I was undergoing training at Mumbai in New India as a trainee Officer. Getting leave during that period was not easy, and I got permission for visiting my home at Bhubaneswar to attend my 3rd brother's marriage at the last moment. So I could not get a confirmed reservation in the train, but I have to go. I decided to take a chance, expecting to get a berth enroute. My two, three friends accompanied me to the VT station to see me off and to help me in getting a seat.
He was traveling along with his younger brother and a lot of luggage, kept on one of the seat. One of my friend approached him and explained my problem and the urgency of my travel. So we need his help. He agreed immediately and told my friends not to worry. He made room for me in the side lower seat where both of them were seating. He made me feel comfortable. The journey started.
He was working as a cook in Mumbai and visiting his village in Cuttack in Odisha. I enquired, are you going permanently, he replied no. Then why with so much of luggage, he replied that there are other persons from his villages working in Mumbai and it is a normal practice, whoever goes home, he has to help others by carrying their luggage sent to their home. It was dinner time, I was feeling hungry and looking for something to eat. There was no pantry in the train, so only chance of getting something was in the next stoppage. He was carrying his dinner and they started making arrangement for having their dinner. I offered to get up, so that they can have it comfortably, but he insisted me to be seated and have dinner with them. I had no choice, so agreed immediately.
It was paratha and chutney, really delicious and it confirmed his expertise in cooking. Now it was time to sleep. I was wondering how to spend the night without a berth. I was looking at some other co passengers who were also traveling without a confirmed seat, they have put bedsheets in the space in the passage and trying to sleep. But I was not ready to do the same thing. He suddenly tapped in my back and told me to go the upper berth and sleep. I was surprised, they have two berths and so many luggage. I looked at him and tried to say no. He has already adjusted the luggages and told me they will adjust in one berth, so please go to the upper berth and sleep.
I was speechless, no words to express my gratitude. He was not knowing me earlier, he was not my friend. We have just met in the train and I needed his help. He may not be highly educated but he was very cultured and had all the qualities of a good human being. Next day I got a berth at Secunderabad and reached Bhubaneswar safely. He also got down at Bhubaneswar and I helped him by dropping him at the bus stand with his luggage. Both of us said thanks to each other.
I don't remember his name, I know I will not be able to meet him again. But he befriended me by his selfless behaviour to an unknown co traveller. I have travelled a lot after that but yet to come across a friend like him. But I know I will never forget him. I have many friends, but he is one of the unsung friends, who has left his impression on me.