Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do you think you are walking in a garden?

Random people and some even more random conversations. Allow me to narrate the ones which I remember a lot more vividly than the others! I just had to share these.

The other day a friend and I were in this plush mall for some window shopping. We were just about to get onto the escalator when I heard this voice behind me, “Do you think you are walking in a garden!” I immediately turned around to see this aunty (at least 50 years old), with a rather grumpy face looking at both of us. I was not sure if I heard her right. I thought she needed help with something. So my retort was “ I am sorry.. what did u say?” The voice then got a little stern “ Do you think you are in a garden to walk so slow!!” Imagine the audacity! My friend immediately said “ Why don’t you move ahead?” I was beginning to lose it. “ Yes, AUNTY! Don’t you see enough space? Why don’t YOU go ahead?!” I bit my tongue from saying anything more. My mom definitely did a good job of “Remember to talk to your elders with respect” bit! Pah! Anyway, our irritable aunty grumbled something under her breath and brushed past us onto the escalator. I was shocked to see the way she was hurrying up, scared in fact. I don’t think she realized that in escalators, one doesn’t usually “climb” the steps, especially not at her age. Who or what was she hurrying up for?

The other incident happened on a local train. I was sitting inside the train and this petite girl sitting opposite to me said “You are wearing a very pretty kurta.”I did think it was quite nice of her to complement a total stranger. She looked interested in starting a conversation. I had nothing better to do either. It started with the casual exchange of names and within 15 minutes we managed to cover books, movies, fitness, shopping, Mumbai, marriage, traveling…..! We ended up exchanging numbers and added each other on Facebook. I got back home and told this to my husband. His obvious reaction was “Wow.. you added a total stranger on Facebook!? “ That is when I asked myself “Did I as usual overdo it?” :P

This last incident happened recently and I thought quite a bit about it when I got back home. Perceptions vary and how!

My sister and I were at this garment store, browsing through some very pretty dresses. A lady in her mid thirties came up to my sister and said “That is a beautiful ring.” Then she turned to me and said “Your earrings are so beautiful.” Amused, but nonetheless pleased by the admiration from a total stranger, we thanked her with a broad grin. She immediately started talking about how much she loves silver jewellery and asked us about some good stores. Then she moved onto what she actually wanted to talk about. The compliments were for simply breaking the ice, I realized. Our lady was an associate producer with a renowned TV channel and she was looking for a game show host. She talked about how glamorous the job was, and the pay package, the fringe benefits and the works. I kept wondering did she really think we were “glamorous game show material?” NO way. I don’t even want to be featured in that category. Reminded me of all the skinny girls I see on Zoom TV with body glitter on them. Definitely not my idea of glamour.

I didn’t want to offend and I feigned interest in her conversation. My sister got back to her browsing. In between the nonstop chatter about the job, she stopped abruptly in between and asked “Btw, where are you girls from?” My nonchalant response was “Kerala”. Little did I know that would surprise her to no end. “Kerala…!? You girls look really cosmopolitan to be from Kerala!!” Huh!? That was my first reaction. I knew why. I figured she arrived at this conclusion seeing our regional talk show hosts. Thanks to our Kiran TV Vjs. I must sadly admit that most Vjs from Malayalam music channels seem to be very far from glamorous in the eyes of an outsider. In fact they are far from glamorous in my eyes too. I wish they didn’t try so hard to be ‘hep and happening’ and would stick to being natural. You know what I mean…

In any case, I immediately replied “Well, … It depends on where all you have been..” I am not sure whether she understood my point. Whether you are a Malayalee or a Bihari, it all depends on one’s exposure and upbringing. I wanted to somehow make her end her game show promotion and hence added “Actually I work with an IT firm and my sister is still studying, if we come across someone who might be interested, we will surely let you know.” In my mind I was saying “If you don’t mind, I would like to continue shopping!” Having heard that, she immediately gave me her visiting card. I honestly have no idea now where I kept it.

Apparently Kerala is still a village and all Malayalees villagers?!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Who am I?

Anyone who inhabits the city is bound to cross my path sometime or the other.

Over the years I have made many acquaintances in not just the maalishwalas and taxiwalas, but also the bada saabs, their memsaabs, chauffers and not to mention their bachcha - bachchis.

Though my role is never spoken about, I know I feature somewhere in their livelihood.

These days, I see a lot of newlyweds, health enthusiasts and frustrated office goers. Some seek my comfort during troubled times, while for some others, I am just a partaker in their noisy celebrations or rejuvenating jogging sessions.

Even movie stars would like to pay me a visit, but even before our eyes meet, the paparazzi whisk them away.

Though I have had my share of horrifying incidents in the past, I am a firm believer of the present.

For many I am a lap of comfort and luxury, with their fancy houses and five star hotels to boast of. I am tired of being in everyone’s’ vicinity.

Not a day goes by when I don’t sympathize with Mother Nature. Disregarded, she weeps.

The sea is my soulmate. I will always watch out for her.

My peers stand tall and proud as they adorn the Queens’ necklace. They are second next to none.

As for me, I still continue to watch the world go by, one dream chasing the other.

The vast stretch of ocean with her tiny fishing boats, pompous high-rise buildings at the distance, chaiwalas who perpetually flock around potential customers, joggers who train for the next marathon, horse carts that sport colorful balloons, daydreamers with no one to disturb - sights and sounds that make Mumbai’s Marine Drive one of a kind and also my favorite.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Choosing sides.....

Been a while since my previous post, I know. The past few weeks have been quite hectic and the sun is hardly showing any mercy on us Mumbaikers. Dear God, can we fast forward to winter please?? (Errrr, is there one in Mumbai??)

Before I go off on another tangent, let me today talk about something which has been on my mind a lot these days. A word of caution - Written in one of those pensive moods, this one may lack the “feel-good” factor. Désolé!

Let us consider a scenario. A, B & C are colleagues. B is good friends with A & C. But A doesn’t like C and C doesn’t seem to care too much for A either. But B is fond of A & C, and according to B, they are both special in their own way. B does not want to choose sides.

Confused? :) Re-read. What if you are in B’s shoes?

Some may say, why do you care? You maintain your personal equation with both of them the way you want, and forget about their feelings for each other. All this is easier said than done.

Unfortunately, one cannot be insouciant to this aspect in relationships beyond a certain point, especially between friends. When A starts talking to you, you are hoping he/she doesn’t start bad mouthing C. When you are talking to C, you are so careful not to mention A’s name anywhere. You and your bunch of friends are organizing a get-together. Do you call A or C? Do not call both?? Better still, ensure one leaves before the other one arrives!? C’mon are we in third grade!!?

Here is one end to the story that I have seen happen. B decides to grow closer to A and at the same time maintain a cordial relationship with C. After a point of time, C begins to realize this tilt in equation, and detaches himself/herself slowly from A & B. Then poof!! C is nowhere in the picture.

Here is what happens otherwise. B maintains a healthy relationship with both A & C. A win-win situation? Not quite. The relationship begins to lose its depth, in some circumstances especially. B is not sure what the other person is thinking and how they will react. Then comes some dreaded outbursts “Why was he over reacting, he is the one who needs to grow up!" Oops. Now what?! How straightforward can one be, to say “Forget him, what about you?” Honestly? Not me, not always.

You may wonder why this loony woman is over analyzing the situation. I have realized that as we mature into adults, we think we know how to handle such idiosyncrasies, but the truth is, we are flummoxed. When both the parties are important, how can you choose sides? And if you do, how do you convince the other person without earning his/her wrath??

Well, there is only so much one can do too.

Maybe, it is better to just, LET GO.