Read THIS First ..

Read THIS First..
Each word on this blog is the original creation of the writer. You better not copy it!
No comment is directed towards any individual/group.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Metro Diaries # 9: The newest stories, Part 2

The Book Suggestion Seeker

If you have an hour to kill in the Metro, and if you're me, you would prefer to spend a good part of it doing something useful—reading, planning your to-do list, getting work done. Recently, my target job for Metro time included reading and reviewing a book called Emotional Rescue by Dgozchen Ponlop (you can find the review here. If you'd care to know, I managed to write 90% of the review using my phone. I'm getting awesomer at this).

I was done with reading, and had nothing else to read, so when I sat down for the evening journey back home, I thought I'd go through the book again and jot down points to write in the review. While I was doing so, I thought the girl sitting next to me was reading whatever I was writing down, so I did that shuffling thing—moving from the writing page to a random reading page, to and fro in quick succession, so that her attention would be diverted. It's not that I don't want anyone else to read what I'm doing, but it just freezes my brain and I can't get another word out if I know someone's looking. Anyway, whatever I did had no effect on her, so I began to skim read the book instead, making points in my mind.

A few minutes later, the girl began to speak to me. She asked what was in the book. Damn! That obviously got me talking fast and quick. She was such an amazing listener--totally interested in whatever I told her, listening with rapt attention, never breaking eye contact. Just the sort of listener you need when you have to talk about books. Soon enough she started asking questions and sharing her problems—how she feels somewhat depressed sometimes and gets swayed by emotions, etc. I was supposed to offer solutions based on what I'd read in Emotional Rescue.

I did whatever I could, but that only got her more interested. Finally, in a voice full of lament, she said, "Oh, where are you getting down?" When I answered, she replied, "Oh, no... I'm getting down at the next station! It was nice to listen to you. Where do you get these books from? Can we get them from the metro station kiosks?"
"Um... you'll only get the popular ones there..."
"What about this one?"
"This has not yet been released. You can give me your email id. I'll write to you about it."
"Okay... and give me your number too!"
"Err... hey! That's your station!" I said, shoving her off the seat. The doors were opening, for heaven's sake!
"Yes! Take my number please!" she said. Her sense of urgency was contagious. I didn't even pause to consider, and whipped out my phone. Then I realized how it was so slow that she might as well reach my station before the phone would get unlocked. Thankfully I had a pencil in my hand.
"Here, write your number," I said, flipping to the last page of the book.
She scrawled her number, said thanks, and dashed out. Just in time.

It took me a week to write to her, and even then I was somewhat at a loss. I rarely read self-help and philosophy, and I honestly don't yet believe in the heavily marketed books in those genres. But they must have something that helps people, or else why would they be so popular? I ended up giving some recommendations based on a mix of what I'd read and liked, and what I thought would be good based on their reviews. A couple of short email conversations, and quite a good number of 'hi's in the metro later (because we recognized each other now), the emotional book saga is at a pause. 

But I'm always there ;)

Scoot gets a new parking place!
 This is not exactly a metro story, but it is related to metro parking space, so I'm including it.

When I first saw the big Pantaloons and Croma opening and functioning under the newly-constructed multi-level parking for which I had been waiting for years and which hadn't been opened to us yet, I had a hard time suppressing the urge to shout foul and rain kicks and fists on someone I could blame the problem. Here I was, hassled every day because they stole the good parking space and spent years constructing that new parking, only to have it made into a mall? Are people mad or what? (Yes, they are)

A few days later, I had to quickly find a dress. Working six days a week meant I did not have time to search a lot of places. Then my awesome (and ever so practical and sound-minded) friend P suggested a solution. "Look for a dress in the new Shopper's Stop at that mall. It's the closest to your place, and it's bound to have something you're looking for."
"Shopper's Stop? That place has a Shopper's Stop? Since when?"
"Uh... it's been around for a while." (and this girl lives miles and miles away!)
So we made our first journey to this place—I, G and mom—and made some useful discoveries.
The parking was huge, albeit a bit scary. But I was pretty much annoyed. Why was I having to look for parking spaces for my beloved Scoot when this mountain had taken our old space and was filling up with shoppers' cars!? A parking attendant came our way.

"Why isn't this a metro parking?" I asked.
"Wasn't this supposed to be built as DMRC parking space for metro travellers?"
"But you can park your car here just as well," he said.
It was my turn to feel stumped. "You can? Two-wheelers too?"
"Of course. Many people do."

