I was at the Vashi station. I was in a hurry, late for office already. Now in a long queue for the tickets. The lady next to me had a bag that read "Gandhi Khadi Bhandar". It was a plastic bag. I winced at the irony of it all. The woman,oblivious to my observations, bought her ticket and left. I could not help but smile. The cynic in me.
I was throwing anxious glances at my watch the wait seemed like an eternity. I finally got a ticket. I was running towards the platform. I saw a woman inserting change into a ticketing machine that wasn't working(I had tried that before). Still running, I glanced backwards. The woman was now pounding at the machine that was not spitting out the tickets. I looked at her again. She was a middle aged woman, educated very obviously techno phobic trying to get used to senseless machines and was bad at reading error messages. In short, a common middle aged, middle class woman. Like my mom.
It's funny how fast your mind performs these logical functions. I felt an impulse to assist the lady. I stopped.I went back to the woman who was still pounding on the machine hoping it would at least return the money if not the ticket.
I touched her on the shoulder and told her that the machine was not working.
"Kaai??" She asked in Marathi. What
"Ha machine chaalat nahi." I replied. This machine is not working.
"Aata paishe taakle mee, parat pan nahi bhetnaar kaa?? " She asked. I inserted some coins. Wont I even get that money back?
"Ithe bagha kaai lihla aahe" See whats written here. I said pointing towards the display, "This machine is out of service. It wont dispense tickets" The machine declared flatly.
"Ooh!" The woman sighed. Obviously embarrassed.
She said that she was at this machine for close to 10 minutes was very disappointed at the effort being wasted. She wanted to avoid the long queue. I offered to get the tickets for her.
"Nako re, bala." She said, ruffling my hair." Majha mulga aahe naa." No, my dear, my son will do that for me.
A shy, 10 year old kid was smiling at me.
I smiled back.
I had missed my train.