Me and my friend get into the train and there is a couple who just get in. The girl is pregnant and they don’t have a lower berth. I’m on a lower berth. They seem to be thinking they have two lower berths whereas they have none. The wife is worried like crazy. The husband is thinking that there is one lower berth but later realizes he has to go to the upper berth and the wife climbs to the middle berth. They could have asked me but I recently had a broken bone remember? I lie down on my lower berth, make myself comfortable and fish out “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac. Then I fall asleep even as I’m reading…
Every possible derailment news story comes to my mind. I’m really worried in what position I’ll be stuck if there is a derailment. Can I really crawl out of where I would be? Will the driver know that certain compartments have got derailed or will he continue to drive the train and will I wake up in middle of the meadows. I have a disturbed sleep.
I wake up at 5.15 am promptly and do so many funny things like walking up and down, asking someone where the train is at present, etc. Then I wake my friend up at 5.30. We make such a lot of rustling bed clothes, ruffling covers and whispering and giggling that everyone else is up. Now everyone is looking daggers at us. We behave like nothing has happened and look outside the window with sly smiles. >:)
We get off the train and the hot air and smelly platforms remind me I’m back at the most horrid place on earth – Chennai. I’ll have more reminders. Me and my friend drag our luggage and find the prepaid auto stand. We should have walked half the distance home. Before we could go to the counter we have umpteen auto drivers trying to lure us away. We ignore them and get the prepaid tickets to our respective places. I go ahead and I forget to say bye to her. As soon as I go to the auto stand, I hear the auto men rain expletives at each other, simply for the fun of it. They seem to be having a ball calling my auto driver names in front of me. Irritation is beginning to show up in me. I get into the auto quietly. A few metres ahead there is a guy checking the prepaid ticket. And my auto driver makes some cheap comment about what I presumed was an intended vasectomy on the guy. By now, I was really pissed off.
I told the auto guy, “You and your friends are behaving very indecent.” And he said “Who?”. Then I said “You have been speaking swear words ever since I got into the auto”. The auto guy is perturbed.
The the following argument ensues:
Auto guy: They are my friends. This is how we talk.”
I: Don’t do that in front of me. I don’t have to put up with it.
Auto guy: This is like our home. You’re inside our home. You better behave the way we tell you to.
I:If I complain to the police that you’re all engaging in eve-teasing then you’ll get beaten up right inside your home.
Auto guy: We’re friends. We have been friends all our lives. We always speak like this.
I: Don’t you have some professionalism?
Auto guy: Your work style is different. Our work style is different.
I: Then you change your work style.
Auto guy: (stops the auto) Madam! Please get off from the auto. If you can come quietly you come. No need to advise me.
I: I still think what you did is wrong and you’re trying to justify it.
He asks me for the prepaid ticket. I refuse to give it. I tear it in bits and put it inside my bag :-D. I get off the auto and take another auto for 12 rupees more. I have no regrets.
Back to my gloomy apartment I find there is a power cut. I heave my luggage up two floors and collapse on the sofa, gasping for breath.
Yeah baby! You’re back to the grind! 🙂