Train journeys ...

Train journeys during day are interesting. If you get a ticket for an overnight journey, there is no much happenings. You get into the train; wait till the TTR comes; get scribbled in the ticket; switch off the lights and go to sleep. Next morning your journey ends. Day time journey is something different. You see people.

Last weekend I went home and the return tickets were full. So decided to travel in Intercity Express. I didn't reserve tickets because usually Coimbaore-Bangalore Intercity is not as crowded as the Coimbatore-Chennai one. My coach was not full. I was in the end of the coach and there were a big North Indian family in the middle of the coach. There were talking little loudly, otherwise it was quite. I had a book to read. After an hour or so, I turned my head around. The guy opposite to me had a diary and was writing something. He was writing for the past half an hour. I couldn't remember the last time when I wrote something more than 2 lines. I think it should be my last exam in the fifth semester. After that, I use my pen only to sign. If not, I would write a few lines during a tele-con or a meeting. When I type a blog or a email, I have the delete key. I can type a sentence, think over it and rephrase it. After completing the paragraph, I can rearrange the sentences. But writing something in a diary is not the same. I wish I could type my blog/email like that. Keep typing and click the Submit/Send without a proof-reading/error correction. It would save me a lot of time.

I was indulged in this thought and I didn't noticed that hindi song. When I listened for few seconds, I thought that the North Indian family might have brought a portable stereo. When the song was over, there was a big sound of clapping and cheering. I turned back and what I saw was not a Philips stereo, but a train singer with a Harmonium. Unlike the other singers, he was neatly dressed. He neither had an unshaved face nor a kid with please-pity-me look. His voice was good and they way he sang made the family to ask for 2 more songs. At the end, his collection would have been around Rs 50/-. Then he moved away from them and walked towards the end of the coach where I was sitting. Now he was singing, "வேப்பமரம், புளியமரம்" song from the movie சாமி. I've heard that song before, and never paid attention to it. I'd simply forward it to the next song, which would be "திருநெல்வேலி அல்வாடா" or "இது தானா". This time, I didn't have a choice clicking the forward button and even if I had, I wouldn't have done it. He sang the song so enthusiastically and it was nice to listen. By the time he came near me, the song was over. As the doors between unreserved coaches are not open, he has to wait till the next station to move to the next coach. He sat near me and I started talking to him.

His story was little astonishing. He has a passion in music and wanted to become a singer. His parents, just like everyone else, wanted him to study well and get a job and bring back a pay cheque every month. But his dream of becoming a singer didn't allow him to do that. After completing his B.Com, he left his home and came to Chennai. Just talent cudn't help him in fulfilling dream. Not every singer, who comes to chennai becomes SPB or Hariharan. So to make a living, he started singing in a Music Troop and still looking for a chance. Not all 30 days of a month he would get income from that. So he became a train singer. (I can't call him as a begger. He is not begger. He sings and if you are entertained, pay him)

I asked him one simple question. "If you had listened to your parents, you would have been better than what you are now. Don't you regret for it?" His reply was simple: "What do you mean better? Being rich; married to a beautiful gal and having nice kids? I can't settle down for some 10-5 office job. Thats not me. I'm happy with what I'm now - just being myself. Even thought I'm not making big money or being popular, singing is still my profession; and more importantly I'm still chasing my dreams. I might become a singer or I might not. But I'll try till the end."

I don't know what to say. I've met many people, who would join a course/join a college/go for work/marry people just because their parents wanted to. They throw away their dreams for their parents and this man threw away his parents and chasing his dreams. Which one is better? I don't have an answer. He left at the next station, but his words of "chasing dreams" still in my mind.

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  1. Krishna Says:

    A thought provoking post! We've either read or seen in movies instances of "chasing one's dreams". But your encounter with such a person in real life brings out a very different feeling than hearsay. After all its we who decide our path and many a time we do not stick to our dreams or we do not have any! Our way of life is determined by various external factors than our own choice.