As I was returning back from the North-East, I happened to hop on a compartment reserved for the army personnel.
Initially I was sitting in front of the door, and there were other ‘civil’ people as well in the compartment. In one statition, a man demanded to clear the space I was sitting on to keep his furniture items.
So I went inside the compartment and sat on a small vacant space on the upper birth. I was doing all these thing as any normal second class traveller does. But I was not aware that it was the ‘army’ compartment, and the security people sitting there were ‘suspicious’ of me.
An officer from Darjeeling asked me to get down and sit next to him. He asked me a lot of questions – in fact, I was being interrogated.
I sensed that the army personnel there were of mixed origins, and my presence there was creating a misunderstaing among the army personnels themsleves.
Some of them were of Nepali origin, others from Sikkim, Darjeeling and other India states.
The person who was interrogating me, Mr. K, was from Darjeeling. Seeing my interest in literature, he claimed that he can converse in poems. And he did answer me in a poem, when asked about himself. He was really an ‘ashu-kavi’.
Then he said: I feel like trusting you. But my profession does not allow me to trust you. Moreover, there’re my colleagues who don’t trust you. What’s in your that bag? Why’re you travelling like this? Why did you hop on an ‘army’ compartment? etc, etc
These days, I carry a saffron colored hand bag with an emblem of Shiva on it. I bought it in Haridwar during my last visit. I’ve sensed that security people are very suspicious of saffron colored bags.
I opened my bag and showed to him: See, there isn’t anything suspicious in my bag, just a watter bottle and a few paraphrenalia. And that I was not carrying the saffron colored bag for any ‘cultrual’ reason.
When he asked me what profession I was in, I replied: I’ve been to many professions, the last one was in the media. But, at present, I’m only a blogger.
Mr. K was not that well versed in internet. But his younger colleague, Mr. P, checked my blog on his mobile, and declaired: OK, he’s our friend.
The army personnel of Nepali origin felt obliged to support me coz I was from their country. And now the Sikkim man was also supporting me in the name of what he said ‘humanity’. Then the Darjeeling officer declaired: On my right side lies Sikkim, and on my left side lies Nepal. They both support you. Hence, I’m also obliged to support you.
Actually, he was saying all these things not to me, but to his other fellow personnel who were against my sitting in the compartment.
Then we shook our hands, and hugged each other. Then they asked me to take rest on the upper berth and Mr. P was assigned to ‘guard’ me.
When I was resting with my eyes closed, Mr. K asked: Is he sleeping? Others said: Yes. Mr. K: I hope I didn’t say anything wrong to him. I hope he doesn’t get a negative impression of us.
Others assured him: No, he’s positive. Didn’t he called you an ‘ashu-kavi’? That’s a great compliment.
They were right. I’m never against people on duty. I’m only against bloody politicians who make people fight with each other!
Btw, today I arrived Benares from Bodh Gaya.