Thursday, May 29, 2008


It is always an epic moment, every time i stand on the platform in my teak-tinted purple glares watching the train stride into the platform. there is a blue circular steel board stuck on the engine which indicates the number of coaches. today it said LADIES SPECIAL...the bright blue paint looking even brighter in scorching sun. coach after coach came in the ladies and i could see the men on the platform expressing their disappointment. they would have to waste another precious minute of their morning waiting for the next train.
The usual scurrying wasn't there. yet the train was completely full. it was crowded but a little less crowded. i got space to breathe. i watched the men and their upset faces as the train blurred them to oblivion.

When you travel by trains everyday for 80 minutes (40 minutes one way), you learn to enjoy certain things. you realize how funny life actually is or how sad. everything is fitted into like cogs of a wheel.
i prefer listening to music but while coming back home, its usually more fun without the usual background music. like yesterday i just couldn't put on the headphones. the ladies were chatting away about travels and shopping and picnics. there was one self proclaimed leader tad darker than her companions (am not being racist!!!! she was very dark) in bright cobalt blue salwar kameez and a gold watch on her hairy scaly wrists that matched her golden hairstyle. did i mention the shockingly-red lipstick? i remember one time i found a lady wearing a earring on her nail...yes, nail piercing...whatever you would want to call it, hanging from the tip of her horridly pink nails. i stared at her piercing shamelessly. it was just downright ugly and i couldn't help it.
anyway now coming back to our self-proclaimed-leader, who claimed to have all the answers to everything while there were the other more innocent ones which asked her questions like,
"so is passport for one country? or as many countries as i would like to visit?"
" all countries. tu banale phir december se tu bhi travel kar sakegi."
i was sitting next to them and almost burst out laughing at the prospect of one passport for every country we visit. but i respected her innocence. and so to divert my attention i looked out of the window, still refusing to put on my headphones. i simply had to eavesdrop!

but that's that about trains for now. i am addicted already as you know. am too new to be bored with it.
and then there are the taxis. taxis in Bombay only traverse in the downtown areas, they do go to the suburbs but suburbs have auto rickshaws which take away all their customers.
i always take a taxi from the station to the office. i refuse to take a share-cab because its my two minutes of luxurious privacy that i get after the frenzied train journey. its needed unless i want to quirk my nerves.
most of the taxi drivers are older, wiser and definitely a lot more polite. today i saw a big red sticker in my taxi saying NO SMOKING: RTO, MUMBAI.
i asked him about it but he phoo phooed it. "sab chalta hain..."
so the taxis haven't turned into non smoking zones yet. with my feminism fed adequately by the 'ladies special' , i was in a happy mood. and my happy moods are a little weird. before i could stop myself, i had already offered gum to the taxi driver who laughed and politely refused. i felt like a bum.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

look what the cat dragged in!

today was not supposed to be a good day.
i was terribly sick for the past two days, so much so that i suspected today will also get ruined in the aftermath.
i still dragged myself through the burnt wednesday morning and reached office in one piece.
and i was musing on the electronic highway, when a sudden rush of narcissism made me google myself.

sohini datta

i typed on the google search bar.
and lo n behold there were some odd 5 to 6 pages linked to me!!! browsing through them i came across one unusual link which bore something surprisingly familiar.

for a minute i couldnt believe it but yes, it was a link to DNA ME a magazine under DNA. which had published my story named MOCKTALES in their APRIL 22, 2007 issue.
i jus discovered it one year late.
i read it, and realized its a stupid story. for a second yr BA student, maybe worthwhile. but now, i think its just a poorly written stupid piece. yet its still one of the most precious pieces of writing that i would probably treasure for a long time to come, because of the way i discovered it.... or rather, it discovered me

Monday, May 26, 2008

variables and constants of human relationships..

i have a frnd named A. he's a constant. and there is girl X which is a variable
=> X + A = eventually nothing substantial.
it all fizzles out sooner or later.
and then the variables get categorized:
x was hot. y was my first love, z was the love of my life, and u know it continues...
lad and ladies that is the true nature of relationships....of whatever kind whether its your petor your girlfriend.
there is always a variable or rather an entire set of variables and only one constant which is you.
and the combinations can be fascinating. while one is the love of the constant's life, the toher can be "jus a fling" and the some other can be " i dont know, i had temporarily lost my mind"...
anyway so almost everyday i hear about a new variable and the consequential relationship was/is.
i am one of the boring ones. i used to have juss too many variables and only one category : "flings".... now i have jus the constant left.

