The deep pink lips parted with a sort of lazy grace reminding me how my granny would cautiously lift the lid of her old, inlaid chest as though trying to protect some hidden treasures stashed therein from our prying eyes. The insouciant lips, however, opened the doorway to a cavernous hole wherein the conical slice of soft pink flesh curled in showing bluish grey patches underneath reasserting the foregone conclusion that every tongue in the world must look the same in that posture. The folded tongue was flanked by rows of healthy teeth provoking me to mentally cursor down the to-do list! “When did I last visit my dentist?” – was the upper most query in me mind.

The lady whose yawn I found unflinchingly drool-worthy was pregnant. My immediate sympathies rushed towards her inflated lower abdomen. No wonder she felt exhausted. Hence that huge yawn which my cerebral cells viewed quizzically popping the most bizarre question ever shot up by the wildest thought-churning gizmo of this world, i.e. of course the human brain – “Why do we never admire ourselves yawning in the mirror ?” It is as good a stance as staring at/smiling vacuously or mouthing a hullo to our own mirrored image as if getting acquainted with our own selves for the first time. I have witnessed many a “Bathsheba Everdeens” doing those dumb acts flirting with their hand mirrors (now mobiles too come geared with this additional facility) unmindful of fellow travelers of the opposite gender mooning over the spectacle.

The best part about thoughts is that they are private and therefore silent. Thus they are free to run pell-mell – uninhibited, unguarded, unbridled – to whichever direction they want to fly. But before my thoughts lost their way in the confused assemblage of my mind the metro chugged in with a perfunctory swish. As the doors slid open I was pushed aside with amazing strength. The pusher was no other than the lady with the bloated stomach. She appeared to be quite a veteran in the pushing department. Before I could collapse like a pack of cards and unceremoniously stamped upon by equally “equipped” she-desperadoes jostling to get in, I decided to take the next train.

As the train sped past the platform it reminded me of a veritable mobile zoo with human hands, faces, cheeks pasted to the glass doors, hanging from the rods inside, a few lucky ones sitting on each other and the unfortunate majority falling over each other. I did not thank my lucky star because I knew the next train would be no different and how exactly it would feel like being inside in that maze of intertwined bodies dripping sweat in summer and smothering with unwanted warmth in winter. The odour of the unwashed bodies diffusing inseparably with bodies sprayed with expensive fanciful fragrances knocking up the most detestable mocktail ever served in any restro-bars. Days preceding the Ladies Coach saga, many a times, bodies were jumbled into one bogie, irrespective of gender, almost inhaling the breath exhaled by the other. If somebody’s face itched it was quite possible he/she landed up scratching someone else’s cheeks.

A boy sneezing into an attractive bushy pony tail swinging right in front of his nose was a common occurrence. Long tresses tickling the eager nostrils of young men were romantic fall outs of such body hugging crowds. However, it was pitifully unromantic when I found a head bobbing up and down half way down the left side of my shoulder just next to where my hand bag was slung. The first uncanny presumption that flashed across my over imaginative mind was – “Here was a pick pocket, caught red handed, whose fingers had, by God’s own unfathomable crooked plan, got stuck into the mouth of my satchel, while lifting whatever desirable she thought worth pocketing.” But her plaintive, “Just a minute! Just a minute please ma’am!” in well modulated English was in perfect contrast to my idea of an uncouth pocket maar. It was after a few seconds that the picture became crystal clear. The girl, again with a well endowed mop of straight long hair, had somehow got her tresses locked in the zip of my bag and was frantically trying to extricate them which she did after a few minutes of uncomfortable tugging and twitching. So much so for diligently following fashion (to let hair down is the in thing now)!

By this time, my readers are very well aware how my vicious brain plots and hatches macabre plans to get relief out of the most tiresome situations that life deliberately throws on my platter. One such ploy was to plug in the ear phones, trigger up the volume and somehow manage to pass the time concentrating on ear splitting noise (called music) as an antidote to ward off the nauseous claustrophobia inside the human dump yard. But a journey can never be uneventful for me. I have accepted this as an irrefutable axiom of me life. Soon I found myself following a stranger amidst the choking crowd pulled by the ear plugs. The train stopped. The doors opened. The man was about to get down with me tagging along when I realized with a jolt that this was not my destination and pulled back with all my might. But all in vain! By some ruthless supra natural force I was being dragged along.

