Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Without bullies

Ah my India stories seem never-ending don't they? Well I tend to attract stories so - here's another one to add to the pile. I love travelling by the train, and besides sour faced rto's I've never actually had any bad experiences. Well there's always time for one. This is one of those.

We were finally leaving Kerala for Chennai. In an hour our train to Chennai will arrive and depart from the Ernakulam station. We had quite a lot of bags, so I ended up walking the aisle looking for the familiar red shirt of a porter. There were non insight till I noticed a bunch of them removing goods from the cargo train. Looks like we'd have to wait for them. Small stations were very much different from the Chennai Central Station, it was laid back, less busy, less demanding and mostly people don't jump in your face offering their business.

It was the day the election results were being announced. Having pick that day to travel the distance between Kottayam and Ernakulam. We got to see the winning party parade its colours on the streets. Peaceful yet lively, the colour red streaked across most of the towns. We got to see some of the candidates being celebrated in the typical way; garland adorned waving to the crowds, namaskaramic profile, all from a moving vehicle. Having seen such scenes only on tv, it was quite fun to watch the crowd cheer for their party.

Things were quiet at the station, business went on as usual, no one was really seen discussing the results, maybe it was because by then it was already evening, hence the lack of reaction. The porter we had gotten promised to come back to help us load the bags on the train. That was something I liked about Kerala, the people were honest, they kept their words and having being used to the porters and autowallas of Chennai, it was very surprising.

5 minutes before the train was to have arrived, the porter came by to tell us there will be a delay. Striking a conversation with him, he tells me this particular train changes its engine from an oil driven one to a electronic one at the Ernakulam station. Eventually because of the delay, the engines were not changed.

Finally when the train arrived, he, mom and moms friend went to find our seats while I stood guard over the rest of the bags. He returned with a worried look, telling me seat problems, "there are ppl scolding me and your mom". That's when the drama began.

I got in to find an over packed train compartment, our bags in the middle of the narrow aisle, my mom and her friend standing, and these bunch of women sitting and scolding them. Yes the women were scolding them and the porter. It was pretty chaotic, bags everywhere, people everywhere and we had no seats! Well that was according to those ladies. I took our tickets and checked the seat numbers, we were in the right place! First thing that ran through my mind was - could there be duplicate seat numbers?

So I asked one of the rude ladies where was their ticket and seat numbers. That's when she rudely replies back oh there's no such thing as seat numbers, and our ticket is with the TRO, you can take your things and go and stand near the bathroom! Unfortunately for them I wasn't some docile young thing they could bully!

So I told them you either show me your ticket or get off my place! If you don't I'll halt this train and get you thrown off. There were 14 ppl in a 8 seating area. There was this poor mother and son being squashed to the ends of their seats, that's when I realised these women were travelling on a without ticket. Everyone standing (all men) had a ticket, but had been chased off their seats by these huge group of women travelling without tickets! I think there were 16 of them in different compartments mostly older ladies and even a young gal in her early 20s. Now before you feel pity for these women, let me tell you something.

If they had been polite to my mom, explained their situation, we could have crammed and shared but they had thought they could bully my mom, scold her into submission and even tried that on me so why should I be nice?

Believe me, no one supported those women, everyone had been standing in fear of them till I had arrived. I understand why the men hadn't protested, these women were capable of complaining of assault. They were that vicious!

Then began the cursing in malayalam, them scolding the poor mom and son who was our actual travel partners and we fuming and waiting for the tro. I finally told them watch it I understand Malayalam, only to get back a cold stare. They were pretty confused where we were from since we tend to speak in Malay (Malaysian language) when we travel.

None of us could even have our dinner and the TRO was taking ages to come there unlike other trains. The moment these women heard the TRO's voice, they got off their seats and acted docile, thinking I wouldn't complain. Only when I complained to the TRO did I realise he had a part in the whole fiasco. He knew them and was aware they were travelling on seat class tickets inside the sleeper class compartment right from Thrivandrum.

By then it was already 2 stops near their station, Thrissur and you could see them getting down with thriumph. No they weren't poor, they were nicely dressed in pathu sarees and jewellery. They just thought they could bully people since they knew the TRO. It was really sad to see everyone standing pulling out a ticket while these goons were sitting without one!

I had a lot of people giving me grateful smiles for the ruckus I had created to get back our seats. The kashmiri guy who was at our compartment narrated how he had been chased off similarly when he got into the train. The mother and son actually ended up thanking me, since they had been bullied for few hours.

I've given up my seat for elderly ppl, taken upper berths instead of my lower berth, but no way was I doing that for rude bullies nor was I giving up my consumer rights! I have no regrets, it just wasn't their day!

The rest of the journey was fun, we finally told them where we were from given they were quite curious of the language we spoke. We had a good time exchanging stories till we had to sleep that is. It was a different experience, but hey life is never smooth!


Vani said...

situations bring out the best and worst in people, don't they? nothing but the sad truth! am proud that you stood up for your rights!

Ramya said...

And I'm so proud that u'll have many more stories to tell until ur next trip here !

sreekrishnanv said...

i simply love such sitaution ..when there is no fault on your side and opponent is completely wrong .. i go by some portocols
1. ask politely
2. make them understand politely that its their mistake
3. warn them
4. BAD WORDS !!!!!(the language they understand !!)

esp in kerala along that line EKNM-KTYM-THRSR ..its always like that !! ...
and bought back memories of KTYM and unions !! ... stayed there for 7 yrs !!

