Last week I was in Mumbai, sadly for a B-school interview and not for any film audition. The interview experience was more like a flop show from my side but the real picture started at the commencement of my return journey, when I saw my name at wait-list # 1 on the charts of the train I had to board. Staying back wasn’t an option so after a lot of contemplation I got a ticket for the unreserved second class a.k.a. “The General Dabba”.
Seeing the number of people who were waiting to get accommodated in that single coach I got goose bumps and for a moment I thought to do away with the ticket and think of an alternative. Meanwhile the train arrived and that massive human wave drifted towards it. It appeared as if the world was going to end tomorrow and this train was the only hope for survival. With all my guts I rushed towards the door and pushed myself onto the train somehow .The way people were fighting and abusing for a seat, even our politicians would’ve felt inferiority complex on seeing that. Suddenly my gaze shifted to a vacant seat at the end of the compartment and I ran like a mad man to grab it. Luckily I got enough space to rest my bottom but the thought of sitting continuously for 20 hours amid such ruckus made me jittery. With six people on a seat meant for four, I felt like a cheese slice with two breads on each side. “Bon Voyage”, I said to calm myself.
With every passing station more people hopped on. Surprisingly, everyone got adjusted in an already jam-packed situation. Amidst all this hassle my stomach ached for food and “Vada Pao” was all I could get. The sight of Eunuchs demanding money from passengers brought a smile on my face. The initial awkwardness had subsided by now and I felt more comfortable, not physically though. As the train paced through the outskirts, cool breeze seeped in. The unbothered souls dangling at the door infused audacity in me to face the chill. Some people relished a carefree sleep on the floor, while I was busy counting sheep in my head. Finally , my maiden journey in second class ended with a yawn ,at the dawn.
As I pen down this travelogue, some thoughts bother my intellect. The classes in the train seem to have a striking analogy with the classes of society. Sitting in an air conditioned compartment of the same train you never realize how life can be so contrasting in a different bogey. No matter how messed up your life is, there’s always somebody out there who is facing things you can’t even think of. A lot of people are happy and content with a lot less than what you have. If you don’t feel grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you’d be happy with more?