The Wet Railing by Anirban Nanda

I wrote this story to fight with my writer’s block participating in #1000wordsmarathon. I wrote it within 50 mins. Hope you would like it.


by Anirban Nanda

What will you feel if you are tied to an iron for your whole life? Pretty bad, nah? Well, think about me. Yes, me. I am a railing; a thin cylindrical metallic rod to prevent you from falling off from a metro. I am too old now, a bit rusty and fragile. Maybe I am no use to you, but still you can lend your ear for a few minutes to this old man’s ─sorry, not man, old railing would be more appropriate─ meaningless ramblings.


This is monsoon you know. And for me, monsoon comes to me with bittersweet feelings. Bitter because it gifts me rust on my body and corrode it bit by bit; and sweet, yes; not because I am very romantic or something ─I even never read a poem─ and also not because I love to be wet all day. It’s because coolness of monsoon keeps my body in real shape. Shape means you know, I get inflated in summer ─same as you people get─ due to simple physics, and I get shrunk in winter. It’s the monsoon that keeps me in actual shape; like zero figure. I hear zero figures are very popular among you. Is it so?

Are you getting bored? Yes? Please bear with this old iron, my mind doesn’t work straight in this age. Will you listen? Thank you. You are travelling, nah? Where? To find a job? Oh! That’s great. You know we all find something in our life. We keep doing that till our last breath. But you know the sad thing? The moment we find the thing we want, we start seeking something else. And it goes on in a circle forever. Like those Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Okay, let me tell you an interesting story. Not much interesting if you come to think of it. Just my daily experience. You know, like a page from my personal dairy ─don’t look at me like that, I don’t have a dairy though.

It was Sunday. My favourite. You know why? Because unlike all other weekdays, on this day, people travel for different reasons; not like going to same place, dropping on same stoppage. So, it was a Sunday morning and a family ─mummy, papa and their daughter─ boarded in beside me. The girl was very cute, maybe of age five. And it seemed like she was travelling in metro for the first time. Her parents sat in seats but she refused to do the same and rather stood near window, gripping me tightly, with her chin touching my neighbor below and her forehead touching me collinearly along her hands. Her eyes were gleaming. The moment, the carriage started moving from a stoppage, she giggled. So cute. And she kept asking her father; what was that building? What was that bridge? Why that dog was lying like that? The dog was lynched, by the way. She couldn’t understand that in that age in anyway. So, she just kept asking questions after questions about different trees, malls, structures and I kept answering her in my mind. Then she pointed her finger to a crippled beggar near a dustbin. My heart sank. Ask why. There are so many beggars I see each day, why would I care about that beggar? Because I was a witness of that accident. Yes, he was a good, working young man like you, seeking for job every day. We talked a lot like I’m talking with you now. But on that day, it was late in night and he was returning to board and go back to his residence. He was crossing the high way and that truck; yes, that truck. It was ridiculous. Know what was the speed? I got a pretty good idea as I travel 24 hours. It was nearly 95 kmph. Nothing was there in his left leg from thigh. Totally bloody stuff. I had to leave right then and I could not wait to see if anyone took him to hospital immediately. All I knew after that, that he never boarded again and sat beside me. It felt pretty sad you know.

So that girl got off after few stoppages and new people arrived. A couple sat by me after that little girl. They kept to themselves all the time and I was enjoying the sweet rain as I am enjoying now with you. You know, when for the first time I was fixed here in this window, I was spellbound to witness countryside scenery. It was so beautiful! Those shiny buildings, chirpy people. Everyone was running, like his life depended on it. I couldn’t wait in those times to travel all the day. Now it has become boring. Who would like to see same thing for years? Too mundane. So, I talk to people like you, who had none to share his feelings. If you are an author, I could be a good source of inspirations. Are you listening? Thank you. So, pretty soon those lovers also got off.

In this way, the whole day many people went to different places. None held me that day except that little girl you know. I mean, who holds a railing these days? I was just observing people in different stations without giving an ear to whoever sat by me. Thus came the last round, and I would be heading to depot. Then that girl again boarded and sat beside me. Guess that girl? No, no, not that cute little girl. The girl from that couple. Yes, that girl. She sat there beside me and kept gazing outside. I was sure that she was not staring outside to enjoy the night scenery. How could she? Her eyes were brimming with tears. Then she came closer to me and held me. Second time it was on that day. Rain had stopped by then. I know she was sad. It may seem selfish to you but I was very happy, because someone cared to hold my rusty body. Who would hold this filthy metal anyway? When wind flew hard as the carriage sped up, she could not help but blink and teardrops fell on me. I was wet again.

©Anirban Nanda


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