Continuing the tradition of live commentary – in ‘as is, where is’ condition – Ouchmytoe brings you life inside a 3rd AC compartment at 10.30 in the night.
Before the commentary begins, let me tell you that working on a laptop in a train has been my life long ambition for the last two years. It all began when a young software professional, whom I considered to be dumber than myself, booted a laptop in Pandyan Express when I was going to Madurai for Diwali. I wouldn’t really have cared, but the sarcastic look he gave me got me. Ever since I have been wanting to buy a laptop. Now that I have been given one by my office I have started coming to the Egmore station in Chennai every evening at 9.30 p.m. to see if the software engineer in question is boarding the Pandyan Express to Madurai.
Cutting to the present, I tried hard to boot my laptop when the others were awake….but couldn’t. Being the gentleman I couldn’t flaunt my laptop in front of the have nots’. Now that everybody is asleep and I have booted my laptop…let me tell you how the insides of a train is at 10.30 p.m…..it is dark.
One would never know. The TTE casually strolls in at 10.30 p.m. – a full half hour after everybody has got into the bedsheets washed on the ghats of a river polluted by the massive steel plant. For the uninitiated TTE doesn’t stand for Totally Tasteless Existence instead means Traveling Ticket Examiner. He wakes everybody up and asks for their tickets. Some fumble and others mumble. I ask the TTE to hold my laptop while I take out ticket out of my pocket. My berth number is 12 and Rekha’s is 9. The Laloo Prssad Yadav’s way of saying man is superior to woman?
As I follow the TTE’s shoes out of our cabin, I see a single Bata shoe under the seating. Where is the other half I wonder? I wake up the owner of the pair who is just getting back to dreamland after swearing at the TTE…he assures me both his shoes are very much there.
“Sir, one of your shoes has been stolen.” I insist.
“I know it hasn’t been. Now, if you let me sleep in peace, please.” I am only guessing that ‘please’ was the last word of his statement coz by then he was inside the bedsheet again.
“No sir, you are highly mistaken. I can only see one of your shoes.
Gentleman, I would appreciate if you don’t disturb me. Here is why you see only one shore of mine – I don’t leave both my shores under the same seat…makes a thief’s job easier. I leave one shoe under each berth.
With the shoe puzzle over, I tried focusing on my laptop but realized the AC was not cold enough. I walked up to the AC person and asked him to increase the chill factor manually.
“Are you a literate or an illiterate? Didn’t you know that AC means Automatic Control and there is nothing manual about it?”
This was my second defeat within half an hour. With nothing to do, I decided to switch on the fan but they didn’t work. I remember, back in those days when the fans didn’t work and we would be sweating it out in the steam engine pulled second class compartments, my father would take out his comb and give the fan blades a push.
I decided to do the same and woke up the gentleman sleeping in the upper berth. He seemed quite a sound sleeper for he had covered his whole head….
“Excuse me sir, can I borrow your comb. I need to rotate the fan blades.”
I got his answer the moment he removed his blanket from his head. He was all bald.
Eventually, I realized my time wasn’t good and went to sleep.