You can read the first part here
The colour orange was not exactly a blasphemy. Yet in all its shabbiness, it was loud enough to attract attention. The wearer of this eyesore (read jersey) was a chinky-eyed girl who had her nose immersed in an Ayan Rand. I think it was the Fountain Head. I was envious of her because more than once I had tried to emulate her stance and failed miserably. Though the Metro has a smooth glide, yet reading while standing inside the Ladies’ Compartment has often given me a stiff neck and resultant vertigo because of which I finally decided to give up on reading in a moving vehicle of any order.
The seats were as usual all occupied – mothers knitting, aunts dozing, girls chirping, loud mouths gossiping…there were all kinds bunched together in that compartment bustling with gregarious humanity conspiring to survive another day in an over-saturated urban hole.
Amidst the ruckus was this plump girl having an animated conversation on mobile with, (I thought at first) her boyfriend, no, (but later got convinced) her husband. The realization was gradual, i.e., from conjecture (boyfriend) to ultimate confirmation (husband). Women go by their instincts. Mobile chats have come of age. In today’s here-we-go-round-the-mulberry-bush-kind-of-life they are the only savior of sanity. Being an ace eavesdropper, my veteran ears can now pick up the subtlest of nuances of a one-sided talk in a jiffy….Its layered, to say the least, I mean, a chat with the Invisible One at the other end.
If you are in a settled kind of relationship, the chat is equivalent to that of reading out the weather report (Well, nowadays, even that is contrived to be more watch-worthy; who listens to the droning news-giver on FM Rainbow?). You discuss (underlined) the perpetual tussle with your-not-so-happening-boss, never ending hang-ups with your best friend, ever-widening rift with your parents – the gen gap – they want you to get married and you have prioritized on establishing a career first and in general land up divulging to all and sundry the boring manuscript of your jaded life, in between strings of unbecoming yawns, because you know he (on the other end) won’t mind that you are completely faded out by the end of a not-so-uncommon day. You value him as a listener, a confidante of your unexciting secrets while he may be feeling equally sleepy but manages to keep afloat and make appropriate noises, by way of intermittent replies, to pep you up, in a friendly way.
With the one you are just feeling the grounds about, there is a zing to the ring ! A kind of poorly suppressed undertone of excitement, an irresistible urge to prove yourself to be interesting and smart, a withhold ready to erupt in a barrage of unrestrained outbursts – the blush on your cheeks, the shine in your eyes, the quiver on your lips say much more than you wish to disclose to strangers.
Alas! With the husband, its a different cup of tea all together. Its familiarity bordering on contempt graduated to the next level! You know each other too well to be disillusioned. You make factual statements which are as impassive as your facial expression. Even the volley of accusations that you throw at each other, at regular intervals, has lost the edginess of an impending word-war. In short, you are completely in sync with each other, to the extent of being zoned off from the rest of the world, your absolute acceptance of each other epitomizing a perfection attained in the course of an age-long assiduousness .
So, I opted for the third…the deceptively placid tone, the shimmer-less smile playing on her lips, the preparedness in her gesticulations – the girl was engaged in a conversation with her dear old hubby. And it flowed somewhat like :
“Tumhaare muh mein keedey pade. Par padenge kaise tum to khud hi ek keeda ho!” (May your mouth be infested with a horde of insects. But how could it be? Aren’t you an insect yourself?). This was an even-toned remark said in as matter of fact a manner as though she were making a casual mention of the current price of potato in the market. A flicker of smile went around – understanding, appreciative, amused – like a smooth glide of a sedate wave, pacific on the surface yet carrying hints of undercurrents which a wise seafarer might think twice before navigating.
But what baffled me was the unperturbed countenance of my co-commuter of Oriental ancestry. Unruffled she continued with her philosophical preoccupation; more engrossed than ever as I was left wondering whether the colloquial banters were too alien an exchange for her to understand or appreciate. If not, then how could she…………?
Routine is annoying. There is nothing pleasant to keep us tickled in a planned timetable of survival. The usualness of the daily rut bogs down. Yet we have a choice – to find humour and meaning in the mundane! And what else can furnish an outlet to our cooped up existence than momentary respites stolen during the exhausting journey called life?
At the same time its a difficult choice because the choice lies with you…