Kolkata Metros often harass its commuters in various ways… well I should not blame the Metro authority, but rather the commuters who buy tickets, enter the platform and then pounce in front of an incoming metro and finally bring the whole system to a halt! Yes, I am talking about the suicide attempts. Once, my English teacher had expressed, “As it is they are committing a sin, on that they are getting cursed by thousands.”
Yesterday, I had to travel quite a distance for some work and while returning I had plans for some shopping and followed by a meeting. On entering the Metro station of Rabindra Sarovar, I heard whispers that said Metros are out of order. But I furthered in to find out the truth, and there were small groups of people gathered around the ticket counter and an announcement that informed of a suicide in the previous Metro station due to which “Metro porisheba bondho thakbe shimito kaal er jonno”(Metro services will be temporarily unavailable) And the area was full of “Tch, tch” from the irritated passengers. I waited for about 20 minutes, and the “Metro porisheba” was back into action. I hurriedly got up in the first Metro that entered, since I was getting late for the meeting. Getting off on my destination, no sooner than I started running up the stairs, there was another announcement, “Kabi Subhas Metro Station a r ekti suicide er ghotona ghoteche, ae karone Metro porisheba Noapara theke Mahanayak Uttam Kumar porjonto hobe, shimito kaal er jonno.” (Another suicide in Kabi Subhasb Metro station has occurred, due to which Metro services will be available from Noapara station to Mahanayak Uttam Kumar station.) The place was full of annoying “Tchs” and “Uffs”.
Completing my shopping and meeting, I stepped into the Esplanade Metro station around 5:40pm. The platform was unusually crowded, more horrifying was the fact that the expected time for the arriving Metro was blank. I enquired a lady standing near me whether Metros were on time, she gave me a surprised look and asked, “Kyu? Koi problem hua hai kya?” (Why? Has there been a problem?) I narrated my experience to her, and her face lost its colour. A man was eavesdropping into our conversation, and commented, “Uff suicide korar r jayega payena era.. poisa khorcha kore morte ashe.. jottosob.” (They don’t find any other place for committing suicides… spending money to die… disgusting)
Three Metros passed by on the opposite route, while only one overcrowded Metro arrived at our platform, as soon as the doors slid open breathless passengers fell off from within. Some of the commuters waiting, tried to fight their way in while I waited for the next Metro. The successor came another fifteen minutes later. Just before that, a short young man came out of nowhere and stood right in front of my nose. His little tummy protruded from the green t-shirt, his shades were tucked over his forehead, kito shoes, and his chinos were somewhat purplish-brown. The accessory that caught my attention was his belt! It was studded with diamonds of varied shapes that sparkled enough to dazzle you for a moment or two, though some of these precious sparklers had already fallen off. The second Metro arrived honking loudly to announce its arrival and to prevent any further suicides. This guy with an extraordinary sense of fashion expressed his surprise “Mai Gawd… So Kuuul.” I still wondered what was so cool about an overcrowded metro. I had to let go of this train as well. Finally I fought my way into the third metro which arrived at 6:21pm.
About 5 minutes later, a dispute broke out between two female voices, I couldn’t see them but my ears did a good job of listening. One accused the other for pushing her, and not letting her stand comfortable. To this the younger and extremely calm voice replied, “aaarrreee, aami kii apnaakee ichhe koore dhakkaaa mereechi nakii? Bhiiir Metroo te to ektuu touch lagbee ee”
“Motei na, Apnar chul ta amar pithe lagche, kut kut korche, apnar bag ta samle rakhun, ami darate parchina.” Replied an agitated voice
“Kii mushhkiiil aami kibhabe chul kaatbpo setaaoo ki aaapni bole deben naakii? Apnaar naa poshale neme janto.” I couldn’t make out how someone could quarrel so calmly.
“Nambona” replied the older voice firmly.
“Taaholee chechaben naa.. Lokjoon otheo kichu metro te… Uff…”
I wanted to laugh out loud at the tone of her accusation and the way they were quarrelling, but I was hungry, thirsty and energy deprived, hence I could only manage a feeble smile. Seeing my reflection on the black glass window, I felt good. It seemed as if I got recharged like a battery!