Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trip to Bombay - Part II - Train journey from malad to churchgate

Having spent four days in Bombay I have come to the conclusion that Bombay is a hugeeeeeeee city. But hey!! That’s like stating the obvious. That’s like saying anupam kher is bald or saying TR Rajender is animal like. Anyway where was I?? Ah yes!! Bombay. Bombay is a beautiful city. . After reading shantaram I wanted to see the city with the eyes of one having read shantaram. Having been in Madras for almost 7 years now I am loyal Chennai-ite and I completely love it because of its people and kind of life it radiates. Bombay I noticed exudes the same life. Delhi and Bangalore somehow never charmed me. Maybe it was the lack of beaches or the people I saw. I dunno what. They somehow seemed beyond salvation but Bombay is still so Indian and a very charming place. If u really want to see Bombay I would say take the electric train. Even as I write this I am traveling in an electric train from malad to churchgate in a first class ladies compartment to catch my train back to Chennai. I am surrounded by 10 women and since I love observing people and for lack of anything better to do I start looking at them and start sizing them up.

The 55 something woman sitting near the window has prayer beads in her hand and is praying fervently. I try to guess what it is that she is praying about. Maybe she is praying for her daughter to get a job or for her son to get married. :P or maybe she is just praying for the general good of the world.

Near her is sitting a woman not more than 28 or 30 who is so made up that I cant resist the temptation to go touch her and see if she is for real or is one of those mannequins u see in these clothes shops. She has so much lipstick on her lips, so much kohl in her eyes and so much of foundation on her face that even if u dug a feet deep into her face you wouldn’t touch skin. Ok I exaggerate. Make that half a feet. She is carrying a Gucci handbag, has fast track sun glasses on her head and is screaming of brands. She is wearing a funny kind of skirt. I mean in my humble opinion it looks like she left home wearing a complete skirt with a proper hemline and on the way was chased by a dog which managed to get a bit of her skirt and she was left with a skirt with a ragged end. I mean I don’t understand. Why else would her skirt be of different lengths at the sides and different lengths on the front and back? Aren’t skirts supposed to be of the same length throughout? Fashion. I never will understand it I think. Anyway this porcelain doll doesn’t smile and I guess it must be difficult to smile when u have so much of weight on your face. I mean imagine having to push layers of make up, curl up both sides of your mouth and attempting to smile. Phew!! Must be tough!! I quickly lose interest in her and concentrate on the woman sitting in front of me.

She is one of those “i-can-manage-everything” kind of woman. One of those super moms I decide. She carries two cell phones. On one of them she is giving instructions to her son named Ashish telling him that the dal is in the microwave oven, curd is in the fridge, asks him not to fight with his sister and dirty the house as they are having guests for dinner at night. On the other phone she is giving instructions to someone asking them to pick her up at Hyderabad airport. “GTL - 143” she says “G for go, T for tomorrow and L for lucky 143 is the name of my flight”. Just looking at her makes me tired and I wonder how these women do it.

As I finish writing about super mom and look out the window I pass this station called marine line and I can see the beautiful marine drive before me. Of course since the train is moving I can’t see much but I love what I see.

I shift my interest to the woman sitting next to me. She reeks of cigarette smoke and some kind of mint. The smell is far from pleasant and I guess she realizes it because a minute later she takes out a can of deo from her bag and sprays it liberally on herself. It only results in people moving further away from her. Bagon cockroach spray smells better than her deo I decide as I turn to look at the woman sitting diagonally opposite to me, next to the super mom.

