Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shifty business

Chronicles of a train traveler Part Two

The window-seat right next to the window facing the station is a coveted seat in a local train. The trains have two window-seats, but only one of them is right next to the window, and at those times when that seat faces the opposite direction of the train, it is more than a prized possession.

Just so that I would get to sit in this coveted seat, I carefully chose a train which had few passengers waiting to get into and which had such a seat in the compartment I wanted. Once the train pulled into the station I leaped forward to climb in before it had fully stopped, but that is when I realized that there was another female with me trying to leap in. But because of my agility I got in before her (bruised my hand in the process) and claimed the seat. The female sulkily took the seat next to me.

Now is the time to inform you that this train that I had boarded was a Virar Fast, 4:27, Starting from Churchgate, which is where I boarded from. For those who don't know the pit stops of a Virar fast they are: Churchgate-Marine Lines-Charni Road-Grant Road-Mumbai Central-Dadar-Bandra-Andheri-Borivali-Virar.

The sulky girl had by now settled into her seat, removed some eatables and I too had fished out my MP3 and GRE Flashcards (yes I have finally started on them!) All of a sudden the girl asks me, "Where are you getting down?" Now this is a little weird, coz it was normally asked when someone is standing and wants to plonk their ass on the seated persons place. Warily I replied, "Andheri"
"OK I will shift to your place then" I shrugged as a response to this. There was hardly anyone in the compartment, why would she want to shift to me seat at almost the end of the journey. That's when it dawned on me, She wanted the coveted window seat!!
On the next station a few more ladies walked in, and one asked me, "Where are you getting down?", I just pointed to the female next to me, indicating that she had already booked my seat. The new lady then tells the earlier female, "OK so you will shift there when Andheri comes? Then I will shift to your seat, and when you get down at Borivali, I will shift to the window seat", she says triumphantly. And she plonks her rear-end right next to female next to me.
Next station, one more lady, same question. Same response from me. Now the all the three ladies start arranging how lady one would take my place, lady two would take lady one's place and lady three would take lady two's place.

Come Dadar and a hoard of females enter the compartment. Again the same thing ensues. More arrangements. More shifts decided. Finally silence and peace ascends the compartment. Finally no one is moving or talking about moving or deciding where to move. Bandra passes by, Vile Parle Passes. Everyone is sitting still in their place. I put my stuff back in my bag, and arise. My seat is empty!!

Sudden flurry of movement. My seat is engulfed by lady one's body even before I move out from there. Lady two shifts to lady one's place, followed by lady three and one more and one more and one more. A lady from across the aisle shifts to our side of seats. Another lady takes her seat, another one who is standing sits in that seat. The entire compartment was all of a sudden abuzz with movement.

I smiled wryly, my ego is satisfactorily tickled. My moving caused such a huge change in the seats after all. And all coz I risked a bruised hand to get first into the moving train and claim the coveted seat!!


Aniruddha said...

damn well written ! Reminded me of those days when my ego used to reach its zenith @ such situations ;) .. but most of the times I preferred standing at the door feeling that wind ... local travel was so much fun !!

pragni~dreamcatcher~ said...

i love that too.. but its a lil difficult to take an entire standing journey from Andheri to Churchgate 5 days a week na?? I love the feel of the wind smashing on my face.. but that deserves another blog entry..

J said...

Hmmm...the priced seat. well its nicely written. used to hate when people stood in weird positions to block n book the seat. but even they needed to sit on long journeys. standing outside just near the door is the best thing the wind n space. remm the time when we travelled through those crowded trains.was fun.

'nonnymus said...

Lol. sounds unreal. I'd missed this entry somehow, dunno why. did it really happen??? u were sitting with a smug smile on ur face all thru the journey tht said, "I'm in Queen Anne's seat!"