Wednesday, March 11, 2009

under a million stars

There are times when I just want to escape for a little bit and be away from my everyday life and see things through the eyes of the common man. I like to live in practical the phrase that I like telling others viz. ‘comfortable in five stars and also under a million stars’, experiencing the sights , smells and colours of the lives less ordinary. Last weekend I was in one of those moods and dragged a colleague of mine along to take a one day visit to a town on the border of the adjoining state. With this colleague of mine deciding at the last minute to join me, we rushed off to the railway station to catch the 7:45 evening train. Having purchased two general tickets at a princely sum of 121 rupees , we decided to have some eats before boarding the train. We were eating some puris when the horn for the train's departure went off and dumping whatever was left over in the dustbin we ran towards the bogey with our bags in our hands. We clambered onboard to an already tight space of sweating humanity. The first one hour was spent smelling the stink emanating from the trian toilets and from the fart holes of my fellow passengers. We were also busily dodging the sweat dripping off from the guys standing next to us while profusely sweating ourselves. To top it there were these pesky Gutka sellers and chai wallas who were entering from one end of the bogey and exiting from the other, like motorboats cutting through muddy water, while hawking their wares and transacting business without the slightest hint of discomfort. As the trian started we got some respite from the heat as cool air started blowing in from the windows. After an hour I could manage to get a little farther into the compartment and away from the toilet doors. However as expected the bogey was crammed full of people and little people represented by brown bawling babies crying their lungs out. One remarkabkle nature of Indian in general that I would like to remark on is our resourcefulness and to make the best use of whatever is available. From putting together agricultural pumps and scrap materials for use as transport vehicles and in this case using the ceiling fans as shoe racks, no one in the entire world can beat us indians for innovativeness. To my side and sitting was a bunch of men peering into some videos that were proudly being played by a young man on one of those chinese mobiles. To my irritation he started playing some 80s jeetendra movie songs in full blast, I could not complain as everyone seemed to be enjoying and having a good time, with the condition of the bogey who would blame them.
By this time people started settling down and sizing themselves into the different spaces. It was remarkable to note that wherein people were jostling for standing space just a few moments back the same people had settled themselves in on their sides or backs for sleep. I decided to settle in myself and take a quick nap standing up. I had actually no choice as my feet were rooted to their spot cemented by the bodies of others who were pressing from all sides. Even if I had decided to fall i swear I would have fallen only from the knees up. My colleague in the meantime had also settled into a small opening in one of the seats as his ass is quite small and manageable.
An hour before reaching station the guy who was playing videos on his mobile phone previously suddenly got up and shouted that he has lost his mobile. He frantically started looking for his lost mobile on the floor and on the seats while thouroughly disturbing the rest of his fellow passengers. After sometime he started bawling with tears streaming down his face which elicited a good response from the fellow passengers. Apart from feeling sorry for the person who had lost the phone it was really funny to observe the sight of farmers in bright turbans, tattoed tribal ladies and even a Sadhu in dreadlocks help look for the lost mobile in the cramped compartment. In the meantime the shoe resting on the overhead head fan decided to contribute in the search by falling from the fan and hitting the sadhu on the head. I was deprived of the outcome of the mobile hunt as we had arived at my station by then and we had to get down. However before I was let go my pockets were searched as a precautionary measure but all they could find was a Nokia N 73 which had the leaked video of MSi (mailed to me by wonderboy from

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