Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Eavesdropping on marriage counsellors in the Tube

Its rare to overhear an interesting conversation on the tube. Most people either look preoccupied with the days business ahead or glum at the days business behind them. Or, of course, they read.

I wasn’t paying attention to the two women seated opposite me on the tube till they started saying something about marriage and babies. This sounded interesting. With my curiosity thus piqued, I fixed my eyes on the bottom half of page 92 in ‘The Age of Kali’ and began listening really hard.

The woman speaking, did so with tremendous authority; almost as if she was a marriage counsellor, operating a mobile service on the London Underground, dispensing little gems of advise to anyone in distress. The woman listening seemed to hang on to every word.

The marriage counsellor, and we'll just call her that, was a trim older woman in a printed skirt, red blouse and big black beads around her neck. She said, “Too many people live entirely for their children.”

(This was when, I stopped reading and started shamelessly eavesdropping.)

“Yes… yes…..”, said the younger one, a little uncertain but in agreement nonetheless.

“The women start living for the children and ignore their relationship with their husbands. The kids… they grow up and leave home and then the parents find that their relationship has a big gaping hole. Its suffered because they stopped paying attention to each other when in fact that is the most important relationship in your life!”

“Yes!”, said the younger woman, much more certain now.

“Don’t get me wrong. You obviously love your kids, but you actually spend most of your life with your husband.”

“And the kids are watching your relationship. They can see when it is strong and secure…. that you have your own life. And they take it forward into their relationships,” she continued.

“Children are a gift. You bring them into this world but you shouldn’t stop living your life.”

With that, unfortunately, we reached the last stop and the two walked off with the marriage counsellor still going strong.

* * *


'Tis a beautiful life! said...

Great little nugget of advice

Something to think about :)

The most interesting conversation I ever eavesdropped on - was a couple of guys arguing over whether I looked Telugu or not - within clear hearing distance - IN TELUGU! :)
(i was so tempted to turn and say - you are right buddy)


'Tis a beautiful life! said...

p.s. how do you like the age of kali? it's been on my 'to read' list for a while but haven't bought it yet

Ganja Turtle said...

LOL... I do it all the time. Thanks for putting this up - been wanting to post about the Tube for quite some time, after seeing this, finally did!

@"Holy Shit-theres actually a project on..." tch tch tch, guilty as charged!

Sathej said...

Nice piece of overheard writing :) As for the project, well, maybe atleast some of the fiction we read today draw inspiration atleast in parts from such overheard bits of conversations ! Not a bad idea maybe, as long as it is made use of in a nice way :)


Alaphia Zoyab said...

Hey XoXO - I luuuve the debate about your origins carried out in proper hearing distance. Age of Kali is an easy, breezy read. I'm enjoying it. Not enough though to stop eavesdropping.

Turtle - just checked out your keen eye in your underground tales.

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Thanks Sathej. Well these people are strangers so I'm sure there should be no harm done. Just another big mouth in a crowd!

Turtle - Didn't get what you meant by guilty as charged - as in you were into the eavesdropping already?

Ganja Turtle said...

Yes, that's what I meant... but I think I do more of observation than ..eh...umm...'overhearing'!

Finished The Last Mughal by Dalrymple a couple of months back... meticulous research, sad story but well-written history.

采瑩采瑩 said...

你的文章給我力量!感謝您!!! ........................................

佩怡 said...



Well, a nice way to spend time in a train....you do get interesting nuggets, and gossip.

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Yes Raji...unfortunately doesn't happen too often.