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Weekend Banter

Its such a nice hot weather with cool winds blowing all round. It creates a mood for yearning, you are yearning for the rain, for the heat to subside, the dust to settle. It pushes you into a mood of nostalgia.  It happens, right? The other day, in office someone tuned up the Aaj Tak channel which was showing 40 year anniversary special for the emergency. I just watched it for a few minutes and wondered if it even matters today. Its relevance is all lost in history books for young kids to mug up the notes on the same and pass their exams. I soon got over it, but yesterday I found some very old songs that I used to hear all the time ( Summer of 69, The Desert Rose, Through the Monsoon etc). It bought back more memories.Again, you move on, pour yet another glass of scotch whiskey and pick up your kindle. Only, the book that I got hooked to was The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky. It's the kind of growing up story, you read and it just tumbles and bumbles something inside you.

So I went in for a long ride around Gurgaon, tearing into the ever present smog of dust and dirt in air,  steering around the potholes like we used to play Contra as kids. I feel sad about it. In its soul its still a village. A big city wannabe. But the rich and the corrupt have parked their money here and forgotten about the place itself. The immigrants have no special affinity for the land itself, very few want to stay back. Most want to move on. I almost bang into the third bull I met since I started from home and wondered about these animals. There ancestors truly lorded the land around here and now they have all become plot sitters or homeless. Life is sad, if you think about it. But we are not supposed to show it.  We are supposed to show optimism. Like there is this road which is in very bad condition. Today we will make metro track on it, tomorrow we will build a flyover over it, next week a underpass, and next month we will four lane it and surely by the end of the year we will make it an expressway clone. Till then, you got to chug along as one contractor after another puts his fix on the road.
I don't know why, but I feel sadness at the optimism. So I go to a roadside dhaba. Europeans had their cafes and we Punjabis have our dhabas. Of course now we also want cafes because optimism is good, exaggerated fake happiness over an overpriced cup of coffee whose bean's name you won't know. So I go to a dhaba, an institution that shuns pretensions and artificial behaviour. The guy who took my order will wear a vest, he has not qualms in dressing in awkward clothes for me. It is like these guys are proclaiming, "this is how we are, accept it." I take the que and decide not to wipe my plate with paper napkins. I don't even comment that the guy is sneezing in his hands. (I really wanted to hand him some paper napkins, but that's the point let go). I asked him for two paranthas but the guy who had to make them, says no you wont be able to eat two, only one for you so decide which one you want. How you want your parantha to be. He said two would be too heavy for me. I smiled and said okay to one. I mean, honestly, in this age of mindless push on sales and corporations forcing products down our throats and wallets which we never need. This guy shows me some honesty.

I feel happy. Even though they had no AC, it is okay for me. Things are good, we don't really need 5 star optimism and yearnings. We need, simple straightforward answers and attitude. I paid the modest bill for the parantha, promised to return to eat the chicken (to which he said I was welcome all day any time of day after 11 a.m. I can walk in to eat butter chicken). This is life, not waiting to get better tomorrow but to pushing to enjoy the basic today. 


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