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Fellow Travelers (standard:travel stories, 1521 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Oct 29 2010Views/Reads: 1582/817Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A story on traveling in India by train.

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

“You see, around half billion people living in the rich countries like
USA, Canada, Europe and Australia are responsible for emitting most of 
the green-house gasses or carbon into the atmosphere and the rest of 
the world population, around 5 ½ billion were being severely impacted  
from it,” “now you tell me where is the justice?” 

Not waiting for any answer from Juggernaut, Mr.Rasool continued his
monologue.  “As a responsible citizen of the world and as a dedicated 
eco-Journalist, I came out with a plan to share equally the burden of 
global warming among the 6 billion citizens of the world. We know from 
the scientific community, how much green house gasses or say carbon 
units we can release per year without adversely affecting the 
atmosphere, and we shall divide this equally among the 6 billion people 
on the earth.  Each person owns equal amount of carbon units that can 
be released into the atmosphere from their consumption of products and 
services. If a person wants more carbon units than their share, then 
they can buy the carbon units from any person willing to sell their 
share of carbon in open market on EBay, Craig's list, facebook or any 
other social network, I call it ‘Cash for Carbon'. If people want to 
live a lavish life style, its fine, but they have to pay for the 
additional carbon released into the atmosphere from their high style 

“Sounds fair, but I am not sure how this plan can be monitored for
compliance,” Juggernaut was not sure. 

“It is simple; a regulatory agency named “Carbon Protection Force (CPF)”
would be established just like Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 
or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to monitor the ‘carbon exchange' 
on the open market. 

“Well, the SEC and FDA were not known for their stringent compliance
practices, you know,” Juggernaut was doubtful. 

“True, but any new institution has to evolve through growing pains.” Mr.
Rasool was confident. 

“Certainly, I like your plan Mr. Rasool, I hope you will find support
for your novel idea of ‘Cash for Carbon' in the conference,” 
complemented Juggernaut. 

“Thank you sir,” Mr. Rasool appeared satisfied. 

Paying no attention to the world environmental problems being discussed,
Mr. Viswanath kept reading religious journal ‘Moksha', intermittently 
smiling with his thin lips tightly closed and shaking his head up and 
down as if he concurs with whatever he was reading. 

Meanwhile, the lobbyist kept dropping names of big time politicians like
bird droppings in his telephone conversation. If one were to take his 
conversation seriously, the world is spinning around him, he being the 
axle rod. 

The rail car attendant meanwhile was busy supplying liquor, club soda
and snacks to the gambling travelers in the adjoin coupe.  The railway 
employee became a paid private servant to these unruly travelers. One 
can hear emotional outbursts mixed with colorful curse words.  Since it 
was well over the bed time, the Juggernaut closed the sliding door 
making preparations to sleep.  The lobbyist slept on the lower berth 
and so as the Mr. Viswanath.  Juggernaut and Mr. Rasool each took the 
upper berths. 

Juggernaut fell asleep immediately only to get up from a loud bang as if
somebody was thrown against the separating wall between coupes. From 
heavy drinking and perhaps loss of betting money, the members resorted 
to a fist fight. With no cops on board and no fellow passengers dared 
to interfere, the fight continued for some time. 

The lobbyist was snoring in his sleep making annoying noise louder than
his earlier telephone calls. Mr. Viswanath though sleeping, his lips 
were moving slowly as if he was chanting in silence.  Juggernaut hadn't 
slept much during the night was awakened  early in the morning  when 
Mr. Viswanath started chanting hymns loudly sitting in a lotus position 
on his berth. At the same time, Mr. Rasool got up and started 
discussing loudly on the cell phone with his superior about his plans 
for the day. 

Juggernaut jumped from his upper berth to open the door to use the
latrine. The rail car attendant removed a sack full of empty bottles 
from the adjoin coupe, later he hurled the bag full of bottles on to 
the tracks from the running train.  The latrine in the first class was 
kept clean and more user friendly with less odor. 

When the train reached the destination, the gamblers hurried themselves
out first. The lobbyist talking on the phone pushed himself out of the 
coupe.  Mr. Viswanath having completed his morning prayer on the 
wheels, walked out slowly as if he figured out everything what to 
expect next.  Mr. Rasool with full of hope that his novel idea ‘Cash 
for Carbon' would receive wide acceptance in the conference bade 
farewell to Juggernaut. 

While the travel in coach class was intolerable from the latrine stench,
the close encounter with mankind in the first class coupe was no better 
from inconsiderate fellow travelers. “Next time, I shall travel by 
air”, thought Juggernaut. 


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