Been away

for a couple of days, and have made some interesting discoveries.

1) People feel insecure when they see someone more successful than them. Rather than do something about their lack of success, people would rather blame the successful people for being successful. And most funnily, they would rather judge who the ‘successful’ people are by their (judgers’) standards, even if the people (the judgees) don’t consider themselves successful because they march to the tune of a different drummer, have different standards of ‘success’.

Huh?

2) An Iranian woman, headscarf and all, thinks Indians are conservative because everyone asks her whether she’s married – are all Indian women expected to be married, she asks. And goes on to tell me that women in Iran marry later because the Islamic state prescribes a lot of restrictions for married women. Her words, not mine.

3) Sometimes, a person’s face can light up even if they don’t recognise you – that feels lovely.

And today, 4) a quote I can’t get out of my head : “The heart has reasons that reason knows not of”. Blaise Pascal said that – the same Pascal that Pascal’s law of hydrodynamics is named after. And apparently, a lot of other things.

Feeling like Miss Universe

No, I don’t mean fainting.

I was asked today, what my message to ‘the youth’ was. Isn’t that kind of question reserved for beauty paegant contestants? And whatever else I am, I’m no longer in the 18-21 age group.

But really… what is a proper answer to a question like that? I’m not old enough, or wise enough, or even sufficiently prepped with quotations from people who are older and wiser, to answer something like that! I don’t give advice to anyone, even. My forte is listening. Listening, as in agony aunt. Never telling people what they should do!

Must admit it was fun, though!

Changing names

BikeRider, you are henceforth BikerBoy. So that I can talk about BikerGirl too.

Another One!

I went and watched Pokiri. MCP-ish and terribly violent as it is, it has a hero with great letch value, excellently choreographed action sequences, and a fairly decent amount of wit in the dialogues, apart from a fairly funny ‘comedy track’. Paisa vasool, definitely!

A Story (1)*

The email said “Meet me at my place at 4.45 pm – sharp. Ben.” He didn’t know a Ben. Never had. Should he go? Where?

So he sat and waited, watching the clock. Literally, not the way he did everyday. Tick-tock, tick-tock. It wasn’t the clockwork (who made clockwork clocks, anyway?) It must’ve been supposed to make it sound cool. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Ten minutes. 4.40. A second mail came in. “You know the house, right? The second on the right when you turn left after Maami’s?” That gave him a jolt. Maami’s. The house on the corner, two streets away…

…three, or was it four? years ago…they’d been in college, the three of them. They’d meet up at his place and ride down to college, passing the house on the way. They’d never seen people in it – just signs of habitation. One sign, actually. Every day, a nine-yard saree hung on the terrace, wet and dripping at that time of the morning, fluttering in the breeze when they passed it on their way back. They’d speculated about that house… the yard that never semed to need sweeping, the plants that never seemed to need watering, no newspapers on the doorstep, no tell-tale drops of milk on the verandah. Just the saree. Maami’s.

He couldn’t remember how they’d named it that, but he was sure they’d never told anyone about it. It just wasn’t important… they’d had so much else to talk about, to do. Maami’s was just an oddity on the way to college, an unimportant constant that didn’t merit mention in the story of their lives.

The story of their lives. The stories of their lives, now.

***

He walked down the street towards Maami’s. He didn’t know why he was going, or where. Or even whom he was going to meet. If it hadn’t been for that mention of Maami’s… he would have gone anyway. In spite of not knowing where, he thought, he would’ve gone.

The first drop of rain shook him out of his reverie. What nonsense, he thought as he began to run. I’m going someplace that I’ve never been before, because someone I don’t know mentioned a name I know? Triggered off a memory? And I’m thinking I’d have gone anyway? Bulls*#%!

He was soaked as he turned the corner at Maami’s. The second house on the right. He climbed up on the porch, out of the rain, and looked around.

Surprisingly, he’d never been on this street before. It was one of those streets which wasn’t on the road to anywhere… not a cul-de-sac, but it had so many parallel roads that no one ever used it except if they’d missed a turn. Two neat rows of houses. Well, not so neat – there was a rather dilapidated one on the other side of the road, and the one three doors from where he was standing was electric blue and gold… but all houses, no apartment blocks.

He turned to face the front door, and wondered whether to ring the bell. It was broad daylight, the squall was beginning to blow over and the sun was coming out. He could hear a child squealing in the house next door. Some faint music from somewhere. Who was Ben, anyway?

*Inspired by a part-conversation with BikeRider. Thanks!

Development(s)

Ever since MM left, I’ve stopped going to the supermarket. It’s not like I haven’t been to a supermarket since then – they’re too ubiquitous for that! But I’ve stopped going there on a regular basis for monthly/weekly grocery buying trips. I get everything at my little corner store – Champa’s shop.

It’s located right outside the apartment block, so I can just get off the auto in the evening and walk in to buy whatever I need. Or, in the middle of something, I can just go and come back in a minute. And if I’m too lazy/dirty/underdressed even for that, I can call him up and he’ll send up what I need.

He remembers what I’ve bought two days before, so he makes sure I don’t end up with 32 bottles of Ezee. He also remembers what I’ve not bought, so ensures that when I buy baking powder, I also buy vanilla essence. I keep going there, so I get served quickly when I’m in a hurry. He gives me change for the auto even when I’m not buying anything. He recognises my voice on the phone, which always feels good. I don’t know where things are in that little shop, but they always appear on the countertop when I ask for them – from Harvest Crunch to kothmir to pencils. If he doesn’t have it, he’ll get it for me the next day.

Actually, there’ve been many Champas in the various places we’ve lived; it’s just that we gave up going to them when The Supermarket came in. Food was packed and clean. We could buy it off the shelf instead of waiting to be served. But the food stopped being so fresh, too. And if it wasn’t on the shelves, it wasn’t there at all. There were queues at the billing counter, and no one cared if you were in a hurry. Home delivery only between 10 and 4 on weekdays. (Pah! Like anyone wanted it then!) Most of all, no one asked after the family, gossiped about what I was cooking, or smiled in any but a completely plastic manner.

Thankfully, I realise the importance of Champa’s again. The jobs he provides, the livelihoods that depend on it – maybe sometimes I think of those. But the convenience of his being at our doorstep, the spice of gossip, the freshness of his vegetables – I weigh those in the balance against how long it takes to buy something, against how exasperating he can be at times. Champa wins.

I’m moving…

…to http://www.canace.wordpress.com. Temporarily or not, only time will tell.