I had a really beautiful Monday. The latter half, especially, just opened up like a box of treats.
It started off with an interesting twist, though. A client call got scheduled two hours earlier. This meant that I could leave office on time. I’ve been feeling a little under the weather lately, so this was a window I was looking for. Just wanted to get home and curl into bed and sleep, after chatting with a friend. But the forty minute bus ride to the station seemed to fortify me considerably. Once I reached Vashi, I thought I’d pop into Inorbit mall to check out what’s new.
There’s a flat 50% sale happening at Esprit – a sale that will gladden the most cynical heart. One can actually pick up a flat-front pair of denims for under 2,500 bucks. Which is, well, strong enough indication that someone up there is listening. And lest that not be proof enough, one can step into this shop, ‘Lush’. They have such superb smelling clumps of handmade soap, all selling for a 30% discount until the third of this month. Not only is someone listening, but is making interesting conversation too. My favorite there was one made with coconut, vanilla, and hisbiscus. It was such a pretty shade of pink – the way rose petals look like when they are soaked in milk.
I stepped into the L’Oreal salon to do my eyebrows and was attended to by this extremely gentle girl. She was so skilful and neat. Earlier, I had got one who went at my eyebrows like a manic gardener in charge of uprooting weeds. Sheesh!
Finally, I went into Crossword where I bought some books and some DVDs. Crossword’s having a sale on some Academy Award Films and they have quite a few good titles. There were some Cary Grant and Rock Hudson movies that are not very easy to come by.
After such great finds, I thought I’d stop over at Costa for some coffee. That’s when my ex-roomie, AK, called. And yelled at me for forgetting her birthday. I told her it wasn’t her birthday because I remembered it as 8th March, and not 2nd March. To which she pointed out that she should be a better authority at remembering when her birthday is, considering I wasn’t around when she graced the earth. My counter-argument to that silly logic was that Facebook reminds me of people’s birthdays and since it hadn’t reminded me of hers, it couldn’t be her birthday. “So you’ll wish me when Facebook tells you to?”, she asked. “Of course”, I replied. “You’re so stupid”, she said. Well, since she was getting so crabby, I did wish her happy birthday and I asked her about her birthday plans. Then I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she ominously replied, “You come to Delhi, then we’ll see.” Enough reason to be cautious in the capital, I think.
But AK and the fear factor are quite inseparable. In fact, I remember our initial interactions quite vividly. I had just moved into the house in Powai. My other roomie had gone for a walk and AK was in her room, listening to music. I said hello and not wanting to intrude in her space, went to the kitchen to get my dinner. I was eating alone in the balcony when AK came and joined me.
I thought it was nice of her to keep me company while I ate. Until she looked at my plate of food (some innocent looking rice, dal, and beans) and laughed. I asked her what she found funny. She sighed and mentioned she was thinking of her days in Chandigarh. “You know, in our labs, we used to dissect rats. And you know something, if you press their sides, their insides pop out.” She sighed with affection again. I looked at dinner and put it aside discreetly. I didn’t know what about lentils and beans had reminded her of a rodent’s innards. I also didn’t know what I had done to warrant that kind of information, but there it was.
Over time, there was no discussion that was devoid of rats. How they were cute and white and peeped out of lab coats. There was no discussion that was devoid of popping membranes or organs. On several occasions I was informed of how my lungs could get strung out, or how my brain could expand beyond my cranium, or how my liver could decide to express itself in a more liberated fashion. In my teenage years, I have gone through phases when I have loathed my body. In my adult years, I have come to be extremely scared of it.
One night, some friends, AK, and I were having coffee. We got around to talking about our colleges. Mostly we spoke about our teachers, college fests, hangouts, friends, alumni, etc. etc. AK, again, sighed with affection. “You know, in PU (Punjab University to the uninitiated), during elections – these groups would come in jeeps and stuff and get into fights with talwaars and all.” Yet again, there was that look of warm nostalgia shining on her face. I wondered if the girl was capable of having fond memories of any peaceful incidents. One that did not involve bloodshed – of a rat, a human, or any other mammal.
Today’s her birthday and AK, if you read this – I wish you a lifetime of happiness, wisdom, courage, and opportunities to ruin people’s appetites. Go on and take the world! (Or shock it, if that’s what you’d prefer.) Also, if we do meet in Delhi someday, let’s choose a place that’s bright and crowded, shall we?