Friday, July 09, 2010

Not mayhem. Not mania. Monsoon something or the other.

In no preceding year have I eaten as many mangos. I even ate one for dessert after breakfast. This is victory for me. I can be a pig, eat the green skin, have threads stuck in my teeth and still want more. Earlier my skin would flare up; uprising of the pimple faced; humiliation of a pre-teen, teen, adolescent, young woman, all that.

My grandmother would tell me to chase mangos with a cold glass of milk. Chilled milk battles the heat mangos generate in your body. Who am I to argue? I drank a lot of milk. Acne’s gone but I still drink milk. In that, maybe I skipped falling into the statistic of calcium-deprived women under the age of 40. I have some way to go, surely, but Reader’s Digest had a story on women and ill health. I’m just saying.

~

My father has a cataract procedure today. He’s 1947 born and can’t see too well. Not that his eyesight has anything to do with our year of Independence. I’m just saying.

When he left the house, he was wearing big black shades. They can’t be his. He’s an Army man. Aviators belong on his face. Maybe the hospital supplies you hideous, utilitarian accessories. My mother told him they look silly, and to put them away till after. He said he’s wearing them because putting them away would mean they’ll get scratched. My mother has driven him there and will drive him back. They said there’s no need for me to come, even though that was the plan.

On my way to work, I shall drop by the hospital and let him see me, with new vision and all that, unless he’s already home by then. He wanted to go back to office after the surgery. I told him he’s nuts. Take a day off. He said, okay darling, whatever you say.

~

Yesterday, I saw a dead man on the road. I was driving back home, not later than 9.30 p.m.I took the Vasant Kunj road and took a right from Andheria More. There was a scooter lying on the road. It looked like it was covered in grey dust. The dust looked like cloth. I hadn’t seen the man. I was wondering why a scooter would be covered in a grey cloth – my imagination, obviously. I drove on. Right ahead of me, my front right tire approaching him, was a guy in a black-tee shirt lying crashed horizontal, blood next to his face. Or was it his skull? I didn’t look. I didn’t see a helmet around him. I didn’t not see a helmet around him either. I didn’t look. Couple of people were running towards him. I wasn’t going to stop. I drove on, slower, little shaken, and put my phone away. To continue texting would be brazen and callous. Same song from Jab We Met played on radio as it was when I was, a minute ago, at the Andheria more light.

Further down my drive, I see two delivery boys on scooters. One in a green uniform in a green scooter – belongs to Deez Biryani. Good guy, wearing his helmet. Other chap, wearing a red shirt is on a red scooter – from China Bowl; least bothered, as if he has a song from a Rajesh Khanna movie shot in a hill station playing in his head.

In the city/metro section of today’s paper, there is a story on reckless two wheeler-drivers. The headline is something like, “Strap on your helmet, stupid”. If only the Rajesh Khanna delivery dude from China Bowl reads the Times of India.

~

Half an hour later, I’m nearly home. It’s so humid! Just then, a friend calls from Calcutta. I guess correctly that he’s sitting in a bar – in a sarab khana as he calls it, in his UP-accent. He says he was getting bored and feeling miserable so he thought he’d call people who might cheer him up. I smile. The he asks, kya chal raha hai – what’s happening – I say, well, I just saw a dead man. His response: “Acha, the Johnny Depp movie?” I yell into the phone, “Nahi yaar, DEAD MAN!” Oh, okay, realisation dawns. Immediately, he starts off about how mingling with Maoists in West Bengal has increased his tolerance to death. I tell him my phone battery is dying. Not a lie. And that I’ll call back later, maybe tomorrow. He says no issues, only call back if you feel like it. I tell him to cut the crap; later.

~

It’s after ten. I open the door to my house. The lamps are on, as usual. We don’t usually have dinner so late. But my brother’s in town for a day. We’re doing the family thing. Dinner will be laid on the table when everyone is together. They were waiting for me, sitting in the drawing room, my father and brother playing chess, my mother reading. It’s a sight I hadn’t seen in years. No point bringing up the dead man and sullying the chess and lampshade atmosphere. Why puncture this when talk about mangoes and who wants ice cream is so much easier to digest.

2 comments:

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Mangos are far too complicated to eat. The payoff isn't there at the end.

Please, PLEASE don't tell me you text while you drive. Why does everybody think that that stupid act won't result in disaster for THEM. Disasters are for other people.

The Mystic said...

I love safeda mangoes! I don't like those green ones at all. Sometimes I feel we all have a Buddha in each one of us and if we spend enough time in self-reflecting after seeing sorrow, we might actually find it in us. I totally relate to you dead man story.