I met him in the train while travelling from Mumbai to Jallendhar. He boarded the train at Baroda. A thickly built youngman, in early 40’s, he displayed the usual attributes of a Sardarji- Exuding energy, broad smile and an uncanny frankness.
He came to cabin A of the compartment, where I and my wife were sitting, after discussing ‘something’ with the conductor. Till Baroda, we were the only travelers in the cabin meant for 4 passengers. After settling his luggage, he greeted us by mumbling ‘Satsariakaal’ with a broad amiable smile.
Introducing self and my wife, I asked him where he was going and what was his profession. He had been traveling for nearly a ‘fortnight. He met his clients in Southern India and in Gujarat. Now, he was going back to his hometown – Amritsar.
He makes agro net knitting machines. I had never heard of these. Nets made by these machines are used to protect fruits and flowers from the vagaries of weather. Upon further enquiries, he informed that the ultraviolet rays of the sun are controlled by these nets. Temperature is also controlled. It was interesting to know that red nets are used as a protective ceiling for red roses, blackish violet nets for the black grapes which are grown in vineyards of Nasik and Hyderabad. Good interesting knowledge. His clear descriptions were constantly interrupted by the two mobiles, he was carrying.
Mostly, he spoke in Punjabi. His Hindi, too, had the robust Punjabi flavour.
‘O, ji, kii kariya! English phasha bot aukhi ya. Lakh koshish karan naal wi aundi nai’. (What shall we do? In spite of maximum efforts, it is very difficult to learn)
Main ta ji padhiya likhya nai. Ajkal ae mobilan ne kum saukha kar dita ya. Maila shailani appaan chhoti moti English which kar laine yan. Baaki Rab Raakha.
(I am uneducated. Mobile has made life very easy these days. The little knowledge of English language that I have helps me to handle the e-mails that I receive from my factory & clients in different parts of the country Rest comes with the Almighty’s Help.