Those days I was getting exceedingly frustrated. I was not starving, had branded clothes in my wardrobe, girls liked me somehow and my bosses didn’t scold me. Anyone in my place would have comfortably stayed in the ‘’No Complaint’’ mode or as those uptown guys say ‘’Life is good dude!!’’But I wasn’t happy. Hence, I decided to take a break and made up my mind to travel, not to the exotic hills or romantic beaches but to some place which is still to find its listing in a travel directory. And I landed to New Delhi Railway station which was brimming with people of all kinds as usual. Booking pimps with betel nut infested red teeth were fathoming their prospective clients with an eagle like accuracy. Some of them approached me. I turned them down; I wasn’t myself sure where I was heading to. I became a part of a long queue at a booking window.
“Haanji, kahan ki ticket chahiye”, the lady at the counter screeched and I came back to my senses.
‘’Kahan ki tickets hai aapke paas’’, I asked stupidly.
‘’UP, MP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, Karnataka, Orissa Aapko jaana kahan hai?’’ She asked with a playful smile.
‘’Pata nahi, aap UP ka ticket de do’’ I said coolly.
‘’Aap pagal hain kya? UP bahut bada hai? UP me kahan?’’ She was starting to get pissed.
‘’Agra…Kanpur, Nahi aisa karo aap Jhaansi ki ticket de do’’ I said.
She produced a ticket robotically and I paid the cash to vacate the window slot for other passengers who knew where they wanted to go. Some of them even started whispering ‘’Lagta hai pagal hai bechara’’.
The Train was filled to capacity. People uncomplainingly sat on the luggage racks, in the passage, near the washroom gate, some of them even sat on the train stairs as the train started with a jolt. Soon people adjusted to the pandemonium around them. Wailing kids started giggling and youth started complaining about the system.
‘’This government should resign’’ one of them said
‘’To be replaced by those bunch of losers. Their mentor has renounced his political career, without him they are directionless’’ Another one said.
‘’Anybody would be better than this toothless Prime-minister of ours’’ The third one said.
‘’Hmmm!!’’ Added another one.
‘’But who cares about Ram Mandir? All we care about is our bread and butter. The opposition has no political motives’’ a bespectacled youth pitched in.
‘’Nothing against Ram, Garv se bolo hum Hindu hain’’ a sleepy youth sprang to action.
The talks subsided for some time.
Another gossip group, a little older and seemingly wiser were chatting over a game of cards.
‘’What does this tea contain? Nothing. Warm sugary water with this tea bag. Five rupees for this. Absolutely ridiculous’’ First one threw a card with vigor.
‘’True…These guys bribe the railways and serve water in the name of tea. Corruption is everywhere’’ said another gentleman carefully examining his cards.
‘’This government must resign’’ the oldest one of them said.
‘’This government must resign’’ the first one supported.
There was an all lady group as well. They weren’t exactly shouting like the males who were accompanying them. But they were talking too, one elderly lady was sobbing.
‘’My little princess, she has made all of us proud’’ she said.
‘’Then why are you crying? How many girls from Jhansi with such limited means have made to St. Stephens? Another lady asked.
‘’I am not crying, I am just worried. She hasn’t seen City till now; she is too innocent for Delhi. I hear cases of rapes and molestation every day.’’ The sobbing lady replied.
‘’Delhi is a rough city. They drink a lot’’ An old woman said.
‘’It is better than Mumbai, they hate hindi speaking people’’ Another lady said.
‘’What do they like, English speaking people?’’ Another one.
‘’They only like Maharashtrian speaking people’’ The card playing man interrupted.
‘’It’s called Marathi’’ Another card playing man corrected.
The talks subsided. I couldn’t suppress a smile.
And I thought I was frustrated. Here people want the government to resign on petty issues. No one wants to hear a word against his religion. Parents are afraid of exposing their daughters to the modern society. Hatred is everywhere. Some hate the society; some hate a city, some hate a community, some hate a language. But if you ask why? The answers are missing. Or even if answers are there, the logic is missing. We are a queer constellation of confused stars…each one shining its own light.
The Train was touching the outskirts of a sleepy looking Jhansi. The talks were now circling around actors dancing in private weddings and Board of Cricket control forcing a senior non performing cricketer to resign. There was a rhythmic confusion. Everyone was smiling, everyone was frustrated. The Frustrated Indian boarded the train alone and was preparing to get off with so many of them.
‘’I’ll create a forum for frustrated Indians where they’ll voice their opinions. Maybe that’ll lead to channelized anger and maybe that’ll do something good.’’ I decided. In the words of Bo Bennet – Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success’’
And half an hour later, I was standing on the other side of the platform, waiting for a train to another destination. I wanted to be a part of many such journeys. I wanted to hear many such random discussions. My Journey begins now…