WHEN the Kanyakumari Express pulled in at Chennai Central, it took Velu some time to get off. When he finally stood on the platform, his legs felt wobbly, as if he was still on a moving train.

     â€œOy, out of the way!” A porter went by with a loaded trolley. Velu jumped aside.

     He sat on a bench on the platform, putting his small bundle down. In all his eleven years, he had never seen so many people, except once a year at the fair in his village. People walked by, bumping into him with their suitcases. A voice announced something on a loudspeaker. Near him a group of people sat on their luggage, looking at a TV hanging from the roof. The noise was terrible.
The story "Children at Work" is about an eleven-year-old boy named Velu. Velu is the protagonist of the story.
Velu, the hero of the story
"Children at Work" begins like Velu was getting down at Chennai Central from the Kanyakumari express. Chennai Central is also known as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr M.G. Ramachandran Central railway station. It is the most important railway terminus in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is also known as the busiest railway station in South India.

Chennai Central railway station

Velu tried to get down from the train. As Velu had no experience in the train journey, he took some time to come out from the train. Finally, Velu stood on the railway platform, but his legs started shivering like he was standing on a running train. While Velu was standing on the railway platform, he heard a loud voice. Someone behind his back was shouting at him like, "Oy! out of the way!". Velu turned his head to see who was screaming. Velu saw a porter. A porter is a person who carries luggage or things from a train for his livelihood. The porter had a loaded trolley (in his hands), and it was too heavy. Velu was standing on the way without giving space for the porter to move his load. So, the porter shouted at him. On seeing the loaded trolley, Velu jumped out to give way for the porter.

A porter

Velu was standing for a long time, and he felt very tired. So he sat on a bench and thought of resting for a while. Since it was a railway station, people from different places would arrive at the railway station to board their train. The railway platform was crowded with lots of people. Velu was amazed because this was the second time he saw a huge crowd; the first one was at his village fair. It is a festival where a group of people from different places come to see the fair. Velu was sitting quietly and watching the crowd on the platform; he did not know anyone because he was new to Chennai city.

The people in the railway station were carrying heavy trolleys and suitcases. When they were passing Velu, they hit him with heavy luggage.
Usually, in railway stations, announcements will be made. For instance, if the passengers want to travel from one place to another through railway transportation, the railway officers will be announcing the platform number, name of the train and train number. It makes the passengers to identify the train easily. Velu heard such an announcement on a loudspeaker, and he was not sure what the person was speaking.
There wass a large crowd on the platform, and the passengers did not have enough seating, so they sat down on their luggage. A television was hanging from the roof of the railway platform, and people nearby him were watching the television. The noise from the TV, platform, and announcements were terrible, and Velu had probably felt headache after hearing many noises.
Meanings of the difficult words:
Pulled in To arrive at a destination
Get offTo leave a place, usually in order to start a journey
WobblyTending to move unsteadily from side to side
TrolleyA large metal basket or frame on wheels, used for transporting heavy items or luggage at an airport or railway station
Bumping Knock or run into someone or something with a jolt
TerminusThe end of a railway or other transport route, or a station at such a point; a terminal
TerribleExtremely bad or serious
PlatformA raised level surface on which people or things can stand
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). It so happened. Children at work- Gita Wolf, Anushka Ravishankar and Orijit Sen (pp. 7-16). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.