I was at the railway station, pacing up and down the platform to fight the cold that somehow got to me through the layers of my jacket. I tried sitting on a bench for a bit, but those metal ones are too cold to the touch and instantly, I felt walking would be better.
Li’l bro somehow convinced me to accompany him to the other end of the platform, where there was an engine he was simply dying to check out. “You are not to go there!” yelled aunt. “But ma, I’m with an adult!”, said bro, tugging at my arm. At which the request was promptly shot down.
Anyway, the train did arrive on time, and there was a scramble to get in. The lights were still off, and we started switching them on as we moved in. Then there was this young man who was getting out of the train when everyone seemed to be getting in. And was he in a hurry! He ran at a marathon-ish speed, picked up a bag along the way, and continued running, colliding with many people, never slackening his speed. It was pretty surprising that someone’d be in such a hurry to get off the train when there’s a whole twenty minutes to departure. Not this much of a hurry, anyway, thought Mum, who voiced her thoughts by screaming “Thief! Thief!”. Her brother was kind of surprised at this, but then came to the same conclusion and gave chase. The young man ran faster.
The chant of “Thief, Thief!” propagated throughout the compartment, and the next one, and a huge crowd of people got out and collected, gheraoed the young man, who, by now, had discarded the bag and had started running even faster. He found a crowd blocking his way, and gave up… the crowd then proceeded to beat him up [I thought this only happened in movies] and hand him over to the Police. Thanks to ‘investigations’, we left a half-hour late.
Ah, Indian Railways. You never come back without an anecdote or two.
PS: The title translates to “Thief, Thief!” in Tamil, and is also the name of a Mani Ratnam movie, which I’ve recently grown to obsess about, thanks to the recent Mani-a I’ve been subjected to… more on this later.