Wrapping up my work for the day, I sighed and thought to myself, “time to pack up”. But that was not to be. It was not the time to pack up, as yet.
It was around 7.20 when I left my office. I walked to the station, and called my flatmate Sakshi on the way, letting her know that I would be home in about half an hour. Reaching Khar Station, I got into the First Class Ladies compartment in a Slow Churchgate local. I like to stand in the train, and as usual I stood on the footboard. Mentally chalking out the to-do list for the weekend, I realized that I had forgotten to make an important call, and must do so. I do not like talking on the phone in general, in trains even more. So I thought for a split-second, let me not make that call right now. I shall reach home and then think about it. But then, I called my friend nonetheless. She did not pick up. I disconnected. As I was about to put my phone back in my bag, a text popped up. I had just unlocked the phone to check the text, and next I knew, I was flying out of the train, landing on the tracks, in the middle of nowhere.
It took me a minute to understand what had happened, as I saw someone erstwhile perched on the top of an electric pole on the tracks, climbing down and running away with my phone. I was conscious, thanking the heavens for little mercies. I managed to stand up straight. With only miles and miles of railway tracks in every direction around me, I felt like a headless chicken. And thinking about the rape incident from previous night, and seeing the phone-snatchers running away in glee, I panicked. Not knowing what to do, I started to soak in the information. I had been pulled out of the moving train by a person perched on an electric pole. I had fallen down, and I was alive. I had escaped hitting the pole by a few centimeters, and the loose rusted track grids by a few millimeters. I had lost my phone. I had my handbag with me. My laptop bag was still in the train. The train had left. And I was all alone, on the tracks, with no clue of what’s next. I started walking on the tracks. I saw a train coming towards me from afar. With no other option in mind, I started waving frantically, hoping the motorman would heed and halt. And indeed, he did. He asked me what happened; I narrated the story in broken sentences. He asked me to get on the train. I did. I got down at Bandra station, looked for the railway police, and informed the on-ground officials about the laptop bag. They helped me calling the helpline, and I was assured that the bag would be found.
In the meanwhile, some people in the train which I fell from had reached Bandra station, and informed the station master about the incident. Before I reached Bandra, a team of police officials had already left in my search on the tracks. The officials who were helping me out with tracking the laptop bag, started talking to me. I told them what had happened, and at the same time they received a frantic call that no one was found on the tracks. They put two and two together, and realized that I was the same girl who was being searched for. All this while, I was thinking of ways to inform my friends of the incident, as I did not recollect ANY phone numbers, and the phone was stolen. I just remembered my dad’s number, and I did not want to call him. There was a sudden commotion on the platform, as the senior police team came looking for me. I was taken to the police station, my complaint registered, my laptop bag retrieved, while being constantly prepped by a lady constable and a police officer, who were by my side throughout the whole situation. I was then taken to a hospital.
While I was waiting for the doctor, I rummaged through my bag in the hope of finding someone’s contact information. But all in vain. I had no numbers. Suddenly, it struck me to check my wallet, for I might have some friend’s business card. I searched the wallet. All the business cards were of either clients, or of odd pop-up shops owners. But I had my business card with me, which had my office landline number. Expecting an office boy to answer, I called up office, thinking at least someone will know that what has happened. A colleague answered the call. Amidst tears and choking, I managed to tell him enough for him to be landing in the hospital in the next fifteen minutes, accompanied by two more colleagues. After numerous tests, X-rays, sonography and dressings, I was taken back to the police station. After completing a few formalities, I was allowed to go home. Reaching home, I dug out the numbers of friends from Google Contacts, and called a few to tell them of the incident.
Sleeping between nightmares through the night, I had so many reasons to be thankful to the higher powers. Everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong. Yet, everything was so right. The bruises pained, but the relief of being alive acted as a big painkiller. The shock of what could have been is great, but the thankfulness for what did not happen is greater. It was not the time for pack up yet, after all!