Travelling in an ordinary 3-tier sleeper class can be fun. Raveesh boarded Udyan Express on a 3-tier sleeper coach, simply because he was not able to get tickets for any of the AC coaches. He wanted to see his grandmother whom he hadn’t seen in a long time. It was a 12 hour journey from Bangalore to Gulbarga.
He had his dinner and had a comfortable sleep and he was happy to note that the train was on track to reach Gulbarga on time the next morning. Everything was quiet and he began to listen to a few songs through his I-pod. All of a sudden he heard loud noises, a lot of commotion inside and outside the train. The train stopped at ‘Shahabad’. Shahabad is a small town in Gulbarga and it is common for people to travel to and from Shahabad to Gulbarga every day for work and studies, which is about half hour journey.
A lot of students entered his coach and they started occupying all the vacant seats and berths. Raveesh was indeed happy to witness all the commotion after a lot of peace in the train. He was observing the college crowd. A couple of them started playing songs on their mobile so loud that it simply awoke all the people in the coach. Raveesh had to switch off his I-pod as he could barely hear the songs through it. The two guys were trying to outshine each other through their mobile. It was sheer chaos for all the 5 minutes they played simultaneously. Thankfully one of them got a call – he was speaking in broken English interlaced with kannada. He was telling the person on the other line that he indeed called him at the right time as he was free at that time and that he is able to hear properly this time as the new mobile which his cousin got for him from US is so good. Raveesh wondered if the phone call was staged!!!
Amidst all this, a couple of college kids were going up and down between upper and lower berth atleast a couple of times. Well, they wanted to show-off their new, branded or semi-branded shoes. They sat in one place only after someone commented on the “great” shoes. Raveesh gazed around and saw the each and every one had their own unique style statement. If a couple of them wore embroidered jeans, another few would show off their huge designer bracelets. If any one had those monster belts, they better show it off by tucking in their shirts. Goggles were cool to one of them even in a crowded train compartment. Gold chains are meant to be seen by others – Raveesh learnt from the Shahabad College crowd that the best way to show it off is to unbotton the top two buttons of your shirt. A few were combing their hair every five minutes but a few others dare not even touch their hair. They have to show their ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Bekham’ hair styles to the eves of the college. T-shirts, jackets and caps had all kinds of pictures and statements – pop and rock stars, basketball and baseball teams’ logos and players, etc. Raveesh wondered if they even knew which sport do ‘Chicago Bulls’ and ‘NY Yankees’ represent.
These college kids were the first to get out of the coach upon the arrival of Gulbarga station. Raveesh was wondering as to why not a single person behaved normally. He wondered if this is the case with all the college freshers in small towns. Do they feel like kings when they don’t have to wear uniforms, carry mobiles and don’t have to carry too many books to their classes? Raveesh pondered to check if he was like that. Nah – he was never like that. He came to a conclusion that these kids either had inferiority complex or superiority complex. If they are normal then Raveesh felt, he is definitely abnormal.