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The boy who slipped!

This was me at 6, which was more than 3 decades ago (yes, yes I know... tempus fugit!). I was caught in that dangerous gap between the platform and the train. Normally, there's not enough space to slip into that gap, but there was one large enough to 'catch' me on that particular railway station. I don't remember its name, but we (my family and I) were traveling west from Kolkata, and this was somewhere mid-way. 

This was in the days before bottled drinking water was available for sale, and one had to make use of water fountains on railway stations. My father had got down to fetch drinking water, and I was strictly not supposed to follow him. Being in one of the minor stations, the train could push off at any moment. I do appreciate now the difficulty of traveling with kids, especially with those jumping around like monkeys. I had shot out after him the moment my mother was distracted, and in my hurry to jump down, slipped and fell into that gap.

I still remember looking at the station from that unique point of view - from chin level! One of my shoes was on the platform, and the other had fallen on the track. A foot was supported by, what I think was the spoke of a wheel. The other leg, along with the rest of my body was dangling in the gap. It was as if time had frozen.

And then, there was a lot of commotion, with several people rushing towards me. Strangely though, I remember someone running towards the back of the train, that is, away from me. This was one smart gentleman (we later came to know) who had ran to inform the guard, that the train was not to be moved even an inch! My father was several paces away, probably at the water fountain already. Upon hearing all that noise, he had just turned around. I think the pic below would've been from his point of view.

Even as sturdy arms were lifting me up, I think I can remember the shock registered on his face :) This was in that stupefying split-second before he came running in. Sometimes, carriages shift to-and-fro even when stopped at a station. Perhaps he was thinking what would happen if this train suddenly started to do the same.

As you can see, I wasn't turned into mince-meat, and years later, is sitting here bugging you guys with my stupid reminisces. Thank you for reading though :)

 Nov 2014


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