Conversations on a Train

    8 June 2005, early morning

Rishi at Bathurst Station

I snapped two photos of Rishi; the first just before his train arrived, the second just as he was getting on it. I was standing on the opposite platform at Bathurst station. My train arrived minutes after and I got on board. I was sitting on a fairly empty train; at midnight, the trains aren’t usually busy.

“What were you taking pictures of tonight?” The girl who asked was a cute white girl, her hair cut short, wearing jeans and a baby-t. She reminded me of someone I knew, but I couldn’t figure out who. She was probably a bit drunk. Her friend was sitting a few seats away. She had wandered over to where I was sitting, apparently because I was carrying my giant Pentax camera.

“My friends.”

“Oh really. Is that what you do? Are you a photographer?”

“No, I’m a programmer. I take photos as a hobby.” I was trying to keep the conversation short. Shima tells me I can’t become a photographer because women will want me to take ‘artistic’ photos of them. I’m not sure if that is actually true or not. Shima also tells me I can’t talk to strange women.

I didn’t do a particularly good job of keeping the conversation short. I like to talk to people I guess. Earlier in the day an old Tamil lady had struck up a conversation with me on the train ride home from work. She told me, in Tamil, that the train was cold, they must have AC. I looked up and smiled; she was probably right. I guess she thought I was an idiot, or not Tamil, so she asked me in Tamil if I was Tamil, and told me to come sit next to her. She must have been close to 60 years old, someones grandmother I suppose. I chatted with her from Kipling to High Park, which was when I got off the train.

This white girl was basically the exact opposite of that old Tamil woman. The girl was young, 18 years old. She went on to explain how she works in Kitchener as a Yoga instructor, and was in town for some health conference. Her and her friend were coming home from an Alanis Morrisette concert.

She got off after a few stops, and I was left alone on the train. I told Shima about my night when I got home—she wasn’t that impressed. I should have told Mezan first.



  1. lol, yes Ram…telling your gf about a cute yoga instrutor you met on the train is always a good opener…

  2. Thank you Ahilan.. Ram LEARN from your brother! AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Shima, buy Ram a rangefinder. Preferably a Leica MP but a Bessa R3A would suffice. Then pretty chicks will not confuse him with a photog. No one would ask him to take ‘artistic’ shots because real photographers use big and chunky gear.

    Ram, thats the reason I love train rides: meeting random people, getting to know them, knowing well that your paths will never cross again, yet sometimes hoping, that they would.

  4. I don’t think Shima needs to do anything. I don’t get approached by women much at all—if ever. If this happened all the time it wouldn’t be worth writing about. I like taking the trains too, though I think the GO trains lend themselves more to chatting with people than the TTC.

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