Monday, March 04, 2013

Some Encounters in Long-distance Trains

A couple of strange encounters in trains the past few days had me, dazed, or, flabbergasted, which is a word I don't like. But, anyway, here it is.

On the journey to Kerala to attend wifey's mother's funeral we travelled by the superfast express Durondo. Our co-passengers were a very strange group. Strange in the sense they kept eating tobacco all the time and making fun of other co-passengers in their language. Now what was that language? I didn't know a word of it. Usually my antenna is sharp in recognizing languages, and, I can say with pride I recognize most languages of India. But this beat me. So, I assumed it must be Sinhala or some other language. They were a rough bunch and looked like laborers of the Persian Gulf from their habits. They also frequently went to the toilet, may be, to drink, who knows. You may know that I had a stint in Saudi and I could recognize them, just like that. They were in a group and knew there was no one to challenge their bad habits and brashness. Therefore, they did a lot of unacceptable things like talking well into the night, not switching off the lights, waking up too late, and then making fun of co-passengers and laughing. It was drunken brash behavior. I was thoroughly depressed by their attitude, but I kept quiet, as I was outnumbered and I had my wife to think about. She was in a tender state of shock and any disturbance would further affect her equipoise. So I said nothing. Silence is best resorted to in such situations. Of course, it's their choice to travel but Durondo or any other train, but couldn't they be more civil?

On the way back we had only sleeper accommodation in the train. There were a bunch of carpenters returning after installing some furniture in Kerala. They also exhibited the same characteristics as the above alluded group. I guess, when they are in groups Indians (like political activists) thing they can do anything. May be I am growing old, but, I don't remember having seen such behavior in my fifty-odd years of travelling in trains.

Yeah, I think it's the growing old thing. People are banding together for security. Soon, will polarization along various lines result? Or, are we already polarized? 

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

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