Aside Posted on Updated on
the setting -the quintessential mumbai local train..
self was on a saturday late evening 7ish churchgate local..this coach was three-fourths full with majority of the family crowd rocking back n forth their seats with a resigned air, when all of a sudden a strapping young man gets up just before s’cruz station arrives and starts extolling the virtues of his wonderful wallets.
Wow! (and the cerebellum gives an appreciate nod here) surely that’s the mumbai spirit well-exemplified –fighting it out on a saturday evening to earn your honest bread..but wait! something’s wrong –seriously wrong –no one’s paying him any attention –chap has a more-than-decent carrying voice but he’s not even getting a cursory glance from the audience!
the one-liners seem quite monotonous, dry n ‘filmy’ (for lack of a better word) –‘saalon saal chalne waale’..”badiyaa quality, maatr bees rupaye”…
no energy…no passion…worse the salesman doesn’t seem to believe in his own goods…just hasn’t put his soul into it…and it shows big-time!
after another 3-4 minutes of his listless monologue, S’cruz station greets us boisterously..and our hero promptly gets off, fast disappearing among the platform crowd.
just when i think the only eventful aspect of this journey has come to a boring close, two gaudily dressed eunuchs hop on-board and begin enacting their script “aay raju, chikne, baabu–kuch dena” !
sigh! some things will just not change —why oh why do people shamelessly debase their dignity?
but before the cerebellum can further traverse on this line of thought, a flurry of activities has it distracted:
the coach suddenly wakes up out of its stupor..clutch of phones magically appear in some hands (never mind, there is no network!)..some get engrossed in a deep conversation with their neighbors..others just close their eyes n go into a deep contemplative state ..anything, just anything to not catch the eye of the newly arrived occupants in the coach! it’s almost as if the whole coach has come magically alive and in a flash put on the “do-not-disturb” sign on its forehead!
but the eunuchs know better..keep ear-to-ear grins plastered on their faces and patiently yet swiftly they make it a point to contact every single person in the coach..tapping them on head (bestowing their unasked blessings!)…younger folks get a playful pat on the cheek..seat-to-seat, they coax the audience to reach out for their wallets and part with some loose change! they meet with varying degrees of success, outright disgust in some cases, but they just keep moving on!
what a stark contrast !
one was selling without a soul, while these two were begging with pride!
who do you think leaves an impression on the audience (needless to add, their pockets!) ???