So, as the title suggests, I had been to Akola recently. Extremely hot temperature, very spicy food and absolutely loving people.
The trip started with me boarding the Maharashtra Express. Don’t let the name of the train fool you. As the name suggests, the train covers an entirety of Maharashtra and in no way, does it do this in express fashion. The train takes a whopping 14 hours( 12 hours official) to reach Akola from pune. So, I sat in my allocated seat, chained and locked my bag to the train, and eagerly waiting to find out who my co passengers were.
A man entered the compartment, smiled, and deposited his small dufflebag on my seat. Now I was a bit pissed. It was my reserved seat after-all, so I was a bit annoyed that he assumed he could simply mooch off my seat. It was a common thing on this route, I was warned beforehand by helpful colleagues.
The man, maybe sensing my annoyance, smiled again, and said ” Apka kaunsa seat hai ? (what is your seat number?)” I told him mine,showed him my seat with a bit exaggerated motion. He realised his mistake and kept his back in the seat in front of mine.
Now, I scanned the man. Around 45 years of age, thick glasses, white stripped shirt, blue trousers and floaters. Teeth positioned in such a way that even bugs bunny would be jealous, so white that they could be used as flash lights in the dark. He seemed to be a regular traveller. It was evident from the continuos questions he kept asking. Finally he stopped the torrent of questions and went for a quest to find the nearest tea stall.
Now enters the second man.Mid twenties, beige shirt, black trousers and chappals. The guy simply smiled and kept his bag on the seat. More importantly he kept it on the right seat.
Two seats were still no claimed. and they remained unclaimed, till the train left the station. The Bugs bunny seemed to find it a bit difficult to keep quite ,it seemed, as he kept fidgeting around. Finally, I could not bear to see him thrash around and asked a totally useless question :
“So where are you travelling to ? ” Bugs bunny seemed relieved and answered me , ” Bhusaval” .”Have you ever been there ?” he asked me.
“Oh. It is a small place. but not very small. We can call it a township”, he said.
In the meantime, another man joined us. He was already in the train coach when I entered, So I surmised he was travelling from any of the previous stations.
He was a guy in his 50s, dark complexion, 5 feet height around 90 kg weight, which meant that the stomach could be used as a tray to carry cups.
Now the discussion took an interesting turn. It seemed the man was very informative about a verity of topics, right from “Government of India under Modi Administration” to “how shoes laces are made”. Truth be told, it would be very hard to say how the night passed away, and morning came. Suddenly I was getting ready to get off of the train, no idea where the 14 hours went, no clue how i was awake the entire night, no clue how I remained awake without eating anything for 14 hours straight.
And the fun part of it was, no one new each other’s name.So, I agree with Mr. Shakespeare
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
So, in a country, where a a person’s name is associated with his caste, religion, sect,etc… it seemed to be a weird thing , not to ask a person’s name.
Isn’t it ?
Or maybe I am doing it wrong….