Life in a metro

I ran in to the elevator, it was, for once, awaiting people at the ground floor, and what’s more, it seemed empty and unmanned. I was wrong though, for I stepped in, only to realize the liftman sitting by the corner, half asleep, trying to figure out how ‘high’ I wanted to go.

Earlier, I was at this little drinking place. Well, why resist – tavern, I will call it. I hardly had anytime. It was almost 11, and for most people, at least the ones new to town, it was closing time. I had no intention of getting drunk. These have been a harsh past few days – mostly due to my own making, and I just wanted to unwind. It was most the adventure, the process, than the drink itself. One shot, and by the time I was sipping on the second, I realized I was out of smokes. A drink leaves me in quite an unpretentious state, so I asked this bum who was sitting around, if he would be kind enough to give me a smoke in charity. He was smoking one, not much left, and he passed it on to me and I didn’t hesitate a moment to accept. We clinked, and I was back in my melancholies, when this guy who had lent me the smoke got up to pay. It was a foreign language, and much as I may pretend to know it, I couldn’t really understand why he got into an argument with the bartender. I looked at him, clinked my glass again, before I downed it all, and asked him to take it easy, but by then, the noise was mounting, and I was politely requested by one bystander, to leave, and I was only too glad to oblige.

It had been a long day, and as I was walking by, wondering what was it with these big cities, this other bum walks up to me, and smiles and says he was hungry. Quite selfishly, I didn’t want to be troubled out of my reverie, and so I quickly passed him a tenner, smiled, shook hands and moved on, till I found a restaurant that would serve food at this time.

Hungry as I was, I was glad to have found some place. It wasn’t one of those places that would otherwise be my choice, but I was grateful, for I had found a way to assuage the pangs of the stomach – something that for me, to this date, has been the greatest pain, and pleasure. Pleasure, for I do relish the varied gastronomic experiences that man has to offer. Pain, because I find that even in this so called ‘developed world’, there are many who go without morsel.

By the time I was done, I heard someone cursing. When I looked around, I found one of the waiters, talking to his colleague, about this guy who had eaten well, and walked off without paying. “It’s today’s earning gone”, he was complaining. I learnt from him that it was a regular feature, at this time of the night, there was apparently quite a few who would try and sneak out without paying up. Some, who were caught, would ultimately shell out, the rest I was told, that it was the waiters who paid for them. I left a decent tip, more than I usually do. I wished him, praying he earned more in that manner tonight, so it would eventually compensate for his loss, and so he could, possibly, forgive the poor soul who stole the food earlier.

I’ve been noticing quite a few people with, well, Mongoloid features around here (I hope that isn’t an offensive statement, I don’t know how else to put it). I think they’re mostly Tibetans. I also see some folks who look like Buddhist Monks, with those long red flowing robes. As I was walking into my lodge, I hear this lady screaming. When I paused, I realized it was this big family of Tibetans, with a few of them arguing with an autowallah. One of them, a fairly elderly lady, was cursing the guy. They fought for a few minutes, and finally walked off, with the woman continuing to shower abuses. Some onlookers seemed to sympathize with them too, but then, things go on, and in a few seconds, just about everybody disappeared.

Just when I decided to call it a day, this guy – another autowallah, comes up to me, completely drunk, barely able to stand up on his legs, and smiles, and extends his hand. He looked like a good guy, and I couldn’t but help smile back, when I realize he is asking me for a smoke. When I handed him my pack, he took two, and as he handed them back to me, said, “My name is Venkat….You know, Tirupati?” I nodded in comprehension, both of his name, and of his state, and walked to the elevator.


33 thoughts on “Life in a metro

  1. You are very open to new encounters – I like that.I trust that you gave the man 10 rupees – a tenner in England is about 700 rupees!A friend of mine (brother of the girl whose wedding I went to in Madras 4 years ago) is married to a Nepalese girl. She is very pretty, to my eyes, but my Indian friends can’t quite see it…

  2. i feel like i hv opened a page somewhere in the middle of a novel Dharma, everytime i read one of your entries = ) and i think again but this is real life, this did happen to a blogger friend of mine, its not some write up fiction! I cant wait for u to write your own book DB! U should! u write wonderfully, very mesmrizing sometimes too ; )

  3. hehe I think I would nod to the man, in comprehension, even if I had never heard those names before. The way he says: “You know, Tirupati?’ – I’d say definitely, of course.I agree that your posts look like great fiction. I’m touched that you felt like you need to mend the restaurant’s misfortune for something that isn’t really your fault.Tough world out there, isn’t it?

