Sunday, April 28, 2013

rocky road


Hmmm, what flavor do I get? I flipped through the menu and “rocky road” caught my attention. All chocolate and lot of nuts to go nuts. I got a rocky road - an extra large helping of it and turned to sit. Some how, the vibe of the ice cream did not go well with that of the parlor, with its funky music and its loud chattering clientèle. And it was 11:30pm in the night, so I walked out and picked a spot in the middle of the road on the separator.

I found it weird that I was doing this, but it gave a strange feeling of aloneness, being in the middle of a moderate bustle while having time to myself to savor this chocolate indulgence. It felt good! The ice cream was creamy and I was always a sucker for chocolate and nuts. I was about close my eyes to enjoy this treat when I got a sight of her coming out of the parlor. Suddenly I felt odd sitting in the middle of the road. Our eyes briefly met. Was that a jolt up my spine?

I waved my hand at her wondering at the same time what the hell I was doing. She smiled and waved back and slowly started walking towards me. The green salwar with the orange felt contrast design looked really good on her. What was she having? Strawberry something.

“May I?” - she asked as she came up to me.

Did I meet her already some place else? This was a night of odd events so I took it in my stride. I smiled and nodded.She sat next to me, carefully giving five to six inches of distance.

“So, one of those nights huh? Taking time for yourself and unwinding?”

“Not really. I don’t even know why I am here. Came here on a whim.”

She laughed. “Actually me too. Just got here after a movie on TV.”

“Which one?”

“Friends with benefits.”

“You’re kidding - me too!”

“May be that explains the whim.”

Both of us laughed. There was an awkward pause, but that was only because we were trying to think up something to say. I could sense she was just comfortable being there without saying anything and it was weird that I felt the same way as well.

“That chocolate ice cream looks real nice!”

“Yeah, I love choco ice cream.”

“Mind if I take a spoon?”

“You don’t want to mix your strawberry spoon and choco. They don’t go well.”

“Then I’ll just use yours. What say?”

Huh? Are you kidding me? But I just handed her my spoon. She took more than the spoon could hold, and then some more.

“Greedy!”

She smiled sheepishly. She emptied the entire spoon in one stroke, eyeing me with a side glance. Did we just eat out of the same spoon?

“Wmmdderful!!”

“Don’t eat and speak.”

She smiled. “Do you want to try the strawberry?”

“No, the chocolate is good!”

Her cellphone beeped. She looked at the phone and smiled.

“My mother. She wants to know if I am ok.”

“Wise thing - in the current circumstances.”

It took her half a second to reply back.

“How did you do that?”

“Template. I have had to do this so many times, that I have to speed it up. My mom’s inbox will have so many ‘I am ok. See you soon!’ messages from me. It’s kind of a ritual between us now!” - she laughed. Suddenly, she paused and asked:

“Do you want my number?”

“No! That is so cheesy. Meeting a girl, exchanging a few pleasantries and asking her number.” I was very disappointed with myself. I was thinking why the hell I did that. She sounded disappointed too.

“So you want this to be one of those chance encounters destiny constructs between two people who meet briefly on their journeys and then move on shaking hands?”

Whatever it was that she said, it didn’t sound so good. Anyway, I tried to make her feel better:

“It is ok if we just enjoyed this conversation isn’t it?” - Just take her number you moron!

“Whatever!”

“Ok give me your number, its alright!”

“No don’t do any favors!”. I realized then that it should have taken some openness on her part to have volunteered to give me her number. Such openness among strangers doesn’t come easy. And I just snubbed her - for whatever quirky reason I myself couldn’t fathom at this point.

“Hey, I am sorry if I hurt you.”

“No that’s ok if thats how you really feel.” Was that how I really felt?

I looked at her face and it shone in the orange-neon light from the street lamps. She hadn’t applied any make up, but she really looked beautiful that way.

“Do you have to go now?”

“It’s about time - my mom will start getting worried at this point.”

I took a tentative hand and placed it on her shoulder. She glanced at me and smiled.

“I am sorry!”

“It’s alright!”

“Ok, I got to go now. Nice talking to you!”

“How will you go?”

“Got my pep+”. She got up to leave. There was a certain reluctance in allowing the situation to change. She slowly started walking away. She then looked back and said “Bye!”

“Wait! Give me your number.”

“Like I said, don’t do any... Oh what the hell!” and she told me her number. I give her a call and she had my number.

Later that night my phone beeped. The message read:

“Hey, thanks for the lovely conversation. The ice cream tasted better for that. Good night!
-- Shree”

Shree! I just realized then that we had never gotten introduced in the first place. Was this a first in my life where I was this close to someone without ever knowing their name?

I messaged back:
“I am so glad I got your number! Have a good night!”

Message: “:) - Sir - you’re supposed to tell me your name!”

Message: “Sorry! Why don’t I just be your mystery man for now!”

Silence. Why do I become Mr. SmartPants once in a while?
Message: “No fair Ravi. Anyway catch you later!”

Message: “What how... ”

Message: “Oh, you’re one to like mysteries!”

Message: “Ok serves me right! Good night Shree!”

Message: “Good night!”

Tom Hanks said “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna to get!”. Well that night I got a rocky road - literally and metaphorically. I sent her that quote. I got a reply back:

“Forrest Gump’s mother! Now please let me sleep. !@$#%@$^@#”

Oh, was it his mother? I went to bed with a big smile!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to train your dragon

Its quite sometime since I saw a charming and impact-ful movie as this.

The plot is kind of cliche' on one level. That is, you know how the end is going to pan out. The underdog little boy - the subject of mockery and disdain - is going to come up trumps. But the process and the animation really got to me.

There is one scene - where the little boy, with intent and generous helping of sheer blind luck, but without skill hits "night fury" a dragon no one has seen. The next day, he realizes he actually found his mark when he sees the dragon, wound-up and in pain. He takes his knife and tries to put an end to the dragon's misery - and in the process establish himself as the viking who slew the dragon no one had thus far seen. He sees the dragon's eyes once and instead of plunging the knife into the dragon, cuts off the ropes that bind him. "Dragons always go for the kill" - the boy was tutored. This dragon looks at him in the eye and flies off. This one scene establishes the undercurrent of what both the little boy and the dragon are made of.

The movie is also a metaphor. It can be enjoyed literally yes, but the dragons can represent anything that is related to us. A fear, an long-pending task or project, a limitation - anything that we are looking to vanquish. Here we are told that there is another perspective. To get on the same side instead of a stand-off. Eventually, the dragons become the vikings' greatest ally's.

This movie will become my personal classic! So what is your dragon?

Monday, April 01, 2013

God's fool!

I remember someone asking a mystic about St. Francis being called a fool.

Thr mystic replied that St. Francis was God's fool. Today is a good day to remind ourselves to be God's fools - especially considering what "smart" people are doing to the planet. God's fool has  beautiful aura to it. It implies humbleness as well.

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