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School Bus Girl Stopped A Train - A True Life Story

This is a true story from my own life, which happened many decades ago in mid-70's, when I was just 10 years old and was studying in Class Six in school called Deshmesh Public School, in a place called Faridkot in the state of Punjab, in India. The school still exists and has developed way beyond imagination. But the old school building where I studied still remains the same without any renovation. My father was serving in the army those days.

So we used to go to school in an army vehicle which is known in the Army as a three tonner, probably because its carrying capacity was three tons. This three tonner only had a driver's cabin and an open trailer behind. The trailer section was covered with a tarpaulin sheet to protect us from the sun. The front and the rear part was completely open.

The School Bus - A True Life Story

There were a row of benches on either side where, only the girls and small kids were allowed to sit. The boys usually ended up standing for the one hour journey of ten kilometers to school and back home. The journey to school used to be real fun and every day, we used to look forward to this three tonner school bus journey.

The school was about eight Kilometers from the Army Camp. On our way to school from home in the school bus we would first pass the Army check post where our school bus conductor who is an Army man would go and write the vehicle number, the name, rank and personal number of the conductor and driver and the number of children the vehicle is carrying to school, in a register.

It takes about five to ten minutes depending up on how many vehicles are waiting at the check post. Being a school bus our vehicle always to get priority treatment. After we leave the Army check post, the road goes through the green fields for next one kilometer, mostly of wheat, mustard, cauliflower fields etc. The fields were always being nurtured by some farmers and we keep waving at all of them from the open rear end of the vehicle.

The School Bus Goes Past The Maha Raja's AeroPlanes - A True Life Short Story

The next comes barren land on the right side and on the left side was a short few hundred meter runway with an aircraft hangar which housed some half a dozen biplanes of the Maha Raja of Faridkot, who was reduced to the rank of a Colonel after India got independent and became a Republic with a well established democracy.

The route to the school will now join the high way where our school bus would take a right turn. On the right for about three kilometers there was nothing but barren land. But half through this barren land on the left hand side, comes the central jail with a huge 50 foot tall wall all around it. We never could see inside it. There were not even bushes along this entire three kilometer stretch. The jail was a fort of the old King when he ruled Faridkot district.

The School Bus Stopped in The Market -  A True Story

Then the school bus would turn right just two hundred meters short of the railway station because the narrow railway station road is a one way. On that two hundred meter stretch, there is a market where one could buy anything from vegetables to cattle. The place used to stink and we were happy not to go that way in the morning. The market closes by 11:00 am. We come by that road on our way back from school. Our school bus takes a right turn on to the most beautiful road in the entire town of Faridkot in the State of Punjab in India.

The School Bus Stopped By The Jamun Trees - A Short Life Story

This road has Jamun trees also known as Java Plum trees on both sides. The fruit of these trees makes the mouth and tongue completely violet in color and often I used to get a little perturbed in the toilet when I see the same violet color. Even the urine turns violet. So strong is the smell and taste of the Jamun or Java Plum that the driver would stop our school bus right under the lowest hanging Jamun tree branch along the road. Then we all climb on top of the tarpaulin top and driver cabin top of the school bus plucking the Java Plum and filling our bags with it. In the bargain we would also spoil our white shirt of School Uniform too.

The Maha Raja's Beautiful White Palace - A Short Story

This road is kept beautiful because, about a hundred yards beyond the Jamun tree jungle, we could see the beautiful white palace with many spires and church like arched windows and doors of the palace of the Maha Raja of Faridkot. The King used to stay in that palace those days. I have seen the Maha Raja once when he came in a golden chariot to the nearby stadium on the occasion of Republic Day celebration, wearing the Army Colonel Uniform.

It was a great site I will never forget. From the Palace road our school bus goes into the town circle which is actually one corner of the massive fort of the King of Faridkot. The Maha Raja’s fort was so massive that it was the center of the Faridkot town. Our school bus often would go through the busy road that goes around the 80 foot walls of the fort. The entire market of Faridkot town was now situated inside this open part of the fort. One could buy anything in these local market.

Today the whole place is well developed and modernized, but when this true story was unfolding in my life in 1976, over five decades back, it was not so. Our school bus would turn left at the town circle and climbs up the road towards our school named Deshmesh Public School.

The Railway Gate Where This True Life Story Happened

Just a hundred yards from the school was a railway gate which almost every day would be closed for a train to pass when we reach there. If it is too late then we would get down against the wish of the school bus conductor and run across the railway track like uncontrolled missiles and try to reach the school before the school assembly starts.

The railway station is just about five hundred yards from the railway gate we cross and run to school. We had students from first standard to the tenth standard boarding our three tonner army vehicle school bus. The primary Classes from class one to Class ten used to get over by 2:00 pm. After that these children keep playing around the vehicle and in the surrounding areas, till the senior students come out of the school after their classes are over at 4:00 pm.

The school bus drivers generally rest or sleep in the benches inside the three tonner or in the driver cabin the whole day. Sometimes, they play cards or chess to pass time. By 4:30 pm when all the children are onboard, the three tonner Army vehicle starts back home. Before we start back, the conductor starts counting how many kids on board because he has to report that to the Army check post when we enter the Army Cantonment.

The School Bus Girl Goes Missing - A True Life Story

That day, I came at 4:00 pm after class and boarded the bus and that is when the real life true story began. But as the conductor of the school bus counted the number of children in the bus and he found out that one child is missing. He counted three more times to confirm and a child was actually missing. The conductor asked the children, who is missing.

