Run Run ..Run again !!
Disclaimer: This is a true work of fiction and any resemblance to anyone living or dead is just purely coincidental :P
A Sunday morning in Bangalore, cold breeze was caressing my bare legs and the rest of me was cuddled inside the warm bed sheet. It was such a good feeling and I extended my hands to hug the pillow lying next to me.
“ Ooouuuch …”, something hit hard at my wrong place and nothing could stop me from screaming.
“Get your hands off me “, shouted Glen. It took few seconds for me to realize what was happening.
“For the past one hour I am dealing with your alarm and now your elephant hands. Get away from me”, Glen continued. Being a bachelor and staying with friends for the last 8 years such “kick starts” in the morning were usual.
“What? The alarm rang? When? How come I didn’t hear? “, I responded. I have a movie date and I didn’t want to be late this time! God knows when was the last time I have ever watched a movie from its start. More important than the movie, it is her that I was scared of – Dhanya! She had warned me just the previous night: “I really don’t want to miss the beginning scene. Do whatever, but at least for once please be on time”.
“Where is my mobile? “, I asked Glen.
“I switched it off and threw it somewhere in the corner. It was ringing for almost an hour “, Glen replied.
“Are you out of your mind? How can you switch off my mobile? And what time is it? Oh! Shit, don’t tell me I am late yet again”, I said.
It didn't take much time to trace the mobile. Movie was at 11AM and it was already 10:10AM. The minute I switched on the phone, it rang. It was her. “Where have you been? I am trying for the past one hour. And why is your mobile switched off?”
I hate lying. But when you have a girl friend you will just get used to it. Can’t blame her also poor thing has to put up with this trauma every week end.
“ Ummm… I was in the temple. “, I said.
“What? From when did you start going to temples? I have never seen you go to temples in the last three years, except when you have exams. Don’t tell me you are having one tomorrow. Moreover why did you switch off your phone? Is the movie plan still on? Even if you are not coming I am going, I have booked the tickets and it is my money”, said Dhanya.
In an effort to save myself, I said, “How will I answer when you ask so many questions in a shot? I had a bad start in the morning… I mean a bad dream in the morning and it involved you. So I went to the temple. At the temple, it was written in big bold letters to switch off mobile phones. I wanted to inform you, but thought why disturb your sleep. Alright I am hurrying to the theater now, don’t blame if I get late again. It is all because of your questioning. Already lost 10 mins”, I managed.
She didn’t totally believe the story, but kept the questioning for a later time as it was already getting late, “Come soon, I am almost there. I will wait”, she said.
I rushed to the bathroom and there lies the next hindrance. Bathroom was locked from inside.
“Who is inside? WHO IS THERE? HELLOOO??” I screamed.
“It is me, Chala”, replied Neeraj. We are so used to calling him Chala that even he has forgotten his name. Every time I am in a hurry, Mr Chala will appear from no where just to mess things further. Else why does a person, who sleeps till afternoon just to avoid breakfast, get up so soon on an off day??? Pissing off…
“What are you doing inside?” I asked.
“The same thing that you do”, replied Chala.
I know there is no use fighting as it will only further delay my movie plans. “ Chala dear, I mean Neeraj. Can you please come out fast? I am getting late for a movie”, I pleaded.
May be due to the joy of hearing his real name, he didn’t delay things further and came outside. Within 10 mins I was ready to move. I felt proud of myself to have broken my previous record of 15 mins to get ready. Now it is time for Quality Check. I went straight to Glen, woke him up and asked: “Glen, how do I look in this T Shirt?”
He didn’t bother to open his eyes, but replied, “Super “.
“At least look once before you say “, I said.
He again replied, “Super”, but didn’t even look at me. I felt like killing the person who has quoted: “A good friend can replace the mirror “.
This time I went to Chala and repeated the same question. The problem with Chala is he will give me a detailed analysis which I didn’t have time for.
“Your shirt is wrinkled; there is a brown mark near the collar. Your jean doesn’t go well with the T- shirt. Your hair style is looking horrible ...”, he continued.
“Is there something I can keep “, I asked.
“Yes, your handkerchief provided you don’t take it from your pocket”, he replied.
I should have just left after checking with Glen. Chala please be serious I am running out of time.
“ Okay, just change the jeans.”, he said.
“But the only one left out is torn, that too near my thigh”, I said.
“That is the latest trend. Wear it. “, he said.
Within seconds I wore the trendy jeans and was off in my bike. How will someone understand my problems? It took 10 mins for me to reach the theater. My phone has been constantly vibrating. Even without looking at the phone, I knew who it will be and didn’t dare to pick it. After a good 5 mins firefighting at the parking lot for a small gap, I ran towards the theater. Thank god I had a good caller tune, else by now Dhanya would have stopped calling me.
