Okay so here is the much contemplated (Sigh!) and awaited (well I like to suppose so…) post from me. When I thought and brooded and turned the matter in my head till it belched out, I came to a super conclusion. I travel exactly 1 hour and 18 minutes to work six days a week. And that set of 1 hour 18 minutes on most days give me enough to write an epic. However, the editor in me tells me that epics are sorta not in vogue. So lemme just fit in some of those moments in my blog, I said.
My mind: Hmm good idea. As long as you stick to it. You are shitty otherwise. :P
My heart: Don’t be mean. She just needs a bit of motivation. Not the Stephen Covey types, but a little to brood and bring out. (to me) you write baby, you will do good.
Me: Shut up both of you. I will write and I will stick to it this time. Hrmph!
My mind: Like hell you will.
Me: Go to hell.
My heart: Okay now stop brooding and write.
My mind: Yeah why not! Let’s see how much you stick by it.
Me: Darn! I’m a crack to listen to both of you. I shall write now.
And so, to win over my mind and of course, my oh-so-overflowing love for writing, here I go.
Now this happened when I was traveling back from work. I have a first class pass. However, since my train begins from my source station, it is empty most of the time, giving me ample seat. And I at times end up in a second class compartment.
On that humid July day, I clambered into a second class absently and cursed myself the next moment. F**k. I had been hammered on by a throbbing head ache and a cold build up the entire day. My taste buds had gone kaput and so I had had no lunch, the pangs of which had begun to make my tummy grumble. And the compartment was full of chattering women, wailing kids and barely one or two seats. I pondered over getting off and climbing into the next compartment which was first class. And a second long pondering cost me as the train started moving.
I quickly sat down on the nearest empty seat and took out my novel. It was a crime thriller and I was in no less mood to kill a few at the moment.
As the train chugged into a station, a few women around me stood up to alight. This was a smaller station. However, more women and their wailing kids got in the compartment, cramming it further.
Now, they say if you have not traveled in a local, you have not experienced Mumbai. I would fiercely correct them. I would say, if you haven’t traveled in a ladies’ second class coach, you have seen nothing of Mumbai. Women of every size, kind, type, shape, colour, odour, sight and whatnot. And each beautifully blessed with high decibels for the lack of everything else!!
A woman with a three year old and two teenaged girls came to sit next to me. Two minutes into the journey and the girls decided to quench their thirst with a Pepsi. Now anyone who has handled a bottle of sealed Pepsi or any carbonized drink knows that the only caution you need to take before opening it is not to have it shaken. But our girls here had to do a little cha-cha-cha with it and then open it…right on my salwar! Oh yea. Do you really need words to imagine my face when with throbbing headache and bad cold, I get sticky toes and ruined salwar?!
The girls’ mother surely was a doting mother, really. When her three year old wiped his chocolaty fingers on a co-passenger’s white sari, to the stunned co-passenger and an equally amused me, she very innocently asks, “where else will my baby wipe his fingers?”.
It was becoming hard for me to concentrate on my thriller. There was a reel of scenes running in front of me. However, after observing around for about five minutes, I noticed the background score had become a tad too monotonous and high. And irritating. Looking for its source, I found a mouth with half chewed bread crumbs in it. The mouth belonged to a body that was about the size of a kitten. And I had to look thrice before convincing myself that the voice was coming from that mouth, belonging to that body!
A kid, about four-five was wailing. No, howling. Pfrr..I don’t know what you call a monotone, high enough to break all records of post-natal crying of babies ever held, piercing enough to break a certain Dr Singh’s bullet proof window shield and yet so absolutely and totally devoid of emotions. The face did not carry any twitch resulting from crying and the eyes were as bright as the day and as dry as a municipal water tap. Yet the monotone was consistent and demanding. One question that hit me was. Who the heck cries like that??
Fifty minutes and a mammoth of a headache later, we reached Vashi station. Four more stations only, I thought and rejoiced. I was already dreaming of a hot cup of tea, a masala dosa and my husband to pamper me. That was when I felt someone sit next me, violently. And my ears begged for death than mercy that instant. She won hands down in terms of high decibels. She was about 50, dressed in traditional Marathi attire and with world’s most sophisticated amplifiers fitted to her tonsils. As soon as she sat down and the train started moving, she spotted a lemon seller at the opposite end of the compartment. “Eh nimboo wale”, she yelled, highly enough for lemon seller in Uganda to hear!!
I felt as if she was standing inside my head and yelling with all that might. My eyes watered from the explosion and my ears yearned to fall of from my head, too tired to bear more.
The lemon seller came and she started the customary and womanly ritual of poking every lemon that the seller was carrying. (I always visualize this ritual with a woman poking another's belly, when she is pregnant!) After satisfying herself with everything, she pulled at the bunch while the seller tried to loosen his grip, the train moved, the other women chattered, the kids wailed and I, well, whimpered!
And there!! His entire bunch of lemons was on me. The seller was good on this footing to hold on to himself, thankfully. But the lemons were all over me! And as I looked at the lady sitting next to me with flaming anger, all I saw was a woman happily checking her packet of lemons and for change. I shook my head and the lemons and got up.
I had three more stations to go but I decided some fresh air might do me more than good. So I sauntered to stand near the door.
Minutes later, when I told my husband about the experience he gave a hearty laugh and said, “Write a blog.” I thought, I should be grateful after all.