Memories

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When a 3rd grade construction actually saved my life




So another post in my series of travel misadventures is finally here. You must have read about various incidences where pathetic, third class infrastructure has claimed lives, what if I told you that it saved mine and I’m not joking. The saviour this time was the pathetic infrastructure condition of Kanpur. 

The main initiator was Indian Railways as always. This happened a few weeks back when I was going from Lucknow to Kanpur via the local train. The train stopped at murray company bridge (the flyover is above and the tracks run below) waiting for the signal to turn green signalling an empty platform at Kanpur Central. The main advantage by people alight there is that Mall road is just five minutes walking distance and it saves a lot of time for people who have to go to the railway station, come out and then take an E rickshaw which can take up easily close to half an hour. The main problem is that we have to see whether a train is coming on the adjoining track or not. The gap between the two tracks is very less so people have to be mindful of where they’re standing. The train drivers also know this fact and they passed that juncture at very low speed. 

That day my train stopped and then decided to get down but then another goods train came on the adjoining track and an aborted alighting from the right side and decided to use the left so that I can stand few meters away at a safe distance and watch the train pass and then easily get cross the two tracks and my make my way out. My train went off but the goods train did not move an inch. As the clock was ticking by I heard a few locals tell people to take the stairs to the flyover above and bypass the rail tracks by alighting on the main road on the other side. It made sense because no one knew that the goods train would move in how much time? I was not willing to risk crossing from underneath the wagon coupling , I had never tried it and would never do it. I decided to use the stairs but the real problem started after I climbed 7 of them. 

The problem with the stairs is that they are constructed in a zigzag fashion, and not straight up, without any safety railing to hold onto, made of cement and RCC slabs along with a bit of iron but due to the weather effects in all presently they are in the pathetic condition and dangerous. I was just six steps away from the top but there were multiple issues - there was another turn to the left, as the stairs reached the top they started getting smaller in length which made it tough to properly get a strong foothold, at various places the construction material was jutting out and not safe. The gap between the two stairs was wide enough that in case you did not pay any attention, your leg could easily get dislodged in the gap and you could get yourself seriously hurt. 

Although I have no problem with heights but that day due to the hot weather, load off my backpack I started feeling dizzy at the various options available before my eyes and one mistake which I did was to look down on the rail tracks below…. That gave me a sudden bout of vertigo and I knew that the moment I would take another step forward I would fell down on the tracks. I know when to abort missions so decided to turn back, wait for the goods train to pass and then made my way  forward otherwise in case of any untoward incident nobody would know what happened to my fate. Now even getting down was harder than climbing up. Afraid that the backpack load might make me come down rolling on the stairs I decided to hold the bag in my hand to have better control over my center of gravity on the stairs. Luck favoured me then as when I was just three stairss away from the ground, the stationary goods train moved and by the time I got to the same position from where I had to cross the train had gone leaving the tracks empty. 

Even if I had managed to get to the flyover above, I would still have to go down the same stairs on the opposing side. This is the first instance where a bad, third grade construction actually saved my life.
When a 3rd grade construction actually saved my life When a 3rd grade construction actually saved my life Reviewed by Shwetabh on 8:16:00 PM Rating: 5

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