The hugsband who came back from a five day work trip,
The way you entered the house, dumped your bags down and headed straight to your bicycle was enough to tell me that I have successfully been replaced by a two-wheeled mode of transport that is currently the source of unbridled joy in your life. I watch, totally amused, as you fish out a big bag of goodies you brought back from your trip. I am tempted to ask if there’s anything in it for me, but I knew it was a foolish question as I watched you fish our a brand new cycle seat (what was wrong with the old one to begin with?), a second water-bottle holder (doesn’t your cycle already have one?), a new bottle (because what good is a new holder if you don’t have a new bottle to put in it?), cycling shorts (I suppose a shiny new seat needs a bum clad in shiny new shorts to sit on it?), a set of ratchets and screw drivers specially designed for cycle-fixing (tool-man fetish rising to the surface again?). I have seen you get soaked up in activities of your choice like this before. You surround yourself with every accessory needed before you even try doing it first. I suppose its a different kind of keeda that floats your boat, but this, dear hugsband is scary, because we are soon going to need a new home to store all your cycling equipment in.
The people finally paving the street outside my home,
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I see the muscles on your bodies flex, and the sweat trickle down profusely, with every heave you make to get that basket of granite from the ground up on to your heads. You do it again and again, tireless toiling over a street that is of little consequence to you. It is probably just you doing your job, earning your daily bread. But as someone who has serially walked out of jobs that weren’t interesting, or that seemed like too much hard work for too little satisfaction, I wonder if you even have the space for this thought process. What is job satisfaction? What is the product of your toil? Your job probably means less to you than it does to the smug contractor watching over your every move, through his dark tinted shades. But it means a lot to me. Your actions, your Herculean strength to stick to your job in the oppressive May heat that I crib about from inside the cocoon of a curtained room, speak louder than words. Louder than the words of the local panchayat that promised to do up the road, last year. Louder than the collective words of everyone on this street who complained for a whole year before we did anything about it. And for that I am eternally grateful.
The loser who wrote the blog post I wish I hadn’t read, but that I quickly unfollowed on doing so,
How empty your life must be, if sending our passive-aggressive brain farts is the only way to get through to people you obviously have so much to say to? How utterly sad your life is, for the words you rebelliously shared sound like the thoughts of a 16 year old. How utterly stagnant and unchanging your life must be, that even after all is said and done, you’re rambling on about the same things you rambled on nearly a decade ago? What you need is a big gulp of your own medicine. Read your own words, chew on them, mull over it, regurgitate it, do whatever you will of it. But for God’s sake, believe in it. Believe in something that is your own and not a fractured, manufactured, well-put-together version of what a dozen other people told you was good for you. Grow a pair, find your spine, do whatever it takes but please, move the fuck on.
The only vegetable vendor who understands why I always need curry leaves,
I noticed you get by speaking every language possible. I’ve heard you rattle off Marathi and Konkani with the ease of a “localite” when you speak to customers from around your store, and I’ve heard the familiar intonation of Kannada roll off your tongue when you see me. You suddenly switch to a perfectly sculpted accent of Hindi, reserved only for your suppliers who call you to fix the next day’s deals. And then at times you utter a line or two of English. I grin inwardly, wiping away the first signs that threaten to show, when I hear you smooth-talk the woman in front of me, persuading her in English, to take the packet of mushrooms. You acknowledge my presence with a beaming toothy smile, and in that moment I realise what being enterprising means. It’s about being everywhere at once. Not physically, but mentally — learning languages on the go, picking up the pulse of your little store in the alley, making connections with people, talking to them like you know them, being alert to their every need, and going beyond just being a sabjiwalla. You shake me out of my thoughts, as you pull my leg about something or the other — often demanding a hundred rupees for a couple of lemons, and then throwing in a handful of chillies for free and behaving like it were a handful of gold. And then you give me the customary branch of fresh curry leaves, because nobody understands the need for fresh curry leaves, every single week, like a fellow South Indian. I thank you in Kannada and I leave. As usual, totally satisfied.
The people who make the shady stuff that is Royal Falooda Mix,
You have no idea to what extent you have pleased my overheating, summer-sapped body and mind over the last two days. The ease of boiling a litre of milk, stirring in a packet of shocking pink crystals mixed with seviyyan roasted nuts and chia seeds that grow plump over time, is sheer genius. Boil, mix, chill. And belt, served over any ice cream of your choice. Whattey beauty! Somewhere at the back of my mind is a niggling thought that wonders what scary chemicals you put into this fabulous mix, for it to get cooked up so easily, and for it to turn that eye-popping pink, but my heart goes into such raptures every time I have a glass of this wonderful-est invention, that the thought is thwarted down to a mere whimper. Liquid diet has taken on an all new meaning these days, as I have made meals of your falooda over the last two days. Strawberry done, raspberry and pistachio flavours to go.
Thank you for listening.
A hyperactive mind with way too many thoughts for one person to deal with