Sunday, November 14, 2010

The baby in the Metro coach

The other day I was travelling by the Metro train in one of their brand new ladies coaches (Aren’t we lucky we have dedicated coaches for our gender?). It was around 10.30 in the morning and the coach wasn’t much crowded. Since there were no vacant seats, I was standing. There was this baby girl, around one and a half years of age busy playing and strolling around the coach. Her mother, who was sitting was having a hard time in making the baby sit on her lap. She was a hyperactive kid and wouldn’t listen to her mother. This kid had a milk bottle in her hand and was running around the coach as she would do in her own home. Meanwhile, all the ladies in the coach were having a nice time watching the baby’s antics. Since she was a little kid who had probably just learnt how to walk, she tended to lose balance whenever the train stopped or moved and there wasn’t a single lady who hadn’t held her to prevent her from falling. She had become the star of the coach! I, on my part, was just watching the whole thing and didn’t try to hold her even once coz I knew the other girls standing next to me would anyway do it. May be the reason behind my apparent lack of interest was the fact that I was not in a good mood that day, so I simply avoided the baby though I did smile at few of her actions.
If you are one of those who has no idea how the metro coach looks from inside, this is how it looks:
 Suddenly the baby went towards one side and started touching and tried to explore some random technical black component on the side of the coach. An aunty who was delighted with this act of hers, commented to her mother, “Badi hokar technician banegi” (She’ll grow up to be a technician). I almost wanted to tell that aunty to spare her from the adult world ideologies of what’s right for the kid. For Chrissake, she’s just a toddler. Why can’t these people keep their unsolicited suggestions to themselves and just let the kids do their own thing? Will they never learn? ‘N’ number of movies have been made on the subject, but they’ll never stop imposing their views, even if the kid has just barely learnt how to talk. 
In the meantime, I got a seat right opposite her mother and was watching the whole thing. All this while, the baby had failed to notice me. Then it happened! The baby looked at me and then at my hands. She looked intently for about 15 seconds and then came running towards me. It then occurred to me that she had taken a fancy for my phone, which is nothing but a poor Nokia 6300. Though it looks just about fine, the phone is so battered that I’ve to keep it’s body tied with a rubber band to avoid the parts from falling off (Yeah, I’ve never found out the time to repair the damn thing!). Mind you, dear readers, there were much better hi-tech cell phones in the hands of better looking girls inside that coach, but this little girl, who till this time was happy in her own world, playing, running around, shaking that milk bottle in her hand, laughing and making the women in the coach laugh along with her had to get enamored by my tattered phone! She tried to take the phone from me, obviously expecting that I’ll give it happily to her. But deep inside my mind, I was wondering what made the little thing fall for my phone. Was it the green colored rubber band tied around it? Every other woman’s eyes were on me. The coach was silent. The girl who was the star till now made the spotlight turn to me. My mind raced in those few seconds: should I give it to her or not was the question. Moreover, I had to get down at the next station. With little time left with me and the baby on the verge of crying seeing my not-so-favorable response, I was in a fix! I finally decided not to give it in her hands but let her touch the thing. But can that satisfy a baby? No. A baby likes to possess the thing that catches her fancy. They love to take it in their own hands, touch it, smell it, taste it, twist it and after getting the hang of it, throw it. That’s their psychology.
And here she was surprised by my attitude (obviously, she was used to adults giving in to her demands), she tried to snatch it from me once, twice, thrice, but the only thing I let her do was touch the phone. I was conscious of the many eyes on me and was confused whether I was doing the right thing. How was I to know that out of all the ladies present there, she’ll come and make me the center of attraction?
Then she did what kids her age are best at- she started crying. Infact, she howled and went up to her mother making a complaining face. I was embarrassed. I never wanted her to cry and had tried my best (in that limited time) to do what was best, for me and her! Almost by reverse reaction, I gave the phone in her hands but women around said she may drop it off, so her mother gave it back to me. I hid it under my bag and tried to show her that it vanished into thin air (You got to behave like a kid with kids!) But as if mocking me she cried even more loudly. I was feeling bad for inadvertently being made the reason behind her crying. Inane it may sound, but wasn’t the kid happy all this while till she laid her eyes on the stupid phone?  I looked around to see the ladies’ reaction: some smiled, some empathized, some let out a sigh, and some sat expressionless. 
Her mother was consoling the kid by telling her that the phone actually did vanish and that it no longer existed in my hands. I on my part was showing her my empty hands, hoping this would silence the kid. It then occurred to me that the train had halted at my station. In the melee, I had completely forgotten that this was the station I had to get down at. Before the doors could close, I rushed out picking up my bag and the phone, almost running in daze with questions looming in my head-
Was the mother thinking that her cheerful kid had to cry coz of some random stranger? What was so special about the phone that caught her attention when there were better looking and colorful phones around in girls’ hands? Did the green rubber band make it look so special in her eyes? Did I do the right thing? Should I have given the phone to her to play? But I had to alight at the next station! What were the other ladies thinking? Why would anyone think anything? However funny it may sound, out of all the ladies present in the coach, wasn't I made the scapegoat, and that too by a baby?
Then realization dawned:
1. People don’t think about you, as much as you think they do. Most of the time, they are busy and concerned only with themselves.
2.      You are not that important to others (read: people who don’t know you/strangers/random people you travel with on public transport).
3.      Kids are like that: they’ll cry at the drop of a hat. You don’t have to feel sorry for yourself if they cried in your presence coz of you. They just need a reason sometimes. That isn’t a deciding factor whether you’ll be good or miserable with them when the situation arises.
4.      The adults will never stop forcing career decisions on kids, no matter what their age is. They may even forecast it the moment they are born.
5.      You tend to over-estimate yourself sometimes and imagine others noticing and judging you. In reality, it doesn’t happen.
And the last one:
6.      You have to be really jobless to write such a long post on a trivial incident like this and jot down lessons learned from it.
Incidentally, it also happens to be the Children's Day today. Ah! Only kids can get their way around anything.


