Monday, June 09, 2008

Three Days and Three Nights: III

February 29, 2008

Lost up in work, had little time to look up. As a matter of fact, wore the same dress to work. Was busy the whole day (odds n’ ends, but… work). So when I returned there was a surprise.

But first, the course of the day.

Returning from work: Baby.

Baby was sleeping soundly at 1710 when I returned from work. She was sleeping peacefully, arms and legs all placed naturally, and she looked pleased. R asked me if B had suggested anything about the payment. She hadn’t, and I said no. R wanted change, amounting to Rs 50, and when I gave her a banknote she was somewhat displeased. I got it immediately, and I gave her the change. ‘The folks in the bus won’t give us change, you see…’ And she was off.

B returns. S advises B to leave the bonnet open.

B makes porridge for baby.

I leave for ITC. But first, I got to ICH. The entrance on the east side is clocked by a truck which is loading float glass engraved with the IOB logo (the three diamonds, IOB-style). The labourers discuss various stratagems. I worm through a possible opening and find myself in the passage. As I go down the stairs, I notice a young child (female, wearing a blue silk dress) with her Mom in the Idukki Spices store. (On my way back, I would note that the store is in complete darkness.)

At ICH, I have to wait a bit. I exchange my place for a par of young software engineers who look dumb enough and glad enough. Toothache is severe, otherwise I had a mind to consume banana fry. But I can’t; I settle for a coffee first. Coffee is served promptly, when I tell the waiter I also need MCx2. (Now this order would take forever, in which time a lot of things transpire).

A slight altercation: a disgruntled customer, having waited long for service, finally striding up to the manager and giving him a piece of his mind, before walking back and reoccupying his seat. He wore greyish shoes with a pair of khaki trousers and a matching tee. Spectacled and about 35, his hair was greying. He had company, but I didn’t notice them.

I give an order for an MO for B; the parcel doesn’t arrive even after ten minutes. For the time being, I tuck into the cutlets. But first, I have to do it royal-style, so I just walk around and get myself a salt cellar and a pepper sprinkler. I settle down to work.

The cutlets are freshly made, but that’s the problem: the mash is fresh, the potatoes are dry, and broken up drily. Instead of a juicy succulence (which is often accompanied by a slightly burning flavour), what I am left with is an obviously freshly baked cutlet with a very raw taste of potatoes. I try to make the best of it. I succeed for the most part, but occasionally, when I get too absorbed in the food, the burnt taste cuts back.

Since it had arrived earlier, I’d started on the coffee first. The coffee was somewhat watered-down but drinkable. I finish and am relieved: I am well in time. It’s only 18:45. There’s a jolly half-hour to get back home.

Through the circuit, I shop at Spencers and eject myself with a bottle of Pediasure®. ‘Three-eighty.’ I’d taken out 370, and I add another ten-rupee note. ‘Three-eight-seven,’ says the sales clerk, and indicates to the display. I feel like an idiot, because I’ve been buying this for ages and I know how much it costs. But on days like these…nothing really clicks.

At ITC, cleaned up the things. Finalized and consolidated.

Then, at 1910, I remember that I have forgotten something. As I leave, HRC joins me on the way out, and he asks me if I’m going straight home. I tell him no; I have left something at ICH, I have to go back.

I execute a rather tricky demi on the ‘bike and launch myself on the road; I see him walking past on the other side, after crossing the road. Curiously, he has taken the stairs up to the road and is now walking back; he must have procured some veggies from the roadside vendor.

I storm back to ICH. The truck is now gone, the loading must have been over. I am greeted by a quizzical smile. I inform him of my quandary. ‘What was it?’ I tell him. With a blank expression he nods to the small packet which I’d seen on the counter (I knew. Today the packaging was square, meaning the fare was lean on the mutton.)

B tucks into the MO. She notices that the package is square and lean (usually it is rolled long and fat).

Baby is out with the grandparents.

Though this be half-baked, I present this, the concluding part of the three nights series. It's merely a sketch and I am now sufficiently far away, ravaged by the time and the injuries and sufferings in between that I have no reason to believe that I would ever finish this with any acceptable degree of polish. This to flecks of dust, which are everywhere.


Blue Eyed Boy said...

I have identified this as an asbtract monologue but later on could relate with the sequences. Enjoyed the flow and rhythm.

Blue Eyed Boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zeinab said...

Well...first of all, this is `scrap.' There are two earlier pieces, which might put things in perspective. My social discourse is rather limited, and I usually turn all of my visits to the local coffee house or the bookstore into blogs.

The events described (`sketched') are not always chronological, as I just happen to write it down as they occur to me.

Thanks for looking...