On long train rides back home from work & studies you get bored. The same incessant boredom that hits you on the 6th hour of that 14 hour flight. You know, that boredom where time doesn’t really pass and you become worried. The boredom in which you’re afraid to start contemplating your life because if you start, you know it won’t end well. There’s too much brain space in there that will be clouded. So you resort to contemplating how many creases your fingers have, or what shade of blue the sky is today…
On one long train ride back home, I finally realised that this is my routine for another few months, maybe another few years. This boredom won’t end 7 hours from now, this isn’t a 14 hour flight. This is my my life, every day now, at least for a while.
Accordingly, being the avid word enthusiast I am, I started writing. Well, mentally writing because I didn’t want to pain my eyes with yet another screen any longer nor could I be bothered to use a pen and paper.
I write with my eyes shut and my imagination wide open.
I see a woman sitting in front of me. An Indian lady in her traditional sari & a fake Louis Vuitton playing around with the beige Birkenstocks in her feet. Her toe nails are painted. One yellow, one pink. Matching her sari. I close my eyes. I know I have another 40-60 minutes. I close my eyes and I use my imagination as my pen and my fish memory as an unreliable notebook.
“Mansi boarded her 9:13 PM train back home. She sat there contemplating her new sandals wondering whether her kids will ask their insolvent mother where she got the money to buy them from. What would she tell them? She got a night job at a call center, maybe? She looks at her watch and let’s go of a sigh. 52 more minutes. If she was at work now, she would’ve made a good $500 out of those 52 minutes.
She’s glad she’s not at work though. She wants to stop, she really does. She doesn’t want this duplicity of a life. But how? The thrill of it, all of it, motivates her for a tomorrow. The sneaking around, the fact that she gets to dress like the girls in Hollywood rather than the girls in Bollywood, the people she meets, their power and influence in society… Not that she can ever resort to it, their power, but knowing she could be in bed with them, controlling their body movements, asking them to dress down for her, having them in surreptitious acts that might end their careers and lives, it gave her euphoria. But most importantly, the money. The money is her late night taste of happiness. She keeps coming back for it.
She realises her train of thought is leading her to an unhealthy decision so she snaps out of it. Back to the train headed to Auburn station. This was a safer train.
She admires her new pedicure, two colours: pink & yellow, to match her sari. And her lingerie.
44 minutes. She sighs again. Back to the train of thoughts because the trains of Sydney can’t seem to go any faster.
She recalls how she got to this city. It was an arranged marriage.
“He’s rich, an engineer! You will live in a big house in the suburb to avoid the city chaos! You will become Australian.
You will put shame on this family if you reject.”
Rich, earning less than the median income because he didn’t end up completing his engineering degree. Instead he works at a depo, packaging shipments all night only to come back home at 7am and bash the hell out of his wife for not being up and not having his food ready. The suburbs were ideal, a quiet semi-empty neighbourhood where no one sees and no one hears.
Mansi didn’t know what rights were, what a voice was. All she knew was that after a few days the bruises become easier to cover. She knew he wouldn’t touch the kids because they were too tiny, too fragile.
But then they grew up…
She looks at her watch.
She wishes he could see her now. Powerful, in her own ways. Rich, richer than she was with him at least.. emotionally, physically and financially.
The train makes a stop. A drunk man, mid 50’s, well groomed and in a suit walks in. The aroma in our carriage turns into a mix of a $400 Tom Ford perfume and a $40 bottle of scotch.
Mansi looks at him, struck in what seems to be a mix of shock and fear. She hopes by whichever god exists out there that he wouldn’t recognise her, that her sari would be enough of a disguise.
It wasn’t. He notices her and all hell breaks loose.”
To see what happens with Mansi please suggest ways in which I can enhance my fish memory. Or methods of writing without having to use any physical effort.
Otherwise, we could both leave Mansi’s life to our imaginations & make her story end the way we’d each like it to.
After a long day of using my brain I always resort to setting it free for an hour or so. I take a mental picture of whatever is infront of me and let it create its own images. Your brain is a part of you and if you keep clouding it with thoughts of responsibilities and tomorrow’s, it will grow tired. It will fail on you when you most need it. Treat it with care, let it go wild when it wants to and let it rest when it needs to.
Feel free to share how you spend your time on your commute back home after a long busy day.
Take care of yourself lovely ones and keep an eye open for my next post x