Thursday, March 27, 2008
Don't people avoid addressing issues that make them uncomfortable?
Then why do we let our thoughts go back again and again to the things that upset us, or make us unhappy? Shouldn't our in-built escapist attitudes help us run away from those very thoughts? We do try, but it requires a conscious effort. The way we're wired, I'd have thought it was simpler than that.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
So I did the usual today. Waved at what seemed like a squintillion autos and pleaded that they take me home. (And squintillion, I learnt from Some Person on the internet, is a number so large that you have to squint to see all the zeroes it has.)
Till this guy came by.
I made my bid and waited for him to ask for a bribe to accept it. You know, 20 rupees extra, 100 rupees, one-and-a-half. Something.
He nodded. I looked at him, thinking maybe he was unable to make up his mind about what/how much to ask for. He only seemed to be signalling for me to get into the auto. The Miss you need to get in if you want that ride look. It took some time for me to register the fact that he wanted nothing more than the fare. Nothing. The sun had set, it was officially night and he demanded nothing extra.
Something had to be fishy. My find-a-ride-after-sunset algorithm had not accounted for this branch. Yet. Was my algorithm going to be proved wrong ? Would I, for the first time, reach home without paying the add-ons that came with every trip back home ?
And so Detective Yours Truly kept a watchful eye on the meter, expecting it to jump from minimum fare at some spot earlier than the usual. And whaddaya know. It didn't.
So I let my attention divert to the book that's been occupying me lately. (Yes, I read in Autos. In Jiggly, Shaky, Rickety autos. Even at night. With the light from my mobile phone. It is an experience on an altogether different level.)
The next I glanced at the meter was once I reached home. Well, it was about a 15 bucks greater than what I have been paying (or expecting to pay.) I'll give him a little allowance for the ever increasing average route length (attributed to ever increasing one-ways.)
But then came the latest auto-driver-fun-thing-to-do. Convert meter fare from the old Six rupees per km to the new Seven rupees scale. Its like the new ace up those khakhi sleeves. The new gotcha! at the end of the ride. Many of them have clearly upped the meter to the new rate, kept the minimum fare showing at 12, so they can do a double dance.
Sigh. I paid him quietly and went home.
I've been using the public transport (buses) lately. Quite convenient in that you can read without a mobile phone to assist you, buses have electric lights. But inconvenient in that you have to change buses, and it takes longer.
But the biggest plus, Cheaper! Rs.11 for a trip back home! Go for it - one of the few solutions to the city's congestion problem.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Why she went away
It was unusually silent today when I got back from work. I thought she might have guessed that I was coming back early to surprise her. It has been more than a year since we were married - many months of thinking that I had made a terrible mistake. Of marrying someone I didn't enjoy being with.
She was different from me. I liked to talk and indulge freely in conversations. She, I will conclude in retrospect, liked to think in solitude. I liked to go out, she shied away from stepping outside the house. Maybe it had to do with her upbringing, very different from the urban lifestyle that I had been grown up being exposed to, even while being in a very strictly conservative family. I don't know how to explain this. My parents were very orthodox. They looked down on the very characteristically young and urban indulgences of partying, smoking and drinking ; even just going out very often. Like many second generation Urban Immigrants, I didn't share their views, (I don't smoke, I drink ocassionally, I go out very often) but lived at peace with them. Outside of home, I was a different person, and that was that. Seemed like my marriage, arranged by my folks, was to continue my double life.
I tried to get her to open up, to talk, but it seemed like swimming against the tide. I think she only wanted to be the good wife, cook me good meals, serve me - but I wanted a companion, a friend. She didn't see that. I don't believe she understood that. Even whenever my friends came over, she was only preoccupied with preparing the dishes and serving everyone. And then standing in a corner, taciturn, playing her role of the demure housewife.
On our anniversary, I had asked her that morning if she would like to go out in the evening. She said she did not. I took it that she was not interested in celebrating the occasion. How was I to know she had plans if she wouldn't tell me about them ? I went out with my friends and celebrated anyway. What I remember of the next morning were the stifled sounds of weeping, but it was too late to say or do anything.
But I do regret that day, when that ominous phone call came. Some friend of hers had called. I'd handed over the phone to her. Her face brightened when she learnt who it was. And she transformed into someone else - someone I knew not. Enthusiastic, excited, lively. I don't know what came over me, maybe jealousy, maybe rage, maybe both. At the fact that she could be a friend to someone else, but not me.
I still regret that day. That I am only human is not an excuse. But I want to save our marriage. The person I saw on the phone that day was in some way the person I was looking for all along. But maybe it was too late. I came home early today to talk to her, or try to make her feel with me the way she does with her older friends.
But its eerily silent today. Her silence is missing.