I met a wannabe-Guinness-Book-Of-World-Records entrant!

And I met him in a Sleeper coach compartment of a train!

Two days ago at 5:15 PM we, a group of eight people, got on the Ernakulam (Place in Kerala) express to go to Guruvayur (Place in Kerala known for its Krishna temple) to attend a close friend’s wedding. Already tired from the day’s running around (it was a week day) and tense about being awake to get out at 2:30 AM when the train would pull into our destination, we huddled around in our compartment hailing coffee/tea vendors and chatting away sleepily. There was one nice Malayalee (people from the Indian state of Kerala so called because they speak Malayalam) lady sitting with us and she started conversing with us as we ate our dinner. After dinner we were all thinking of retiring when a gentleman alighted from the top most berth. I hadn’t noticed him till that moment. He happened to be this lady’s husband. He smiled at all of us and started talking to T and me while he ate his dinner. We learned from him that he was in the Inspection department of RBI and retired as the Additional Divisional Manager. He spoke at length about his adventures on his trips all over India. He was a very widely traveled man thanks to his work profile. He knew every nook and corner of India from Cherapunjee (place with maximum rainfall in the world) to the Kolar Gold Fields (in Karnataka, now closed). He told about his VIP pass descent into the KGF mine some 2000 feet below the ground level in a bucket! He and his wife had to give a declaration stating that nobody was responsible if something untoward happened to them in the mine! By and by he started telling us that he had a lot of hobbies, one of which was collecting key chains! He has over 6000 key chains from all over the world. He stores them in air tight containers to keep moisture from reaching the metal of the chains. He showed us the collection he was taking home from Bangalore. Some fifty odd key chains right there in his suitcase! We were impressed. But what impressed us the most was when he, Mr. P.K.K. Nair told us that he wants to soon be in the Guinness Book of World Records for possessing a record collection of the very same key chains!

In the meanwhile one of us was looking out for a tea vendor. And this gave him another idea. He told us his other hobbies include Graphology and Palmistry etc. He has over 20 years of experience in Graphology alone! He decided to do on us what he called “T therapy”. He made all of us write the small letter “t” on a piece of paper and then individually told us a few points about our personality. What I liked most was that he put across all the points in such a positive way that one couldn’t help but gloat that one has such a great personality! While all of us felt that what he was telling us about ourselves were very true, he even made a couple of predictions for some of us! Now we have to see if that also comes true! Mr. Nair informed us that people from many places come to him for match making, palm readings etc and all he expects as return gift or dakshina from such people was key chains! This man is so passionate and sincere about his hobby that it comes out in the way he handles them even. Even his grandchild buys key chains for her grandpa because that’s what he likes most! Thus we spent around three hours in a crowded train getting know a great man. Great only by his sincerity and passion for a hobby! By 10 we all decided to retire for the night when he called T and me and told us that what happened that night was divine intervention. He never does this kind of graphology readings for strangers but he saw us and he wanted to! Wow! We all felt a little more blessed, the soft pale glow of the overhead compartment light lending more of a magical effect to the situation.

Now that the journey is over, all I can remember vividly is this chance encounter in the train rather than the wedding or the beach-fun we had at Guruvayur!
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