Saturday, June 18

Ticket Less...!!!

We are way back to our own places.

Naveen also joined us. His father dropped us till railway station. It was real fun. One full week of roaming around the capital, sight seeing, beaches and babes, restaurants, driving {I just love it}, forts, museums and what else? The first day we reached here was quite boring. Had to be. This trip was planned in a jiffy. Sree had come to my place last week. After two days day’s we were getting bugged up and it was my uncle who put up this idea of visiting Trivandrum. Since we had nothing other to do we just packed in a hurry and headed to this city. We were staying at Naveen’s place.

“What if we don’t take tickets?” I asked.

Sree and Naveen looked at me, unbelievingly. We were discussing it while we were in the car way to station. After sending his father back we decided not to cheat railways. It was me who opposed to the idea first. Maybe I don’t dare that much. But don’t know why, now suddenly I felt I should dare. After I said that, three of us didn’t wait in the queue for tickets. Train had already arrived in the platform. We boarded in the middle one, with the hopes that in case Ticket Checker comes also he wont reach our compartment.

What prompted us to take this decision? When we came here we had taken the ticket and no one checked us. We had discussed about if we hadn’t taken the tickets that time. So why not dare this time? It sums around 250 for three of us. So if we can save that we can have another blast. And the time is 5 O’ Clock only. We will reach our destination by 9.00, soon before some TC comes in. If everything went well and fine, its time for a blast for us. We were so excited to start our journey, can say of adventure.

I was having some worries till the train started. But once the train set off on rails we forgot that we are having no tickets. The train had become crowded. The train started in a good pace and is passing through amazingly greenery areas. And we were running through various topics on what we did throughout the week. The swim in Kovalam Beach, the Masala Dosa from Indian Coffee House, Bikini clad foreigners basking in the sun, old forts we visited and their architecture, culture prevailed in the city, so on so forth.

A loud noise made us stop our talks. Naveen stood up and looked from where it was.
“We are dead, it’s the TC” Naveen screeched. Those words went like a thunder through our minds. I was at jolt. I felt as if world is going upside down. I closed my eyes. My thoughts got blocked.

“What to do?” Sree’s voice was breaking. I looked up. He was looking at me helplessly. There was no trace of confidence he had a minute ago. By the time Naveen had gone to the bedlam corner of the compartment. I didn’t know what to do? I looked outside. There are five more stations to reach our destination. “We are dead” Naveen came back and repeated and gave a drooled look. The TC caught someone who was traveling ticket less and was having a brawl. Till the moment the climate was chilled, but I feel a sudden rise of temperature. I looked up. He is reaching us.

“We will get down at next stop, wherever it is. Then catch next train or go by bus.” I couldn’t think of any other option but this. Both of them nodded their head. Naveen already folded his hands and closed his eyes. Must be praying. Should I? No! Why should I do something I don’t believe in? That too, during my hard times.

“What if he comes before the train stops and hold us?” I hate such questions. What if? Why we think of such a situation. Face it as it comes, whatever it might be. That’s what I believe in. That’s how I had come till here in my life. Never ever I felt I was wrong. Minutes passed like years. And felt as if the train is crawling. My heart began pumping like a horse set on a race. My face blanched. There is no sign of reaching any station. Yes, Naveen said it right. ‘We are dead.’ I closed my eyes.

“Tickets” Somebody patted on my back. Opened my eyes. Who else it would be?
I gave a bare stare. And he smiled. He was not even looking at me.

“Rupees. 150” He took a booklet from his old-black-worn-out-leather bag. He turned to others for tickets. Seeing their faces his lips tore apart with smile.
“Paisa illande lokam kaanan irangiyirikkya makkalu{Are you children traveling without having a single penny}” He spoke in a Trichur Malayalam tone. A.A.Nambeesan. His nameplate spelt. “Nootti anpathu, thala onninu{Pay 150 each}”.

“Sir, we lost our money way back in Trivandrum” Sree uttered. I looked at him amazed. We had almost thousand bucks remaining with us.

“Yes sir, I lost my wallet during our swim in the beach.” It took some time to say that only after reminding all of the money is inside the bag, which is kept under our adjacent seat. I opened my wallet to show only thirty rupees in it. “No, No. You have to pay at any cost. Or we will get down at next station and meet railway police.” He growled. I felt a thousand volcanoes erupting inside me. Why the bloody hell did I decide to dare. Wanted to feel pride of traveling ticket less and not being caught. Who the hell thought things will be like this. Now one thing is for sure. Either we have to pay fine or go to railway police. Either of them its embarrassing.

