When I used to travel in India for many years continually I was almost always on the train, on the plane, in the car, just traveling, moving. The train was the only place for me to rest. Once I got out of the train there was no possibility of rest – five, six meetings per day, colleges, universities, conferences, friends, journalists, press conferences. It was impossible. The only place for me to rest was the railway train. After twenty years continually traveling I could not sleep because the whole noise of the train and its wheels and the people coming and going and railway stations and hawkers and people shouting and all that – was missing. You will be surprised to know that I had to record it on a tape recorder, so when I go to bed they will put on the tape recorder and just listening to it I will go into a perfect sleep. Then they will remove the tape recorder. Otherwise it was difficult, I will toss and turn. Twenty years is a long time, and it became such a habit.
Mostly I was in an air-conditioned coupe for only two people, and because I was so tired I had no desire to talk to the other person or to answer his questions.
One day in Amritsar I entered the train. And the man was looking out of the window. Thousands of people had come to see me off. So he was getting very curious. As I went in, he touched my feet. I said, “Just sit down. You are too curious. This is my name. This is my father’s name. I have so many brothers, so many sisters, one sister has died. My father has so many brothers, so many sisters, both his sisters have died. My grandfather…”
He said, “But I am not asking these things.”
I said, “You will ask. Rather than wasting time, I am simply giving you all information possible so that after that just forgive me, forget me, and let me rest, don’t ask anything. I give you five minutes, you can ask me anything you want.”
He said, “I don’t want. You are a strange person. I have never seen such a person. I have not said anything. You give me your name, your brothers, your sisters, your father, your uncle, your aunts, their children, your grandfather.”
I said, “So you are satisfied?”
He said, “I am satisfied, perfectly satisfied.”
So I said, “That’s okay. Now I am going to rest. No questions any more.”
But that man was boiling. These were not the questions he was interested in. He wanted to know what these people had come for, and what is my teaching; but now he has said that he was perfectly satisfied and we had settled that there would be no more questions.
And I rested and looked at him and I could see his trouble. He will open his box, look into it and close it and put it back; open a book, look into it and then put it down again – just to do something. He will go into the bathroom, and just come out. And I knew that he was not doing anything – even in the bathroom he was unnecessarily going in and coming out. And I simply sat there watching him, and that made him more mad because he knew that I am seeing him and whatever he is doing is stupid, there is no need for it. Again he is opening his suitcase for no reason. He will start reading the newspaper he had read from the morning – and it was evening. He must have been reading a morning newspaper the whole day, and again he will see and close it and put it aside because he has read it.
Finally he said, “Call the servant and ask where the conductor is. I want to change this room.”
The servant said, “But what is the trouble in this room? You will not find such a silent room anywhere.”