In January cold in Ahmedabad was at its peak. In winter, it gets difficult to leave the bed early in the morning. The temperature gets as low as 10° C or even 8° C. And one gets sound sleep between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. in winter. Ride in the morning in such cold becomes teeth breaking. After reaching before time at station for the whole December, I adopted October’s schedule in January. I started reaching at station just before the departure of the train. I didn’t like getting up so early in the morning specially at the time when blanket (not the train) is the best thing to be in. It was getting harder to commute in the winter.
In January, even my bike asked me, “Why are you kicking me so early? You don’t even cover me at night. Then you come early morning and start kicking. What kind of attitude is this?” My bike doesn’t talk but it asked me such questions by not starting easily and stopping in between on the way to station. Earlier Rakish Sir used to reserve the seat for me in the train. So I used to feel secure on that part. In the absence of Rakish Sir, I was not even sure of getting a seat if I go late or catch the train at last moment. And above that I have had to reserve the seat for Dharmendra Sir. Thus, adopting the schedule of getting in the train at the last moment was not the great idea.
I could have afforded the fatigue in the evening but I needed to go fresh in the office. Thus, it was important to get a seat in the morning. And with the adoption of that schedule, I had to find a way. Luckily, Mahesh Kaka understood the situation and took the responsibility of reserving the seat for three of us. He lived near the railway station. Seeing the situation, he decided to reach at station bit early and reserve the seat for three of us. He did that quite well. We were a group of four people in the beginning of the January but by the end of it we became the group of six. Nikesh and his banker friend Mukesh joined our group.
Nikesh’s old group broke into various parts. Some members of that group got married, some got transferred, some of them joined our group and some made a different group. In January, I realized the importance of having a group in the local train. The biggest perk of having a group in the local train is the comfort of the journey. Apart from that, one gets the chance to meet new people, gain some knowledge and share his/her experience. If one don’t belong to any group or travel occasionally in the local train then that person face the hardship to even get a seat to sit. Early birds of different groups reserve the seats for their group members. They don’t allow anyone else to sit on those seats until the confirmation of the absence of group members.
Railway received a lot of complaints from passengers about groupism in trains. Thus in February, railway department sent railway police for the survey. In last week of February, temperature rose and the cold decreased. Thus, I was back on my duties of coming early and reserving the seats for group members.
“Hey, you saw Mayank Kumar (friend of Nikesh who made different group) at Ahmedabad station yesterday?” Nikesh asked me as soon as he sat on his seat from Maninagar.
“No, what happened?” I inquired.
“He was fined yesterday for misbehaving with railway police,” Nikesh relaxed back on the seat.
“What was the need of misbehaving?” It made me curious.
“Railway police entered in his seating coach in civil dress to survey the situation. He has kept his things on his seat and the seat parallel to him to reserve it for his group members. Railway police came and showed its intention to sit on the seat. Thus they requested him to remove the things from that seat. He denied and replied rudely to them. He said them to find another seat to sit. Mayank’s attitude heated the conversation. He ended up abusing them and that thing led him to the fine of Rs. 2000.” Nikesh told the complete story.
I was taken aback by that story. I started coming late at station again from next day and Mahesh Kaka as well allowed everyone to sit on the seat. We faced difficulty because of that but we adjusted. It went on like that till we got the confirm news that survey has stopped.
Like everything, groupism in local trains also has its pros and cons.