Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Known Stranger

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 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? :-(


Nanyaar? said...

That was a wonderful twist. Lovely!

Nivi said...

Thats reality really. and beautifully woven in to a gripping tale.
Love thy neighbours but most of us go "neighb.. i am sorry what??"

Supercool Harish. Loved this baby!!

Aparna said...

Hey that was a different kinda story from you. Good one!
This time I am not commenting Excellent as usual ;)

Priya Iyer said...

great one!! how true it is... how little do we know our neighbours! Beautifully written, as usual.

Heidi Kris said...

very nice story and a very true and thought provoking :)

Padmapriya said...

Really a nice story :)

Padma said...

:).. good one.. treu also:).. after lviing in kanchi and chennai i see the difference

yechus me.. 100 Rs ukku platformla kuda slipper kedaikadu:P..

neenga evalo aasai padarathaala:P.. adhutha thadava batala vanga try panren:P.. Metro, woodlands ella khadims na parava ellaya:P.. ella kandippa bata than venduma:).

Padma said...

BTW Baby harish ( i guess so) is cute:)..

Anu said...

wow!!! the more we think abt whats gonna come up, there u go surprising us yet again....

good one!:-)

G3 said...

Purinja maadiriyum irukku.. puriyaadha maadiriyum irukku.. waitees.. naan poi innoru vaati padichittu varen :-)))

rsubras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rsubras said...

once again a wonderful story... ur speciality is u come up with different themes each time, make it interesting with a twist..... but for once, ur screenplay (:D) does not sag anywhere thru out the story

Bravo :)

rsubras said...

ada cha..i was to say Good job dude...but intha vaarthai vanthuduchi...

prithz said...

Good one!

Idha padicha onnu dhan nyabagam varuthu.. 'as long as your wife looks beautiful only to you and not to your neighbour, things are fine' :D

Aditi said...

i was waiting for the catch.. always such a pleasure to read.. beautifully written

Bhargavi said...

Simply complex,Known stranger,what next? Lively death? :P

ZaNYChiLD said...

a nice twist.....u have got the knack to wove a post wonderfully....and yeah in this fast pace.....neighbors are a far sight!

Nithya said...

I loved this totally....
A small suggestion from my side :)
Try writing the sentences, that involve a man, thinking, in Italics or in a different font...Has a greater appeal :)

To be or not to be said...

A nagging wife....
Dont listen to her...if you do, u r only proving that nagging works...
Amazing post....
Keep up the good job dude....
Well done...

KK said...

//Wives are born naggers. I don't know about the rest of the clan, but mine for sure is one supreme nagger.//

Itha paartha odane... oru nimisham aadi poiten :)

//Cursing her I put on my Kurta which gets stuck on my bald head.//

Itha padicha appuram than purinchithu.. I ndrathu I illai appadinu :)

Chumma katha vitten... yenakku therinja katha vidurathu ithu than pa :)

Very nice story and theme Harish... unakku mattum yenga irunthu ippadilam thonutho...

Harish said...

Thanks Sir. Thanks a lot!!!

Guess what? This was inspired when I realized that I didnt know my american neighbor's name after living there for the past 10 months :-(

U Robbed me :-(

Unfortunately yes

Harish said...

Truth is stranger than fiction :)

Thanks yaar :-)

Adikka poradu nu mudivu panita....idula Brand paagubaadu enna irukku????Adikiradu adikira..nalla international serupaalayae adi :-P

And yes..adu naane daan. Chinna vayasula kazhudai kutty kooda cute daan :-)

Harish said...

Its a wonderful feeling to surprise everyone...and sometimes ourselves as well.

Mayakatula padikaade yaar :P

I try my best :-)

What if she does look beautiful to the neighbor as well :-P

Harish said...

Its a pleasure to take you all for a ride :-)

Happadi....someone is indeed keeping note of the titles as well :-)

Its a fun writing these...just that sometimes I dont find plots :-)

Harish said...

Sollita illa...I will try sometime soon :-)

nagging does work :-)

Thalaiva...enna panna??First person story better nu pattudu.
Unngala vidava besha ezhudida poren :-)

Dreamzz said...

ROFL! as ussual nice story with nice ending!

Janani said...

Ha..ha.... It's vey common. We know people by name but not in person.

That was a wonderful thought woven into a amazing story.

Harish said...

Such a simple irony :-(

Hee hee....its funny and so bad at the same time :-)