Nov 24, 2006

All that Noise and All that sound...

I am endowed with awe-inspiring skills in planning and execution. Realizing at the Nth moment that I don’t have tickets to go home on an upcoming “long” festive weekend, and finding out that only a handful were left, I sprung up from a lazy Friday morning at work, with the excuse that I had some personal work that suddenly came up. Chuckling inwardly at the curious glances that my departing repartee invoked, I scurried past the office campus to make it to the single-‘man-handled’ railway booking counter in the city within a village, vis-à-vis Electronics city on the fringes of Bangalore, fondly referred to as EC, ensconced in tranquil beauty alongside the internationally renowned (read notorious) Hosur Road. (Cant help wondering why, but something tells me that this is going to be one long and winding post***….)

Huffing and puffing ( I hadn’t sprinted or anything. Just that I wasn’t used to all that scurrying, my daily routine consisting of mild to ultra mild calisthenics of my fingers on a keyboard .( That same something tells me that this post is going to be so long ***, that I am going to forget what I wanted to write.(And Yes, I am back to writing within braces, footnotes pushing my volatile memory to the extreme and me ending forgetting why I had wanted the foot note in the first place.( Funny, dental braces restrict uncontrolled growth of teeth, but these braces don’t seem to restrict my erratic train of thought(s)))))*, I reached the counter, heaving a sigh of relief (that got lost in all that huffing and puffing) when I found that the queue was surprisingly short given the peak hour. Shoving myself into a chair, after miming (I was still huffing and puffing) to the single-‘man-handling’ the counter that I needed a reservation form. Progressing to Rani Mukherjee-ish huskiness, I managed to communicate to a lady beside me that I would graciously grant her the privilege of borrowing her pen. (Continuing in conformance to first principles on my planning abilities). Believe me or not, one of the toughest challenges in today’s world is filling up a form printed on recycled paper with fonts that make English and Kannada like twin sisters, using a borrowed ball point jetter pen with a stuck up spring (you cant even curse the lousy writing implement, since there some basic (read unwanted and absolutely unwarranted) courtesies that are a part of the Borrowing protocol). It was then that real ordeal began. There was this tiny old man (probably a blue collar worker), and a younger chum of his, who took it upon themselves to act a whips pushing the lethargic white collars (ignoring the fact that most of them were collar-less.) to keep the queue on the move. I was transported back in time to my PT class, where the instructor with a waspish voice and lethal look drove us in troves around school grounds under the unrelenting Chennai sun. My vocal chords regaining their senses, I complied with a more than audible groan. In came a yuppie from one of the biggies in EC, with a debonair swagger and a classy (read garish) wave to one of his colleagues waiting in the line. Mr. Debonair Yuppie deemed the wait opportune to embark on a public discourse on what in his humble opinion, is the appropriate way to conduct business in their biggie company ( yours truly infers that he must be contemplating a couple of offers to switch firms and hence his loyalty),by way of a little tete-a tete with his colleague and buddy. Having heard similar conversations week in and week out, I started to find this one an abuse to my auditory apparatus. Another blue collar bunch entered and was so fascinated by the list of trains painted on the wall in vibrant hues, that they actually began discussing each and every entry in the list in all the detail that they could think of. A splitting headache invaded my cranium from nowhere amidst all this cacophony. As the seconds ticked by, I had second thoughts about whether all this torture was worth it. What if, I didn’t get my ticket? What if someone is searching for me at work and my unexplained absence becomes the talk of the day? Just then the single –‘man-handling’ the counter disappeared. There was a murmur that transforms itself into mayhem, in a matter of minutes. The blue collar whips try their best to restore order. One white collar blue tagged individual, with great consternation, steps out of the queue, after declaring to one and all present and absent, that the chair he left was his, and that he fully intended to return to it. He bravely ventured to peep inside the counter to find the single ‘man-handling’ the counter stealthily gobbling his breakfast up. Thank God for such brave Samaritans who keep volunteering to do all the peeping in the world. Satisfied, our volunteer returned back to his seat, keeping intact the great consternation. The single ‘man-handling’ the counter then hobbled out of his cabin to drop the left-overs in the trash. 20 pairs of eyes intently followed his every move. As we all settled back into our seats, now that the queue would resume its dynamics, the single ‘man-handling’ the counter hobbled out of his cabin again. 20 exclamation marks materialized atop 20 startled heads. (Yep, yep I have been suffering from an over-dose of comics, since child hood…). The cacophony reached a crescendo, neck to neck with the splitting headache, closely followed by the rapidly building up anxiety. Yours truly was by now truly a wreck. The single ‘man-handling’ the counter abandoned his hobble, and gracefully sashayed across the waiting area to a red monstrosity resting sinisterly in a corner. He bends in double and is lost behind it, oblivious to the cacophony and mayhem around him. Yours truly is in shambles. All of a sudden, like a thunder bolt from Zeus, a strident din emanates from the red monstrosity and yours truly was dragged/drugged into a stupor. All the cacophony is drowned, and yours truly is mesmerized. The lights blinked themselves back to life, and single ‘man-handling’ the counter sashay-hobbled back to the counter, and jumped up to his seat. The queue was set into motion, the whips became doubly active. The anxiety and head ache vaporized magically, and yours truly was found humming a tune, with the strident din of the Red diesel generator keeping the beat. Yours truly ( like this reference to myself better than the trite “I”, the longer the better) emerged rejuvenated from the trance, slowly increasing the decibel level of the “humming”, adding a few impromptu lyrics now and then (I can never remember lyrics and dialogues, once made up my own in a school play, although pertinent) . No one seemed to notice the amateur bard; the white noise from the generator camouflaging the singing. Yours truly now started to shake a leg or two in beat (still remaining seated.) Yours truly became completely engrossed in this melee, and at one point closed her eyes and strained hard to get a particularly high pitched note right. A gentle tap brought her back to terra-firma. “Don’t worry ma, the queue is moving, I can see that you are anxious (owing to all that eye-closing and frowning to get that cussed note right) and impatient (concluded from the leg-shaking), On top of that, this annoying generator makes so much noise!”, ejaculated the aged whip. Yours truly gave a truly yours truly sheepish grin and “Mum was the word” till the counter. Mum continued to be the word till the ticket was purchased, even if Yours truly had to shell out an extra couple of hard (!) – earned ATM –crisp hundreds. And Mum continues to be word, still. **


