“Who are you?”
“Where did you come from?”
“Where are you going?”
These existential questions always make a guest appearance in the theatre of my mind whenever something unpleasant happens. Philosophy is such a nice subject devised by our ancestors to hide ourselves from our incapabilities and stupidities. But this time a heard a frail voice which actually attempted to answer it. It said,
“I come from BTM layout and I’m going to Jalahalli”
I was stunned and ran all the cores of my brain at full capacity to reason out the new-found knowledge and Voila!!, I had once again dozed off in the bus. I gave a glancing look at my fellow passenger who had answered the eternal question posed by conductor Krishnappa. Glancing is an art. Its a special skill which I’ve acquired over years of hard work and failures. The look has to float indistinctly all around the crowd, yet noticing each of them to the fullest details possible. You need to fake it as though you are relaxing the muscles of your neck or looking for some other bus behind.
Coming back to the stranger, the face looked familiar. He fell into those group of people about whom you don’t know enough to start a conversation with, but you know enough to keep you restless over who it is. I don’t know how our brain classifies our contacts. With so many centuries of our socialising;with evolution and stuff, our brain has to have a good maintenance scheme to handle such situation. Instead, it comes up with a crappy solution like having a visiting card with a blurred, unrecognisable photograph with the name, profession etc written in Chinese, which I can’t read. I yell at the creator,
“What are the developers up there doing? When are you upgrading us to the next version?”
Whoever said ‘curiosity kills’ was probably right. Now I had to ask about him, which would appear too pushy and over-interested-in- others-affairs kind of person, which I’m not! The better option would be to majestically overlook him, yet try to investigate about his identity without him noticing. I had always liked the way Sherlock does it. I said, this one was for me and I was at it in full swing!
He appears frail, unattractive as his voice but is well dressed. I could not smell the perfume or deo. He’s not that rich or is allergic to good-smelling things. But I could smell Navaratna tel, so an ardent uppi or govinda fan. Doesn’t have an earphone plugged in his ears nor any song playing in speaker mode. So, not a music lover or audio port of his phone has gone wrong. The hairline appears receding with sparse white hair making their mark amongst dense black ones, like bright comets in space. So, a profound thinker. Holds a local newspaper with ends of pages rolled off, appears to be a second-hand one, which someone left in bus. So, he’s unemployed, looking for govt. job. Further, he appears to be reading keenly details in the cine section. So, either a wanna-be actor or a black-ticket seller. There comes the phone call! The phone appears to have been in a state of coma with injuries all over its body, appears an old one, not even Nokia. Unemployment confirmed. Ring tone goes ‘Pyaarge aagbuTTaite…’. Definitely a sandalwood devotee. I peeped at the shoes. Shining and black. He’s appearing for an interview. Doesn’t handle his phone often for messaging, chatting etc. So, he doesn’t have a girlfriend which is quite axiomatic, given he’s jobless.
That was really cool. I was impressed with myself. I had put Holmes to shame with such less hints. I personally believe that you can know more about a person by his ring tone rather than actually speaking to him. I would not be surprised if somebody hosts a show on judging your personality, future etc. based on ring tones and caller tunes on the lines of tarot card reading, signature analysis, horoscope etc. I am also convinced time and again that the density of hair on the head is inversely proportional to the deep thinking power of man. If you start growing white hair, you’re growing intellectually. Fall of the hair brings wisdom, it uncovers the veil of ignorance and exposes the head to the bright light of wisdom. Although contrary cases are also true, but then what doesn’t have exceptions?
Whoever said ‘Never judge a person by his looks’ was probably ugly. On the contrary, ‘ugly’ is the new beauty now-a-days. Sandalwood wants to cast unattractive mortals like us, who are much closer to daily lives of the audience. Our hero here, appears not-so-good-looking and has a good chance at moviedom, if he nurtures his dancing skills well. Going by my intuitions, I feel he might be a profound thinker, badly in need of a job, yet supporting himself currently by selling tickets in black at theatres. Case closed.
After such a pleasing investigation, I had a feeling of a personal milestone achieved, a feeling like completing Special-Ops stage of Crysis at three star level. Now, the only part left was confession. But I still didn’t remember if I knew him. I started talking to him in a tone, as a cop busts a criminal in a hidden mask,
Me : “Do I know you? or Do u know me? You look quite familiar”
He : “Hmm.. I don’t see it..”
Me : “Did you do study at Mysore?”
He : “Yeah.. I faintly recollect.. I think you are.. X”
Me : “Oh.. You got near at last.. I’m Y.. X was supplier boy at our canteen..”
I got him. He was my age-old enemy. He always used to speak to me in such an insulting tone and drive me crazy. I had always hoped the worst for him and yet he came out flying and glee out of all my curses. I think I was not sincere and focused in my curses.
He : “Oh.. Sorry.. You both looked so similar!”
This was a blow in the face. What am I supposed to comment for this one? I hope he ends up as sales marketing intern of black tickets. I had to kick him back and take him off the hooks. I went for the kill.
Me : “So, how is life going on? what are you doing now-a-days?”
He : “Ah.. Its a long story how my life changed drastically..”
I expected it. I was smiling inside. Of course the change was drastic, from huge fan-following at college for academic guidance to fans of superstars and constables following him for tickets!
He : “I always had a flair for acting.. After I left college I was undecided on what path to choose.. to be an actor or be a sales manager after an MBA as my dad wanted me to be..”
See? I had hit the bull’s-eye! But frankly speaking, acting? He would only fit for one of those roles who would dance behind the hero imitating his steps in an awkward fashion. I dont understand why would they dance in the first place. Nobody pays for a ticket to watch them dance! Nobody even focuses on their expressions and yet they give hell lot of them as if they were the main cast. Yet it would be an aspiring career for my friend.
He : “I yielded to my father and did my MBA at Harvard and am working as Senior Sales Manager at Microsoft”
I told you I was bad at my curses, but did not know I was this bad. Seriously, some files might be misplaced in the repo up there. How else can you explain for a guy so wicked like him to end up so well while the one like me, so humble getting nowhere! But its rather strange for a dork holding such a position to have an attire like his. Might be one of his cunning tricks to show off his Indian-ness and middle-classy
Me : “Oh.. Good for you.. the bottom line is, you are not unemployed!”
That’s the best sarcasm I could come up with.
He : “So, what are you up to?”
My pride was at stake! I had to make up something or else will be humiliated as ever. Now I had a chance to realise my dreams. I will be what I wanted to be.
Me : “I’m working in NASA and am heading to Saturn next month to collect some samples and check if there’s any oil resources available there!”
He : “I haven’t heard of any such mission!”
Me : “Well its still on the cards, a secret operation! There are many, which laymen do not know.. For eg. I’m the chief investigating officer on whether Krypton is actually out there and if so, whats the birthplace of superman.. I’m not supposed to talk about it.. Infact I’ve to take leave back to NASA this afternoon.. I’ll get down next stop..”
He : “But, you’ve to go to BIAL.. can you make it?”
Me : “Don’t worry! I have a private plane waiting at home!”