The Lord brought me so far, he won't leave me now

So I spent last evening sitting at home. Munching on a whole lot of goodies -- a medium thin crust pizza topped off with cheese, pineapples and barbecued chicken, a pack of chocolate chip cookies, a small pack of Pringles, all washed down with diet coke. And reading my newly bought copy of These Old Shades (I dig Georgette Heyer for her witty heroines). And a book that starts off His Grace of Avon Buys a Soul is reason enough to get hooked.

Pounding on the treadmill at the gym obviously went for a toss. It is okay to take a break. Hmmm...no?;)

But I am glad that I am back to reading voraciously. Whatever I can lay my hands on. The credit for which goes to Chicken Pox. That much-dreaded disease. At least I have always dreaded it since I was a wee thing. Because I happened to have seen a snap of a certain Guru in my history book whose poor face was marred by pock marks thanks to the fact that he had contracted small pox when he was a child. He had even lost an eye. Thenceforth I have always thought of C Pox as S Pox, even though there is a world of difference between the two. All these days that I have managed to not get the virus is probably because my mum would always put me on a diet of shojne datas (drumsticks) daily with the onset of spring. Now obviously I don't have her here to do the same.

So when the doctor looked at the bright red spots on my legs and tummy and pronounced solemnly that it was "Chicken Pox", I was ready to bawl. The curious thing however was that I had no fever or cough. I was fit as a fiddle. When you are as fit as that, you cannot imagine how painful it is to sit at home pretending to be sick. Only this was no pretense. The damn spots itched so much that I would go out of my mind even when asleep.

My mother flew down, it being barely a month that she had left me to settle things back at home. Parents will be parents no matter what. What would we do without them.

Anyway, this was the time that made me dig out all the books that I had kept stacked in my cupboard (you see, I have this habit of buying new books and saving them for later). A month back I had raided ex-flatmate S's collection. Among which was The Kite Runner. I just couldn't stop reading it through the night. Neither could I stop the tears from welling up as I turned the pages. It was beautiful.

My reading list thereafter included: Shadow Lines (Amitava Ghosh), a few MBs, Second Form at Malory Towers (Enid Blyton), The Mountain of Adventure (Enid Blyton), The Foundling (Georgette Heyer), Family Matters (Rohinton Mistry) and more recently Me and Mr. Darcy (Alexandra Potter). I think I read more than watch the telly.

Meanwhile I had to work from home on the office laptop. So I did not go mad as I had thought I definitely would. Then on the Sunday of the second week, when I couldn't take it any more, I escaped to Sarojini market. Why I use the word 'escape' is because my mother was dead set against me venturing out. And the minute I saw her moving stealthily towards the board where rests my home keys, I ran behind her and we had a mini tug of war (she was planning to lock the doors from within!). Thankfully, my Corey keychain came off the battle san much harm. And I was happy.

Between, I have bought this really tall umbrella with snazzy blue checks from Wetside -- the grandpa variety, complete with a wooden curved handle. I am in love with it. And so are people who come across it. Like my colleagues. They want me to buy it for them. It's a victory thing for me over my mum who insisted that I would look ridiculous walking around in public with a grandpa chhata. I have always wanted to use it for whacking wayward men -- the kinds who let their hands stray.

It was only today that I used the umbrella, to my glee, for the above mentioned purpose. I was walking down the road to hail an auto rickshaw, when suddenly a hand tried to grope my back and a man on a bicycle wheeled ahead as fast as he could. Simultaneously, I noticed a white Santro slowing down beside me and a guy peering at me through the tinted glasses. I just waved desperately at him signalling him to stop the guy.

Which he did! As I turned round the bend, I saw him catching the asshole by the collar and dragging him towards me. I ran ahead with my umbrella. You know what the ass said? He mumbled: "Haat galti se nikal gaya tha (my hand just slipped out by mistake)!" The guy slapped him real hard. And when the man tried to flee on his cycle, I landed the wooden handle of my umbrella on his back with a crack. Ooooooh how I loved it!

I was very keen on taking him to the police station. But then I had an appointment for a hair cut. The real hero, however, was the guy in the car. I thanked him profusely.

And when I turned to the auto wallah, who was sitting there watching the entire drama unfolding before his eyes, he agreed like a meek cow to the price I quoted without a word. Oh, the ways of the world!


Go West Where The Skies Are Blue

It's raining so hard. I wonder whether it will ever stop.

Inevitably I was caught outside, sulking at the stand, waiting for my bus. My saviour was my colleague P who happened to be passing by. As I scrambled in beside her, she said, "You don't how many jealous eyes followed you as you got into the car."

And now that I am in office tucking into a plate of puri and sabzi with great gusto, I am feeling all warm and happy. I guess it doesn't take much to feel happy. But then at times, those same little things seems so insignificant. Like yesterday evening I was happy for no reason whatsoever as I was walking down to the gym. But then I looked into the mirror in the gym and wanted to just disappear. An hour of cardio was showing in my trousers! Eeeks!

At that moment nothing seemed to matter but the fact that my part of my bums and the sides of my legs were wet. All I could do was bug gym friend S. Till at last she said it: "If you are uncomfortable, go home." That convinced me. Flinging my towel into the nearest basket I scampered out.

It was sweat. I know. Just sweat. So big deal. But the sight of it was mortifying.

And now I don't feel like going to gym today.


So the seconds went by

Happiness is so transient. Just when you think that something good is finally happening to you, the kind that you hear happens to others, it all ends with a bang. But this I have come to believe from this particularly mind numbing experience that please do not take away from anyone her right to truth.

It makes you wonder whether you can take anyone at face value ever again.

Actually, I just met someone. I had not previously, but I had seen his snaps. For two weeks I kept talking to him on the phone. Daily conversations that would extend to 3 am. He said all the right things. Of course I waited for that toe-curling feeling that accompanied those calls.

And then I met him. He flew down from Bombay.

A brief recap of what took place that evening.

1. The moment I set my eyes upon him, I wanted to let it out: "Err...you are NOT the same person I have been talking to!" The pictures he had sent me must have belonged to his brother. This guy looked at least 40.

2. He was a pansy creature. Too pansy for my comfort.

3. He insulted a girl who was trying to promote some wine to us with the words: "Do you realise you are interrupting an intense conversation!" And let me tell you what the intense conversation was about -- it was about my level of inanity. I was horrified. Next a waiter while passing us by asked him if he wanted another round of drinks. He received no response. So I had to turn to the hapless waiter and say: "Sorry, I don't think he wants anything else." Was he classless!

I have been never so humiliated in my life as I was sitting in that beautiful restaurant-bar. Whenever I asked him a question, he would turn his head the other way, turn back to stare at me and then say nothing.

4. Apparently the fact that I had chosen to simply sip on a cranberry juice had put him off so much that he couldn't bear to order a drink for himself or talk to me at all. And even though he did eventually ask for his favourite tipple, he would not talk. Just stare at me.

I have never spent a more strained 2-hour rendezvous ever. To the point of desperately wishing that anyone, just anyone, would rescue me.

Disbelief, shock, numbness, sadness and an incredible surge of anger that made me want to throttle the guy -- a variety of emotions has been keeping me busy the last two days.

And right now I have one wish -- that I could press the delete button. On all of it.