Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One Glass of Water Denied

Like every other day, I was waiting for my train at Dadar station today morning when a beggar approached me and asked for 5 rupees. In a matter-of-fact tone I waved my head, said ‘no’ and moved away from him while he completed his sentence ‘5 rupaye ka nimbu pani pila do’ (Buy me a lime-water costing 5 rupees). I didn’t give it a second thought and got on the first class compartment of the train which had just come to a halt on the platform.

I looked back at the beggar. He looked young, with a little shabby clothing and a cap. He was now approaching other people with his request. At that moment I actually gave heed to what he had said and realised that he hadn’t asked for money; he had asked for water.

It had been a genuine request.

‘Never say no to anyone for water’, I remembered my mother telling me a long time ago when I was in Primary school, had gone for a class picnic and hadn’t shared my bottle of water with a friend.

Before my slow-processing-morning-mind could change its course of actions, the train started moving and gave me a good excuse not to look back at the beggar. Right at that moment I knew the thought of this guy wouldn’t go out of my head easily.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tales from the Streets of Mumbai - II

Last Sunday night I was with a school friend, who was visiting, at Marine Drive and we were to return to my place (30 kms away) by the local train from Churchgate station.

“Wait, let’s take the train on platform 4. That’s the last train and leaves in 10 minutes,” I said.

My friend looked quizzically at me.

“That’s the 1 AM train. No train after that until 4.15 AM- the first train in the morning. So this would be an adventure!” I exclaimed. (Yeah, it's not ek-chaalis ki last local)

What if we miss that train? What if the train breaks down mid-way? Weird and random thoughts crossed my mind. I felt ecstatic. These little ‘adventures’ define life for me.

And the day had been quite eventful already.
Taking the last local- 1 AM- train from Churchgate Station

Rewind>>> 18 hours.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

What to do if you are bitten by a bed bug on an Indian train?

It was around 2.30 in the night and I was watching a movie on my laptop, lying on the lower berth seat in the train on the way to Mumbai. My hands had been itching for a few minutes now and I was irritated. I switched on the flashlight on my phone and pointed it at my elbow. I was in for a rude shock.

I immediately shut down the laptop and went out of the coach to the lighted area for a better look. There was swelling on both my hands, spread randomly around the elbow joint and on the fore-arm. I panicked. Could this be the work of some insect? Or is it something more serious?

I immediately clicked pictures of my hand and sent them to my family. They would obviously be deep asleep at this time in the night. I thought of any medication/first-aid that I can take and the anti-allergy tablets were the only thought I had. I returned to my seat, took a tablet and did a frantic search on the white bedsheets for any clue. And there it was- A bed bug!

I removed the bedding to check if there were more. There weren’t any in sight. But I was too paranoid to sleep there now. I couldn’t think of what to do.

I recalled that a blogger friend had tweeted about badcondition of her coach to the Indian Railway Ministry but hadn’t got any response. And this is 2.30 AM in the night, there is no way anything can be done. At least if nothing is done, I can tag the Radio Jockeys at my station and request them to take up the issue on their show, I thought.

So I went ahead and tweeted to the Rail Ministry:

I went ahead and checked the timeline of the @RailMinIndia twitter handle. I saw that there were tweets which had been responded to in the last hour with the common reply ‘Matter has been forwarded to the concerned authority’. There probably is an automated computer tweeting those, I thought.
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