Thursday, November 23, 2006

Commuting Blues, and Reds, and Greens...

Today was bad. I mean the commuting. To begin with the basics. I was commuting by train only three years back to Victoria Terminus and to my office in Colaba. Those days the first class compartment used to be a comfortable way of travel, I had a group of friends - Shukla, Iyer, Murali, Shashi, Damodaran, and occasionally Henry - and travel would be a lazy, light-hearted bantering experience. We had enough space to sit comfortably and travel.

But they all have gone their separate ways. I meet Shashi, Murali these days but they have changed, no longer talk, only smile at me from between all those strange hulking bodies. The compartment is so thickly populated that I can't hold a book in front of me. I am reading friend CP Surendran's An Iron Havest and I couldn't see the page in front of me. There were two hulking bodies in front pinning me to a wire partition, not letting me move to turn a page over.

Where did these people come from? Where are they going? All of them have big bulging bags that now fill the rack above. And all of them look unfriendly, staring ahead of them as if they were in a race to finish with me. I know new technologies have opened up a lot of jobs of the outsourced variety around Andheri, Bandra-Kurla, and Lower Parel, which were, at one time, down market and grimy places compared to the tony Colaba and Nariman Point.

The progress of business from South Bombay to Central Bombay was insidious and today I work in Andheri, a place I would never have imagined working (snoberry, I guess, having worked in Colaba and South Bombay all my life). How one eats humble pie.

Oh, one more thing, my co-commuters all are very engrossed: be it  abook, a mobile phone, newspaper, thick computer manual, and, wait a minute, novels, yes, novels. I guess these are the guys who read novels, and post those nasty but learned comments on literary forums like Caferati and Shakespeare and Company. Yes, I know where the suppressed and subdued angst in their prose comes from: from right here in this churning of flesh. Oh!, if only I could get published and see my novel in one of those hands!

It's a miracle I got down at Kurla station. Then the bridge to the west of the station is so crowded that I can only see a series of heads progressing like a wave towards the top.

Silver Lining: Yesterday I had 70 hits on this blog and that is some good news, would keep me blogging I guess. Thank you visitors, do keep coming for more. I love you all.

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