Travel in a compressed space brings out the reader in one… across all age groups…and across all parts of the globe…It also helps one appear pre-occupied… busy… as nobody would want to align with the proverb- an empty mind is the devil’s workshop”.
It also helps one avoid eye contact…lest you keep staring at the one seated in front of you… or beside you… and it becomes all the more awkward …if it’s a pretty face seated in your proximity… However armed with a newspaper, one can always steal a glance, between the sheets!
I remember travelling in a bus/train/in Mumbai city(a.k.a Bombay)….and watching folks entering the bus/train…eyes hunting for a seat….grabbing a seat…and then getting busy Opening up a news-paper… and folding it small….etiquette… so as not to disturb the person snoozing beside him…Or dish out a booklet or a novel….and start reading
This wasn’t a phenomenon restricted to a particular age group, but a phenomenon visible across all age groups
The tiny tots would open up their school text-books…one could safely infer that exams were around the corner…or simply because they were instructed at home to do so… or for the simple reason that they did not have any comics with him
The office goer, however, would open up the newspaper… just to supervise the goings on in the world and reassure himself that all is well in the world… and also to have some tid-bits ready for conversation over lunchSome others would compulsively open up the stock market page and track their latest gamble at making a quick profit at the exchange
The rebellious college teenager would have a Bollywood tinsel magazine… or a gripping novel or a romantic Mills and Boons …waiting for the hero to either rescue or propose to the heroine….(depending on the novel category….)
The religious would pick up the holy book and start mumbling the lines….the look on their face conveying his expectation for the rest of the fellow passengers to sit Mum….lest their chant ended up as a rant!!
Or there would be an occasional odd ball…who perhaps having forgotten his newspaper would simply stare out of the window…pondering… dreaming… or reading the advertisement boards… ranging from relief from piles… to copulation miracles… finally culminating in Salivation… oops…Salvation
And finally, there were the free readers who simply surrounded by the newspapers would simply steal bytes of news from the corners of their eyes…free of cost :)
And lastly there was this biggest odd -ball, you guessed it right!! “ME”, who had a good time observing people, their faces, their expressions…their behaviour and mannerisms…on a journey not very long…separated only by a few stations en route !!
Image Courtesy jpg

5 replies
  1. lagiraffaminor
    lagiraffaminor says:

    Oh yes city trains can be awkward! In New York all we do is complain about ours. My favorite train was in Rio, though, where it was so crowded that you did’t even have to hold on: the crowds pushing kept us all up and standing.

  2. isaiah46ministries
    isaiah46ministries says:

    I always had a book, but in America, that does not stop guys from asking what are you reading. I once had to tell a gentleman that reading a book meant that I was not interested in small talk. He was appalled, but I just kept reading and not answering him. I always can tell when they have not read the books I am reading, and are just trying to interrupt.


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