, childlike-in-wonder, sometimes disappointed… All in the span of four days.
I have been blessed..I have driven wide beautifully manicured roads into the spectacular Rocky Mountains, marveling at nature as they loomed above me in all their glory…
Standing tall and fierce…proud, magnificent, ominous even…telling a story that goes back to the times of their creation…..holding their own through it all….enveloping a world of emerald and cyan green lakes, turquoise and peacock blue ones (along which I have walked trying to take in the beauty at every angle ), flora and fauna of all scales, wildlife and humans abundant…protecting and threatening all at the same time.
Humans have scaled them, traversed them , climbed them, built on them, cut through them, revered them through time but they have stood their ground and held their heads up high… Their slopes ridged, craggy and tough…imposing in their grandeur…their tips a bowl of snow with glaciers running down, weathered and dented by changing acts of nature… their bosom encapsulating thousands of lakes with a fierce protectiveness and good-natured humor..almost with a smirk as they allow the tragically pathetic human being to live with the misconception that they have tamed the wild yet secure in the knowledge that they have simply humored them for years… Played with them like an indulgent mother, scolded them like a big brother and unleashed their anger like a disciplining father..sometimes gently rugged and approachable , sometimes angry and stormy….but always proud and majestic!!!
I bow down to Mother Nature and accept my insignificance with humility!!