3 My vaishno devi tour (Part-1, the train journey)

Out of eight berths in the compartment, 5 were occupied by 3 girls and 2 boys in their early 20’s, another was for single passive stranger, yet another for one old man in his early 60’s with vibrant personality and the remaining one left for me. It could not have been a better combination of co-passengers for any writer’s fantasy. If not the writer, this was a perfect framework with right configuration for an interesting travelogue. The old man in his early 60’s was the first one to greet me, once, I entered the already crawling Rajdhani express after running for 1.5 KM tirelessly and avoiding dozen of collie just to acknowledge them that I am healthy, fit and still young. For, I didn’t want to miss the train and catch a flight in Rs. 5,000. After taking deep breath for 10 minutes, I asked the old gentleman, just to set the context, “will we get the dinner?”. Instead of giving me a direct answer, he asked me, “are you traveling first time in Rajdhani?”. “Yes! This is my first Rajadhani trips”, I nodded my head in affirmation.

“hey young man, in Rajadhani you will get, dinner after the hot soup, not only dinner you will get tea, breakfast, lunch everything. The cost is included in the ticket. Anyway, relax! it is two hours before you get the dinner.” He explained everything without a single pause. Then he asked, “Do you have your business in Delhi or are you working in Bangalore”. I did not understand readily, why no business in bangalore or no jobs in delhi. Rather, I was not convinced the very idea. But I had to reply him for the sake of conversation, “Yes, I do work in Bangalore; actually I am working for Infosys”. “Oh! My god, nowadays everyone is working in Infosys. Every 3rd person in Bangalore is working for Infosys, thank god my two sons are not like that” that old man was more enthusiastic, his palpating voice was evidence for this.

“So, what they are doing?” this was my next question. He had a quick reply, “One of them is in Yahoo research and another in nokia. I had a business in Hariyana. I abandoned my business and now I am settled in Bangalore with my kids. Younger one has been very intelligent; therefore he is working in yahoo. His first salary package was 7 lacks a year. Now it is 2 years, therefore it is substantially increased.” He told everything in one shot as he got an audience after long time. He was happy to find me for this purpose. He was among so many proud fathers whose life changed dramatically post economical liberalization (after “world become flat” as sensed by Thomas Freidman).

I have also experienced those changes, so could not digest his ignorance about my company. I asked him, “Uncle jee, I know very well, the different components of 7.0 lacks offered by yahoo”. I am an alumnus of IIT and I am in research. First time he realized, his information for Rajdhani express has gone waste, since I must have been traveling by flights or Rajadhani. I did remember what my professor (PhD advisor) told me 3 years back, “In India brand name of IIT and Infosys always works. This old man was not arrogant in describing his son’s success, rather he was enthusiastic, extrovert and entrepreneurially skilled spokesman, who could always think and speak out of box. Except the huge age difference, I felt, I was like him.

I spent next 40 hours talking to him on different topics, starting from IT industry to present economy through national and international politics. Except IT he was yet another common man of R. K. Narayan who has been witnessing so many disturbances around him but was helpless to change the system. Next morning, I observed strange sequence of events. He pulled out his new HP laptop from his bag and started playing old bolywood music video. He was enjoying himself. He was using earplug to avoid disturbance to other passengers. It was all normal until he told me, whether I was interested in music. I replied,”Oh no! This is not my cup of tea”.

So he asked, “You must be interested in new movew, the slum dog millionaire. It is yet to be released in India. Yesterday, I put it for download from the movie website torrence.com. This is the website where you can download movie. You know it take 24 hours to download this movie.”

He was more confident in describing India will never change. With so many IT developments in Bangalore still it takes 24 hours to download a movie.

The amount of changes that we have seen in last 10 years is more than what we saw in previous 50 years. Mr. Sharma, an old man in his early 60’s, my co-passenger, was the best example to describe this changes. He had an Orkut profile, and was trying his hand on facebook, he use to download movie of his choice from a website, which I (33 years old young IT professional) don’t know.

I had to kill my time, so I agreed to see that movie, though, I don’t like movie, for I don’t want to spend 3 hours in front of the idiot box. So far, I was the only one to know about the old gentle man who had an Orkut profile, a 10th grade pass ex businessman who use to download pirated movie (though he didn’t know, it was illegal) from the website, who had the complete knowledge about few yet to be released movie, who own a personal laptop and who was thinking that he was at par with any young educated man, who readily accept the fact that he was merely 10th grade pass but a proud father of two successful young IT professional. As I started movie without the earphone the other co-passenger also joined. Initially they thought it was my laptop but after listening our conversation about his expertise on new movie stuff, the group of 3 girls and 2 boys joined us, just for the sake of applauding old gentleman.

Frankly speaking, had it not been this old gentleman, my journey would have been a complete mess, boredom and I would have spent time in sleeping. It was a beautiful 42 hours, I didn’t realized how my journey was over. To be continued…


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