The day was friday. As a lawyer by profession I was excited since morning because of the weekend. I had already started to day dream two days of relaxing, sleeping, eating and doing nothing. The excitement was shortlived as I had to cross a valley of fire. No, not exactly fire but for a PWS (Person who stammers) every word coming out from mouth was definately very hot like fire. My valley here was the ticket window and the fire was to speak out my destination. Yes, you got it right, “Palghar”.
I had to reach “Palghar” which is a suburban area of Thane district by 10am. I had to meet a client and had to appear for a case representing for the same. I left home around 7.45am to reach at Goregaon station, Mumbai. The traffic was pathetic. It took me 15 minutes for 1 km ride to reach station at around 8am.
I had to take ticket of “Palghar” from Goregaon. I could not afford to travel ticketless. Was scared of being caught by the ticket checker. I imagined being fined and lectured by the TC. As a lawyer I was expected to abide by the rules set by the railways.
Luckily, I was on time and as always there was a rush on ticket window but I was patiently waiting for my turn.
My experience with the word “Palghar” was always unpleasant. Last time was just few days back I could not say that “Palghar”. The ticket seller which was a male in early sixties with white hair on head did not gave any reaction but I felt very bad. My whole world came upside down and I had to ask myself what will happen to me in future? Here I am going to “Palghar” to fight for a case but I could not even speak the word “Palghar” properly.
This time also since yesterday night I had this thing running in my mind. What technique should I be using? How should be my facial reaction and what should I utter? Should I say Pa…lghar or Pa Pa Palghar or just stammer and say Palghar. Afterall its alright to stammer. Is it? Will I be judged on the way I speak?
The situation was very tight. I could see a lady ticket seller. I prayed for a man ticket seller as its always comfortable to stammer in front of a man rather than a women. The lady must have been in her late fifties with a red colour bindi on her forehead and thick spectacles going well with her pageboy hairstyle. I could clearly see she was not happy with early hours of Friday morning. Maybe she was not having a weekend off like me. Well, thinking about the weekend made me again excited. Relaxing, sleeping, eating and doing nothing. Wow..!
The announcement of trains brought me back to present. As I was about to join the long queue, one girl with brown hair, red lipstick, with a jeans and tshirt look also came at the same time and said she came first so she should be standing ahead of me. Must be going to college though I did not asked her. I denied and argued a little with her to which she reciprocated by saying that I was being very rude to her.
Ultimately she was standing behind me.
Soon my turn was about to come. I was not sweating. I taught in my mind I will say loudly and clearly only once and while saying I will be using a pause and then prolongation.
My turn was about to come. The noise at the ticket window was getting louder. It was a rush hour. The guy ahead of me had not bought ID card so he was searching on his phone. He was standing next to window. The guy after him had a 500rs note and the ticket price was 10rs. The ticket seller was angry and was cursing him to bring change in early hours.
The girl behind me was talking on phone. She was getting late and had to reach somewhere very soon. And here I was thinking about “Palghar”.
The two guys were taking time. The ticket seller then called me and asked for my destination. I had to look into her eyes to which she did not cared at all. I said “Paaaalghar” Return.
To which she again said ,”Palghar” return??
I replied, Yes Madam with a smile.
After recieving ticket I said “Thank you” to her as I was very happy to say “Palghar”.
She gave me a smile from her hectic cursing. I understood her work culture and conditions in which she was working. Well, I had to treat myself with something good to eat. Afterall, I completed a huge challenge.
I could understand that the lady ticket seller felt very nice when I said “Thank you” to her. Little fumble from my end did not waste her time and all of a sudden she was very patient with me even though the crowd was unmanageable.
I had forgotten about the girl who was behind me and the guys who were ahead of me. The guy was still searching for his ID card while the other was still waiting to give her change and here I was with ticket rushing towards my destination.
– Allwin Dave
Sachin(January 4, 2023 - 7:22 pm)
Funny, touching, honest, down to earth- and so relevant to all of us.