“As soon as the train started to move, a woman and her husband entered one of the coaches. The woman sat down near the door but the man stood there in tension. He knew that he had general compartment tickets and this was a reservation coach. As he showed his tickets to the ticket collector, he folded his hands.
The ticket collector said – “This is a general ticket. Go to general compartment once the train arrives at the next station else you will have to pay a fine of five hundred rupees.” The husband and wife were going to visit their daughter as she had delivered her first baby, a son. The man worked for a businessman. After a lot of insistence, his master had given him two days of leaves and seven hundred rupees as advance payment. He had tried hard to enter the general compartment but with his wife and the iron trunk, he found it difficult to do so. Helpless, they had to come to the reservation compartment.
The man forwarded a hundred rupees note to the ticket collector saying – “Sir, I could not enter the general compartment since I am with wife and luggage. We will only stand here in the corner. Please allow us for the same. This will be a great favor to us.” “Hundred bucks is nothing. Give me eight hundred rupees else you get down.” Now the wife spoke to the ticket collector- “Sir, eight hundred rupees was not even spent for Guddo’s delivery. We are going to see our grandchild. We are poor people sir, please let us go.” “Then you give me four hundred rupees. I will make the receipt for one person. You both can sit.” The man forwarded two hundred rupees now and said – “Take this sir, don’t make the receipt.”
The ticket collector was irritated by now and in a scolding tone, he said – “No -no, I will have to make two receipts. The Bullet-Train is going to be started in the country soon. It needs one lakh crore of rupees for that. From where will this huge amount of money come? We have to collect it by making receipts. It’s an order from the top management. The Receipt is mandatory. Come on, give me four hundred rupees quickly else next station is arriving soon. Get down and enter the general compartment.” The man gave four hundred rupees to the ticket collector as if it was a piece of his very own heart.
Meanwhile, two passengers who were standing nearby discussed – “What is this bullet train?” “It’s a magic. Without a passport, you can travel in Japan. It is like an aeroplane which will move on the ground and its fare will also be equivalent to airfare. If you even look at it without reservation, you will have to pay a fine. It’s a one lakh crore rupees worth project. Even if the honest King Harishchandra got a tender for it, there will be crores of rupees accumulated in the account. People are saying that “achhe din” will arrive in this bullet train itself.”
People sitting nearby were enjoying this discussion but the poor couple was on the verge of crying. It looked like they were going in the mourning function for their grandson instead of his birth. How will they manage this four hundred rupees shortage! Will they have to ask for money from their daughter’s in-laws for the return journey? This wasn’t a good idea.
Finally, the man said – “I had brought some extra hundred or hundred and fifty rupees. We will walk down to Guddo’s place from the station. We won’t eat in the evening. Two hundred rupees will get compensated this way. On the return journey, we will come by passenger train. It will save hundred rupees though it will take an extra day. My master will shout on me for being late but I will bear that for my grandson. But still, it compensates three hundred rupees only.” The wife said – “We will do one thing, we both were planning to give hundred rupees each to our grandson. Now, we will combine and give hundred only. We are not separate entities. This way, four hundred rupees will get adjusted.” “But to reduce the gift to our grandson…” the man’s eyes filled with tears as he spoke. “Why are you taking it to your heart? When Guddo will come to our place with grandson, we will give extra two hundred rupees.” Saying this, the wife also couldn’t stop her tears from flowing.
As she wiped her tears, she said – “If I meet Modi ji somewhere, I will say – Instead of starting a bullet train costing so much, it will be better if he arranges for additional general quota coaches in every train. This will help people like us to be saved from humiliation who have the ticket. It will also not cut our grandson’s share of hundred rupees.”
Her eyes again brimmed with tears. “You are innocent. We are poor people. We have the right to vote for Modi ji but don’t have the right to suggest him. Don’t cry.” Since ages, the poor section of the society, which travels in general coaches, has been a part of such exploitation. It’s a humble request to all those who are reading this story to share it further. This may probably help Railway Ministry to understand the plight of the general quota passengers.”