A random journey

They say, learn to travel and travel to learn.But I say, what for! I mean the more I travel the more I learn, but that ways, I will waste most of my time travelling. Take  for example the Indian Railways, billions of people travel through Indian trains every year. Most of the trains are jam-packed,the best that you can get  is your name in a waiting list. But does that make Indians ,even,  enlightened travelers ? Most of the people carry heavy luggage,full of stuff that they are not going to use. I don’t mean, you can expect to see a man carrying a hose to water the flower pots being carried by his wife as her luggage. Of course not!

On one travel for FUN journey I met a very interesting guy. He was certainly not one of those unusual Jats,who boarded from Dhanbad. Or the random Bengali who carried a knife,some onions,some puffed rice,some spices, some pickles,some utensils,some other utensils and some other this and that for a sumptuous JHAAL MURHI. He was something else,something POSH!

The train was about on time at Kanpur station. 30 minutes can’t be called a delay by the standards of Indian Railways. He boarded the train and sat on the seat next to me. He had a deliberately unkempt kind of hair style. It seemed that a layer of wind blew just touching his head,the hair on the fore head was untouched but the scalp was hit by some kind of a storm. Ending in a calamity some where in the middle.

The 20 something guy was going to Delhi and had to board a flight to Bangalore the next day. I don’t know whether it was his bad luck or his sheer weight,the train started to crawl. The distance that was supposed to be covered in 6 hours took us 11 hours. Throughout the journey he regretted not taking a direct a flight whilst others regretted his presence. Some believed his prayers full of expletives to be kind of a bad omen for all of us.

It was difficult for me sit idle,so I started to chat. He told me all about  his hobbies,how he went for auditions,his modeling assignments,he was a cricketer,he was this as well as that and a bit of that too…After this little chit-chat I asked him directly,” are you an engineer?” Astonishingly his reply was not in affirmative! He said he was pursuing a Bachelors in Computer Application or BCA. Deep inside  it felt incredulous. Even an American can tell (Pun unintended),what could a boy going to Bangalore possibly be doing. I inquired all over again,” are you seriously not an engineer?”

He shied a bit,but said ” I am,but  generally I don’t tell people”. I asked an obvious, “why”.

I could feel his pain,when he told me some random uncle,in some other random journey declared to him that he would never let his son be an engineer.

“kyuki ek to saala Job nahi lagti,upar se padhne ki aadat alag chhoot jaati hai”

“First you don’t get a job,besides you lose your habit of studying!”

Believe me when Engineers cry,they cry real bad! Before I could fully wipe his tears,we were in Delhi.

Kalakaar

Last time I was home I heard that voter IDs are being made at the cost of Rs 150. I was angry,but later heard they’ll give the ID the next day. Thinking it to be some kind of “Tatkaal” scheme I went to the election commission’s office,realizing, it was a rumor to dupe.

But what happened on the way was much more interesting than all the “Kanooni kaarwaai “!

As soon as I left my house, an acquaintance of mine,who was on scooter,inquired where was I going? While I was replying to him,he kept on moving! He stopped about 50 meters away. After he clarified it was due to the brakes of his scooter,he asked me, if I wanted a lift.

The answer was not the obvious no,for,I  knew at his maximum speed,he can at the most annoy some but not hurt anyone. My mother always says,he’s a gossip monger and people should stay away from him. But,I thought,what could be better than a loquacious company on a lonely journey. I sat on the back seat of his scooter and waited for him to start. He said no word for the first 15 minutes and i did not disturb him in his tryst with silence.

The scooter was very slow,even with the standards of a small town. A rickshaw overtook us! I saw  one of my school teachers who was quite old even when we were in school and now, it was more than 10 years ago. This led to a series sudden of flash-backs and I couldn’t resist myself from saying, “that’s my school teacher!” And he replied, yes, I know her, she used to be a “KALAKAAR” during her times. The word generally translates to Artistic or an artist but I knew this was not what he meant. If she had been that kind of Kalakaar I would have known this in the past 10 or 15 years. Soon he clarified as a matter of factl, ”Yea,she had many affairs” and “things…” ,”of that sort…”

I couldn’t believe my ears. First of all,because we are trained to respect our teachers but more of because I didn’t trust the guy. And who would have liked to hear about the affairs of a lady,whose face now looks more or less like a molten candle.