Chakshu Dharni said...

Nice realization at the end. All you realized from a small incidence is frank and this has happened to allmost everyone of us at some point of time but the thing is allmost all of us don't realize this that these small incidents always have deeper meanings and reasons.

peter said...

been there done that !!

And the outcome is that kids don't have reasons to cry but they do and grown ups have plenty of reasons to cry, but they don't !

That's me said...

To be the centre of (unwanted) attention and to be held responsible for a kid's bawling is a bad situation to be in. Nice timing of the post :)

The Silence Within said...

Nice post.

Well described.

Really wonderful points in the end. We think a lot about what others think about us. It is one major source of our inhibitions and restricts us from giving our best to society in a situation.

Harish said...

nice post.

wanderer said...

touching my friend very very very touching...

Dan* said...

haha nice

Shruti said...

@Chakshu- Hey Chakshu! Good to see your comment here :)
True, it happens with everyone, but we don't tend to journalize them.
Hope to see you more around here :)

Shruti said...

@Peter- You said it! Acting all grown up is a part of being grown up, no!

Shruti said...

@That's me- Trust me, it is. And who wants to be put in an 'unwanted' situation? :D The timing was incidental!!
Do come back :)

Shruti said...

@The Silence Within- Thank you very much :)
This is something we easily slip into. Also hard to get out of something we are accustomed to!!

Shruti said...

@Harish- Thanks :)
You could have said something more than just 'nice'!! :P

Shruti said...

@wanderer- That's something! I mean the word 'touching' made me revisit the post!! :-)

Shruti said...

@Dan- Thanks :)

sawan said...

thnx - for sharing the pic of the metro, i havnt seen one till date!

instead of thinking how jobless one has to be to write such a long post for such a trivial incident, you could have thought how creative one shud be for the same! the amount of time taken for both the thoughts are same, yet the second one has a feel good factor. its not a crime to pamper self at times :P

good one on a good day :)

Ashish said...

I thought that I'm one of its kind frugal cell-phone owner who finds it okay not replace his phone even if the keys have lost their printed numbers/alphabets/symbols.

But, a green-rubber band wali ladki! never though such a species existed

kanjoos :P

mk said...

ur realization..and the inference you made..funny ,
yess, the last one..
You have to be really jobless to write such a long post on a trivial incident!!

but that would have been a nice trivial incidence indeed..except for the crying part!!...keep blogging!! :) :)

rashid1891 said...

This blog might not make sense. I'm still trying to make sense of it all. Just going on adventures, trying new things, meeting new people, being out, saying yes to everything, closing the gap between my thoughts and my actions.

rashid1891 said...

