Thursday, August 10, 2006

It Happened to Me - II

Its the darnest thing. Straight out of a Seinfeld episode.

I was late for office today and planned to catch the 9:31 train to work. There are two tracks in station I board in. One track goes Inbound to downtown Chicago - this is the one I catch. The other track is outbound which goes away from Chicago Downtown. I was waiting on the platform towards downtown. The new iPod excitement hadn't worn off and I was listening to Vettaiyadu full blast and wondering why such awesome songs and potentially-awesome movie can't get released.

As the clock ticked 9:31 the train became visible. The train was still very far away from the station. It was honking and doing its regular stuff. Suddenly an announcement came in the PA system. It said that the train would actually be arriving on the platform where trains going *away* from downtown would arrive. I wasn't terribly surprised. This happened day before yesterday and people just crossed over to the other platform. So out of sheer habit (as a result of 4 years of suburban train travel in Madras) or absent mindedness caused as a result of 'Vettaiyadu' music, I crossed the track and went to the other side. The train's honking noised increased manifold, I could sort of hear it inspite of the HJ music blaring in my ears. It was still far away. So I went to the other side leaned on the wall and waited for the train to come by. The train stopped and I saw some uniformed men coming towards the platform. I didn't care and I continued listening to "manjal veyil".

So one uniformed guy approached me and asked, "Did you just cross in front of us". I slowly removed my ear phones and said "excuse me". He said "I asked, did you just cross in front of us". I mean front of us is like a relative word. A loose term. Its like the Martians coming down to the earth and asking me "did you come between us and the sun". Well ofcourse we did, but you gotta be kidding. If this was Mambalam station, I crossed when the train was near Kodambakkam station. I mean, c'mon. Day before yesterday about 10 people crossed the tracks with me. I thought it was common. I said "yes".

And he said in a matter-of-fact way, "As a punishment, I wont let you get on this train. Catch the next train"

I am not sure if I was stunned or embarassed. Embarassed is a very good word to use here. I stood there and saw everybody get into the train leaving me out. I asked the conductor (I sort of know him, we've done small talk before) "are you kidding or are you serious" and he said in friendly tone "normally we wouldn't let you on Metra at all, but we are letting you go with a mild punishment. Don't ever do this again man.". It was like Joe banning Kramer from the fruit shop. It had been a long time since I was sent out of a class or in general banned. I frankly forgot my stock sheepish grin, I reserve for these moments. The prospect of walking back home was not appealing. My wife isn't in a very charitable mood these days. I wonder why? I walked home and she was on the phone with my parents and she lost no time in narrating the whole thing to them. Believe me, when you think it can't get any worse - it does get worse. So, I had to listen to a lot of commotion and "are you a villager" questions from my dad before walking out to catch the next train (which was at 10:10).

Like Seinfeld would say "you know George, this can only happen to you"

27 comments:

sowmya said...

un kooda yaarume track cross pannalayaa?? so how did the others get on the other side.

nalla vela namba oor school teacher maadhiri stand up on the bench sollalaye! :-)

Hawkeye said...

today everybody used the stairs. i did not notice that at all. but most of the others were women. i should have known...bloody 'rule-followers'

D.N.A. said...

Most of the Metra stations are not that busy like Mambalam. And I've seen lot of people cross that way. In fact, is there even an alternative? Which station was this?

Hawk, "knowing you is like entering jungle. It's dark and I don't know what I'm going to see next!"

sunshine said...

hilarious!
and being a Sienfeld fan myself I can imagine the dialogues!
btw.. don't u know u need to look both ways before crossing the street.. or ..er .. tracks?

F e r r a r i said...

Ipod pudhusu. Track list um pudhusu. Puriyaradhu enthu. aana Railway track iPod la play aagumo? aagadhe :D

Sorry couldnt resist :P

Vidya said...

hahaa .. I've done it too. Only in Italy. Dragging my luggage along the railway tracks in Rome. Thankfully no uniformed guards came chasing me. Although I was *warned* by a cop never ever to attempt the same.

Casement said...

Are you a villager?:P

Zero said...

You *are* a villager.

Chakra Sampath said...

If I do that in London, I wouldn't be alive to get back to the other side... the tracks are electrified here.

u hav got time to come home, talk over the phone and catch the next train - all within 30 minutes... lucky u!

hamsini said...

OMGOMG!!!!

Thank God,you were only let off with a "mild" punishment.XP

Vi said...

Haha. Many people in Jersey--especially around the Newark/New Brunswick region--do it all the time, no one cares around here. =D

I said...

Isn't the track electrified? Villager or not, agmark Indian!

Srikrishnan said...

wow... awesome site dude.. keep up the awesome work...

Hawkeye said...

dna,

its main street evanston. i know its common for people to cross. maybe the train should not be in sisght at all.

about the quote - :-)

Hawkeye said...

sunshine,

i knew the train was coming.. it was far away

Hawkeye said...

ferrari,

ipod mogam is also 30 days. athukulla enna aagumo.

naan train munnadid odinen. avan yen pinnadi odinaan.

Hawkeye said...

vidya,

in swiss we always crossed the tracks. never a problem

Hawkeye said...

casement: see zero's answer

zero: from kuk-gramam ann arbor to big city chickago isnt easy.

Hawkeye said...

/* u hav got time to come home, talk over the phone and catch the next train - all within 30 minutes... lucky u! */

next building from station. didnt know the time of next train. forgot cell phone so went home to check.


also here subway are electric things. not metra

Hawkeye said...

hamsini,

ya, i thought even that was harsh.

Hawkeye said...

vi,

its common here also. i just did it at the wrong time.

I,

only subway tracks are electrified. i am *agmark* india. but others did it last time around

Hawkeye said...

srikrishnan,

thanks! congrats on univ of minnesota.

The Desi Nole said...

ooh I can so hear your dad say "Are you a villager". Good one.

hamsini said...

Me too.That's why the mild is in quotes!!

Hema said...

Aiyoo Paavam, aanalum ungallukku intha nelamai vara koodaathu...ana ethukku typical Indian nu Indiava ithula irukareenga....naangalum Indialernthu than vanthom :). More than anything we cant cross tracks here in London as they all are electrified :)

Hawkeye said...

hema,

in madras we all jumped ran to the other side over the tracks to make meter gauge -> broad guage transition.

antha pazhakkam thaan.

strangs said...

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There are tons of travel agents who’ll get u a good deal on travel there!, but my personal recommendation is the site called India travel route..
Try this link below, else u can google it…

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but it’s one amazing place!! I totally recommend it!! Especially if ur going around this time, i.e. Aug-Oct, the whether is simply DE-LIGHT-FUL!!!

Cheers