Yesterday was little different than other days. We were travelling in train and there were few tunnels on the way. The passage of time when you are in tunnel it’s all dark, Even the person sitting next to you vanishes because of the lack of light.
I was talking to the lady sitting next to me, about her life and suddenly the topic of work arouse. She said – she was a nurse in one of the government hospital, and she usually visited ‘D ward’ for her work purpose. D ward is the place where all the unidentified dead bodies are kept.
She said one fine day, I was informed to visit the ward in hurry because there was a new unidentified dead body registered. As usual I went to the room and went to the spot where all fresh bodies are kept.
The room is always very quiet, with a small light bulb glowing in the center, which makes it more harder to see the no. of the dead body. The room stinks a lot – as the bodies aren’t buried or burnt. Just a piece of cloth does the work of covering. When I went near to that recently received body, It had scars on her face, and hairs undone, and cut marks on her wrist. For a moment I saw what might had happen with her. Someone murdered her at the time when she was taking bath. Half of her hair shaved, and the rest unprofessional cut. My job was to write down the number allotted to the dead bodies. Hers was 333.
My Job was done for that day. At night I still had her face in-front of my eyes. I was trying to figure out what could be the reason for her dead. That night my sleep was disturbed, and all I did was turning left and right on the bed. At night it got little cold, I searched for my blanket, covered myself up, and glanced at my mobile phone. It was 3:30 AM. I felt unease, stood up and took a round in the hospital. Near the D ward I heard a sobbing voice. A small girl. I went close to her, gave her water and told her to go home. It’s getting late, your parents will be searching for you. She gave me a wired smile, and laughed loudly. By seeing her behaving strange I ran into the next room – D ward.
The smell in the room grew more stronger. I slipped my hand to grab the phone from my pocket – And it showed 3:33. I held my phone in my right hand, and my left hand felt a piece of paper beneath it – The bulb again failed to help me read. I turned my phone to see what it was – And at that very moment I felt a shock in my spine, my legs grew weaker, my heart fully aware, and my senses fully alert.
While we were conversing we forget, we had already entered the tunnel, out of no where she handed me her phone, which had a picture of a dead body full of scars, and hairs undone. I swipe to see the next photo. It was blur, It seemed like a paper she was talking about. No. 333. Just when I was going to swipe next – her phone rang. The caller name was ‘D ward – 333’ I handed her phone without uttering a word.
The environment in the train got more quiet, I felt like someone from my side stood up and walked away. I looked at my watch, it showed 3:33 am. As the tunnel got over the women sitting beside me vanished.
I am trying hard to remember her face, But I am not able to. But the picture I saw on her mobile is still disturbing my state of mind. Who was she? Why did she chose me to tell her story, while the train had vacant seats too? I am clueless, Just trying to figure what’s coming up next.
—- Abdul Gani Punjabi