Aug 17, 2014

Country Fruit

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or otherwise, is entirely coincidental.


Hey, move man ! said Rekha , as the signal turned green . She was riding pillion and we were on our way to Phoenix market city mall . It was the eve of Independence day and she didn't want to spend it indoors. I reluctantly got off the couch and went for a shower . I got dressed and noticed she was wearing a  blue jean and a white t-shirt. She was hot . She could have worn a dirty jute bag  with stains all over it and would still have appeared hot to me. Twenty six is a weird age, you know.  I could see half her face through the rear-view mirror . She did not appear to be looking at me or the road . She was just enjoying the wind in her hair .Women are simple creatures,I thought  Who are you kidding? , said a voice in my head . We arrived at the mall and it began to drizzle .

This must be a joke! The board in front read - Two wheeler parking : Rs.50/hr .Loss of parking ticket will invite a blanket charge of Rs.350 . No exceptions . I wanted to turn back and park outside but the horns from behind , the drizzle and the girl on the bike didn't help the cause . Fuck it . I got the ticket and drove through what seemed like an elaborate 3D maze . It took me a good twenty minutes to park and reach the actual mall . It's daylight robbery , Isn't it ? said Rekha  . Finally ! Somebody feels my pain. We navigated through the crowd of teenagers and went into the Woodland store . How does this look , she said , pointing to a sandal . What about the people who come to watch movies ? The parking must cost them more than the movie tickets , I thought . Looks good ,  Rekha , try it on . I couldn't get it out of my head . Only in our country can people get away with such things .

We didn't buy the sandal . It's too plain when I look at it from here , said Rekha after she wore it. I didn't know what a sandal was supposed to look like from five feet and six inches directly above it , So I didn't say anything . We window shopped for a couple of hours and then sat down with a cup of American corn .I want molaga bajji now , announced Rekha . I wanted to put the corn down and kiss her right there . Why are you looking at me like that ? She asked . Nothing , Let's go get some bajji . We walked towards the exit . One fifty saar , said the parking lady and handed over a receipt .

Anna , Rendu tea , naalu molaga bajji , oru lights .I said to the shopkeeper as we sat on the bench in a tea stall right opposite to the mall . I handed the bajji to Rekha and got up to light my cigarette . Hey, I want one too, She said  and put her tongue out like in the smileys .She looked adorable . What is it with her man ? She drives me crazy !  Polam va , I said and kick started my bike after we finished the tea .  She turned her ipod on ,  put one earphone in her ear , one in mine and after shuffling through what seemed liked a million songs, finally settled on 'I want to hold your hand' by The Beatles . I want to do much more to you than just hold your hand baby, I thought and chuckled a bit .The road was relatively empty but I wasn't in any rush . Deii , Enga da vara nadhaari ..!  I screamed at  a kid in moped who came out of nowhere and almost crashed into me . I missed him by a whisker . I looked back and saw that he was shaken  . He must not have been more than twelve years old . Rekha was unfazed . So, I decided to keep moving . How do his parents allow him to drive ?

This was the month of Aadi as per the Tamil calendar . Aadi is weird . During this month , Shops announce big discounts , Wedding halls host exhibitions , newly married couples are not allowed to have sex,  Temples hire big sound systems and play Maariaatha, chella kaaliyaatha dum dum dum dum dum the entire month.We approached my apartment and noticed that a big stage, blocking a three way street was set up . A make up man was giving finishing touches  to people dressed in shining clothes . Just then , someone got on the stage and said mike testing one two three mike testing hello hello check check . The noise got on my nerve . How is this not illegal , I asked Rekha . Chill , Let's go upstairs, you wont hear it , She said and walked up to my apartment on the second floor .

The noise from those monstrous  speakers was unbearable.Only in our country can people get away with such things, I muttered and sat down with my office laptop . After half an hour, I got up and noticed Rekha was standing on the balcony . Hey look ! So many people have gathered . It's nice . I noticed hundreds of people : men, women, children , cows and stray dogs enjoying the music . I decided to stand there for a couple of minutes . It was actually not bad . The singers were doing a good job and I began to enjoy it too . Here, hold it , said Rekha as she handed over a glass with some rum and two ice cubes in it . She had one too . It was leftover Old Monk from the last weekend . Sidedish ? I asked . Bite me , She said and sat down.

We enjoyed the show for a good couple of hours . They played a wide variety of  Tamil songs and the crowd loved it .One aunty even whistled at the performer . There was such joy on people's faces . The show ended with a standing ovation from the audience. Just then I realized how petty I had been earlier.Something which I thought was utterly pointless and annoying turned out to make so many people happy.  Discomforts here and there are bound to occur in a country where billions of people have the freedom to chase their dreams. Standing in a small ,crowded room filled with stinky people and looking at the stars of the night-sky  is much better than sitting alone miserably in my air-conditioned apartment , I thought and looked up at the clock . It was just seconds before midnight .  Happy Independence day ,said Rekha and lit up a cigarette, blowing the smoke right across my face.


6 comments:

vaseey said...

Good read indeed. Its true that we do not have the patience to crawl through something that does not appeal to us at the start! Best example, man from the earth ;) Nice portrayal ^^

Praveen said...

Thanks man . I haven't seen man from the earth though :|

yaswanthj said...

did u really window shop for three hours???

best part was the aunty whistling at the performer... lol...
i thought u wud mention another thing abt how u can park outside and get away with it... only in our country...
but still, "studying boys" wud b disturbed by loud speakers... :P
Happy Independence Day BTW....

Praveen said...

Jeez.. We WERE Studying !

what happened to your Badmovies Id ?

a said...

Praveen! loved the flow of the piece. write some more and write often :)

Praveen said...

Thanks Aruna :) Will try to write more

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