In the early days, there was no direct train from Kerala to Delhi. You had to travel to Madras and then catch GT Express, the only train from Madras to Delhi. Then came the Kerala – Karnataka Express (K.K.Express) and later Kerala Express. Much later Mangala Express via Konkan Railway started. Going to Delhi became easier and quicker.
After I was elected as the President and later General Secretary of the AITE Union Class III in 1991 and 1994 respectively, I had to be at Head Quarters New Delhi. Wife and children being at residence at Calicut, I had to come now and then, which I adjusted with union programmes.
On such an occasion when I was returning to Delhi from Calicut, I met my friend, a public person and owner of Railway Restaurant and who was also having contract of canteen in the Delhi train. We talked for some time and I boarded the train when it arrived. The train left.
I drink a lot of tea and coffee in the train and this time also it was not different. Meals also supplied. The supplier will not usually collect the money then and there from long distance passengers and will collect the total amount before they reach their destination.
Just before reaching Delhi, I asked the supplier what was my amount. Smiling he told that the Canteen Manager has told him not to collect any amount from me and that the supply is free. I understood that my friend might have told the Canteen Manager accordingly. Even after pressure, he did not accept money. It was useless to compel him.
Usually there is a practice of giving some money to the suppliers for their good service. I approximately calculated the amount of supplied of food and adding something more, I put the money in his hand and told that this is a gift from me to him, and not for the food. He gladly accepted.
When I met my friend after returning, I thanked him for his good gesture. He might not have known what happened. But I told him smilingly not to continue this in future. Later I started carrying food packets prepared from home as is the system with many passengers.