Dead End

The railway station was still alive at two in the morning. A man was selling smokes and tea... his cycle was his stall. Stale, old and cold vada pavs were available, the station was full of tired and sleepy people, and when the train came, it was almost as crowded as it would have been in the peak hours. This was the last train for the day, and most of the travelers had an hours journey ahead of them. I climbed in, I had to travel just one stop, and then take a bus ride home. Hung out near the door, feeling the quiet wind, and thinking thoughts of nothing in particular.
The railway station drew up, I got down just before a huge influx of people climbed in. God help them I thought, and went out. Outside the station, everything was empty. The street lights lit up the concrete... there was nothing on the roads. Another man, in another cycle was selling cigarettes, but that was all. A couple of beggars were sleeping soundly on the footpath, on a bed made out of newspapers. The shutters of all the shops were shut, bolted and locked. I headed over to the bus stop, there were no lines, and no buses either. It would be stupid to wait in an empty bus stop, with no buses in sight, and I was wondering what to do next when a big red bus drew up. It slowed down, I climbed in. Apart from the driver and the conductor, there were six people. One old married couple, the man glaring at me through his thick soda glass spectacles, and the old woman in the wrinkled sari whose face was crunched as if she had no lower jaw. There was another man with bloodshot eyes, singing away some song he alone knew, a bald man with a thick gold chain around his neck, and another fellow reading a book on some technical topic. The other occupant was a woman yakking away to someone on a mobile phone. The bus wasn't exactly my route, but it would drop me close enough to my home for me to walk it up, and I didn't have too many choices really. I should have realized something was funny, when the conducter came upto me and gave me the ticket. It had letterings of a language I could not recognize, and when I looked at him questioningly, he laughed and said "you probably need some time."

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