Something I forgot to mention in that post about how I feel on rail-Shatabdi journeys:
All my life, I've known that Hindi films, their dialogues, their characters, their love-stories, have nothing to do with life. Real-life romance is not like this. We all know that, right?
There I am, sitting on the railway platform, trying very hard to concentrate on what Margaret Atwood has to say about women's bodies, except that some guy is playing a tape titled "All-time romantic songs... Latest and Best."
It also has dialogues, this tape, including "I (echo) LOVE (echo echo echo) YOU (echo echo)!"
A while later, this guy switches to the soundtrack of Silsila, one of my favourites, also replete with dialogue, and spoken poetry. "Tum hoti toh aisa hota, tum hoti toh vaisa hota..... mohabbat hai, mohabbat hai, mohabbat hai" (If you were here, it would be like this; if you were here, it would be like that... we're in love; we're in love; we're in love...).
Memories, of an insufferable kind of celluloid mush from the last millenium, come flooding back. I listen to Kabhie Kabhie, and Silsila, both romantic movies that I actually liked, at some point. But... life isn't like that. Much as I admire Sagar Sarhadi (and I adore him for having written Bazaar, apart from Kabhie Kabhie and Silsila) I don't believe we can live out the song, dance, and socially-acceptable 'The End' of our films.
And surely, no one really does the things our Hindi films show us. I don't even think anybody 'feels' those things. Nobody I know feels like declaring 'Mohabbat hai'.
Then, I get onto the train. And sitting next to me is a woman, decked up like a new bride - red bangles, very obvious sindoor, sequined kurta, shiny sandals - and beside her, a very bored young man. The new bride tries to occupy herself first with a Cosmopolitan, then a Filmfare, and then, simply with the face of the young man.
She twists her fingers around her dupatta, and her dupatta round her fingers, and she gazes up into his face. One minute. Two minutes. Five minutes. Half an hour. ONE HOUR! And still, she gazes up at his face.
I guessed, at some stage, her back begins to ache. And so, she twists herself round and pulls her feet up on the seat, and continues to gaze, determinedly, up at his face.
And then, she says, "You're not lying to me, are you?"
And he says, "Um-hunh. Swear!"
Then, she takes his hand, places it on top of her head, and says, "Swear?"
As she goes back to gazing at his face, I whisper an apology and make my peace with Hindi film scriptwriters. Come back, Sagar Sarhadi. All is forgiven.