Well, I've had a fair share of strange incidents and people, as a friend once mentioned, I'm probably a weird-magnet of sorts. I've had spoilt rich brats doing wheelies while passing by me, only to realise in utter disappointment that they went through all the trouble for a guy; I've had eunuchs praising me for my hair quality and not even asking for money ( I was so startled by this that I even forgot to thank him/her ). But one of the queerest things happened to me couple of weeks back in the Delhi Metro.
So I was on my way back from a friend's place and had boarded the blue line metro from CP ( Rajiv Chowk, if you will). It was not too crowded, as trains come, however, I knew for sure that I won't be getting any place to sit on it. So, with the cultivated wisdom of a frequent metro rider, I chose to stand in the niche between the door and the seats. One of the few places in the metro where you can lean on the glass partition behind and not worry about people jostling you in their frenzy to get on or off the train. The rest of the train was fairly empty, people sitting, dozing off and a few hopefuls standing in front of them, hoping to poach a seat or two.
As I stood smugly in my strategic position, gently resting on the glass partition, she boarded the train. She was with her friend, who quickly proceeded to take position in front of one of the seats, joining the queue of the hopefuls. She however, did not. She chose instead to stand right beside me. Under normal circumstances this would have been a fairly massive ego-massage, considering she chose to stand beside me in spite of having a million other places to stand in an empty train ( including 7 other similar "strategic" positions by the door). But as is my fate, such luck, especially concerning women, was not to be.
Soon after, I noticed, to my horror, that she was sobbing inconsolably !! And so it went on for the next 12 stations ! Everyone who got on or off the train, saw this guy (me) standing by the door, and a girl standing beside him and crying. I am sure some people must have thought I had something to do with it and cursed me under their breath . I got a fair share of disapproving looks from women and men alike. Perhaps, some of the religious lot even conjured up visions of me being burned alive or tormented in pots of hot oil in the deepest recesses of Hell. The more moral might have nodded their heads in dismay and uttered stuff like " Boys these days..". The feminists perhaps secretly planned my castration.
Neither my formal education nor my survival training had prepared me for such a situation. I was at my wit's end, and so did what I could do best. I just stood there and absorbed the bad vibes and looks. At one point however, I did think of asking her, what was wrong, but her loud sobbing made it difficult for me to drop in a word, fearing it may lead to an outburst.
The only person who perhaps rightfully deduced the absence of any link between me and the girl crying beside me, was this wandering "Romeo". He took a quick glance at us and then perhaps satisfied with either the absence of a link or the presence of an opportune moment , decided to stand right in front of us. He stood facing the door, his profile towards us, without holding on to anything, like a seasoned Navy man standing on the deck of his boat. But of course he lacked the skills of the Navy man, that was the whole point of his "plan" I suppose. He would glance at me sometimes, otherwise too engrossed in staring ceaselessly at the girl, and gently rock with the motions of the train. Now and then he would rock too much, just-about-to-fall kinds.
Flummoxed, though I was, with a crying girl by my side, his shenanigans, however did not go unnoticed by me. So, at his moment of glory, his coup de grace, when he decided to finally fall over towards the girl as the train stopped at a station, I caught him, breaking his fall. Disappointed, perhaps, he slowly moved on to the front of a seat far away, without a word.
At this point the girl also decided to change her position and move on to stand beside her friend. I didn't check whether she continued to cry thereafter. I was far too relieved and besides, I was to get off at the next station.