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!