Friday, June 18, 2010

Games People Play

“It’s white and black on alternate days.”

“Your soul? So is it grey at midnight or is the switch more sudden?”

“No. Although let’s come back to that later. I was talking about the girl I keep spotting in my neighbourhood. She has curly long hair that she leaves open. And her clothes, I mean. She was in white today. I met her today for the third day in a row. She walks down all the way from somewhere on Max Mueller Marg. I usually meet her as I cross the red light just before the India Habitat Centre. Today, while I was returning from Khan Market, there she was again, crossing the road. She never looks hurried. In fact, the image of her dainty steps is calming me down as we speak. We usually walk towards each other but today we were at right angles. And then she just walked away.”

“At a hundred and eighty degrees, is it?”

“Laugh all you want. I’m choosing to treat her like a point whose coordinates keep changing. She’s a traveller.”

“Aren’t we all?”

“Well.. you are.”

“Okay what’s wrong?”

“They dug up Khan Market. The roads beside the pavements. It’s like ploughed land with huge boulders. All because of the Commonwealth Games. There are less cars there, so that’s good. But then someone had to go empty a huge can of nailpolish remover somewhere. The smell is all over the place.”

“It’s a nice smell. Come on, I thought it was next only to the smell of burning rubber. You love that, don’t you?”


“And look at the bright side. You usually go out with your camera. But it’s busted, right? On a day when the images didn’t leave you with a good feeling. It all works out.”

“Not all images.”

“What do you mean?”

“Foreigners with funky sunglasses and girl in pink slippers with a shiny, pretty pink shade of nail polish. Made me think of the piano piece called Bella’s Lullaby from the movie Twilight. And then that black dog outside the market with flecks of grey that walked side by side like a Godfather and parted ways a little later as it went in through Gate no. 2. And then that woman with that fluorescent ball, yellow, orange and green. Oh no, not her.”

“What do you mean?”

“She was wearing capris and her legs weren’t waxed.”

“Details that you could have skipped. Anyway what were you doing in Khan Market? Wasn’t there a movie you wanted to go to?”

“Yeah but that was at Teen Murti Auditorium at 6. I left late and didn’t find an auto. And there was something else as well.”


“Well this movie is from Austria and called ‘All The Queen’s Men’ with the tagline ‘War is a Drag’.”


“That’s like men dressing up as women.”


“Starring Matt LeBlanc. The guy who plays Joey Tribbiani in ‘Friends’.”


“Don’t you get it? I don’t want to support the universe’s decision to constantly make fun of him. It’s bad enough that he was the only one in the Friends cast to not be settled by the time the series ended.”

“He chose that life. He chose freedom. Just like you choose not to talk to that girl with the curls or the old guy who’s back in the Stein Auditorium to watch the film festival although all he can do is grunt. So what was the real reason you didn’t go to watch the movie?”

“The signs. It’s always the signs. And the realisation that you have exactly the amount of money that you need to recharge your cell phone. And a little more actually.”

“Oh. So why didn’t you go to the temple and offer some? Or try good old McDonald’s?”

“Not enough for Mac. And I ran out of prayers. Nobody’s sick. Nobody needs a boyfriend. Nobody needs a job. And if I need emotions, I know where to go.”



“Looks like someone found their addiction.”

“No. Lost it. But I’m still writing. And as Ingrid Michaelson insists, all I can do is keep breathing. So tell me. What colour is my soul today?”

“I can’t tell. It’s playing Hide and Seek. Get found, kid.”

1 comment:

  1. Life was so much simpler, in the days of black and white. Fathers were like Clark Gable, Mom's like June Cleavers. The girl. Not by an inch Dakota Fanning. Change was anything but scary. The signs were!