From a distance I could see her looking at the watch. Is smoke coming off her head? Doesn’t look like. But I know she is the worst person to deal with when angry. It was 11:15 AM, that’s 15 mins after schedule. She saw me and started walking towards the theater. I ran towards her and said: “ Huff, what a traffic jam. How can someone watch a movie on time in Bangalore?” She didn’t reply.
“Don’t worry we are just 15 mins late. 5 Mins advertisement, 5 mins to show the name and yaaa…5 mins to raise the curtain “, I covered up.
“JUST SHUT UP. And it is YOU who is late not WE, I have been waiting for the past 30 mins”, she shouted.
Hearing this, the ticket boy just opened the door even without checking the ticket. I was hungry and wanted to buy something to eat, but in this situation it was better to console the stomach than waste some more time.
As usual the first half of the movie finished without us exchanging any words, but things became normal by second half with me buying lots of eatables during the interval. By the time the movie finished we were holding hands.
“So you are leaving Bangalore?”, she asked.
“Yes. I need to. You were the one who wanted me to jump from E4E”, I replied.
“You should have left E 4 Elephant long back. But I never thought you will leave Bangalore so soon”, things were tuning emotional between us but she being a strong girl just changed the tropic. At least for tomorrow, be on time. Your train is at 6:00 PM, don’t forget to take the print out, I have emailed the soft copy”.
“Don’t worry, till date I have never missed a train or bus. I just love this last minute running “, I said.
“And I hate it the most. Can’t be on time, can never be sweet, I really don’t know why I am hooked to you. I am sure even tomorrow you will be late and I will have to run with you “, she replied.
“I made my mom and doctors wait for days before they decided to take me out on a fine 7th Oct 1983, through an operation. So it is in my blood, can’t help it.” I replied with a grin and continued: “Tomorrow, I won’t be late. Come to my place with your car I have two huge bags to carry”, saying this we parted.
Before she left she saw my torn jeans, “When did you become so trendy? It looks so cool “. I laughed at myself, a 5 year old jeans becomes “Cool” because of a hole. In fact, I was a bit embarrassed and was trying to cover the hole when I caught a few staring.
Train is at 6 and my exit formalities at office should be over by afternoon. I am sure nothing will go wrong at least this time.
The next day I woke up on time, ironed all the clothes and arranged them on my bed. Just needed to keep it in the bag which I will do just before I leave, I thought. Office “exit formalities” was a cake walk, I have been working there for more than 5 years and most of the crowd knew me personally. By 3 in the evening I was all set to leave office.
I called Dhanya and asked her to be on time: “Come by at least 4:30. It is a good one hour drive to the Railway station. And I forgot to take the ticket printout, so please take it when you come”, I said.
I was a bit sad, but a job change was much needed. I took my time and reached home by 3:30PM. At least this time I am on time, I told myself. I went towards the window where we normally keep the room keys. I put my hand and searched for it, to my dismay I couldn’t find it. I searched again once, twice, thrice but in vain. We have been keeping the key near the window for years and something like this has never happened. When I left from home Glen and Chala were still in the room. Without wasting any time I called Glen. As usual he didn’t answer. How will he when the only people who call him are the marketing guys or a friend who wants to borrow his bike. Hence, these days he stopped answering calls! I called Chala, who answered in a fake French tone: “This is Neeraj from Security Operations. How may I help you?”
“Where is the key?”, I asked.
“Are you referring to your public security key or the private key?” For the last few days, he has been using his office mobile in which he receives on site calls. I was getting irritated with his fake French accent and replied: “Home Key”.
“Aaaa .. home key . Can I put you on hold for a min? “, he replied.
“Da this is Deepak, where is our room key? I am not able to find it near the window”, I asked.
“Ohh, it is you. Thank god, I was searching in Google about home key. I have kept it in the nearby shop”, French Chala replied.
“Nearby Shop? But why? We have been keeping near the Window for years, why did you have to change it today “, I yelled.
As said earlier, every time I am in a hurry, Mr Chala will appear from nowhere just to mess things further and I could already smell it.
“There were people all around the house this morning, doing some plumbing work. So to be on the safer side I just handed it over to the nearby shopkeeper. Don’t worry, check at the shop you will get it”, he tried to console.
“And what if the shop is closed?”, I asked.
“It won’t be, just check “, he replied.
I cut the call and ran towards the shop. As expected the shop was closed. I couldn’t stop abusing Chala, it may not be his fault, but things are turning really bad.
I called him again and soon I could hear the French tone again: ““This is Chala . Sorry Neeraj from Security Operations. How may I help you?”
“You better save my number first and this SHOP IS CLOSED. I WANT THE KEY RIGHT NOW AND I WON’T SPARE YOU IF I MISS THE TRAIN “, I screamed at him.
“Did you check his house? He stays right behind the shop “, he said.
I went near the house. I knocked a few times as there was no calling bell. No response. I raised my voice and called out the shopkeeper but still no response. In between my phone rang. It was Dhanya, “I have left office and will reach in half an hour. Are you ready? “.
