An Hour On A Railway Platform

An Hour On A Railway Platform
            The Indian railway is one of the largest in the world. It has its own share of problems, lime accidents, delays, manpower shortage, shortage of space and so on. One such problem is lack of punctuality. Thousands of people all over India are affected when a train is late or is delayed.
            Once our family had gone to Solapur for a few days. On our return we planned to catch the Jayanti Janata Express from Solapur to Bombay. The train was arrive at 7.50 p.m. We were at the station by 7 p.m. There was an announcement over the public address system at 7.45 p.m. that the train would be 90 minutes late because of some derailment. We found seats and bought a few magazines.
            I soon lost interest in the magazines and wondered how I could spend the time. I was restless.
            Then I began noticing the people around me. The vendors at the stalls were all busy, some arranging their wares and some were cooking. Some passengers on the platform were checking their luggage. There were beggars counting their money. The sweepers were doing their jobs. There was an electrician repairing some connection. He was being helped by another man, also in uniform. Some porters were sleeping, others talking and playing cards.
            The Station Master came out of his office and went into the next office. I wondered why, so I got up and had a look. He was talking to the telegraphist. Others were coming to report to the station master and going about their work.
            I started observing and wondering how the stations were run so smoothly. I was amazed when I thought of the many employees and people working night and day to keep the railways and all the thousands of stations and kilometres of rail tracks, in working order.
            I also saw something of the life of the number of people who lived off the railways and of people whose life and livelihood depended on the travellers and the railways.
            When the train arrived 3 hrs. Late, I did not realize how late it was ! Because I was so interested in what I was observing. I never thought a 3 hours delay could turn out to be so enjoyable, interesting and educative.