Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Place

Rita was a professional. She could go from hideous reality to her happy place in minutes. Which is what she did every morning when she boarded the 9:43 am CST fast. Most days she would rush into the station to look at the indicator and experience 1 tiny second of relief on seeing that the "9:43 ST" indicator was still on- meaning train hadn't left. Only to experience 1 expanding-to-infinity second of terror on seeing that the very same train entering platform no.4, the most dreaded, the most crowded, the most hostile of platforms on weekday mornings. After that, everything was a blur for approximately 10-15 seconds... In those 10-15 seconds her brain would only register self-preservation and the aim to get to the train, 10-15 seconds of climbing up a crowded staircase and running across the bridge dashing into people and dodging dogs (no time to say 'Sorry"! And simply forget about 'Excuse me"!!). Finally she reaches platform 4, almost everyone has squeezed themselves into the train (there are always people who pass the train on without boarding it). And since last minute entries always get abused if they try to squeeze in too, she grabs the bar, gets a foothold on the very rim of the carriage, the train starts to pick up speed and then she aligns herself with the train so that she can breathe (the wind literally slams your face if you don't do that right).

Next- 2 minutes of morning review... "It's so horrible having to walk soooo far before finding a rick gahhh...MUST. LEAVE. EARLY. TOMORROW. I wish 9:20 milta... MUST. LEAVE. EARLY. TOMORROW. Oh my God I can't believe I'm hanging from the train... if dad comes to know I'm doing this he's going to KILLLLL me... MUST. LEAVE. EARLY. TOMORROW..."

"Wish I was a bird...just spread my wings and fly over this city instead of have a train chug me along! Crow, Kite, Kingfisher... being a part of this crazy city, but still aloof... Zen. Above and away... where it's just a symphony between me and the air... no noise, no smell, just free space to explore and explore... Wonder how the world will look from up there? Human beings like little ants all over the place and trains must look like those little fat black worms with yellow dots on their sides. And all the factories will be the smoke from the chimneys of the underground beavers... like the ones in Narnia! No pushing and jostling, no being a Rude-erella shoving people away to get to a train, no having to claim my inch of space like a aadhunik-manav, no being accused of being a lesbian and no being accused of thinking someone else is a lesbian!!!"
"Dadar?!"
"What...oh yeah..I mean Haan.." she smiles. Rita always comes back to reality like this. Sometimes she's jolted out of it with a sharp "Dadar?", sometimes its a nudge and sometimes, a pleasant "Dadar na?" That one additional syllable adds all the warmth that's hidden inside a tough Mumbaikar. But no matter how she's asked she always replies with a smile...to show that every toughie Mumbaikar has a heart!

2 comments:

Schizophrenic said...

Nice!!

I gues there is a Rita in every one f us

Srividya said...

Yup there is!