I was upset but replied, “Why did you leave so early? Come slowly. We have enough time. “
I went to the neighborhood asking for the shopkeeper’s number, but couldn’t get it. I waited for almost 15 mins, but how long will I wait? What if he does not come soon? What if I miss the train? Never ending questions flooded my mind. May be instead of wasting my time like this, I should try with some other keys, I thought. I started gathering keys from my neighborhood. With my broken Kannada and Hindi, it took me some time to convince them to give their keys to me. At least few would have thought I am up to some mischief. I tried unlocking the door with them, just to realize that such things work only in movies. I returned the keys and went back to the shop, it was still closed. The only option left out was to hire a professional and make a duplicate key. But the last experience with them trying to open my cupboard ended up breaking it. But I didn’t have an option. After looking at the closed shop for one last time I went to the nearby market place where these people normally sit. I have to be cunning here, I told myself. If I show them my urgency they might charge me a ransom.
I was relieved to see an old man sitting in the road side with a bunch of keys. I parked my bike few meters away and walked past the Key maker casually. I acted as if I was not interested in his craft, even he didn’t look at me. I told myself, Deepak it is not like the vegetable market where folks call out to you and seek attention. If you need to catch the train better strike a deal soon. So I took a reverse and went back to him.
"I need a duplicate key for my main door", I told the key maker.
"I need a duplicate key for my main door", I told the key maker.
“Do you have the original key “, he asked.
“No. It is the main door and you should not break the lock”, I explained.
“Fine, 350”, he said.
My mouth opened automatically. “350 Rs? I don’t want a new door just the key will do. Tell me the final price“
“350”, he again replied.
I took the usual tactics. Fine, in that case let me check for someone else. I walked towards my bike. I was expecting him to call me back, but he never did. I started my bike, raised it a few time. He was not even looking at me. I went a little ahead, took a U turn and came back.
“ I will give you 300 Rs”, I said..
He again replied: 350.
Finally I had to agree for 350. I took the key maker to my room and to my amazement he made a duplicate key within seconds and opened the door. I was relieved to see the door opened but was a little reluctant to pay that much for a 5 min job. Just then someone called from my back.
“Hi Deepak, heard you are leaving to Hyderabad”, it was the shopkeeper who had our key. Why couldn’t he come a bit early? I though.
By then I had other things to worry, I was already late for the train. I went straight to the bathroom, took a quick shower and wore the pants which I had ironed in the morning. I was combing my hair when I realized something biting my legs. Now what? I asked myself. To my surprise it was a big group of ants this time who were all over me. I really couldn’t believe one person can face so many problems in a day. It was like one of those Priyadarshan’s climax scenes, which were always blown out of proportion. May be god don’t want me to leave today.
I removed the pants in record speed and went to shower. My legs were burning as if on fire. From where did the ants come from? I came back to the bed where I have kept the pressed clothes. At the center was a broken “Britannia Marie Gold” biscuit and a huge rally of ants were going over my dress to get it. Chala strikes yet again. He is the only one in our room who ate “Marie Gold” biscuits. It should be an accident, I thought, as he is not one of those types who waste biscuits.
Time was running and my only aim was to get rid of the ants, pack my bag and run to catch my train. I grabbed HIT and sprayed it haphazardly. I was not sure if it would work, but within seconds they all lay flat. Poor ants! Just then my door bell rang. It was Dhanya.
“Time is 4:50 and what are you still doing in towels? You will never ever change”. The next thing she noticed was my unpacked bags. “Didn’t you even pack your bags? You are just unbelievable. What were you doing till now?”
I didn’t utter a word. Within 10 mins I left home with two heavy bags.
“Give me the car key. I will drive “, I said.
“I really don’t think we will be able to catch the train whoever drives. Anyway, I don’t want to risk my car either “, saying this she got into the driver seat.
Even before I could close the door the car jumped into action, in the next 50 mins I would have prayed to all the gods I knew not because I feared missing the train, but I feared losing my life. It was a crazy bumpy drive with Dhanya making sure that she didn’t miss any pit holes or the humps. At last when we finally reached the station, the clock read 5:55 PM. The race was not over yet, after taking the ticket print out from her and carrying two heavy bags I ran towards the station to catch the train, while she tried to find a parking slot.
6:00 PM: There was no announcement of any train to Hyderabad nor was the train number listed in any of the notifications. Is the train canceled? With bomb blasts and terror attacks becoming common you never know what can go wrong. Carrying the two bags and squeezing myself through the crowd, I made my way towards the enquiry; I gave the train number and asked the middle aged women for its status.
“This train left 12 hours back”, she said.
“What? “, my mouth opened yet again in shock.
I looked at the ticket carefully, it read 6:00 Hrs and the time in the railway digital clock read 18:00 Hrs.
Also check my new blog : www.shineingindia.com
Also check my new blog : www.shineingindia.com