“You have changed a lot. You are not the one we used to know; someone with the heart of gold and full of emotions. But, now you are more of an emotionless bloodhound beast; looking for a chance to attack.
Every now and then, people tell me this. They believe that I am no more a person they used to interact with. They keep telling me about my transformation. I don’t know about whom they are talking, But, definitely not me.
A few days ago, I was crossing the street and I saw my reflection in the window next to the railway platform. Who is this guy in the window? I heard an echo. Oh! That is me. A new me. I was delighted to see an updated version of me.
“Nice hair cut! Dude. Nice Pants. Nice Sneakers. Hell Yeah! You got a diamond stud in the left ear. You are looking freakishly awesome.” I was talking to me.
As soon as I approached the platform, I grabbed a waiting bench. Still 10 minutes to my train. I met an old mate. “Sup! Long time no see, bru?” I was still figuring him out. “Do I know you?” My this statement shocked him and he told me, “I am your workmate! John.” Good to see you brother. You are joining us today. Sam told me last night.
He instantly brought me back where I was eight months ago. Well, without talking much, we boarded the train and at my workplace, my friends gave me a nice welcome. I spent my day on molding machine number 35; did vegetable crates for eight hours.
After finishing my shift, I boarded the late night train from Hallam Station. Then, came Dandenong station. I saw all Indian mates getting closer. A few black guys boarded the train. They were teasing the co-passenger and vandalizing train.
But, I was not at all anxious or scared this time. I was feeling an energy within me. My hands approached my work bag. I was looking for a cutter. Oh, Shit! I left that on the table. Thank God ! I was carrying a shark ratchet plastic pipe cutter.
Without worrying about them much, I was back to my iPod.
For a second, I was in the flashback. A simple religious man, with religiously long hair and a beaded rosary in his hand. Those were the days when indulging in any sort of arguments was something I used to avoid. I was not at all a fighting warrior. Instead of hiding myself, I used to get off the train.
People around me used to advise me about being on the safe side. “Do not fight with them. They are useless creatures and they gonna get you back.” I won’t claim myself as a wise man. Honestly, I used to be a scared rabbit.
But, how can I forget that Black Friday; the day that made me pay the highest price of my generousness. That ugly day when I learned the lesson of my life. We must not use our hands for self-defense only, but for breaking some bones as well.
On that ill-fated day, eight months ago; a bunch of useless Sudanese teens spotted me as their easy target. On seeing me little scared, they approached me. “Give me money or I am gonna f#$k you bad.” I pulled my wallet and gave them. But, yet one of them hit me in the face. And, seeing me bleeding from the nose, they all jumped at me and they were like 6 people on me. That compartment was carrying at least 20 other Indian mates, but no one dared and no one helped.
The train driver, after seeing the incident through train CCTV, informed police. On next station, they were taken away. I was hospitalized. With a broken nose bone, arm and serious rib injuries, I was all alone in the hospital.
My friends, whom I helped a lot, none of them was interested in my shit. I was under huge financial distress. None of my relatives helped me. After a few months, my parents surrendered. “Son! We cannot afford any more money transactions. You are now on you own. If you want to you can come back home.”
Every single day, I used to repeat this one liner. I am alone. That is okay. I don’t need cats around me, to lick my feet. I am alone, not because no one likes me, but because I am capable of handling everything on my own.
I decided to fight back. I stayed there. That bad phase made me understand the reality of this world. It is all about your spinal bone. The stronger you have, the better you will be. I fought with depression. I revived myself. Now, I don’t need anyone.
Suddenly, I felt someone tapping my shoulder. I opened my eyes. Once again, it was the same group, black Sudanese teens. I know them by their tattoos. This time, I was not at all scared. I can serve these up asses with my bare hands. I don’t need a weapon.