Monday, May 18, 2015


I love people watching, and I do it an awful lot. Today a deja vu-ish experience (more about it below) made me think about how easy it is to forget these tiny bits of of life--observations worthy of a Mr Bennett on Mrs Brown (maybe more leaning towards Woolf than Bennett, I hope?).

So today was the second time I spotted this lady on the 18.15-ish metro in the direction of Kavi Nazrul. She is not somebody who I'd think was very 'intellectual' --she wore an ordinary salwar. Must have been mid 40s. Fingers adorned with horoscopic rings. Wrists adorned with a couple of Hindu marriage type bangles ( I think loha). Parting adorned with sindur and hair adorned with an incongruous hairband--balck, metal. She was carrying an oversized green plastic 'ladies bag'. And I remembered her from maybe a week back when I also took the metro. Because she was reading, with utmost concentration, the same book as last time--Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M, Coestzee, Evidently a slow reader she had progressed little. The book looks worn and old. Is she re-reading it? She probably doesn't get time to read at home. Seeking refuge in a book on the metro way back home. Not really light fiction. Hmm.

From Jeebon Deep after getting supplies for Kalonji and Golu, I board an AC bus to get off at Rashbihari. Opposite me is sitting an old very paunchy, probably Marwari gentleman. He looks me up and down. I am wearing a rather colourful dress today. He probably thought it was a kurti which I am wearing without a bottom. I meet his gaze, his surprised stare at my sartorial mistake, and he quickly looks away. Next to me sits a short, Bengali man. Suddenly an old song, I don't recognise, comes on the bus speaker. Immediately these two men, separated by class, age, possibly language, start humming and keeping tal on their knees. Another man boards the bus and sits next to the first man. Now Chaudvi ka chand start. All three start humming with impassioned frowns on their brows but somehow cannot believe the other person is singing--they stop to stare at each other to check if the other person is singing, as if it was the most extraordinary, not-really-acceptable-in-public act.

On the auto back from Gariahat, a lady and her 9-ish son are sitting next to me. The son, on his mum;s lap, is eating a roll. He tears away a scrap of paper around the roll and throws it in the auto slipstream and turns and smiles at mother who smiles back. Like it's the greatest achievement, littering. In my head I admonish the mother and make up quite a speech. And compose replies to imaginary aggressive questions:

Q: Oh so you are doing Modi's Swachh Bharat (apparently retort of Bengali couple who were littering north Sikkim with plastic wrappers)

A: Yeah because teaching anything to sons is not an option: sons are beyond reproach, beyond civic ideas. The men of India are the best of citizens as can be seen from their actions.

I was mostly thinking in Bangla, but now do not remember exact words.

Ooof tired. Have to feed cats. Can;t write no more. Will change blog design, I think.

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