  4. Z,yes, i love new encounters and i am glad you noted that bit :)10 rupees it was – not much for a tip, but thats usually what i leave, and i am happy leavin it.about beauty – i think its probably coz indians mostly have very sharp features and hence fail to see the subtleties at times :)YOGA GAL,thanks!GAURI,thanks a ton. you are one of those persons whose comments i look forward to :)TRINNIE,thanks! what niche? just a bum writing about my bumming ways :)MUSH,wow! now that is some comment. thank YOU so much mush. yes, i mostly don’t write fiction coz i i suppose i ain’t all that imaginative.a book, did u say? well, am just a bum – like i always say. someday, maybe someday, i will write, and pass it on to you – for i doubt if it will ever get published :)thanks once again.DEVIL,yes, it is a tough world, and for someone like me who has always had it easy – the gratitude is so overwhelming that i can’t but help reaching out where and when i can. i am glad u could see that.thanks devil!

  5. You know, most of your posts – actually all – make for such an interesting read and most of the times, I have nothing to say to what you’ve written except that I enjoyed reading it!

  6. these days, writing, is more of a wish than love…thanks for filling in the gap.although, don’t think wud ever b able to write that good,so,:)keep writing man

  7. ‘that’ exactly is ur niche… random meets with random people. roadside joints, a smoke and a drink. i find it intriguing because i haven’t had an encounter with that kind of a life, to be so trusting of strangers and to be carefree in a certain way! 🙂

  8. After Xmas some friends here were discussing about the concept of ‘giving’ on Xmas. The cliche` is ‘Xmas is all about giving’. But everywhere there comes an opportunity where we can give and yet give with the whole heart. Often being drunk helps me achieve it on a level which is unbelievable. Who knows its probably all Rnubandana that makes us do it. We probably owed something to that soul in this life or one of the millions before this.

  9. GAZAL,my pleasure :)D,thanks a ton. long as you enjoy it, my pleasureVITRUVIAN,just one hour? :PCOCOUNT,yes, its a problem, lets hope to do our bit to make things slightly better :)ADI,keep wishing, it most certainly would materialise.and thank you so much, will certainly keep writing, if not for anything else, for the sake of delhi dreams :)BACKPAKKER,sure does. and in my case, it seems to be going round and round and round :)YOGA GAL,thanks!TRINNIE,i’m glad u keep coming back to look for replies. i do that too! for at times, it turns out into a nice lil chain of comment-converations that throws nice and new perspectives :)your comment has made me think a lot.being carefree – well, i guess for me, life has been too kind. have always had wat i wanted. and so it comes but naturally.about trusting – well, i simply find it a while lot easier to love and trust stangers, for after all, there is nothing to lose :)JUBIN,thanks brother.SHARANYA,aha! good to see you here :)SUJ (am quite sure this is u)ghetting drunk has that effect, but it still is an artificially induced state of the mind, right?and rnanubandhana – man, i’m just a bum, what do i know of such things :)ASH,and i love your pics. and those wonderul eyes that capture the beauty in the simplest of things :)KESHI,thanks!

  10. two conversations. drinking fast, tipping heavy. topped off with Venkat.made delightful reading. i have a strange affinity towards bums. those of the mind, especially more so.

  11. NOVEL,er…am a little embarrassed reading your comments. bums got no aura or anything :Pbut thanks a ton, and warm hugs to you too.i smoke a brand called Wills, doubt if you’d know.PHISH,the affinity is mutual, my dear friend. it was a delightful evening, it is comforting to know that the words are delightful reading – does justice. thanks!GAURI,read. and continuing to read :)JOLLYGABRIEL,a storyteller? isn’t that cool! thanks buddy :)KESHI,hullu :)REETA,welcome aboard. and thanks!VEENA,no wonder that! look at me- i’m completely lost :)ARPITA,posted – thanks! 🙂

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