WHERE WORLD HAS NOT CHANGED

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In 1939-40, I was a student for a brief period in the S.A. jain college in ambala city. We were living in the cantonment, some five miles away, where my father was posted. I used to go to my college by train. There were about 20 other students living in the cantonment who did the same. The only other mode of transparent was the tonga. That took a long time. Besides, there were some hillocks between the ambala cantonment and the city. That was supposed to be risky.
In those day the train had four classes – 1,2, inter and 3. There was no AC cclass. We used to travel third and the cost of the monthly ticket was Rs.2 on return jorney, the train coming from the rajpura side was often late. We would discover this only after reaching the city station from our collage. It was difficult to pass the time at the railway station. How much mischief could one make?
The station master, knowing that boys would be boys, used to lock up the second class waiting room. He would not allow us to enter it since we were third class passengers. One day, one of us purchased a second class ticket from ambala city to the cantonment. He walked into it triumphantly. The rest of us followed him.
The next day, another student purchased the second class ticket. But while he walked into the second class waiting room without any difficulty, the rest of us were prevented from doing so. There was a row between us and the station staff. It could not last for ever. Eventually the station master, despite the fact that he had at his backing the full might of the british empire, had to yield. Turn by turn, one of us would buy the second class ticket and on its strength, the rest of us would spend the waiting period in the second class waiting room. That was great fun.
In the last week of august 1993, I was going from the central secretariat to the tara apartments in ablue line bus.Somewhere en route about a dozen little school girls in their uniform got in. The bus was already jampacked. The girls managed to squeeze in.
‘’Take the ticket at least, Guddi,’’ shouted the conductor, smiling at one of them. ‘Today is the turn of munni,’’ replied the girl. Munni flung her ticket before the conductor’s eyes.
‘’What about the rest of you?’’ the man asked the other girls. ‘’Everyday you put the same question to us,’’ said some of them almost in chorus, ‘’and everyday we give you the same reply. One has bought: that is enough. That suffies for others too’’

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