Asit knew it was too good to be true. Running on the pavement of Rashbehari Avenue, battling for space with hawkers, it seemed he was running the last battle of his life. The darned bus on route 3C/1 reached 5 minutes late and he barely had a minute before the metro at 9.53AM would arrive. As soon as he stepped into the Kalighat metro station, he bumped into a security officer. There he could hear the metro leave.
Avash was impatiently waiting for Asit at M.G.Road. They were ten minutes late and the exam starts in twenty minutes. Asit was in the habit of turning up late at places, but Avash had not expected him to repeat the same during exams too. Miffed he was rubbing his palms eagerly. Ah, there appeared the moron. Two solid punches on the bum. Avash was a happy man.
Tara collapsed on the platform. The world seemed to have taken a tide for her. All she could see were waves of tears gushing at her. She wanted to drown, but someone was pulling her up. How could Rajit do this? They were supposed to meet at Haldirams at 4PM. She came in a bit early to surprise him. In one corner of the deserted Rabindra Sadan platform, Rajit was embraced in a kiss with a girl!
A month later…….
Asit was not only on time but reached before Avash. He loved to sit on the platform of metro stations and watch Incoda TV. To add to his joy, they were playing songs of A R Rahman. Time flew as he immersed himself into Rahmanism. It was then that it struck him that his 90 minutes to use the ticket was going to be over in 15 minutes. Boarding the next north bound train, he got off at Park Street.
After strolling for about an hour on the streets, a mini burger lunch at MacDonalds, and window shopping at Oxford, Asit began to worry. Avash had never been so late. He tried his phone, but the number was unavailable. Worried, Asit walked back towards the metro station to check on at Avash’s home. The queue at ticket counter was serpentine. There was a commotion. Trains were cancelled between Dumdum and Park Street. A “couple” committed suicide at Girish Park………
Later that night……..
Asit just returned from Keoratola crematorium. Avash’s burning face haunted him. He could still not understand why Avash kept the news of his girlfriend hidden from him. That too Tara! He always thought Tara understood the “special” relationship Avash and Asit shared. More than the sense of loss, the breach of trust harrowed him.
The Next Day……..
Somewhere at the office of a news channel the anchor read from the teleprompter:
Just Breaking In. Kolkata witnesses yet another suicide on metro tracks, ill fated Girish Park becomes host to yet another disillusioned youth who took away his life. Police tells us that the person who met his fate belongs to a posh South Kolkata locality and studies in Presidency College. His name is Asit……………..
Epilogue – CCTV footage from Girish Park metro station revealed that a girl in her early twenties jumped off the platform at 11.53AM. Seeing her jump, another boy (probably someone who knew her) tried to bring her back to platform. When she refused, and he guessed her intentions, he jumped off too to push her back. Right at that moment a speeding train bound for Sovabazar entered the station…… Fait accompli.
P.S. – Today marks the completion of 26 years since Kolkata metro undertook it’s first journey from Esplanade to Bhawanipore. India’s first and Kolkata’s pride, the metro suffers a lot due to people who choose to end their lives on the tracks. But the metro also weaves stories across lives, no?
Here’s wishing Kolkata Metro keeps making us proud!