Take any college going kid from Mumbai, guy or gal, doesnt matter, he/she will definetly know what a 'Video Coach' is. Chances are everyone will have a story to tell when it comes to the 'Video Coach'.
A lot of experienced people also make mistakes when it comes to defining this term. The 'Video Coach' is the first class mens compartment adjacent to the ladies first class.
Blessed with enormous special features, this is a unique compartment in the entire train. In that a person standing or sitting in this compartment can have an unobstructed view of the girls compartment. I have the utmost respect and admiration towards the Indian goverment and esp Indian Railways for keeping the partition between these two compartments to a minimum. Indeed the wall separating the mens and the womens first class compartment is built only half way, leaving the other half open for men to watch and admire their favourite girls.
The entire gamut of behaviour patterns associated with the 'Video Coach' might infact make an excellent topic for someones PhD dissertation. I am however not blessed with such luck and hence I intend to confine the discussion to my experiences alone.
The VC is perhaps of most importance to FYJC male students. Being born and brought up in a conservative society and a strict school environment, these pathetic souls are finally let out of the cage in their 11th (junior college). It is socially acceptable for an FYJC male student to make female friends. Parents tend to permit opposite sex phone calls,kids though know enough to camouflage their conversations in academics and predecided communication codes.
Guys and gals of FYJC are literally just hormone containers. There is nothing much in their brains other than this strange attraction to the opposite sex that nature so suddenly entrusts them with.
And thus the VC becomes a persons favourite part of the day. Often u would notice a certain cute looking girl catching the same train day after day. It is common for people to adjust their travel times inorder to get the same train as that of their VC crush. And thus before u know the games begin. 'Hey look that guy constantly looks at me!' - the yellow salwar kameez tells her friend, her friend also peers into the male compartment to verify the statement - 'Ya! he is' - 'Sahi hai! dikhne mein bura nahi hai! Is he from our college?' - 'Shut up!' .
Meanwhile all this seemingly tacit excercise is carefully noticed by the guy and his friend. 'Yaar! shit! she knows', the guy retorts, fearing if his true love and emotions were misunderstood. His friend corrects - 'Abbe accha hai na, usko malum hai toh!' .
Then this game is played with more caution and each day there is something new in this whole new domain of eye-eye communication and young romance. When in class, or when eating dinner with his family the guy thinks about what his VC crush did that day. The way her hair looked, the way she glanced at him and then cracked some joke with her friend, her dress, her hair clip, her new college bag - everything. And so the guy engages in virtual dates and romantic conversations with his VC crush while his parents start wondering why their scholarly son looks dazed every day.
Then the rythm breaks and u dont see her in the regular spot. Poor guy - there is nothing productive that the guy can do that day - its a bad day at work - I dont know what happened to my VC crush!
Then one fine day when enough to and fro journeys have passed, the guy approaches and talks to the girl - at the platform or in the college. U in FYJC in kerkar right? me too ( ofcourse u are! what stupid way to start a conversation, u have been watching each other for 2 months now) And so the first loves begin, albeit shakily.
As everyone will agree, first love cuts deepest. And so the VC takes a special sensitive corner of a persons heart.
As you grow older, the eye games and amateur day dreaming ceases but the VC continues to be a boiling pot - always humid with sexual attraction. The guy goes from FYJC to Engineering, then onto a job, but the VC remains the same, the concept stays the same.
A few lucky people have the privlege of bringing their VC crush into the mens compartment and get her to travel with him while going to study. Obviously, they have talked and have agreed to being a couple.
Strange accidents are not alien to the VC. Someones parent catching someone while checking out a nice gal, Some family relative noticing u travelling with a girl to college everyday and so on....
One incident that comes to mind is from my own FYJC year. I knew two friends who would board the train at Mulund. I had spoken with them earlier. So, on seeing them in the train, I tried to grab their attention by waving around. As it turned out, both girls were busy in their own worlds and had no idea that I was waving waiting for an answer. Meanwhile fellow passengers and other people standing besides me were staring as if I was some 3rd grade loafer trying to harrass those pretty girls. Luckily for me, I did grab their attention in time and was acknowledged too.
Then there are lunch groups, groups playing trian games etc. And thus the VC continues to be an intergral part of the guys life.