At 4 pm on a rather stuffy Saturday afternoon, as I was nearing home, I became aware of a sort of a crowd outside the building I stay in. I shuddered inside, hoping it wasn’t some accident or fire in the building. But as I came closer it seemed more a sort of a friendly crowd that had gathered.

If you have ever studied psychology at some point in your life, you will know what happens when such a friendly crowd gathers around – a few members in the crowd initially have something to say. And if the GPS location of this crowd matched someplace – any place – over the Indian sub-continent, then each and every member feels compelled to add something better to that, they first start talking, then they start talking at the same time and each wants to be heard by everyone else and slowly they strain their respective vocal chords and raise the decibel level and before you know it, they are all shouting and besides vocal chords, they are also straining their ear drums and soon it is entirely cacophony.

And then there are a few riff raffs – not entirely of their own accord, but its just the dynamics of the crowd that puts them naturally in that role – two or three or four younger members whose shouting and jumping is just not creating any hoo haa in the crowd, and they typically are on the outer periphery of the group – and begin to feel sorta left out. So as it happens they sense each others predicament and relate to it and some sort of unsaid camaraderie is established amongst them. And they may not even have even exchanged a word amongst themselves yet. So they move around the crowd, annoying the others, adding to the shouting with irrelevant content, smiling to themselves, just adding to the whole chaos.

That, somewhat, was the state of the group around the time I arrived. And I was considering various reasons for this crowd. None of the reasons that popped up inside my head seemed appropriate and I still couldn’t fathom the reason why this crowd gathered.

The closer I got, the more curious I got.

And suddenly it hit me. It hit me with such a force that I almost fell.

The ‘riff raffs’ who were rather absent mindedly walking around noticed me approaching and I could see one of them raise the hand, point at me and say something to the nearest person.

The cacophony suddenly reduced to a deafening silence. If someone dropped an empty can on a tin roof, you could hear it (yes, a can on a tin roof. This is Bombay and the noise pollution is appalling – so the proverbial pin would be rather ineffective and wouldn’t make a good idea to do a ‘test for silence’ with – something more effective like a can on a tin roof has been widely acknowledged to being more appropriate).

And as abruptly as the noisy group fell silent, it erupted into a roar. And before I had time to process visual impulses, I could see the blur of the crowd thundering directly at me – rather menacingly I might add.

I barely had time to let my instinct kick in to take over the auto-pilot. Good old instinct nevertheless kicked in and set me on the very dependable auto-pilot and a few moments later I discovered myself running rather wildly, with a shoe under each armpit, sweat trickling down my chin, three buttons undone, shirt flaring in the wind, feet trying to keep at least about 20 kmph, torso trying to catch up with the speed of the feet. I remember turning back occasionally to see if the gap was increasing or reducing. The gap was in fact closing. Oh and take my word, it really was a dreadful feeling.

When the good ol’ instinct in question allowed my brain to finally take over, there was much turmoil. Brain interpreting the series of events seemed appalled at the situation. It questioned the instinctive decision to turn around and scoot. Good old Common Sense had something to add too. And wisdom and logical reasoning too joined in what seemed like a committee meeting going on inside my head.

The resolution finally was passed. And I had clear instruction now that now seemed more sensible to act upon. Well Ok. I was also tired and my supply of adrenalin was depleting and I was getting fatigued – but nevertheless it did help me execute my unquestioned acceptance of the resolution of the committee.

I stopped. Turned around. Puffed and panted. And as the crowd caught up with me, I had successfuly achieved a state that allowed some words to pass from my lips.

“What do you want?” was all I could muster.

And then one from the mob stepped up to me and told me exactly what. My mouth went even more dry and jaw hung. I couldn’t speak for a whole minute.

I could have taken any explanation. This, was probably not even the last thing on my mind.

Now those of you who have followed my posts might be able to make the connection better than those that haven’t. If you indeed have read every post I have posted you will be able to understand and find some reason to what I heard from the mob. But again it depends on why you have been regularly following my posts.

Well, I am digressing. I am deviating from my task. I have this incredibly frightful mob inches from my face and I am going on about other things, meandering and rambling and indulging in pointless Pathe.

“Where is the post on the Virar Train that you had promised?” Was the only thing the mob had to say before they all shook their heads in sad disappointment and dispersed. The once-angry and indignant crowd now diluted and dissolved right in front of my eyes, dragging their feet and heavy hearts as they left.

And I stood there with my head hung low and feeling terribly responsible and sad that I didn’t keep my promise.

Jo Vaada kiya, voh nibhana padega………

I walked back home making a resolve that I will write a nice long post on the Virar Local soon.

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