“When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car.”
“Hoooo…hahahah..” laughed….. coughed……… laughed………. coughed harder… Man, I was having the time of my life.
It was a small town which was on view through the caged windows of the train, as it retarded in speed before coming to a halt. I resembled an asthma patient gasping for breath, with the company of this man sitting beside me. He’d introduced himself as- “ Mr. Prasad, a proffessor for class 12 for English” raised his glasses and continued-“One who talks while students are asleep” for which I had let out a bomb blast like laughter, terrorising people sitting around me. I’d then offered him some peanuts, for which he fixed a stared at them, examined them in such a way that it made me feel aweful that I hadn’t had a magnifying glass handy. He continued his contemplation, and finally, like a scientist, gave me some advice- “ Peanuts are to be well roasted. Then salted. Then neatly packed. Then thrown into the dust bin. I hate peanuts.” This time I didn’t quite jump off my chair nor did I laugh like a dinosaur. I had a distant feeling like that of - Kissing a Policeman.
Meanwhile, as the train was back in motion, a girl, whom I had named- ‘The Social Secretary of the Compartment’, came by carrying a small baby of some lady who was seated rows away. I mean, some people, in the name of socialising start pissing you off. She brought the baby close to me and whispered to the baby- “ Say ‘hii’ to uncle” and the baby started playing with my nose. God damn… Uncle?? Anyway, I drew the girl closer and whispered- “ Looking at the baby’s expressions, I feel it might piss any moment.” Needless to say that my plan succeeded and she slid out of sight in a nanosecond. Meanwhile, I observed ‘Mr. Professor’ busy reading ‘Chandamama’ as I tried my level best to shut up.
Anyway, after another two hour long, entertaining journey, the train touched Bangalore, which meant that Mr. Prasad had no other option but to give some rest to his mouth while I made a mental note to visit the doctor with my jaw. As the train and his mouth came to a complete halt, we fetched our respective bags, waved ‘good-bye’ to our social secretary and stepped out of the train as I began a ‘search operation’ for the one and only Roshan, who was supposed to be here to pick me up. I phoned him to find him on the other side- “ Heylo! When is your train gonna reach man? I’m in the third platform waiting for you.”
“My dear Roshan. Third platform from the ‘Front’ entrance not the ‘Back’ entrance.”
“2 mins.” ….Damn…….
In two minutes, I spotted him sprinting like Sharukh Khan ( without a bouquet of course) towards me as I turned to offer Mr. Prasad a drive upto his place. Like all professors, he shamelessly accepted the invitation. I mean, atleast a simple“ no, It’s okay” would have been nice. Anyway, we walked out of the station with Roshan leading us, as though escorting us. After a walk which almost tended to infinity, I spotted a huge, erect ‘No Parking’ sign board and Roshan’s car right below it. The sight, nothing new to me though. Talk about irresponsible citizens.
As we were about to enter the car, Roshan noticed a piece of paper stuck onto his wipers. Roshan retrieved the piece of paper, which said ‘ Parking Fine’. He got back to us and held it with enthusiasm, and said- “ Look at this. Parking Fine.”
The reflexes were enough for Mr. Prasad to reply- “When u find a slip – “Parking Fine” on your car… It doesn’t mean your parking was fine.”
“You dumb head,” I completed the sentence….. laughed…. Coughed… laughed… coughed harder…