and then something else. he said "well you know, i like to appreciate beauty, so when i meet a pretty girl i go up to her and tell her she is pretty"...
much as he would deny it , somewhere its also taking a chance. after all i know for a fact he found the ex-love of his life tht way. so if it works, well good for ihim, and if she doesnt well, he couldnt care less. you see, 'he's jus admiring beauty'...
gone are the days when beauty was what you were born with and not what was chiselled in a gym or thru the numerous diets listed on google.
so gone are the days when admirers of beauty would write poems and grt literature would be born...

now pretty girls, dolce and gabbana girls, pin-up girls, not-so-pretty girls and outright ugly things...
why is it that the simple fact tht 'pretty is not beautiful and hot is not glamorous...' is something people just done get. is it jus another reflection of your poor levels of education that we suffer from terrible vocab syndrome?
have all the love poems been written ?
nw in the world of accosting strangers to express admiration.......has literature finally died?

Friday, May 23, 2008

a commuter's narrative

as the morning matures, trains get more crowded. people hustling and bustling, pushing poking and doing all sorts of ungodly things just to get off or to board the train. everytime i have to do the same, i feel like quitting my job. the other day i was wondering how utterly dependent we all are on the train. my office is light years away. taking the road in not even an option. even if i had all the time in the world for it, i know i still wouldnt reach.
and mind you my dear lads n ladies, my office is in the mainstream commercial area. i dont even have to change trains! how lucky!!
what i cannot avoid is wondering whether i am going to die of a blast this particluar evening, whether that woman who just pushed her armpits into my face has ever had a bath, or whether my liver will pop out of my mouth due to all the pushing and squeezing in the compartment. i still prefer travelling by first class even tho the pushing and pulling is all the same everywhere. at least i know if i am abused i would understand and if i abuse the receiver will also understand. yes, i admit it i can only abuse in english.
another fact about trains : the fast trains always run slower than the slow trains.
if you are planning to buy a phone you must travel in the first class ladies compartment. in a compartment where there is no place to breathe, you will find all sorts of women; pretty ugly, fat, thin...with fancy phones talking to god-knows-who at that time in the morning. i never rem chatting on the phone at 9 in the morning. its just not usual. and there is always the pathetic radio that everysome loves to listen to. i tried once and realized that for ten mins some man went on ranting to the rj for the whole 10 mins about how he loves the channel, and how he loves his lfie and how he loves blah shah and the rj kept replying "hmm...hmm...hmm" and then he played the most outrageous bollywood song ever. so i waited all 10 mins for that song. i felt terribly wronged but there is no tribunal for such crimes.
and then there are what i call my train musings. today i observed the inconspicuous Hercules (if there was only a plural word for it) of our city and like ours in all other cities everywhere.
i see men gymming away a good part of their lives to lift nothing more than a glass of carrot juice or their size-zero women on steamy nights. and then i see vegetable vendors with their wares travelling in these crowded trains where people literally stand on top of each other. for some peculiar reason people do not let you get off the trains and they dont let you board. and in that process today i saw this fruit vendor with his basket of chikoos getting off. His basket fell with a thud on the platform, his chikoos rolling away in various directions. people stamped over and the chikoos bled their sweet juice. in his situation, i would have wailed and curse all our 108 gods, but he simple looked away. he stood there for a minute to let the train pass and then he collected the ones that were still alive. a man in his crisp white shirt and ironed trousers picked up some the chikoos and handed it over. he even bought some. whether he bought coz he just wanted to have chikoos this morning or because it was his good deed of the day i dont know. i believe it was the latter. he was a good man. i could see the vendor fighting the disgust inside. his was a distraught; arresting face. he didnt want this life and he didnt want to do this. some other lady came up, but i knew she really wanted to eat the chikoos. she picked and squeezed each chikoo till she found the ripe ones. maybe she even bargained. i wouldnt know coz i was standing at a distance watching him and feeling sad. his hands were rugged and his viens bulged dangerously all along his arm. his tension was carried from the darkest corners of his brain to every single cell all over his body.
but that is how life is, in one and a half seconds my train came by and i was lost trying to poke and pinch my way into the train. i left Hercules standing at the platform and carried with me only admiration that i am now finally pouring out.