I was traveling in the A/C chair car from Delhi to Nabha when this incident happened.
I was asked by a family if I would replace the seat with theirs in another row so that they could sit together, to which I readily agreed. The new seat gave me a company of an interesting fellow. He was tall and a bit obese I would say and he looked around 10-15 years older than me. He had a window seat but could not figure out which one it was: The first one or the third. So I helped him figure out and he sat.
After around 5 minutes during which he somewhat imposed his heavy arm on the common armrest, a vendor came selling lunch. The big guy felt intrigued and he asked the price. 150/- came the answer, which indeed sounded costly and the big guy refused to buy. Now this seemed a genuine reaction to me because the cost really sounded more.
Another 5 minutes passed and an urchin came sweeping the concrete floor of the bogie. You may notice this in lots of trains in India and passengers usually give them money, food items etc. The big guy was watching this urchin and his activity. Suddenly, the urchin found a piece of bread (not the baked one but the one that Indians make almost daily and called roti). He dusted the piece and quickly placed it in his mouth.
This was too much for our big guy. He could not bear it and blurted out the usual expression ‘O Teri’! He quickly produced a note of 20/- and gave it to the urchin and emphatically asked him to eat proper food. The urchin was grateful beyond limit. He happily moved forward.
Now, this was a very unique expression for me given that the big guy did not want to pay a hefty amount for his own lunch but was moved by the pitiful condition of the urchin.
I would be damned if I would analyse the situation because clearly the urchin had deliberately done it just to induce empathy in passengers’ minds. Though it is not always the case either and you can give them food items if you so wish.
But what prompted me to quickly type this incident on the iPod’s Notes is the quandary about the nature of that man. He did not look overly generous but his actions were on the lines of high spirituality sans the cleverness to check the genuineness of the needy. As I close my observation, he was peacefully sleeping and unaware of the fact that he was being written about. It’ highly unlikely that he will ever come to read this but I am sure he has intrigued a lot of minds. I wish him sweet sleep and a vendor who would be offering some reasonable priced food!
P. S. So after two and half hours our big man got the food he so deserved.