Freewheeling Conversations

December 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm (Life)

A person is all about the influences he has absorbed through the course of his life. Some people are smart enough to consciously choose their influences. They read classics for books, watch peer appreciated movies and befriend elegant people. I am not too smart in that sense. I have read very few books. Of the few I have read I have liked almost all. I try to read more and more but I am slow reader.

My primary source of influences are movies and conversations. Lets talk about conversations.

I generally do not chat up strangers. My friends know me as a talkative guy. I was called Debayan “Big Mouth” Banerjee in college. Inspite of that peer branding I hardly ever strike a conversation with a stranger. What I do instead is I take a conversation forward that has been initiated by the other person.

I was at the Dhanbad railway station once. I was waiting for the Sindri-Dhanbad local. There was a nice breeze that had kicked up on the overbridge. I stood there enjoying it looking at the parallel metal bars called rails. There was a homeless poor chap standing right next to me looking on in the same direction. He started talking. I listened intently. He said that people think he is mad and that he uses that reputation to survive. He scared people with his image. They fed him to fend him off. He stole often. He had travelled far and wide. He claimed that he had travelled to all corners of the nation, thanks to our very own Indian Railways. He never bothered to buy a ticket ofcourse. He did not seem unhappy with his life.

My father loved to talk. I probably inherited his habit. We were on our way to our maternal uncle’s place in our car. At the Bihar-Bengal border we were stopped by a bunch of police men. We did not have the pollution certificate. They were about to fine us when my father started talking about my grand-father, ie, his father-in-law. My father in law was the principle in a college for many years. He was well known in the district as a noted pundit of the sanskrit language. It turned out that the police men were all from the same college and were students of my grand father. Unlike most students they did not seem to hate their ex-principal. We were not fined that day.

I was on the Black Diamond Express returning to Durgapur from Dhanbad. On the seat facing me there was a frail middle aged man. I do not remember how our conversation started. He was a criminal lawer. What ensued was a very interesting discussion on life, law, crime and ethics. He rued the fact that he had to talk about rape and murder on phone at home while his wife and children were around him. He was equally interested in knowing about my life as an engineering student as well. He gave me his card and asked me to call him if I ever need legal help. His parting words were “Lets hope we never meet again”.

To Be Continued …..


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