Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Something Fishy

I got into the compartment on the run.If i had looked before,I would never have got in.A stale blast of stink hit me face first as i tried to get in.My face shrunk and nose crinkled.It was the luggage compartent and was full of fish.I realised that the train was already at its top speed and i could not get down now.So i hung around at the door.And tried to watch what exactly were the people that travelled in this compartment.

The place was full of fish and fishermen.It was 5 am in the morning and most probably they were going to deposit their catches in the market.Each one of them stank as much as the fish.My first thoughts were to get off the compartment and try to breathe,but then something stopped me.I decided to do something different.I stayed on.The air adjusted to me,and my lungs began to breathe stale air.

After i crossed Thane,a guy from inside asked me where i had to get down at.I told him that i was going to Vidvihar.He laughed and asked me to goto the passenger compartment.I said,that i can travel in this compartment too.He laughed again and said that i could,but the time i would get to college i would stink like a fish.I didn't mind.He offered me a place to sit in the corner benches,the only ones there.I sat down and glanced around.These guys were strong all right,i thought,as i watched them lift and heave those heavy,dripping baskets of fish and pass it on to people standing outside.Their black taut skin,shone as the dim sun passed his fleeting reflections on to them.Their ropy biceps and muscles working again and again,moving the baskets,shifting them to make place for more and adjusting to accomodate everyone.The man sitting next to me ,prodded me and asked why i was here.I told him i was just curious.He laughed and said why would i sit here ,when i can be happy in the air of the passengers compartment.I said,I am happy now.He asked me what i studied.I replied his question.His neighbour by now joined in and said wouldn't it mean that after another year i might be well settled in life? I looked at his curious face,dripping in oily sweat.Maybe i would be settled and then,maybe i wouldn't.How come??,he asked.

The next fifteen minutes were spent tying to explain to a group of fishermen how education and graduation does not guarantee you comfortable lifestyle in todays world.I smiled to myself.How is this happening? One moment i am not even sure of what i am supposed to do.My dad is dissappointed with me,my mom thinks i have destroyed my future and ruined all my opportunities.everything i do seems to be going wrong,my friends have lost touch with me.My neighbours deride me,college seems to be monotonous.My life is all but alive.Then suddenly i am sitting here amongst a group of fisherfolk,trying to explain to them why this world is so complicated,why my life is so destroyed.exlplaining to them why education does not guarantee wisdom.and what is the difference between wisdom and knowledge.

As i get off at the station,i am not wiser than i was before.I still don't know where i am going wrong,but i do realise that ia m wrong somewhere.I don't know how this ralisation came to me.Maybe it was the smell of that fish.Or probably the sweat of those fishermen,that made me confess to them the mistakes that i never admitted to my parents.Myabe because they were honest,and unprejudiced.Or maybe because they really wanted to know whta a by like me was doing in their compartment.I don't know,but my heart felt a lot lighter.Those hardworking,honest men had taught me something i knew but had forgotten.No matter what the day,what the season,what the time,they catch fish and sell it.that is all they know and need to know.

Maybe i should do the same too.

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