Thursday, March 09, 2017

Train Tales

Train journeys can be very interesting and much has been written about train encounters, movies are made when the lead pair falls in love in the train journey and so much more.

I have not been in a train in ages getting used to flying for business trips and when possible taking the car, it was due to a combination of factors that I found myself in the Rock Fort Express in the First Ac compartment yesterday. After the pleasant surprise seeing the new rake that was spic and span with working fittings I settled down to the journey.

The compartment was quite busy with a few men in the coloured dhotis which indicated that we had the three major parties of the present Assembly represented. My co-passenger a distinguished gentleman was greeted by a few and I tried to blend into the surroundings and make myself as unobtrusive as possible in the small confines of the coupe. Suddenly a young man in jeans and tee spotted my co-passenger and told his dad who came into our coupe. The visitor to our coupe in the tricolour striped dhoti was the leader of the party. His casually dressed son had lost the election narrowly and for me it was a pleasant surprise to see a casually dressed politico but Gen Next looked promising.

My co-passenger was from the principal opposition party and in alliance with our visitor when another person joined in, he was from the ruling party and all three started a conversation. What impressed me was the mutual respect they had for each other and the camaraderie they exhibited. As I attempted to leave they dissuaded me and after a short conversation about the current political scenario the visitors left the coupe and two others who were also in the coupe joined us.

The next two hours passed by in a blur when my co-passenger engaged in a conversation with us and floored us with his knowledge and experience. He took us through demonitization, taxation, VAT, GST, NEET, Neduvasal and so much more. Every topic was discussed in an objective manner without taking sides and the relative merit / demerit of each explained in simple terms. He respected the views of the other three ordinary citizens and clarified our doubts.

He candidly explained that in politics, experience and qualification is crucial and lack of both is easily caught out catching me by surprise. Our conversation carried late into the night and I went to sleep humbled and wiser by this chance encounter. In the morning as we separated I was again touched by the humility he displayed as he left.

I learnt that:
-          Politicians can wear jeans and tees
-         There are politicians who are qualified, experienced and know how to rule unlike some who thrive on histrionics and showmanship
-          Despite their external demeanour politicians have mutual respect for each other
-          They can be great travel companions
-          Never judge people by common prejudices

So why am I writing a politics inspired post now?
-          The local body elections are coming up and everyone must participate in it as a voter as this will be a clear sign of the public mood in the state after all the nonsense we have seen
-          This is an option for those who would like to make a difference to society to enter the fray as a councillor, a study has shown that it requires only around 2000 votes to win the election and nothing works as well as local door to door personal campaigns and issues. Money I was told is an add on
-          There appears to be a large reservation for women in the local body polls and is a good opportunity for the next set of clean, educated, concerned people to come to power and do something for the people

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