Yesterday, we went on 6 train rides and spent the day in Brugge, sleeping on some lovely grass, eating some pointless nougat, clicking some beautiful buildings, and lamenting the presence of the bazillion or so tourists (oh the hypocrisy!)
But this post is about train ride number 6, between Antwerp and Amsterdam, between 9 and 11 at night. At one of the stops on the way, two girls got on, took their seats, switched on music on their phone loudspeakers, pulled out packs of food, popped open cans of aerated beverages, and started talking, singing and burping(!) quite loudly. Everyone on the train seemed exhausted, at their wits’ end, and just wanting to go home and crash. Some people tried to politely remind the girls that there were other people on the train, but the girls yelled “Sorry? Sorry” loudly with one hand cockily placed behind the ear, pleading deafness. The protestors sat back in their seats murmuring and shooting stern glances in impotent rage. The girls laughed it off and went back to singing and burping.
The husband, who had aged about 10 years since the morning, what with chattering banking interns from Mumbai discussing inter-caste marriages, British schoolgirls playing tippy-tippy-tap and other such high-pitched noises that had shaken his inner peace, was at breaking point with these girls, who were sitting right next to him (God, I like your sense of humor dude!). I am almost always completely psyched about being on a train here, so I was having a ball observing them, and the discomfort they were causing. Sure they were a nuisance and someone should have thrown them out of the (moving) train, but they were two young girls, travelling alone at night on a train, having the time of their (probably sad) lives, and they were pulling it off in style! Could this have happened in a country like India? No chance! What’s the probability two dudes could be and would be pulling this off on a train ride on Saturday night? Very high!
As they got off the train, the girls smiled at all the people who had stared and complained. From the platform, they knocked loudly at a window, and waved goodbye with idiotic grins on their faces. The guy next to the window angrily flipped the bird, but that just made them (and me) laugh even more! Sure their food packets, abandoned on the seat, gave off whiffs from hell for a good hour after they were gone, but as I left the train, I found myself humming the corny song that played on their phones.