Monday, February 04, 2008

Two good men for every bad one

A train journey is so much like life in fast forward mode. My first trip of the year has lead to my turning into a theorist. The postulates of my theory are – “The assortment of people you can meet while boarding a train is directly proportional to the people you will encounter in a lifetime.” “There are two good men for every bad one.”

As I boarded the Gondwana Express from Jabalpur on 2nd February 2008 I was hoping for a good journey back home to my family n friends in Delhi. I was also trying to match real life to reel life. I wanted a ‘Jab we met’ story to happen. What did really happen was something that I had never fathomed. It was like death… it happens to other people not me.

For starters, I did not get my preferred side lower berth. Instead I got an upper berth in the coach. The gentleman just opposite to my seat introduced himself as Colonel Sandeep Jaitley. His rank led to me to change my opinion of his weird hand shake that had sent my woman’s instinct ringing a sounding alarm. He started the conversation in good enough English and within five minutes he decided to progress to “tu tadaka” (very informal use of Hindi language). As my female instinct again warned me I just reproached at it saying he is just an over friendly and over zealous kind of a man.

There were 2 other men occupying the same coach. They were nice and polite. Moreover, they were railway officials one of whom I later realized about to meet my mother for some official work in two days time. The four of us were discussing things that are mandatory topics in any train journey – weather, politics, tea and the condition of the country/railway/business etc. in retrospect though I think I had seen the two men and the other passengers occupying the side berth look at the Colonel of the Indian Army with suspicion.

While talking he hit me with his foot under the small table that adorns the 2nd AC bogies of the Indian trains. Again giving him the benefit of doubt (foolishly enough) I just retreated my feet back. One of the reasons why I did not scream at that point in time was also because I was traveling alone and was not sure whether anyone would help. When the man suggested that I wake-up chatting with him till 11:30 pm in the night that was IT. I excused myself and went straight to my berth. Covered my head with the blanket and pretended to sleep. And before I knew it I was sound asleep.

To my utter horror the man tugged at my blanket. I jerked and looked up to see a complete drunk Colonel Sandeep Jaitley. I shouted, “Please don’t do that again.”
Rolled back to the other side and slept again hoping that the shout was enough of a scare to the drunkard. As if flouting the rules by consuming alcohol in the train was not enough that sleaze of a man had the nerves to get down his berth and then move his palm on my thighs as I was sleeping.

Imagine my horror as I jumped down the berth screaming and shouting, tears running down my cheeks involuntarily. I was hysterical. And never have I been more proud of having a loud voice and an even louder personality. Everyone around the coach gathered. They shouted at the drunkard. Some aunties took me to the next coach. Seats were immediately exchanged. All I kept repeating was, “if an army Colonel behaves like this what are we to expect from the civilians?” The two uncles from railways took me under their wings. Suddenly I had strangers in an unknown place taking care of me in a way that perhaps only my family could. I was reassured again and again. Was given hot tea and then before realizing it engaged in a conversation that was engrossing and riveting. Within 2 hours I had listened to views on politics, religion, medicine and career. I had actively participated in the discussion too after a point.

Dinner was a party. We all shared food, jokes and hearty laughs. And in the meantime, Deepak Gupta uncle and M.K. Gupta uncle, Dr. Shukla aunty and Abhishek (M.K. Gupta uncle’s son) were constantly looking over me and taking care of anything and everything I needed. When it was time to switch off the lights on that awful evening I had turned into a theorist.

“The assortment of people you can meet while boarding a train is directly proportional to the people you will encounter in a lifetime.”

For every bad Colonel Sandeep Jaitley there are Deepak Gupta and M.K. Gupta. Life is not all bad and just like on the Gondwana Express running between Jabalpur and Hazarat Nizammudin on 2nd-3rd February 2008 there are two good men for every bad one in life as well.

11 comments:

Indrajit said...

hmm.. it reminded me of 1 of my writes denouncing such muts -"A Few Good Men."
Ur theory is spot on.

u shd have given tht B@Sta$# a hit on his nose and i wish i was thre, cos u dont get an opurtunity t slap a "colonel" in the guise of a sicko..
Appalling and horrific , but not very strange in today's context...

Anyways chill and u hve a long way to go Lady >:) smile and keep penning.

Vicky said...

That's a horrific incident. Thank god your co-passengers were helpful. Normally, these days - public just watches the 'tamasha'. Nobody cares that it could happen with them tomorrow.

shal said...

now that's a horror.and u are indeed lucky to get some help there.

Priyanka Khot said...

I have received a tremendous response on this post on my orkut scrapbook as well as mail account.

Thanks to all of those who feel angered. I just hope that in future when some girl faces a similar situation most of the people will remember how scared i felt and help her out with all that they can do...

swatimala said...

its nice 2 know tht ppl will step up even today 2 help others :)

Pran!t! said...

Thankfully your co-passengers were sensible and concerned ... However, it isn't so always...the other day one of my classmates was almost raped in a subway...she somehow managed to free herself and screaming fled to the nearest man in uniform...the police officer just laughed at her!!!it was evident that she was petrified and hysterical but the officer just let her be!!! its disgusting!!! there is no respect associated with uniform anymore. also the man who tried to rape her was most probably a trainee police officer!!!

olimpia said...

Ooooooooooh! may be it was the time speaking also about people's characteristics!im not agree with Pryanka,s rapport![ she is too generous , a good man!]It is 1/10 !!!! MALICE is everywhere! it is like an handicapped of no soul's man ,or frail's soul .It haes man's face and it sups avidly satanic terror good man's soul .It is a status who cut away every smiling and every hope.May be Im wrong but my last experience got me that imbold to cry. In my travel between nations ,on that orkut ,I felt malice is everywhere ! yes! and It diminishes my friendliness,thats why I need a prayer.....or may me its NOT ME who need a prayer.....

jack said...

it should make it clear that women themselves will have to raise the first voice.people will help u or can help u when u ask for it,you just cant expect them to be shaktiman for no reason.it always starts with 'you'
.it feels good that you penned this incident down which is a sign of a courageous lady.
god bless.

* tranQu!L f!esTa * said...

its good to see the ratio of good to bad people is 2:1..Would have kicked that creep where it hurts the most that A*****e!!! Its refreshing to see public being supportive rather being a spectator ..I think people are coming to their senses and getting their courage back at last ..:)

John said...

Hi Priyanka,

Came here from caferati mailing. It's so shocking reading about a colonel in the army doing such things, that too to a girl travelling alone. What is the country coming to?

Do visit my blog http://johnpmathew.blogspot.com and leave a comment.

IR said...

u should have punched him and beaten him up