We were sitting at the right side of the coach, where there are three seats to a row. We had a window seat, which was grabbed by wifey the moment we boarded, and a middle-seat. I too love the window-seat, but since we got married, that seat has belonged to wifey. My requests for it were always brushed aside, sometimes a little rudely too, until recently, when I gave up trying.
After the train started, I pulled the lever to incline the back of my seat a little, but the lever didn’t budge and the seat didn’t comply. It didn’t change its inclination at all – not even by a degree, and in this manner, it reminded me of wifey’s temperament. I pushed and pulled at the lever with all my might, and if wifey hadn’t stopped me, I’d have uprooted it – but the seat refused to budge.
However, my failed attempts directed wifey’s attention to the matter, and she thought of trying it out too. She always does this. I come up with an idea, and she copies it – with no lag. Having just experienced the pain of the process, I offered to help, but being the feminist she is, she brushed my offer aside, and delicately pulled the lever that was situated between the side of the train and her seat. Her seat obeyed her command instantaneously, making me wonder if the seat in question was a male. She threw me a smug look, and leaned back in the seat, taking the seat as far as it would go.
I turned my attention to a crocodile game being played by the young woman sitting in the window seat of the row in front. She was selecting a crocodile to play with – and there were such fabulous looking crocs – polka-dotted, blue, red and blue, with stars and stripes…what a collection!
But my appreciation of the croc-beauty was cut short by a looooonnng eeeeeeeekkks from wifey.
She was leaning into my seat, her eyes now even bigger than the biggest bowl we have in her house, and with her shaking finger pointing at the hole from which the tilt-lever of her seat emerged.
“What?” I said, trying to look past her.
“Can’t you see? Cockroaches!”
And then I saw them.
Cute little things, going about their daily chores. A couple of them were running up the stalk of the lever. I counted three struggling to find their way through the crevice where the seat joined the side of the train. Another little guy was hurrying over the side wall, trying to get into a vertical gap. He was in a tearing hurry – like he was late for office and he had a boss like mine.
“Take a picture, take a picture!” cried wifey.
“That won’t be nice – that would be like interfering in their lives, intruding into their privacy; it would be voyeurism,” I rejected the idea.
“You are mad. We must tweet the pictures. Tell everyone how dirty the coach was. I’ll also include Modi’s twitter-handle to show him how “swacchh”(clean) the train is!”
I didn’t move a finger. That made her madder still.
“What?” she enquired, wondering why I had lost my ability to speak.
Then she snatched my phone away from me, and snapped a few pictures, but the cockroaches, I tell you, they are a camera-shy group. She didn’t get any. I heaved a sigh of relief.
“Now what?” I asked her. The peak-hour cockroach traffic had now abated, and the roads were clear, but wifey still fought her entomophobia.
“I don’t want the window-seat,” she grumbled. She hates giving it up.
I wanted to pounce upon the opportunity, but I didn’t want her to know that, so I stayed quiet.
“Will you come here? Can we exchange our seats?”
I dallied a little…it was a nice change. Her voice was sweet and soothing…you know how wives talk when they want to wheedle you into doing something?
Then I gave in. Magnanimously.
I spent the next seven hours enjoying the scenery outside thanking my benefactors, who didn’t trouble me at all!