* : Couldn’t resist it. Had to add a footnote. Well, mmm…. Lets see… Ah, Yes... This one was to mention the personal record in the number of brackets used at one go.
**: Mum helped me (Oh, she always does !) , (but this time it was Mum, the word, and not the Mum as in mother(It’s become an obsession, not able to give up the braces, even in the footnotes !))in winning empathetic glances when I went back to work after my “sudden personal errand”.
*** But since Mum was the word, I was compelled to write this long and winding post.

7 comments:

rsubras said...

solilo solilo, ivlo periyyyyyya post ah.... porumaiya padikiraen :D

btw, en blog ku vaayen..oru pudhu spooof........ again cinema and IT than..but konjam padichu paaren

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

Looks like you have been really really exuberant and in good spirits that day when you wrote this. Was that in expectation of the travel ?

The Soliloquist said...

@ rsu : :-)
@G : well... the travel is about a fortnite later, but still the thought of home is reason enough to lift one's spirits.. ;-).. Thanks for readin the long post (if you really read the whole of it :-p))

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

sol: sometimes its better not to ask and not know; than ask and know... If you insist, yes, i did :)

Nero said...

Ze big Falstaff hangover eh? Footnotes and all.. :D

So how've you been?

The Soliloquist said...

@ nero: Hmmm... maybe yes.. maybe not... but me hopelessly prone to verbosity... and to make sense of all that wordy mess, footnotes come in handy, (or do they ??? )

M doin fine... going gets tough, but i get tougher .. and going gets tougher, i get tougher than tougher... and life goes on and on... :-)

How abt u?? Ore busy?? Best a luck for "Ze Exzam " of ur life... :-p

Nero said...

Thanks. You have NO idea what sort of $*!t I am in :)
Enna romba naala soundae kaanum? Another 'getting tough' period eh?