Monday, October 09, 2006

Gandhigiri - Live

On Friday, while returning from Pune,I take a Sumo to Dadar instead of, to Kandivli. The highway is cloc-a-block with traffic and I waste atleast 1.5 hours from Sion to Kandivli. It's quicker and less excruciating to take the train (less excruciating, you said!)

Last Friday, quickly made my way to Dadar station to get the ticket and then relieve myself (badly needed to pee). Saw on the indicator that there was a fast train for Borivli. Immediately, started climbing the stairs, but by the time I was on the platform, the train had arrived, disembowelled and filled in. Skipped the compartment next to the bridge (coz it is the most crammed) and tried to get in the next. The compartment wasn't crowded at all and only 4 people were standing on the door-ledge. The gangway was also fairly empty. The train started and I jumped in.

The guy at the door started abusing me.
"Kya soyela tha kya ab tab". I couldn't keep quiet

"Boss, ab ko takleef hai kyaa kuch"

"Doosra train pakadnekaa. Khaali pili takleef deta hai"

"Aapko chadneko milaa na aaramse"

I don't remember the further conversation, but the guy wouldn't just let up. So I let out 2 kind effs and moved on. He got angry (don't know if he knew what I had said- its just upsetting not to know what the adversary is saying) and hit me. My specs came off. I turned around and unleashed a kick (actually just a push with my legs, as there wasn't space to manoeuver and also, the guy was standing on the door - couldn't risk him falling). We continued with fisticuffs for some time, before loud voices took over from all sides."

Three of them, standing in differet corners of the compartment, started attacking the darbaan with such ferocity, that I was totally startled. For some reason, they saw that he was being stubborn and sickening.

"Saale, jyaada jor dikhata hai kyaa?"

The guy didn't see the answer blowing in the humid Mumbai wind.

"Tumko kyaa karna hai?"

"Usko andar lo! andar lo!, Dikhate hai usko"

"Sab ek saath kyon. Ek karke ladh naa!"

"Sab Saath mein phodenge tereko. Darwaza pe khada rehkhe, hawaa khata hai kyaa?"

"Ab Bandra utar jaa chupchap".

The guy realized that he was losing the battle and piped down. He continued starting at me for a while and I returned the stare. There wasn't much he could do now.

I was just overwhelmed by the way, these three guys in particular and other junta came to my help. Even after the episode, there were whispers about how the guy was abusing his position of strength (that of being standing on the door). Also, how such guys victimise poor defenceless folks. The accent was also on my frame and look - they all thought that I was a college kid (my specs, small frame and rucksack must have given them the impression). So much the better for me.

I thanked all of them profusely for supporting me. Generally, people just make angry noises asking the quibblers to just shut the fu. But, something dramatically different was at play here. And I suspect, it was Gandhigiri at work. To stand up for what's right.

On Sunday, it was my chance to lend some change to a train ticket-seeker, unasked. This time, I was surprised to find the guy coming up to me later to thank. That's not a done thing with us Indians (I do it coz my social conduct has been altered post my stay in the UK).

I am just very happy with the change.
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