The man on the train

Tanya boarded the train at Tampines. Her stop, Clementi, was a good hour and a half away. It was just her fifth day at work, in her six month internship, and she was tired of it already. The guys at work were nice to be with and all that, but she just couldn’t along with their sickening sense of humour or understand what they wanted her to do. And it was just Tuesday. She had another 3 days of torture to stand before the weekend.

The train was quite empty, surprisingly, for it was 7 in the evening, and this was the rush hour when hordes of people left office for home. More people started coming in soon, though, and in five minutes, the compartment started filling in with dozens of people, who spread themselves out in various parts of the compartment. Tanya sat on, reading ‘Sophie’s choice’.

She gradually noticed a pair of eyes constantly on her. She quietly looked up and saw that they belonged to a middle aged Indian man, who refused to take his eyes off her even when she looked at him.
Tanya sighed. These men, these Indian men, who stared at every Indian girl like she had jumped right off Mars. Or like she had been bred in a lab in some secret underground city and let free on Earth.
She went back to reading. The train stopped at Paya Lebar. An elderly man walked into the compartment and stood near Tanya. She got up and offered the man the seat. Mistake.

The man was furious, like she had insulted him by offering a seat. The worse part was he was yelling in Chinese, and she couldn’t follow a word. He pointed at her, then turned to other people in the compartment and yelled at them too. Everyone in the compartment looked at the old man, and then at her. Most of them stiffened in tension because of the commotion the old man was making. Maybe he was swearing aloud in Chinese, she thought.

In the meantime, another woman had come and occupied the seat where Tanya had been sitting. Curse my luck, thought Tanya, for now the Indian man in the corner could see her more properly. The idiot, she thought, he still didn’t have the sense to stop looking.
In a few minutes, the man came and stood next to her. Tanya got irritated, and tense. She moved a few steps left, so there would be more distance between him and her.

Just a few more stops, she told herself. He was still staring. She silently swore to herself that she would stamp his foot hard as she left that he would never try to stare at any other Indian woman again.
It was one minute to Clementi. Tanya slowly edged her way out of the crowd and reached the place where the man was standing. She crept into the tiny vacant space near him and waited for the opportune moment when the station would loom into view.
It happened soon enough. Tanya quietly lifted her right leg and drove into hard into his foot.

For once in her life, she was extremely glad she was wearing pointed heels. She heard a yelp of pain. Now that would teach him a lesson. She pressed her heel harder into his foot and then the train doors opened.
She got out and turned, murmuring ‘Idiot’.

And got a rude shock. The Indian man’s left foot was bleeding and everyone had noticed. Some even pointed to Tanya standing in the station platform, looking at the extreme damage her heel had done. One man even made a move to pull her back in.
Tanya fled the place at once, her heart thumping with fear. When she reached the exit and had climbed down into the road, she paused.
Well, the lesson’s been given, she thought, and headed back to hostel.


kausikram krishnasayee said...

ayyo pavum who was that unlucky man u hurt?

dante said...

tat's it for me ..... no more staring at any indian gals .... not even the old aunties or grandmas .... gonna juz stick with staring at chinese, malay, eurasian etc. gals only ..... *grin* ...

(p.s. had no idea it took 90mins from tampines to clementi .... isn't it more about 45 mins plus .... )

Aravind said...

interesting story!!
I was expecting it to end the usual way - he's actually a gud guy and would help her out from some problem...
nice ending..
BTW, what was the "man-swearing-in-chinese" part for? am i missing somethin?

Perspective Inc. said...

loved the end...well written!

Vishnu said...

nice nice..hehe

Harish said...

sathyama purila :(

Vani Viswanathan said...

keep talking, and it just might be you.. LOL!!

45 mins plus.. no way.. at least an hour!! watch out..if someone stamps your foot hard, it probably just might be me ;)

Vani Viswanathan said...

oh that part wasn't of much consequence.. it was just a distraction.. and finally she had to keep standing.. and the man could stare at her better!! :D,
thanks!! :)

the woman said...

I stare and admire most of the sinful looking men, even on the streets.. be it old or young.. lol. Lucky me, guys aren't that bad huh :P

But I think Tanya's a conservative girl.. no good at all.

dante said...

//45 mins plus.. no way.. at least an hour!!

well according to the smrt website, the average travelling time from tampines to clementi is 46 mins excluding waiting and walking time .... pls follow the link below to verify it ....

(juz had too much free time on my hands .... *grin* ....)

//if someone stamps your foot hard, it probably just might be me ;)

and here i was under the impression tat u were a dainty, sweet lil thing with nay a malicious thought or a vicious intent .... always knew tat gals look hot in stiletto heels but never gave any tot to the amount of damage a 50kg "taj mahal" in pointy heels can do to a open-toed sandals wearing me ..... frightening ...... think i have to change to those steel toe-capped industrial boots ;-P

Harish said...

Now tell us..who was the unlucky fella???

WA said...

I liked it, thought it was pretty cool the way his feet was left to bleed :D

Maheswaran S said...

feeling pity for that middle aged man..