Robert Clements

SINCE there have been more and more thefts, robberies and crime on trains I decided I would pay a visit to a station to find out how the already existing railway police were being stretched to their limits in fighting crime like… women getting thrown off trains, people getting knifed and beaten up and passengers being pelted with stones.
There was no sign of any railway policeman on platform No.1. The commuters to whom I addressed the question about the whereabouts of those khaki clad species, looked at me with absolute amazement. “Railway policemen!” said an old commuter. “I remember seeing one of them in my youth.”
A man who was on platform No.2 heard what I was searching for and beckoned to me to come over. “I saw two of them here about two hours ago,” he shouted. “They normally leave tell tale trails wherever they sit. Come on over and check this platform.”
There were the familiar signs of dried paan, red in colour and beedi stubs on the ground, but from the looks of it, the endangered species had left for another hiding spot. An old woman who had heard of my search told me that she had been ten of them together in the ladies first class compartment.
“Are you sure it was them?” I asked, thinking that ten was quite a huge number for a fast disappearing race. “Yes,” said the old lady stubbornly. “They sat on our seats and made us stand all the way. I am sure it was them. They always leave me with aching feet.”
“Where was the train going to?” I asked, hoping that finally I would be able to track them to their lair. “It was not going anywhere,” said the old lady. I was just beginning to look puzzled, when a seasoned commuter came to the old lady’s help. “She means,” he said, “that the train was going to the yard.”
I walked over to the railway yard, and found the abandoned train. Abandoned by the passengers, but inside I found the rare and fast disappearing species called ‘railway policemen.’ Some were sprawled on the berths, snoring away to glory, others were busy playing cards with joyous gusto, while the rest looked out into space with half lit cigarettes in their hands and suspicious looking bottles besides them.
“Yes,” I thought to myself, “how could they bother looking after little things like the lives of passengers when they were so busy looking after their own.” I watched them and thought of how we were always fooled into thinking that if we dressed somebody in khaki, they would do their duty..!
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