After having a nice evening at my friend’s house in Dombivali, I boarded a fast train and got down at Dadar Station. I was feeling extremely thirsty. I had a bottle in my sack, but it was empty now. My legs directed me to the stalls on the platform and I asked for nimbu paani. A young lad in his late twenties was eating a pattice. Standing next to him was a middle aged lady wrapped in a saree. “Give him some more chutney” yelled the woman at the attendant at the food stall. “No. I do not want more chutney” said the lad who was enjoying his hot pattice.
“Give him clean water in a clean glass”, was the next order that the woman shot. By now the attendants were irritated by the treatment they were meted out. Sensing their irritability she roared again pointing to the young lad “He is my son. He is a big Sahib.” I was taken aback. I wished to ask the woman what post her son held. But by then my train for Churchgate had arrived and I got into the train. But the woman continued to be with me. She was with me during my train journey. She was there when I had a shower and she stayed with me when I lay in my bed. The woman commanding VIP treatment for her son wherever he went was leaving me restless and giving me sleepless night. The ego that the seat of big sahib satisfied is gigantic. This is the reason even in small towns with sparse populations you have clubs coming up like mushrooms with many office bearers. The seat warms up the ego of the seat bearers. And the person occupying it starts commanding special treatment everywhere he goes.
But there are rules to every exception. I stayed in a rented two room house in a small town until I completed my matriculation. The roof was low and the flooring was made up of cow dung. The collector’s son came to my father for mathematics tuitions. The collector of a district commands immense respect particularly in small towns. At times the collector dropped in to enquire about the progress of his son in his studies. My mother used to offer him one of the two iron chairs we had. The collector would grin and say “I sit in the chair at my office for the whole day and I am much comfortable on the floor” as he squatted on the floor. The question is not of sitting on floor or chair. The collector never expected any special treatment from anyone. He knew he was a big Sahib but only in his office or at most in his district and there were bigger Sahibs than him including the Biggest!
These two incidents have had a great impact on my personality. I decided whenever I make it big, l will never become a bit Sahib.
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.