It was 9am. We had been waiting for Amita now for 1 hour. I called up her home, her mother told she left by 7. Amita never carried a mobile phone, she hated it. Eva had already lost her patience. She called up Shweta. Chaitra and Shweta were on a different location trying to get some sponsors for our project. I, Eva and Amita were to shoot Mithi river near Bandra station. We were currently at platform 1. Suddenly, Amita arrived. Eva came back saying bye to Shweta on the phone.
"Tu abhi aayi??"
This was so like a cheap daily soap situation. Felt like picking up my camera and shooting them using those amazingly irritating camera effects zooooom zaaammmmm pan tilt…red, green blue….ok relax!
My eyes were about to pop out. Eva just slapped Amita. Ok, guys…Amita was doing her post graduation while we were in our first semester of graduation. And considering Eva, it was all the more difficult.
Another SLAP!! This time it was Amita. Eva’s specs went flying on the platform. I ran to catch them. I observed by the sound that Amita’s slap was many times harder that Eva’s. By now, we are surrounded by people. Early office going bored people who would love some fun on the go. I separated the ladies who were all prepared to take it all to next level. Slaps were just a start. I could sense the anger and I am sure, had I not separated them, one of them was sure to be thrown in front of a borivali slow. Amita left right away. I asked Eva why did she do that.
"Last time usne kaha tha ki agar woh der se aaye to use thappad maar dena…so maine maar diya"
I had no words to reply. This was so not what I had planned. I had to shoot, then go to college and edit the footage. Acting as a referee to a ladies’ wrestling match was nowhere on my list. Then it struck me that Eva spoke to Shweta right before this. I don’t know why but I called up Shweta.
"What did you tell Eva??"
"What did I tell her??"
"Arey, abhi Eva se teri kya baat hui??"
"Usne bola ki woh aaj Amita ko thappad maaregi agar woh aayi to…"
"Aur tumne kya kaha??"
"Maine kaha jo karna hai kar!!….ek second…Himanshu kahi.."
"Haan shweta, she slapped Amita right on platform 1 on Bandra station"
"Oh shit…I didn’t know she would actually do that! Give the phone to her please"
I tossed the phone to Eva. And I began looking for Amita. I didn’t want the problem to increase. Luckily I found her waiting at the platform for next train.
"Amita, uski taraf se main sorry bolta hun. Ab chal na please, we have to shoot alot of stuff"
(Inside me, I only know how much I hated myself for doing that. I would have really appreciated if she would have moved out of the project.)
"Dekh Himanshu, main sirf teri wajah se chal rahi hun…"
She came back with me to where Eva was sitting, now crying. Seeing Amita, she disconnected Shweta’s call.
"I am sorry Amita. Mera tujhe insult karne ka koi intention nahi tha. Tune pichhli baar kaha tha ki agar tu late aaye to tujhe thappad maarna so maine maar diya. I didn’t want to humiliate you or anything."
"Its ok Eva. I was also very late. Now, lets go."
They smiled and began walking towards end of platform discussing about what all we would shoot.
Whatever happened to “Dekh Himanshu, main sirf teri wajah se chal rahi hun…”!!!
And I was looking at them literally expressionless waiting for someone to explain me what was all that?? Girls I tell you. People should have now gathered around to see how they were talking to each other. Few minutes back they were all ready to break the jaws of the other. And look at them now, sisters. Grrrrr!!!
I assumed they would take the bridge at the end of the platform but they just kept walking and finally, they got down on the tracks. What the F***!! I am not walking on the tracks. But who listens to the poor cameraman. They continued walking on a track that was not used. I was relieved.
The tracks ended at the bridge on Mithi river. Amita crossed to the extreme left track from extreme right because it is rarely used by trains. She had the camera as of now. We too crossed.
When we were all there, she started her usual nautanki “I want to shoot!”. I was in no mood of arguing. I gave her the camera to shoot (I was the one who was supposed to edit it so no issues you see). She took a small pan shot and then started moving towards Mahim station on the bridge.
My breath ceased! If she falls with the camera in that water, I would be screwed big time! The camera was issued in my name after all. Hey, did I hear the word MEAN?? Ok I agree I was more bothered about the camera than Amita but I had told her many times to wait. She only didn’t listen. Within seconds she was on the other side. I too had to follow her and cross. Eva followed me mumbling something. She was equally shocked.
“Lets go to Mahim station…walking on the tracks!!” Amita suggested.
