You witness the strange phenomenon once again. You are so back in the traffic jam, that you move when the signal turns red, and you grind to a halt when it goes green. You are so confused… that ultimately, when you see the open road right ahead, you don’t know which color means start and which means stop. But, the rick guy who’s driving you around knows best… he slows down enough to make it stop until it goes red again, and sets the universe back in order! The greatness of rick guys has already been eulogized in a previous post. I guess they are to thank for the following experiences too.

Traffic Signals, seriously, are amazing enough to have been filmed upon and written about. And why not, it’s an awesome act that goes on there, day in day out, 24X7, and never ever with the same set of characters! And, in this ‘nautanki’ of life, there are a few ‘stars’, who know their lines, and their roles, and in fact are forced to know them well enough, to eke out a living on that stage. You see the Havaldar, and you wonder whether he oils the hinges of bones on his hand everyday. There’s the tell tale cripple, the blackened boy in tattered clothes, the man carrying another on his back, like Vikram-Betaal . Add to this mélange, a bookseller, the peanut guy and the ‘Sir, flowers for Madam’ guy. Evil eye banisher nimbu-mirchi lady smiles away through brisk sales, but the gajra girl sports a frown, with flowers adorning the hair seeming to be on a decline, with fashionable hairdos setting in.  Then you see the eunuch and begin to think that strange is the director who character-sketched this part at the signal! Three incidents on… it’s not the director, but it’s the script-writer that left me dumbfounded!

A Eunuch

Me and my friend, are stuck at the Andheri Shopper’s Stop signal, which over the times is starting to seem ritualistic. I see eunuchs approach. About them, human emotions were being put on a vibrant display. Some swore, some shrank with fear, some turned into SRKs < read emotively plastic>, some sat smug in their A/C cars, some smiled, and some threw a few Rupees out, even when they were two rickshaws away!

I always find myself in a dilemma, when it came to paying beggars, whichever role it may be that they are portraying. I don’t encourage it. So I sit still, and stare at the signal, willing it to turn, but the numbers that ticked down, ensured that I remained put. The eunuch draws up close to my rick, peeks, instantly sees my lack of intent to pay up and says…

“Sir, Medems < to my lady friend>, some monies, for all your dreams, wishes come true. One time only pay!!!”

I paid up, so did my friend, completely out of surprise… My mind was lost, picturizing far away, Eunuch Voice Training / English Speaking Centres! Then the eunuch smiled and let out a sonically philaharmonesque “Thank you” that would have made a few airhostesses and mobile/credit card ‘free offer’ plan women turn suicidal over job security!!!

This brought to mind, two other amazing stories that my brother had narrated.

The first was what my brother’s classmate experienced, when she found herself at the receiving end of a singing talent.

“ It ees a lhouly wheather.
There is no suuuuuun todaaaay,
There is no mooooooon todaaay,
It ees a lhouly wheatherrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!”
“Monies Please!!!”

I bet she couldn’t have said no after that performance!!!

The second and the best was …

My bro and another girl, who was his senior in his college, were traveling in a rick, when pounced upon by a motormouth who starts showering them with blessings!

“ Arre aapko bohot saari khushiyan milen, aapko padhai main achche number mile, aapko achchi naukri mile…blah blah blah blee blee blee blue blue blue”

They are in the process of paying up, when the eunuch suddenly utters, “ Aap dono ko bohot saare bachche ho”

My bro and the girl suddenly freeze and put up a shocked look. The girl says, “Arrey, ye mera bhai jaisa hain… hamare bachche nahin honewale!!!”

The eunuch quips, “Arre lekin maine kab kaha aapko bachche ek doosre se honge. Aapko aapke pati se hoga… aur inko inki biwi se!!! Aap log bhi naa…”,

She grabs the money and fades back into the petrol fumes, leaving behind two idiots with sheepish grins, and an ‘about to burst soon’ rick guy with a very very interesting story to narrate back at the rick stand!!!

