I recently purchased a new camera and when you have a camera, you naturally want to click away merrily. So, why should I be an exception?
Wherever I go, my camera is my constant companion. Earlier, when I encountered birds or butterflies, I did not even give them a cursory glance. But that was the past! Now when I come across birds, whether they be the ubiquitous crow, pigeon and even sparrow, I flash my camera and go click, click. Actually, that too is a thing of past and my enthusiasm has waned considerably. There is a reason for this.
Every evening I take a walk. There is a lonely stretch of road near my house which leads to a barren piece of land. The scene is absolutely rustic - you hardly find a soul at the time when I take my stroll, you are all on your own as if the land belongs to you, and birds of different types keep you company. There are quite a few trees around and, so, there are plenty birds. I just love this evening walk.
Adjacent to this land is another piece of land which has been fenced indicating that it has an owner. One day, as usual, I was taking my walk when I sighted a woodpecker perched on tree that was situated on the owned piece of land. I went near the fence, took out my camera and took a picture (Woodpeckers, I have discovered, are very finicky and fly away at the least intrusion unlike pigeons which allow you to come nearer to take their pictures). I had tried taking pictures of woodpeckers earlier but they would fly away. So I was quite happy to have taken a picture of this fussy bird.
Having taken the picture I resumed my walk, when a person came after me on a motorcycle and caught hold of my shirt collar.
"Why are you taking pictures of my land?" he demanded to know.
I was downright surprised and very angry. "Why should I take pictures of your land?" I countered.
The man, who appeared to be a ruffian, abused me at the top of his voice.
I realized that probably there was some dispute over the ownership of the land and he was scared that I was spying on the land.
I told him that I had only taken a picture of a bird on a tree that happened to be on his land. I even showed him the picture and he probably realized his mistake. However he did not apologize but kept abusing me. I thought it prudent to walk away.
I have continued my evening walks on the same stretch but for the first few days after the incident I got the feeling that I was being watched. The man wanted to make sure I was not up to any mischief. But since then my enthusiasm for photography has waned. I do not carry my camera with me anymore. You never know, someone may get the idea that I am spying on him, snatch my camera and smash it.
Gem of a letter!
In the first 55 years of operation of the Indian Railways, there were no toilets in the lower class carriages in trains. On July 2, 1909, an aggrieved Akhil Chandra Sen, in a letter, lodged a complaint with the railway administration. The letter was so strong that the authorities were compelled to take corrective action.
Here is how it all happened ........
Akhil Chandra Sen was on a journey from his home town. Just prior to leaving his home, his wife had lovingly cut a jack fruit and packed the pieces in a banana leaf.
In the train, Akhil Babu ate one piece after the other. Suddenly he felt a rumble in his stomach. He felt that his tummy was bloated. He was feeling uncomfortable and desperately wanted to relieve himself. But there were no toilets in the coach and he had to hold himself till the next station.
The train halted at Ahmedpur Station and Akhil Babu rushed to the toilet at the railway station. But even as Akhil Babu was relieving himself, the guard blew the whistle and the train departed leaving him behind. Akhil Babu was angry ..... very angry!
He decided to write a strong letter to the railway administration, narrating his plight, upon returning home.
This is what Akhil Chandra Sen wrote:
I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jack fruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with "lotah (water can)" in one hand and dhoti in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on platform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur station.
This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honor to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report to papers.
Well, thanks to Akhil Chandra Sen's letter, all compartments of the Indian Railways now have toilets.