Apr 2, 2010
The day had begun badly. To put it more accurately, the week had begun on a sour note. A nagging shoulder pain was a source of bother every waking moment. I had to meet a client in town involving travel by the crowded local train. Since I had got up late, the only way to make it in time was by catching the super densely packed fast local.
There was enough crowd on the platform to fill up two empty trains. When the train rolled in, people were projecting out of it like over ripe fruits on a tree. I managed to wedge in one foot and, as the train started, the crowd behind me ensured that I was more inside the train than outside. With one hand on the handle, I tried to slowly drag my body forward. Part of me moved forward while the leg remained where it was. By the time I got my entire body in alignment, I lost the grip on the handle. It didn’t matter as there was no space to fall. People behind me were shouting at us to move forward. Everyone was pushing everyone else in a bid to make space where there was none.
There was certain crush equilibrium between stations but as soon as a station neared, passengers who wanted to get down made superhuman effort to squeeze past rigid bodies. At any moment, my body was pummelled from all sides as I adjusted and readjusted my posture to either give way or close a gap. The smell of unwashed hair assaulted my nose as I tilted my head at an awkward angle to avoid their taste. Even when there was just space for a hand, an entire body tried to squeeze past. It was all done in good spirits as people wiggled, pushed, pulled, resisted, turned, twisted, grimaced as needed to allow people to get in or get out.
Finally, the train reached its destination. Even before it could halt, people rolled on to the platform like tightly packed balls that are suddenly released. As I regained my balance, I shook myself like a wet dog. I was supposed to have aches all over my body but somehow, strangely, I felt better. It took me a while to identify the reason until it suddenly struck me. My shoulder pain had completely gone.