Perched on the window seat, shutting out the noises of the world by plugging in my headphones, I was blending as an insignificant co-passenger to the Monday Morning blues of many. Little did I know, in a few minutes to come, I would be subject to my quota of 2 minutes of attention from everyone around me.
3 generations of women and an 8 year old boy who belonged to the fourth generation, sat next to me. When the boy was done with his breakfast of the IRCTC packaged Masala Dosa, the grandmother made him wash is mouth and spit into the container. Alarm bells rang in my head, louder than the drumbeats of Greenday. ‘This lady is going to throw the packet with water, outside the window and the wind god will definitely redirect it in my direction”. I was strategizing on whether to politely ask her to wait until I moved or just get up. These are moments when you curse yourself for thinking in ‘pros and cons’. As I had anticipated, the water splashed across my arm. The grandmother apologized, pulled my arm across and started wiping my arm rigorously/vigorously. ( I don’t know which of the two would describe the effort best). Heads turned, smiles sprang up, the appropriate looks of ‘ Oh how sad’ were given and then again, I was just an insignificant co-passenger.
One of the first Fulbright Scholars, a doctorate in Neuro Anatomy, still going strong with an undying spirit and complaining about not having learnt how to use a computer, this WOMAN had me in awe for the rest of the day, right from the moment I filled in her date of birth for her. 1926? What image do you have about life those days? And how many women from a small place like Chry got to do a doctorate in Neuro Anatomy in the 1950s?
No fairy tale is complete without a villain. Here, in the form of a grandson who forged her signature on the cheque.
In 2007, I was against Mallus who were a nuisance when they went out of the state.
In 2009, I was against Mallus who induced nuisance by claiming everyone who belonged to the above mentioned group were a nuisance.
In 2011, I am convinced, the Marunadan returnee Mallus are the greatest nuisance among them all. Honestly, dear retired uncles and aunties, I love to listen to your stories from across the states and countries, of your struggles and trials. Of your achievements and your well-placed children in Bangalore.
I was not prepared for this, “How dare you nitwit, a kid send a letter to me claiming to freeze my accounts if I don’t provide my id proof? I’ve been a customer in this Bank for past 30 years and no one ever troubled me like this. Myself and my wife, retired from Central government service in 1996 and we shifted to Chry. I don’t have any illegal money. My daughters are well-settled. My first one is a MD in paediatrics, married and settled in Canada. My younger one is also a doc ( wonder why the specifics were left out), settled in the US of A. Even though they are girls, they ask me if I need money. How can you just suspect me for no reason? You kids do not know anything! If my account is freezed, I will hang myself on this ceiling fan.” No wonder everyone called this Vikraman an ‘Akraman.’
Ref: RBI is strict about KYC ( Know Your Customer) rules to prevent money laundering. I had to inform account holders to submit the relevant documents. Identity proof of each customer is compulsory, but some people take it as an insult or as a question mark on their ‘integrity’. The only way out is to feed the massive Marunaadan ego with a patient ear. So, now I’m really getting to know the customers.
I was the happiest person on earth by the end of the day. A few words of appreciation on this blog, from a stalwart…that just made my day.
I got screamed at by another 60+ pensioner. I do not know why. I was sad. The feel good factor for the previous days was balanced. No electricity at night and I believed that I would be bitten to death by mosquitoes. This had to be my worst sleepless night ever!
The railway station. I’d rather not bore you with vivid descriptions 😛
So, I sat there next to a woman in her late 60s, reading a book. Her teenage grandchildren were around, playing around with their mobile phones.
On the next bench, sat a group of nuns. I was lost in my own world, re-theorizing on cranky 60+ es, when a nun approached the lady sitting next to me. The conversation went like this.
Nun: Are you able to understand what is written in this book?
Old Woman: As the preface says, I need to read it with utmost concentration. But, still I’m finding my way through this.
Nun: Actually, I asked coz I am the author.
I now had my focus on the title, ” Rogashanthiyude Nighooda Rahasyangal”.
The nun belonged to SND, rather the ones who run Sophias in B’luru.
The Old Woman had retired as an Health Inspector.
Interesting snippets followed. They both belonged to the same place in Alleppey, they had gone to attend someone’s funeral, they were based in Trivandrum presently. Two people who were just destined to meet this way. But, how often do you get to meet an author of a lesser known book in a place like a railway station!
I sat there amused, again immersed in thoughts about what would have been the content of the book. A lady smiled at me and as a natural reflux I turned back to see if, she was really smiling at me or someone behind me. She came walking towards me and said, ” I saw you at the Bank, new officer no? Where are you going to?”. And this is happening to me often these days. To be recognized by random people. At the supermarket, at the medical shop, at the mobile recharge shop…
So much for ‘knowing your customers’ 😛