Thursday, June 08, 2006


During my recent train journeys, I came across so many incidents worth writing about. And as it happens most of the time, most of them got side-lined once I started with the daily routine.

Trains are always crowded. I don't remember traveling by train in which there were lots of empty seats (except once - journey to New Delhi, the train really was moving fast then!). And since the trains are always crowded, there is a constant movement of people: people going to the toilets, or the pantry car, or just for a stroll. This internal traffic is enhanced by beggars, self-proclaimed sweepers, fruit vendors, tea-coffee vendors, flowers-garlands vendors, and what-not vendors. The movement is not swift, and is far from unnoticeable to the passengers on account of the noise it creates.

On one occasion, an Indian Railways employee, carrying the hot tea-container (don't have a better word for whatever that thing is) stepped on my foot. It was a bit painful, but lot more annoying. Surprisingly, even before I could look up at the vendor, and frown, this fellow offered me a smile and cheerfully apologized!

Such incidents change the mood within a flash. And so it did.

On similar lines I remember another incident from my engineering college days. It was at, I guess, the fresher's party extended to us by our kind seniors. The initial formalities were over: including food. And it was time for dance. Well, I am no good at dancing, but at such times, I give a try to shaking a leg or two, so I decided to join. It was a crowded place, with the music set to a very loud volume, and everybody was trying to display their grace.

inadvertently, I stepped on one of my senior's foot. As a natural reaction, I said, "sorry!"

That guy was awestruck. "Mate, in such a crowd, nobody says sorry for that. Carry on!" was all that I could read from his eyes.

One more:

During the inter-department football tournament at IISc last year, our team was an underdog (and sadly, it remained only an underdog, scoring only one goal in the entire tournament). In the very first match, we were up against reasonably mighty computer science and automation department. I do not have much of footballing skills, yet I was selected for the mere stamina. Or at least that's what I felt.

If cricket it gentleman's game, football is not a gentleman's game. There were so many rough tackles and leg-pullings during the game. I managed to keep away from that for some time before a nasty clash brought me down. When the game is on, we don't care much about small scratches etc. And so I shrugged off and continued with running!

On one occasion, I stepped on a defender's foot.

I can never forget the look on that guy's face when I actually apologized for that!

I guess such teachings during childhood become part of you for ever...

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