Irrespective of whatever I thought, he went on and on….thankfully he dropped me to my destination. He wasn’t finished by then!

Later I  tried to verify whatever he said. And its really strange to know, that he was correct to a large extent. All I knew about my teacher was that she was married to a scientist,who later married another scientist and ditched her without divorcing! It was painful,she had a daughter to take care of. Her monetary condition was not very good and thus she was a primary school teacher.

But it was a bad turn of events in her life. Once she was a beautiful teen studying in an English medium ICSE board school. To be specific,she was a Carmelite in 60s. Which tells a lot about the modern outlook of her family and parents. The population of the town would not have been more than 10,000 at that time. And she was the most sought after female of her times. She was once proposed by a pauper(That guy’s eldest brother used to pull our rickshaw to the school ). It is not clear whether she liked the guy ,but the proposal was struck off by her parents. For reasons that are obvious.

Later on, she had to drop her schooling for reasons unknown and she couldn’t complete her education( that’s why she could teach only in a private school,up to primary level). The scientist first went for her beauty but soon got wary of the idea of having an under educated wife for his whole life. So, he married another scientist! The other guy who proposed her,was of the other kind. He worked really hard and went on to become a “mechanic”. He opened a garage in front of her house and repaired every thing,except ,”broken hearts”. He did not marry all his life. And stayed close to his beloved.

Before I left home,I went to see him. He was still there,repairing a bike. What dedication to a misplaced commitment!

I thought,the poor lady never had a good choice infront of her. Whether with an uncommitted scientist or a committed mechanic, she was never a KALAKAAR….

status quo

Why don’t things change in our nation? Because strong ones don’t care and weak aren’t worth taking seriously. 

i am one of the lucky few who are privileged to live in the nation’s capital and know who’s who and at the same time living in one of the most backward state and know about the ground realities. i would like to share an experience,it’s neither harrowing nor ecstatic it’s plainly farcical!!

i along with my brother was coming back from my uncle’s place. it’s a 3 hour drive,so we took a bus. we were about to reach,almost relieved,only 30 kilometers to go. suddenly two people entered the bus,drenched in local liquor; started shouting who’s the conductor! who’s the conductor? when no one one came forward they entered the driver’s cabin and started beating him. i forgot to mention,the bus had started running by that time. our bus driver showed some grit,kept on with his business while handling with the goons. the bus almost hit a truck. people were unharmed,so they did not care! almost fell in the valley,who cares! the driver is about to die,oh my god! two people entered to save the driver,the driver took a rod lying nearby and hit the head of one of the goons. he started bleeding.

all this happened, just for Rs 500!! merely 500!! they wanted  levy for diving through their area. a kind of RANGDARI tax!! now, the mob was infuriated. the bus was locked from inside. the goons beaten. the driver was asked to continue driving and not to stop till we reach a police station. the range of influence of the goondas was up to 5 kilometers, so they were meek with the crowd! 

we entered the police station..and the constables started shouting. everyone out! everyone out! me and my brother continued. we wrote the application for FIR. now comes the twist in the tale….the goons when entered the police station,felt safe. they started abusing! they said they are going to shoot the driver! for how long can they be kept behind the bars! they’ll not let any of those buses run.. etc etc…. the police was spineless! they listened! i said there is no fear of the law,both,the goon and the constables smiled! typically indian style!! i wanted a spy cam!! why wasn’t I carrying it!! shit!!

now the SHO came into the scene. he said it was not their area. I head read in the news paper about zero FIR. it says any complaint can be registered in any area. It was definitely on paper,not here! The SHO started abusing the victim! Told him how difficult it will be to file a case..he’ll have to waste his time and money….no result will come etc etc.. The driver backed off. he was definitely a poor man! 

ultimately, there was one less FIR, one less incident on the paper…the crime rate decreased! oh my GOD! its so simple!!

words of K.R.Narayanan echoing in my head ” the constitution hasn’t failed us..we have failed the constitution!!”