Wives are born naggers. I don't know about the rest of the clan, but mine for sure is one supreme nagger. I guess she has an extra terrestrial sensor which notifies her whenever I am comfortable, lazy and am doing something as important as watching news or reading newspaper. We have most of our fights in the mornings because she would ask me to get something from the shop when I would be updating myself with the happenings around the world and I would yell back in return. But I don't tell this thing to everyone because the ending is always the same. She wins.
It was just another day when she asked (read nagged) me to buy vegetables. Now how can a person go to the market when Sachin is playing our favorite straight drive showing MRF logo to the TV? These guys play well on one day (that too against Bermuda) and that is the day when my wife chooses to send me to the market. I ignore her once, twice and thrice. Thats it. She comes to the hall and starts to hit me for boundaries and sixes with the accounts starting from our first day of marriage. Now now....I cant stand being reminded about the day when I was sentenced to prison. Maybe my luck was limited to see Sachin play in highlights.
Cursing her I put on my Kurta which gets stuck on my bald head. Damn. I was in a hurry. I rushed to the market so that I can at least be back by the end of the slog overs and see Dhoni play. If my rotten luck continues I will have to be content seeing Munaf bat for the last 5 overs. I bought whatever vegetables that were available for the price quoted. One sabjiwala was commenting that Sachin had completed his century and that just added to my excitement. I started to run towards my apartment when it happened.
"Sharmaji...stop. Don't run so fast. Just wait for me" said that slightly bald headed guy. I had a hard time placing that face in my memory.
"Seems Mrs Sharma sent you on an assignment eh? Missed the match eh?" he said this and started to laugh hysterically at his own joke. I was bemused and wondered who the hell was this guy. Some dupe? Thug? Insurance agent?
"Yeah. Cant help it. She loves sending me to shopping when India bats well." as I said this he started to laugh even more harder.
Two school girls who crossed us giggled seeing us talk together. Well...seems Axe did work after all.
"Know what? Previous week my wife went to market...and guess what? It was a bandh." he said and started to laugh. I don;t know what was funny in it.
"Sharmaji...Look at the price of tomatoes. 20 Rs per kilo. At one point of time they were 3 Rs a kilo. Don't know what is going on in this country."
"Simple. The government increased its price so that people don't hit them with that." I said. Bad joke.
But a gentleman with a cigarette in the pan shop did find it funny and started to smile. Now what was that smile for?
"So how is your elder son doing in New Jersey? Did you and Bhabhi book your tickets for the summer vacation?" he asked. How the hell did he know all this?
"Well...we are still thinking over it" I replied with the best lie I could come up with.
"Oh...and I saw the photo of your daughters son. He is really adorable." Damn...who is this guy and what is he up to?"
I started to walk faster as I wanted to get rid of him. But he walked in pace with me and was crushing my hopes. Why the hell is he even with me? Who the hell is this guy?
"Sharmaji...tell me one thing. Don't you think that we look alike?"
As he said this....it struck me. Oh My God! It could not be possible. I remember seeing it in the movie The Beautiful Mind and wondered if it was all reel and not real. But now as I saw this man I realized that indeed this could be possible. Otherwise how could you explain him looking like me when I was young? How could he know my name? Why would he follow me to my apartment? Why did people smile at me when I walked past them?
Oh My god!!!! I had Schizophrenia. I was hallucinating. It all seemed so blurry and confusing. I stopped at the steps and looked perplexed. He came down and said "What happened Sharmaji? You ok?" and smiled. The same villainous smile. He came forward, grabbed my hand and took me to my apartment and said "Its ok Sharmaji. The heat is on. I think you should get an AC just as your son suggested. You are indeed stressed out." He said, walked past me, climbed the stairs and opened the apartment above mine which had the name board which said "Mr Raman." I realized seeing the name and not the person who is my apartment neighbor for the past 4 months.
As he closed his apartment door, he stopped, smiled and said "And Sharmaji...the next time you go out to the market, do remember to wear your Kurta straight and not on the other side."
P.S: May appear exaggerated, but really how many people living in apartments know their neighbors very well? :-(