Sunday, November 22, 2009

The travel monologue

The bus ride to and from work can be anything from a breeze to a soul-crushing odyssey, depending on traffic. Also, a lot of your mental health during the ride depends on the bus-driver's choice of radio station. Mostly, it's that station where the RJ insists on talking at a speed of 4000 words a minute, because, as she keeps saying, it's music for the 'fatafat' generation. Much worse is on some mornings when there is a particular lady who answers interview questions and then picks THE worst songs written in the history of Kannada films. These er....songs...are enough to make me want to hurl myself out of the thick glass windows, or failing that, at least bang my head against them several times until I fall, senseless, to the floor. Fortunately, owing to an attack of conscience, the newspaper boy now brings the paper really early and on most mornings I can hide in my copy of the Times.

Then there are the conductors. There is one lady, who with her sweetly bobbed hair and girlish smile, bowls you over. But, mind it, she's a terror. "Tickettsoo!!" she trumpets, galumphing like a matriach elephant charging down the Serengeti... she even hangs out of the door and yells at the traffic cop for doing a poor job of controlling the pedestrians! And then there is the one who charges me 25 instead of the usual 30 for my route. We have a secret understanding. Sometimes he won't make eye contact and says, deadpan, "30 rupees please." I, shattered at this fall from grace, hand him a 100. Then he hands me back 75 in change and gives me a quick, conspiratorial grin, seen by no-one else, and all is right in the world again.

But the worst scourge of all on this earth are the gropers. Fortunately, they don't exist on my regular bus. But once or twice when it gets really crowded, it does happen- or tries to, at least. There was this recent incident where I said, loudly, to the creep who was inching closer and closer, "Move BACK please. Don't TOUCH me." And, miraculously after that, he suddenly found room to stand in a manner where we weren't in intimate physical contact. It also helped that every other woman on board turned around and gave him a nasty look. Ha, Take that, fool. Next time, it'll be an elbow in your face!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Silent Steak

Finally, Tango has a new collar. And, quite a collar it is- the largest one I found in the store. It's a shiny blue and you can see it for miles. However, the father harrumphed about it being a 'girly' collar- excuse me, it's blue, not pink- the usual crotchety response; I'm sure he is secretly thrilled that his beloved dog finally got rid of his ratty old collar and now looks like a pet from a khaata- peeta- gharana.

But the real highlight of the gifts Tango got this time was the Steak. A cleverly crafted piece of rubber-plastic that looks exactly like a steak, it was the ideal toy for this usually toy-less dog, and what's more, it squeaked, rather loudly, every time he stepped on it. Well, who knows what happened the morning after he got it, because he got in a proper frenzy and started to gallop with it in his mouth, in circles around the dining table. The steak would squeak frantically every time Tango pushed it, and the more it squeaked, the more he pushed, all the while haring around the table like a thing possessed. We even heard a dull thud as he banged his head on the edge of the table, but he was undeterred. Finally, silence. Then a pathetic sighing- the squeaking mechanism had been broken.

After that, he is no longer as frenzied, but the steak still gets a good shaking every time he plays with it. Now it just sighs, resigned to its fate.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Gobble gobble

With Thanksgiving around the corner, J got into the spirit of things and decided to roast a turkey. Of course, this meant actually finding a turkey to roast; and as with the simplest things in Bengaluru, this task has taken on the mystic charm of an old-fashioned treasure hunt.

There is that mad vet who used to take care of my ex-roomate's dog, I remembered. He had a turkey farm on the side. But getting his number would be a challenge. We also tried the mundane option of asking at the supermarket. Not convinced by the wishy-washy answers, J made inquiries with a co-worker of his, known to be a resourceful type. This young fellow and J met at work one day to discuss this- they talked in low whispers and vague terms, all with the intrigue and drama of two drug dealers. Then a few days later, young fellow announces that he has managed to get a friend of his, who incidentally goes by the name of Tango, to recommend us to another friend who can get us a turkey.

So tomorrow I will have the task of calling this other friend- who knows what his name is? Charlie? Delta? ...anyway, I suppose all this hunting around will be worth it. J is a good roaster of birds and I've never co-hosted Thanksgiving before.

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