The other day at the railway station at Vashi (Navi Mumbai/New Bombay), I witnessed a rather bizarre incident. An argument was taking place between two prospective local train commuters (I say this because they were both standing near the ticket window meant for local trains). The argument itself was not a novel scene; let’s face it, you are bound to find at least one tiff, argument, name-calling, fist-fight or at least a “Tere Maa Ki!” look at any major local train station in Mumbai (and even Navi Mumbai). What was in fact interesting was the topic of the heated word-fest. It seems one of the contestants in this fight-night (I presume the one with a laptop messenger bag flung around his shoulder), was purchasing a First Class Ticket, and the other commuter was waiting in queue to claim his Second Class ticket.
Now it seems the second fellow was irate since the techie had very coolly stepped up to the ticketing window and procured the FC ticket, while our Second Class friend had been waiting in queue for almost quarter of an hour (Oh did I not mention that this was around peak time and the queues were phenomenally long!). Obviously the SC commuter considered this callous on part of the techie commuter and demanded that he get back in queue and wait for his turn like everyone else.
Our techie, obviously not new to the local train commute scene, argued back stating that FC passengers have a separate queue and that he was not cutting in, merely following the rules and paying extra for the comfort of not standing in queues. To this the SC commuter replied with full rage and started claiming that such a rule was a farce and inane when so many people were waiting in queue for their tickets.
Obviously, the argument was not going to be settled any time soon, so the other prospective commuters in the queue, beginning to get agitated themselves, demanded that the two settle their score elsewhere and so the railway police were called in to act as referees.
I don’t know what happened next or how the argument was settled, but the debate got me thinking; Is the rule for First Class passengers, purchasing tickets at the ticketing counter, to essentially cut-in ahead of the rest a valid one? Think about it, if you have been waiting in an agonizingly long queue for several minutes and you see someone just waltz in ahead of you simply because he has the money to do so, wouldn’t you be pissed?
But hey, isn’t that the way the world works? After all Money Talks! Restaurants, movie halls, airlines, hotels, cars, cabs and almost anywhere else more money gets you a better product and/or service! So why should the ticketing window at your local train station be any different?
The bottom line is that if you can cough up the dough, you can walk away with the cookies! Don’t get me wrong, I am not stating that being rich means you can get away with murder (although some people do manage to that as well!), but being financially well endowed has its benefits.
“Have Money, Will Spend!”
PS: In case you’re wondering about the strange title, it’s kinda inspired by the Russell Crowe, Christian Bale starrer –3:10 to Yuma. A fine movie with a rather tragic end.