Was it my fault, though? No one ever talks about parking spaces. There was no information that the parking was available once more. However, it is owned by the mall, not DMRC. Not that it makes any difference to the commuters (because the rates are the same).

The next day, full of enthusiasm, I left home a few minutes early to make time for acclimatizing myself with the new parking space. As soon as I rode up the short slope, I was stopped by two guards. They wanted to check Scoot's boot, probably for the dead body of a cat (which is the most it could carry). I hopped off Scoot and showed them that I had no blood on my hands yet. They let me go. After a long path with bumpy speed-breakers at short intervals, there was an automatic ticket-wielding machine (which later became my time-watching-and-guessing-whether-or-not-I'll-be-late-that-day machine). After that, I was directed to a cut separate from the one we had taken the last time.

Riding a two-wheeler, the curved slopes were harder to manoeuvre. Scoot took me down, down, down, slowly. I passed one level but it was closed, and Scoot didn't slow down and it seemed to take forever to circle all the way two floors down. It was with relief that I saw a parking attendant waving at me. Finally, there were more scooters and bikes. Signs of life! In my newfound happiness, I parked wherever the attendant said. Finally, Scoot had a place to feel safe in while I was gone. No longer did it have to stay in the hot sun or endure passersby on its comfortable seat. It could be with its own clan for most of day. Yay!

I was so excited that I forgot to pick the parking slip from Scoot. Thankfully I realized it halfway to the elevators, and went back and got it. Now, and this is weird and 'only-in-India'ish, there were no stairs. Only elevators. I am scared of elevators. I would always take the stairs whenever possible. It took five minutes more than usual to reach my platform with the new parking space. Not bad. Except that I don't even have the capability (or the motivation) to reach soon every day, so sometimes I use the new place (I feel good on those days), sometimes I get late for work, and sometimes when I've been late enough, Scoot has to stay in the sun again.

I'm bored. Hopelessly bored. My head aches, my arm aches, my leg aches and so does my heart. Sometimes I feel so lost and oh so hopeless. What am I ever going to do in life? I need a good job. No, an "easier" job. The one I have is good, but not easy to manage. I need time for personal work, because I'm never satisfied with spending my days only working for someone. I want to work for myself, too. And it gets so difficult sometimes. I need a break. And I'm going to get one s soon. More about it later. I only hope it works well.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Metro Diaries #8: The newest stories, Part 1

I thought I was done with stories from, and related to, the metro train in Delhi. I'm seriously so trusting (and thus, such a misfit in this ever-increasing-stupid-mindless-selfish-society, but that's a story for another day). There are just thousands and thousands of people shuffling on and off from the Metro every day, so that it's quite obvious you would come across an incident some time. I'm sharing two (of four) of the latest metro-related updates today. The other two will follow soon.

1. The Kumbhkarana Girl
I'm a light sleeper, except on some nights when I've had a super-exhausting day in both body and mind (mostly mind), and even in those rare times I wake up feeling guilty and all-wrong. How could I have slept through without knowing when G got sick and Mum gave him medicines? What if I'm the only one with someone who got sick in the night and isn't able to speak and I'm sleeping soundly!? Or worse, what if there's an earthquake and I'm sleeping without feeling it? You get the point: I'm not happy being a heavy sleeper. Strangely, I never thought much about other people sleeping light or heavy, or caring about it, or even observing it. Until that day in the metro.

The station I get down to reach office is one at the end of a line, so that if you don't deboard, you can go back the same line. I got up from my seat about half a minute before the train was to stop, gave a cursory glance around the nearly-empty coach, and saw a girl in a corner seat, her head angled back against the train wall. Her eyes were closed and her mouth open. She was asleep. The train rocked a little as it shifted tracks, it shuddered, people shuffled to the doors, but the sleeping girl did not wake up. I decided to shake her awake if she wasn't up even when the train stopped.

