Yesterday, I had to haul ass from home all the way up north to Kandivali. I baulked at the thought of taking an Uber all the way there because of my tendency to get carsick, so I opted to travel in a local train.
Now, I actually love the local trains. They’re airy and spacious, when not crowded, and I spent 2 years and 7 months using them to commute back and forth to the office. So I am supremely comfortable in them. Train stations though? Not so much. I am unfamiliar with most of them, because I stick to Uber for the few times I go out these days. But they aren’t hard to figure out, so I was ok.
On my way back, I decided to hop out at Matunga Road station, since it is closer to home. My mum always made a big hoopla about how the overbridge connecting the east and west stations is a hotbed of drug activity. *rolls eyes* So this was the first time I actually walked across it.
No big deal really, because it was broad daylight. There were loads of people around too, and quite a few women to boot. The bridge itself is narrow, allowing for two lanes of foot traffic, one in each direction. The only, slightly disconcerting aspect of the bridge are the high, corrugated metal sheet walls lining it on either side. It was a tad claustrophobic, but not too bad since it wasn’t crowded.
In most situations, when I’m on my own, I tend to be hyper aware of my surroundings. This tendency is born of necessity and a series of horrible experiences. Mais, c’est la vie. I was walking towards the eastern part of the station, behind a middle-aged couple. Since I was looking straight ahead, I could see the oncoming people as well. Most commuters are focused on their journey really, or are preoccupied with their personal puzzles. It was the same story for this guy too.
He was a normal guy, although very muscular. He was wearing shades, and carrying a small suitcase. His muscles rippled under a tight-fitting peach-pink shirt. A significant amount of detail to remember about a random stranger at the station, right? Yes, yes it is. Why do I remember it then?
Because, as he moved towards me, oh about 3 feet away, he looked up. And his gaze fell on me. Presumably, he was wearing shades remember. His reaction was ludicrous. His jaw dropped. Literally.
I was watching all this with some surprise, safe behind tinted lenses of my own shades. But what changed surprise into terror was this: As he drew up alongside, he whispered under his breath: “Oh FUCK!” just loud enough for me to hear.
Nothing happened. Nothing untoward. No other contact. Nothing. Nada. BUT. I was shaken. Why? Because in that split second, I imagined being assaulted, and realised that, even with a little martial arts training [not enough!], there was no way I would be able to fight this guy off. Add to that, I have a bum hand, wrapped in a crepe bandage for the last week.
The guy didn’t do anything else. But I was so shaken, I got myself home, and practically dove into bed almost immediately.
I guess I’m not as invincible or strong as I like to believe.