About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

November 24, 2012

Cast Away

"When a big tree falls, the earth shakes" so commented a politician after the death of a former prime minister in 1984. Worst still he was using this phrase to explain the situation of violence against the Sikhs that ensued. Cut the scene 30 years later and nothing much has changed, except that new phrases have come in popular lexicon. Something like ‘Mango people in Banana republic’. Politicians however have remained the same, some morphing into rabid regional chieftains in this period.

So when these local trees, with public profiles as large as General Sherman tree fall, you can be assured of only one thing. The ground rattles, the dust rises and the surroundings cower in fear. It doesn’t matter whether the tree fell due to a natural death or someone sawed it. That’s the law of Nature, they say.

Last week I was in Mumbai and went through a harrowing time because one such large tree fell. The large metropolis that throbs with life 24/7 simply folded up like a Venus flytrap . All the hotels & business establishments downed shutters and the hawkers and roadside vendors simply vanished as the news of death flashed.

Many thoughts and emotions crossed my mind, for once I felt like Chuck Noland in Cast away i.e., marooned in a lonely island with the prospect of living on only air & water for the next 2 days. Staying with a good old friend (who was away) in his bachelor apartment on the Jogeshwari link road proved a costly proposition. It was cozily close to my area of work but the timing of visit seemed to have boomeranged.

A few hours into this piquant situation, I made a recce of the surrounding few blocks to see & salvage whatever was available. Empty streets with stray dogs & cattle greeted me, the tension & fear in the air was palpable. And my stomach was already growling at the prospect of a cold night on an empty stomach.

Just as I was returning to the flat dejected, the watchman at the entrance of the Building asked  “Kuchh nahin mila kya ”? As I nodded in despair, this 50 something person took some mercy on me & whipped out his pocket book. The guy had a decent demeanor and looked like someone who was doing odd jobs after retirement. He asked me to dial out a number and then picked my mobile and spoke in chaste Marathi to check whether the ‘Dabba’ services was still available.

To my relief it was still on. Some enterprising lady in a neighboring apartment, who worked in a bank I was told, was still continuing with her services. The nature of her service & the fact that I was almost next door helped. Sure enough the carrier arrived an hour later with 4 chapatis, 2 Sabzis, Rice & Dal, all at an economical Fifty rupees.

After the watchman placed the order I thanked him in Marathi and gave him a tip. He accepted my offer but continued the conversation in Hindi. After a pause I asked his whereabouts & learnt that he was a Gujarati. The true spirit of Mumbai once again overwhelmed me.
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