He wore a faded blue leans, which was torn at the knee.
One wouldn’t say he couldn’t carry it. But, somehow, he didn’t seem the type who wore torn jeans for the hype of it. Nor would anyone say that the pair of torn jeans didn’t suit him. But somehow, he didn’t have the rugged look that complements a pair of torn jeans, apparently. Nor would anyone say that he looked like a country-side cowboy. He was a dark boy, averagely built, with a starved look on the otherwise handsome face.
Something was missing. One could almost feel that, but could never reach out to whatever it was. He stood on the platform, leaning on one of the pillars. Unlike most of the passengers, who crowded around the television, he just stared into space. He stared deep into the tunnel from which the train was expected to slither out any time. Nor did he join the people who came sweating and panting, from the sweltering heat outside, and fought for the few fans on the platform. He was sweating profusely. But he seemed to be completely in peace with the increasing beads of sweat on his upper lip. He seemed to be in agreement with the beads-turning-into-runnels of salty water that ran down from his forehead, down his face, into his neck. His shirt was soaked wet. But looking at him, no one would feel that he was in distress. It was as if, he had his own source of cooling agent, somewhere around him, which no one could see, nor share.
He didn’t show the slightest of care.
People were tired. The most of them, who didn’t manage to get the seats, or the fan, tried to blow dust away, in patches from the floor, and sit there. He didn’t even seem tired. But, despite being or doing what no one else around him was, he didn’t attract attention. He didn’t stand out. He seemed to be a part of his surroundings, more than any of the daily train passengers around.
He was unnaturally unobtrusive.
A siren rang, shrill and long. There was an announcement. Someone had jumped into the tracks, a few stations away, and committed suicide. All trains would be cancelled on that line, for the next half an hour.
Within moments, the noise of people murmuring rose above the loudspeaker’s blare. Some people were worried about the near and dear ones of the life lost. Some people were worried about their own travel plans. They blamed and cursed the person who had decided to die, and thus brought upon everyone, this misfortune.
Most people started shuffling around towards the exit. The crowd on the platform gradually thinned.
Some still squatted on the floor, or sat spread-legged on the wrought-iron seats. To wait for half an hour, or more, was not a big deal, for them.
He still stood in the same posture, with the same expression on his face. Without moving an inch, he took out a cell phone from his shirt pocket. He pressed a few keys, and put the phone to his ears.
“It’s done. She’s dead.”
After less than a minute, he put the phone back. But, this time, not into the chest pocket of his shirt. He put it into the pocket of his jeans. The phone dropped deep into the linen pit.
He squatted down on the floor.