Monday, May 23, 2011

All Aboard - Why I hate Kanjivaram Saris!!!

Any and every woman who has traveled by a train in Bombay (a.k.a Mumbai as per MNS standards) would have a story to tell. There is one peculiar breed of women (and men) that are exclusive to Bombay; they are your train friends. Beware, however, that this post isn’t about train friends. This post is about anyone and everyone who has a train story to tell.

Why I Hate Kanjivaram Saris!!!

Christine (my pal from college) and I would take the same train to college every morning. I have always called the first class ladies’ compartments on the Central Railway line as being ‘anorexic compartments’; this owing to the fact that they are as tiny as can be. Given the fact that we little children (we were about 16 or 17 then) would have to travel during peak hours, we preferred getting off the train at Vidyavihar station and then boarding the following train which was a Ghatkopar to CST train. One morning, while Christine and I were on our usual trip of getting off the train at Ghatkopar, this incident happened.  This elderly lady standing near the door was draped in a pretty kanjivaram sari which had tassels on her paloo and it so happened that these very tassels got entangled on my bag. I didn’t want her sari to tear, and so I promptly jumped back into the moving train; and following my action, so did Christine. Once I was back inside, I hurriedly tried to free her sari from my bag, so that we could get off at the next station i.e. Kurla. When I’d finally managed to detangle the tassels, the woman looks at me and says “Can’t you college kids handle a small bag?”

I didn’t say anything, for I wanted to get off at the next station; and getting into an argument at that point in time wouldn’t help me. The next statement she made, however, changed my mind. She began an age old argument that had always been capable of making my blood boil. She began harping about ‘How college kids with their concessional season passes were cramping the first class compartments’. Something exploded inside me. I turn to her and look and say “Even if it hadn’t been for the concessions, almost all of our parents could afford the money for our seasonal passes. Concession or no concession, we’d have still been traveling first class!”

She was taken aback. She hadn’t expected me to counter-argue with her. To my surprise, all the college kids in that compartment stood up to support me; and when I say ‘stood up’, I mean it literally. They all came and stood behind me in a semi-circular formation of sorts. Suddenly, the anorexic compartment had turned into a war ground.

I continued “Are you trying to tell me that your kids/grandkids aren’t availing of concessions in any form? Or perhaps, you expect me to believe that you never bought anything at subsidized rates ever in your life?”

The kanjivaram clad lady was zapped. She didn’t know what to say. The college kids cheered. They’d found a voice in ‘frustrated’ me. I ended up traveling on the same train, all the way to CST (which was my intended destination).

When it was time for us to get off the train, I looked at her and uttered my parting words; “And yes, we ‘college kids’ wouldn’t mind taking care of our rather SMALL bags if only you could take care of your smaller wayward tassels”. My job was done!

Who said traveling in Bombay was easy?

(Watch out for more traveling stories sometime in the future.) 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

All A Woman Wants

Tabiness spells crazy.
Tabiness spells fun.
Tabiness spells dilemma.
Tabiness spells WOMAN!

Welcome to yet another dimension of the World of Tabiness.

It’s a Monday morning. The sun should have been shining bright and the birds chirping. Instead, I had sweat pouring down my back, as I ran in the humid air to catch the sought-after bus this morning. Just when I got to the bus depot, I saw the bus leave – right in front of my eyes. No amount of flailing of arms or nameless shouts managed to catch the attention of the bus driver.

Next bus in 40 minutes or a dash to catch this bus at one of the following stops!’

I had to think fast. I ran, like my life depended on it. The overcast skies seemed to taunt me with even more humidity in the air. Each step I took seemed like it was tougher than the previous.'I need to start jogging!', I thought to myself. A rickshaw screeches to a halt, breaking my train of thoughts. Well, perhaps it was just one boogie of a thought. 

“Kahan jaana hai, madam?” he asks.
“Louis wadi, Nitin Company ya Cadbury Junction”, came my reply.

Astounded, he lets me sit. I think he took me on as a challenge. When I discussed my dilemma with him (of how I’d like to catch the same bus I’d missed at the depot), he took it upon himself to get me into the bus. For some weird reason (not like I’m complaining), I got all the signals open for us to whizz past; and I did manage the unthinkable – I caught the bus at Cadbury Junction. 

I shoved Rs. 30/- into the hands of the sweaty yet content rickshaw driver; said a hasty ‘thank you’ and made a dash for the bus.

Once I was inside the comforts of the air-conditioned bus; I wiped the sweat off my brow and wondered to myself ‘Was it worth it? All the running, all the panting, all the driving!!!’ (Well, technically the rickshaw guy did the driving.)

Come to think of it, I actually spent more than I would have spent if I’d stood at the bus depot and waited for the next bus to come along. In spite of that (and all the sweating and panting), catching this very bus seemed like it was worth it. There was an adrenaline rush attached to catching the very bus you thought you’d missed.

There is something amazing about achieving things you thought you’d never be able to do. 5 years back, in 2006, when I sat down to type out my first blog post; I thought it’d be a failed attempt, just like those one-off diary posts I’d never managed to get past. 5 years later, with the first blog post on my 2nd blog, I feel exhilarated. It’s a feeling like no other. It’s a feeling that’s so GOOD, I want to scream out with joy.

With ‘All A Woman Wants’, I shall open up to you about the ‘feminine’ side of the Tabiness you know. She’s got her weaknesses, her strengths, her information, and her queries. You’ll see all of this and more. See you around!!!