Thursday, 2 August 2012


I am home.  Panting.  Without my umbrella (make that Sheba's umbrella that I borrowed for the afternoon).

At 2.45 in the afternoon I left the JSK Centre for Bandra. There was a huge crowd on railway platform number 2.  I thought a few trains had been cancelled.  Then I remembered that it was a festival day today - Raksha Bandan - and many people were travelling.  Not the normal 3 PM smudge of people on the railway station (it never is 'empty' except when the trains don't run between 1 and 4 am).  A crowd.  A huge swelling crowd.

I managed to get onto a train to Dadar - and the switched back to Bandra without too much ado.  I visited my friend Vasu at the hospital (more about him in the next post) and then reversed my tracks.  The trains were crowded - but not the normal 'no-room-to-breath-crush' that the denizens of Mumbai have to deal with every crush-hour-morning-and-evening.

Then it happened.

I got off at Thane station, happy to have caught a fast train from Dadar and looking forward to getting home.

I started up the foot-overbridge which was chock-a-block with people.  Normal.  There was a wedge of people moving from below - pushing me and others up.  A wedge of people were coming down from above.

Then things started to get crazy.  The people from above were pushing down.  Laughing.  A few abuses were hurled.  We tried to keep going foward.  And then panic started to creep in.  The fear of being crushed suddenly loomed large.

No.  This can't be happening.  But it was. I was being pushed uncontrollably.  I was shouting stop to the people coming down. They didn't.  I started to tumble back.  I lost my chappal. Was it going to be the end?

Somehow I regained footing.  The people from above were pushing everyone down.  Somehow we managed to get down again.  I was without my chappal.  At the bottom of the stairs again I was sweaty and bruised.  The umbrella was gone.

I was alive.  The unthinkable didn't happen.  Yet.

A few minutes later I went up again.  A single line going up.  I managed to find the chappal.

I thank the Lord for His mercy in keeping me alive.  And all the others in that narrow tunnel.  So slender is the thread on which we live.  Each breath is a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Sequel to your CRUSH: