Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Thursday, September 19, 2002

A Local encounter

If I was busy yesterday, I've been busier today!... busy with a capital B!!! ... and that too, busy doing a really boring and pointless thing (remember the "unmentionable" thing I blogged about yesterday!) *LOL*

Right now, I'm bleary eyed, cotton-mouthed and can feel the onset of acidity growing from the base of my stomach and rising up to my chest like a poisonous mist... *LMAO* ... gosh! I'm so melodramatic and full of shit!!. But all this is courtesy of the freaking unmentionable thing. *grrrrr*

*LOL*... anyways, since I don't have much time to do any serious blogging... I'll do what I normally do! ... Put up some piece of scribbling that barely passes the muster!

Actually I wasn't going to do even that much today, but I read Suku's blog today morning. It was about this nice little incident that took place while she was travelling in a local train. It reminded me of one of my own encounters while commuting by a Mumbai Local. I had written about it and it got published in our office's online mag. So, I thought... why not put up this articlethat I had once written, instead of posting nothing! ;-) ...(you would say,... "what a shameless way to advertise his own sad stuff!!"... *LOL*)

Well, the shameless brute that I am... I would anyway publish my article... so here goes! ;-)

some of the expressions used in this piece are in Hindi... so if you don't understand that... please feel free to contact me!

A short journey in a Mumbai Local

The train stands still, ready to ferry tired souls to their cubbyholes in the suburbs. I strain my eyes to read the tiny illuminated letters on the indicator suspended high up in the soaring roof of "the station formerly known as VT". I manage to decipher the word 'Dadar' on it. My mind accustomed to seeing "will not halt at" list of stations on the indicator, registers a silent surprise. But the surprise lasts only as long as it takes my eyes to travel to the top of the display, which rebelliously proclaims "will halt at". They say the Indian Railways are undergoing a change. I certainly didn't expect it to be a change of wording on the indicators. Long live India! I climb into a second class compartment.

I am suddenly engulfed by a monotonic murmur only interrupted by a loud guffaw or two from a Gujarati stockbroker for whom this is probably the only time in the day to relax and unwind. My watch shows 8:40 PM. Two minutes past the scheduled departure time. The train is still standing, taking in many more tired souls. At 8:44 PM there's a tooting of the horn and with a sudden lurch the local begins its journey.

A motley bunch of people unleashes a loud religious shout and with a tinkle of tiny cymbals, starts singing an obscure bhajan with gusto. This is the famous 'bhanjan mandli' of the Mumbai Local scene. The train has gathered a fair speed now and the rhythmic beat of the wheels on the uneven rail sleepers is imparting a certain 'avant garde' feel to the bhajan tragicomically reducing it from the sublime to the ridiculous. So much for God.

"Dadar kahan aayega?" I ask a pair of 'seasoned' travellers standing beside me.

"Yeh side mein", comes the reply from the older of the two.

Heeding the advice I gravitate towards the door on the indicated side. There is a moment of silence followed by an excited titter behind me. The younger of the two 'seasoned' travellers calls out to me and informs me that his older friend was wrong and in fact Dadar will come on the other side. I make a show of thanking him for the help and change ends.

I stand uncomfortably, shifting weight from one leg to the other carrying the bag containing books, which now feels heavier than it actually is!

"Yeh boot kaunsa hai?" a short man standing next to me asks innocently.

"Adidas", I reply mentally smiling at a groaner (about Adidas) which springs to mind.

"Bahut achcha hain. Mehenga rahega na?" innocently once more!

"Woh to hain!. Lekin achcha chalega." I defend my choice of expensive footwear.

"Main bhi aisa joota pehenta tha." he responds almost in an admission of guilt, "Lekin ab shirt pant ke saath sports shoes achcha nahi dikhta office mein". I just nod.

Silence. And then some more silence! I think I have discouraged the man.

"Niche ka dikhayenge, please?" I shrink back at this scandalous sounding request, till a clarification comes as an afterthought, "Sole!"

I transfer the bag into my right hand, catch the overhead handle with the left and bring my upturned foot up for closer inspection by the short guy. I cannot help but chuckle inwardly about my pose – standing one legged in a train crammed with people, showing off the sole of my shoe to a complete stranger.

Thankfully, the train slows down enough for me to realize that Dadar has arrived. As the local chugs to a halt I jump off the footboard and onto the platform before hordes of 'tired souls' rush into the compartment already packed to much more than its capacity. I pause for a moment on the platform to see people transform briefly into angry cats, snarling to get a foothold on the train.

The local lurches once again and resumes its journey. I wait till the train leaves the station. Then I start climbing the steps of the footbridge, pitying the next man who would start a conversation with the short guy on the train!

Ok ppl... I promise to come back tomorrow with a genuine blog! :-)



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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.