November 16, 2006

Do you hear a rustle?

Being female I can travel in the general compartment. So this curious incident is. The train stopped between stations; just before Matunga Road on the Western line. It was a slow train. It stopped on the track adjacent to the Senapati Bapat Marg. It was a hot afternoon and the traffic wasn't too heavy on the road. That particular point along the track is overgrown with wayward trees and rustic creepers. I turned to say something. I spoke softly. And it struck me that the train compartment was silent. The compartment brimming with men was totally silent.

It is impossible to imagine this ever happening in the ladies compartment. And one has to experience the cacophony of a train compartment full of women to truly appreciate the quiet. Women talk. I am not reiterating classic lines from popular culture. Maybe the men didn't know each other and unlike a lot of women they don't travel in twos and threes very often. Perhaps it was the muggy weather. However, I'm just as sure that a woman would have thought it was an excellent topic to begin a conversation with the lady next to her. It would begin with the weather, go on to the unscheduled stop between stations and despising the general train service and end with sharing anecdotes about their children.

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