Have you ever seen 50 odd women of all ages, shapes and sizes, classy – shabby and all those adjuncts fight?? And when I mean fight I mean verbal abuse that will make any man go shy and give the listener the ear time of his or her life, bitch, slap, steal, punch, pull hair and everything else that will humanly cause pain. Well I have – – on all my epic journeys from Pune to Mumbai and back. And let me remind you – these are no ordinary women . . . these are the WOMEN OF THE GENERAL CLASS on the trains.
If I had planned well, I would have been able to get a better seat where I could stretch my legs, look at the stunning passing by scenery and take sips of good chai – -now lemme se – – I did that once or twice but why give up on all the entertainment the ladies have to offer. So then, I would make it a point to hurl myself into that labyrinth of tired, hungry and oddly energetic WOMEN OF THE GENERAL CLASS and squeeze on the upper berth for a nice view.
At times, due to some unfortunate events, I too was thrown in that ring. The funniest incident that I can remember was when I mistakenly stepped on a lady’s foot – hey in my defence, there was no room and the train halted with a jerk. Post that, I had to go through all the yelling and the screaming and the threats – and just when I thought she would stop, there she would rattle on again. After apologizing for the like the tenth time, I had had enough along with the others and decided to get back. I told her that if she didn’t stop, I’d put her hair on fire. Obviously she didn’t believe me until I took out a lighter from my bag (don’t ask me how it got there) and gave her the dirtiest and evilest Ursula look that I could manage. In a split second she slithered to some other coach and disappeared. Right when I was beaming with my victory, I looked around just to find that everyone else thought – -> I was a freak. Sigh!
These prodigious women could fight on anything. Name it and kaboom the war begins. I’ve heard brawls that start from ‘Why is your hair tied up like that?’ to ‘Tie your damn hair up woman!’ or ‘Did you just step on me?’ to ‘Get off my spot dammit’. These are the typical warm-ups where they are just trying to get comfortable in that little spot that they have concurred and will dwell in for the next 3 hours or so. It’s the mid-time that gets interesting when they all start to chat and gossip because there is nothing better to do. I mean if you put 50 different people together, there are bound to be 50 different opinions and stories. But NNOOOOOOO…..’you HAVE to listen to me’ and ‘ I am the only one who is right’ while ‘you all are idiots’ and ‘don’t understand anything’ (-_-)… These fights start right from how Shahrukh Khan should or should not have done what he did or did not do, why onions should be used in that recipe but how they will ruin the taste and texture, how every other woman is growing old the wrong way to which button should go where and where not. They can talk about absolutely ANYTHING and start a fight on EVERYTHING. In that fighting ring, once the verbal battle is over, the somatic one begins – – then in a short while they all get tired and move back to the verbal abuse. It’s easier.
Then again, through it all they manage to help each other out with the name callings, listen to each other’s fatigued stories – share the burden, become an unconscious shoulder to cry on, eat and laugh together in-between the unnecessary talks, slander men and basically learn about everybody’s interesting and yet pointless lives that may – may not ever cross paths again – Just these women travelling in the General Class…