May 27, 2008


I'm in Orissa again.

Our roof leaks.

Last night, a giant cockroach alighted on the wall. I screamed to Amanda to rescue me. She darted into the room with a plastic measuring cup. The vile creature was near the window-sill but showed no signs of exiting by the window. While Amanda was trying to trap it and drag it towards its true destination, it changed its mind and decided to leave us alone after all. Unfortunately, it gave her a small fright while doing so, making her throw the cup down after it.

Now our second floor hovel is hemmed in by haphazard constructions that make Kalbadevi look like Chandigarh. All our windows open out into the terraces of others' homes. So this cup gave a bhadralok nighttime bather a good knock on the head. She yelled at us and Amanda apologised. The fun began when her husband stepped into the argument. Amanda was left speechless trying to explain her act in Oriya. She was reduced to telling him - Chill dude, keep the cup. But he showed no signs of relenting.

Then I stepped in to help her. In my purest Hindi, I explained to Mr. Red Gamcha that no Bombay gangster was baying for his wife's blood. But he shouted at me to come take the cup. I expressed my inability to navigate the jungle of similar looking houses, all with Minus who wed Milus. I apologised repeatedly, but to no avail. He opined that I couldn't murder a person and get away with saying sorry. I was unaware of the murderous potential of plastic measuring cups. I didn't know killing someone was as simple. Gamchabhai will bond with my dad, who also thinks people are out to kill him when he sees safety pins strewn on the floor. Or a fragment from a glass bangle.

All this while, Amanda kept up refrains of - Chill dude, you can keep the cup, though I like it. Gamchabhai even mentioned the police. That is when I lost my carefully cultivated cool, apologised for the last time, told him to go take a walk, and shut the window in his face.

Later, his wife yelled at him and I think I heard a few pots banging too...

May 19, 2008


After a whole year, I'm off to Orissa again. Strangely, this time I feel I'll miss Bombay. And my family. And my friends. And the trains.