Wednesday, September 29, 2004

You've seen one, you've seen the mall

The Law : When planning to kill the mosquitoes, start from the Scratch.

"I think it's time I showed them who's the boss! What the hell do they think of themselves?". I was muttering to myself as I entered the super-market. The fierce look of determination had just finished spreading over the whole of my face when I saw what I thought was a PYT. Trying to look nonchalantly purposeful I gallivanted towards her but she wasn't the gal I wanted. Infact I did not want any gal, what I wanted was a nuclear bomb that would rid all the worlds of all the mosquitoes.

What I also realised, and quite promptly so, was that I had no idea where to look for what I had come looking for. With a deft stroke of what would qualify as clever and fast thinking, I started looking for someone who could offer some help. As is the wont of clever and fast thinking, it was a fiasco. The place was very crowded and nobody seemed to know where to look for what they had come looking for. I would go so far as to say, most of them were clueless about what they had come looking for and it's just got worse from there. The fact that I was one of them did not excite me the least bit.

This is the problem when I face when I go to a super-market. I feel completely lost, geographically and metaphorically. And for someone who is not too different outside as well, such situations acquire a menacingly high potential of turning explosive. So there I was , standing like an idiot and thinking that the similarity did not quite end there.

After much deliberation I came to the conclusion that N-E is the best direction to head in, when confounded with a problem of such immense complexity. I turned and was just starting to move when I heard the sweetest female voice, coming somewhere from the S-W.
"May I help you sir?". If you ask me for a rough estimate, I would say it was about one-tenth of a second that I took to think of the numerous ways in which the sweet voice and it's owner could help me in finding what I had come to look for, in the market and in this world and the various heart-warming events that could occur as we embarked on the journey of the super-market and life. Together. I turned around with the air of a man who has suddenly discovered that life is not just about super-markets but also about being presented with possibilities of starting life-long relationships with people you meet in super-markets.

I completed my dramatic turn with the air of a man who has suddenly rediscovered that life is indeed just about super-markets. I was at complete loss again, this time for words. The owner of the honey-sweet voice was a hulk of a man. "May I help you sir?", asked the female again. Lions don't bleat and elephantes don't croak, phir yeh kaisa chamatkaar! Though I do not claim to be an authority on the creator and his ways, but I conjectured that after designing the most exquisite larynx, he fell asleep listening to it's mellifluous reverberations and ended up covering it with the wrong integument. I tried to cover up my perplexity by making a profound remark and said, "Uhm...err..oh..errm...yeah...hey".
Making one last, desperate attempt to prevent my dreams from shattering, I wanted to see if there was someone standing behind him and talking while he lip-synced. I tried to take a peek over his shoulders but the difference in our heights did not allow that so I just walked around him. He turned around and she asked me the third time, " May I help you....sir? ". The difference this time was that there was a lot of stress on 'help' , the 'r' in 'sir' was rolled for a little longer than I would have liked and all that was combined with a smile that bordered on the surreptitiously suggestive.
"Err...yes. I think you could".
"Yeah?" came her voice from his mouth. Less surreptitious and more suggestive this time. It's amazing when you think about the various connotations that could be associated with an innocuous li'l word like 'yeah' when said with a not so innocuous and not so li'l smile.
"Umm, yes. I'd like to get ...ummm..something...". The smile was getting dangerously broad now. "Something that would get rid of mosquitoes", I added hastily before the smile changed from dangerously broad to broadly dangerous. "Oh.." By what I could gauge, he tried rather hard not to sound disappointed.
"Yeah, sure". This time there was a clear lack of effort to hide the disappointment. "The section is that side, I'll take you there", she said as he pointed towards his right and started walking towards his left. "Must be one way traffic in the aisles", I tried to explain to myself but could not do a good job of it. I followed him while looking around for traffic signs lest I broke any rules.

If one pauses for a moment to think - though one must clearly bear the fact in mind that pausing or thinking is not quite feasible inside a super-market and to think of doing both together is like asking for two much - the amount of boisterous anarchy prevalent there would suggest that having a few traffic signals might just prove to be a stroke of genius. (One can only wonder in amazement about the kind of industrial and social revolution this would bring about, giving rise to new products and services: specially made traffic signals for stores and specially trained commandoes to control the rowdy crowds, but that is out of the scope of this blog).
The rowdy crowd though, was very much there. I mean, its the journey that matters and not the destination, and all that is fine, but you got to give some merit to a person who knows what he wants and more importantly, from where. And when the majority of human population are faithful scholars of the Journey-Destination school of thought, knowing when and where to stop could go a long way in population control.

Upon reaching what I made out was the pesticides section, he paused, waved his arm and said, "All yours", and suddenly turned his back at me. "Of course he means these exotic products", I tried to comfort myself.
Thankfully, he also walked away at the same time.

To be continued....

p.s: What I write and shall write in the future here shall mostly be based on real events and characters. Only 90% of it will be imaginative fiction.

p.p.s: This post was meant to be a short note on the overwhelming love and affection that I feel for those tiny blood-sucking vampires but somewhere down the line I lost my way, in every sense. Also there is this thing abt showing my loyalty to the Journey-Destination school of thought:). Shall try to get to what I actually wanted to share in the next blog.

p.p.p.s:I can see the living daylights going out of those who wanted this blog to see the light of day, but you know whom to blame:) Anyways, brickbats, stale tomatoes and rotten eggs are welcome. They shall be taken with a pinch of salt:)

Monday, September 27, 2004


I've been requested at gunpoint by a couple of friends to convert this space into a forum for urdu poetry. So here I am, giving birth to the same, with an ode to death.
The name has to have some significance after all.

daba ke qabra mein chal diye sab, naa duaa naa salaam
zaraa sii der mein yeh kya ho gaya zamaane ko