Posts Tagged ‘conversations’


I saw this guy (kid?) negotiating with the lady at 7-11. I missed the first part of the conversation, but from the looks of it, she was refusing to sell him beer.

She asks him for the ID.

He brandishes his school ID in front of her– “May 1992”, Now it’s July, I *am* 18.


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Edited to add: It’s not an order, or a wish. Just an incentive.

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CH slurs, after he nibbles on the bits of fruit — steeped in alcohol, and yet the healthy part– from my favourite drink, “I don’t know what to do with my life. I don’t know where it’s going.”
CH, for info, is all of 19. And has just joined school for Engg.

So I tell the aforementioned story to Mike, while he talks of his 14 year olds. “I didn’t know how to answer him”, I say. Mike pulls the chain of thought along on and finishes with a question “Life, universe and everything. You know the answer?”

Mike needs to read more Indian blogs. If there is one number infinitely abused, and prime factorized — it’s 42.

I use the word “angst”. This other guy I was speaking to didn’t know what it meant.

I ask the girl if she has a map of the city. I don’t want to get lost, you see. She tells me, “Mine is torn, but can you, indeed, read maps? I get lost on a map.”

The fifteen year old American gets confused when I mention Nadal. Who? Tennis? World number 2? But isn’t that Federer?

Well, we don’t know, he soon may be.

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Mike is the most self reassured person i have ever met.
Men automatically assume the role of the protector when they meet a woman. He didn’t. He didn’t assume anything. He didn’t ask me to text him back once I reached home. He just sat and spoke to me like I needed to be spoken to. And I did too, without being scared of his stray hand wrapping itself across my shoulders and my head finding a place to rest on his shoulders. Sans the fear of his intentions and my loosened inhibitions under the influence of alcohol.

So that evening, Mike and I, strangers until then, discussed art: Man Ray, Dali and Goya. We discussed why Duchamp used the urinal as a fountain. And why I thought Picasso was messing with people’s minds. And why he liked abstract art and hated the impressionists.

We discussed music: The Beatles, Shakira and Suzanne Vega. And Indie bands. Why he liked George and I liked Paul and why 64 was a good age to die. We discussed Cirque du Soleil, and his ignorance of it.. We discussed alcohol and why Talisker is good and Tinto de Verano is tempting. We discussed Pratchett and that he has Alzheimer’s. He confessed to not reading much. I confessed to not reading much off-late.

We discussed why he considered Catherine Zeta Jones pretentious. And unpretty. Why I loved Purple Rose of Cairo. Why he hated Woody Allen. Why I couldn’t stand Sex and the city, the movie and why he liked the series. Why i found Fabregas cute, and why he thought Dravid was the best. We spoke of being dyslexic — of him not being able to figure the troupe of soldiers from the troop of clowns. And me not being able to put-i-before-es right.

We spoke of where I was born and grew up, and why it was his favourite place on the planet. And where he was born was now mine. And of the day Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, and what we were doing when we got the news. We exchanged stories: of his punk days, and my research days. And his once-upon-a-pierced nose and my tattoo. And scars – we shared stories of how and how-old. We even laughed at how brown he was on the inside, while he teased me for being the opposite.

That was the best conversation I have had in this entire trip. It wasn’t just pub talk. It wasn’t lust talk. It wasn’t four a.m. drunk talk. It wasn’t pillow talk. It was something more. The more I try to remember pieces, the frames of that conversation, more the honesty, the unpretentiousness, the level of comfort — mine and his — amuses me.

And I realized how hard i try to fit into people’s conversation. Alter my tastes so that I only speak about things that others like. And he didn’t. And I didn’t need to. And then and there, I had it all figured.

Mike is 36. Mike is British. Mike teaches Physics in high school. Mike loves his job. Mike hosts a weekly trivia contest in a pub [here].

Even if I had allowed myself, I wouldn’t have been able to fall in love with him. Or maybe I would have. But more than anything, I want to be like him — self reassured, confident, unafraid of speaking of anything. If old age is what it takes, so be it.

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Scene at a microbrewery:

Waitress to PD: Would you like to try our new limited edition beer?
PD agrees.

After his first gulp, taken with much anticipation PD says, “Boy, am I glad that they made only limited amounts of this crap”

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“Ditch the gym today. When I come we can run around and it will be enough. Please please please.”

When I talk to her, I often wonder if the drama queen act comes from corrupted genes, or is it just that I have been a bad influence. I met her 8-9 years ago. All of two and a half, she asked me to read out Cinderella to her. I paused before reading the words “evil step-mom”. Try to explain the concept of step mother to a 2.5 year old. Just try. I dare you.

Yeah, so many flawed fairy tales later, Niece and I are best of friends. It helps that the both of us refuse to grow up. We talk, we play, we crack silly jokes. I cleaned her shit, literally, and learnt to refrain from using the word.

A girl in my class, she’s online”, she started.

Okie, talk to her then. Leave me all alone.“, I said trying a bit of melodrama.

her status message is — i hate you , world. come on , how depressed can you get?”

She’s not depressed, just angsty“, I said, hoping to correct her perception about depression.

she is a drama queen”

Oh com’on, you are one too!”, I said, teasing her.

“she goes into tantrums and everything. her two best friends tried to cut themselves. did i try to cut myself?”, she defended her position.

Really?” I didn’t know what else to say.

blades. dunno. but i’m suspecting they did it only for attention.” the pop-psychologist said “and one of them goes around asking people where she can get weed.”

I was two seconds away from a panic attack

scary, no? don’t tell ma about this.” she said, afraid.

You haven’t told Ma?” I was afraid too. If the girls were indeed depressed they should be getting help.

no no. i told her about the cutting and she got damn scared

I hope you are not thinking about trying out weed and alcohol and stuff. Because if you are, let me know. And I will give you reasons not to .”

“will do. if i ever want to”, she reassured me.

So twelve year olds are trying to source weed. And trying to cut themselves for attention. We were so damn oblivious. It would be wrong to say “kids these days..” and launch into a anti-media tirade, but one must not forget that some of the things we do today, like drinking, were a taboo twenty years ago. The sense of morality has changed, and it will continue to. And then the kids, they will experiment. It’s impossible to tell them not to. More than a sense of morality, a sense of black and white right and wrong, there is a need for them to have a sense of judgment or a sense of self-preservation.

As for this young lady, she’s a good kid. Funny, smart and nice. I am proud of her. Just wish I could give her a rule book of life. But I know, as much as I want to put a layer of cling film and protect her from all evils, I know it’s a futile cause. She will learn, like we all did. I am just hoping, praying rather, that the honesty remains.

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