. . . another amusing incident occurred on the train. Baba, Baidul, Eruch and Gustadji found themselves in a small third class compartment which was empty. Everyone was pleased at this lucky turn of events, as whenever possible Baba preferred to have the compartment to himself so that he could relax and express himself uninhibitedly through gestures, without being concerned about drawing attention to himself. But unfortunately, just as the train pulled out of the station, a Congress leader stepped in.
Baba was not at all pleased to have a stranger in their midst and motioned to Eruch to get rid of him. Eruch pleaded, “Sir, the next halt is only ten or fifteen minutes away. When it comes will you please oblige us by finding a seat in another compartment? The train is not crowded and we would prefer to be alone. We are travelling a long distance and are tired.”
“Why, is this compartment reserved?” he asked.
“No, it’s not,” Eruch replied. “But we prefer to spread out, and you will be equally comfortable in another compartment.”
The man became arrogant and rude, and began arguing loudly, refusing to move. Baba signaled, “Stop arguing with him. Just observe silence, talk with each other through signs and laugh uproariously. If he asks you anything, ignore him.”
Gustadji, who was under orders not to converse in sign language while travelling, to avoid attracting attention, was now freed of this longstanding restriction, and he plunged into animated “conversation.” Baidul and Eruch were familiar with his signs, and they also began using them and laughing loudly.
The politician looked puzzled and asked Eruch, “Where are you going?” Eruch looked at him and turned away without replying. He asked Baidul, and he too turned his face. “Where do you live?” the man questioned; but no one paid any attention to him and they kept up their sign language among themselves.
At the next stop, probably thinking he was in the midst of a bunch of lunatics, the man rose to leave the compartment, and called for a coolie to remove his luggage.
Baba gestured to Eruch to shake his hand, thank him and help him out. So Eruch got up and helped the man down with his trunks and bid him farewell with a “Thank you.”
They settled back to resume their journey in privacy, and Baba cuttingly remarked, “Serves him right!”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 9, pp. 3203 – 3204.