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March 24, 2004 12:42 IST
Everyone in the bus was looking at me spitefully, their eyes accusing me of abandoning the child's mother three years ago after a romp in the hay.
It was 9 am on a Sunday. I was on a bus. I wasn't really awake, thanks to Saturday night's party, at the end of which I had found myself on the Serangoon Road bus stop at 3 am. I had stumbled into the first bus that came along. Luckily for me, it was headed straight home. I had also managed to survive the treacherous 17-second walk from the bus-stop to my apartment without falling down, puking, or getting run over by a speeding cycle.
Waitaminute. What am I doing in a bus again? Oh yeah, I'm going to the gym. Disorientation is a bummer, especially on Sunday mornings. Why am I going to the gym with such a hangover? The workout will definitely kill the nice buzz in my head.
As I waited to alight, a Chinese two-year-old, straddling his mother's hip, stared at me with his beady eyes. I flashed my best 'I'm-hungover-can't-play-eyes-with-you' smile. Then he woke me up.
All I heard for the next few seconds was the kid giggling with uncontrolled excitement at seeing his father for the first time. Everyone in the bus was looking at me spitefully, their eyes accusing me of abandoning his mother three years ago after a romp in the hay. 'You infidel, your sins [and your family] have caught up with you!' they seemed to say.
My hangover vanished. I burst out laughing. The woman turned to look at me, embarrassed. Much to her horror, her son pointed a finger at me, threw his head back and declared even louder this time, 'Papaaaaaaaaaaaa!' The bus-stop came to her rescue. I managed to ruffle my supposed son's hair before he was whisked away by my supposed wife.
To be honest, I had been in Singapore for just a year and had never ever met the lady. But she was, I must admit, pretty cute.
Nishant Goyal, Mumbai
Just for laughs
Driving on highways can be very boring, especially when you are returning after a short holiday. On a recent drive back from Shirdi, I spotted this signboard:
'Drive carefully. Someone is wetting for you at home.'
We laughed all the way to Mumbai.
Aninda Shome, Mumbai
Waiting but not watching
It was the 'historic' one-day international between India and Pakistan. Sachin Tendulkar waved his wicket goodbye in the first ball that I watched. The second one I saw had Rahul Dravid jump about in sheer frustration and walk all the way back to the pavilion. Inzamam-ul Haq hit the third ball I watched for a huge six.
I thought it safer to leave home before my paranoid father locked me up in the bathroom or something. Which is how I came to be at the Gateway of India with a couple of friends when we heard a roar followed by a general euphoric yell that confirmed India had won. Everyone was wearing their broadest grin. A band started playing the victory beat.
Later in the evening, we saw a couple of bikers race past us carrying the Tricolour; and the pride on their faces is etched in my memory. The crowd at a local pub had an impromptu chant going, 'Indiaaa, Indiaaaaa…' clap clap clap… We joined in. The win had raised everybody's spirit.
As superstitious as it sounds, I shall not watch the final match on Wednesday; I am not risking the happiness of so many people. Does anyone out there care to sponsor my ticket to Antarctica?
Uma Iyer, Mumbai
Two sacks of junks
The last thing one wants to hear at 4.30 am is a prolonged argument over how much one should be paid for carrying two huge sacks of junk.
A man alighted from a suburban train at Mahim station with two sacks, each more than seven feet long! At that unearthly hour, all he could get was one drunken porter to carry his stuff to the junkyard about 200 meters away. For more than 20 minutes, they haggled over the price to be paid for transporting the sacks.
The porter first insisted the sacks were too huge to carry. The passenger lifted one, placed it on his own head, and proved him wrong.
Then came the porter's fee. The haggling kept getting hotter, with foul language aplenty.
When the porter nearly relented, the passenger refused to let him carry the stuff. He was confident of getting someone else to do the needful.
Then came the bouncer. The porter said, 'Okay, okay, don't pay me Rs 10! You will anyway end up paying that amount to the local cop as bribe!'
Anthony D'Costa, Mumbai
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
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