Thursday, March 24, 2005

Train tales

It is not often that I meet interesting characters in the train. It is weird when I say that because trains are the places where one gets to meet the weird, interesting and basically all kinds of people. But all thanks to my amazing sleeping skills, I end up neither talking nor observing people as such. Yea, I have now mastered the art of sleeping in the trains so much so that I sometimes wonder if it is a inborn trait. It is very rare that I dont sleep in the train and even rarer is the scene when I do happen to meet interesting people. Yesterday was one such day.

I was in the train reading Indian Express when this cute little girl came and sat next to me. She was probably around 8-9 years old and was in her school uniform. I couldn't help but wondering how cute the girl looked with the malli poo(mogra flowers or jasmine)tuck in her hair with the help of a hairpin. I went back to reading my newspaper. Suddenly I overheard other lady asking her about her school. The little girl said,"I study in Balmohan Vidya Mandir in Dader". The lady looked at the girl in marvel and said,"So you daily travel from Thane to Dader to attend school?" The girl nodded in approval. I think the girl had a smug look after seeing the lady's reaction. It's quite a feat travelling daily in train for a girl who is all of eight years old. I began talking to her.

I got to know that her school timings were from 1 to 5 pm. Now trains are usually very crowded in the evenings, its the rush hour. I asked her,"Why do you travel so much? There are so many good schools in Thane too." Then she told me how they earlier lived in Dadar. She's been with this school right from the beginning. I could see that she loved her school and didn't regard train travelling as a bother at all. All through the time I was talking to her, I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that she was so sure about what she wanted. She was quite a social kid and started telling me tales about her friends in her apartment in Thane. "Don't you feel like going to the same school as your Thane friends do?" I asked. She had a ready answer, NO! She proceeded to tell me that she was more close to her school friends in Dadar than her building friends and that she doesn't feel like quitting the school for that reason.

Children more often than not are clear about what they want. The school is an important area of socialisation for a kid. I often wonder how children of parents with tranferable jobs cope up. I mean, schools bring a sense of permamnency, the 12-14 year schooling experience that a child goes through is very important. No wonder some of our best friends are from school. I have couple of cousins who have changed schools frequently because of their fathers' transferable jobs. In a way I think its great as it gives such children an opportunity to make new friends everywhere. but I can't help but wondering at the sadness that might engulf them when they its time to move out. I remember one cousin of mine telling me,"We had just settled down here, made all new friends and now it is time to move out" and then burst into tears. I therefore maintain a certain kind of stability is essential for a child in its growing years. There is obviously lies a difference having memories about a place where one has studied for 12 years as compared to studying in a place for 2 years. Somehow a sense of belonging is lost.

Speaking about trains, today much to my misfortune, I got into a very crowded train. I had a hellish time getting off at Dadar. doesn;t need a workout if one travels in crowded trains like these everyday. I got out of the train gasping for fresh air when I saw this lady who too was in a similar condition like mine. But then I noticed that she was pregnant. She just went and sat in the bench cluthcing her stomach. Holy Shit, I almost freaked out looking at her condition. I mean who in her right mind will board a crowded train like this in such a condition. Thankfully she had her husband alongwith her. Poor thing, really felt sad for that lady. I hope she's fine....:(

P.S: I forgot to add, the girl was accompanied by her mother :)

1 comment:

Shobha said...

I, Me and Media!

BlogBack Closing 13th October 2005.

its good to sleep sometimes .. for such obserevations can become overwhelming .. but then its good to observe and ponder that there is an entire life to every person. I used to ponder and guess what that would be .. I am the silent type observing wthout engaging mostly ..

it is hard for the school child .. I understand I changed school twice and so studied in 3 schools but it did give me a varied experience for which I am glad today .. it is a great feat for the girl but in today's world it extremly dangerous to travel that way alone everyday.

and the preg lady .. it is sad .. but a major chunk of the populace live that way .. having to meet daily challenges at everystep to conserve money or that they can afford only so much .. it is the common men & women .. and mostly women married to worthless and lazy men that suffer the most and are the true heroes of the nation ..

2005-03-24 15:45

u know what … it becomes really tough changing your skool, esp. if u do it for the first time in senior school.,i changed my school when i was in 7 and almost retracted to a shell for the next couple of years…

yes ! you find so many myriad ppl in trains that you could possibly write a book on each of them and even then the tome will never be finished … but i really pity these kids who have to travel so much for school … it kills their social life … !

dont they have any system in mumbai local trains whereby pregnant women/people with disabilities/very old people can go aaramse?? they ought to !

2005-03-24 18:39

You have a god-given gift of sleeping whenever and wherever. I can only sleep if I am in a perfect horizontal sleeping position - no sitting and standing, unfortunately.
I agree, trains in Mumbai are very crowded. Too crowded for my liking.

I would be really surprised to see an 8 year old travelling in a Mumbai suburban train alone. The earliest I started to go alone was actually when I was 12. I was apprehensive even then. Come to think of it, even I changed schools a lot. From my kindergarten, I went through something like 6 schools.
Do I regret changing schools so often and leaving old friends? ACtually no. I guess it is because new friends take the void left by old ones. I only still wish I could contact my old friends somehow.
And there are many aspects to leaving friends. When it happens very early in schooling period, you are not so mature, and there would not be so much sadness in leaving old friends, but later on, it is possible to develop more emotional closeness with certain friends. Leaving them becomes veyr hard.

2005-03-24 22:54

changing schools??!! temme bout it :-|

i studies in 8 schools from LKG through 12th standard. but actually you know…in some respects it was also a lot of fun!! i am in touch with a few friends from high school but will always regret losing touch with my buddies from classes 6th thru 9th..and boy…i had some amazing friends. neways…i guess its all a part of the deal.

2005-03-25 00:11

Kishore: True heroes….u said it!

Kpower: Nothing of that sort exists here yaa….

Sat: Hahaha! yea, god given gift:P heeheee! seriosuly, it is!

Ashwin: 8 schools in 14 years……….shesssssssh, that's quite a lot!

2005-03-26 13:27

Mumbai trains……….secret of my energy ……..just energise you without much efforts……….just stand whereever you are n other will do excersie for you……..
had stayd in mumbai for 4 yrs for engineering…….but now it had became my"aamchi mumbai"……….

Ashwani………. 8 schools in 14 yrs……….GREAT………i believe your gradution life was in one campus (if done)))):-……….but great yaar……….still in touch with so many frds…..
good good ……..keep going…..

2005-03-29 08:57


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