Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The embarrasing Hit and Run case

One fine evening, I went to Jwalapur market with my little son. He was just a toddler. There was a huge barren land area between my flat and the market. There were two route to the market. First was along the main road, but it was longer way. The second route was the shortcut that cut through the field. Beside few Jhoparees on one corner, the field was clear.

I was returning from the field. One or two men or women were walking on the field. My son was jumping and running around as he came along with me. Suddenly a fellow on a bicycle came cycling towards us. I had a shopping bag in one hand and with my other hand I tried to grab my baby. Before I could grab my son, the man hit him. In simple reflex I dropped my bag and gave the man a good solid slap. I picked up my baby as he was crying. The man was confused. In haste I picked up my bag and took my baby in my arms and rushed to my home.

After I arrived at the flat. I immediately looked at my child, for any injuries. I saw a scratch on his left arm and his left leg’s skin was ruptured. I cleaned him and applied antiseptic on his injuries. Meanwhile my friend Maloti came. At that time her in-laws were staying with her for a visit. But she knew that I was alone in my home as my husband was in Hyderabad. Firstly she asked “I think you are alright. I know that Pakku (my son) loves fish so I took some for you and Pakku.” Then she smelt dettol and asked. “Who got hurt?” I told her the whole episode. She was surprised. “How could you slap that fellow. Don’t you know that these Juggi men are puckka criminal. If they come here with other men, what will you do as you are alone.” I said, “Maloti, I think you are over reacting.” She replied, “No I am not. I will not leave you here in this condition. You and Pakku stay with me until Abhijit-da comes back.” I said, “Nothing will happen. Beside that, your in-laws may feel otherwise. I’m perfectly alright. Those men cannot enter these apartments because security is here.”

After a tremendous argument she went off. But before leaving she knocked the Roy’s door and told them the whole story. Roy Dada advised me not to go alone outside and if I required anything, then I should ask him.

I closed the door, ate nicely and played with my son. After some time he slept. Now my sleep vanished. Maloti’s words were hitting me. As the night grew deeper, my anxiety grew larger. But like hunger, sleep is also a natural process. It came to me at 3:30 in the morning.

How much I slept I don’t know. My son patted my cheeks, “Ma, Ma, get up.” I woke up. The door bell was ringing repeatedly. I opened the door. The dudhwala, the kaamwali, Roy dada, Mrs. Roy, Jain family and entire neighborhood was there. All of them wanted to know my welfare. I said “I’m fine”

I felt extremely embarrassed that so may people were worried about me just because I slapped a local Jhopri wala.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scoleciphobia - The Worm Saga

It was September, nearly 8:30 in the morning. My husband was in office and the kids were in school. I was busy with my household work. The door bell rang. I opened the door. It was Mrs. Roy. Her eyes were full of tears. Her face and body language showed that she was in terrible state. I was surprised. “What happened?” I asked her. She held my hand and replied, “Mini, please help me! Please come to my kitchen.” “What could have possibly happened in your kitchen?” I thought. She dragged me with her up to her flat. She stood in front of the kitchen and said, “Go inside.” Now a (seemingly) nasty thought nasty thought came to my mind. I just hoped at that moment that I wouldn’t find a lizard. That reptile petrifies me, freezing my blood in a way that would fail the best refrigerator at that time. That’s right. I have a phobia of Lizards.

I asked her gently, “Is it a Lizard?” She wiped her eyes and replied, “No, I don’t care about lizards. It’s something even more dangerous.” Now I felt better. Except lizards, I’m not afraid of any living or dead thing in this world. I went inside the kitchen but I saw nothing scary. She said while still standing outside the kitchen that there was a worm in the vegetable basket. Ah ha! That was it.

I took a newspaper, picked up the worm and threw it out of the window. With a victorious smile I came out of the kitchen and patted her shoulders. “Relax dear. It’s OK. The worm in now gone for good.” She thanked me, and offered me a cup of tea. But I refused as I had a lot of work to do. I came back to my flat.

About 15 minutes later, the door bell rand again. This time it was Mrs. Sharma with her eyes full of tears. Her body language was as bad as Mrs. Roy’s. “This is too much.” she said. “I can’t bear it anymore now.” I called her in and offered her a seat. When she settled down a bit, I asked her. “What happened? What’s wrong with you?” She wiped out all the tears from her face and said, “You know, Mrs. Roy always keeps throwing away things on my flat. Her baby daughter always throws her toys, paper, cloth clips, and what not. I always collect the things and give her back. I’m telling you all this because she is your good friend and she may understand you better than me.” She took a deep breath and then resumed. “Today, I will never forgive her for what she did to me. You know, she threw a vegetable worm from her kitchen window. I was outside cleaning my kitchen window and the worm dropped right on my head. I can bear anything, but not worms. You know that worms scare me to death.”

I gulped down a big knot that had formed in my throat. I said “Sorry” out of reflex. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did say it. “But why are you apologizing?” she asked me with a confused look on her face.