The Train of Thoughts
Today morning, I entered the MMTS train to reach office without taking the ticket- and I thought...
I haven't taken the ticket, I feel guilty. But how could it be my fault? I stood in the unusual queue at the station for a long while and the train suddenly came to the platform. I had no choice but to run and catch the train. It normally stops at the station only for 30 seconds or so. One I got in though, the train didn't move from the station for the next 5-10 minutes. I couldn't go back and take the ticket too. What if the train leaves without me? I couldn't go by bus as there is an RTC strike going on from yesterday. No buses are running. The reason why there was a long queue at the station was the strike itself. People who normally would go to their work destinations had thronged the railway station. The common-man's other choice that was autorickshaws were no help as the drivers had decided to take advantage of the situation and charge double and triple the normal rates, albeit getting many times the passengers that the normally get. Yesterday, I had to shell out Rs. 150 in the morning and 120 in the evening to get to my office and back- that too, sharing the auto with other passengers. I wouldn't have had to spend so much, if not for my boss who really wanted to 'meet me' to let me know of two measly corrections (big in his view point). He could have let me know about them in hundred different ways, I could have worked from home in peace, but no, he couldn't do away without meeting me and making my whole day go bad. I spent Rs 270 on transport yesterday instead of the normal 25. Yes, it is a big deal for me, and I am really pissed off!
I haven't taken the ticket today. It is just a matter of five rupees. What if a ticket checker comes today and asks for ticket? In my jean pocket, I have a folded ticket to the place, dated two days back. Should I take the ticket out and change the date from 05 to 07? If the checker comes, will he/she detect it? Maybe I should just flash the ticket and put it back in my pocket. Maybe they would not look at the date section. But, what if I was caught? Of course they would ask me to pay the fine. The maximum fine for ticket-less travel in MMTS is Rs 250 or so. They would probably ask that much. But I don't have that much in my purse, I just have a 100, plus the 10 I wanted to get the ticket earlier. No, I wouldn't pay the fine. Why should I? It's not my fault that I couldn't take the ticket. It was because of the long queue. I reached the station at my normal commute time. I couldn't have foreseen such a long queue; not in my dreams, never in a small station like Sitaphalmandi. At first, I had thought that the tatkal reservation counter which was on the other side of the station had been shifted here. No, it wasn't. It was people like me who wanted to get to their offices and other places. People who relied on public transport. People who didn't have or couldn't afford private vehicles; not people who roams around in a fancy cars alone all over places seeing pedestrians and public transport as shit. I love public transport. Some people just don't appreciate them. They say that the big buses are crowding the streets. Easy for them to say. Imagine instead of a bus with 50 people, there were 50 motorcycles in the streets, or 50 cars with single passenger. There was a guy coming selling buttermilk in the train. I got one with the ten rupee note that was meant to be for the train ticket. I hadn't taken the ticket. Will the checker come and ask for ticket? I am not going to pay any fine for it. Maybe I can explain what happened and the checker might forgive me. Of course there should be others in this train without ticket. Would the checker forgive everyone? No, the checker should uphold the rule and make a collection, right? It's good revenue for the railways, right? But it's really not fair that I should be caught and fined for not taking a 5 rupee ticket. After all, whenever the ticket counter people had no change of coins to give me, I had forgone it. Those coins should count somewhere, right? Maybe I can argue like that and the checker will be convinced. I can offer to pay the normal ticket charge of Rs 5, or even maybe Rs 10, which makes a 100% extra charge. That's reasonable, right? 250 is definitely exorbitant. What if my argument is rejected? What if I am fined after all? What would they do when I refuse to pay the fine? Maybe they will take me to the railway police. No, even if they take me, I am not going to pay the fine. Maybe they will take me to court. In the court, maybe I can argue my point that it wasn't my fault that I didn't purchase the ticket. Whose fault was it then? It was probably the system's fault. Maybe I can argue the case showing the troubles the public face due to this strike. Maybe the case will become famous and I will be declared as the champion of the public. What if I am jailed? Ha, I will be jailed for the sake of five rupees. I should tell the court that you have detained me for the sake for just five rupees. I should tell the judge that my crime is not paying the fine of 250 rupees, my actual crime is worth 5 rupees. Is it worth the courts time and money to pursue a case worth Rs 5? They might spare me as a common man struggling with the strike. They might just leave me alone. At any cost, I won't pay the fine.
No one came to check the ticket. I read two chapters of the novel I had with me, got down when Lakdikapool station came, and went to my office.