But nobody answered. Everyone kept quiet especially the small primary class students. One small child meekly stated that they were playing on the railway track and one girl is still there. The driver and the conductor knew that children to go and play on the railway line near the railway gate just 200 yards from where the school bus was parked.

The driver and the conductor ran towards the railway gate. We too got down from the school bus and ran behind them. That is when we saw a large gathering of people about a hundred yards from the railway gate, at the place where the railway line is bifurcating. We all ran and reached there.

The School Bus Girl Stood On The Tracks With A Train Approaching - A True Life Story

I too wriggled through the small crowd of people and saw our missing school girl standing and crying in pain on the railway track. She had her leg stuck and bleeding in between two rails. Those days we had steam engine trains all over India. What these small primary class students used to do was to keep small rocks on top all along the rails on both sides of the train track and wait for the train to go over it grinding all the rocks into powder.

The train driver would also wave at these small kids. This was the game these kids would play for more than one hour with two trains passing in that time period, till the senior students came back. We came to know later that these children also bring coins from home to place on top of the railway line.

Once the train passes over the coin, the kids find a flat thin metal piece, which becomes a proud possession for them, to be displayed as a trophy for the next few day in the school. The older students often buy ice cream and candies to these small kids who bring them these flattened coins. A dangerous game indeed. Many student were also collecting these flattened coins.

Now since there was demand for the coins and candies in return, the small kids would bring more coins from home, instead of playing game they were actually into sort of a business of flattening coins.

The School Girl's True Life Story Began Half An Hour Back

This true life story of a small shcool girl who takes a ride in our school bus had already begun some time ago. It just took about 30 minutes or more for us coming to know about it. On that fateful day, when they were playing a different game on the railway track as there was about an hour’s gap between the two trains. The game was to insert one foot into the gap between the track change-over rails and take it out in quick succession.

It was this small school girl’s turn to put her foot in between these pair of rails, when the railway staff changed the track using a mechanical levers from a cabin 200 yards away in the railway station, for the arriving train to come to the platform. Unfortunately, the small girl had just put her leg in between those rails, when the two rails closed. The school girl's little foot was trapped in between the jammed rails and was almost crushed.

The moment it happened and the girl started crying, all the small kids ran away from bath and settled inside the bus, keeping completely quite. Probably, the silence and discipline which the small kids were displaying when the conductor was counting the number of kids on board, which prompted the driver and the conductor of the school bus to guess that something has really gone wrong on the railway tracks when this small kid spoke about the girl playing on the railway track with them.

The School Bus Girl in Danger As The Steam Engine Train Approached Her

The train usually slows down to walking pace normally as it approaches the gate near the railway station, probably because the driver knows about the small school children playing crushing stones game on the railway tracks, with his him and his coal burning steam engine passenger train. The driver and the conductor of the school bus found the girl standing on the railway track surrounded with many people who were trying to dislodge her little legs from the rails on which the steam engine train was coming slowly.

The train signal beyond the railway crossing was indicating a green for the train to come to the platform. The little girl was still standing on the tracks with her legs stuck in the rails. People started panicking as they saw the train approaching from far end. The only way to stop the train was to change the signal to red. And for that somebody has to run about four hundred yards faster than the train to reach the railway station and inform the Station Master. Even if someone was to run, before he reaches the railway station, it would be all over.

The Brave Conductor and Driver of School Bus Stopped The Train

The conductor of our school bus in Army uniform, suddenly started running towards the approaching train. He was running in the center of the railway track, frantically waving his bare hands in the air indicating the train driver to stop the train. We all hoped and prayed that the train driver sees our school bus conductor and stops the train. Our school bus driver wearing his Olive green Army uniform, stood there along with the little girl, in between the two rails on which the train was approaching us.

School Bus Girl Stopped A Train - A true life story

The girl was crying her heart out due to the severe pain in her crushed foot. He was saying kind words to the girl to make her feel confident. He was also shouting at all of us and the people who had gathered there to stay clear of the railway track holding the little girl with one hand and waving his other hand in air, at the approaching train. It was a scary scene.

No one could predict the outcome. Seeing these two Army men in Olive green Army uniforms, risking their own life for a little girl who is not related to them in any way except that the girl travels in the school bus they are operate. Some people who were gathered around there also started running towards the train although after a few seconds delay. The school bus conductor’s initiative to run towards the train followed by a few more local people, worked.

The School Bus Girl Who Stopped The Train - A True Life Story

The train driver probably was noticed by the train driver. This must have been because he used to look out for the children playing on the track every day from that distance. The train, finally came to a stop about 200 yards short of the girl. Immediately the school bus driver who was standing with the girl, ran towards the railway station to get the track-change lever reversed. A minute or two later the jammed rails opened freeing the girl's foot. A few people who had gathered around the girl, immediately picked up the little girl and a rushed her to the nearest hospital.

The bus conductor also went with them. The driver got all us on board the school bus and we also reached the hospital. About an hour later, the parents of the girl were also in the hospital along with many other parents also, who came to the hospital. By about 8:00 pm, the school bus left the hospital and we all went back home. This is a true story not just from my life but it is also a true life story of this small girl who travelled in our bus. If she ever visits this website or Download my True Life Story Book and reads this true story in my story book, I am sure she will contact me.

A True Life Story

  

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