Thursday, November 13, 2008

A game I like

It was 6 in the evening on Halloween. I was waiting for a bus at some isolated place in order to get home. The stop was deserted except for a young mom with a cat's mask waiting with her kid who was in the costume of 'hulk'. As I approached the bus stop the mom started staring at me. Being November it gets dark early and it was just about dark then. I thought she might be suspicious and to put her mind at rest I was walking about far away from the seats at the stop. One could see youngsters in costumes galavanting about. It reminded me that I must go to downtown later that evening. So many people gather on that one street that it really is more crowded than the mumbai station. Its a sight worth absorbing because usually the people keep a goods train distance from each other. The bus was being unusually late; one would think it was getting into its costume for the evening. I could see the mom turn back and throw quick furtive glances in my direction now and again. But I got tired of standing and went to sit down anyways. I sat in the seat farthest from her. As we waited, the kid got restless. Eventually, he struck conversation with me, and having heard me for a while the mom got friendly too. Meanwhile, a man jumped the waist high wall that defined the parking space of a fast food store behind the bus stop and approached us in haste. Before we realised what was happening, he pulled out from behind him a big bag of chocolates and said, "My wife thinks this kid has the cutest costume she's seen all evening and wanted to give this to the boy." The mom accepts it gratefully, but abashed by the unexpected kindness. The man jumps back up over the wall and departs in his car. The kid plays around with the bag of chocolates while the mom and I get acquainted with each other. Time flies by during conversation and the bus arrives. As we get in, the driver pulls out a bag of chocolates, shows it to the kid and says, "I just picked up this bag before the beginning of this trip so you're lucky kid." As we are seated in the bus, we are given company by a couple of drunks, one of whom was a guy intending to sell drugs to the college students at the mall close to campus(I know because he showed us the stuff in the middle of happy conversation). At the next stop, a couple of white trash people walk in. The lady has just enough teeth to prevent the jaws from colliding. The man is hunched enough that if you put a mirror to his face, you can see the outline of a dome from the side. As the lady sits down, she is feeling around in her purse for something. I presumed it was a vanity case, because that's the only thing I've seen women ever feel around for in their handbags for during bus journeys, apart from cellphones. She pulls out a candy, and hands it to the kid saying, "I don't know how it got in there, but that's for you kiddo!" The kid must've been pleased with his good fortune because he was all hyper in the bus and doing various antics that had me smiling and indulging him with attention from my cell phone camera. I got some really neat snaps(one of the drunkards can vouch for that!) considering the bus was moving and I didn't exactly have image stabilization and a tripod to work with. So the drunkard asked the mom is she wanted to give her email address so that I could send it to her. I made no offer because I thought she was somewhat the shy sort. She smiled and said nothing. After about five minutes, while I was still indulging the kid with my camera, she asked for one to be taken with her and the kid together. I knew the email address was coming. Five minutes later she passed me a little piece of paper with her phone number on it. Coincidentally, we were getting down at the same stop. She asked me to call her so that she may give me her email address to which I could send her the photos if I would. I agreed to that and she quickly disappeared in the opposite direction to which I had to go in.

Later that evening I went to Mill Avenue, the downtown. I went with a book in hand because there's a bookstore (Borders for those of you familiar with it) nearby and I had a feeling that I would get bored of the costumes. I took a quick scan of the two sides of that street. It was mostly what I'd seen in the previous two years: Young girls in slutty costumes showing plenty of meat, guys in scary costumes, and kids in cute costumes feeling a want of attention from all the elders furiously trying in vain to catch each other's attention. I went into the bookstore and sat reading till the store closed. As I sat there, I thought of that mom and her kid who were merely returning from the kid's school as on any routine day. It amused me to think of the curious game of Chance in which the kid got completely unexpected gifts of chocolates from strangers whom he'd never asked for "Trick or treat?", photographs of himself to admire from another stranger, and compliments on his delightful costume from drunkards and drug peddlers, while in stark contrast there were gathered the several hundreds crowded into this one street desperately seeking attention, and may be a bit of 'luck' in their own notion of it.

Here are some pictures:


silverine said...

Far from the Madding Crowd, would have been a apt title for this post! Lovely post! Engrossing read! Reminded of a childhood anecdote, that I guess I will blog about or it will become a big comment! :)

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

you write well.v interesting read.
drug peddling? and out in the open?