She is a nervous 35 something woman, whose eyes keep darting here and there and she is biting her nails so fiercely that I am surprised that she is not drawing blood. She seems to me like one of those insecure people who keep worrying about what people think about them, try desperately to fit in and fail miserably. I dunno why but as she smiles nervously at me, I feel sorry for her. I smile back and avert her gaze. The other women in the compartment are not doing anything interesting. Two are sleeping and one of them is reading a book. This interests me and I try to look at what she is reading. I am deeply disappointed when I discover she is reading something called “the power of your sub conscious mind”. Such books bore me. Suddenly I wonder what each of these women is thinking about me.

old aunty: (she hasn’t opened her eyes even once during her prayer so has not seen me yet).
porcelain doll: God!! Just check out her fashion sense. Totally wrong. Who wears a yellow kurta over blue jeans? Yellow is so not the color of the season. She is approximately 20 years behind times. And why cant she use a little bit of lip gloss. Would do a world of good for her sad face!!
Super mom: (I dunno why but this is what I think super mom would have thought about when she looked at me.)Sheeeesh!! I forgot to ask Ashish to feed the dog. Should call him and tell him that. :D
Bagon Spray: why the hell cant she keep her bag on the rack above. There is no place for me to keep my legs. (in my defence I had all my original certificates in that bag and didn’t want it out of my sight)
Nervous lady: I wonder what she is writing. Maybe she is writing about me. I wonder what she thinks about me.
Of course I could be totally wrong in my interpretations but something tells me this is precisely what they think of me. By this time I have reached churchgate. And my 20 minute walk from churchgate to Victoria Terminus deserves a post in itself. A lovely walk. Made me feel like Lord Emsworth going for a walk to see the Empress while admiring his garden on the way. That reminds me. I added two more wonderful wodehoueses to for my collection during that walk and I am as happy, to quote a popular saying ,as a dog with two tails!! But more about that on my next post!! :)


Sanket said...

Wow, you have really fallen in love in Mumbai!! Waiting for the next part :)
P.S.: Would you care to use Mumbai, the correct name. You don't say Madras, right? So, why Bombay? The renaming was not just a political stunt.

Revathi said...

dude. i think it will always be bombay for me and trust me i still say madras. i never could think of good ol'madras as chennai!! :)
but yes for the sake of being politically correct i shall use mumbai from now!! :)

Abhi said...

Your Post just proved to me that a creative mind can convert a mundane situation into something very interesting . Man , coming to think of it , I once travelled in a Bombay Local from Malad to Churchgate and all I thought of then was - Why is this guy on my left sticking his elbow in my ribs ?

dante said...

i have to say two things popped up in my mind when i sorta happen to chance upon your blog ..... Number 1 was this girl really likes to write (come on, none of your entries are like 10 sentences or less .... they are like compositions for the bloody "O" level) and Number 2 would be I am gonna get sucked into this and i am going to spend a nice sunday morning (Not forgetting its the Tamil New Year) stuck at my desk while i read every entry .... it's like a scab, u know you are not supposed to pick it but you can't just stay away from it .... or how about a better analogy .... it's like my mom and her soaps ... anyway just thought i would let u know that i am going to blame for "wasting" my perfect sunday morning .... *grin*

Jaya S said...

This is the Revathi everybody knows and loves :). I should have known the sentimental mood wouldn't last long. I don't think I'd want to be around you unless you actually knew me ;), if you're in the habit of 'sizing people up'.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading your trip to Bomaby-part1 and 2 post. I am glad you had a wonderful time.I love Bombay too. But I never had a chance to explore Bombay yet.


Kausikram Krishnasayee said...

di you bring me a vada pav?

Revathi said...

lol. i should say its an honor to have u commenting. i completely love the way u write!! :) and i sure would love to read your account of how u felt when the guy on your left poked u in ur ribs!! ;)

Ahhh!! Your comment just made my day (Errr. This is assuming that was a compliment!! :P). Thanks for visiting man!!

Ha ha ha ha!! Yeah. And I wouldn’t call myself sentimental in the last post. Wistful yes, sentimental no, mental maybe!! :P

Thanks for visiting!!

I completely love the vada pavs on Bombay. Wonder how I forgot to mentions that. And I ate them all on the way. didn’t bring any!! Sorry!! :P. Maybe next time!! ;)

Arun said...

hehe absolutely delightful post !
the alter-POV thing was coool :) !

Sujatha said...

Hi Revs,

I simply love the way u write.....

I spent my childhood days in mumbai and i would say I am smitten by the atmosphere of the city......Lovely place man!!!!!!

P.S: I am fast becoming a die hard fan of urs!!!!!!