“Excuse me, that’s a ladies seat.” came a polite but affirmative wave of sound in my ears. I knew it was coming and was deliberately behaving as if I didn’t hear. But as with most people in such situation, my jerkiness was very evident. “Excuse me!!” This time it was rude and I was forced out of chivalry and politeness to get up from the seat reserved for women. By this time, the woman had on display all kinds of ugly faces, had already labelled me as a jerk within herself and also ensured with her blabbering mouth and that people nearby think the same about me. I puffed with arrogance as if I was deprived of my fundamental right and angry I was.
In scorching heat of June 2012 in Delhi, I had travelled whole day to different prospective clients to pitch in my product. I faced rejection all over and I might have created some kind of record for maximum rejections in a day or at least I thought so. The spirit was on all-time low. It was one more day of surviving on bread & omlette. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to do anything. Nobody can please me at this time. Hence, my arrogance and reluctance to give my seat – At least I deserve a seat in the metro – even that had to go to somebody. It didn’t bother me what others were thinking. I just wanted to be left alone in doom and despair with no human contact. It was one worse day in my entrepreneurial journey things and I was feeling disillusioned and directionless. These days were becoming more common and my spirit was on all-time low. I have always been a highly self-motivated person but these little failures were taking something good about me. I was feeling emptier day by day. In times of hopelessness, I was angry with everyone – the Paani Puri vendor who refused to give me sukhi puri, the rickshaw puller who asked 5 extra bucks, the cigarette vendor who returned candy instead of change. I felt everybody was against me and within my subconscious mind I was looking for somebody to put blame for all my miseries.
I boarded the metro from MG Road Metro Station in Gurgaon and had to get down at Malviya Nagar which was approximately 40 minutes of travel time. It is very crowded on a weekday after office hours and people who get a seat feel mighty and royal. In such scenario, I succeeded to get a seat but by now you already know what happened with my seat. At the Sikandarpur station, the usual inflow and outflow of homo-sapiens happened without affecting the numbers inside the metro. A girl-next-door of 25 something rushes in pushing all the men around and breathes a sigh of relief. She was an average looking girl with a funnel face and was tall and dusky. A sleeveless white top with all sorts of flowers or whatever they were and a dark brown skirt long enough to touch her toes were noteworthy for my attention. Curly Hair, Nose-ring and naked neck and hidden ears completed her face. She was carrying a khaki bag on her shoulders. My sudden attention towards her was interrupted my feeling of hopelessness. She may be an attractive woman but I was too disillusioned to feel any pulse of attraction after few seconds. As soon as the she entered the compartment, men sitting on “Ladies Only” seat were sounded red alert by fellow female community members with ugly grins. Like me, they were wary of becoming victim of politeness. To the surprise of many, the girl did not approach to get seated and decided to stand near the pole. With due respect to my hormones, I was not interested in anything other than feeling the agony of a bad business day and hopelessness of a dying dream.
Suddenly, I heard a loud round of laughter in the compartment. I turned around in the direction of source of the sound to see this girl laughing out loud and yes literally. It was the same girl. She was laughing unperturbed. Soon, she was to become the object of attention of million hormones in a matter of moments but amazingly this girl she was too much onto herself and busy reading a blue newspaper. “Wait a second!” “Blue Newspaper!” “Yes, it was blue”. I tried to decipher the colour once again assuming I have become colour blind after a disastrous day. No, I was right. It was indeed a blue newspaper or at least it looked like one with “The Happy Times” being the title. May be it was some kind of a newsletter of some college event printed in the form of a newspaper. However, the newspaper was of no interest here but the girl reading and laughing like a 5 year old child. In a while, she became interesting to watch and my eyes were glued to her actions. I looked here and there to ensure nobody thinks I am a pervert staring a woman.
The girl was incessantly enjoying reading the paper and was enjoying it with the comfort of her bathroom as if nobody was listening her. Or is that we have all become invisible. Ok, I know I am being too liberal with my imagination but girl’s behaviour was not normal. May be paper was something special. I paid attention to the paper she was reading and observed that it had some fictional news elements and humor content. One Story read “Meri Bhains ko danda Kyun Maara?” Expert’s column was on “Why Farting is better than Burrping?” and one section was “The Great Facebook Tamasha” where there was fictional Facebook wall of Rahul Gandhi. It was difficult to gather the rest and it was also not important, the mystery was about her never ending smiles and giggles. She was glued to the paper and hardly looked around.
The girl managed to take away all my attention and I had forgotten all stories of my day as I became curious to know her more and decode the reasons for her weird behaviour. Also, where did this newspaper came from? She continued giggling and we still had no clues. Suddenly, it became so interesting to see and enjoy her laughs and giggles that I didn’t realize that I was also smiling like a kid. I lost interest in despise and feeling low and suddenly felt attracted to smiles, giggles and a happy outlook of a crazy girl. The girl had made me smile and feel better without even knowledge of my existence and any intent to do so. She was just herself and that’s it. There was no mystery about it.
“Next Station is Saket”, announced the Metro-woman as I fondly call the Metro Announcer. The train stops and I see her look above for the 1st time in the journey of 25 minutes and she moves towards the door. Oh! She is moving out. I didn’t realize she was a stranger and the idea and comfort of looking at her had to come to an end. Wait! I can’t let her go. I have to meet her, ask her what she was doing, what was she reading, where did the newspaper come from – I did have a thousand questions to ask her. I had a history with incomplete stories and it cannot end like this. But what will I say – You made me smile how did u do it? She will surely take me as a jerk trying to use the most boring pickup line ever.
There was now no time to think. She moved out of the metro and started walking. I ran towards the gate to move out in an uncivilized and embarrassing way but talking to her was more important than anything now. I reached the gate and BANG!!!!…The gate closed and train started moving. I was stuck inside and saw her fading away slowly. I smiled at what just happened. I never met that girl again.