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Insanely Inane Thoughts

If fate doesn't make you laugh, you just don't get the joke.

5:04 local

Repost of an earlier blog; retouched slightly.

She refused to answer my question even as the slow local pulled in towards the station, half-mired in shade and half in the glow of the setting sun. Hundreds of commuters thronged towards it as if it was their ticket to heaven. Passengers in the train held onto their seats for dear life till the train stopped completely. Some foolish, albeit brave, souls who had dared to stand by the gangway were treated as tackling bags by the horde of humanity who swept into the train even before it grounded to a halt.

In spite of having a first-class and a second-class bogey, rush hour made a mockery of this distinction. In times like these, the only difference between a "first" and a "second" was the coat of paint.

I stood guard by one side of the door and gestured at her to get in. She leapt into the compartment as men around her pressed into each other in an attempt to capture a seat. Getting seats on the train was almost next to impossible so we took the next best alternative and stood by the door.

People jostled for space; elbows spoke where voices failed. She leant back on the support while I stood facing her, holding onto the bar over her head.

An opportunistic vendor tried coaxing weary commuters to buy the evening tabloid. Someone sought him out; loose change clanged onto the floor. Swearing ensued but the train nipped the fight in its bud .It chimed once; the vendor picked up his change and made his way towards the exit. The train lurched forward, groaning under the weight of the bustling city. People shouted at him as he jumped off the moving train and landed on the platform.

A cell phone rang somewhere while others stared at each other morosely. Papers rustled in unison as gossip was gobbled up earnestly. I asked the person next to me to haul my bag onto the storage plank. He glared at me before acceding to me grudgingly.

"Your bag?” I asked her. She shook her head slowly; my arms relaxed. I stared out of the train as it passed a plethora of gymkhanas thinking of whether I should ask her again. I turned to look at her only to find her eyes burning into mine. She raised her eyebrows as if in question. I couldn’t help but notice the way her raven hair, cut short, grew beautifully away from her forehead. I grinned sheepishly and looked out again.

The train slowed down as it approached a station. People pushed against each other almost willing to fell the folks by the door. They held on resolutely, just as they clung onto their drab existence in this spawning megalopolis. The train halted, thoughts broken.

"Hato, hato," people chided. Others weren't as polite; they pushed their way out irrespective of whether you wanted out or not. And to make this milieu more exciting, commuters waiting to board to train would rush in like an unstoppable tsunami Men struggled against each other, life repeats itself.

I got shoved from all sides but still managed to retain my place. I grabbed hold of her bag and she held onto my arm gingerly. The train threatened to rumble to life only to go silent again. Grumbling voices enveloped us; suddenly it felt like we were in an alien city. A guttural cry brings to my attention the plight of pickpocket who got caught. He is thrown out of the train unceremoniously with a good number of bruises.

Sweat trickles down the back of the gladiators as the train finally distanced itself from the site of such indemnity. That it has to endure the sight of people living by her steely path was another question altogether.

She released my hand; I let the bag fall against her.

Pretentious adults talk loudly; some snickered at them while the rest stared into oblivion. The sun, akin to peaches dripping opium, sputtered stray rays onto the train. Papers rustled again: this time to offer protection from the intruding sun.

A small boy tugged against my shirt and held out his arms in anticipation. I studied the boy; detached. Runny nose highlighted grime; disheveled hair; a token cloth he called a shirt. He scratched his head obligingly; dirt has made a haven under his nails. He then cried; whether a performance or not, I shall not know; and fell onto my feet.

Begging. For money or a life, we shall not know.

People around me shooed him away but not before I managed to give him some money. He face lit up with joy as he pocketed his alms. She touched my arm gently and my face flushed. I felt confused.

Was it because of her ere or because in spite of her?

I turned to her and asked her again. She simply looked at me and smiled. It frightened yet reassured me at the same time.

The train slowed down yet again. The kid made his way between the legs of the gladiators; little spy, they called him. He got off the train with that smile still on his face. I breathe again.

People came; I held her bag as she clutched at my arm; and people went. The train lurched forward like a hardened warrior. I let go off the bag.

She doesn't let go off my arm.
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