There is something about the movie ‘Bend it like Beckham’ which vividly paints the song ‘Inner Smile’ by Texas in one’s mind. I absolutely love the song and in a way feel nostalgic. I was far younger, happier and carefree in the days when this movie was released. In fact, I think I watched it so very many times until I had to delete it from my laptop to make space for some other movie.

The mantra or my phrase of the day is striking the ‘fine balance’ or attempting the ‘balancing act’. That reminds me, I must read Rohinton Mistry’s ‘A Fine Balance’. Happens every morning while I sit in my carriage and it stumbles, rumbles and fumbles across dirt / sand / rock / pothole strewn roads. I attempt and usually succeed in that brief time to make a couple of calls, put on my ipod, reach for money which is usually kept at a very easy-to-reach and convenient pocket of my bag and get my Travel Card. All this while trying to keep myself from falling off, protecting my bag and my lunch and more so, avoiding tripping on my very long headphones as I descend gracefully from the carriage or with whatever little grace I can muster what with so many carry-alls and being fully bundled up in at least three layers. Then it is a simple matter of dodging individuals who are extremely busy on the phone as they finalize multi-million dollar deals, the slow walkers who are either spaced out or are doing their best to beat a snail’s record, the I-am-putting-on-my-headphones and the crowd getting off the station. Subsequent to this, it is again, a simple matter of climbing three sets of stairs, rather, running as fast as one can, undergoing very many checks and scans, (Observe this: Just on the day you need you are running terribly late, the check would be far more thorough, for whatever reason.) then this dash off across the station and climbing, again, just three sets of stairs, then a bit of a fast walk to the front of the train. It is a wait of a couple of minutes which is spent being stared at / scanned by women waiting for the train and then edging your way through into the train while battling women, their bags, their coats, hands and even feet. On the train it is, again,  a simple matter of balance, of spreading ones’s feet evenly, bending knees at the opportune time and keeping them straight at others. It is a bit like riding the waves on a surf-board. I almost always hate sitting down in buses and trains – on short journeys, it is far more fun to stand, watch the scenes outside flash past you and attempt your best to not lurch ahead or fall behind or sideways or step on someone. In a way, I pride myself on my ability to balance – be it riding a bicycle, a bike or just merely stand in a moving vehicle. Trust me, it is not fun to fall on someone or have people fall on you. I think the engine-drivers have their fair share of fun in applying brakes, going slow, spearheading  full throttle and at times, just stopping the train in its tracks.

A new sort of warfare plagues the Tube these days. In addition to physical warfare, psychological warfare inter alia, it is now a war of the bags. It is when both individuals have huge bags and attempt to not be thrown off / moved from one’s position while jostling for space for their respective bags. One has to be strong and determined that one’s bag shall be held / clutched tightly, close to one’s body and to stand at least an inch away from the nearest co-passenger. Women prefer to move, talk, gesture, laugh with their heads thrown back and are never still creatures. Most importantly, women like to carry huge bags, not only for the very many contents but also for the style statement it makes.

Small miracle – travelling everyday.


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