Been three weeks since I got back from hyderabad..not had the time or enthusiasm to update my blog..but this incident is just too weird to be buried.
I have met a lot of strange people in the last two years. Just when I think I've seen it all, maru-man arrived on the scene.
In a typical flash of brilliance, I booked a sleeper ticket on the way back from hyderabad. A bunch of boys were returning from a railway recruitment exam, and they all thought the seats around me were especially cozy, so twenty of them decided to 'hang' in my little cubicle thingie. (I don't know the technical word for that region..:P) Everyone giving the exam is allowed to travel on trains without a reservation, which meant they just plonked their asses where there was place to do so.
But the best seat in the house, the one directly opposite mine was picked by a middle aged (ok, he was in his early thirties, I guess) marwadi dude. I knew he was Marwadi because he told me so. He also told me where he lived, what he did for a living, where he did what he did for a living, and various other details of his life I REALLY didn't give a rat's ass about.
You would think that monosyllabic responses to personal questions and a complete absence of reciprocation of intrusive questions would send across a hint of disinterest. But no. What if I was shy, and hence quiet? So what if I had my headphones on and was looking out of the window (not at him) throughout? I was actually secretly desirous of a conversation with the yellow toothed, crimson shirt wearing charmer opposite me, but was shy, and hence he had to do all the talking.
God! Why don't they get it until we shout out "SHADDAP"? Is that the only way to convincingly convey disinterest anymore?
He asked me if I wanted Bhel, and when I politely declined, asked me
Why? Why? You must have, please. Let me buy you some.
No! I don't buy food from vendors in trains.
But it is goood!
This was our first conversation. As the evening proceeded, it only got worse. I was surrounded by boys, but they were not intrusive in the least. They were sweet enough to ask if I wanted my water bottle replenished, and didn't insist when I said no.
Smartypants couldn't contain himself though.
What does your dad do?
What do you do?
I'm in college.
Xaviers. (Fib #1)
I thought saying I was still in college would make him realise the difference in our ages, but no, he persisted at it.
Where do you stay?
Andheri. (Fib #2)
Oh, I stay at borivili (broad smile)
No smile from me.
As the night approached, I decided I'd just turn my back to the lot of them and sleep. Maru-dude entertained the boys with Himesh videos on his phone.
In the middle of the night, I turned back to find Marudude awake, staring away. I wanted to put on my sandals to make a trip to the loo, and got out of the lower berth to realise that someone was sleeping in the gap between the lower berths. And two more people beneath the lower berths! I was shocked. I had never seen this before. I felt like shit for all the times I had cribbed about uncomfortable journeys. Nothing can get worse than sleeping below the lower berth, I suppose.
The train was supposed to arrive at VT at five fifteen. Luckily, as I was to find out later, Marudude and all the other boys intended to get off at Dadar.
I was up at 4.30, and the intrusion into my personal space continued from where it was suspended the previous night.
What's your name?
Wait, I'll give you something
Reaches into bag and takes out.....A mixie Jug!!!
Here, your mother can make chutney with this. My company makes, you know..
Nobody had ever given me a Mixie Jug before, and I wasn't quite prepared.
I looked at it, speechless. Noticed a label.
"To be used with Sumeet mixies"
yay! "I don't have a Sumeet mixie. Can't use it. Thanks."
I thrust it back into his hand quickly..
"But, you must take it"
All the other boys were looking at me, ready to burst out laughing. I looked back at them, helpless, wondering how to deal with this jackass.
I had given my cell phone number to one of the other boys (I'll explain why later). Of course while getting off he has to say
" Please call me when you find out the stuff "
He had asked me to help him locate a Hitachi outlet in Ahmedabad, I offered to do so online.
Maruman takes out his phone, and says,
"Give me your number, I'll keep in touch."
"Honestly, I would rather not give my number, sorry."
"Please, i'll keep in contact."
I look entreatingly at the cop who had gotten in at an earlier station and made himself comfortable in our cubicle. Maruman gets off the train, but not without shouting
EEEKS!I had survived. Only just.