Even the term ‘second-rate’ used perfunctorily as profanity has some dignity to it. By implication it implies that isn’t quite the best but the next best alternative. I’m thinking that ‘IInd class’ in that vein of thought- doesn’t mean luxury but isn’t quite supposed to be synonymous with ‘hell-hole’. Apparently I am wrong. A LOOOOOOOONG and tortuous journey down south hit me worse than a sack full of extra long extra sharp board pins… ‘ hell-hole’ is luxury in the Indian Railways dictionary.
Mind you, I am not one of those extra-soft-never-travelled-in-public-transport types! This must be my nth journey and oh boy was I glad it finished even though all I had to look forward to (I am no longer looking forward, this antiseptic environment is my present; front he frying pan into the fire, eh?) was my adoption of the allotted ‘all-time-on-call’ nurse.
This is a pattern. There’s an unstated barrier of personal dignity which gets violated from coach AS1 to S1. Being nice here doesn’t help- give the ‘Reserved Against Cancellation’ passenger (read male) an inch and he’ll grab your entire birth along with fistful of your boob as well– complete with icky movements while you are deep in sleep.
For a chronic insomniac like me- train rides could be a boon because sleep here is NOT an option. By the time I pushed myself to equate the nauseating jiggle of the clunky apparatus– an apology of an ‘express’ train, with the rocking of a baby’s cradle– I’ve managed to make myself thoroughly dislikeable to my co-passengers who call me anti-social and grumpy (the descriptions oscillate in degrees) in a variety of languages and dialects.
And then of course there is the old man who will point fingers (in extreme excitement–second childhood kind) at my Pink Floyd tape which incidently features a nude man racing through air with clearly muscled buttocks– which in case you didn’t guess implies quite obviously that I am a desperate dingo in search of some hard-core action and that would explain my travelling all alone on a train. Wow! Brilliant plan– congrats Varna! You ought to be worried if you didn’t come up with that yourself— I can see naked men screaming sexually frustrated EUREKA’s on their way to the patents office.
What gives that guy the right to shift every few seconds closer and closer to my chest, when I fall asleep (finally!)? What gives him the divine right to touch my breasts? And what in god’s name gives him the right to look me defiantly in the eye when I wake up- yeah! Intuition works albeit late. “Par aap to encourage kar rahe they naa…” may his balls fall off! Explain to me- HOW I could have been even mildly titilated or even indicate an encouragement to a filthy bastard who thought he could paw me past midnight?
What causes the anguish is not the physical violation, boobs don’t have memories of their own and thank god for that; considering MY history, *all* of my body would’ve shriveled up in disgust by now if that were to hold true! The idea that ( “main kya karoon madam- khud khadi ho gayi or phir mein soch nahi raha tha…” ) a weak will can be overrun by the Penis, so much so, that all decorum and decency ceases to matter is worrisome.
And so if I told the man that I would bite his captain off and stuff it down his throat for a permanent blow-job it would be fine. Sadly, all I managed to do was to get him removed from my berth- to two cubicles left (where he was free to cast revengeful lecherous glances at me for the remaining 12 hours of the ride) with a TT who was thoroughly apologetic and not to me!
I even heard him (the TT) say… “yeh ladkiyan…” by which time I was so beside myself– that the tears wouldn’t stop swimming in my eye sockets and I dared not move lest they fall and display female fraility or speak lest my voice chokes over and displayes female absurdity. Fraility and absurdity of course being functions of the male mind (oops! Did I say mind?… I mean hole a.k.a. hell hole– yup! that one where all the shit collects and doles out men who think it is ‘okay’ to play boob-game without permission).
But allow me the confession , that not ALL men are products of hell-holes stuffed with shit. I know some nice men- wonderful ones even. Like the guy who I’m in love with. Naveen (yeah- taking names is cardinal sin in blogdom- I know, but what the hell)– I wish you’d been there. I wish I could’ve just buried my head in your arms. And know that I am safe, no matter what.
I wish I didn’t know that I have another second class train journey in the offing. Another attempted ‘rape’ coded in pretty words (like the sheet I wrapped around myself afterwards to seal in the bits of dignity I had left) in the not so distant future once my work here is done (and I do hope it finishes soon–’cause I can’t take anyone’s physical pain for too long; except mine, I am immune!)- I shall be ‘bound’ northwards.
I wish you would write to me. Tell me you are fine. Ask me how I am. I …. wish. But what’s the point? Fairies don’t exist and wishes don’t come true. Affirmations work for Scott Adams and make nice stuff for Dilbert comic strips… but reality?! Reality is worse than that. I am Wally, with catbert on my head- coughing up hairballs. Hail Hitler!