Way to Mithila-I
When Reetesh met me and he had searched through his mobile my ticket was wait list 2 after chats were prepared and in the train for TTEs wait list 2 or 200 has no meaning what they mean money for confirming you have no RAC ticket. This was hovering around my mind whole time while I was sitting with him at Merina Beach that I had to go two nights and the previous night by 3 am I was awake for entering data for documents needed for next meetings.And Wait List 2 was fitting to some printed idioms(at the moment I do not remember all but it was like:"Ask the value of a year… who had failed in examinationAsk the value of a minute…who missed the train;Ask the s value of a second who missed the catch,Ask the value of a part of a second who missed the medal in Olympics, etc. etc." and like wise, I may add on my experience;Ask the value of few minutes earlier booking who remained on Wait List 1 or 2 finally.."Probably railway needs automatic partially reservation on such long tickets for many quota berths to join in between for partial rest of such travelers, particularly in night hours ( suppose any berth from Vijaywada to Vishakhapatam would have been booked before me, I should have been given a partial allotment from Chennai to Vijaywada and Vishakahapatnam to Howrah for that berth instead of treating me waitlisted for whole route and even for in between a few seats may be left for sitting only for such persons in every coach). These need simple computer programming to remove the scope of exploitation by the TTEs which to a large extent has gone after the computerization. At least half of the train should be unreserved general coach all over the country is my personal opinion on the basis of my three decades of mostly unreserved journey.There was a great rush in the train on account of students (and parents) of the Karnataka Combined Engineering and Medical Test and more so due to young trainee of the CRPF around 200 returning from Chennai.The psyche of a wait list ticket is quite embarrassing though he too had paid same ticket is a wanderer while others are occupying berth to sleep or sit. I recall in one of such journeys, two young boys who had spread bed sheet telling berth no.73,74 were confirmed for them but in the attempt of taking advantage of such quota berth for few hours had lost that passage to gate 'berths' too to some other who occupied that with bed sheet and had slept there.I sat for some time on a side seat where a lady was sleeping and was about to spread newspaper in between berths with uncontrolled sleep but had a hesitation f sleeping that way though some 10-15 year back once I had slept under the berth from Tatanagar to Ranchi in a cool night while coming from Mumbai.Sitting besides a sleeping lady at night too could raise problem and hence I thought to search somewhere else in other compartment. Luckily I found in the adjacent compartment a TTEs seat unoccupied- probably the person who had occupied that seats could not control him and was flat beneath the wash basin, near the door.I hurriedly went to the earlier compartment, unlocked the chain of my bag and came to that TTE's seat and chaining my bag there I sat thinking it was like my unconfirmed RAC seat and would be better in the morning for my puja without disturbance from others.Usually I change to Dhoti in journey to avoid discomfort of 'pant' , surely a full pant is fool's pant. And I was comfortable whole night seeing Gudur, Nellore stations and the nearby highway which I had crossed on my car previous year.A CRPF jawan wandering on one such platform filled up my water bottle. He was a nephew of a Bhojpuri singer Dubeyji of a Colliery near Ramgarh Cantt. His native place was in Vaishali district and when I exclaimed as to how a Vaishali native might be Bhojpuri he explained from Ara they had migrated there.When I slept in the sitting stage I could not recall when early morning wind awoke me somewhere before Vijaywada. It was the coastal Andhra where I had gone for the first time in 1977 to serve the cyclone victims. At Eluru I was awake and so at Rajamundry and Samalkot which refressshed my memory of nearby Kakinada where I had made several unsuccessful visits to have a good unit of the NMO.In this route whenever I travel, in between Samalkot and Tuni, at Annavaram, I always see Satyanarayan Bhavan's temple on a hill( left side while going to Howrah from Chennai) and think someday I would go there. To my knowledge nowhere is such temple of Satynarayan Bhagwan.I did puja after taking a bath with a soft drink's small sized empty plastic bottle in toilet after cleaning down by water and tape by soap, though at Visakhapatanam it was thoroughly washed and dried including the passage of door where I was sitting, by some private agency's workers which is hardly seen anywhere in country rather the cleaning of running train are as if has been outsourced to poor children who clean the coach , get some money and left over food and also collect the empty bottles of mineral water on reaching at destination of train. Mineral water selling is a good business which in fact is more a fashion these days while