"can you please tell me the schedule? "she asked,enervated by all the running she had done in past 15 minutes.There was a look of apprehension on her face,yet it looked cherubic,almost ethereal.
"which train?" came the reply.
She was now breathing more easily.
"Tell me which trains come here in the next 20 minutes".
The railwayman looked up from his register,at the enquirer,piqued by her words.
"About 10 trains will be arriving here in the next 20 minutes."He replied.
"Will all of them stop to take passengers at this station"
"Exactly where do you want to go ,young lady?"
"Anywhere"she replied curtly.
"very well then" said the railwayman,turning his gaze back to the old ragged register.
"Within the next 20 minutes,trains will be arriving at platform 3,5,6,7, 13 and 15,but only the one at station 7 will stop to take passengers.The others have no stoppage here.Other platforms that expect coaches shortly are 12,17,21,and 9."
A smile came over her angelic face.She moved fast towards platform 7,which was the nearest.
Suddenly she realised that someone was following her,and in a second she turned around,ready for fight.
"WHAT? " she shouted.
She took a sigh of relief.
"can't you see that i have no luggage on me"
"but ma'm in case you are expecting someone,i could carry his luggage"
She threw a suspicious glance at him,and moved away,as fast as possible.
Platform 7 was just a few metres away from the enquiry counter and a deluge of people filled the space between track 6 and 7. She stood near a bench,and as soon as the old man occupying it stood up,took it.
A rather young man sat next to her.As if totally enchanted by beauty,he kept stealing looks at her.She tried to ignore him.
"where to?"He somehow mustered enough courage to start a conversation.
"Wherever my love takes me.I will go anywhere with him". She was ecstatic at the very thought of being with the man she loved so much.
"love story!!"the man exclaimed."I thought they were extinct".He asked after a slight pause,"eloping?"
"you could say that" she replied.
"But where is he?" he asked,"the train will be coming any time now"
"He should be here" she said,now breathing faster.Her apprehension was now growing with every passing second.She looked around,as the crowd grew thicker.
The loudspeaker suddenly came to life and an announcement about delays were made.
"Almost all trains 15 minutes late"said the man,as the loudspeaker turned dead and the chaos at the station continued,"can i hear your love story".
The girl obliged,as she was eager to talk about her love.This was anyways the last man in town she was going totalk to.
"He was a servant.Worked for my father."she sighed,and then continued,"we fell in love 3 years ago.I could never gather enough courage to tell my father.I knew he would get Ram killed for loving me."
"Four days ago,We decided to get married secretly.My sister was to arrange for it,but she betrayed our faith."
"Ram ran for his life,and promised to meet me here on this very day.They ran after him.My friend told me she saw him running towards the station,chased by my father's myrmidons.I was locked in my room. Yesterday,somehow i escaped."
The man stared at her.Surely this was a perfect love story, that ,he thought existed only in movies.
"but he is still not here" he said,searching in the crowd,as if he would recognize him.
The girl looked unperturbed.It looked as if she was lost in a reverie.
"Are you sure he is staunch?"he asked,wondering if a heartbreak was imminent.
"Love is all about faith,i know he will do anything to be with me,and so will I.We promised to be together,throughout our life,and even after death"she replied.
"even after death" the man repeated,slightly amused.
"is that why they say people are overcome with madness when in love?" he continued,"you look educated enough to not believe in after-life"
"Earlier I did not,but if there is a slightest chance of being at peace in the arms of Ram even after death,i'd rather let go of science"
"when was he supposed to be here? " the man asked.
"at 7 a.m "
The man was shocked.He looked at his watch ,it said 9 p.m.
"14 hours ago!!"'he exclaimed."I am afraid dear,i do not think he will be coming."
"DONT SAY THAT"she shouted."I am sure he is still here,waiting for me."
"still?"the man looked confounded.
"My father sent men looking for me.They found me at the station,and i had to leave.I lost them about an hour ago,and now i am here to be one with my love."
A long whistle could be heard now.A train was arriving at track 6.The girl suddenly got up,as she saw the train speeding to the station.She ran to it as the train neared the station and jumped in front of it.The man sat there,transfixed,watching,as the train split her beautiful body into two, and the train came to a grinding halt,as the driver realised what had happened.Her lifeless body lay on the tracks.
The man stood up,as a railwayman ran to the spot,shouting aloud,"A murder first and now a suicide.Second incident in a week!!God help us !!!"