# Observation is key when it comes to human relationships. For the past two months, I have been travelling between Cochin-Palakkad-Bangalore-Bombay and observing people on buses, aircraft and trains. Observation is fascinating if you find the time for it – shut your phone and let your eyes do the talking. People, places, and situations are learning experiences – you just need to know where to look without being cynical or judgemental.
# I thought it would be a quiet train journey to Bangalore considering that half the train’s population was glued to their cellphones. Two hours into the journey, the lady sitting opposite me saw the new Harry Potter book I was reading and was soon asking me all about it. Soon, others joined in and before we could call it a night, a couple of them even had even decided to share a cab to their destination the next day. Since I was the only person ordering in, they all waited until my food arrived so that we could have dinner together. Train camaraderie remains alive, after all.
# On my way back from Bangalore on a sitting berth, a lively little girl kept us company with her antics. She spoke a lot and what would have been a painful sitting and boring journey, got over within no time. We had a lot of pineapple and watermelon slices together. A Gulf connection kept the conversation between the adults going. You just cannot go anyplace in India without bumping into a ‘Gelfie’.
# A bus journey from Cochin to Vadakkencherry turned out to be a frightening proposition when an elderly man was caught taking pictures of the women on the bus. Luckily a young man noticed it, grabbed the phone and deleted all the pictures. Before any action could be taken, the man quietly slipped away at the next bus stop. Kerala, voyeur’s own country.
# At Mumbai airport I met first-time fliers Swaminathan and his young son. It was of some reassurance to them that I also spoke Tamizh. The young man was travelling to Kuala Lumpur and from there to a port city Sibu where he would be joining a ship. The father was quite worried about his son making the journey all by himself but the son was extremely confident but without the cockiness of a youth his age. For the first time, I gave a stranger my phone number as I was worried about the young man reaching his destination without incident. (you hear so many things). Swaminathan called me up the next day to politely inform me that the boy had reached Sibu safely and thanked me for my prayers. I had indeed been praying for the boy.