Stories about train

The evening train

The evening train, breathless, reaches its destination, The station, bleak and empty, resembles the soul of a dead poet, He drinks the unimaginative cup of tea until all that’s left is the glass, humiliating him with his own reflection, The road ahead is fearful, yet hopeful. The passengers, sound asleep, still glow under the fluorescent lights above them, The towns outside, pass by his eyes in a brief second, reminiscent of his entire existence succumbing to a single moment of clarity, His thoughts still clinging to the ultimate battle of life and death, and during all this torture, all he can think about is, The aisle that still illuminates. The sun ...

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He punched a Bangladeshi man and got arrested – would Pakistan have done the same for its minorties?

Whether you are a football fan particularly following West Ham United or prefer Asian shopping or dining at Green Street, then you are expected to have travelled to and from Upton Park Underground Station. Upton Park being, a district in the London borough of Newham, is an area that you would normally attribute to a large non-White population with welcoming environs for its migrant population. The borough, amongst other ethnic inhabitants, hosts a vast number of Muslim diaspora; in fact making it the second largest for the population of Muslims in the United Kingdom. Last week, in the heart ...

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Series 5 Finding salvation Part 2 ‘The bloody bride’

Read part one of the Finding Salvation series here. He could hear footsteps. It sounded as if someone was approaching but at a snail’s pace. This gave time for his heart to slow down. He stood hidden partly behind an old pillar. The silhouette came to light, whatever dim light was on at that time, and an old man came into view. Dragging his slight self by a cane, he slowly thudded his way towards a bench. Saleem saw him sit down on the bench, completely oblivious to his presence. The man took something out of his pocket. Trying to focus ...

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11 bizarre moments that are always expected on Eidul Fitr

So finally Ramazan has come to an end and our very own meethi Eid (aka Eidul Fitr) is here! Although there are some of us who despise the endless train of Eid visitors, some of us anticipate the various… amusing moments that are bound to arise during these holidays. Here are 11 moments that signify Eidul Fitr’s arrival: 1. The looney lunar: Many people are sleep deprived on Eid. Why, you ask? Well, what else can you expect when the announcement of Eid is sprung on you at the eleventh hour, courtesy of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee? Pakistanis, by habit, leave quite a few important things to the ...

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Why I will never return to the USA

After a year of travelling, I had planned a last, short trip. I was going to take the train from Montreal to New Orleans. The travels I had been undertaking earlier this year had brought me to places that were meant to form the background of my second novel. This trip however was for my dad. A trumpet player, he loved New Orleans and had died a year ago. It felt like the first sensible trip I undertook this year. I had been searching for ways to forget about the last hours at his deathbed. He had been ill for ...

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A commuter’s plea: Revive the Karachi Circular Railway!

I can still remember the days of my childhood in the mid 90s when I would sit in front of my father on the oil tank of his Yamaha motorcycle, en route to my uncle’s place. I can still hear myself squeal in excitement and wave my hand at the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) trains that would pass through Gharibabad level crossing. Closing of the gates, the all too familiar whistling sound and then the speedy appearance of a giant machine pulling large railway carts; it was from this fascinating experience that I started developing my love for train ...

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Pak Business Express Train – good, but far from great

Recently, I travelled through the Pak Business Express train that runs between Karachi and Lahore and is a comparatively new venture within the railway scene of Pakistan. Don’t cringe yet; this was all before the recent protests where passenger trains were set on fire and before Pakistan Railways temporarily suspended services of trains travelling from Lahore to Rawalpindi. I was accompanied by over 70 people, all headed to Islamabad via Lahore to attend the reunion of YES students. Our tickets were pre-funded and averaged Rs10,oo0 per person for a round trip. I remember receiving the tickets and being in the doldrums at the thought of ...

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Boys just can’t be girls

Sitting alone in a train compartment, I waited for my co-passengers to arrive in Bangalore. Like several people, I enjoy being a silent observer of those around me and particularly on a long journey that I was about to undertake, I figured, it was a fine pastime. I was headed from Bangalore to New Dehli.  A lady, not more than 35-years-old, struggled her way into my compartment carrying a rather heavy child in her left arm and balancing a huge suitcase in her right. Her hair undone, sweat rolling down her forehead, her eyes showed relief that she made it ...

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Journey on Scum Express

Travelling by train always fascinates me. I always compare it with the journey of life, as there are a lot of things in common between these two journeys. We wait for the right time for the train to arrive, look for the right place to board,meet new people, spend time with them and on reaching the destination, say good bye to them. A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Lahore Railway Station waiting to board the train to Rawalpindi. I always travel at night so that I can reach Rawalpindi early in the morning and spend time roaming around ...

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Pakistan Railways and class

If financial statements were Pakistan Railways’ (PR) only problem, a recent Rs11.5 billion bailout package would have been an encouraging omen for its future. The Railways’ predicament, however, like that of the entire Pakistani state, concerns [lack of] ideas and self-interested policies. By definition, it is public transport; in practice, it serves first its bureaucracy and then the passengers. Originally rail networks were built in India to link up inland economic centres to port cities for efficient transportation of raw materials for onward shipment to Britain. Profitability, then, was central to its business model and transportation of goods. A factsheet available ...

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