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Monday, January 26, 2015

Real life hero

It was in late seventies
My second visit to Bombay , todays Mumbai to my sisters house who was married 4 years back I think .
My bro in law was working in Special steels ltd and initially in East Borivilli a busy suburb , later he moved into their factory in Boisar 2 hrs away in Thane district .
The small town was near TAP or Tarapore Atomic Power station .it was picterisque .
I had got down at Dadar railway station .My brother in law Unniettan was in station to pick me up .
After having some food we moved platforms and got into a Gujurat bound express train for travelling to Boisar .
The train was crowded and as it was a distance of less than 100 km one could not reserve a berth .
Somehow as train moved we both got close to door .
This was good as expect for a small bag slung on my shoulder there was no luggage with us and being near door one was better off as one could get fresh breeze .
Slowly we managed to find a perch near step .with our feet dangling we were laughing away on jokes as train sped along the crowded suburbs .
most long distance trains rarely stop in city or suburban stations the next stop was another 45 minutes off and we expected to find a seat inside by then .
All was fine with the world
We really had fun chitchattering and guffawing .
We never expected a couple of teenage ruffians in the door out of the blue .
Most Mumbai trains have such characters who roam around jumping into train at last moment or hanging from it precariously and doing all sorts of juvenile antics .
These two had come from next compartment nimbly jumping in the speedy train holding window bars .
Now the step we were sitting blocked them so we gave them space to move in .
The elder one stared at us as he wanted us to get in and he wanted them to sit in our place which by now was found to be a cosy perch .
My brother in law told him in chaste hindi nothing of the kind would be done the boy started using strong language and threatened us we just ignored him .
Later he just left with his friend to next compartment and we thought all had ended .
We were wrong .
Those were days when Mumbai was gripped with Shiva sena activism and there was a lot of animosity against south Indians .
In the next station a couple of huge thug like men got in and stood around us
The two ruffian boys were with them too they pointed to us
Ye dono madrasi he
The gang leader started his diatribe about how south indians cannot afford to be arrogant in amchi mumbai
After grabbing thier jobs do we want thier seats in trains too he was gesticulating wildly
I was worried as I had heard of such things
We were helpless as the crowd in train would not interfere though they watched the drama .
I was quite as I did not know language and was also frightened
My bro in law too was quite but he was cool and there was no fear in his eyes he just stared back at the fuming fretting guy in front rantling on him .
He never reacted
I tried to whisper to him to apologise or get angry but he did neither but one could make out he was not afraid he was taller and bigger than the thugs but he was no filmi hero to show his prowess and if he had done anything we both would have been lynched by thier followers bound to come .
It was not that all Maharastrians were like this they were very cultured even many in shiv sena were patriotic and had no ill feelings against south indians but the party then did use it for some popularity and the baser elements used it to bully south indians for thier gains .
Sadly we unknowingly got into such a situation .
Things were getting worser as the main thug was getting angrier in the non reaction of his victims
he ignored me and focussed on my bro in law who though silent projected clearly that he was not frightened at all and stared at the fellow with disgust .
He asked my bro in law his surname and to talk in Marathi which my bro in law did with ease he then just removed my bro in laws specs and started twirling it as if throwing it out of door
He said I can throw you and your specs out
My bro in law just looked at him with that I pity you
You fool look in his eyes
He fumed shouted almost punched him
I was really worried for him but he just stared back almost challenging him lets see what you can do attitude
Many eyes were on us as drama unfolded but no one spoke out as all were afraid of such elements .
My bro in law was like a saint cooly looking at the fellow almost feeling sad for him
He tried so many tricks to provoke him to get some fear in his eyes but failed .
Finally he gave back the specs meekly
He then said sorry sir
He tried to shake his hands but uniettan never offered his
Again he apologised and with the others moved off the compartment
I was impressed
My bro in law gave me a benign smile
What a great lesson it was for me
never succumb to bullies
Unnietan today is no more he left all of us but his lessons stay with us still

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