Saturday, July 02, 2005

Who Needed Whom ?

Though hard I tried,
I couldn’t often avoid bumping
into D, as I walk thru the major
construction site in the evening
to check what my welding crew
had done for the day.

Catching me trying to slyly
sneak away from him,
D would corner me
and start talking, making me his
sole audience for a soul
to soul talk, oblivious of
all the din, clang and
general mayhem around us.

He is a short plumpy guy, with
thick 6 mm glasses and
a week old 3 mm stubble.
His ballooning belly
was surely a beer
lover’s and this he acknowledged
many a time, proudly.
So there we would stand
like a couple of wastrel
roosters crowing over a fence.
The only difference was that
rarely did I get to open my meek beak,
while D did all the gabbling.

The sweat would build up on his
forehead and it was a sure sign
of him trying to gasp for breathe
above the torrent of his words…

D and his family were from Bombay,
and my town bored him so much,
that he had an infra dig, was vitriolic,
to say the least.
“Is there any life at all beyond
M.G. Road ?” was his famous refrain.
The slow take-it-easy slug like pace
of my town needled him and
everybody in his family,
making them wish they were
back in the good ole fast,
furious and bad Bombay…

So on and so forth,
he would rant on,
about how he and his family
spent their miserable
weekend in this apology of a city,
where they went, what movie they saw,
what dinner they ate later, where…etc, etc.,

All his family minutia were
laid bare to me and I had a secret
contempt for him
and his needing to unburden
himself on somebody, to salve his
hurt Bombay-less ego.

I felt superior, and condescending
because he needed a hick
like me to be his Freu(n)d indeed.
I frequently mimicked, sneered, made
monkey faces and mocked
at him from behind the couch,
as he rambled and raved on.
Finally, I’d lip sympathize
with him for all his troubles,
mouth some solemn inanity,
hint that his time was up
and that I had other cranks
milling around impatiently
in my crowded waiting room…
And he’d reluctantly
get off the couch and
I’d go, attend to my business.

Then, one day, when I
came back after a long leave,
I found D had gone back to Bombay…

That and following evenings,
I felt abandoned. Lonely.
No one else was overtly
friendly with me at that site
(becos I wasn’t with anybody ).
Nobody had any time for me.
My visits became boring,
routine and dull, and I started to miss
D and all his vituperative babbling, his
Shankar Mahadevan kinda monologues,
his voice, his lust for life…

I think I will go lie down
on the couch.