Saturday, February 6, 2010

The train-symphony

The smell of their egg curry is irritating my nostrils. It's stinking. And this man, after consuming the smelly preparation starts playing old mass numbers on his phone on high volume. And his kid starts crying loud. But that doesn't seem to bother him. He seems to have got used to identifying it with the background. He enjoys his loud music. His wife takes pity and gives the wailing kid a biscuit. In no time, biscuit saliva starts dripping from the kid's mouth while no one does nothing about it. And it is all over his fingers and he is researching on it now, rubbing it over his other hand. And she gives him more biscuits to produce more biscuit saliva for more research. Soon, as his research doesn't seem to amuse him, he goes back to his wailing job and into the background.

Two more irritating kids - siblings, the sister, the elder and her brother, the younger, a toddler to be more specific - come and sit in front of me. The girl teases her baby sibling, pulling away the fruit drink bottle from his hand. She climbs over the upper berth and drinks from it slowly as he makes a crying face and a crying noise though his tear-pipelines seem to have not got the signal. She's done and her dad gives back the bottle to the baby boy. He holds the uncapped bottle firmly with both his tiny hands and stares into empty space. Bored, his sister bends down from the upper berth and calls him with an inviting smile revealing her two missing front teeth gaps. He's not impressed. The relentless girl comes down and sits beside her baby brother. She picks some grapes from a polythene bag hung on a hook, woos him with them and as she successfully gets his attention, pops the grapes into her mouth. Betrayed, he gives out a betrayal wail. The ever compassionate mother, trying to turn his attention away, as if presenting him with a challenging puzzle, points at her husband and asks the baby, "Who's that? Tell me." He ponders over the request and approvingly says, "Daa-dy!" The encouraged mother now points at her daughter and repeats her request to him. He ponders over the request even longer this time and says, "Daa-dy!" not taking notice or pretending to not take notice of his sister, who gives him a slight punch on his shoulder and putting her arms around her dad, revengefully says, "Idi na daddy!" The baby boy, after considering his sister's statement says, "Idi na daddy!"

Meanwhile, the disappointed biscuit saliva researcher falls asleep sucking from his mom's one of the two while she blushes and tries to hide the act from the audience who are only too well aware of it.

A troop of monkeys, swaying their red behinds, race over the adjacent track as the train slowly calms down and comes to a halt at a station for an exchange of passengers, luggage and chaiwallahs. Everybody enquires with a which-station-is-it?, deriving satisfaction out of some kind of an illusory feeling that their destination has come nearer. And this teenager, wearing tight pants and a T-Shirt with a one-liner, probably an aspiring singer, plays Smack that! for the twentieth time since the journey began and sings along for the twentieth time. The passengers of the compartment, relieved to take a break from the train-symphony, become his acting audience and he sings even louder reassuring them about his non-stop entertainment. They relent, having nothing better to do in a long 24 hour journey, unable to sleep through all of it or watch the unchanging window-view. And a girl, probably his cousin, hums along for encourgement.

A baby girl throws leave-me-alone looks at everyone around her including her mom. She stands on the seat holding the climbing grill with both her hands, rests her head on them and suffers her boredom in privacy with dignity. The train, as its exchange break comes to an end, musters some strength and drags along its wheels, slowly gathering speed pushing the station away till it is finally out of sight. The train-symphony continues.