Because of sky-rocketed flight prices during Diwali vacation, I logged in to IRCTC after fairly long time. And voila. I got ticket to home, confirmed for up journey and wait list 42 for the down. If you have enough experience with Indian railways, you know I got lucky. Although it was 28 hours journey, I was really looking forward to see my folks. I also planned some book reading for the journey , so borrowed few novels from a good friend. At the day of departure after a busy day at work and with some important errands, I was tired as hell. So I slept for almost entire journey to home. Do not worry, college life has well trained me to well balance ups and downs in sleep hours.
Well the story is about the return journey. I had more than my regular share of sleep at home so I was adamant of finishing my book this time, The Present by Erich Segal (Yes yes I know, sometimes I can be hopelessly romantic). The luck did its work and my tickets got confirmed. And the upper berth. Yayie I love that seat, the most comfortable one for either you want to sleep or sit. The usual sight of train was there, people exchanging seats, negotiating berth with TTE for RAC tickets, adjusting themselves. I was reading my beloved novel with great affection on my berth. There was a guy and an elderly person sharing side lower berth with RAC tics. The guy was with a girl who was her friend and colleague which I obviously came to know from their conversation. I guessed they were not very good friends but they came from long back. He might have met her on the platform. The girl had her tickets reserved for sleeper coach, which can be as chaotic as Mumbai local trains around these days. Here came our perfect gentleman (and a tad bit overconfident one) and invited her to the AC coach confiding her in his persuasion skill with TTE. Fortunately for them or unfortunate for two people might have missed their train who did not come to claim their seats, the elderly gentleman got one of the seats and the other was allotted to an elderly but very lively lady. Now the side lower berth was getting shared by the two friends, the guy and the girl. These rearrangements were like background music for my reading session. God, I used to and still love train journeys. There were two more girls in the compartment, one doing BDS in some Mumbai college and another was a young lady working in Essar Oil. Yes Indian trains is a perfect place to gather information about strangers. You just have to pay heed to their relatives saying goodbye. And come on, the journey is long you have got to do something. Well there were another gentleman too. He worked in IT sector. I remember this as he kept asking everyone whether they TOO work in IT sector.
The day passed quickly with the initial chit chats and introduction. In the evening I took a break from the book and chatted with the BDS lady. She reminded me of my college days, a naive sweet lady busy with little tiny problems and loads of things to look forward to. That IT sector gentleman kept contributing to our conversation. And I really don’t remember what our two friends were doing. The night fell and we all went to our sleep.
In the morning I woke up a bit early with the book on my side. I felt like I betrayed it by not giving proper attention. So I again immersed into it after breakfast. The two friends woke up and it seemed that they have revived their friendship. I can say this as I could hear them giggling continuously. I hail from Bihar, a developing north Indian state. Unfortunately, a small fraction of Biharis has not grown mentally or rather they do not want to grow. A friendship between a boy and a girl is still eyed with NOT RIGHT view. Our two friends were playing some game and they got into some fight, a literal one with hathapai. Once I looked down to find our IT sector gentleman and our young BDS lady staring at them and they have turned at their seat to face the merrier duo. Come on, grow up guys. I also fight with my brother which is sometimes worse than this. Then no one eyes us. Why them then. They are friends. And who cares even if there are more than that. Just because you have paid for the seat you did not buy the right to STARE at them. You have the right to say them to lower their voice only if you are getting disturbed. I would have been understood slightly if some elderly person have eyed that. They are from different generation, born and brought up in a different set of social environment. But you are supposed to be torch holders of the future. You had the privilege of seeing world and developing your own views. So why you are heading backward in this 21st century.
This small fraction of people are not specific to a certain state. These are the gentlemen and ladies who has got the chance to change the world starting with first widening their thinking. And they keep hiding in their shell and come out of that only to throw visual and verbal stones at others. I hope one day this fraction of population get some sense to mind their own businesses. And I truly hope that day to come sooner.