27 decemberPosted: January 3, 2011
Comma is sprawled on my bed, while I hover around uncertainly. She has taken over my room with the jingle-jangle of her silver bangles, the toss of her long hair, and the rusty orange of her voluminous kurta. Ogre peeps in at the door once or twice, attracted by Comma’s loud laughter, but ducks away quickly enough, not wanting to disturb us.
Ogre has the pleased look she always has when I have any of my friends over, because it is so rare an occurrence. Ogre has always worried about my solitariness. And now she worries about Etcetra’s gregariousness. Oh well!
Me: “I didn’t know he had gone back to Bhopal.”
Comma: “Of course. He had to go back for some Christmas show their department had put up.”
Me: “Christmas show?”
Comma, rather proudly: “Yeah, he’s their unofficial ‘party man’. He loves organizing shows and parties and all that.”
Me: “Looks like Bhopal won’t be as quiet as you had imagined, if you hitch up with Mr. Party Man.”
Comma: “That’s yet to be seen.”
Me: “So are you going to Bhopal for New Year’s Eve, then?”
Comma: “Hardly. It’s his headache to come to Mumbai, if he wants to spend the evening with me.”
Me: “How chauvinistic of you.”
Comma: “Whatever. Feminist issues are one thing, but catch me chasing any guy. I’m old-fashioned that way.”
Me: “Yes, I’ve gathered THAT by now.”
Comma: “Anyway, he IS coming back for New Year’s Eve.”
Me: “So he does seem to be wooing you, then, full-fledged.”
Comma blushes to the best of her ability, which isn’t much and goes “Hmm.”
Me: “Does he take the train back and forth?”
Comma: “The first time he came and went by flight. I don’t know what he is going to do this time.”
Me: “He seems to have enough money, then.”
Comma: “Looks like it. I haven’t asked.”
Me: “You haven’t? Didn’t you go out again with him since the first time I went with you?”
Comma, looking a bit defensive: “Of course, I did. But he is such a joker. He chatters away about the most inconsequential things.”
Me: “That sounds quite like someone I know.”
Comma laughs: “And he makes me laugh so much. We just never got down to discussing serious stuff. Anyway, first I have to be sure I want to get involved. Then I’ll ask him about salary and money and all that.”
Me: “I thought it was meant to be the other way around. Get the important questions out of the way first.”
Comma grimaces: “But what’s the point? I mean, I may decide not to carry on with him even if he’s got tons of money. So why bother? Why not just have some fun before getting down to the nitty-gritty?”
I shrug: “I don’t know. You were the one getting het-up about marriage plans. And the way he is doing Mumbai-Bhopal-Mumbai, at least he seems to be getting pretty involved. If he was just looking for ‘fun’, I am sure he has enough options closer home.”
Comma: “That’s his look out. I’m not going to be hurried into something, just because he’s burning precious fossil fuel.”
Me: “Good for you then, if you really mean that.”
Comma: “Of course, I do. Anyway, why don’t you come out with us for New Year’s Eve? You aren’t doing anything else, right? I’m sure all you have planned is Pizza-and-TV with Ogre.”
Me: “Yeah. But. I don’t think so. First, The Prospect isn’t spending money and the country’s fuel resources, to be chaperoned by me yet again. That too, on New Year’s Eve. And second, I’d rather watch TV with Ogre, than burn my ears listening to both of you babbling nonsense.”
Comma: “But what if I need a chaperone?”
Me: “Hardly. Anyway, I am more worried about his safety than yours. Just curb your violent tendencies a bit, and both of you will be all right.”
Comma: “Thanks. I was hoping you would say ‘no’ anyway.”
Me: “I know that.”
However, my sad plans to spend New Year’s Eve with Ogre and her television shows are put aside by So-On who has planned a big ‘do’ at their farmhouse in Karjat.
So-On: “Will you meet me on the highway at Sion? The only thing is I’m going really early. To make sure everything is all right. You know Dampat. He’ll spend so much time doing some things so perfectly, that he’ll not do any of the others at all.”
Me: “I don’t mind ‘early’. I’ll just change there.”
So-On: “I asked Sam to come early too. But she doesn’t want to. She says it will tire her out before the party starts.”
Me: “Of course.”
So-On: “Anyway, she has a car and a driver. So she’ll manage on her own.”
Me: “Of course.”
1. I don’t tire easily.
2. And I don’t have a car with a driver.
3. And I get to drive alone with So-On all the way to Karjat.
4. AND spend some time with him before the party.
So what do I care about Sam and her plans?