Gopalan Nair stretched his legs, while opening the previous day’s newspaper. That morning’s had not arrived yet. Sitting by the window but without looking out of it, he opened the pages that had now lost their freshness.

He skimmed through the front page. The opposition had opposed something; India had won an ODI series; a Russian diplomat was full of praises for India, while visiting India; a train had derailed due to the loco pilot’s carelessness; students had their final board exam. All of this, from a day before the previous day, Gopalan Nair thought.

Bored, he loosely folded the expired newspaper and got up. Fresh news will arrive soon, he reassured himself and walked towards the toilet.

Not far away, at that early hour of the day, Gamanan was in high spirits, as his night duty was coming to a close. He loved the dawn. That morning looked particularly beautiful, and quite peaceful. As he watched the silhouettes of trees gradually gaining definition, a red light appeared a little away. That was unusual. Gamanan wasn’t clear as to what was ‘usual’; but red was not. He grew cautious, opting to not look at the approaching light. It passed indifferently. He felt relieved and instantly switched back to enjoying the sights of dawn, the smile back on his face.

The train leapt out of the rail without any inhibition. Gamanan only saw his sights take an angular shift, as he was thrown out of his seat, at the mercy of the derailing engine. The red light suddenly flashed inside his head, for one last time.

Not far away, inside the toilet that separated the third and fourth coaches, Gopalan Nair was half asleep standing on his toes, wondering what the Russian diplomat would say of the toilet, if she saw it.

But he didn’t have the time to chuckle at the thought, as the toilet flew off its course, confused as to attach to the tilting third coach or the toppling fourth.

Gopalan Nair never realised that he had known it.


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