Given my romantic fledgling of a heart, I could have easily swooned over the thought of some undefined magnetic attraction towards this man whom I had never met before, but very soon I came back to earth with a thud when I realized that my ear plug wire had got intricately twined around the man’s hip pocket button. Ensued the most embarrassing moments of my life! The simplest way would have been to pull the wire off the button but sometimes the most rudimentary is the most difficult to execute. Moreover, embarrassment bestows extra ordinary sight to human eyes. I could see thousand pairs of invisible eyes wallowing in vicarious pleasure at my plight. For a few seconds I was clueless! The butt and the button both beckoned seductively. However providence has always very kindly prevented me from stooping down low to get my own way. Problems have always been handed over with gracious solutions! It was by a stroke of luck, God’s graciousness or those elementary tugs and pulls, I do not know what, but before the door could close on my face, the wire came off the button on its own volition. And one more time I was saved from getting down at the wrong station and losing my way to office, which my friends, I am quite fond of doing, but more on that later.

I harp on the same tune. The increasing human load on the metro! While DMRC earns sack full of revenue each day, the commoners juggle options for the best possible and most comfortable commute. Finding none, they trample the same gullies where they have quite often sprained their ankles walking over the well-camouflaged potholes.  Similarly, the metros with their plush interiors, well oiled machines and well-serviced ACs fail to provide the level of comfort initially designed and promised but now conveniently overlooked or perhaps forgotten. As the number of areas getting connected by metro increases the load on the tubes quadruples consequently. Additional coaches (ladies included) were deemed to be the sovereign remedy. Now those have also fallen short. So the only option left for the common man is to enjoy the roller coaster ride at their own cost and risk.

And for my part, I can find solace in my Bohemian fancies as the next train arrives and I rear up to pick up a few more tidbits to regale my audience for the next time. Until then.

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20 responses »

  1. gc1963 says:

    Thanks, you liked it. 🙂

  2. Irene says:

    The magnetic attraction escapade was really funny 🙂

  3. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Shail, be my co-commuters. 🙂

  4. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Sonal, I am glad that you found humour in my experience. 🙂

  5. Sonal Shree says:

    Ha, ha,ha… hilarious. 🙂

  6. Dear Geeta,

    Trust your imaginative mind to get caught in this interesting web of thoughts and images. Whether you enjoyed your train ride or not, all of us here at Write Space are definitely enjoying it…

  7. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Thanks Beyniaz. 🙂

  8. Beyniaz says:

    Nice one with great descriptions, Geetashree.

  9. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Omji, I wish I could make my nephew read your comment. But definitely I am going to tell him that.

  10. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Shernaz, So long…….:)

  11. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Vimla, somehow I thought you’d understand. 🙂

  12. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Nadi, 🙂

    A silent reply

  13. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Safiyyah, thanks for your appreciation. 🙂

  14. Geetashree Chatterjee says:

    Mathur Sahab, what a pleasant surprise! Thanks for all the compliments but metro ride is no more enjoyable. 🙂

  15. Geetaji,

    The way people commute travel in metros today (be it buses or trains) with their ears plugged into music ( or it is music plugged into their ears?) that too so loud that the person sitting/standing/hanging/whatever can hear it, is presenting one particular dept of medicine with lots of opportunities – the ENT dept. A newspaper report says that by 2020, a sizeable population of India, esp the young ones, will be deaf.

  16. Shernaz says:

    Waiting for the ‘next time’ Geeta.

  17. vimala ramu says:

    Hilarious Geeta, A common experience enriched by your gripping imagery and faultless, apt vocabulary. Enjoyed the metro ride with all its entanglements !

  18. nadi says:

    silent thoughts…

    very good, Geetashree

  19. Safiyyah says:

    Compulsive read, unstoppable till the “Until Then”. Nice work, Geetashree. Enjoyed.

  20. You never forget to regale your audience (that is, your readers because you don’t orate, you write). This time you have done it again Geeta Ji. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts emerging out of your everyday experiences. I miss Metro ride as now I am out of Delhi. Now I enjoy the ride in the local trains of Hyderabad (known as MMTS trains).

    Regards.

    Jitendra

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