Recently I had an opportunity to observe the life in India as is seen on any Railway station of a big city. I was on my way to Latur in Maharashtra. Latur always generates gory pictures of earthquake of 1992 and I had a keen desire to see how people in Latur had reconstructed their life and property on the remains of earthquake shattered place. As Latur is not connected by air so I had to board a train from Pune to Latur. I landed at Pune airport at 4-20 p.m. and straight way went to the Railway station. Though my train Latur Express was at 00-35 a.m. , I decided to sit and watch people at Pune railway station.The result was a great revelation–an eye opener for a person like me. I had a glimpse of India and Bharat at Pune railway station.
I saw people of India which of course are smart, savvy and literate if not really educated. There were some four couples. Four young boys and four young girls. I have not added the prefix “beautiful” to girls as they were not beautiful at least to my understanding of beauty! One of the boys had to board a train and the other seven persons had come to say him goodbye. As i have said earlier it was a group of four couples! They behaved like couples. One of the girls in the group was behaving as if her boyfriend was leaving for a war at the Indian border. She would hug the boy so many times, kiss him and fondle him in a very endearing manner, in plain electric light and in presence of so many people waiting for their trains at the Pune railway station’s platform number one! Not that I am averse to two young persons falling in a relationship but the open display of affection and that too in a very affectating manner was too much for me to digest. I made a right choice and moved to another platform.
At the other platform, I saw two very young kids sleeping under a tattered remains of a blanket. Their father was sleeping on one side and was in the same blanket. I found something moving under the blanket and was worried that a stray dog may not have slipped under the same blanket. There were many stray dogs on the platform and it was very cold that evening. Suddenly, I saw a thin wrist, a woman’s wrist with bangles peeping from a side of the tattered blanket. Oh! the man had three kids, I thought. But I was wrong. It was his wife or may be partner in life. She was so thin that was barely seen to be inside the blanket. All four of them were under one blanket. The woman was cuddled close to her man. And it all seemed very obscene to persons on the platform. They shouted at the poor family and asked them to behave properly. The woman silently moved to the side of the kids and the moral policing platoon was silent now.
I thought hard and plain. When the jean clad group of youngsters were behaving in what I perceived to be obscene manner, the moral police brigade kept quiet. They seemed not to notice all that was plain and clear for all to see, it was because these young people were the face of India–educated, elite and modern students of a professional course that abound Pune in large numbers. Their anonymity gives them a fair chance and freedom to behave the way they please. No one says a thing to them.
On the other hand the poor family belonged to Bharat. They were supposed to behave in a suitable manner like an Indian family. Whether they had a home for shelter, something to eat or some blankets to cover themselves in, was nobody’s business. But they had to live according to the accepted ways of the society.
One country–two rules. Yes , it is because we live in India that is Bharat!