Once I was travelling from Delhi to Lucknow by the Lucknow Mail. I had a booking in the AC first-class coach and my berth was the lower berth. On the opposite lower berth, there was another gentleman whom I did not recognise. Both the upper berths were vacant to begin with, but just before the train started moving, two gentlemen entered the cabin, kept their briefcases on the upper berths and soon left the cabin. This created an impression that both of them were unauthorised passengers and did not have any reservations. However, I didn’t take any notice of it but the other passenger was certainly not happy about it. Since both left the cabin almost immediately, he could say nothing to them. Early in the morning, I heard some harsh exchange of words in the cabin. It had so happened that both the upper berth passengers had returned to the cabin in the early hours and put on the light. This disturbed my co-passenger and he objected to it somewhat angrily. This was not liked by the other two passengers and they too responded in the same tone. On this, my co-passenger accused them of unauthorised travelling with the connivance of the railway staff. This was too much for them and all this resulted in a heated exchange of words.
By this time, I was fully awake and wanted to understand the situation. Firstly, I tried to calm them down with a firm and polite request. Somehow, they responded to my request and we started to discuss the matter. As a result, the following facts came out. The two passengers who had occupied the upper two berths were railway officers occupying the post of executive and superintendent engineers. They were on official duty and were to conduct certain studies on the engine in the moving train. That is why they had left the cabin right after keeping their briefcases. After completing the study, they came back to the cabin in the early hours and were quite tired. Since it was the winter season, the cold had added to their fatigue. So, they were in a hurry to take some rest and in the process disturbed my co-passenger. After getting to know all these facts, both sides felt sorry about their hasty response.
The surprising fact was that my co-passenger was the director of a reputed management institute of Lucknow. I knew him by name and had talked to him over the phone several times, but had never met him. The acquaintance made him feel guilty also, but I tried to convince him that such mistakes were normal and one only needs to learn lessons from such incidents for the future. Incidentally, the train was quite late and this provided us an opportunity to know each other more closely and when we left the Lucknow railway station, there was a tough competition between the two sides for realising their mistakes. I told my co-passenger that it was a problem of ‘inner management’ which is perhaps more important than ‘outer management’ taught by him, all through his life.