ABOUT THE AUTHOR Born - February 2,1915 Works - The Mark ofVishnu, We Indians,Black jasmine,Tragedy of Punjab Awards – PadmaBhushan, PadmaVibhushan and PunjabRatan Award
CHARACTERSSIR MOHANLAL – An Indian who stayedin abroad and has acquired themanners of the Englishmen.LACHMI – Lady Mohanlal. A fat and oldIndian urban lady.OTHERS – Coolie, Two soldiers (Jim andBill)
Sir Mohanlal looked at himself in the mirror. He smiled at the mirror and said to the personappearing in the mirror that he was very dirtylike everyone in that country. The mirror smiled back at him and said thathe was a distinguished personality. His dressing made him look even more smart.Waiting Room
He went out and asked a bearer to givehim a small peg.
Outside the waiting room was Lachmi sittingand chewing betel leaves.She wore a dirty white sari with black borderand had several gold bangles in her arms.She asked the coolie where the zenanastopped to which he replied at the end of theplatform.The coolie picked up the luggage and ladyMohanlal followed him.They stopped after some time.
Lachmi opened her lunch – box and hermeal, chapattis and mango pickle.There was a very active conversationbetween lady Mohanlal and the coolie.Lady Mohanlal was very fond of talking asshe had nobody to talk to her.Her husband was always busy with hisclients and never spoke to her.
When there were signals of the trainarriving, Lady Mohanlal washed her handsand proceeded towards the zenana. She gave two annas to the coolie anddismissed hm. She opened the box of betel leaves andput two in her mouth. Her cheeks bulged.
The arrival of the train did not make adifference to Sir Mohanlal.He made the coolie take his luggage to thefirst class compartment.He had stayed 5 years in abroad and hadacquired the features of the upper class.He spoke necessary words and anglicizedEnglish.He was aware that some Englishmen weretraveling in the train.
He was not very keen to talk to them.He removed a copy of “The Times” andsolved a crossword in it.That newspaper always attracted theattention of people.He would never go out unless he had acopy of “The Times” and his tie.Sir Mohanlal’s thoughts were disturbed.He looked out of the window at thecrowded platform.He saw two Englishmen approaching andso he got excited.
Sir Mohanlal knew that he was supposed tosit in a second class compartment. But he decided to talk to the guard. One of the soldier came to him. He showed Sir Mohanlal to other soldierand asked him to get out Both of them came and picked up SirMohanlal’s luggage and not listening to hisprotests. The engine whistled and Sir Mohanlal wasthrown out of the compartment.
The soldiers ignored the feeble protests ofSir Mohanlal. Sir Mohanlal saw the train passing but helaid on the platform helpless. In the zenana, Lachmi was sitting with hermouths filled with betel leaves. The train whistled and left the platform.