I was bullied by a mob of women and was pushed into a human maze and I almost lost my way, all in my effort to get into the electric train today morning. In this hustling and bustling city Chennai, I spend almost 3 hours every day travelling in the train to reach my destination office and back home. The journey which I initially had an aversion for, has become increasingly interesting these days to me, as I am a good people watcher. I like observing people, their behavior and interactions. I learn that the train, though intended to transport people to varied destinations, is utilized for various other purposes too. It serves as an elixir of life to many. The vagabonds find the train to be their shelter where they sleep, groom, feed, scavenge and beg.
I also find women dressed in multicolors, overly ornamented with their infant tied to their back like the kangaroo, selling beads and all jewellery. I also happen to find ladies quarreling amongst each other that matures to ugly abuses and tussle. The journey is never short of eatables ranging from vendors bartering seasonal fruits like mangoes, pomegranate, pineapple etc to vegetables, samosas, peanuts and home- made nibbles.
The train that I travel is predominantly utilized by the working class especially those in IT. It’s a refreshing site to look at brisk men and women neatly dressed boarding the train and chattering with their friends, reading newspaper and novels, having their breakfast from their lunch kit, complaining constantly about the scorching sun and their half baked team leads. There are also the stylish trendy college goers conversing only in English and trying to grab everyone’s attention. The other set of people whom you could find at large are the money mongers dressed shabbily, displaying skills like singing, playing instruments and capitalizing on their handicap to lure people for charity. There are many instances where people open windows of friendship just through their daily journey acquaintances, the journey thus uniting unknown people from different walks of life.
This is one place where you can find people happy, in ecstasy, in love speaking to their loved ones, in agony sharing their sorrows, weeping for reasons you do not know, quarreling, sleeping, restless, nervous, lost, helpless, dependent, anticipation and all emotions possible locked in this one compartment where people get united and merged through this travel regardless of their class, creed and sex. India is certainly a nation that has unity in diversity.