Sunday, September 17, 2006

Baby one more time

There is something about these kids I tell you. They will always make you laugh, no matter how downcast you are feeling. The other day, I was strolling around below my building and along came a toddler, no more than two years old, plonked on her little tricycle, her ayah pulling her along. I waved at her. The ayah stopped the tricycle and said to the baby:
‘Uncle Ko Hi Bolo
She looked at me with wide eyes, and eventually deciding that I was an acceptable creature, smiled and waved. I waved back. I think she was really developing a liking for me, for she blew back a kiss.
‘that’s nice.’, the ayah was pleased. ‘Now tell your name to uncle’
She pursed her lips, as if contemplating on the reasonableness of this demand, and eventually said, ‘Saaarika’. She liked the musical intonation of her own voice and started beaming.
‘Good girl. Now count from one to ten’, The theatre of the absurd had begun. I have always wondered why kids are made to do such things.
Sarika looked down thoughfully, a melancholy expression on her face. She pretended not to have heard the ayah.
‘Sarikaaa..chalo chalo count from one to ten’ the Ayah was pushing it a bit too far now.
Sarika started rubbng her hands, as one might do on a cold north Indian winter morning. She was looking all around, not knowing what to do
The ayah bent down and whispered ‘this is not good beta. Uncle will feel you are a bad girl’
Phat! Sarika slapped the Ayah hard and looked at her with disdain. Maybe that is why she had been warming her hands. Then she looked at me and smiled sweetly, tilting her head to one side.
I made a ‘don’t worry about it’ gesture to her with my hands. She in turn made the same gesture to the Ayah, who was still nursing her face.
Sarika seemed to have really caught on to the idea of gestures, so she let loose a volley of facial expressions, shoulder shrugs and hand rotations. After a final twitch of the nose and a roll of her eyes, she seemed satisfied that she had showcased her entire oeuvre. She again smiled at me and blew a kiss. I tried to blush appropriately but ended up laughing out aloud instead. Sarika also started giggling. The ayah, concerned that she was being ignored completely, pulled the baby along and they were on their way, Sarika already having lost interest in me and waving to another passerby.There is something about these kids I tell you, they will always make you laugh

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Operation

I got down at Bandra station after a long train journey from Church Gate. Today was one of the better days. The rains had lowered the temperatures significantly and I had avoided the rush hour by leaving late at 10 pm. Moreover, I had my ipod with me. I listened to some kickass guitar solos and that had made the journey passable. There was a semblance of quiet satisfaction in the atmosphere around the station, almost post-orgasmic in feel. There were fewer people around. They seemed to be walking more slowly than usual. Everything seemed effulgent in the afterglow of a lovemaking session. I realised I love this city only for the 9 hours from 10 in the night to 7 in the morning, when it slows down to earthly speeds. I crossed the road, and waved down a rickshaw.
'Turner Road', I shouted above Pink Floyd's psychedelic Echoes reverberating in my ears. It was the most mundane of my daily chores. Hailing down a rickshaw, shouting out my destination, looking around aimlessly for the next 7 to 10 minutes (depending upon whether I spent 3 minutes or 6 at the Linking Road-SV Road crossing) and shooing off beggar children along the way.
We had come to the crossing. There were 2.5 more minutes to go before the light turned green. There were 5 more minutes of Echoes left. I was happy with my life.
'Bhai Sahab..', I saw my rickshaw driver turn back and try to say something to me.
'Haan, tell me', I reluctantly removed one earphone.
'Bhai Sahab, is there such a thing as the surgery of the intestines?' He asked me earnestly, in thick, bhojpuri accented Hindi.
'Surgery of the intestines...have you ever heard of the intestines being operated upon?'
'Well, I have heard of some surgical procedures relating to the intestines..but I am not a doctor so I cant be too sure. Why do you ask?',I had removed the other ear phone now. I looked at the guy. He was in his early thirties, tall and with impeccable features. Like one of those Indian princes of yore.
' wife..doctors have told that she has to undergo a surgery of the intestines'
'She had undergone a vasectomy operation two years back in Jaunpur..the doctor accidentally snipped off something inside the stomach...she experienced several complications..and then I got her operated again..then she remained fine for a couple of years. Now, the problem has resurfaced. Doctors say an operation on the intestines is necessary to sort out this Iwas just wondering whether this saala intestines can be operated upon'
The light turned green. I could not say anything for a while. I did not know what to say. Then a bromide escaped my mouth
'Dont worry. Doctors know best. I am sure things will work out fine'
'Yeah that is what I am thinking..He is a big doctor..he will definitely you think I should get it done?'
'umm..I think so..where are u getting it done?'
'In the hospital at mahim'
'Raheja hospital?' I knew that was a stupid question the moment I asked it
'No no,', he smiled. 'Municipal hospital..actually Raheja would have been expensive..I cant afford will cost about 10000 Rs in municipal as opposed to 60000 Rs elsewhere'
For the second time in a minute, I did not know what to say. He showed some mercy and said 'Waise the doctors there are many people come there every day..but i am still surprised that yeh saala intestine ka operation...'
We had come to my house. I asked him to stop. I paid him and escaped to fresh air and some more Pink Floyd.