Friday, 22 March 2013

Lessons while on a train


There are some people who make nothing of catching trains. I have been catching trains all my life, I have been afraid I should not catch them. No faith in my own watch can affect my doubts as to the reliability of the watch of the guard or the station clock or whatever deceitful signal the engine driver obeys. Moreover I’m oppressed by the possibilities of delay on the road to the station. There may be a block in the streets; the bus may break down, the auto wallah may be drunk or does not know his way, or think I don’t know the way. It is never until I am safely inside (as I am now) that I really feel happy. I travel half sleepy, sitting comfortable by the corner seat, hearing people gossip. Preferably the ladies’ bogie witnesses a bunch of interesting activities which extremely irritates the co-passengers. Whenever I have a number of assignments curtailing my sleep, I work all the way by having an urge to complete them. When I am idle, I observe what exactly happens in and around. But I am sure; everyday some interesting thing is there to share with my family.

One fine Tuesday morning, I was travelling by the suburban train when I faced an indifferent thing, in fact an embarrassing event, till date. I was leaning by the corner seat where a stout woman came and sat near me. It was a double seat and the space was not enough to share. But I managed to cope somehow as the train was crowded.

The woman took out some oranges from her bag and began to eat them one by one. She was decently dressed in a sari. To my utter disappointment, she was correcting answer scripts with one hand and eating oranges held in the other. I came to the conclusion that she must be a teacher. Slowly she kept aside all the answer scripts and was eagerly scrapping the peels of oranges. She had a plastic cover on her lap and all the peels were on the cover. Some of the peels had got scattered all over. Then she emptied the plastic cover and all the peels fell down. The railway bogie was already unclean with plastic covers, chocolate wrappers, banana peels, broken hair-clips, dried coriander leaves, discarded travel tickets, and squeezed papers, so on. The woman should have thrown all the scrapped orange peels out of the window. It wouldn't have taken much time to do that. I kept observing her actions. She was least bothered and took out some groundnuts. As a socially conscious citizen, that irked me a lot.

I asked her to pick up all the orange peels and throw them outside the window. She furiously questioned who was I to ask her and told me to mind my job. For half-an-hour, I was arguing with the woman to make her understand her mistake. At last with an unfulfilled heart, the woman nodded her head, murmuring something which I was unable to hear. A teacher must be an example to others but the person whom I met was an exception. The railway authorities do provide good facilities for a comfortable journey but some people spoil it. It is disheartening to note such actions.