Shatabdi’s catering staffs, the real hero, I am just a messenger

As MoS for Railways appreciated my tweet, I hope it will only bring good to the pantry men for their act of humanity

I am overwhelmed by the responses I am getting on my Tweet on Iftar being provided to me on the Ranchi-Howrah Shatabdi train on Monday evening. Not only did the post get viral on social media but picked up by all major Indian media organizations, including Times of India, India Times, NDTV (both English and Hindi), Hindustan Times, Indian Express and PTI. It even got reported in international media. While the message reached several billion, thousands of them reacted on Twitter, Facebook, and on news websites where it got carried. The sequence of events made me think about writing this piece.

Many thought I should not have tweeted, given the present situation when every work of love or peace is being cornered or even punished. They expressed worry about the men who provided iftar losing their job. Many believed that I should have given credit to the pantrymen and not the Indian railways. And several argued with each other and said that there should be special meals for the people of other religions when they fast.

First and foremost, I would like to say that faith is a personal thing for me. I believe not to mention much about it in public life. The gesture of the pantry workers and my reaction to it were genuine and spontaneous. And providing iftar was special as neither I had demanded nor requested it. I was carrying my homemade iftar. I mentioned ‘fast’ as I love to sip hot tea after breaking my fast. Hence, I had requested the pantryman to serve it late for me. I have to give a reason for my request, as most catering staff on trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani have their timing to provide snacks, meals, and tea, as I spoke about the ‘fast’, which the pantry workers cross-checked with me once again before serving a platter for iftar.

The man who brought iftar for me was Mr Prasad.

I first thanked both the persons involved in the process and later tweeted about it.
It is not that I do not understand the repercussions of tweeting about the prevailing environment of our country, which has become so toxic that every act of kindness attracts vilification.

But, when we tweet about the inadequacies during our train journeys, why should I hesitate to share this act of kindness with the world? And while doing so, how can we ignore that it is the Indian Railways under which we are getting such favor. Yes, I realized later that I should have tagged IRCTC’s Twitter handle.

Netizens also pointed out that given the present situation where even the Indian Army has to delete one such tweet as a news channel ran a campaign against army men holding iftar with Kashmiris, I shouldn’t have tweeted.

Then how will people know about the efforts of the pantry staff? And, being a ground reporter, I still believe most Indians want to love and peace and appreciate even small gestures. The message getting viral only reflects this.

Also, why can’t we take a stand when any injustice meted out to the ambassadors of humanity?

Here, in this case, as Minister of State for Railways Darshana Jardosh has appreciated my tweet, I only believe it will bring good for the two for their act of kindness.

And as far as providing special meals is concerned, IRCTC provides it during Navratri. If the catering service wants, they can add more to their list.

As of now, we should celebrate such real-life heroes of our country.

Shahnawaz Akhtar

is Founder of eNewsroom. He loves doing human interest, political and environment related stories.

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