It's been a long, frenetic week. So long and so frenetic that I couldn't write about it while I was in the midst of it; I couldn't whistle about it even when it was over. But I decide to do some breezy articulation just before the next, frenetic week begins.
The thing with long, fenetic weeks is this - it exhausts one to think about it, much less remember the interesting factoids (and by interesting, I only mean infuriating - hindsight is such a delightful palliative). So I thought I'd write about something that made me chuckle.
Not very strangely, the incident happened while I was in an auto. (And though the phrase doesn't sound as sweetly romantic as 'while you were sleeping', I guess it could be the title of a movie. Small-budget, independent film or something. A play, at the very least.)
Anyway, it's around 10:15 p.m. some night when I'm returning from office. I'm wearing a skirt which, by virtue of being bright yellow and pink, attracts looks of aghast and interest from people on the road or in neighboring vehicles. Aghast increases and interest piques when gazes travel to my face - it's wrapped in a dupatta (pink and yellow) with only my eyes visible. Now, in the best of times with adequate light, my face in such a situation looks a little scary. I can only imagine what people must be seeing in the seven shades of darkness that pervades Asalpha.
But no matter. I was almost done with a difficult portion of my work and was doing cartwheels in my head. So I guess I disregarded the first 10-20 glances. When I reached Ghatkopar station though, I had stopped doing cartwheels inside my head. Instead, I'd adopted a more sober mental stroll around the to-do-list for the next day. My elation in work matters is usually short-lived.
There I sat at the signal, minding my own business, furrowing my own brows, and kicking myself figuratively for being such an ass over estimating time improperly. Suddenly I noticed the guy in the auto next to mine.
He seemed to be nice enough - or would have been, if he were not practically hanging out of his auto gawking at my face. He was staring hard - with an expression I can't quite explain.
In my mind I imagined his friend telling him the plot of a horror film on Star Movies. As his pal explains the plot, this gawker unconsciously conjures an image of the ghost that murdered a whole town or something. And at the signal, he just happened to be thinking about the film and spotted me...in veiled, dark eyebrow glory. The ground shifts beneath his feet (I love Rushdie and I believe he will win), and he's scared. (That's the expression I got, by the way.) However, even at the risk of losing his life to a ghoul from netherworlds, he continues to stare.
Ghoul is extremely irritated. I look away and try to ignore him, but unblinking stares a little hard to shake off. Finally, at that interminable signal, I pull down my scarf and bark at him, "WHAT!?!"
My voice is loud and shrill and causes a few people to focus onhim. My auto-driver puts away his comb and peers into the man's face, the gawker's auto-fellow turns behind, the jaywalking pedestrian stops in his tracks to figure out what's going on.
The guy is taken aback, but only for a second. Coolly, he looks at his watch, looks at me and says, "10:45."
The signal turns green and we're on our way again. No-one notices, but someone in an auto is chuckling ghoulishly...despite herself.