We arrived at the Pindi Train station a bit after midnight and I told my relatives to go back home as it would be an unnecessary wait till 1:30 AM for them. So they dropped me and after a few pointers of what to be mindful of such as pick pockets and other safety advice, the left.
I went into the platform and right in front of the entry gate where the police officers sat I found a set of three seats inside the covered veranda and put my two bags on one seat and sat on the other seat. I noticed that there were not too many people there. But as I took a peak behind on the other side of the wall where I sat, the open veranda/platform was massive, very long and very wide. What was astonishing was that it was packed with either people and families sitting on the ground over a sheet or simply all sleeping closely together with their luggage all around them. They were oblivious in the way they slept as if they knew no one would steel their belongings. And the platform was full from where I could see to one side all the way to the other side and it was open air under the moonlight.
I wanted so much to take a pic but saw that some people that were awake kind of looked oddly at me when I pulled out my camera and some ladies covered their faces while others entirely rotated their bodies to look away from me. At that point I realized its really inappropriate to take pics here at this time and I put my camera away.
I came and sat down next to my luggage and kept a close eye at all times. The time was now 1:30 am and no train.
At around 1:45 am I heard an announcement that the train is running late as it had some engine problem leaving from Peshawar. It will now arrive at 2:30 am. I sat a while more and my cousin smsd me to ask if I had found my seat and when the train left the platform. I responded that it has not come as yet. He was furious and said he was not sure why his father even booked a train seat for me and I should have just flown.
I said its ok, its coming in the next half hour or so.
At 2:15 another announcement was made that the train will reach at 3:00 am as its now on its way from the engine trouble which has been fixed. And again at 2:30 am my cousin msgd me again for updates. I told him its again delayed. He then said this is ridiculous, let us come to pick you up and you just fly back in the morning. I told him I am kind of having fun watching what is happening all around with the man delivering tea and snacks to passengers, and the few people coming and going and its quite a scene.
Well, at 2:40 or was it 2:45 am I felt this cool breeze come from the platform into the covered veranda. Now I had my back to the wall that separated the veranda from the platform so I could not see what was happening behind me on the open air platform, but the coolness of the breeze in late August night had a pleasing feel to it.
You can see in some of the pics a set of three chairs on the right with two bags on it, that was my luggage and where I sat.
Suddenly I felt a gust of wind pass through the platform and veranda and it felt even cooler. The experience was getting amusing in the middle of the night and I really wanted to experience more although the thought of just giving up and heading home for a flight the next day crossed my mind many times.
All of a sudden to my right and to my left I saw people rush into the covered veranda from all sides coming from the platform. I saw families come in dragging their luggage, carrying their sleeping kids as well as dragging their sheets on the ground and just laying all of it against the wall on the inside of the veranda. So I got up to see what had transpired behind me on the platform that everyone is rushing in. And to my surprise I saw a wet platform and rain come down which I did not hear from where I was sitting, only felt cool breeze from time to time. I saw lightening in a distance and the rain got stronger and stronger. What a view and feeling it was. I then came to sit on my seat again and saw that those who were sleeping outside had now all moved in and made a space for themselves and went right back to sleep with their luggage nearby.
As I sat, and I specifically remember, it must have five minutes to 3 am (2:55 am) that all of a sudden it went pitch dark. I mean there was absolutely no light anywhere. I quickly covered my right arm over my luggage and within hardly 3 seconds what I saw was the most amazing scene perhaps in my entire trip. Hundreds of lights from small mobile torches were lit from all across the veranda from left to right as far as my eyes could see. I mean, it was just beyond words.
These mobile torches don't have extreme lights and are sufficient for a 5 feet distance so it didn't really light up the platform but the sight of stars glowing and moving all around was a scene I could not get enough of and was thoroughly enjoying it.
After nearly 10 minutes I guess their generator kicked in and only one light every 40 feet came on inside the veranda which you can see below in a few of the pics. I took most of these pics after the rain and after the emergency light had come on. It was dim but sufficient for walking around. The pics I did take I took discretely without a flash so they are all dull and dark.
When I looked back at the it was also dark there but the veranda has sufficient lighting.
It was almost 3:30 am by the time light was fully restored and they announced one more time that the train is now entering the platform and all the passengers should be ready to board the train in the next 10 minutes.
It was 3:45 am when the train rolled onto the platform but before the train came I saw people in white uniforms come onto the veranda and I stopped one of them to ask where the car No 10 will stop, he asked why. I said because I have to board the 10th car and if its all the way at the other end I will walk their now so as not to run when the train has stopped looking for it. He then said it will stop right in front of you where you are now.
So like other passengers I too went on the now wet platform with only a trickle of rain by the time the train pulled into the platform. I looked for the No 10 car and it was the business class car that stopped right in front of me.
I boarded to train and looked for my cabin. I saw that it was empty and my bunk was the one on the right and on the top so I put my luggage there and waited for other passengers.
I soon realized I was the only passenger at this stop and figured the rest will probably board on the following stops.
By this time I had been exhausted from lack of sleep the entire day as I drove from Naran to Islamabad and now on the train at 4: 00 am when the train began to roll so I just climbed up to my bunk, had my red cushion with me as a make shift pillow along with the bed sheet which I had traveled with from Karachi to put over me in case it got cold with the AC on since i had no control of it in the cabin.