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In seven minutes’ time, the train would depart the station. As it had been doing from the past twenty-three years. Today should have been no different. And it was not. At least not for the train. A creation of mechanical precision which catered solely to the ticking of clocks, blowing of whistles and waving of flags.
Venky downed the last of his by now insipid Asahi beer, wiping the froth off his lips with the back of his palm.
“For heaven’s sake use a tissue.” The repulsion in Ash’s voice was unmissable.
“At least spare me the sermon this evening. You won’t have anyone left to keep proselytizing to after tonight.” Venky’s otherwise prosaic and non-decrepit voice rose an octave or two spontaneously.
A brief interlude of absolute silence punctuated the stillness of the bar room before Ash resumed their conversation. “The work permit came through. I would need to….”
The piercing shriek of the engine now signaled haste.
Picking her suitcase in one fell swoop, Ash rushed out of the bar, towards her compartment just making it in the nick of time. She saw Venky wave and mouth something from the platform. The piercing scream of the engine drowned out his voice entirely.
Word Count: 205)
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