Day 50/ 365 – Shiva – The God of Duality

I clicked this picture at Panchvati in Nasik. There is a small Shiva temple near Ramkund and it is easy to miss it. Shiva transcends all duality, one image to express this is the ardhanarishvara (“the Lord who is half woman”)  As you can see, one half has male features and attributes, and the other half female (thus showing how Shiva transcends one of the most basic divisions among human beings, that of sex).


Day 49/ 365 – Ticketless Travel

The other day I was returning from my MBA classes and completely forgot to punch in my train coupons. Normally I stand in the ticket line on the platform and buy a return ticket, but on this particular weekend I was running late and didn’t want to wait in a line to get the tickets. So I decided to take the train coupons and punch them in. The problem with the train coupons is that you need to punch them in every time you need to travel. So I reached the railway station and used the coupons to travel, but while returning completely forgot all about it. So I traveled in the train, got down at my stop and walked out without ever realizing that I had not purchased the tickets. I only realized the same when I had almost reached home.

I remember, during my college days in India, when I was once caught traveling ticket less in a 1st class compartment. Like yesterday, it was entirely accidental. During my college days, we used to get special discounts for students for the monthly/ quarterly railway pass, which was basically 1/3rd of the original price. I used to travel by 1st class because the crowd was comparatively “better”, the seats were cushioned and it was comparatively cheaper.  I had taken a quarterly pass and used to travel on a daily basis. I thought my pass was expiring on a certain date and was traveling keeping in mind that date. However, my railway pass had expired a couple of days earlier and I wasn’t aware about it all. Like usual I was traveling in the train with an expired railway pass and a ticket checker came along to check the ticket. I handed him my expired railway pass and didn’t even look at him considering all was fine. So he asked, “do you have any new pass along with this?” I replied “No”. He told me “This pass is expired and you need to pay the fine.” I was like “Oh oh are you sure?” He said “Yes. Here take a look.” I looked at the pass and saw the pass has indeed expired. So I check my wallet to see how much money I had and there wasn’t much. As a student, I didn’t really have a lot of pocket money and  fine for traveling ticket less in a first class compartment is usually very high. The ticket checker told me the fine that I needed to pay and I told him I didn’t have enough money to pay the same. He asked me to get off at the next station and then have the discussion outside. I was like ok.. So the train stops at the next station and me, my friend and the ticket checker get off. I told him I have Rs. Xx and he should just take that money and let me go. He then said that’s not possible and I need to somehow pay the fine. I checked with my friend if he had some extra money and he said he didn’t have enough to pay off the whole fine. I asked the ticket checker to let us go with whatever little money we had. After some amount of haggling, we agreed on the fine and which I was able to pay and was finally let off. Since that time onwards, I normally take a ticket while traveling, to avoid such an experience.