March 26, 2005

Signs from a train

Up on the wall of the railway compartment, near the entrance, is this small sign: "Disinfested on 06/03/04". Yes, that is "disinfested." I am seriously wondering whether I want to travel in a coach that has been, and therefore regularly needs to be, disinfested. What was that I heard scurrying about under my berth at night?


Also up on the wall is a sign in English, Hindi and Kannada. It's torn, so I can only give you a few excerpts from it. But you will get the idea.

    THE CRIMINAL may try to impress you by praising religious places, temples etc and distribute prasad innocently.

    THE CRIMINAL may try to become friendly and call for tea and biscuits, eatable etc. His accomplice comes as the vendor. He drinks/eats the good stuff and make you drink/eat the drugged one.

    THE CRIMINAL may mix drug in coffee/tea/drinking water. When you are not watching.

    [This next point was torn in the English version, but here it is in Hindi].

    APRADHI pooja ke bahane agarbatti jalakar nashila dhuaan aapke chehre ke aaspaas ghumayega.

    [Translation: THE CRIMINAL will light an agarbatti on the pretext of performing a pooja and wave intoxicating fumes in your face].

Hmm. What were those neighbours of mine doing in the compartment anyway, and why have I spent two days in Bangalore feeling mildly drugged?


We pass a lonely church somewhere. A sign outside says in huge letters: JESUS said "I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end".

Hmm again. I'm no expert on Christianity, nor on the Bible. But somehow I have my doubts that Jesus ever uttered "alpha" and "omega" in things he said. Am I wrong?


Annie Zaidi said...

:-) No, Jesus probably did no know his alpha from his omega.
And in one train that passes through Bihar, they run an announcement saying 'Do not take your mobile phone with yout to the toilet'... Can't help wondering what prompted that.
Speaking of trains, almost all Shatabdis and Rajdhanis have big, FAT mice and cockroaches. You were lucky to have been in a 'disinfested' coach.
I'm learning anew the benefits of steel trunks.

Nitish said...

You probably weren't serious, but here's an explanation anyway: It would have been the Aleph and the Thaw/Tau. Jewish sages ascribed a mystic significance to this as well: God is truth, Emeth in Hebrew. Aleph and Thaw are the first and last letters of Emeth, besides being the first and last letters of the alphabet.
God is the beginning and end, and also the beginning and end of Truth.
Unfortunately, this didn't translate well into Greek, or English, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

This is a quotation from the Matrix Revolutions. Alpha is the first alphabet (architect in the Matrix) Omega is the Last (The Oracle). Smith is to Neo as Alpha is to Omega

Anonymous said...

The Rss and the Shiv sena will claim that Jesus was a Hindu and hence knew about OMega.

Anonymous said...

While travelling on IR, I have always been tempted to pull the chain -- would gladly shell out 1K for doing it once but the "and/or 3 months RI" has scared me.

Anonymous said...

I somehow chose to comment on your Rediff news artcile "Don't find national insult in a rejected visa!" here. Up to the time I read the article, I'd been wondering why the opinions, that were put forth in your article, weren't evinced yet.

Dilip D'Souza said...

the "and/or 3 months RI" has scared me.

Why, anonymous? Why does 3 months in Rhode Island scare you?

Kapil, I'm not sure what you mean.

Nitish and the others, thanks for the explanations.

And anonymous who believes things suck: spare me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to be cryptic. Let me do a take 2. What you wrote in the said article maid much sense. I had wondered all along (before I read your article) why didn't anybody write such an article yet.