June 2010: I had lost my job in Gujarat. My immediate senior, Shri Mehul Katpara, (of my immediate company) in Patan had supported me by giving shelter (without any rent). I was badly searching a new job, my laptop had stopped working, and I was expending my savings in cybercafe, searching new jobs. The cybercafe near Patan Railway station was charging Rs.10-15/Hour. I was ashamed in going to my house in Bihar. I had went to give interview in a Ahmedabad based multinational company but could not get job. Fortunately on 26th June, I show mail from my current Hosur (Tamilnadu) based company, that they want to take my Interview on 28th, Monday. So I had to immediately leave Gujarat and proceed for Hosur. I planned to go to Bangalore via Mumbai. I packed my luggage and took bus from Patan to go to Ahmedabad. That day there was good rain in Patan. I reached Ahmedabad at around 12:00 PM.
Ranakpur Express(14707) was the immediate train going to Mumbai. Its time was around 1:00 AM. I booked General ticket to Mumbai Central @ Rs.108. I went to the TTE, and said that I want to travel in the sleeper coach. He said that I will have to pay fine of Rs.400. I had no option, but to travel sitting near the toilet of some sleeper coach. In early morning, I happened to get a seat. On morning of 27th April, the TTE came and asked Rs.50 from me. I asked him to take fine and give me the receipt, as I wanted to show to the world, how Indian railway is earning by "indirect methods". He prepared a fine-receipt of Rs.350 for me (ADS/BCT 85604971, 422979).
I reached Mumbai Central station at around 11:00 AM. The station was still developing, and I was finding great difficulty in finding someone who can help me to reach the Interstate Bus Station. Finally a good man guided me to go to Dadra, to catch the buses going to Bangalore. With a shared auto (Rs.10), I went to Bandra station of local train and booked a ticket to Mahalaxmi (Rs.4). By the local train, I reached Dadra. There a coolie approached me and said that if I give him Rs.150, he will take my luggage and guide me to the Bangalore based bus. I offered Rs.50, on which he agreed. But when we reached out of the station, a "taxi wala" came to us and said that the coolie does not know anything and he will misguide me. I should better take his taxi, he will charge only Rs.20 and leave me to the Bangalore going bus station. The coolie first gave sign to not trust him, but later under the constant pressure from that "taxi wala", he asked me to go by the Taxi. He took Rs.50 from me.
The Taxi wala took my luggage and kept it in the taxi. A Sardarji was the driver of that taxi. I sat on the last seat and that man sat along with the driver. They droved, and on way they made phone call to a bus ticket booking agent, to book a non A/C bus ticket for me. I asked them the fare, they said that it will be around Rs.900 to Rs.1000. I said that I want to travel by Government bus, as there the fares will be very less. They said that I will have to pay them around Rs.150 for going to the Government Bus station, as it is very far and total ticket fare will be same. I started nagging that I feel being cheated. On that they got irritated, and stopped the taxi for a while. They started talking dirty, like do I want a girl, etc. I said them sorry and requested them to take me to the bus station. The man who had asked me to come in his taxi, was like a "broker".
(Afternoon12:00 to 12:30 ) On reaching the counter office of National Travels (NTS, Shop No.10, Rupam building, Sion Circle, Mumbai-400022, Telephone: 66629014), the "broker", got down and shut the door of the car, asking me to stay inside. He perhaps asked his "commission" from the agent of NTS, which they might have refused. On this he got bit irritated, and came to me and said that I should give him Rs.900 and he will buy a ticket for me. I said that I don't have that much money in my pocket and I will have to go to ATM. They said that the HDFC bank's ATM is nearby, I should leave my luggage on their trust and go and get the money. I had realized that I am in a trap, and being simple and humble is the best strategy to get out of this trap with minimum loss. They just can't run away, as there was nothing precious in my luggage and they wanted money. I trusted them and went to the nearby HDFC bank's ATM. There was small que. It was hot and I was sweating. I went inside the ATM, to get cool air. A lady was withdrawing money (some big amount). On seeing me inside the ATM, she got scared, and shouted that I should immediately get out of the ATM, or she will shout and call police. I went out and after she left the ATM, went to withdraw the money. I took out perhaps near to Rs.1000 (500 X 2).
I rushed to the Taxi which was standing near the NTS counter. The broker asked me to come inside the taxi, as he has booked the ticket for me and he will settle the amount. I took ticket and gave him the ticket amount Rs.500 + 4 X Rs.100. He quickly took the money and while I started taking out my luggage, he said that I have given them only Rs.500. He had replaced my Rs.500 note with a Rs.100 note. I pleaded them that I have given them the right money, which he was not accepting. I felt that to get out of this "bad" company, it is better to suffer the loss of Rs.400. So I took out the existing Rs.400 from my pocket and gave to that man. He took it and escaped from that place. I started pleading before the Sardarji (driver) that I have been cheated. He said that the person is from Uttar Pradesh and his name is Ramashray. He asked Rs.20 as Taxi fare, which I gave to him. I took out my luggage and went in the office of NTS. I was feeling relieved and also cheated and shocked. In emotional burst-outs I started telling to the NTS officer that I have been cheated and I will complain to police. I even dialed the police help number 100, but it "didn't reached." Some of the persons sitting near me, sympathized and asked me to calm down and be careful towards my luggage.
At around 1:30 PM the bus for Bangalore came. I went inside the bus and found another man (young aged Muslim and Tamil) saying that he have been wrongly guided to this bus as he wanted to go to Tamilnadu. The bus conductors told them that after reaching Bangalore, they will get plenty of buses for Tamilnadu.The man was also grieving, telling that he had went to Saudi Arabia to get some work and while returning, an old Muslim became his friend in the plane and after landing to Mumbai, he wrongly guided him and thefted his all money. An another man from Tamilnadu gave him some emotional support. He said that he has little money to purchase some food till Bangalore, and there some of his relatives lives, so he will seek their help in reaching Tamilnadu. I wailed that the city Mumbai is not a good place. I too had limited amount say a 100, in my pocket. He sat with me and also requested me to allow him to use my mobile phone for calling his relatives. I extended my support.
The next day morning (around 10:00-11:00 AM) we reached Bangalore. I took a auto (Rs.50) for going to the nearby ATM counter and then to the Hosur bus stand. After catching the bus for Hosur (KSRTC,Ticket Rs.22-25), I reached Hosur and had to narrowly escape from an accident (While I was getting down with my luggage from the bus, another vehicle, perhaps a motorcycle or a auto, passed from the side (narrow gap between my body and road). I searched a cheaper hotel, I got one at Rs.200/day, refreshed and came for interview at around 3:00-4:00 PM.
My boss was busy, he took the interview after 6:00 PM, I could not answer many of his questions, but he sympathized and suggested me to find the answers of the questions which I could not answer/could not answer correctly. I prepared the answers by visiting a cybercafe, and the next day he recruited me at a salary less than my expectation. For some days I had to stay in a hotel (Rs.1800 for 9 days) and then I found a small house on rent (Rs..1800/month with Rs.5000 as advance.). The auto driver charged Rs.80 for coming from Hosur bus stand to the house at Batlapalli. I was almost pauperized (amount in my account reaching nearly to zero) by these huge expenditures, but the salary of July month, saved me from further falling into the pathetic situation. I thanks God and my current boss, Dr.N.Barathi for helping me.