Indian Railways Chronicles #1

I spent a good part of the last Sunday in a train, making good use of my alone-time by connecting to Facebook, drooling and frowning in such quick succession that the people around me almost saw it fit to pack me off to the hospital, thinking I was having a fit. In my defence, I was only trying to stay sane in a strange and dangerous world where being disconnected, isolated, expressionless and tranquil, even for the briefest of intervals, is positively maddening. Even more so if you’re in a train full of people who you’ve not stalked even on Facebook.

The prospect of a hospital where I would be hooked up to IV fluids, not other people’s private lives was so terrifying that it made me take the drastic step of opening a book and reading it. It happened to be “Shit My Dad Says” by Justin Halpern (God bless him, having a dad like that) and was proving to be quite a herculean task. At this point, a middle aged man having an adolescent French beard caught me off guard when he walked up to me and talked to me. He wanted to exchange his seat with mine, because apparently, I was sitting opposite to his wife. I rose to the occasion by managing to splutter “Fine, okay. No issues.” I figured migrating from the midst of one set of strangers to another would not make a difference to someone who was trying to read a book. Soon however, “Shit Which My Dad” says started becoming more and more unlike the shit my dad actually said, and in a moment of weakness, I looked up to see the man who wanted to be with his wife, only to find both of them sitting opposite to each other, eyes glued not to each other, but to their iPad’s.

I spent pretty much the rest of the journey wondering if there was something about marriage that I quite didn’t get.


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