In my college years, I used to be a frequent train traveler – both in locals ~ that took me to my college and the central line ~ that took me to my hometown in far north-east. And in both, I’ve seen weirdest of people travelling.
For instance that fat old Aunty, whom I remember very well, and whom I met almost every day ( she’d go to her office around same time ), while I was on my way to my college. She used to almost always occupy a particular seat by the window and I’d often find myself sitting opposite her, by some cruel fate of Karma. She was so huge, she’d occupy almost one-third of the seat, with the other occupants literally dangling at the edges, hanging on to it for their dear lives. The time from Dadar to Churchgate was around 45 minutes or so, and this aunty used to travel all the way from Borivali ( a far away suburb where the train started – hence, that specific seat of hers ). So, naturally she had been in that train for longer time, and made it quite her home. And obviously, she carried her kitchen along too. This I say, because I’d always find all kinds of things peeled and thrown about, on the floor near her, while she munched on the fruits that she ate – guavas, apples, oranges, chikku you name it, she carried a huge potli of them. Not just satisfied with fruits alone, she carried chips and other eatables too, the packets and crumbs of which would often find their way to the floor as well. After eating to her heart's satisfaction, she’d then take out a large bottle of water, gulp some and gurgle - to collect all leftover debris in her mouth and try spitting out from the grilled windows.
With the train running in full speed, and wind blowing, that spitted water would crash against the grills and some remnants of the wet-debris would then change direction and to our horror aim directly at us. After suffering through this agony for quite sometime, I stopped taking that seat. Anywhere, but there! I valued my precious life. Standing from far, I continued to watch this daily 'tamasha' of hers. But did anyone have guts to say anything to that lady? Hell no! The size of her alone, along with her intimidating looks would scare the shit out of all. So, everyone would just stay muted and gape at this daily show. She would’ve made a great example of ‘The Great Indian Litterbug’!
The journey sometimes did make me feel hungry too, especially, when I’d rush to college skipping my breakfast. And watching someone eating away merrily, just in front, did make my mouth water too inspite of the the disgust it created, watching the littered mess just below. And I’d often find myself looking for some odd hawkers, who came inside the train, carrying chips/chikkis to quell my hunger pangs. And buying myself some of those eatables, not that I gave any competition to that lady, I’d pride myself to the fact that I did not litter inside the train, like her. Instead, I’d keep the empty packet clutched in my hands and wait patiently near the door, just before the station came. And from within the crowds, my hand would then slowly slither out, carrying the packet, and would quickly throw it near the tracks, before anyone could notice. Ah, so I was being clean not littering inside the train, but now that I think of it, littering outside didn’t make me any less of 'The Great Indian Litterbug' too, did it? :|