Friday, January 16, 2009


I am wandering aimlessly in my head as I am walking towards the exit of my college.

“Oye, rickshaw!”

The rickshaw takes a sharp turn and leisurely arrives at where I am standing.

“8th floor,” I say.



“Madam, kidhar jaana hai?”

Moral of the story:When you think the rickshawwala is your liftman, you are stuck in an everyday rut. Get out.

Aap ka aadmi kahan hai?

I am in Hampi. Its 7:30 pm in my watch, which means that most people in the village where I am heading, are already asleep. I am waiting at the highway hoping to hitch a ride back to the village. There is almost no light but for the paling yellow glow at the nearby teashop. The shrubbery is dense and I am trying to look as conspicuous as possible so that passing vehicles notice me.

I see several bikes zipping past me, one after another, but that does not deter my frantic waving. I am not going to spend the night in another unknown village.

After much of waiting and watching, a small carrier pulls into the teashop. The hopeful me shouts out to it and two young boys half my age pop out of the seats. After a brief spill of irrational kannada, they say, “Hindi?”

I say, “Yes yes, haan haan. Anegundi jaana hai.”

The taller one pauses briefly and states, “200”

“50”, I retort.

The one with the half tooth says, “Aap ka aadmi kahan hai?”

Eyebrows contorted I utter, “Kaun?”

Two blank incredulous faces stare back at me.

“Aap ka aadmi kahan hai?”

“Oh accha, aadmi nahi hai. Chalo abhi.”

While they look at each other, I plunk my backpack onto the vehicle. In a couple of minutes, we
are good to go.

My lack of youth

K and I are walking past the Shivaji Park ground trying to catch another one of those meetha paans we love so much at the Sharda Panwala, when we see an old man mounted on skates.

He is learning to skate in one of those dim yellow parking lanes. A young chap holds him by the hand every time he begins to slip. Yet he tries, slow and steady.

Whoever that man is, I love him.