Summer is here, and soon I would have the pleasure to go home, in the sweet, AC rich summer break, back to my hometown Bhopal, an escape from my hostel and more importantly, the scorching heat here in Gwalior. The destination, that is home, is a reward if train journey to you ain’t game. The fact that I have always hated train journeys has forced me to become a night rider, the wanderer claiming berths in night trains, for the restlessness at day is like playing with patience. At least at night, I would be sleeping for better part of the journey.
Now that I have mentioned trains and summer, I am compelled to tell you about the train journey I took last summer at break. It was one of those unusual times that get you thinking, to make sense of all the non-sense that never bothered you before, and the unusual was not that I was on a day journey.
That being said, I was not sleeping, part of the day’s delight, the day’s joy, am I taunting, may be!
So, sitting calmly and glaring the view by the window, thinking something, don’t ask what because I don’t remember. What I do remember is the entry of these “three plus one” youthful individuals, they were together, they were friends, close ones, they blabbered of it and so I know. You must be wondering, why “three plus one” and not four, it’s something I call “traveling with known people”. The three of the four knew each other for at least three years, they were pursuing Hotel Management and were the bright one’s, they told me and so I know. The fourth, they met the same morning, he had missed his train, they took him along, very generous I must say. It’s safe to consider that these guys affected me enough to write and think about. I am not good at judging people but a little is everyone’s cup of tea. There are certain problems I know of, at least I have heard such as generation gap, drinking problems, immaturity, impulsion, perspectives, education, royalty etc.
Are you afraid to go bold when the need arises, what do you do to express your opinion, keep it to self or tell someone? I have decided to tell you, for may be it’s the easiest of ways. I was sleeping, yea, decided to take a nap but not for long, a sound voice and clattered conversation woke me up, it was unusual. I had listened to similar conversations, some places; but considering the public place and the audience around, it was disturbing that a group of four were chatting in terms of vodka, girls, scurrilous anecdotes, devoid of any shame or fear of the same to be reflected onto their image.
“We are not rich, from middle class families, my father is an engineer, his a doctor and this one, he’s the richest, his father is a builder and the last one, there in corner, we met today. We are very lucky to have the kind of parents we have, his father even drinks with him. I have not slept for three days, been drinking all the time, uninterrupted, one after another, and they know, my parents.” I nodded trying to transit from sleep to wakefulness. He continued as if on a spree, “We are very open, my sister lives with her boyfriend, not married, my father got them a flat there.” “Very modern”, I stated immediately. He kept going, but at the back of my mind, the thought was registered and I began to pursue the same. It was not in arrangement with the Indian culture, what all he said but still it was very much digestible and why would I care, seemed like an open-minded family, it’s OK, I told myself.
You know what’s weird? It’s change, change when it’s not easily adaptable. I have come across various cultures, and it’s very normal to some. It did not bother me much, probably because I still carry a lot of western influence from TV shows such as Friends, Coupling and many more that I dearly love. But I was not the only one in the compartment, there were other people, mostly elders, who had a different mindset, who did not necessarily comply to the theories of such extravagant display of ruthless behavior, they considered it a problem of age, the youth and the immaturity of this generation. They told me so when the four individuals I am referring to had slept, nice and sound. Since, it’s unusual, they did not sleep the usual way, to put it mildly, the vodka took them sleeping. If you have ever tried, it’s quite difficult to wake such people up. I could not if you are wondering.
It’s not acceptable to drink, to talk in that fashion in a train, to talk of girls as bitches, someone meant to be taken for granted, for pleasure’s sake alone, they could have been dodged off at the next station, but nothing really happened, since nobody complained of it, I guess everyone was minding their own business. I even took a minute of their time to tell them, how talking in such a manner is not wise, but they took me for a novice, not that I could blame them, don’t have that intense knowledge of whores, since I never even dared to call them that, always taking a girl for another person, just as respectable as any other, just as beautiful as any other, romantics defined by eyes and not bosom.
One thing those boys solemnly agreed to, “never compromise your studies” they said. I appreciated the fact that they thought so, considering all the nuisance they pulled off earlier. It was a surprise and evidently, the only reason I believed there was hope after all. He repeated (one of them), “Never compromise studies whatever you do. We party hard, always but when it’s time to study, we don’t joke around, we are on it like moths on nectar. It might seem like we are damaged, but always remember why your parents sent you in the first place”.
I was impressed with their sentiments but still it was hard to believe that someone who had been drinking like forever, already having made call to his girlfriend for some more bottles at ‘yet to come’ station, is capable of such a thought. I had always believed that “liquor does not grant status”, I still agree to the philosophy, but thoughts change established thoughts when incidents happen, such is the case. The thought that altered was “Good academics is the key to noble life”. Seeing people who are obscene in every manner, having no regards for their surrounding or people around, and good in studies, they might excel and propel but it’s not a noble life, moral learning is equally important, “education” could be the perfect substitute to academics. He did talk of morals though, “never beat up someone weaker than you, it’s not a sign of strength”, another wise crack, but I could not understand why he considered giving explanations to me all the time for his deeds, I did not demand them. Was it because, he knew I am doing MBA which makes me educated enough to have associations with, was it because I was the only one talking to them? No, it was not, it was because the guys had involved in a fight with a beggar who begged for money sometime before, it was horrible but then again if I remember distinctly, they were the one’s who started it. This is where impulse comes, they had philosophies which were told to them, but an outrageous self-pride which I don’t exactly understand dwells from where, is still enough to persuade them to act against their moral values.
Most people say it’s a youth problem, but then many don’t have that sort of problem, most of them don’t. No one’s parent is bad enough to mess up their own child’s understanding of world, may be it’s the riches, but then doesn’t everyone have enough money to go down that road, but only some eventually do. It can be blamed on the associations such as friend circle. There may be a generation gap, difference of views between parents and children, but what do we call something of this sort, when you respect your parents but go down firing every person on street, I don’t understand such a distinction, it’s unusual, it’s something I could refer to as “morally flawed”. Perhaps, the change we ought to embed is beyond abandoning westernism, perhaps abandoning western philosophy is not even required and we have been looking at it all wrong, for the only thing that need be changed, is the most petite, to inscribe into our psyche the fundamentals of cause and effect, that our actions have repercussions and we better take responsibility for the same.
I don’t know what happened to those four after I had reached my station, to home, after bidding adieu to all in the compartment except those four sleepyheads, drunk and unconscious. They would not even know if someone stole all their luggage, if someone threw them out of the train, not that it’s a possibility. However, they did somehow cloud my understanding as to whether youth is capable of handling liquor, but I will leave it at that, I have important things to take care of!This post has been written for “Time to Change” contest on Indiblogger, organized by Stayfree. Click here to participate and here to go to their facebook page.