Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A pair of naked feet!

where r the slippers? Posted by Picasa

The most insignificant of things strike you as insights to life at the most unexpected moments. For e.g., when your office has choked you out with hours of boredom and you land at a snack bar. As you munch through your potato bun, half way through your third cigarette in 7 minutes, sitting besides a half empty bottle of mango juice; that is when the insight passes by you. For all the Holmesian observation, you might not notice it. Surprisingly, it is the Watson in you who catches it. It is a pair of feet – bare feet. It belongs to Muniyamma, the sweeper at my office.

As they ventured through the stony terrain unhindered, they threw me a gaze, an audacious one. They said, ‘hey tough guy, what are you staring at.’ I choked. The smoke I had inhaled had nothing to do with it. It was a thought that flashed my mind, which transformed into a sigh, clutched my windpipe and forced a choke out of me. It moved me. The ever-smiling old lady, in her late fifties I assume, with her equally old feet – I somehow felt a spark. I do not know what or how or why. I sat there for another half an hour before I walked back to my office. My legs were loose and my mind was heavy. It was on a spree, a meaningful yet a wayward spree.

I had to get her a pair of slippers. I have decided. I feel a sense of accomplishment on merely the thought. I had tea on the terrace just to talk to her, and stealthily take a visual measurement of her feet. She speaks Tamil and I speak Malayalam. We communicated in neither. I asked her the question –‘Why don’t you wear slippers?’ I do not know whether she was offended, but I did not care. I wanted to know. She was waiting for her next salary to buy them. I do not know whether it was an honest reply. Whether she considered a pair of slippers a luxury rather than a necessity. She got up and ran off to the kitchen as if the sky would have fallen otherwise. I sat there for another twenty minutes. I walked down to my office and started writing. I took a break in between for lunch. I couldn’t eat much. I will buy her a pair of slippers tomorrow. I stopped typing.

Uncomfortably Numb

the lights are brighter... Posted by Picasa

I ran up the stairs, 2, 3 or 4 at a time; I felt nothing. I avoided my room in the hostel and its unsuspecting inmates and raced to room 302. A Gujarati friend of mine, the only guy who knew what I had been up to, greeted me with a wicked smile and a string of abuses.

I sat on the bed, legs crossed. As if they wanted to obey the bible of all deliriums, Floyd, my hands had started to behave strangely like balloons. They were raring to be freed, to swim across the oceans with blue whales and giant squids.

A million things passed my mind, though I did not keep a count. I wanted to see it. The ‘It’ that was mentioned in books, movies and friends’ circles. The lotus. The bright red lotus in empty space - a literal translation of ‘Shoonyaakaashathu Chenthaamara’ in my native language. I closed my eyes, imagining that the ceiling had blown away and empty space, or so it seemed with the smoke infected Delhi skies, was all that was between the sighting and me. I saw it, it was bright, it was hanging in space, but it wasn’t red. It was yellow, blue, green and orange. The colours were not symmetrically arranged and looked more like the paintings I used to do in my third class. A lotus it was, unmistakably identified by its shape, in full form. What is the thing with lotuses? It is probably because I am an Indian that I saw a lotus. Lotus being our national flower frequents our flowery thoughts all the time. If I were a Chinese guy I would have probably seen a chrysanthemum and would have seen a rose were I to be a Brit. Or would it be a Lily?

All the world, I remember Shakespeare saying, is a stage. What was I waiting for? I decided to perform. As I started my singing endeavour, I realised that my voice was tremendously deep and powerful and shared an equally strong resemblance with that of the ‘High Hopes’ chap; yeah our very own David. The words I uttered paced themselves slow enough to allow me to contemplate the power of every word. They echoed of the walls and hit me like cannonballs – but, they caused me pleasant bruises in place of painful ones.

The bliss was torn apart when Tanny made his entry. If I call him a mama’s boy, he might sue me on the grounds of mental abuse and so I refrained myself. The urge was there. I had to bully the chap. The urge took a superlative form as soon as Tanny broke into tears. His little brain had smelled a rat. He did not know what the size or stature was, but he knew it deserved a few tears at the least. He broke into a gallon of them. The next thing I remember is a multilingual foray of abuses that questioned every one of the principles he had on food, water, career, religion and cricket, embedded in his malleable mind. With an invigorated flow of tears, he fled shouting, ‘This guy has gone mad.’

I returned back to my bed, which by that time had become one made of feathers. I experienced nirvana. It was a sadistically hysteric euphoria. Wow! I opted for a change and landed on my face on to the bed. The bed of feathers had just turned into one made of thorns. I felt as if I had been crucified in a horizontal position. I felt the nail that was connecting my forehead and the pillow. The blood stains however, were missing.My friend asked me repeatedly to get up as he had enough of my histrionics. Little did he know that I had little intention and further lesser ability to do it. My state had just attained an involuntary status. I had become uncomfortably numb.

I puked till I saw green – bile that is. At one point during my puking cameo, I remember seeing a black mass, which I thought was my liver, going down the commode. I slept for 17 hours straight after that. When I woke up, I felt like Rip Wan Winkle, only less old. My classroom, I later learnt, was a much peaceful place that day. I guess the broth missed that extra cook.