I haven’t sat on the story board for many months, conscious that i am terrible at it. Yet some thoughts are worth sharing. I have just started and it is unfinished. Feel free to read and share your thoughts & stories…
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The first sip never warms up a conversation.
Its piping hot and one spares his energy to blow into the plastic cup with a concoction of water boiled with over-used tea leaves and something which resembles milk. Conversations could wait, but not this pleasant routine. Once it is cold, there is no fun in it. It was more a moment of reflection for me. Our whole life we blow air into a cup of tea, to blow the heat away, and when its cold we just can’t have it. Has anyone ever had a tea at the right temperature? – i surely never had, now that i think about it.
I was in search of stories, i always am. But this one was like a hurricane which blew over my cup of coffee. He was lecturing a class of absentees when i reached there. The students that weren’t there keenly listened to him, or at least he believed so. Apart from us, we had few jaywalkers, some shops with very few customers for me to stalk. Farther away was some protesters who had been protesting on various raging issues like changing the name of a street to a dam which will submerge a village of maybe fewer people than who are on this street.
I wasn’t sure if there were more protests than protesters today. Well who cares? – not even the government, the only thing they have done is block a street for the infinite and innumerable protests. Jantar Mantar lane, that’s they call this street. Funny indeed, they chose a name which means an instrument to calculate, for a street with immeasurable protests year round.
But then it’s not about the protests, it’s about the mad man who I want to talk about today. I have met him many times in my search for almost edible food in this part of the city. Apart from north-indianised south indian food, all i found was him.
He was exhausted, the torn brown (or at least it is now) shirt showed his belly carved into protruding ribs, shouting for food. I went near him, unsure he would hear me “Can i buy you some food?”. A question I will regret my whole life.
For him, the bell rang for the recess, class dispersed in a second. He stared and said, “What do you need me to do for it?”
I ignored the sarcastic questions I had in my mind, “What would you like to eat?”.
“Anything worth having…if you can find it somewhere in between this garbage”. I wanted to point him to the five-star hotel few hundred meters away, but then they don’t serve food, not for the dimes and nickels left in my pocket. And surely not to this bald, unshaved lunatic in front of me. “How about a dosa and vada?”.
“Buy me a tea, will you? Everyone feeds me but nobody buys me a tea!” he instantly replied like a six-year-old. He must be in a different timezone, I am sure he didn’t have anything to eat for days, yet he wants is a tea! I walked back to the tea stall and paid for two cups of tea.
“Special tea” – he cried out. Is he mad or is this some stupid TV host playing a prank on me, i wondered.
The first sip was dangerously long, i could see his overgrown eyebrows twitch & curl, a question brewing in his head. God save me, i silently prayed.
“You remember the best tea you had till date?” – he asked me without taking his eyes of the cup. “I don’t remember” and i honestly didn’t. “I do and still they call me insane” he laughed, no he roared. Was it a joke! – between his impeccable English and measured conversation so far, I forgot that he is a mad man. Who wouldn’t?
“You don’t remember the best tea you had till date, yet every time you have one you criticise it! Isn’t it funny that you do not remember what you are comparing with but yet you do?” Man has a point there! Now I am was almost sure this a prank, even a sane man cannot have such insane clarity in thoughts.
rest is on its way, thoughts flow faster than words and then they never come back. i am searching for it, hope to find them soon and share it soon.