I and Eva looked at each other and said in one go “NO!”. This time if Eva would have shown any interest to kill Amita, I wouldn’t have stopped her. A little disappointed, Amita agreed and dropped the idea of walking to Mahim station.
I told everyone to cross and go to the other side since there were some slums. I wanted to shoot them. We crossed two tracks, two more left. These two were the Churchgate and Borivali tracks, the busiest ones. We crossed the Churchgate track and noticed there was a train coming on it. We looked at the other side, and there was a train on the Borivali track too. Merlin’s Beard!! We were about to be sandwiched between two speeding trains.
I, Eva and Amita were stoned. We didn’t move at all and within few seconds a roar was around us. Both the trains were passing at full speed. I had closed my eyes. I could feel the monsters around me. I was feeling as if I am crossing over to some other world. I was telling all my loved ones how much I love them. Those few seconds felt like an hour. Finally it was clear. We quickly crossed the borivali track.
Now was the challenge, to cross that bridge on the river. That too on Borivali track. A couple of track maintenance workers where also there. One of them came to us and said, “Aap log cross kar lo, mere paas laal jhandi hai, agar train aayegi to main rok lunga.” We were relieved hearing this. We began crossing.
Once again my heart was pounding as if it would come out of my mouth. Below me, black, super polluted water was flowing. I was thinking if I would fall in this, I wouldn’t want to live. God knows how many diseases will I catch.
BANG! Right in front of me, I saw a plate missing. I was about to step on it. I carefully dodged the gap and kept moving. I could see that a couple of more plates were missing ahead. Mummy! Where am I stuck! I had MD9000 in my hand, which is a big and comparatively expensive camera (that time at least).
As soon as we reached the end, we quickly moved to the side. A train passed behind us, growling. I looked at that maintenance guy and felt like telling him to shove his red flag up his…We drank water and gathered our senses.
I took interview of a person staying in that area and took some short shots here and there. We then began our walk back to the platforms. We were walking on those abandoned tracks we had taken earlier. The second platform came much before the first one. I quickly climbed it. The ladies, however, continued their journey on the tracks. I shouted at them to climb the platform as soon as possible but they wanted to be on platform 1. Girls I tell you.
The moment Amita climbed the platform, a train passed behind her whooshing swiftly. Her face was white. For the first time I saw her horrified. We all met on the bridge and decided to sit on the platform for sometime before we left for college. Amita left for some work leaving me and Eva.
Then! Eva began crying. And not sobbing, crying loudly. “I want to talk to Shweta, right now!” she was constantly repeating. I didn’t know why was she doing that but my priority was to calm her down. I called up Shweta and gave the phone to Eva. After a couple of minutes, Eva was feeling much better. Though Eva didn’t tell Shweta what exactly happened.
Ironically, the platform speakers started playing their jingle – “Blah Blah blah blah…ghar par koi nanha aapka karta hai intezaar…..Rail ki patri…paar na karen, pulon ka karen istemaal…Aap rahenge sada surakshit aur hamesha hi khushhaal….Bharatiya Rail dwaara jan hit mein jaari”. I and Eva couldn’t help but laugh hearing this. This laughter eased both of us a little (for sometime at least…since my head was yet to go bonkers).
We reached college and all my way, I had only one thing in mind, I wanted to meet Shweta. The whole incident took some time to settle in me but when it did settle, I was restless, sweating and really horrified. The fact that I could have lost my life and never seen this world again was too much to think about. My parents wouldn’t have been able to see me again. Shit! I was going crazy. I was missing Kukki bhaiya, mausi, didi, lavu and everybody else I loved. Mujhe Abhishek se bhi turant baat karni thi aur Anurag ko bhi sab batana tha, Kasturika ki bhi haal chaal leni thi…I was really out of my head.
I called up Shweta. She was about to reach college. I stood at the gate waiting for her. It was afternoon and a blazing sun was right above my head. After me calling her five times (to her and Chaitra’s annoyance), the auto finally appeared. I just went near her and smiled. I was glad to see her. I was glad to see both of them to be true. I was glad to be seeing this world again actually. Shweta was a bit puzzled about this behaviour of mine. Chaitra assumed it be one of the majnu symptoms of a boy recently fallen in love. I still loved her. I was loving everything around. Life was suddenly so beautiful.
After having lunch in college, we spoke to each other and told everything that happened. I and Eva were shouted at for having followed what Amita had to do. But we were all glad to be together once again. Best part was, when we watched the footage, there were some good shots.