In an awkward position, a man sleeps on a ticket counter at Kamalapur Railway Station in the wee hours of yesterday to keep his first place in line for advance tickets for Eid. He had been waiting there since 5:00pm Saturday. He got the tickets around 9:00am yesterday. Photo: Anisur Rahman
"The journey home is never too long
Your heart arrives before the train…"
No matter whether or not they have been inspired by this song, hearts of many of the city dwellers have already reached where they grew up or their dear ones still live -- their homes.
The biggest Muslim festival, Eid-ul-Fitr, is knocking at the door.
And with train tickets up for sale in advance yesterday, hundreds of people queued up at Kamalapur Railway Station much before the scheduled time. While distribution of tickets for July 24 was set to begin at 9:00am yesterday, some 1,000 people had already rushed to the station by 5:00pm the day before.
As people kept coming, some sharp minds stood up and started writing serial numbers so that no one could break the queues.
Would anyone want to term the wait painful? No way. Visiting Kamalapur, The Daily Star was amazed at people's excitement and desperation to get hold of tickets.
To ensure that no one gets tickets before them, the ones first in the lines sat on the counters. As night fell, they fell asleep there.
Many brought newspapers, spread those on the floor, sat and slept there.
For those who did not want to do the waiting themselves, there was the proxy service: street children and people who live at and around the station stood in the queues on behalf of ticket seekers.
A police officer paid a man Tk 1,000 for standing in a queue from Saturday evening to 9:00am yesterday. He needed a ticket of an AC compartment to travel to Chittagong, which cost over Tk 600, the youth said.
For 12-year-old street child Emon, it was not a bad deal too. "I earned Tk 2,000 by standing in queues for three men," he said.
He queued for the fourth time for a railway police officer when a Daily Star correspondent met him early yesterday.
An Ansar sepoy waited in a queue for his superior officer while four members of navy were seen gossiping in front of another counter.
To pass the waiting hours, many formed groups and played cards.
While some people replaced their tired family members, many brought sehri from home for their near ones waiting in queues.
Dozens of people kept pouring every minute after the sehri.
As the day broke, some weary ticket seekers became impatient.
"The rail authorities should start distributing tickets from 7:00am since these are special tickets and we are already waiting," said a middle-aged NGO (non-government organisation) officer, who wants to travel to Noakhali, seeking anonymity.
But when the rail authorities opened the ticket counters, the thought of their dear ones at their village homes took all the pains away. Many showed V-sign and shouted hurray on getting tickets.
On their way home, many would definitely sing: "The journey home is never too long/ Home hopes to heal the deepest pain."