A Jouney to Remember…….
Any journey is always a unique experience and adds richness to your life experiences, which are always unforgettable in many unique ways. You come across co-travelers from various spectrum of life like office goers, people traveling to reach their loved ones in another destination with lots of enthusiasm, some others leaving to a destination far away from the family and not coming back for another year or so, like the people from the armed forces, the tears that roll down when the train starts, the waving of hands as the sound recedes as time trickles by in seconds and sound disappears in a minute or so. Yes with this as common feature in any railway station anywhere, a journey will have begun……
Well, I happened to be a regular traveler for about a year, when I used to travel from Bangalore Cantonment railway station to a place called Kuppam, a small sleepy town, at the intersection of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kuppam being in Andhra Pradesh, about 105 kms from Bangalore. The journey was always tedious, as by the time I would board the train, it would be full with no place to sit and most of the time it was a journey standing near the toilet, passage and all the time the hawkers and pantry boys pushing through the passengers, and we cursing them.
There were a bunch of people who were on the train on a regular basis without fail, begging for small change, and each was unique. And some enterprising people trying to sell small items like toys, pens, vegetables and groundnuts in the evening. Once what caught my attention was of a young woman who was fully blind beyond doubt, as her eyes were full white and protruding out of the eye sockets. She was selling small hand-kerchiefs sets in a pack of 4 for Rs 10. Her bag was not less than 25 kgs, and she was handling very deftly in the crowd of passengers. I felt very bad and sad, and cursed God, why did you do this……??. Out of sheer pity I purchased two sets. After a week later again I spotted her and again I purchased one set, and after that I never saw her again, but till now she has remained in my mind, and I have often expressed this women’s guts to others in my family circle. Had she been blessed with eyes, she would have done wonders in life.
And there was another guy whom no body can forget. He was middle aged man with two hands missing from the shoulders. For you to visualize this man, just remember Thakur of Sholay. Sometimes my friend Mr. M.S.Muruli, would tell me “Somebody must have cut off his arms in the past…” Any body would get pity looking at his physical disability, and I can say that he was the richest guy among the begging fraternity on the train. His pockets would be always full with at least 200 – 300 grams of coins. He was so agile and strong, that, none of us could get down or climb up from the platform to the tracks like him, as I saw him several times climbing up and down. Any how God Bless Him.
And in the evening return journey back to Bangalore, when the train would stop for a few minutes, at Bangarpet station people would rush down to pick up the tea cups from a stall, which used to be very tasty. Since he had to do a quick business he would have kept all the cups filled up and kept ready, with a small card board disposable tray, by which we would immediately order 4 or 5 or 6, render exact change. The stall owner and the regular passengers were so accustomed to each other, that he would not look at the money we give him, as he had no chance to check and count. He would just put the money in the tray and concentrate on the hands extending towards him…….saying 4 or 5 or 6……..
Pandu Ranga Rao