Just before my holiday, I had this thought –maybe it’s time for me to start from scratch. At least, when it comes to making friends. I think my association with some friends has run its course. There are a few exceptions; there are some people who I’d like to stay in touch with, off and on…because they are interesting people. They do stuff, they make mistakes, win, stumble, laugh, lose badly..whatever…but they live. They’re interesting.
The others, a sadly growing number, seem to be stuck in this whiny hell-hole they call existential angst. I used to be the president of the club at one time. But then, at some point, one discovers sunshine and cable T.V. and fast-food and then, an empty life doesn’t seem so bad any more.
Sometimes I think about things and I wonder who I could talk to. And of late, I’m drawing a blank. Now, I feel as if I know exactly what my friends are going to say, how they are going to react, etc. etc. It’s so predictable. I wonder if any of them are thinking of me the same way.
I guess when you can’t relate to a friend any more, it’s better to just not keep in touch. Maybe some time in the future, times will change and they will become different people, and I will become a better person and then we’ll make plans to go for breakfast and actually look forward to it.
Right now, I think I need to be in a place where I know nobody. I’m a new face to everyone around me. It’s so thrilling..that prospect.
Anyway, I have started thinking about Cy a whole lot now. J and I are planning to go to Puri for the New Years. (We are, aren’t we, J? Or was it some idle chatter…even if it were, think about it. Will be fun…one can never have enough of beaches.) Or else, my roomies and I were planning to go to the Himalayas. Let’s see what works out.
Anyway, here’s an incident with Cy that I just remembered.
Pune Central on a Saturday afternoon. Cy, J and I are at the Food Bazaar.
J, like a total hep yuppy, is reading labels to check for good cholesterol content in cooking oils or some such. (HA HA HA HA, by the way…good cholesterol is a state of mind, in case anyone didn’t know.) Cy and I are pottering about here and there, mostly gearing towards eggs.
“This is allergy, Mukutha”, Cy points out. For a brief while, she called me Mukutha, and not Mukta. No-one knows why. Suddenly she stopped. Again, no-one knows why.
“Yes”, I nod. Cy is allergic to eggs.
“You die if you eat it Mukutha?”, she asks, her eyes getting rounder with anticipation of peril.
“Umm..no…” I say uncertainly.
“I will die?”
“No…you will get very sick..but you will not die”, I reassure.
“Then who will die, Mukutha?”
Oh well…time for distraction.
Cy spots the snacks counter and clutches onto two big bags of ‘Kurkure’. It’s followed by a nasal whine, “I want…”
Now, I think there’s nothing wrong with a kid having chips on a Saturday afternoon. But the hep, yuppy mom unearthing benefits in fine print may think otherwise. So I desist from making the purchase.
“No…put that back. It’s not good for you.”
“But I WANT!”, Cy screams…just in case I hadn’t understood the first time round.
“Well..no..this is junk f…”
“WAAAAH! I WANT!”
“Stop crying! You are not going to get…..”
“I WANT!” (she kicks me) “BadMukutha!” (kicks me again) “I WANT! I WANT!” (kicks..what else?)
Now I’m embarrassed..so just to salvage the situation, I negotiate with her. “If you can spell it, I’ll get it for you.”
Suddenly Cy stops. She looks down at her packets, moving her fingers across the colourful squiggly alphabets, and looks back at me. Sullen and silent.
Aha! It worked! It actually worked!
She puts back the Kurkure and grabs another big, red packet.
“I want Lays”, she smiles. “L-A-Y-S.”
How could I refuse?