The train stopped and she was still asleep. I went to her and gently placed a hand on her arm so as not to alarm her, and said, "Excuse me." I admit, I was even softer than I had expected. Not even a sharp cat would have woken up with it. I tried again, much more enthusiastically because the doors had opened. "Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me!" With each "excuse me" I hardened my grip and shook her more and more, and with each try, my heartbeat rose and anxiety set in. People from the platform had begun to enter. If I wasn't quick, we would be locked inside. I tried again, shaking her by the arms and the shoulders, trying not to look at her open-mouthed state of Kumbharaness. Suddenly, a wave of something deep passed through me. I felt my heart drop to the bottom of my stomach. My grip on her loosened for a moment, and I clutched the metal bar instead. Horrific thoughts washed through my (now proven, over-imaginative) mind. The moment passed just as soon as it had come, and with new vigour, I shook her again, dropping all politeness. It seemed to work.

With a gasp, her mouth shut close, her eyes opened, and her head left its headrest, all at once.
"Come on, it's the last station," I said to her. It was all I could do to not take her hand and quickly lead her out.
"This is the last station!" I said, using more animation than words. I wasn't sure she could understand me. She made to get up, and I finally left the coach. But that's not the end of the story. The good Samaritan in me stopped me from going further, and I turned around to look. She was walking out of the doors, clutching the bars for support. Her footsteps were uneven. I went back to her.

"Are you all right?"
She only looked around with a confused expression. She did not answer my question.
"Are you all right?" I repeated. "Where did you have to get down?" By then, it was clear that she was lost.
"Huh? Where have I come?" she said. Her eyes were bloodshot. I wondered how much time it would take her to be fully awake (and also how she would even manage office that day). I told her the name of the station and asked her again where she was supposed to get off. She named a station we had left about fifteen minutes ago.
"You can get in this same train. It will go back," I said, tempted to push her inside the still-open doors.
"Really?" she said, which made me wonder where her consciousness really was.
"Yes, yes... go quickly."

She shuffled towards the doors, paused a moment, and then turned to walk towards the other end of the train. (Possibly because, even in her disturbed state of mind, she was conscious of the fact that the coach was no longer women-only). But by that time I was quite late for work, so I left her to it. She was, at least, walking straight all by herself.

2. Babysitting in the metro
By now I have pretty much realized that what I have in my mind is hardly ever to be seen in reality. I actually sometimes believe that people would behave with manners and courtesy because I am a total stranger to them, and also because I'm not even saying anything to anybody. But I keep forgetting our awesome culture of brotherhood, which, apart from making people think they have rights to eavesdrop, look into other's messages, and stare shamelessly, also gives them this strange illusion that everyone else is their close relative, someone who could be asked to do things without thinking whether or not they want to. And sometimes those requests are just ridiculous.

It was an over-stuffed train, and I was feeling lucky that I had a seat (about the only positive thing about the location of my office). It's a different matter that I was being squeezed on both sides because people believe in the two-people-per-seat concept rather than how it should be. I tried flipping the pages of my book using only my fingers, because I could not move my arms. The ladies/women/girls on both sides of me were busy with their cell phones. My bag was somewhere near my feet, and my knees were being crushed by women standing stuck to the seats. There really was not an inch of breathing space.

From a station, some more women somehow squeezed in--which was accompanied by the oohs-and-aahs-and-ouchs of those inside--and managed to come near where I was sitting (which was in the middle of two doors, not even a corner). I could not see them, but I heard a loud woman speaking to her daughter-in-law (or maybe the crowd in general), about making space and adjusting a little boy. Inch by inch people moved, right in front of me, making space for a boy of about three, pushed by his grandmother. He stood in front of me. I could not avoid looking up. The grandmother asked us to make space for the boy.

My first and foremost thought was, "where?" And then since no one was getting up, with an audible sigh I slowly closed my book, and moved to stand up, wondering how on Earth would I get space to even stand. "No, no... keep sitting," said the grandmother. "Only make him sit with you." As was obvious, there was no possibility of even a three-year-old being 'adjusted', so I had to be the inevitable volunteer. I took the kid in my lap.

It would have been all right had I been left alone after that, but one, even if a kid looks small, he will be HEAVY, especially when he is asleep. Because he was so drowsy even when standing, that he shut his eyes and went to sleep as soon as I took him. And two, the others seemed to find this cute, so they simply sat staring at us, while I tried to keep a hold on my stuff, which I ultimately had to hand over to the girl next to me. For the next quarter of an hour, I shifted however possible to adjust with the kid's lolling head (which kept dropping to one side).

I'm glad it lasted only that much time. No wonder it was unexpected and funny, and I'm wondering how and why such things keep happening with me! I have two more stories to share, which I'll write and post as soon as I can. :) I also have a really cool update, which will also wait until the next post! Keep reading!


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