My days(Gops) said...

ah aah, neenga captain'a illa anniyan'a? he he he...
irrundhaalum, ungalukku guts jaasthi thaaan..oooru vittu ooru vandhu, bully pannunavangala, vuttalakkadi girigiri'
ippo nee seat'a vutu endhiri'nu
(thirimbium TR effect) senji mudichiteengaley.!!!!

unga oorla ungala paarkanumey??
gud morning madam..
(oru respect thaaan)..

My days(Gops) said...

420 speaking..,
unga B'day eppo'nu nekku therium...

Balaji S Rajan said...


I have faced similar situations in India while travelling. It happened to me once in Kerala too, when we were returning from a Sabarimal trip. My friends were too soft and wanted to let those funny people. I did not want to for the matter of consumer right. As you said, when the Ticket collector came everything settled. It was so silly of them to fight for seats when they did not have a reserved ticket. As you said if they had asked, we can adjust. Once a fellow passenger came and demanded my seat, while I was travelling from Chennai to Mumbai. He argued with me that he was also allotted the same seat and asked me to vacate my seat. Later I asked him to check his ticket and the bogie number and seat number were the same. But the journey was scheduled for the next day.

LOL......... It happens though.

visithra said...

Vani : yeah nothing but the sad truth - glad for that

Ramya : err lol not that many ;p

sree : i do the same - without step 4

i think its coz it was the chennai express - malabar express was so nice

wow 7 years u would have stories ;) did u go to the festivals? Boat race? Pooram?

Mydays : actualla athan nejam - ennaku dhairiyam jasthi - but yahraiyum thondaravu panna mathen - ;p

hehehe adada enna ipdhi ;p

Lol 420? Vithleh kupdra nickname ah? Heheh ahh ;)

Balajis : ah so am not alone - im one of those ppl who take consumer rights seriously

exactly so silly of them - n theyre actually proud of it

Awww he must have gotten the wrong date - or he did on purpose

well funnily i checked my dates then to make sure i hadnt booked the wrong date - before arguing ;)

Shamgar said...

This happens to me at the public library where they have 7 computers you can use free. Each person is supposed to get 1/2 at a time on the Internet, then give up spot to the next person. Each computer has it's own sign in roster. Young people, teenagers especially just ignore the rules and sit down at any empty seat and refuse to give it up. The young library staff who are thier friends don't want to intervene. I have found it effective to stumble and "accidentally" step on the shut off button for the power strip.

sreekrishnanv said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sreekrishnanv said...

did u go to the festivals? Boat race? Pooram?

Obv. Experienced every thing associated with Kerala !!

and that 7yrs stay was 15 yrs back !!

and at times in recent past !!
..so then, no digi cam no photo's ...:(

will be touring soon !! ...again !! ... cant get out of that place !!

Vijay Ramamurthi said...

It is a very rare in kerala to see ticket less travel..southern railway makes the most money out of passenger tickets..unfortunate tho :)

i have travelled in trains in kerela for 16 never seen caught any body for ticketless travel ..generally pretty good :)

My days(Gops) said...

420 meaning theriuma?
veetla appdi ellam koopida maataanga...but, friends sila peru sometimes appadi thaan...
he he

visithra said...

Shamgar : ahhh how selfish of them - hehehe accidental stumbling eh? Briliant idea - i think u gave up complaining

Sree : aww thats good to know - coz i have one post coming on that ;)

u dont need photos to tell stories ;) u just need a memory

hey hope u have a good trip ;) come back with stories

vijay : well i must have caught the train at the wrong time - but i think it had to do with the train type - malabar express had no probs, n a tro in each coach - it was the chennai one that did - well i caught 16 ppl at one go

mydays : 420 meaning teriumeh ;p friends kupdhuvangehla ?

My days(Gops) said...

adhu edhukuna., sometimes girls'a paarka avanga bike'a eduthutu poiruven..adhuku thaaan..
hhe he he

Jeevan said...

Ada da unga athiradi nadavdikkai ya parthu pulllarikuthu visith. Nalla manam unnaipol kadaiyathu, giving your seat for elders and get adjust, good dear.

“”Having seen such scenes only on TV, it was quite fun to watch the crowd cheer for their party.”” Last week I watch a movie Kadhal Kisu Kisu in Sun TV,the first thing come to my mind was u visith, (its shooted in malayasia), where the Vivake tell “Intha orela oru mannu lorry odutha, eathavathu Katchi orevalam pogutha… sure it should be a new experiance for u to see our parties celebration.

Usha said...

uhoh. I am really so sorry you had to face this but glad that you stood your ground and packed them off.

visithra said...

Mydays : hehehe ahha ipdhiyah samacharam ;p

Jeevan : ehehe vereh enna prechannai vandhutha sandhika than sehyanum

aww thats great to know - msia reminds u of me - it better! ;p

ah i remember that movie - but some of the things arent so right

actually we do have such celebrations but inside the voting place not on the streets

Usha : nah its an experience - life cant always be smooth

im glad too

Hip Grandma said...

well done visithra!Hat's off to you

visithra said...

hipgran : thanks :)