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Water water everywhere..

Posted in Random Observations with tags , , on March 3, 2010 by raghavr24

The following are incidents that I recently went through in the Malda Railway Staion- @  Murshidabad District, Bengal                                

 I decided to stock up for my night journey from Malda to Kolkata  ( 6 hours) by stopping at the local paper stand – getting my 2 English papers and 1 James Hadley Chase Novel. I could also noticed the shifty eyed customers leering at the scantily clad Bengali babes splashed over the cover of the best selling gossip rags. I, though moved on to me next objective. Getting my mineral bottle water from the Railway Catering Stand.

 Now let me tell you who exactly you can find in an the Malda Stations IRCTC Railways catering stand:

 1. Delivery Boy– Horizontally challenged and possibly partly mentally challenged. Quite flexible, useful in moving around the limited 3×4 cell space to pick up the various condiments from the stall and deftly hand them over to the customer in a flash. Practices FMFO and FIFO at a near 6 sigma level. Probably one project away from his green belt certification.

 2. Cashier : Will have a cash register that would be the envy of the Swiss bank – not in terms of absolute quantity, but can break even a thousand rupee note, if the total transaction cost is 12 rs and 75 paise. Change returned : Rs 987.25 . With a missing tooth smile to boot.

 3.  Cook/Chef from Hell- Burly, unshaven and foul mouthed gentlemen whose bathing frequency would be akin to the Hockey World cup frequency – once in four years. Probably an ex-con, who is doing parole now by giving back to society what he took from them- badly cooked food a good chance for a stomach upset.

 One quick scan at the worse-than-college mess food that seems to be displayed and decorated cunningly to tempt the weak willed consumer, I clearly reach for my goal, my aquatic treasure and my company for the night, my mineral water bottle. Alas, if my task was that simple. One can forget getting known brands like Bisleri/Kinely etc. For you drinking pleasure are brands such as ‘ Pure Water ’ ( obviously not the brightest marketing team , mixing up the attribute & the brand and ‘Klear’  (Not really, if you look at the contents inside the bottle).

 Before I could decide between the devil and the deep blue see, I could see someone else who seemed to be having bigger issues of life and death to deal with.

A foreigner, probably Australian, on the wrong side of 30 and probably on the wrong side of the equator was having trouble deciding what to have for dinner. Being the good Samaritan that I am, and for some bizarre reason, I enjoy helping the White Devils when they land up in our Snake Charmer Land. I seem to be under the impression that the white man will think I am the only one who can help them with the ‘local tongue’ since they might mistake me for one of their kind – A Cisco T-Shirt and my Ipod would surely make me affable

 Me : Hey, can I help you there buddy?

 Firang : Hey thanks, Geez, me and my mate want to have some dinner , what do you think would we should get?

 Me: Well, for starters,  you might wanna lose that (point to a very suspect Aloo Bonda that he has picked from the lot of goodies).  That baby there will set you back 30 minutes in the moving loo. That ain’t gonna be fun.

 Firang: Oh? (seems shocked and shoots a nasty glance at the chef). What’d ya think is good then?

 Chef : Shoots a nastier glance to me, convinces firang in Bengali that the bondas are’ eek dum’ & awesome & infact goes best with Fosters Beer. I could even hear a ‘fata-fati’ thrown in there for good measure – which means out of the world. Im sure it was.

 Firang: Blank Look.

Me : Blank Look

Chef:  Trying to understand why we are blanking looks.

Firang : Points to Dried up Samosa that used as a showpiece made from diesel when priced at Rs 10 per litre.

 Me : Desperately looks around for something to appease Mr Firang and more importantly Mr Chef.  This should be ok. Hand over Britannia’s Cup Cake cream thing.

 Firang: Yea? Oh great, so, Ill take like 10 packs of them , that should suffice for the night?

 Me: Now realized why Australians are competing with Americans in the Per Capita Obesity &  Stupidity scale.  Umm..sure. Could feel the stare of the Iron Chef burn into the side of my head had I dare suggest a lower quantity.

 Firang shakes my hand in appreciation for my kind gesture then clamps the retailers for doling out Kings Meal and gives him  a look that a UNESCO Aid Worker operating in Sundan would envy. 

 I then realize that its almost time for my train to depart and quickly hop on and finally after much huffing and puffig, get on to my customary upper bearth with the bedding in place and my Chase paperback in hand ready for the night.

 That’s when I realized that I did not even buy my precious water bottle in all the tamasha that just happened.

 Laziness overpowered my fear of death from thirst and I convinced myself that getting back to the platform would be as painful as a hernia check up with your physician. Just when I thought being a good Samaritan does not pay off, LO!, a vendor in a pushcart of water and other goodies seductively offers me my lovely curved bottle of water for just Rs 12. As luck would have it, the closest I had was a Rs 20 note which I handed over to the God sent water boy. He took the note from me and said he would break the

Change as he did not have any on him. I watched as he coolly pocketed the note, took his wares, got out off the train just as a the train started on its slow painful journey back to Kolkata. I watched stupidly as he grinned at me from the platform , with my money in his crudely made change box.

 That’s when I realized that I did not even get my precious water bottle in all the tamasha that just happened. And, I was gypped of Rs 20.

What was that poem? Water Water everywhere..not a drop to drink?

You damn right.