Fyi: Kambhal in hindi means blanket.
Men can be quite strange. They have been a source of amusement for me and my colleagues (girls) through the trip. A fair share of our laugh-till-our-jaw-aches-eyes-tear-up moments were a direct result of our interactions with them. In the workshops, it so happened that all our participants were boys with one lone woman in one of them. They amused us, angered us, left us bewildered at their behaviour.
There were times when my bag was snatched away from my hand. No, I wasnt being robbed. The guy at the hotel’s reception was over eager to carry it for me. I thought I was doing a rather good job of carrying it myself and would politely refuse their help. At this point, the pull on my bag would become so strong I would be left with no choice but to give up. These men wanted to be helpful but they had such a funny way of showing it.
Talking about funny, one of our participants sat through the 2 days of the workshop with this dreamie smile on his face. His face would rest on his hand, tilted to one side. No matter when or from where you turned to look at him, he would be looking in your direction with that silly smile on his face. Have you ever tried to be serious and talk to people about serious stuff and hope to God people were taking it seriously…..and then there is this one bugger smiling at you for no rhyme or reason. Argh!
But when you put funny and helpful (way too much!!) it reminds me of the Kambhal Man. What this man was thinking is beyond me! We met him on our death-ride…oops….bus-ride in the middle of the night (what we were thinking taking this bus is beyond me too now!) The bus was almost out of the bus-station when we caught it. As we tumbled in and caught our breaths, I realised the bus was packed and I saw only 3 seats empty (lucky us you would think na?? HAAA!) These seats were all seperate. Each of our new companions were wierder than the other. DayDreamer’s companion had legs that had minds of their own. For no reason, they would be touching hers. She finally had to pointedly tell him to get them to stick to their space. My companion was no other than the bus conductor. Loud, obnoxious and unclean! Sometime during the night, I saw him raise his right leg mid-air, pull up his pants to his thights and proceed to scrath his leg! I stuck closer to the windown on my left and worked hard at not throwing up. I felt really bad for myself at that time. Of course I changed my mind when I heard what ZM had to say about her companion, The Kambhal Man.
This man took out his blanket, wrapped it around him and spread out some more on not only his own seat but also ZM’s. He turned to her and smiled, “Agar chahiye ho toh kambhal share kar sakte ho!(if you want, you can share the blanket with me!)” and smiled again. WHO says that to a strange girl on a bus in the middle of the night??!?! You dont know her, she doesnt know you, its the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere! After all my anxiety and anger wore off, I realised the humour quotient in it. I cant stop bursting into a laugh every time I recall his words.
To end this post on a good note (so that the men I know dont kill me) this old man on the train had doned the role of our protector. This was a local train where no one reserved tickets and you werent generally sure of getting seats. He and his wife had climbed on 2 stations after us and seated themselves in our compartment. From then on, every time the train stopped, he would stand at the entrance of our compartment and not allow any men or women to sit next to us. He offered us food through the journey. He even offered to watch our bags while we slept and made space so I could stretch my legs.
So you see how much of a role men had to play in this trip. So much so that the next post will still be related to this topic 😉 Men!