In the train…

This was written a couple of weeks ago, posted now

The family of four with whom I share my bay with, in the train, are strange, irritating people.

The two boys are noisy. They could be aged 3 and 5 years. I mean you expect kids to be noisy, it’s understandable for kids to be noisy but this noisy?

Then of course, there are the parents. Every now and then their mother, shouts at them to be quiet. In hindi, sometimes in English. Be quiet, be still, she insists albeit with little effect. Little effect for the kids that is, but her command carries a lot of effect since while shouting, she is louder than the kids. Its 10:30 in the night and if the kids fail to wake up the few sleeping passengers, she, with her “be quiet” and “chup raho” guarantees to leave a mark.

I get a feeling, these people always need to be in the midst of their comfort zone, no matter where they are. There are special clothes to be put on for sleeping, special sandals to be used while in the train. Special food, home made, of course. All this for a 12 hour journey. Dinner is served at 9:30 and it cannot be shifted an hour plus minus, so what if the train starts at 9pm.

The husband of the lady (alarmingly, it seems he is the head of the family), is another character. He needs to get into his “comfy” night clothes (bottoms, actually). What else could be ideal, than to wrap a bathing towel around oneself and change it right there, in the middle of half a dozen strangers? Why go all the way to the bathroom for that? He insists that the kid do the same. The kid, ashamed, resists but papa is always right says mom and bingo.

Morning time, the gentleman in his 60s, sleeping above me turns out to be an early riser. At 7am, he slams down and wakes me up. Sooraj aa gaya hai bhai, kab tak sona hai? One of those guys who are the preachy kinds and get some kind of pleasure in commanding others while being rude, especially to the younger lot. Something in me wants me to get up and bash this man up. Similar emotions were not evoked when last night he insisted to sleep at 10-30 while I was not ready for bed and yet I had obliged. This time too, I wake up and close the middle berth so that he can sit at the cost of my sleep. I need to show some resistance from now on.

The kids wake up too, much to the dismay of their mother who’s still snoring. The elder kid has an obsession for counting parallel rail tracks seen out of the window. The numbers increase and then decrease as tracks merge with each other, as if automatically and in motion, as seen from the window of a fast moving train. Hunger strikes and subsequently the kids are fed with potato chips and all the junk food that their parents, now awake, carry with them. Coffee cups, water bottles, empty snack packets – the place is littered in no time. I am trying to read my book but I really want to put it down, slam it on the small table and tell their father, that this is the time. That this is the age when you teach your children some manners because if you don’t, they will grow up to be bad citizens of this country, with no civic sense — just like their parents.

But I stare out of the window and I see two boys playing a game with ping pong bats and a badminton shuttle. Almost like badminton with ping-pong bats…It could be called Pong-inton…

Then the kid throws a bottle of water on the table, there is noise and then an even louder “STOP IT” scream and I am back at where I was…

One thought on “In the train…

  1. Public transport is good teacher of patience.

    On the train in Calcutta we sat beside a feuding middel-aged couple, stunned to hear such vile name-calling coming out of adults. It made for an interesting journey nonetheless.

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