Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Economics of Bribing

A story about how a conscientious thin boy* was compelled to bribe a TTE...and why you can do nothing about it!

It was the last day at college and the thin boy, like all others, was pretty excited about it. The term had been a long and hectic one and the bag packing was supposedly the last part of it. The thin boy was looking forward to catching his train to a'bad at 6:00 am next morning. Mom awaited his arrival with her own list of food items that she was going to prepare over the week.
The night went on quite nicely with goodbyes and hugs all around. After all, it would be some time before he would meet his pals again. As had been his practice, the thin boy did not consider booking a ticket before-hand. The journey was a short one and the general compartment wasn't all that crowded early in the morning...and above all that, booking a ticket on the internet required effort! Feeling tired and sleepy, the thin boy decided to have a nap leaving the last part of the packing for the morning.
Morning arrived,  TTB* woke up pretty early and finished his left over packing. The auto came in on time and TTB was off to the station! Tickets were bought and luggage moved to the platform. Thats when TTB  woke up...as in, he realised that the train was running late which usually meant a more crowded general compartment. Moreover, it was a weekend and the luggage was too heavy to be carried in a general compartment! Not the one to be bogged down by such pity issues, TTB decided to take a risk - enter the sleeper compartment and ask the TTE for a ticket upgradation. The risk in the whole endeavour was that TTEs aren't always the kind-hearted gentlemen. And when it comes to young boys,  its easier to fine them and make some money out of it. TTB was scared, but determined. 
Finally, when the train did arrive (45 mins later), TTB got into the last of the sleeper compartments and expectedly, the first traveller there asked him what ticket he had. On being told of the general ticket, TTB was warned of the TTE and advised to get into the next general compartment. Worried, TTB dumped his luggage aside and decided to look for the TTE himself.
The TTE was soon found catching suspicious youngsters and fining them. He had a menacing look and the first thing he asked TTB was what ticket he had. Shakily, TTB muttered his story which the TTE did not find very convincing. TTB somehow managed to convince him and was told to sit in the S10 compartment.
 Later, the TTE arrived and asked TTB to pay 100 bucks for the upgradation. Well, the difference in the general ticket and the sleeper ticket was Rs 100 and so TTB did not mind paying. He took a  Rs.100  note and handed it over to the TTE. However, to his surprise, the TTE handed him Rs. 30 back and  asked  him to sit comfortably. TTB understood what was happening at once but, happy over just being able to sit in the sleeper compartment, did not dare to ask for a receipt.   

* TTB - The thin boy. Some names have been changed to protect identity :P

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