Saturday, January 16, 2010
The post needs editing.. pls bear with me...
Less than a month back, I found myself travelling to Telechery (North Kerala) to attend a friend's engagement. I'm not very familiar with route, but was determined to attend the engagement, so went ahead with it. I was assured by my friend N that I can travel comfortably cuz it is a Sunday ( and since it is an executive train , people shuttling between cities for work travel in it), the train would be empty. I bought the story and made no attempts to reserve the tickets. Now, at this point I must confess that I'm a fussy traveller. I WANT a window seat! Though I'm perfectly alright with non-air conditioned travelling, I always go for one during shorter journeys( During longer journeys, I mostly stick to the second class tho), cuz the seats are too cramped in the general class. But since I was assured of the seats, I din't bother to book. While my Dad was driving me to the station, he kept on asking me why I din't bother to book the tickets. And I told him N told me there will be seats. Dad din't think so, but I guess he was too sleepy ( what do u expect at 4 am? ) to argue. But as soon as I reached the station, I realised that the train was packed. My Dad looked at me and said "kando, njan paranjille??" meaning "Look, din't I tell ye"? (The man is right most of the time, that is why I rarely argue with him) So what do I do? I just go for the ONLY window seat I find and sit there. Its a 3-seater and immediately 2 men join to give me company. Now I wanted to scream, but I sat there like a happy girl cuz I asked for it. My dad says : see, I know better than N". I din't have a choice, but to say cheerfully "Its okay Daddy, it is just a matter of (and i counted the hours with horror) 7 hours. I think my voice cracked when I said the word 7!!! After that I tried to squeeze a bottle of water on my seat, but I cudn't do that without poking the guy sitting next to me. (due to space constraints) Now the last thing I wanted was the guy to mistake me that I was feeling him up or smthg. So I gave the bottle back to Dad saying that I'm not thirsty and don't think i will be thirsty during the entire journey. My dad obviously doesn't get it and tries to push the bottle through the window sill. I push it back. This game continues for a while until the train is about to leave and my Dad gives up. And then begins the torture. The 'lets get to know each other' session. So as practiced, I take my book out, ( unfortunately my ipod was not working, so nothing to plug into my ears) and stare at it. Now I was too sleepy to read, too uncomfortable to sleep, so I stare out of the window again.
And then the conversation begins. The 'friendly' guy wants to know where I'm getting down, and whether I travel this route often and if it is work related. Now, usually I'm really good at giving those ugly stares that shut people up. But I guess I have lost that art.Or maybe I was too sleepy to even frown. So I tell him very politely ( and this is not an exaggeration, I was surprisingly polite that day) it is not work that takes me to travel. So obviously he wants to know why I'm I tavelling. His expression tells me that there is NO reason I shud be travelling now. I tell him I got to meet someone and again continue staring out of the window. And again he tries chatting up. He wants to know where I work. At this point I really lose my patience. Why are fellow travellers so interested in knowing personal details? Esply when u don;t show any interest. So I just tell him I work for the newspaper. And he wants to know which one and I look straight at him and say Indian Express. Not that Indian Express has any potentional to scare anyone ( but media means power) , but I guess it is the way I said it, the giy stretched his back , got up and jsut disappeared.
So the fellow sitting next to him moves closer to me (sigh!) and gives space for another woman who was standing there. Now the routine questioning begins. But somehow I took an instant liking to this guy. No, I din;t fall in love with him. But he was obviously more easy to talk to. So then the work question. Where do u work?, he asks me? I say Indian Express. And he turns to me very excitedly and say, "Wow! I.E? I work for abcd (a malayalam daily).. So do u know Mr XYZ who works there? Ofcourse I do, i say promptly. So which section do u work for? Now I think hard to come up with smthg that wud intimidate him. I almost said crime beat and stopped short of saying it. I said features instead. So he asks me my name/. And I cook up some name. He tries to recollect if he has seen it smwhere. And then asks me who the current Chief of Bureau is? I know m lost there. So I just ask him if he knows the guy who sat next to me. When he says no, I confess. I tell him I no nothing about I.E and i was lying cuz he asked me too mnay qstns. So he bursts out laughing and tells "Vanitha police aanenu parayaamaayiunille". I laughed at the spontaneity of it. But more at the relief that i don't have to lie anymore. But guess wot. I laughed. And laughter means fraandship. So I had to answer all the questions that followed like it was a pleasure. But thankfully we had almost reached Telechery and I din't have to endure it for long.