Thursday, 10 January 2008

Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance.

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy. - Nora Ephron

Basically, humans are just plain crazy. Yup Yup. Insane, mental, completely coo coo, nuts; whatever. The fact is that most people are in severe need of psychiatric help - some more than others. And the best place to find a whole bunch of crazies? The ladies compartment of the local train. Yeah. It's quite funny actually. Women yelling at the top of their lungs, threatening each other, shoving each other. All you need to carry is ear plugs. Maybe a weapon or two. Take for example:

Woman A's hand accidentally brushes against Woman B's hand while standing in an over crowded compartment.

Woman A: (shouts loudly) *insert abuse here*Dikhta nahi hai kya! *abuse* Dhakka kyun marti hai!

Woman B: (shouts equally loudly) *abuse* Tumko haath sambhalne ko nahi hota kya *abuse*!?

An innocent brush of the hand usually ends up with a shouting match. It also involves random women who end up taking sides and shouting right along with the original fighters 'cause apparently they just have nothing better to do than yell at complete strangers.

These women can get dangerous though. Especially if you don't know enough Hindi abuses (English ones go over their head). So just do what two of my friends did. They were in a train that was extremely crowded. They were standing near the door. A station came which wasn't theirs, but they couldn't move out of the way to let the other ladies through 'cause there was no place to move to. So everyone who wanted to get down there couldn't. Rather than incur the wrath of a bunch of trained in combat, my friends looked at an old lady in front of them, tutted in annoyed voices and said "What aunty, these people wanted to get down na." The angry ladies pounced upon the old lady while my friends got away scot free. How's that for brilliant.

Then there's this group of women who I encountered once while going to college for my French exam. I entered into the train and heard someone singing. Thinking it was the usual beggars, I look around and what do I see? A group of women playing Antakshari! Yeah, 'cause apparently that's the newest form of entertainment in trains today. Screw picking fights! Let's play Ankakshari! And to make matters worse, as I stood there trying to revise French grammar, these women decide that sound effects would make the songs sound better. So they start rhythmically banging the seats in tune to the song! Yeah, sane as anything weren't they?

The luggage compartment of the train is particularly fascinating. My mom was sitting there once when two women came in, one of whom was very drunk. At 9.15 in the morning. Yeah. She sang songs, clapped randomly and yelled for no apparent reason. When the train passed some construction workers working on the rail tracks, she called one of the men and sang in a very Aamir Khan sort of style "Eh, kya bolta tu? Aata hai kya Churchgate ko." Needless to say the man stared at her in shock and the other people in the train, my mom included, laughed hysterically.

But my favourite among the notable train incidents has to be what my mom told me two days ago. She got into the luggage compartment again that day and noticed that there were fishes strewn on the floor. Not eensy weensy bits of fishes, but a whole army of large unbroken fishes. Noticing her confused look, one of the women said that it was lucky she came in right then 'cause a slightly insane female had just gotten off. Apparently this fisher woman had come into the compartment and seeing that there was no place for her to stand or keep her fish basket, she got a little angry. She yelled (in Marathi of course) "Don't you people have any sense! This compartment is meant only for fisher women and vegetable sellers. How DARE you come and sit here!" Now obviously the other ladies were incredulous about her claim and told her in short, to shut up and stop creating a fuss. In kinder words. But that was the basic message. So what did the woman end up doing? What any sane woman with a basket full of fish would do, of course! She took huge fishes out of her bag, aimed carefully and started throwing them at the other women! True story, no jokes. My mom burst out laughing, as did I, when she told me the anecdote about the attack of the insane fisher woman. The lady who was narrating the incident asked mom what was so funny. My mom couldn't answer due to the uncontrollable laughing and all. The lady continued saying, "Look what she did. My sari is ruined!" Another lady interrupted and said, "Your sari? She threw a fish at my head! My hair smells like fish!"

If this is what the ladies compartment is like, I would love to get a peek into the general compartment during peak hours. A nice investigative report innit?

Men Versus Women - Who's Crazier!
Our reporter finds out.

Too bad I'm not brave enough to risk the general compartment during peak hours. Ah well. The End.