Upper Berth

              So it was yet another weekend trip home from college. The frequency of homecoming has decreased from last year, due to reasons obvious to some and oblivious to others. So after departing from the vast water body back home, I board the Bhavnagar Express. As always I pay extra 'convenience charges' for tatkal with the most inconvenient experience. Anyways, so the train departs from the ever under construction and most inconvenient terminus at 9.30 in the night and reaches Ahmedabad by 5.45am. Not waking up in time means a straight jump of 200km ahead of Ahmedabad. But daily actions become a habit and I couldn't sleep by 10 or 11 or 12 or even later. So I decide to watch a movie on my phone. Phones have conveniently replaced laptops now.

                So the train, actually all trains on this sector Ahmedabad- Mumbai are always filled with Gujaratis. Hardly anybody from Maharashtra ever I find on the train. Almost always I come across Gujaratis either going to Mumbai for a visit  or coming back to Ahmedabad from Mumbai going home. Hence I take for granted that snacks will be had as soon as people board the train. Then at 10pm. Then diner at 10.30. By the time the TTE comes in to check tickets, it is snack time again by 11.30. Hence, sure of people being awake, I decide to skip my perennial upper berth, and sit at the window watching a movie. I connect the hard drive to my phone, yes, it is not new media, you can do it; and round up on a movie called Parzania.

                Nobody boards the train at Bandra. People start getting in at Andheri and Borivali. Its geographical migration you see. So as the train enters Andheri, the rain coming through the window stops as the platform shed comes over the train. Weird times when you read Andheri in Hindi and Marathi and evaluate other stations which have different names in both the languages. You then start reading the mean sea level of stations. After the entrance of a few eunuchs who pull cheeks and name you as some famous Bollywood Khan stars, Andheri sets in.

                Three women enter the section where I was sitting. A man followed them. He was slightly on the older side dressed in white as the women were dressed in black. Two more women enter none of whose faces I could see, but a big guy followed.  He was stout, not just compared to me, he was well built in general standards. He had curly beard twice his face and the white kurta he was wearing was unbuttoned with the first two. He laid out everybody's bags and occupied the place. They were more than the vacant seats here by a factor of one. That one was me. And I immediately thought of the wasted clicks for upper berth preference as I wouldn’t be able to say no to moving to another coach if so happened. They didn't ask yet, nor spoke to me about any other thing. Usually people in Bhavnagar Exp are wary of waking up at the right time to disembark and incidentally strike conversations.

                Anyways, so as I look elsewhere, the movie pauses, no, still not new media. So for the people who haven't seen the movie, Parzania is about a small boy named Parzan. He has a younger sister and his father runs a theater. His father is played by Naseeruddin Shah. Ironically, the name of the protagonist in itself is what the movie is all about. So it is about how Naseeruddin Shah tries to find his presumably dead son who died amidst the Hindu-Muslim clashes in Gujarat. The movie depicts how the police didn’t help any of its citizens and how they let things escalate.

                Now I do not know what really happened or what the reality is, nor is any reality really real. The film though was based on true incidents. The then chief minister was allegedly held responsible for the happenings here. Not many years later, after much opposition to Mr. Modi for the Prime Ministerial candidate, his glorious victory is still unparalleled. However hatred towards him  from some people still stand. Counter argued would be that the Supreme Court , which is the highest authority of our Nation, has given a verdict. And if that verdict is not acceptable, then one might as well not accept any system of governance anyways. So coming back, the movie depicted slashing of Muslims by Hindus for whatever reasons might be.

                So here I was, I do not have pierced ears, and had a well grown beard. However one thing tied on my hand. It was a rakhi. The weekend oath to protect the one who tied it was wrapped around my hand just below the Guru Granth Patthar Sahib kada that I got on the way to Leh. Religion has its own way of showing off to other religions and the visual traits of religion have been immensely embedded deeply in our culture. What is the fascination of each and every religion with various styles of headgears? Yes it denotes that religion is above us all, literally and metaphorically; and slyly demands respect. This propagative exhibitionism of religion which encompasses all of our senses us bound to stay here for several thousands of years as it probably has been.

                Coming back, this movie, I knew the storyline. It started creating an impact. I anyways wanted to know what had happened at the time; not that I base things on films. These people totally clueless of things in my head and that I was watching this particular movie. How all of us are brought up seeing all this, hearing all such and me believe everything. Nobody is free from all this. It is ironic how image imposition can be done on such a large scale. Things that have been put into our heads by everything and everybody around us. Nobody acts human first. All are at first their colour, their religion, their caste, their race, social hierarchy, and what not. By now the slashing of Muslims in the frame of my large screen phone was rampant. I had to put it down, go to my upper berth and complete the rest of the movie. Nor I had to change my berth, nor did I miss getting down at Ahmedabad.