continued from yesterday’s post


If there are difficulties that MMM faces with snorers, the problems he has with incessant cell-phone users is a lot more. Very often, these are the same kind of people – they snore while asleep and when their phone rings (it is never on silent or vibrate mode), they get up and speak loudly into it. When the call gets over, they are back to phase one, viz snoring.

Now for some reason MMM was of the view that the kinds of business that take place in the witching hour of midnight would not bear scrutiny but in this he is apparently wrong. These days land transactions, conference calls, arguments, discussions on TV serials, all these happen right through the night and people are forever on the phone endlessly chatting. And of course, these talkers imagine that just about everyone else on the train is deaf for they speak freely on just about anything – difficulties in conceiving (which is not surprising given the amount of time people are on phones at night) to frank and forthright opinions on mothers in law – just about everything is expressed on the phone, in public.
And so it was a couple of weeks back. A couple boarded the train along with MMM and he could see even then that all was not well between them. Shortly after the train proceeded on its journey there began a series of phone calls, which MMM understood from the conversations were with the male half’s sister. The couple had stayed with her briefly and, during their stay, the hostess had not fed the couple’s child well. This stripling was a bulbous mass that shook all over like a badly set jelly and was even then munching through a bag of potato chips on the top berth to which he had been heaved with difficulty by the father. It was difficult to imagine that this bulging child had been ill-fed.
The conversations led to massive arguments. The female of the couple declared over the phone that she would enter the erstwhile hostess’ residence only as a dead body. This sentiment was probably lauded at the other end of the phone, whereupon the two warring sisters-in-law hung up on each other only to have the husband’s sister call him up on his cell phone and tell him what she thought of his wife. The battle was then joined ­between the couple and each began a listing of the other’s relatives and what their weaknesses were. Uncles and aunts were enumerated and roasted and it must be said that the husband was clearly at the ­losing end, his wife having a sharper memory for past sufferings and a quicker tongue.
By 11.00 pm, matters had degenerated to each declaring that his/her death was near and that the other could marry whomsoever they wanted, but the only thing that prevented them from jumping off the train was the fat kid (who by the way had gone to sleep with mouth hanging open and was snoring). It was then that MMM decided to intervene. He told the couple to shut up as he needed to sleep. That worked like magic. The only drawback was that the husband was a heavy snorer and so MMM remained awake the whole night.

The Man from Madras Musings has a suggestion for the railways. Since they provide pillows, bed sheets and blankets in the upper classes of travel, why not consider earplugs as well? This was once being done by a highflying liquor and airline baron before he became well and truly grounded. MMM would be eternally grateful.