Friday, August 19, 2011

Of People and places! – Part 1

It’s good to live in multiple cities. And I say this not so much because of getting the pleasure from trivial things in life like adopting diverse lifestyles, assimilating different cultures, trying different cuisines, learning different languages. No. There’s much more to it. I feel, moving to a new city instantly bestows you the right of authoritatively cursing and cribbing on a range of topics.

Now, for example, there is this super cool guy next door who usually comes home late with a roar of an even super cool bike and one sneak peek from the window makes you go weak on knees. After several weeks of attention seeking attempts through expensive parlour appointments and uncomfortable walks in skimpy skirts, you have not even managed to get a glance from him but rather the other day he almost crushed, with his cowboy-like shoes, your little stuffed toy which you had dropped to initiate the ‘baharon phool barsao’ scene or anything even remotely close to it.

Immediately, the local people can be termed as self centered, unwelcoming, closed-minded, myopic people. Then you can go on to narrate stories of how the neighbor in your ‘previous’ city had shared his pasta dinner with you when you were hungry and your gas cylinder went empty, cleverly hiding the fact of how, at that time though, you had labeled him as a ‘despo’ trying his luck on you young beautiful ladies.

I have, due to sheer chance of fate, been literally living out of bags (and some smelly cupboards) and have hopped cities back and forth for past six years. Therefore I do this, all the while, with untainted sincerity so much so that I sincerely feel I definitely deserve a small role in those tourism promotional ads.

Scene 1
I have lost my house key and am desperately searching for that ‘key’ guy. I finally find a small roadside shop but it’s deserted. So this is how events would roll in respective cities –

Mumbai -
I pace around for a few minutes. Scan surrounding areas but see no one who can fit the ‘key-guy’ profile. Seeing this, a Gujju (offcourse!) shopkeeper (of an adjacent grocery shop) comes out, asks me with concern as to what the problem is.
(All this conversation will be in Hindi in fear that people will think I am a regionalist if I engage in Marathi)

Me - “Do you know where he is“?
Shopkeeper – “Must have gone somewhere nearby. He will come soon. You can sit inside till that time”
Me – “Thank you”!
(Another 10 minutes pass. I am still standing outside)
Shopkeeper – Comes out, pulls out his cell, makes few calls, traces that ‘key-man’, informs him of a potential customer, takes my address, informs him, tells me to go home, I thank him, ‘key-man’ reaches my house in next 5 minutes, key made, door opened, and work done!

Learning – Sometimes simply standing over the problems could also solve them !!!

After my Mumbai incident, I proactively approach a lady sitting idly in the adjacent-almost-zero-inventory shop.
Lady shopkeeper - Screams at the top of her voice in the purest form of Marathi I have ever heard (rather, not heard) so much that I strongly believe that conversation could easily be part of Delhi Belly’s Marathi version if ever it were to be dubbed.

Lady (I have filtered it out to preserve my dignity) – “Are you a fool. If I owned that shop, would I be sitting over here? And do you think I am some GPS device to track his current location. Also do you think I am idle to answer such idiotic questions”?
I wanted to point put that there were indeed no customers in her shop but I couldn’t muster enough courage to say so because soon she continued, “If you are in such a hurry why don’t you pick that stone and go break that lock. You ...” and then the dubbed version of Delhi Belly followed.

Learning – You cannot have a worthwhile shopping experience in a zero inventory shop.

Moral of the story – Mumbai Meri Jaan !!  (More assault coming soon ……… )


Kanoo Sahajwala said...

Very well written Gauri... haven't been following ur blogs of late but just saw that have missed quite a bit...
Keep writin... :)

Gauri Lonkar said...

Thank u Kanoo ... looks like i have missed the action on your blogspot too ... Been lazy .. :)


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