Ek Kathak Aur Uski Kathayen

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It was another boring day – quite a boring start, or rather a hackneyed start to the afternoon – but that was what her life was relegated to. It was your regular Lazy-Morning-Boring-Afternoon-Evening-spent-waiting-The-night-all-alone routine.


Yes that's the word. It was a routine for her. Her routine schedule. The routine she was used to and so on, in that vein. It felt funny, not like the "funny" you feel when you make eye contact with "the" cute guy at the mall, but the fully kind of funny feeling that cannot be explained - its neither happy nor sad, like emotions all pent up, waiting for a trigger to get the right one out.

"Like a vending machine, maybe?"
She said, trying to be helpful to herself, probably.
It was this game she played, where she would talk to herself, and herself would be the stranger. Sometime she'd meet her at the store,

"Hey! What a co-incidence, you also drink Nescafe??!?"
Pretty stupid, you could say, but then it was funny. Probably off the three odd well known brands there was mathematically 33% probability that someone else would also use that brand! But well, for her, and for the "other" her, it wasn't stupid at all!

"Of course, I drink Nescafe, it’s been years. My mom loved Nescafe"
"Ahhh... yes. It’s got this amazing flavor"
"Yeah, and when... oh my... look at that, you're also wearing green"
"Heck... wow! I never noticed it."
"And now you'll tell me you teach Mathema...."
"You mean, you also?? We must be sisters"
And they both got laughing and discussing the intricacies of the Chinese remainder theorem, not because either of them taught mathematics, but because this was jargon she picked up from some website, somewhere.

Then there would be other times she would meet some one else at the hospital. Or at the store, buying maternity gowns.

"Oh it’s such a joy to be a mother!"
She would say to herself aloud. But it was just loud enough for the lady next to her to catch on and smile. And the conversation would go further. She would talk about how she always wants this baby girl. A sweet doll, like no other.
"Boys"!???? She'll exclaim.
"They're just messy pests. I want a daughter, who'll love me like no other"
"You're trying to mend your relationship with your mom, is it", the other lady would ask.
"How rude" she would think and walk away. "Is she a bloody psychologist or what, messing into others personal choices. What a patriarchal society we live in... people only care for boys"
But she wouldn't say that aloud, lest the lady asks "Did you mother want a boy?" "Patriarchal" was another of those internet-picked-up-words!

And so life went on. She met so many people. Neurosurgeons, teachers, software professionals, gym trainers, professional athletes, a cardiologist, pesky housewives, women inflicted with social injustice, and how she'd always want to help them and feel sorry for them. She even met men, at times. When she needed love; needed romance... needed to be touched, kissed, felt wanted, felt loved! Like the boy she met while jogging and the stolen kiss, never to be seen again. Or the ten day romance, during her visit to Calcutta - the guy was a gem of a person, and the way he kissed... mmm....!! Or the boy she met in high school, ten years ago, who still called her secretly and professed his un-dying love for her. And her cute neighbour! Why of course he loves her.
"Have you seen his wife? Balding-fat-wrinkled-face who wears clothes that are two sizes too small for her! How can he even bear her?"
And when she'd see them kissing in the balcony, she'd convince herself it was she who he was kissing.

These conversations never got over. It didn't help she had a vivid imagination and could conjure up the weirdest of scenes! Simply perfect, she'd tell herself after her personal show, take a bow and carry on with life.

"Lonely and trapped in it", and she'd laugh to herself. That's life, afterall!