Railway platform is the meeting place of people from all walks of life. It is here that a high class Brahmin, rubs shoulders with1 the Harijan. People of all faiths, castes, creeds and nationalities throng the place. Some come to see off their friends and relatives while others come to board the trains bound for different parts of the country. There is always a great hustle and bustle at the platform. The voices of the children mingle with the sing-song voices of the pedlars hawking their goods.
Last Sunday I went to the New Delhi Railway platform to see off my sister who was going to Hyderabad with her husband. We hired a taxy and reached the station. There was still an hour for the train to start and I had time to look round the whole of the platform.
When we alighted at the station, we saw a huge rush of people. Motors, auto-rickshaws and scooters were coming to the station in an unending line. There were policemen to control the traffic and to see that the passengers were not put to unnecessary inconvenience by the drivers.
The seats of my sister and brother-in-law were reserved in the second class sleeper. So we did not have to bother for the tickets. I ran to the window for the platform ticket for myself. I was surprised to find that that there was a great rush at all the booking windows. The waiting room, too, was full of men, women and children. The luggage lay here and there with the passengers keeping watch over it.
I rushed back to the place where I had left my sister. We hired a coolie and entrusting the entire luggage to him asked him to follow us. I was careful enough to note the number of the coolie. Soon we were at the gate. The ticket-examiner checked our tickets and directed us to go to platform No. 3. We had to walk a long distance till we reached the stairs leading to the overbridge.
The platform presented an interesting sight It was full of passengers waiting for the train. Some were sitting on their luggage while others were walking up and down the platform There were others who were taking tea at the tea-stalls or taking a cold drink. Some others were standing at the bookstall and were looking for the book of their choice. There were scores of vendors hawking their goods.
After some time the train steamed in. People rushed to have seats. Some in their eagerness flung themselves in through the windows. I too ran for the second class sleeper coach. I looked at the reservation chart pasted outside the bogey. As there were two sleeper coaches I had to run from one to other till I found the berth reserved for my brother-in-law.
The coolie soon came with the luggage. It was placed on the right seat. My sister took her seat. There was still a great excitement. Some latecomers were put to great inconvenience. Now it was time for the train to start. The guard waved the green flag. The engine whistled and the train rolled on. I bade good-bye to my sister and brother-in-law and slowly made my way to the main gate.