_|_|_|train trail_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_

August 13, 2007

I'm not even that far away, yet..

..I imagine a feeling of longingness for something I had; the constant source of events and happenings around me that would translate for me as inspiration. Taken away from me.

But also the memories of all the times coming back to me. Yun hi. For no apparent reason. Snippets that still bring back the environment in a rush. Forgetting times when all I wanted to do was to avoid the journey. Rather be home… Comfortable

And now I think of nimboo pani available at different stations, in varying degrees of temperature but similar tastes because it is usually concentrate with water. And now I romanticise unfulfilled plans. Buying a virar return ticket, boarding the train from Churchgate going upto Virar and taking the same train back to Churchgate.

May 16, 2007

Whatever sells..

When you have ten seconds to get your message across what will you say?

In an advertising class, the prof. pronounced emphatically, "Imagine you are in a lift and you are selling to the person next to you. How will you do it?" So one can arguably come up with witty one-liners.. shock the daylights out of the person concerned.. anger the individual.. incite passion.. play on emotions or instinct.. whatever..

Regarding this matter, I always believed that one should state the obvious and leave the matter at the hands of the discerning individual.. who might decide to whether he wants it/needs it/ or simply has to have it.

Well, in the long run/on a long enough time line/in the real world, of course it doesn't work that way - proven by the thriving advertising industry. But apparently on the local train they appreciate obvious selling. When a train is pulling out of the station, always only when it is pulling out of the station, a few dapper young men, shout out their 15 seconds. Often, these are directed at someone in particular. In the few seconds that the hooligans have to "eve-tease" the young women, they recklessly play it safe - by stating the obvious. It's their only chance and certainly, the message must not be lost. Hence it follows:

"ae chashma!".. to the girl wearing spectacles/sunglasses,
"oi newspaper!".. to the girl fumbling with the flying newspaper,
"arrey! gir gaya".. to whoever dropped whatever..

And then everyone in the vicinity turns to see the object of attention.

May 3, 2007

Grandmother's stories

The days grow longer.

I'm watching the city grow. Towards a four-track railway system. And as a result towards an inevitable extra point of entry/exit in the sunken pedestrian subway. And like other nostalgic tales avidly told. Like stories that begin with words but end as mysterious smiles. Tales that require a gentle shaking of the head to bring the narrator back to the present..

I will say that I used to travel on the local train everyday. That for two whole months in January and February, the sun rose with me. The great ball of fire began its gentle ascent as a wonderful gleam. I'll mention that I once saw a young woman take a picture of the sunrise with her Camera-Phone. (They were new back then, I'll add.) I will fondly remember that as I stood in the gangway leaning on the side, book in hand, I used to watch the pages bathe themselves golden in the early morning glow. Then, everyday, I'd look up and watch the sun for a few minutes, as it rose behind buildings and hoardings, old and new... and especially when framed against the massive crane on top of an under-construction highrise. And in March I'd watch the sunlight stream in through an unfamiliar orifice inside the subway.

And I'd think that I'm watching my city grow.

April 28, 2007

Patrons of Art, all..

I heard him before I saw him. As I walked down the footover bridge, listening to the sweet notes, I tried to find its source. As I kept walking turning my head this way and the other, the music grew stronger. It was a flute being played with the utmost devotion. I stood by the side listening keenly to the sounds emanating from the hollow piece of wood. Once did he not pause. He went on producing lovely melodies. A few times I heard him jangle his bowl with its meagre contents. It was an accompaniment to his flute.

I dropped some money into the bowl. I wondered if I am encouraging this commerce. Considered undesirable by many. But I judge these by independent parameters. The old man continued to ardently play his instrument. Without awaiting brief clinks into his begging bowl. Resting only for a moment between two tunes. I enjoyed those renditions. He is part of the sights and sounds of the local train. I also imagained that he perhaps holds a day-job and that he does this in the evenings to earn some extra cash.

It is a service like any other that I'm willing to pay for.

March 23, 2007

Jumping the Gun

The local train. An extraordinary culture. You look round and around. A story in the special technique adopted to combat the dreaded rush hour.

The indicator announces the arrival of the Virar Fast. You can see it from a distance as it ambles into the station. You scan the crowd that surrounds you. Mostly, it is to appraise what you are up against. You clutch your belongings as close to you as you can. You steel yourself with some more determination and await your compartment. All this while, you must manage to lookout for the train from the corner of your eye. As it approaches, a series of well practised moves are set into motion. A few steps in the direction of the train to help you gain momentum. A firm grip on one of the handle bars. A twist and and a turn – close to a wriggle. And a swift motion to hoist yourself up. A quick rush into the compartment. You have succeeded. A sense, like elation. Then, the train halts steadily. More and more commuters try to get in.

You smile indulgently.

March 13, 2007


Concerns reflected in contemporary media:

Advertising blitz pronounces,
"Ab deodorant nahin laganewale ki bajegi",
"Ab train ke dibbey ko kachre ka dibba samajhnewale ki bajegi",
"Ab bahar latakey showshine karnewale ki bajegi",
"Ab phukatmain lafda karnewale ki bajegi",
"Ab 4th seat ki jagah nahi denewale ki bajegi",
"Ab dusre ke kandhe ko takiya samajhnewale ki bajegi"...

93.5FM.. "Bajate Raho"

January 5, 2007

Feel free to touch

Any and every offending part. With little discrimination.

Grabbing yanking while making way, trying to move ahead is common enough. However, if your rear is in my line of vision while I must converse with the woman on the opposite side, I may push your behind away.. nothing personal just your backside. I can prod or tap your wagon to draw your attention to my discomfort. But I can do that. It's acceptable.

If this were in a movie I'd use a montage of the following pornographic images. Sweaty bodies. A full breast leaning from the side. A cleavage in a blouse riding against another back along the motion of the train. Loosely draped sarees showing seductive amounts of skin...only, its rolls of fat, shimmering in the afternoon haze. I'm sure the casually occurring sounds could be smartly edited to replicate those exhibited during intercourse.

There is something inherently undesirable about having strange people close in about you. And India is its multitudes.