Valsa George


An Indian Railway Station


The banshee shriek
of arriving trains,
The chug- chug sound
of departing ones,
The commotion and hullabaloo
of swelling crowds,
of incessantly falling footsteps,
The rising haggle
of blue clad porters,
The screech of trolleys
across tiled floors,
The hurried departure and goodbyes
of those heading for the sleeper coaches,
The thud of falling boots
of cops in khaki uniforms,
The cries of children
jolted out from sleep,
The engine’s grate,
The hiss and rush;
A jumbled medley of scenes
and raucous sounds

A railway station never is still

Always thronged by people,
it is the haven for a floating population
not only of daily commuters
and long distance travellers,
but of people who do not have
a roof over their heads.

As the evening train
departs with a long whistle,
the crowd vanishes
making one wonder
where the exodus of people
have disappeared in seconds!
The din subsides.
The rush narrows.

As the light dims,
wayfarers who have no shelters
come and occupy the empty corners
They lay down their tired torsos
on soiled sheets spread on the floor
and soon wafted into sleep
and glide into a world of oblivion
seemingly complete
but broken by disturbing dreams
and the bite of swarming mosquitoes.

As the daytime business is closed down,
the vendors of fruits and snacks,
of plastic baubles and stuffed toys,
wind their way homewards.

Then the night business commences,
in the dark pockets around the station!

A woman in heavy makeup,
and heady perfume
lands unseen from somewhere
as driftwood on a lonely beach
and waits here, at the appointed rendezvous
for her prospective customer

The railway station thus
plays host to all
receiving and seeing off thousands
set to locations different
and missions varied!

Submitted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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  • Kanniappan Kanniappan (9/9/2013 12:21:00 AM)

    Dear Prof,
    Excellent work. I was very much involved in reading this poem, each and every paragraph is interesting and reveals what an Indian Railway station is,
    especially, wayfarers who have no shelters
    occupy the empty corners, lay down their tired torsos
    and soon wafted into sleep
    and glide into a world of oblivion,
    but broken by disturbing dreams
    and the bite of swarming mosquitoes.; And finally, not less important about what happens in the dark pockets around the station! (Report) Reply

  • Patricia Grantham (9/5/2013 9:25:00 AM)

    I worked in the City of New York and resided in the Borough of Brooklyn. I know how it
    feels to be amidst all of the hustle and bustle of commuting on the trains and standing
    on the platforms waiting for the train to arrive. Lots of noises and commotion hardly can
    hear your own voice amidst it all. Trains were a haven for the homeless and the underground
    subways told tales of all events that happened under the cover of darkness. Truly a great write
    from a great Poet and brings back memories. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh Rai (8/26/2013 10:13:00 PM)

    indian railway is the backbone of our country. it has berth for every one. a great tribute. i like to add it and share it with my fb. (Report) Reply

  • Tiku . (8/26/2013 1:14:00 AM)

    Nicely done about the confusion that ensues during arrival and departure of trains.liked it. (Report) Reply

  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (8/24/2013 10:35:00 AM)

    A lovely write from the railway platform to the human life...concluding The railway station thus plays host to all
    receiving and seeing off thousands set to locations different and missions varied! thank u nice reading this lovely poem (Report) Reply

  • Valerie Dohren (8/23/2013 1:05:00 PM)

    So much activity in railway stations, and you have captured it admirably here Valsa. Well penned. (Report) Reply

  • Tajudeen Shah (8/23/2013 6:17:00 AM)

    i wish you had something to talk to be of those souls who have lost themselves in abyss of perennial afflictions. (Report) Reply

  • Tajudeen Shah (8/23/2013 6:13:00 AM)

    Wonderful, though a very familiar live image. while reading half way thru, i was about to ask hey, stations are not always submerged in unusual din as you have drawn, but, instantly was the rest of them all and the ambiance detailed. Good, though not much of worthy Valsa penning permeated deep. I feel often very dejected, even thinking of the silently slumbering cold station in full, where only the distant signal remains an afflicted witness to the dream-lost victims. Your lines at the end reminded me of my often haunted nocturnal realities. (Report) Reply

  • David Wood (8/23/2013 5:42:00 AM)

    I love the hustle and bustle of a busy railway station with people going to and from places and the noise of the trains. A good write. (Report) Reply

  • Hazel Durham (8/23/2013 5:02:00 AM)

    You paint with words such a vivid picture of an indian railway station, all of life is here with people in different situations as they mix freely together, I could feel the atmosphere of the hustle and bustle of the large crowd!
    Beautiful write! (Report) Reply

  • Dinesh Nair (8/22/2013 10:37:00 AM)

    A vivid portrait of things we often see and hear and you have brought out the fair and the foul alike on this canvas of an all time panorama.
    But it is not at all a usual 'Valsa George poem'! The woman in heavy make up could have been spared or sent out of the platform for a while or you could have skipped her for better reasons I feel.. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas A Robinson (8/22/2013 7:03:00 AM)

    A condensation of humanity as it comes and goes
    Punctuated by the beasts of steel that devours them and takes them away
    To places that be untold
    Ilfe like the shiny cold path takes us to destinations last
    crossties are our every day pass (Report) Reply

  • Tirupathi Chandrupatla (8/21/2013 9:51:00 AM)

    Train of thoughts flowing with beautiful observations of what goes on at the station day and night. Nice poem. Please read one of my early poems 'At the Airport' when you have time. Thank you (Report) Reply

  • Geetha Jayakumar (8/21/2013 9:35:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem Valsa..Its really hallabhool in railway station...Will not know whats going on, full of commotions here and there...You have expressed so beautifully that I could picturise it very well. People appears and disappears in no time..Mosquitos are available at free of cost. A wonderful write..Loved it.

    Whenever I type Valsa it reminds me of my old friends name, I hope you dont mind me calling you Valsa. I feel so familiar with your name.. (Report) Reply

  • Aswath Raman (8/21/2013 8:30:00 AM)

    Ofcourse, thats the perfect cattle house ma'am! The stable of India! But you missed the vigilant pickpockets and angry station master! Yet this write felt like a live video documentary (Report) Reply

Read all 20 comments »

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