the fact is that only few parameters are checked by such companies in comparison to the water supplied by the public distribution system. So are the soft drinks containing pesticides and BVO, cancer-producing elements in it.When I got down at Visakhapatanam to fill my bottle with drinking water and came back somebody had occupied my that TTE seat on the pretext that it was not a proper seats for passenger and he had a wait list ticket.I told maybe but not only I had been sitting there his waitlist must be after me as I was no.2 listening to which he left the seat.It was worth seeing the landscape of coastal Andhra and at Vizianagarm I had the memory of Sunabeda of Orissa where in the HAL(Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) worked my cousin and my sister-in law was once at a post-Deepawali evening was astonished to see s e when I had knocked the door. Her gaze, as if in Sanskrit it is said, "jajau na tasthau.." And I had that night seen the crackers in a ground on the eve of Kali Puja and had asked her that I was feeling Telugu in the air." Yes," she replied," though in Orissa Telugu was dominant there."There was still a stretch of Andhra after Srikakulam Road (near to which is famous sun temple) and Palasa.A TTE entered at Srikakulam and I requested him for confirming my berth to which he replied in a soft voice," let me check."After some time I was dozing in the cool evening and he came back and said that berth cold be managed if I gave him money to which I said that I would not give and as a central Govt. officer I neither took nor gave bribe and could show my I-card if he liked. On it he was a bit embarrassed. I said that I was requesting him only to which he said to check him at Palasa.At Palasa, I went to him and he confirmed my berth.In fact, it is common public who encourage bribery. Ma. Abajee Thatte had once said us in the NMO meeting to travel in general class if could not get reservation. I know it was easier to advice than to follow particularly for Ma. Abajee like VVIP who may not have such personal problem as being full-timer and with a saintly high stature life his all programmes would have been pre-fixed but still I had followed his advices to a large extent and maybe two or three times I might have given extra money for a berth, in recent pat once while coming from Kishanganj for confirming a RAC ticket and once in way to Tirupati Rs. 50 each but they had not demanded like one did this time.Further, I feel the power to recommend action with immediate suspension should be given to any Govt. officer for catching anyone taking bribe which now a days is a tedious process through departmental channel. Utmost the officer needs summary evidence recorded and signed by any two persons. By this method every officer would be a member of bribe checking squad and within six months bribery from every field would be eliminated.On new berth I saw new drama of a highly educated old lady whose son was a high official who was though directed by the same TTE to occupy TTE's berth no.7 at Visakhapatanam thought that an instruction to move coach 7 and being old lady with some joint problem she did not go there and was probably reluctant to pay difference in fare or penalty for she had almost completed her journey to Bhubaneshwar requesting other passenger to seat on their space.It was Orissa's Brahmpur and my memories of may be over a dozen visits there for the NMO. I took some puris from the hawkers, a north food after many day. Khurda Road came and recalled my y darshan of s Lord Jagannath. Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack and memories of Dr. Sanjit Kr. Panda and Dr. Radhesham Panda and many others for whom I was now an unknown after I chose an 'independent path' for the NMO though I was on right track, I stopped informing them while crossing on those East Coast Tracks, after all, I am an 'unknown medico,' not merely by naming my autobiography as such but was an 'unknown traveler.'I do not recall where I slept on an upper berth but once I got up and saw it was Kharagpur and then in Kolkata suburb. I again took bath in the toilet and got down at the Howrah station and finding a suitable place did my puja.There I saw an old man having three small luggage was moving slowly taking two luggage at a time for some distance and putting those there and coming back to collect the third kept within his vision. S The coolies were blackmailing him. I helped him for some distance then a Bihari cooley came agreed to go to the bus stand for Rs.40. The old man said that it was due to a Bihari gentleman that he could come Howrah in an upper class from Baluga in Orissa.I had ample of time in my train and I had not inform anyone at Kolkata to come to meet me and I as a humanitarian work caught the hand of that's old man to bus stand. He was alone and wished to go to an Ashram but bus conductor too blackmailed him for his small luggages-"Kudi(20) taka lagbo. Tumin Cooley 40 taka dibo , platorm te bus stand khatir, aami to Belaghatia –etek door tomake lay jibo."I told the conductor to take him and gave a coin of Rs. 5 to that old man as he had only Rs.14. And then