Many people started peeping inside. I saw everyone’s face. Some were enjoying the scenes, some pitying us and some staring at us not knowing what’s happening. Sree is pleading to pardon us and swearing won’t repeat it again. Naveen, dumbstruck is silently witnessing all.

“Children, what exactly had happened?” I looked beside for the source of that voice. A white robbed, bearded person was sitting beside me. I didn’t notice him even once during the 2-hour journey. His gentle smile put me at ease for a moment. His look prompted me to speak up the truth. But since already had made a false statement it will self branding ourselves as liars in front of these people. But somehow I felt this guy could help us out from this tussle.

“We went to Trivandrum for our holidays and while our swim and plays in the beach I lost my wallet which contained almost thousand rupees of ours. Since there was no one back at home we couldn’t arrange for money from anyone which left us only one option to cut short our trip and board a train without tickets. That’s why we caught the very first train where we thought no TC will be there and we will be safe back home.” In a single stretch I vomited. Sree and Naveen are totally supporting me with their facial expressions and gestures. Together we are making a good team, I thought.

I overheard some saying, “poor chaps, what else can they do?”

“I don’t wish to create a fracas over here” TC showed his impatience. “Pay 200, I will let you free from railway police.” We looked at him.” Sir, pardon us and please let us go. Just think if your children is having this situation.” Sree is good at emotional blackmails. But there is no trace of sympathy on his face.

“How much is it?” The same gentle voice asked. And before the TC said something, to everyone’s dismay he got 200 from his wallet and paid the bill. “Them or you, I only need the fine to be paid” giving the priest the token of bill he moved ahead, “Tickets, tickets.”

We three got shocked. So the others who are witnessing. I hold his hands in a way to thank. “Its ok dear. Its God’s decision that I made a sudden plan to board this train and believe I was destined to help you three out from this.” We were word-stuck. What to say? A person is helping us even though we are at fault and that too without knowing the fact. It is total silence in the compartment. I was filling with guilt. Should I say the truth? Only to him! How? The train is crowded and no privacy is there. Everyone is staring at us showing empathy.

For five minutes no one spoke. I looked at Sree. Took my wallet and found 40 rupees in it. Sree nodded. I think he understood what I was up to. I took the money and gave it to the priest. That’s what we told in public, “we have only few currencies.” He didn’t accept it. He smiled at me. “Child, don’t evaluate a generous help.”

“No father, Its just what we have. And we don’t have to feel guilty. That’s why.”
I tried but in vein. After ten minutes I enquired about his church keeping in mind that next day I can return the money at his church. But he read my mind. “No child. Just don’t try all these things. Be at ease and go to your home”

Ten minutes. Train reached our destination. We got up. Looked at the priest. He smiled. We said good-bye to him and all who sympathized us and then stepped out. Through the window he was saying to us “If you really want me to pay back do some generous act with that money for the poor. It will reach me.” In a minute the train left.

We walked down the platform. It was very crowded. We could see another train coming towards the platform. We three looked at each other. A small smile blossomed on our face. I understood we were thinking the same thing. We came out of the station. We are approaching the bus stop. A bus is coming fast towards us. Out of blue we all three chorused, “Once more!!!”


Seema said...

hey vinu,
wht a cool adventure!!!without tickets...that once more in the end was good...and wow...what a team work!!!!bravo!!!!haha....when is the next one coming up???keep up vinu...ur doing excellent!!!

Shyam said...

A very interesting read :-) Can imagine how your hearts would have missed a beat seeing that black-coated Nambeesan ;-)

Anonymous said...

hello everyone........
i am Naveen.....Yes...the same one.....
well actually i have told him not 2 publish it.......but then u know vinu...
this incident shook us so badly tht after reaching our dest. we gave Rs.25 2 the 1st begger we saw......
here is wht i felt......

I was the juniour member of the grp. so i beleived the seniors would take care of the things.
but then that holy voice spoke 2 ME (and not to vinu as he had claimed).
then everything we did was O.S.I (On The Spot Inspiration ). Well it was really fun and thrill all the way.....
after i met a person living near 2 my home..(a shopkeeper) who saw all these. from tht day till now i have not visited his shop once!
ask him 2 tell abt. his walkman adventure while visiting pune....
also abt. his story series on Ramu & Shyamu..(his twin brothers)..

Anonymous said...

guys u were upto something. me beeing a friend of naveen has 2 accept he would have never dared 4 anything close, but gr8 experience and well said....
akn oops alok krishnan