I was feeling blue since yesterday night. But then I went and bought an Asterix (Asterix and Cleopatra) and a Tintin (The Seven Crystal Balls) this afternoon --the old ones I had having all gone on various trip to friends somewhere or lying in my library room back home. Nothing gives me a high as much as looking at books, reading and browsing through them. Dark chocolate edges in as close as it can of course. Considering the fact that I have been demolishing bars of Lindt's Madagascar, Cuba and plain bitter flavours every single evening with alarming gusto and persistence, I guess it would be kind of an understatement.
I have been meeting people, who I would like to believe, would make a difference in my life and that of others they have touched. Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop came over to Delhi to formally launch the store here.
My pre-conceived notion went somewhere along these lines: that she would look down her nose at everybody. What I saw instead was this spunky little woman with her head full of unruly brown curls. I have not heard a Brit be so un-Brit.
The dame was unconventional. Swear words came tumbling out by the second along with witty one-liners. And yet what touched me was the fact that she was stuck about doing the 'right thing'. How being an entrepreneur she has used her money and power to help others. The best part was that she didn't sound like a preacher or too self-important in the least. We all like to live for ourselves. I do. How many people actually reach out to those not so fortunate as us?
She was a funny and special woman. Her mother is 92 years old and wants her ashes to be exploded along with fireworks when she's gone. And she sneaks in chilli into her neighbours' tea. That tells you what a scream such a woman's daughter would be.
And in the mean time I have re-discovered my passion for vintage cars. My grandfather owned a Morris that was a cute black number. Over the years, however, following his death my uncle (father's elder brother) let it fall apart. Then one day we heard that they wanted to sell it. I was as loathe to let them do it as was my father. You see, my dad loves driving and he had learnt it in his dad's Morris. So there was much sentimental strings attached there. On my part, I might never have been in the car, but I love anything old and a vintage is authentic. Plus I have memories of the Morris lying unattended and in a decrepit condition in the garage of my uncle's home. I used to keep telling dad that we should have it with us since he was so attached to it. But his reply would go such: "You know we can't." Caught in the politics of the family, the Morris was sold. That was it. An old man's dream sold off. Just like that.
When I went on a lunch to a corporate lawyer's farmhouse, I was amazed by the collection of vintage cars in his shed. The stately black Minerva, the gleaming Buicks, the shining yellow Cadillac, the brilliant red Chevrolet, the black car from Zubeida, the Ford Station wagon from Gadar, the lavender Ford Zephyr driven by Hema Malini once, a beautiful old carriage with gas lights belonging to a Maharaja -- I was in another world altogether. Oh and there were lovely old Lambretta scooters too. I was so envious as I listened to the lawyer say that once a year he takes off in 10 vintage cars to Sariska with family and friends. Must be some sight.