took a cup of tea for Rs.2 and gave to that old man. Kolkata is cheap no doubt but the first metro is experiencing the onslaughts of modern life which all other parts of the country would experience, sooner or later and I too may become an old like that old man, alone..I took some bananas for Rs. 10 and in the sub-way seeing many girls and ladies selling lemons two for Rs.1. Bachelors' disease o scurvy used to be about a century back I have seen them many times but could not understand as to why they were in so much numbers, maybe single lives like that old man has been the fate of many.I went to waiting lounge. Still three hours to wait. A person asked me to with his luggage so that he could some from outside taking tiffin. When it was a bit late I was apprehensive whether his big box has anything (bomb? ) but he came soon he was from the Silchar(Assam) and was going to his home. I recalled my Silchar visits for the NMO and Dr. Dileep kr. Sarkar.There was a young boy sitting besides me who droved a Volvo machine diffeent from a Volvo bus) in a mines near Hospet, near Bellary and I recalled my several visits to Bellary for the NMO work. He belonged d to Shekhpura and gave me his addressees which probably I've lost. Since there were around 100 Maithils I thought visiting the place again may result in both AMP and NMO workHe had told me that Toofan Express runs with much sound but less speeds and it was always late, He went to have a seats in the general compartment and I took my berth. The coach was full of examinees of Karnataka Engineering Test. In fact crores of rupees every year drains to Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra from Bihar, WB, Orisa etc. And Bihais have a peculiar look to the capitation fee based education. The guardians get it back with interest as dowry s and for the parents of a girl it is an early installment of dowry to get brighter grooms in interest.I had been to jail for the take over of such capitation fee medical colleges and still despite all the slogan of liberalization- privatization and globalization, I am not in favour of selling seats and at the same time if any meritorious boy sells himself as 'dowry' I avoid to attend his marriage(I did not attend my younger brother and my sister's son marriage in this connection) though I know pretty well that dowry has some links with the inheritance of property to and girls should not be denied of that yet I cannot tolerate marriageas a s business and so education or health a a business.In the December 18, 2006 issue of the Business world www.businessworld. in cover story was that in less than one decade Wockhardt, Fortis and Max had added close to 5,000 bed that too Apollo the prime mover in this field 20 years. Such private revenues are growing briskly to the tune of 30 per cent which resent a picture how health has turned to a business for 'Shining India' ignoring the Bharat.Anyway, I asked some students to give signatures on a petition for the IIT at Darbhanga and even students from Patna district signed on that.As said by the Shekhpura boy Toofan Express had more sound while crossing the green fields than speed.I did not notice whether train crossed Naihati where I was guest of s Dr. Lalji Tiwary, once bckbone of the NMO, RG Kar MC Kolkata and at nearby Hukumchand Jute Mills I had been twice chief guest s in Vidyapati parva and was at Uttarpara to meet Dayanath Jha who earlier lived at Hind Motors quarter. It crossed suburbs like Risra where near Konangar I had gone to see s a Maithil Janaki Mandir and had a meeting. Seerampur where I had visited in past to meet Dr. Pankaj Kr. Sinha, Secretary, NMO, WB. Baidyabati was there where lived Mahesh Kumar who for long had been in contact through postcards - his and mine letters were published same day once in the jansatta in 1992 where I had pleaded for the identity of Maithili separate from Hindi.At Uttarpara , I could also meet one of my villager Chandreshwar Mandal and once had been on Vijoyadashmi day when ladies wee exchanging colours on their faces as if Mata Durga was going to her in-laws. Being a holiday I could not enter the Sarvajink Laibrary thee where Aurobindo had given famous Uttarpara speech in which he had said that he was seeing India uprising from the bondage and he in fact had come to for its independence which too came on his birthday in 1947 but he had also aid that India will be reunited again-a divided Bharat was not acceptable to him.I also saw Chandennagar once a French territory and hence an abhayaranya for Indian revolutionaries… the place is also famous for the famous Jagddhatri puja, on the seventh day of Deepawali when it is well illuminated with lights. Hope someday I give Chhath arghya there and also see the famous festival.I also recall a lady of that place who had sometime met me in a train going or coming from Panagarh who ran a small shop there and was so convincing in her words though illiterate as if she was the Devi Chaudhurani of Bankimchandra, the s famous heroine of the noel who represented women empowerment in those days of Indian renaissance.The train crossing Adra reached Burdhhaman I passed with the