Wednesday, January 25, 2006


“While you were sleeping a strange incident happened”, I told Peter after he finally woke up from his long three hour slumber. “What?” he asked rubbing his eyes and trying to get out of the heavy drowsiness. “Well, you remember the man who was sitting with us? The guy in the horn-rimmed spectacles and baggy trousers. Looked as if he hadn’t shaved for a week or so. Didn’t utter a word. Kept reading Kafka.”
“Oh-yes. I remember. He got down did he? In Allahabad I believe?”
“Yes, he did. But after creating a huge ruckus.”
“It seemed he had misplaced his bag somewhere. He said it contained all his identification papers and some money. He was going for a interview for some job in a school. He actually tried to blame me. He asked the ticket collector to check me. But he refused. That enraged the man more.”
“What happened then?” asked Peter with a curious gleam in his eye.
“Well, what could have happened? I explained to him in clear terms that he could not go about making absurd claims in public places. Obviously he had misplaced it somewhere himself. But, what surprised me was the gall of the man. He kept on insisting that he was absolutely sure that it was the handiwork of one of the co-passengers. Why, he suspected even you?”
“Did he?” chuckled peter.” A humiliating state of affairs, was it not?”
The glee on Peter’s face made me a little uncomfortable.
“Of course he began to feel embarrassed. Why are you so smug about it?”
“Well, I knew the man. He was Mr. Kramer. He was my geography teacher in school. Always picked on me for fun. When I saw he didn’t recognize me, I thought why not pay back my debt. While he dozed off, I hid the bag in the toilet.”