This blog might not make sense. I'm still trying to make sense of it all. Just going on adventures, trying new things, meeting new people, being out, saying yes to everything, closing the gap between my thoughts and my actions.

Dhanya said...

I would behave in the same way like you did if I landed in such a situation. Not yet a pro when it comes to handling kids! *Phew*

vishesh said...

And I was jobless enough to read this post :P

Pesto Sauce said...

I too experienced Delhi metro this time, copy of Dubai metro in total

Shruti said...

@sawan- Ha! You always make it a point to write some kind words. Thanks :)

@ashish- Not kanjoos!
Broke shall be the word! :(
Will chanting the words "I will get rich one day" work wonders? I mean all those philosophical gurus keep saying, you need to visualize good things and the universe conspires to get those things to you!!! :D
Then one day, i too can boast around my fancy and 'mehenga' phone :P

Shruti said...

@mk- Happy to know you found it funny! :) Y'know, it's difficult to get people to say 'That was funny' :D
Keep visiting the space :)

@rashid- Err..Your statements- I couldn't make heads or tails out of it!!

Shruti said...

@dhans- That day is not far, when you'll become a pro at handling kids!! ;-)

@vishesh- Good to know you read it :D

@pesto sauce- That's an interesting username! Oh! Does it actually look like the Dubai tube? Guess the metro looks more or less the same around the world.

Kailash C said...

Hey Hi,

This is a good post indeed. I believe thats what blogs are meant for.. To share the thoughts of one's self and the interesting incidences happening in their life ( for all incidences, you have twitter). I think the mother of the kid must have sensed it and must have reacted before the baby was going to cry. You just don't have to feel bad, as you haven't done anything intentional.

Since I know, you will curse me for opening your page for almost 8 hours everyday and not leaving a comment, I have written it finally today.

The Dilli Mirror said...

Ouch! you just touched a raw nerve. I was supposed to be "Bada hoke doctor".. cdnt even make it to compounder, in fact I have to google what to take for headache!

Shruti said...

@kailash- Whaaaat?? Eight hours everyday!!! You gotta be kidding me!
But, err..what for? :O
The content is not even worth to be pondered over for that long. :D

@the dilli mirror- Ow! You can always become something in an area which you're genuinely good at. I'm sure there'll be atleast one such good field!! :)

Sourav C. Pandey said...

Thanks! And the next time around, I'd know what goes inside a childs' mind when they try to get what you have! You were right, you gotta be a kid to know what is there in their minds! ;)

PS - I was booked with a warning the last time I tried taking a picture at the Rajiv Chowk Metro station, no wonder girls are getting so much in to crime these days! :P

Shruti said...

@sourav- See you learnt something!! :D
Btw, Is photography prohibited in the Metro? :O
Seriously, I'm not aware of the same. How come I never knew about it!!
And this pic was Googled, so I never got down taking pictures inside the coach, mainly coz either I'm in a hurry or the coach is almost always jam-packed(don't even remind me of the rush at Rajiv Chowk :D)

Rohan said...

Aha..Should have given the phone to the baby..and then snatched it away :P j/k j/k

Brilliant post..this is called making a mountain out of almost nothing :D..a trivial incident in a day which almost everyone of us would notice..but only you came up with an excellent story out of it..bravo..:)

Shruti said...

@Rohan: That's exactly what I did!! I've mentioned it in the post!!! :D
Now I know, you've just skipped through the post :P
Know what? That's what I normally do- make grand issues out of nothing (guess, aadat se majboor :D)
And thank you for those nice words :)
Wonder where you got my blog link from?
And do visit again.. :)

Rohan said...

Rofl @ skipped through the post..No NO..I mis understood it somewhere in between !! :P

Where did I find your blog link from? ..ahem..maybe it was meant to be :)

You got yourself a regular visitor here :)


Terror #1 said...

Hahahaha....I had a similar situation... Luckily I was not the reason for the crying kid...the mom was...the mom told her not to take my phone so she started bawling... i was like "phew hell woman now u gotta make her stop crying..."

Well if its any consolation...maybe that kid is already showing signs of an attention seeker (i know its a tad mean)...but look at it this way...u were the only one not giving her attention...n she needed everybody' hence u were the victim of this vicious kiddie desire...

mohitparikh said...

If one has to be jobless to meditate and write on such 'trivial incidents', then one ought to be. :)