Descriptive: Platform 4
Trolleys trudging in tow, a tapestry of travellers weaves itself through the labyrinthine Lucknow Charbagh railway station. The rusty iron stairs creak, as passersby hustle with hurried footsteps and descend onto platform number four. A lone graffiti, its paint dulled by centuries-old layers of dust, welcomes with the words: Mushkuraiye, aap Lucknow me hai!
Passengers in-waiting sit on their steel trunks, fanning their faces with musty old newspapers. Donning his badge with flustered pride, the ticket collector whizzes his way towards the displayed charts. his balding head shining with perspiration. In his haste, he nearly bumps into a scraggy coolie clad in a dirty white turban and frayed crimson-red uniform. The coolie gives a pained grunt, his wrinkled face, weathered with age, scrunching with the effort of regaining his lost balance.
The whistle of departing trains, the putrid stench of rotting human waste and the blare of announcements mingle into a cacophony of smells and sounds, in which reigns supreme the hawker’s call of Chai, Chai. Chai!
The anticipation on the platform swells as the speakers announce the arrival of the approaching train. Alert and armed with their luggage, the passengers shuffle restlessly as the train hisses and jolts to a sudden halt. The boarders attempt to ascend the compartments, all at once. A little boy in khaki shorts is swept away in this sea of bodies, his little fingers slipping away from his mother’s clammy grip. Beads of sweat roll down his neck and his amber eyes widen in fear, as the train jerks forward, leaving a half-formed scream on his lips. Without warning, a pair of gentle, pale hands grab him by the waist and hoist him into his mother’s shaking arms. He looks back and catches a glimpse of azure blue eyes twinkling kindly at him.
The train chugs away with a steely screech, leaving the pair of blue eyes behind. As she tucks a loose strand of her dirty blonde hair behind her ear, her freckled face relaxes into an expression of relief. Her square shoulders stoop slightly under the burden of her bulging black backpack which seems to be on the verge of bursting with the stories of her adventures. The sultry summer breeze plays playfully with the hem of her peridot green skirt, her petite frame casting shadows in the glinting sunlight. Her forehead creases in concentration as she looks intently at the crinkled paper in her hand as if trying to decipher a complex piece of code. She looks up, her eyes surveying the scene casually, till they rest on an emaciated beggar woman huddled up in a corner.
The woman, her threadbare sari barely covering what was left of her skeletal frame, squats on her haunches, chewing dead, dry scraps of stale flatbread. A baby, shrunken with malnutrition clutches to her knee. Dirty dreadlocks frame her sunken cheeks and her raspy pleas for money are drowned in the rumble of passing trains. She looks at the passersby with hollow eyes, her face hardened with the harshness of her existence, her back bent, into submission of her insignificance.
A lone passerby is kind enough to toss a coin into her dented, bare brass bowl, but busy enough to not look at her. Her hands, gnarled and knotted, pat her baby as he bursts into cries, hiccupping him into sombre silence. The child lumbers into sweet slumber, half-dried streaks of fallen tears framing his grimy face. The woman resumes chewing the leftover scraps, her empty eyes staring into space. Her reverie is broken as a portable food stall passes by her spot, the tantalising whiff of freshly fried fritters and hot tea teasing her senses. She stares at the vendor with a ghostly glint of hope and then gulping down the vestiges of what wasn’t hers, looks away.
Dressed in a white dhoti and a Gandhi cap, the vendor parks his cart near a dilapidated wall pillar, its pewter grey paint peeling off in bits. He lights up the stove for another round of tea and fritters, sending malachite green chillies and round balls of mashed potato, covered in buttery smooth batter inside the hot oil with a frolicking splash. While the sweet tea bubbles and simmers in symphony to the therapeutic sound of frying, the earthy scent of ground ginger and cardamom invites the weary wayfarers for a hot sip, towards the stall. Comforted by the warmth and ambrosial aroma of tea, the travellers part ways, in search of different destinations.
Rules of writing a descriptive: 1. There are multiples senses, five being main. Visual (eyes, sight), gustatory (taste, gut), olfactory ( smell, nose), auditory (hear, ears) and tactile (skin, touch). Include atleast four out of five in your descriptive. 2. The begining: The first paragraph is an overview of the scene. 3. The zoom in technique and picking elements: Imagine describing the classroom. What are the different elements in the classroom? The teacher teaching. Children enegaged in activities like studying, talking. The bulletin board covered ib colourful posters. A child looing outside the window and the scene outside. Now pick on four to five elements and zooom in on those. That is, describe in detail. 4. Designate one paragraph for each element, each sensory imagery. Try that the parahraphs are of similar length. 5. Describe only that involves the senses in the present. Allusions to facts, history of something, feelings or abstract thoughts are not part of descriptive writing. For instance, if you have to describe an Indian wedding scene, alluding to the wedding culture, history of rituals, or your feelings about the scene are not part of the descriptive. 6. Colour words, preferrably writing in third person is important. Iea is to make the reader feel as if he/she is there, in the middle of the scene. Key is help the reader visualise by painting a detailed and vivid picture.