Through the eyes of an old man


It’s been 35 years since I am traveling from Bhopal to Hoshangabad each day for work and then return. My government job as a clerk or normally called as Babu keeps me at bay from this Americanized work hassles. Sometimes, I keep wondering, we won over our independence and the gap brought us to 14 hours jobs, slogging in front of computer endlessly, typing, aching the body and on contradiction, it pays you hunky dory which I still dream of. Anyway, this is how the present world works.

Just the other day, I was travelling as usual and took a passenger train of long distances. Met an interesting Bengali family which was travelling from Chennai to Delhi. Realized the son was way far talkative and could make a radio jockey run for his money while the daughter seemed to be quite just as the father who preferred to sit by the window. On the other hand, mother and son continued speaking aloud and make their presence felt in the entire bogie. As the train passed from the thick woods of Madhya Pradesh, finding me a localite, the family poured in with questions; ‘how far is your destination?’, ‘what is height of these plains?’, ‘Is government making constructive plans for these dense forests?’ and the flowing questions made me a central authority managing the entire state in short while. Realized, diplomacy can reach to heights and that the best usage of god gifted tongue is the best healer in the days of ordeal.

The young man of the family managed to pay some money and grab a seat as they did not have an extra seat which seemed so. The conversation later told me that the young man was going to participate in common wealth games in Delhi and that it was difficult for him to travel without AC. In fact, he was travelling for the first time like that in a non AC train but rest of the family was well settled without complains. Once full interrogation over MP was done, it was my turn to ask how was capital welcoming Common Wealth. Different people, different opinions, the four members gave various insights. While mother found daily things are coming expensive but yes plantation of trees is an advantage. On the other hand, father found difficulty in mapping out the new routes in Delhi and how infrastructure is developing at a twist of moments. Lastly, daughter found metros a big relief and that the nearby regions of Delhi too are connected so less difficulty is faced.

The son had different story, he was too busy with his preparations and was not much bothered with the developments that took place off late. Political, social and economical and a bit psychological, conversation started and ended. Finally, my destination came and hastily, I preferred to get down. It was too much of talking. After many days, I came across the news on television which had the same young man holding a certificate for participation during the inauguration of Common Wealth involving chess competition. Ecstatic, I told my people that I knew the guy as I pointed out to him. He stood in the crowd but could be easily distinguished with the certificate he was holding. He was proudly shaking hands with dignitaries and was accompanied by inmates who were holding him with pride and getting clicked. Surprisingly, I did not see the family whom I saw in train. My mind revolved around back to that phase and I realized, they were just separate passengers like me and the only thing that made them talk was the one language.

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