Friday mornings almost invariably put me in good mood (in contrast to Friday evenings, which invariably put me in somber mood). As I start getting ready for office, a peppy song makes it way to my lips and I find myself singing aloud :
"Aawaaran Bhawnrey.. Jo Holley Holley Gaaye..
Phoolon Ke Rang Se.. Hawaayen Sar Saraayen.."
In my mind, I see a very perky & bubbly Kajol frolicking in sunflower fields with half a dozen busty friends.
"Kyaa Uncle, ekdum light ??"
My roommate interrupts my early morning reverie and I crash land back to earth. From time to time we (as in me & roomies) have this peculiar habit of slipping into 'Satya' lingo. In past 6 years we must have watched this movie atleast a dozen times. For reasons well beyond me, my roommates unanimously labeled me 'Uncle' after the bearded eccentric lawyer (Makarand Deshpande) from Satya. Agreed that, I am ‘now’ old enough to be called an Uncle, but 6 years back when I was christened as 'Uncle' for the first time, I was still a sprightly 27 year young lad. I still had not started dyeing my grey hair bi-monthly (as I do now). No way, I could have been an uncle back then. But somehow the name stuck. Six years down the line, I have grudgingly made peace with the Uncle tag. Anyways, moving on to this Friday morning, I pick my dialogue cue, and reply back,
"Arey Shabbo ko try to kar, keechad mein bhi kamal khiltey hein dost"
Pleasantries exchanged, roommie makes his way to the bathroom while I gather my wallet, room keys, office access card, cell and head out of our apartment. Soon I find myself waiting for the MRT. The song is still with me, but this being a public place, my lips are sealed. It now plays silently in the deep (ok maybe, shallow) recesses of my mind. The train comes. Incredibly, its not crowded as it normally is. Although I don't get a seat, but still there is plenty of legroom to stand comfortably (& ogle). Four stations before my alighting point I get a seat. It’s a corner seat, adjacent to the door.
"Please offer this seat to those who need it more than you do"
Says a sign-board above this corner seat with the customary picture of 'a pregnant lady, a child & a cane totting senior citizen' accompanying the textual message. As if right on cue, a heavily pregnant lady enters at City Hall station. One look at her incredibly fat n rotund belly and I promptly slip into flashback mode.
Flashback to Wednesday :
Same City Hall station. Same heavily pregnant lady. Same me. I am looking at her tummy with a mixture of intrigue and fear. The girth of her belly makes me wonder if the baby would pop-out even before we reach Bugis (the station next to City Hall). A girl sitting on the corner seat, quite graciously offers her seat to the preggy lady. The preggy lady equally graciously declines the offer saying she is getting down at next station. End of conversation. Preggy lady indeed gets down at next station. End of flashback.
Back to Friday Morning :
This time, I am seated in the corner seat, I recollect the scene which happened 2 days back. I can't be wrong, she is the same lady. There is no mistaking that belly. Normally, I would have offered the seat to her but knowing that she gets down at next stop, I just sit there with my eyes focused to infinity. As always, infinity doesn’t keep me interested for too long, my eyes start wandering around the compartment. I notice 2 pairs of eyes (belonging to 2 good looking girls) staring at me with un-disguised contempt and anger. Unlike me, they don't have the benefit of the flashback. They obviously are pissed that I haven't offered the seat to preggy lady. In their eyes, I am an insensitive sonofabitch. An impromptu tribunal is set. I feel like I am standing in a witness box and am being cross-examined by 2 pretty Ally-Mcbealish-lawyers-cum-co-passengers. My offence ?
“Not showing courtesy to a pregnant lady”.
I squirm in my seat. Quite frankly, the lady didn’t need a seat, rather she needed a bed in a maternity ward with a mid-wife, a doctor and some epidural on the stand-by. I keep my opinion to myself. I am caught in two minds, should I offer the seat to the lady ? (knowing fully well that she is going to refuse) or should I remain nonchalant and don't bother being in the good books of two un-known girls. I choose the later. I coolly close my eyes and pretend to sleep cutting the victim (preggy lady) and my two accusers out of my vision.
Next stop BUGIS.. (the PA system in the MRT announces the arrival of next station)
Wearily I open my eyes. For sure, the victim alights. I feel relieved & vindicated. I look again at the two jurors. They are in no mood to forgive me. They have already passed their judgment. GUILTY. I shrug my shoulders and close my eyes, once again becoming oblivious to their accusing stares & crinkling noses. In my mind however, I can no longer hold on to the sunny notes of “Aawaaran Bhawrey”. My mood slowly starts to swing from being upbeat to downright morose.
p.s : There would be some factions who might argue that I should have offered my seat to one of the two jurors. Well being a pro-feminist (whatever that means) I feel that gesture would have been downright derogatory and sexist. So there.