'... coconut water is even better than milk for keeping a tooth viable'.
Whatever that means.
However what didn't find mention in this journal of rotting tooth pulp, endodontics (say it twice, spell it once, you'd have learnt it forever) is that in the name of health, vanity, and a lot of time on my hands, I have, of late, cultivated, a keenness on this magic coco fluid.
What's wrong with you? Why? What for? Well, because my research tells me it's similar to plasma. No, that's not it. But did you know that in Vietnam, there was such a thing as a coconut-water IV?! And because I am someone who will drink/eat anything if it's good for me, if it's good for my insides -- if they say your skin will shine, your hair will be glossier, your waistline will attract -- I will eat, I will gorge, I will apply. I will tell my sometimes rebelling taste buds, shut up! You don't exist.
In keeping with my non-existent tee-shirt that says Little Miss Disciplinarian, I've developed a little routine for myself.
Whenever I drive out of Gurgaon, or rather, drive to the metro station in Gurgaon to take the train to Delhi -- which is at least every second day -- I take this 'slip road', a dicey, somewhat desolate stretch not far from where my parents bought a flat years ago.
If, say, the next season of Dexter were to be filmed in India and the producer got my number from who cares where, and randomly asked me what's a good crime scene location, I'd take him/ them/full unit to this road.
Then the place would be marked on Lonely Planet, people -- because you can't put anything past them -- would pose kissing the melting tar. Facebook Apps would have tear-shaped balloon markings for the star stretch. And there might finally be more cops around the area. More cops and less creepy shadows which remind of crimes like, hey, remember this?
In the day though, it's a beautiful, creature-infested territory carved out from the Aravalli Range. (I didn't make that up). All trees and rocks and beauteous hypothetical picnic spot. Except, at night when cars slow down, I hope the equation is as innocuous as no cops + zero street lights = field day for frisky couples.
Apparently, I'm not the only uneasy commuter-resident of Gurgaon fame. My parents insist that when I drive back 'late at night', I am NOT to take that road. Understood?
Yes. But because they say so and I turned 12 last month, I take it anyway. But only every second day, to prevent dehydration and cultivate habits like Madonna who loves, drinks and owns stock in companies that make coconut water (and hum in a cutesy Hulu skirt improvised lyrics to the beat of Barry Manilow's.. coco-coco kabbalah...)
The options are my oysters. There are 2 nariyal pani guys on this side of the road and 3 nariyal pani guys on that side of the road. But my guy, on this side of the road, has got his location, location, location down pat. Which is why people such as myself stick to him. He's the first one you see. This is unfortunate for the guy further down the road. Happily for me though, my chap's begun to recognise my car.
So the routine is this. I brake in front of his shed and usually that's all I do. No need to honk. Service at your door. Sometimes, like yesterday, I'm ready to shout BHAIIYAA JI! But since it's not exactly a crowd puller, this shack of Bhaiiya Ji - shed-shack, callitwhatchuwant - I don't need to exercise my lungs. He sees me, acknowledges with a brief smile/ salaam to indicate he's coming, don't drive off. Because the road is so silent, I then hear a khatch, khatch sound of his khatri (sickle) lopping off the head of the coconut -- really, too much C.S.I, Dexter, Godfather in my system -- and there he comes, taking big, hurried steps, bearing a pani-wala nariyal with a straw in it.
Education for you: there's two things on the menu: pani-wala nariyal: the all-water one for Rs 25 and the pani+malai wala nariyal; the water+ creamy innards for Rs 30.
First day, nariyal pani guy didn't return my change. Second day, he didn't return my change. Third day, I gave him ten rupees less and he laughed. Smartie. Yesterday, nariyal pani guy had tourists over. A big van of white peeps with their backpacks, zoom lenses and appropriately skimpy clothes for the 44 degrees C heat -- not so much for the perennial leeriness that is the National Capital Region -- were soaking in the Indian experience, looking left, right, slurping away.
Besides van of tourists, there were 3 other cars with Haryana number plates. Some BPO types on bikes had materialised. Forget lonely stretch, today was houseful! In a twisted-empathy sort of way -- poor guy, he has only two hands, but at least he's making money, ok I'll come back later -- I was all set to skip my let's-be-Madonna act. But just as I was about to turn the ignition key, he gave me this pleading, be-with-you-in-a-sec look. So I waited. In the meantime, one office vulture in striped shirt and caterpillar ear piece pulled up near me, got off his car, and was executing a slimy queue-jump. Nariyal pani guy came running to lazy me, in my car, window down, AC up, took my 25 bucks, flashed quick grin and ran back to serve the cantankerous roasting folk who were there before me.
I loved the prioritising of me over other plebians. I think since I clicked his picture, I'm his favourite. Or maybe he's amused that I've told him twice now that his straws are useless. Too narrow, the sun has cracked into them and in the non-idyllic Aravalli range world, it really doesn't look nice to have coconut water sputter down the fabric on my thighs. Either that or this excellent service, cracked straws-apart, is my karmic reward for shunning the sanitised, packaged, supermarket versions that is the lot of Madge and Co.