Lemon Tea

The golden lemon bleeds,
And culminates with the black.

Swirls around, stirred around.
A citric typhoon in a teacup.

The struggle ends, it blends.
“Nice Tea!” exclaims the drinker.

Wonder how the lemon feels…
When the tea walks away with all the credit!

It was 11:30 yesterday night, and I was on the Andheri bound local, when I get the call from my brother. My best buddies were over, and hungry as hell. (They are never ever otherwise!). Could I get them some instant Maggi noodles, was the request. I shook my head, in a silent protest. I was just getting back from a reunion of old colleagues over a super heavy dinner and dessert stacked up so high, that my vision was blurred by a layer of brownies! To say that I was tired and sleepy, would be stating the mother of all obviousness. But I had to reckon with the fact that a night outer of furious PS2 gaming that had been lined up, and sleeping was to be way out of question.  My friends you see, they are about as considerate as cannibals of Amazonian rainforests, when it came to sleeping on stay-overs. And at that point I couldn’t care less, about the existence of Amazonian cannibals in the first place.

Maggi Nights

I walk a lonely (Andheri-Sahar) road … searching for the fodder for them asses back home.  It meant a forsaken rick ride, and a 10 minuter calorie burning walking exercise instead, making instant noodles, my instant enemy. I went about making more enemies, as I poked my head into any shop, that even showed a hopeful flicker of candle light, and asked… “Boss, Maggi milega”. It was always a gruff “Nahin”, followed by momentary deafness to my other queries.  As of then, I certainly wasn’t evolving out to be la beacon por composure’e exquisitemente’,  ( It’s French … nobody understands it anyway! Chill. ), with every close encounter of the ‘why-the-#$%^-are-you-open-at-11:45pm-if-you-don’t-have-Maggi’  kind.

Lucknow Zarda Shop was half a shutter down when I walked past it. I prayed a little prayer, broke an imaginary narial outside, fancied my chances, and poked my head under the hood and jack-in-the-boxed in front of the shop owner, who was just about finishing up on the accounts of the day.

Before he could shoo me away, I pounced on with a “Uncle, Maggi milega?”, and followed it with a ‘Puss-In-Boots’ look, straight out of Shrek, probably ending up more like Shrek himself, rather than the cute beady-eyed cat.

Either way, he smiled, and replied, “Bilkul milega” 🙂

Phew! Worth the effort indeed, when the quest ends in a success!

I then open my wallet and see a lone 500 Rupee note staring back at me. I gulped.

I enquired meekly, “Uncle 500 ka change hoga na?”

He suddenly looked up from his book he was scribbling in, and said exasperatingly,
“Ab yeh toh nahin hoga beta” 🙁

I groaned!

I checked my watch, It read 11:55 pm.

I asked, “Uncle, aap kitne der tak open rahenge?”

He countered, “Rehte kahaan ho aap”

I said, “Yahin, 2 minute par”, and told him my address.

I waited for his answer, all hopes lost.

He said, “Aap Maggi le jaao!”

Seeing my wide open mouth, he continued, “Mujhe pata hain, ki aap mujhe paise kal laa doge!” And he smiles a sup’r genuine smile. 😀

I beamed.

Continued he,  “ Beta, khaane se badi koi cheez nahin hoti!”

I walked all the way feeling very very glad, about a certain ‘trust‘ factor that was shown to a perfect stranger. 🙂

I get into my home, and all the three, including my bro goes… “Abbe ye toh le aaya Maggi.”, and do a li’l celebration jig. Apparently, all of ‘em bastroids had had a bet amongst themselves, where-in all three concurred that I was too lazy to get ’em anything, and would end up making some excuses! Punks! But I was too overwhelmed to even swear at them, and went onto narrate this rather cool act of kindness. They all grinned and acknowledged the shopkeeper’s wonderful gesture, that ensured that a bunch of overweight kids got something to stuff themselves with, on a rainy Friday night.

2:30 am that night, we ate the noodles. Needless to say, it tasted super damn good! 🙂