Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Living in a city

I did it before, for over a decade. But the last four years have spoiled me.

I am in Delhi now, attending a week-long training program. And this means that I am living nearly the regular city life- wake up, commute, work, commute, get whatever I need to get done after work, try to get back safely, sleep. I don't have a house to look after, but I am still left wondering where my day went. And I quite enjoyed it once. My life has changed me.

And in more ways than one. My not being a city-wallah seems to be written all over my face. What is  it, I wonder. Is it the shopping lust in my eyes that manifests itself as a 500gm bag of coffee, and a 400gm jar of Cuticura*? The DIY fringe? The flyaway hair? Or is it the salwar-kameez worn with hiking boots?

Twice in the last two days I have been confided in by men who knew I would understand their longing for the rural life. One was a auto-driver- father of two, pays Rs.4,000 as rent, saves half that much each month, gets ghee and dals from his village, wants to return there soon.
'You know how it is', he said, 'life is cheaper and easier in the village. But we must think of the children'. Talking of where I was going, he asked,' Have you started service there?'.
No, I told him. It is a training programme.
 'It is good you took an auto the first day. But from tomorrow, you take one of these white mini-vans. You won't be able to afford the auto everyday. Don't worry about me. I will get some passenger or the other.'

And then there was the young man- no family, he said, just a father and mother and brother- who spoke to me of his fields back in Rajasthan. And then refused to let me walk. 'You stand here. It is getting dark now. I will call an auto for you'.

*Cuticura talcum powder that I grew up using! It was discontinued a few years ago, but  it is back! It still smells the same, or nearly so. Sad about the new and hideous bottle. I did so love the old one (shown below)

1 comment:

nadi said...

I used to wonder at your good luck- Chicu always manages to meet good people, i thought.
Now I know-
You meet the Good in people.