Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh the Things You See on the New York Subway

Time: after 9:30p.m.

Location: Lower East Side – it was a crispy clear night with that hint of drizzle that felt like ambrosia.

Event: Creative writing Workshop

The class was near finishing, and I remember the instructor sharing her few last minute avante-garde tips. One of them was, “always take notes when you are on the move. It helps you compose the final piece.” So I stepped out of class; all inspired, with a notebook in my hand. I boarded the "F" train, homeward bound and pondered what my next blog was going to be about. There were enthralling ideas we discussed in class that could have been the answer. I was still in a bedlam, when suddenly the Goddess of words smiled at me and at 34th Street my subjects boarded the train.

By now, it was past 10p.m. The subway car was relatively empty and thankfully deprived of human cacophony. The echo of my own thoughts sounded like ethereal melody. Anyway, this couple (my subjects) sat right across from me. They were clearly middle-aged, married (they both had worn wedding bands) Indian couple--man with his distinct round glasses and thick, black mustache while the lady with hair shorter than the man. I have to say, what struck me as odd, was their mannerism—the amorous glances they shared were blinding and nauseating.

So, the woman in high heel boots strut her stuff and with a sigh, graced the subway seat; meanwhile, the man with five huge, stuffed-to-the-brim Macy's bags followed her inside. Mind you, the high maintenance lady's hands were empty while the husband pleased her with his porter skills. The chemistry gets more intriguing: the man gave the woman a hand massage like he was cautiously cleaning a recherché stone (I remember thinking--massage for carrying the weight of air on her hands? If anything, shouldn't she be massaging his hands? After all, hadn't he just lugged the shopping bags full of goodies?) Wait, my eyebrows went up further. The guy took out two burgers from a Burger King packet. He gave the first unwrapped piece to his master, sorry wife; he passed on the napkins to her and only then did he dare to dig a bite into his lard and sodium laden junk food. It wasn't the sight of half-masticated beef pieces in their mouth that intrigued me; there was something strange about the duo. The man stroked the lady's hair and romantically stared into her eyes. I was quite enjoying my train ride with this woman and her she-man or somewhat man or prince charming or a character right out of Mills & Boon.

The bubble bursts: As I was taking notes hoping that’s my word dabble wasn’t conspicuous, I overheard the guy ask the lady about her job and how she never talked to him about it. I remember thinking, “hmmm. That’s bizarre. Women normally can't shut up and this guy is complaining about his wife not talking about things.” My eyebrows arched further when I heard the lady say, "My husband said...." Oh My God! What?

It all finally made sense. These two were a couple; just not married to each other. Even before I could get over my epiphany, I saw the lady get off a stop before the guy and alluringly bid him goodnight.

I guess, call it stereotyping, but I wasn’t expecting to see two 50-year old Indians cheating on their spouse so nonchalantly. That too on the New York subway! Come to think of it, the man’s effusive, extraordinary, romantic behavior were all signs…Oh the things onlookers witness on NYC subways.

More until next time.

Copyright © 04.10.2008

“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being” — Oscar Wilde


Pradeep Srivastava said...

At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, the best advice that makes sense in this scenario is, "Chastity before marriage and fidelity in it!"

Anonymous said...

Auntyji/uncleji ishq ladaye? terrible.