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Voicing Silence 7

Friday, December 30, 2005

A quick tale 101

Detail

People thought of him as a pain in the ass (if you will excuse my language). He fixed his meetings at 8.23 ams and 11.56 ams, expected his lunch at 1.48 pm every day, slept for exactly 8 hours and 3 minutes each night and had 2 and 2/3rds of a spoon of sugar in his cup of tea. If ever you made the mistake of asking him for his age, he would kill you with detail. How many years, days, hours, seconds, that kind of thing. He needed his change back, nothing rounded off. If you had to share a bill with him, he would divide the bill by the number of people around the table and pay exactly his share. Don’t get him wrong. He just loves to be precise.
I know he makes a great character on paper. But he was hell to live with. And I just couldn’t take it after 4 years, 18 days and 12 minutes. So I left him.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A quick tale 100

Confessions of a cook

Have you ever wondered what goes into your dosai? I wish you did. Because I see you waiting at the counter now, drumming your fingers impatiently for that ghee roast you have ordered. And I suddenly remember the fight I had with my wife this morning. I will not tell you what I am about to do next but tomorrow morning you will wake up complaining of stomach pain. And you will blame it on the water, which your wife has not been boiling enough before filling up the bottles. You will come back again for your afternoon fix and by then I will have patched up with my dearest. Tomorrow I will be extra nice to you. Today, enjoy your dosai, saar.

A quick tale 99

At the 3.15 showing of King Kong

You walk into the movie theatre alone, stand in queue and ask for one ticket for the next show of King Kong. Well actually, you whisper ‘one ticket, please’ because you don’t want others to see that you’re there to watch the movie on your own. ‘Single, adult…that would be…’ rattles the ticket assistant loudly while proceeding to issue you your ticket. You slink quickly into the unlit hall, find your seat and settle down even though it’s a good 25 minutes before the show is due to start.

Some time later, a family of four slips into your row. The father sees you sitting alone and wonders if the seat next to you is taken. No, you shake your head, while still looking at the blank screen. He asks you again, just to confirm. What’s the matter with these people? you wonder. Why must every activity be undertaken in convivial togetherness? Besides what’s the point of taking someone along when all you’re ever going to be doing is staring at a screen in a darkened room? Still, the man has just asked you a question and is waiting for you to answer. No, you say. A little too loudly. He waits for a second and then sits two seats away from you. Suddenly you wish you had brought someone along. If only to hold hands with when King Kong tosses aside New York cabs like you would a tooth pick.