poor old Mallu was all alone in the big city and it was my first time too.I tried calling a (so told) friend of mine who is a resident of Mumbai, but the guy told a rubbish excuse for not being of help.My conscience didnt allow me to trouble my uncle yet again on a working day.So without much ado I got out and set off in the direction of Andheri.My caring auntie gave me a bunch of tickets so that there would be no need to stand in queue for a long time to buy them.SHe advised me to punch the coupon from ticket validating machines which would be kept at the entrance to most railway stations.The ticket wouldnt be valid if not punched and she reminded me once again to be extra careful.
The first thing I did was to catch a red coloured city bus(a really old assembly of wheels,aluminium and a motor from best buses) to Andheri east.There were no direct buses from Bandup gaav to Andheri west.The buses in Madurai were the only lemons worse than those in Mumbai.But with the advent of low floor buses, Madurai is not the same anymore.Even push-pulls and A/C buses are already on the road there).After getting off in the bus depo, I queried many passers byas to how to reach infinity mall area. Following the generous instructions (I had a really bad feeling at that instant about my state Kerala and the fellow mallus who will try their best to mislead whoever asking for instructions), I climbed up to the nearby flyover and walked in the direction of Andheri west bus depo.
When I reached the shipping company office, to my utterest disappointment, the person whom I was about to meet was not at station.The receptionist told me that he may return in the afternoon.Though desponded, I collected the phone number and took a quick decision to proceed CST wards to meet the other fellow.I entered the Andheri west railway station but coudnt locate a Coupon Validating Machine.Without noticing the danger I was about to step into, I proceeded further inside the station.I made up my mind to ask the first person I see about the device and the first person to come in my line of vision was a North-East looking guy in some uniform.To my bewilderment, the guy asked me for a ticket.I showed him the bunch of tickets, but he said in a harsh tone that it was not punched and thereby not valid.Ooopsie!!!!!!! I was in deep trouble indeed.He shoved me inside his office and asked me to pay a fine of 670 Rs.(Dont know what all categories constituted such an amount).
Even after understanding the mistake I had committed, I was not ready to pay the fine without a fight.I told him that I didnt know about the punching crap and I thought I just had to tear a ticket from the bunch to the checking inspector.I added that back in my state Kerala, there is no such system.To that he hit back saying "is it allowed in Kerala to enter a station without platform ticket or travelling ticket?".I again said that it was my first time in Mumbai and I had the ticket bunch too.He replied that law is law and I should pay the fine.I started in another route saying that I didnt find any machine as I came in from the road straight to the platform.I showed the bus ticket as proof.He checked the ticket but was not in a mood to leave me alone just like that.I even tried to soothe him by greeting in Nepali, "Kastho cha??" I asked and "I am fine" he replied in English with a wicked smile and went on with his boring lecture about how strict the railway rules were these days.
Still I tried my best to prove my innocence and the argument went on for more than 40 minutes.Then I got a cue that he was ready to spare his whole day quarreling with me but i had to reach CST, come back to Andheri and then to Bandup before it got dark.I shifted to the pennyless chap role and showed my empty purse and pant pockets.He was smart and noticed my ATM card and showed me an ATM nearby.Without having another minute to waste in there I gave him all the 300 bucks that I had and whispered in a depressed tone that there was no money in my account.As he was about to sign the reciept I quickly told him that I had no money left with me and I had to reach Bandup area.I was visibly in the verge of tears and seeing my depressed condition his cruel heart relented a bit.
He gave back 150 Rs( the fifty came from his purse, giving an indication of where all the money collected as fine went at last).When I hurried to find a train heading towards CST, I had no time at all to repent my misadventure....
Mallu in the big city
Also read on cowsegg:- Mallu in the big city - 2
Mallu in the big city - 3