Sunday, February 25, 2024

Two Normal Gentlemen with Abnormal Claims

Frontline Post The abandoned Wazirabad Junction It was mid night of January 2007 at Wazirabad Railway Junction (Pakistan). I had missed a train and the next train to my destination was due hours later. The night was severely cold and the waiting rooms were locked. I had to take shelter on a bench in passengers’ shed. The shed was nearly as cold as the open platform. In a few minutes, I felt that a huge number of mosquitoes were attacking every passenger waiting under the shed. The passengers were continuously moving their hands and legs to avoid their bites. For me it was not possible to fight them for very long. I preferred to face the below zero atmosphere of the platform. I kept walking to and fro to kill the time. To resume energy and get some warmth, I consumed two cups of hot tea one after the other and started my walking again. Suddenly I caught sight of a gentleman of about sixty years of age, who was searching something in row of rooms of various offices of railway, one after the other. I kept watching him for a few minutes but his movements did not stop. He had been opening and closing doors of the rooms, one after the other, but it appeared that the occupants of the rooms were not helping him. It was a very interesting movement by a normal gentleman. Considerably surprised by the mode of his search I finally approached him for any help. I asked him straight away about his problem at such cold mid night of January. He smilingly introduced himself to me and explained to me as under:-

“I belong to a village situated between Pasroor (a Tehsil headquarter of Sialkot district) and Narowal (a district headquarter). I am a retired headmaster (Principle) of high school. Some of my relatives travelled over to my home and stayed with me for some days after which they decided to travel back to their own town. The train that they had to catch used to leave my village railway station after sunset. On the appointed day I accompanied my guests to the railway station. Out of courtesy I purchased tickets for all of them and the tickets clerk returned to be the remaining money. When I received back the remaining money the train reached the railway station where it used to halt only for one minute period. At the ticket window, I started counting the remaining money but the tickets clerk alerted me saying that the train may leave the railway station. So I put the money into my pocket and asked my guests to follow me for boarding the train. After departure of the train I returned home and comfortably started counting the remaining money. Here I found that it was short by an amount to Rupees 50. Now since the village railway station man does not hear me, so I have travelled over to Wazirabad Junction but here they also do not help me. They say that the station master who issued the tickets to me, had retired from service and that they will try to locate him to give his point of view on the issue”.

I felt that there was something extraordinary in this whole statement. So impatiently I asked the gentleman, “How many days before your guests left for their town”. With a courageous grin on his face, he said, “It was 25 years ago. During all this period I did not have time to visit my village railway station. Now finding time I have started pursuing the case, because you know that my money is mine, even with passing of so much time”.

The second gentleman met me in a local minibus during November 2008. My home is ten kilometers from Sialkot city (Pakistan) center. Sitting next to me was a gentleman of about 65 years of age. He told me that he belonged to a far off village of Sialkot district and that he was a farmer. In the moving minibus I, by the way, remarked that he must be going for shopping. His reply was negative and he started telling me the reason of his visit to Sialkot city market. “I met a shopkeeper (as he stated) to prepare eye glasses for my eyesight. The shopkeeper told me that it will cost Rupees Seven Thousand. I asked him that if the glasses failed, what about my money? The shopkeeper assured me that in such a case he will return me the full money. On the appointed day I reached the shop for taking over the glasses. So far as the checking at the shop was concerned, the glasses were alright for my eyesight. I paid him the money, took over the glasses and returned to my village. After a few days I felt that the glasses were not serving the purpose. With passing of a few more days I became sure that the glasses were useless for me. So to recover my money as promised, I kept waiting to find time to visit the man’s shop in Sialkot. Today I found time and I am going to visit the man to get my money back”. He paused and then resumed his statement, “Unfortunately, this deal was done seven years ago, but you know a deal is a deal and he must return my money as he assured me”.


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Category: Travel

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