My hospital is situated right beside the Jadavpur Railway Station in South Kolkata. As an internee, I usually have to spend long duty hours in the Doctors' Quarters adjoining the station. Incidentally, I happen to find myself never quite disturbed by what should be the annoying announcements over the Public Address Systems that "grace" most of the railway stations across India! Generally speaking, I have never managed to fathom what info the announcer is trying to inject upon the audience on platforms, in a single attempt listening with rapt attention,but commuters who stood beside me, newspaper in hand & apparently engrossed in the newsprint, have non-chalantly translated into Bengali what the announcements contained, which appeared nothing short of the alien language spoken by Jaadu in Koi Mil Gaya!!
Coming back to my situation, I was pleasantly surprised by this "Mute" station, which, despite being one of the busiest stations in the southern fringes of the city, didn't quite throw up a lot of sound, except the occasional blaring of the horn by some trains. Intrigued by the 'polite' nature of the station, I decided to find out what was the scenario - since I hadn't heard of a blanket ban on loudspeaker usage in the locality, a fact supported by the weekly celebration of the "ShoniPuja" by the local rickshaw pullers who revel in the rowdiness of Tolly numbers!
|in the absence of announcements,this is how|
they hope for a glimpse of their arriving train
As I approached the
platform, i was rather confused about which route to take for a train to Sealdah. The shoddily maintained platforms had directions& train instructions mentioned few and far between, which, for a newcomer like me, was quite a mystery to solve. Here was when I hit upon the reality: The Lack of Public announcements meant, I had no inkling of what to assume , as my desired train was already 15 minutes behind schedule. I insisted on asking the advice of my Co-passenger, a fruit vendor, who was impatiently waiting beside me, " Bondhu, train kokhon ashbe?" (Friend, when will the train arrive? )
Vendor: "Are ki bolbo dada, kisu i bozha zaye na.....era kuno kisu Mike e boleo na....amra roz late-e gari pai....evabe i cholse" !
(Brother, what to say? They don't announce anything on the Loudspeakers, & we get late trains everyday. This happens all the time).
|a packed platform in peak hours|