Many of you may not have even heard 'Sullurpeta' before in your so many years of existence on this earth. I am not blaming you for this cause the reason itself is so obvious. I had not heard it myself till the year 2007 when i had to go to Sriharikota on official duty. Does the name Sriharikota atleast strike a chord with you guys? Yes, its the place from where all our Indian satellites are launched by the ISRO. Even the historic Chandrayaan was launched from this facility. So what about Sullurpeta? It is a very small town and the nearest one, believe me, to Sriharikota. If you want to go to Sriharikota (they wont allow you beyond the gates) the nearest station is Sullurpeta (17Kms away). Even by road, you gotto cross this place to reach Sullurpeta. And I have stayed in this small town before for reasons aplenty which i dont have the space in this blog to elucidate.
So on my recent trip to Sriharikota, i was staying in a lodge in Sullurpeta and commuting from there. This particular altercation which i am going to tell you people happened on the day when i was returning home from this place. My work was over on a Friday and i tried to go to chennai by train the same day, but unfortunately the last train from Sullurpeta to Chennai is at 9:45 PM and i happened to reach the station at 9:50 PM (poor me). So i spent the night in the lodge after enquiring the station master about the first train in the morning. The first train was at 5:45 AM and the next one at 6:45 AM. Getting up at 5 AM was out of the question since i did not want to start my weekend rising early. So i slept til 6 and reached the station at 6:35 AM, 10 mins ahead of time. But i did not expect to see such a huge crowd at the ticket counter.
By the time i followed the queue to finally buy the ticket, the train had already left. I was patiently waiting in the queue while all the others, mainly the workers and localites, barged in and tried to get a ticket. When my turn had come, there came a localite who thrusted his hand into the counter's already dimunitive hole and wrestled with me. I was trying my best to control my anger when this guy pushed me aside for which i had to push him back. He started mouthing bad words and i retaliated with english words which the guy didnt even understand. His foul language only infuriated me further and i too had to give him a piece of my mind. The funniest part was when that guy got angry when i called him a dog although he had stayed a mute for much fouler language. My god, dont these guys ever learn manners. When will they ever try to come in a queue? I finally let that fellow purchase his bloody seat, cursed him and then took my turn. It could have easily gotten into a fight and i dont minding giving back a few blows, but what good it is in the context of me reaching chennai.
I have always tried to avoid confrontation with guys so that it doesnt turn ugly and something bad happens. Once something happens it becomes really impossible to turn things back. It is for this reason that i tell myself it is OK not to fight back. But the broader point in question is not this guy alone, but many more guys like him who behave in a similar vein. I just think that India although moving in such a frenetic pace in the area of development still lacks in this area where people's mentalities are concerned. I can only think that a good education could have helped him behave in a proper fashion. People like him can be seen in huge numbers in the villages and also in cities. The fundamental problem in our country as to what i perceive is the right to education for all kids which is lacking. It shouldnt be considered a luxury to send your children to school but rather as a necessity. Only if we get to this stage can we make a difference to the way people in the lower strata behave. How can we as responsible citizens make this change happen. You can join a NGO and directly get involved in making this happen. Your understanding of the problem would be complete only when you are at ground zero. Or else if you have saved enough for you and your family, you can even consider the option of Sponsoring a child program which diverts the money that you give for this purpose. Else if you want to dedicate your time fully to the upliftment of these people you gotto start your own NGO but financing it would be a challenge if you havent planned for the same earlier.
I have taken it as a challenge to make a difference to the society that i live in by doing either one of the above in the near future.