Reading on the Train: A Story in GIFs

Deepali Agarwal

Staff Writer

Deepali Agarwal has a Master’s in literary linguistics, which means that every person she’s ever known has, at some point, asked her to ‘edit a thing’ for them-- ‘just see if it reads okay?’ She doesn’t mind, because she believes that the world can be fixed one oxford comma at a time. Deepali lives in Delhi, the capital of India, where cows are sacred, but authors and poets exist and write brilliant things. She works as an editor with OUP India’s School ELT division, where she moves apostrophes, looks up pictures of cats, and talks about children’s books for eight hours. The rest of her day is spent reading, thinking about Parks and Recreation, and wondering if there exist jobs for English majors that pay more than peanuts. Twitter: @DeepaliAgarwal_

Having recently started my first-ever full-time job, my reading life has changed quite a bit. Unlike those lazy college days that were spent sprawled on the bed with a good book, I now have to consciously find reading time on weekdays. I have therefore made it a rule to read during my 30-minute morning commute to work on the local train. Here’s an accurate, gif-y summary of the girl on the train (haa).

You enter the train, and find that there are no vacant seats, so you can either hold on to something for support, or to your book. What’s it going to be?

andy falling parks and rec

There was never really a choice…

You pull out your book, plug in your earphones, and settle in.

so much fun friends

People in the vicinity immediately crane their necks in an attempt to figure out the title of your book.

chandler reading

… Sometimes they’ll even try to strike up a conversation with you about it.

ron swanson avoiding people

Go away, I’m reading.

You spot someone across the coach who’s a fellow reader, and make awkward eye-contact.

approval nod


the office approval

You then return to putting your book in your eyeballs.

ken jeong reading

Without warning, the train passes under a tunnel and your reading light is compromised.

seinfeld squinting

… The light is restored and you realize that your reading bro is actually reading a book written from a privileged, elitist point of view.

why would you do that ross

The book is now giving you all the feels, but you gotta hold ’em back.

get back in there tear

Before you know it, your stop arrives, and you need to decide between finishing those last few pages, or deboarding and going to work.

modern family panic

The next day, you board the train, ready for another bookish spell, but you realize you forgot your book at home.

oh my god