“Couldn’t you have the sense to bring your spectacles the first time around?” the courier wala shouted at Grandpa, when the poor man requested permission to fetch his glasses for the signature. “As is, I don’t get paid to wait for hours at end at every house!” It had been, I should clarify, about two minutes since he had rapped his knuckles loudly on the door. A hot summer morning, a squabble with the spouse, being passed over for a pay rise… the reasons for his endearing temper could be several. But even on a general note, I have arrived at a rather disconcerting conclusion.
You can never tell about people these days. Especially when they originate from the cauldron of the Indian capital, they more likely than not have little streams called “Rage” and “Fury” playing around in their bloodstreams. The innocent looking man suddenly produces a pistol from the inner pocket of his jacket. The silver bracelet-ed hulk leaves no opportunity unattended to unleash his stock of punches and blames it all on your leery look at his bimbette. Drat it, even the non-human inhabitants of the city are irritable and easily ruffled. My new-found insight is courtesy a rather err, biting episode this Sunday.
I had gone to Crossword, anticipating some quiet time in the bookstore Pune had introduced me to. So much for my anticipation, the mall that housed the store was overflowing with people out on their Sunday shopping extravaganza. There were heated arguments at the car park as people got enraged over the “Parking Full” board. How dare you suggest I keep my limousine away? Do you not know I use it even to make living room to bedroom trips? There were legions of wanderers on the escalators and a few shopaholics decided to plunder the shelves around my no-longer-peaceful corner in Crossword. Blaring music played to give you some reading company and little kids jumped around the place, knocking some hardcovers off the desks. Their Moms and Dads shouted at them and then shouted at each other. I knew the kid would take after you, you undisciplined mutt. If it hadn’t been for your shopping obsessed genes, the girl would have turned out saner.
Rather perturbed by the squeals and shrieks, I was relieved when I got back home. The familiar brown door came into sight as I walked up the staircase, the curtains flowing in the evening breeze. As I unbolted the door, my arm brushed the curtains for the most minuscule portion of a second you can imagine. And there! A horrible tingling sensation speed-ed up my arm, watering my eyes. I couldn’t make head or tail of the scene for a while, incapacitated by the throbbing arm. It dawned on me then – the agent of the tingle – when an evil-looking black bee scowled at me from a corner of the floor. It seemed my venturing arm had disturbed the privacy of the bee’s curtain-abode and intolerant of my interference, she found biting the best form of revenge.
I am still nursing the spot: it is a swollen-red and tingles like a million red chillies blended into one. To be fair, Dilliwalo ka gussa is nobody’s fault. The good God gave away patience and tolerance on a foggy December morning. Everyone in the city was at the time fast asleep under quilts of a deep, deep blue.