Saturday, 5 March 2016

Two mysterious men


A lake and a beach

When I see the lake, I can see it full. I can see its boundaries. I can see its stretch through my little eyes. But I cannot see its depth. I do wonder how deep it is! I wonder about the fishes in it and how they would be living inside the lake water in harmonious communities!

There’s a railway station about 25 minutes away from my place. I have seen this station for the past 7 years and almost all people who travel in the central railway line of the magnanimous city must have at least once got down at this station. Many change trains from here to their respective hometowns. Many live here too. I change my train from here almost each day. This station I tell you is one of the prominent stops. Local train waits here for about a minute and I tell you a lot happens in this whole one minute. Sea of men get down and a large number of men like me wait for them to get down. The wait seems never ending in this little duration of one minute. After the wait is over, finally, we all scurry into the train to find a comfortable standing place. All of this happens in one minute. It’s like mice scurrying in and out of rags of grains!

But before the train arrives, we often have to wait for the right train to our hometowns. My train is either from platform 4 or rarely from platform 1. For the past 7 years, in this busy station, I have been associated.

“Saengh! Saengh!” reach my ears. It is a soft voice! Of the man selling ‘singhdana’ (peanuts) to people like me waiting for our trains! Whether on platform 4 or platform 1, I have seen him on both. I have a fixed place on the platform because I board the same car of the train, the one which is near to the exit of my hometown station. This man has the same position as mine on both the platforms. And hence very obviously, I get notice of this man even in the hustle and bustle of many men waiting on the platform like me.

Now this man has a soft voice. There is no aggressive marketing tone when he vows for people to purchase his garam (warm) fresh peanuts. It is so soft that I bet you will not notice unless you are hungry and looking for stomach refreshment. I know his boundaries; he is seen always in the same position and in a distance of 25-30 steps. I have never seen him traverse the entire length of the platform to look for customers. Perhaps he has made many in his limited space on the platform. He is obviously poor but a neat man. He is well built, his shirt is unwrinkled, his hairs well kept! The other day I saw that he has a bald patch on his back head but his hairs were well cut and well kept.

“Saengh! Saengh!” I heard once again yesterday. I wondered about the softness of his campaign to attract customers. It is not that he is sad about his job but he is not ambitious as well. There’s a certain calmness and neutrality in his body language. He seems away from happiness and grief. I wondered ‘where does he live!’ On one of the platforms! Or he goes home late night and comes the next day for his monotonous life routine! “Would he be having a family?” I asked myself. I don’t know.

He is like a lake; still and calm! I know his boundaries but I don’t know his depth!!!


When I see the beach, I love the thunder the waves make! They come from a distance, the waves, and hit the rocks with all the momentum they build while coming aggressively to it. Thrilling! Enjoyable! The scent of sand and a feel of break free! The beach is very vast. I cannot see its boundaries through my little eyes. When I wonder of its depth, it’s a bit scary. I know it must be very very deep!

My job started some six months ago and my company has three prime locations in the magnanimous city. I have been in all three locations as they do keep shifting us in the early days of job. When I feel habituated to one place, they deport me to other! “Yaar jab pinjre se pyaar hone hi lagta hai toh yeh riha kar dete hain!” (When the bird starts falling in love with the cage, they free the bird!) To make arrangement in some other ‘pinjra’ (cage)! Anyways, when I joined the company, I was given the location some one hour away from my home in local train.

I never got down at this station which is near to the location I got. It was my first time. Through people, I came to know that we get a 10 Rs. sharing auto-rickshaw to my workplace from the station. Now at this station, a lot of working professionals get down to go the huge business park which the town boasts of. My company’s office is in the same park standing neighborly to many corporate power houses in the park. Majorly, all of the people who get down at this station go to earn bread and butter through working for one of the corporate buildings in the business area in the town. And to pick and drop these men and women, a sea of rickshaws gathers outside the western part of the station. The scene of black rickshaws one behind the other in multiple lines is like a horde of crows feeding on a scatter of grains!

On my first day, I saw a huge line of men and women waiting for the rickshaw. I was like ‘Oh my God! I’ll have to wait in this long queue before getting the auto.’ But then I saw this man; a tall untidy person. His shirt was half tucked in his pants, half outside. The top half buttons opened, revealing his white under-shirt vest. He had brown muddy hairs and reddish white teeth. He shouted “Godrej! Godrej!.. Haan aa jao! Arey idhar aao!” (Godrej people come here. Go in this auto!) He was restless. But he was helping people getting the rickshaws quicker and saving our time as we need not wait in the queue. People going to ‘Godrej’, the business park, got the rickshaw with his help. I too got his service and for my one month duration in that office location, I needn’t bother to stand in queues.

I wondered he must be getting commission from the rickshaw pullers. But why would rickshaw men bother if people had to stand in queues! “Did he get money from some generous men among us?” But the working professionals are always in a hurry. Many of them are too immersed in their cell phones. ‘Who would be giving money to this man?’ I thought. There was an aggressive campaign in his tone, a rough tone. He was more bothered for people to get the rickshaw quicker than the people themselves. For once I thought, he belonged to everybody but nobody belonged to him. I thought he must be doing this service for free just to keep himself occupied and for his stomach, he would have made friendship with the food stall owners who would be giving him something to eat for free. Maybe this work would be giving him his share of peace like the beach has its calm surface very far away from the shore. We only watch the waves but at a distance from the shores, the beach is quite, no waves!

After one month, I was shifted to another location. And after five months from that, that is a few days ago, I was deported to this same old place. When I got down at the station on my revisit, I anticipated for the service of this man. But he was nowhere to be seen. We ‘Godrej’ people didn’t have to stand in queue and made arrangement to get the rickshaw quicker by our own selves. The man was absent. I thought he might have got some job, a lucrative offer to leave this place. Or was he no longer a part of this world! Maybe he decided to leave to go to a new place to offer new services.

He was like a beach. I neither know his boundaries nor his depth!!!


You, me, we all; can be a lake or a beach. A sea or an ocean! A ravine too!