memory of the Kali mandir there where long before I had gone to meet a Maithil in Bara Kalitala and then had revisited the town on a NMO tour with Dr. Asit Roy of Chhotneelpur there to have contacts in the medical college ,situated amidst the paddy fields, where a clerk of the college office said that on raksha bandhan he tied rakhi to all.I could see Kaveri Hostel of the NIT, Durgapur in the way which evoked my memory to the Rani Jhansi and Mother Terea Hostels of the Vellore Institute of Technlogy I had seen on Bangalore- Chennai route.Durgapur I had visited in past few occasion which had a steel plant but could not organize AMP or NMO thee despite having good workers from both.Dr. Manoj Singh , a student and worker of NMO from the Medical College, Kolkata had told me that at Durgapur he was so much busy in his practice that for cutting hairs too he has to plan in much advance. He lived at the Vidyapati Marg meaning thereby in Bengal Vidypati is still better respected than in Bihar where in fact non-Maithils frown on the name of Maithili.Had been we in Bengal our position would have been better that we became in Bihar.There are personal memories too with Durgapur when a Durgapur medico refused marrying me knowing a vegetarian and incidentally when I visited NRS MC' Lady Elliot Hostel at Kolkata with my sister-in law( sister of my newly- wed wife) she was there to inform me for other medico Sharma from Durgapur and later wished to meet me and frankly told that she wished a joyous life and hence had left me.The joy is of various type and an assumption that only overtly physical things do give joy is difficult to digest.Then came Asansol where I had not been ever for any Maithili meeting though there was a Maithili organization which even printed a calendar with the photograph of Mahakavi Vidyapati.Some paramedical staffs entered with the pamphlet of the Thalassemia Society for donation to which I said that they should not ask at train from unknown person. Anywhere donor and receiver/ his/her representative should know each other for faith.The coach was full of unauthorized passengers, mostly on monthly ticket and TTE was unable to say anyone maybe out of fear.The train also stopped at Sitarampur where once I was stranded in my I Sc days coming from Ranchi –in the way to it at Kulti and Burnpur the mothers in very dirty one cloth only reminded me always the poverty of Bharatmata.Now the situation must have been improved.There was also Panagarh, an Army center in the way …and then came Chittarnjan, on the name of famous CR Das where is locomotive factory. Once I had to stay at that station for long with my old father when I could not catch Patliputa express by Gangasagar Express coming from Barauni.It is border of WB and Jharkhand which is called Mihijam which came in lime light with Shibu Soren's case and conviction, while a Union Minister. "TV used to show the Tower Clock always ," remarked a fellow student passenger which was visible from the train.Then there was Madhupur which I knew first being near to Giridih from where Sushil Kumar, NMO, DMC worker was and I had gone to his home several times as if his elder brother but he left me later on for unknown reasons.In 2005 I was requested by my class friend Dr. P. N. Jha to come to the Vidyapati Parva and I had gone there and had addressed s the large gathering.Vidyasagar or Karmatand is near to it where great reformer Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar used to come fom Kolkata. I had been in some of the camps organized by the NMO there with the Vanvasi kalyan Kendra in 19882-85.Then Jasidih was the railhead of Baidyanathdham, baba of Mithila,,,one of the 12 Jyotirlingas where umpteen times I had gone and would go.. the first big tirtha in my childhood memory when I had gone there with my parents and the railway line was as if decorated by small flowers which were still there.I could bade a pranam only.Then there was Simultala, the boundary of Bihar and train now started becoming late as of BIMARU name of Bihar…At Jhajha it became more than one hour late- I use to say it was say that only at JHAJHA two Jhas were together- it is the southern boundary of Mithila(extending some south of Deoghar up to Mathurapur as pe GA Grirson's linguistic map)…I was already in the cultural Mithila though after Jamui,, Lakisarai and Barhia ,where any time many persons went on rails before running train to be killed for having a stoppage of Toofan express there which it had from the next day… Then the Toofan was Toofan , the best train which is the worst train f the rout among Express trains.Muzaffarpur bound Passenger had left earlier at Jhajha which I thought to catch but that too was slate in the way and at Hathida I could catch that.Why Hathida was named no one could tell me- whether elephants too washed away in Ganga's current. I took some food there and caught the barauni bound Muzaffarpur passenger from Hathida which has s my unlimited number of visits for changing the train from Mithila to Ranchi by Patliputra Express and I crossed the Ganga once more at Rajendra Pul, Simariya entering into the epical boundary of mother Mithila.