Not the Metropolitan city, but THE Kolkata Metro! It seems as though all the memorable incidents occur in the A.C Metros only. During the rush hour, you may experience not just the rush but also some funny incidents and incomplete quarrels among co-passengers, and also you may get updates on people’s personal lives. One day, as usual, I was late and was waiting for the 9:30 am Metro, the platform was brimming over. As soon as the doors slid open, people rushed into the coach as Impalas would rush out from their enemy!! A bird’s eye view on this incident would be really hilarious. People push each other and swing their arms to prevent anyone else from taking over their desired place, and in all this humdrum, I have to get onto the coach and find myself a comfortable place to stand, if not to sit. But that day I was eventually pushed onto a seat, before I could arrange myself, within a fraction of a second the row was full, and one lady was frantically telling me to move so that she could sit. But before I could move the place was full. But this woman was so determined to sit that she sat on my lap and kept on shouting at me to move further to let her sit. I said that I could not move because the seats were already full but she was adamant, she kept on blaming me for not moving intentionally to keep her standing. At last my patience and etiquette gave up and I screamed back. To my surprise she completely shut up! Then the place was quite, till she started ranting again on a man, complaining that he was climbing up on her! Then again on his rebuff she was quite again. And all these happened in just 2 minutes. Here’s the conversation:-
Woman: “Soro soro, ami boshbo” (Move move, let me sit)
By the time I could move the row was full, so she somehow managed to fit half onto my lap and half into the little space left by the side.
Woman: “arre tumi sorcho ne keno?” (Why aren’t you moving?)
Me: “jayega nei to..” (There’s hardly any space)
Woman: “Tumi e to ichhe kore sorle na….” (You did not move intentionally)
Me: “sorlam na mane? Ami jotokhon a sortam sobai bose porechilo…. AAHH apni uthun amar lagche to..” (What do you mean intentionally? By the time I could move the row was full…. AAHH now get up, you are hurting me) since she was still sitting on my lap with all her weight.
She moved a bit and surprisingly adjusted her large hip in that minute space squeezing the rest of the seven passengers, and she blamed me again..
Woman: “Arre tumi sorle na bolei to ami….” (You did not move, that’s why….)
Me: “WHAT CAN I DO IF THE ROW IS FULL??” I screamed.
She shut up…. for about 30 seconds.
Woman: (to a man standing just in front of her, as his knee touched her leg once) “Arre Dada Apni to amar kole e uthe jachhen..” (Excuse me, mister you are almost getting on my lap!)
The petrified man moved away to escape from her unconventional wrath.
She kept on and on poking him, at last his patience gave away too and he snapped back,
Man: “Ami motei apnar kole uthe porini.. Bar bar ek e kotha bolben nato.” (I haven’t got on your lap, stop ranting on rubbish)
She was quiet again..
The whole journey all the other women were sitting compressed and were cursing her inaudibly I guess. Half way through the journey, she was to get down at Chadni Chawk. Since many people get down there they have to get ready before hand or else they may stay behind in the metro. So she got up at Mahatma Gandhi Road, 2 stations before her stop. And due to the highly congested condition she could not proceed successfully towards the door, so she chose her obvious weapon- Offence. A young man standing with his huge laptop bag struggled to provide as much room possible to her to move out, but she said “Aree apni sorun nahole to ami berote parbo na.” (Please move or else I cannot get down on my station) He moved as per the congestion permitted.
But SHE was she, “arre apnar bag ta soran na…” (Why don’t you move your bag..)
The man said, “Ami to soralam er theke beshi jayega nei…” (I moved as per the space, there is not more space here)
“Uff, amar paa atke geche, apni bag sorachhen na bole ami berote parchina…” defended the woman. (My leg got stuck here, just because of your bag I cannot get out of this place)
The perplexed man said, “Apnar paa akte geche to seta ki amar bag er dosh??” (How come my bag is responsible for your stuck leg?)
May be she gave an angry look or whatever, which ignited the man to spit out “Apni ki barite o apnar husband r cheler shonge ebhabe kotha bolen naki?” (Do you talk in the same manner at home with your husband and son?)
She became even more angry, “Amar chele apnar theke onek bhodro..” (My son is much more gentle than you are..)
“Ha ta to dekhte e pachi..” said the man sarcastically. (Yes that is evident..)
And so went on the dispute; to the spectators’ surprise she kept on screaming and shouting even when her station had arrived and the doors have opened. She finished her speech and then got out gracefully, or so according to a girl standing in front of me, who watched the complete outrageous comedy show! Well, as soon as she was out, everybody nearby seemed to sigh peacefully. And I was told not to let anyone else sit in that fine space which she had strangely acquired for so long. So the rest of the journey was comfortable and full of criticism of that podgy woman who always tied a top knot and wore her sari tightly wrapped around her waist and clutched at her large bag strongly, and finally appeared as the stereotype image of a quarrelsome woman!
I have seen her a few times later in that same timely metro when I got late, and almost every day she had to break out in a dispute with someone. Seems like a habit. And I have to admit she does have a lot of energy to keep going.