A Rainy evening on the Suburban Trains

From the time I have first played innocently on my corridor sensing that divine smell of the wet earth,running about in the rains and getting wet has always remained a ritual that I immerse myself completely.Now the habit has waned to limiting myself only to doing this act only once or twice a year,which by Chennai standards is pretty decent as the rains don’t seem be blessing us that often(sans last year) as the rains seem under the aegis of the rather mercurial pressure belts in the Bay of Bengal.As I came out of the men’s loo in the evening,I noticed the furywith which the tree adjacent to my window sill was tapering about, and the whole city seemed to be braced for an onslaught of the lovely impending monsoon,while here I was unaware of the beautiful dark evening outside.

This was the view I got from my window sill and the chill breeze and the pale sky above confirmed that it was all set to pour and I decided to end my affair with the device on which my fingers practiced all dance forms through the day.The QWERTY was a morbid piece when compared to the lovely weather outside,and the impulse of getting wet in the rains far exceeds the joy that my fingers get being labeled a terpsichorean between the crevices of this rather ubiquitous device.

So after sensing, the lovely prospects of getting drenched in the rains, I quickly examine the players on my desk, that stare at me in morbid disbelief of me abandoning them midway.The Marker was laid to rest and so were the innumerous ideas for a new business plan, I called home and told them that I would be a little early today and after euphorically putting down the receiver and ofcourse, doing the “CTRL-ALT-DEL” exercise to my machine, I left the monitor to the company of the numerous screen savers that lay on my machine.However inhuman , a monitor looks all the more attractive when a Bollywood or Hollywood siren ensconces her inviting self on the monitor.So with monitor basking in the feel good factor of Preity Zinta from KANK, I bid them a quick farewell,as I swipe out with full gusto to quickly fit in nibbly into the closing doors of the lift.

Yesterday evening, as the first drops of rain seemed to fall on me, with the lovely smell of the earth and the mud, and with music to boot via my mobile phone, it seemed the perfect evening to have a pleasant walk down to the nearby railway station. As the forces in the drops increased and it slowly started pelting down,every sinew in my body was invigorated , just like Darjeeling tea does on a cold winter 5 degree morning,and the unmistaken antaen feel that comes along, hardly reflects on my unctuous self, that the corporate world has made me into in the last couple of years. As the rains were getting heavier,and people were running helter-skelter to take refuge under the huge platform,that swelled by the second and given the cornucopia of people that Suburban trains attract from 5 30 pm, the station was packed, with hundreds of people fighting for the coveted space under the shed of the platform. Some innocent folks were hectored by the rather brusque sections of the crowd in giving premium space near place where a particluar coach of the impending train was expected.It is some of these actions that robs the innate sensitivities of a lovely evening reducing it to a rather stygian level,aptly reflecting the cumulo nimbus clouds above that threaten to darken an otherwise bright Chennai day.

But whatever lassitude, people experience in waiting for the train at the Railway station,seems to totally vanish, as the train hoots in. Hordes of people clamor around to make sure that their respected self’s find at least a couple of inches of leg space inside the train. When you see, so much of competition for just standing on the footboard, you either compete or cringe and needless to say, my genuflections to the almighty to get a seat on the train, had me feeling the latter…over a period of time, as I signed up for a first class pass on the train, that hardly made me compete with the mass over frivolous issues like the 2 inch space occupation, after a flurry of sparring with the junta over why “x was pushing Y and blah blah blah “

Anyways my First class pass, more or less assured me a seat even in the most trying circumstances of maximum evening commuters and hardely left me fuming over a seat lost J . I settled comfoprtably on the rather refurbished and cushioned Blue polka dot seats,next to 2 ladies who were rather oblivious to the wonderful weather outside,busy drowning their middle class troubles, relating themselves to the sobfests soaps shown on Sun TV.

After placing my bag on the seat, I went to the door of the train on the footboard (safely inside and loosely hanging) to get a whiff of the chill breeze that accompanied the stentorian rains that was gaining momentum, even as my shirt and hair became more profused in the fresh water doused by the skies to prevent Chennai from burning at 40 degrees.

Once it starts raining, the grass that grows uninhibitedly on the side of the planks and the railway line comes to life with a verdant green all along the track.The Wetness of the planks between the tracks gives a fair idea of how much it has rained,and I notice that rains have showered their presence at select stations,with some sections of the city being gloomy but not having rains. It’s like going through these time zones,where each station tells a different story. Some stations are packed like a beehive, while some are so lonely craving for attention,as the train hooting inside the station suggests that the train is the only moving thing that seems to show signs of being alive. Another observation I notice, investing my 18 minutes of my journey in staring outside the window, is that POTHYS and SARAVANA stores rank the top in brand recall, given the number of walls they have been painted on.Next in the list is the underwear and vests brand,which I don’t care to remember,as I was more focused on the model, showcasing the cloth than the brand that coyly stood next to the model.

As the train meandered through the various stations, I find people rather robotically engaged in a conversation with their neighbour or yacking on the mobile, ignoring the lovely weather outside.Youngsters are busy utilizing the service of various mobile service providers exhausting the cap of daily messages or are exploring the various functions of the cellphone while the ladies are lost in their discussions on the latest serials and discussing saas bahu warfare strategies. I see that I am no different from them on a normal day, as I would be immersed in reading the newspaper, but what is lamentable is the fact that life has become pretty mechanical for most of us to even indulge in the simple pleasures of staring at the country side.

The rains have stopped and so has my train,as I discover in a quick jiffy, that the destination has arrived, and I quickly move out of the train, to see a swathe of people waiting to get inside the trains in the adjacent compartments.The clamor since boarding the train has hardly reduced as the din and commotion of the market place interferes in my thoughts.The “sobfests specialist” who sat next to me, have begun their next round of discussion’s with the vegetable woman on the adjacent side of the station, who tries to ascribe various discount techniques to sell of her wares before the sky decides to cry again. I am in awe of a world outside the train and the one inside the train, that complement each other, in a rather unique travel experience that made me sit up and observe the vagaries of the weather and the people around me,as I find it pretty rare to keep gazing outside and observe people in a train fulltime.I, for sure got my fair share of looks and glances from passerby’s who may have been thinking, Whats the guy upto…why is he clicking so many pictures? Is he planning something sinister? I rather go about my photo capturing in a rather stoic way, to avoid entertaining any such queries as to why I am doing it.

I get out quickly out of the mess that the rains have created with flooded roads and overflowing gutters only to find my bike clustered among the hundred’s parked at the railway station. I struggled to get the bike out of the shed,and struggled even more to convert its inherent potential energy into Kinetic energy,but that experience requires another 1000 words to capture the effect and an hour of my time to gather my thoughts.

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