Hi, my name is Ted. I’ve lived in India for over 18 years now. I’m 29 years old and I keep my feelings to myself, even my most intimate ones. I make friends easily but I forget everything about them even more easily. It’s not that I want to but I just can’t seem to remember their faces, their voices, their birthdays and their Moms and Dads. People have told me that I’m too full of myself. I don’t disagree. The way I see it I’m just too happy with myself. One of the reasons being, I live in Delhi.
This city is a little too violent for me. I can’t see myself happy with anyone else. I never recollect having traveled 25 meters on the bus without anyone foul-mouthing the conductor or a bystander or if he is too bored just mouthing obscenities to himself. A friend once told me he was losing his sense of humor. His favorite pastime must’ve been commuting in the Delhi private buses all through the day. I also have trouble getting along with intellectuals. Like the autowalahs in this city who are great economists. They hedge themselves well against any downswing or upswing in the economy by effortlessly factoring a 150% inflation in all the fares they quote. All of them have also installed a device called "meters" in their autos. The reading on the meters is always in sync with the gravitational pull in Antarctica and this helps them to mobilize the sixth force of aero-dynamics to break the clutter on the roads.
But they’ve great roads here. All of them look so similar that I can’t tell whether I’m in Rajiv Chowk or Indira Chowk. While I’m on roads, I’m sure it must’ve been one prankster who laid the plan for CP. Every single day he must be rolling with pain in his tummy, guffawing, holding his over-sized moth infested belly with his hands in his under-sized coffin. After all among other things, he must’ve seen me perform a near perfect merry-go- around encircling CP 3 times before I could reach my destination. I started my journey from Deutsche Bank and rotated 1080 degrees before I got there again. I never realized that I started exactly from where I wanted to go in the first place. Maybe, the gentleman I asked for directions was seriously interested in helping me. Or maybe he was the haunted spirit of the architect of CP himself and wanted to test if he could convert this great shopping destination into a labyrinth. He tasted stupendous success.
Not all is well with me either. I have an old cell and an even elder laptop. The batteries of both these modern devices have given up on me. One of them lasts for 20 minutes and the other for 25 minutes. I forget at this point of time, which one of those has the privilege of the longer duration. My sports shoes are in tatters too and my suitcase’s zip also behaves rather erratically. The shopkeepers here are helpful though. My friend Jerry didn’t have a belt. So he thought he should buy one. The shopkeeper told Jerry that he could take the leather strip and return to the shop to get the buckle for the leather strip a couple of days later. Meanwhile I thought I should call Dad and let him know I’m alive. I love dogs so I bought Hutch. On the 5th day, when I asked the shopkeeper, why it wasn’t still activated and he told me that I should take my form to the Hutch customer care center. Shopkeepers here keep the cell activation forms for 4 days and return it to the customers on the 5th day. I was very polite.
With so much desperation around me I can see that unfortunate day not too far when I might be mistaken for a porter carrying my own heavy unshapely suitcase on my head. But then maybe that would be a good sign. I wouldn’t be surrounded by droves of taxi guys who’d look seriously interested in helping me and then take 210 Rupees for a journey worth 18 Rupees. These days I think mid-life crisis has engulfed, gripped and sucked me mercilessly but then I think of the short skirt of the pretty girl in that right most cabin of the 22nd floor of my office and I get the feeling that maybe I am still young. But then I’m reminded of Wren and Martin’s ageless chapter on proverbs. ‘Beauty is only skin deep’. Not that I want to fall in love with someone’s left ventricular valve but I shudder to converse with a Delhi girl who will keep dropping her charms ‘hair and thair and everywhair’.
People don’t notice me nowadays. The paanwaalah from whom I bought cigarettes and the guy who sold cheap kulfis have been the victims of the latest New Delhi Municipal Corporation cleaning drive. However, they forgot to take away the dustbins of these two vendors. I wish the vendors were around. Atleast, they cleaned their dustbins in every morning.
P.S- Share your lovely moment spent in Delhi in the comments section and win yourself a vacation in Kaalapani.