Friday, August 19, 2011


When I first moved to Dun and found myself friendless, I had begun looking among the office-wallahs for someone to hang out with. One of these had caught my eye, but to initiate friendship would have meant negotiating office hierarchy and gender politics. Consequently, I never invited S over for coffee. Three years later, I realised that I might have missed something.

I was regaling my colleagues at lunch with tales of my last trip in the mountains. When I was describing the drive, I said, ‘The worst thing about a pine forest is..’

‘A lack of undergrowth!’ interjected a gruff voice behind me, completing my sentence perfectly.

I turned around in disbelief to see S, the twinkle in his eye mirroring the one in mine. As the office looked on, we simultaneously burst into the uproarious, thigh-slapping laughter that is born of a shared embarrassing secret.

For those who don’t know why it is a bad thing, think about the long drives, the tiny hamlets, the utter lack of toilets. Think about the poor researcher forced to go on a long-ish trek till she is over the ridge just so she can be out of her colleagues’ view. Think about her discomfiture as she squats in relief and then notices a cowherd on the slope facing her.

Undergrowth is a good thing. Shared laughter is even better.


nadi said...


Grumpy Granny said...

We have that trouble in Colorado, too! ;-)