Monday, January 4, 2010

The Night Shift

Have you ever observed the big railway stations at night? Sometimes, the train you are traveling on is made to wait in the outer limits and you can notice the bright lights ahead as a glow. The steel rails gleam in the golden light from the sodium vapour lamps. The outer limits usually have goods train parked in the non used bays. There are some dimly lit parcel and goods godowns and warehouses. Rarely do you see people on the platform in front of these warehouses. The open doors of the unloaded goods van wait for someone to latch it back.

That night Tukaram had night duty. The shift started at 8p.m. There had been some work of the electric lines. By the time it was done, it was ten in the night. There was nothing much to do through the night, so he went to the duty room. The engineer saab Mr.Shinde saw him and asked if all was Ok. He said, “Yes”
“Have you put back all the tools you took?”
“Yes, saab”

Mr. Shinde went out to check in the tool room. And soon he called out,” Tukaram”
“Ji, Saab”
“Where is the ladder?”
“I asked Balram and Gupta to bring it back”
“Well, they seem to have forgotten. You bring it here. Find someone to help you.”

Tukaram muttered under his breath. Those two always left work pending. He passed the last lamp post. The ladder lay beyond. It was quite dark there. The cloudy night shut out the moonlight too. There was nobody around. He tried to pull up the ladder, but it was too heavy for him. Suddenly, he noticed that Gupta was walking towards him from the other end. He called out, “Guptaji, just pick the other end of the ladder and help me take it to the tool room.”

Tukaram turned around and started walking. The ladder didn’t weigh now with Gupta holding the other end. On the way he said, “Guptaji, I told you and Balram to keep it back. Shinde saab got angry with me.” Gupta was silent. They almost reached the tool room and suddenly there was a power interruption. Tukaram turned around and said to Gupta.
“Just follow, I know to guide it in”
The overcast cleared and the moon shone down.
The long ladder just hung there perfectly parallel to the ground. There was no one at the other end.

When he came to, he found Gupta and Balram beside him.
“ What happened, buddy? I heard my name called out. We were at the canteen and came rushing to find that you had swooned under weight of that ladder. You should have called us to give a helping hand. No one can lift it alone, really”
Tukaram now wondered. “Was that man at the other end of a bigger build?”


  1. Pretham! Pretham!
    Me likes the story.:) For once I thought Gupta must have died and it was his ghost who helpedpoor Tukaram. Those places near the station you mentioned definitely look very spooky.

  2. Those words "outer limits" gave me a clue that this story would be something extraordinary. Rail stations do lend themselves to mystery. They seem to have fallen out of favor with most writers here in the U.S.

  3. Very well written and excellent expression.

  4. Woahh !!

    A good Write. Impressive, must say.
    And a real interesting one.

  5. hey
    happy new year :) this is my first visit here.....`nice post... i kinda guessed there somethng supernatural there... so wat inspired the story.... i m hoping to hear its true :)
    n Holy Lama... nice name... i like it... could u explain a bit mre wat it signifies....hope to c u arnd....

  6. :)..Imaginations some times help up alottt..:) nice one in all ways..

    i used to see stations iduring night time while traveling..:).

    I too wonder, what made u write this story ??wanna know.. heh.. LoL..

  7. Whoaaaa!!! Fabulous!
    I loved it to the core. The story never slips till the last paragraph. Beautifully told. Railway stations always give a perfect setting for any kind of story, and this was just perfect.
    Nothing fascinates me more than stories do.
    Write more and let me read more. :-)

  8. Too perfect. I loved the excellent description of the railway station. Thats exactly how they are.

    Waiting for more :-)

  9. Destiny's child
    I leave it your imagination, pretham, hallucination, or anything else.

    Welcome here. Railroads are fascinating and yes, I know, America has lost interest in these. Its freeways, express ways and more.

    B K Chowla
    Glad you liked it.:)

    Thanks for the appreciation.

  10. nups
    Welcome to the world of lama. Well, to be honest lamas have always intrigued me, thus the pen name. I wish I could be as wise and as detached from the materialistic world as them.

    Being Promoda
    I leave it to you to guess. But I think it is just a way to say that Ghosts help those who want to help themselves.

    I know you weakness for the supernatural:)

    Now if I may take the privilege, Kya kahta hai aapka antarman?

    A New Beginning
    Sana, I recently saw your interview. Was a surprise to see someone so young. Your wise posts created another pic in mind.

    Wait, my dear. Your wishes shall be granted.:)

  11. amazing one..very well written..the image goes perfect with the story..:)

  12. OMG! Very Nice! Pretham for sure...He He..You should have added "to be continued...."

  13. Iyooo! Ghost story! You know how much I like ghost stories :-) Well, loved reading it..Did this actually happen?? oooo...

  14. Neha
    Thank You.

    Should i plan a sequel?

    Novice Writer
    Knew you would like it :)

  15. Hey that was really good! Enjoyed the eerie ending.

  16. Racy, intuitive and intriguing from start to end. Simply loved it. Here's to your imagination :)

  17. Aparna
    Glad you liked it.

    Thanks for the appreciation.

  18. Hey..nice write-up , i didnt really get the end part though. Ghost?

    What made you think up this story?

  19. brr.. my first time here and whatay spooky start :D
    loved the suspense. off I go to read your other posts..

  20. Gymnast
    Welcome here. Ghost for sure:)

    Spooky, eh! You'll find that I'm just a peace loving lama.:D

  21. I was waiting for a shock, coz when I read the title and a few of the first lines, I understood, it was going to be a horror story...
    well...who or what was the inspiration for this post? :)

  22. Very well written!! It was really good!!

  23. Tomz
    Well, I just changed the milieu of an anecdote I heard long ago.

    Nazish Rahman
    Welcome back here. Where were you? Long time no see.

    The Case of the missing help, eh?