De­duc­tion

Times of Oman - - LIFESTYLE -

A SPECTRUM

of hu­man ex­is­tence lay be­fore me at Waverly Train Sta­tion. The diver­sity of hu­man life in all its vi­vac­ity was pre­sented and I, a mere spec­ta­tor, ob­served it with the same acute­ness as that of an art critic at the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum.

Each in­di­vid­ual had a dif­fer­ent form, was a dif­fer­ent colour, fol­lowed a unique tempo and dis­played a dis­tinct mood. Waverly Train Sta­tion was a can­vas and the pedes­tri­ans were brush strokes, each one sim­i­lar yet wholly dif­fer­ent.

The place was teem­ing with life and bustling with ac­tiv­ity, pe­ri­odic an­nounce­ments and the blar­ing of ap­proach­ing trains pierced the pe­ri­ods of in­ter­mit­tent si­lence. Some lugged their heavy bag­gage along the dot­ted floor of the sta­tion while oth­ers, like my­self, waited for their train.

The man seated be­side me glanced at his watch ev­ery ten sec­onds, as if as­cer­tain­ing the time would make it go any faster for him. He had freck­les on his face and looked not a day over twenty. His brown over­coat and sturdy, black boots looked old and raggedaf­flu­ence was quite ev­i­dently not his state of af­fairs. He clutched his ticket tightly, al­most afraid to lose it and kept his lug­gage close. He per­haps be­longed to the emerg­ing In­dus­trial Class.

His fin­ger did not bear a ring so I pre­sumed he was un­mar­ried and his un­kempt hair sig­nalled neg­li­gence to­wards his phys­i­cal at­tributes.

A wo­man in a fur over­coat, with the air of a 40s Hol­ly­wood ac­tress took the next seat be­side me.

She pre­tended not to no­tice me, and feigned in­dif­fer­ence as if try­ing to em­u­late a mem­ber of the aris­toc­racy.

She car­ried a small, or­nate pocket-mir­ror which she glanced at from time to time, ad­just­ing cer­tain parts of her coun­te­nance that to me seemed per­fectly al­right.

The man took out a book ti­tled

and be­gan study­ing it in­tently. He pro­duced a small pocket-book and took notes. He as­sidu- ously scanned the pages of this text­book and of­ten seemed ev­eryso-slightly fas­ci­nated by what he read. The pocket-book had gold en­grav­ing that read

In the mean­while, the haughty wo­man took out the lat­est edi­tion of

She pe­rused its glossy pages and oc­ca­sion­ally paused to read a piece of celebrity gos­sip that fas­ci­nated her, her face con­tort­ing into a pe­cu­liar ex­pres­sion ev­ery time some­thing pleased her or as­ton­ished her.

She quite ob­vi­ously be­longed to one of the high­est ech­e­lons of so­ci­ety - the large diamond ring on her fin­ger in­di­cated the same. Per­haps the wife of a rich banker I con­strued.

Ob­serv­ing strangers at public places was not an in­fre­quent ex­er­cise for me. I en­joyed study­ing them, dis­cern­ing their pe­cu­liar­i­ties and idio­syn­cra­sies and de­duc­ing who they were and what their life must be like.

It is an in­tel­lec­tual, yet oddly sat­is­fy­ing ex­er­cise. I rarely ever speak to my ‘ob­jects of study’, but the sense of de­tach­ment only piques my cu­rios­ity and makes the ex­er­cise all the more en­joy­able.

Story Sid­dhant Suri Dhawan

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