- Nandini Sengupta
All for a ride (part 2)
Updated: Apr 12, 2022
Last Friday, my friend and I went shopping at a renowned marketplace in Delhi. Well, this time not in her scooter. But by metro. The place is quite far off from our place, so we decided on public transport as it would keep both of us free from traffic hassles associated with road travel.
We had embarked on this metro journey after a long time since Covid infiltrated into our lives and created havoc on it. As the rail pulled off at our destination, we got off onto the platform. We used the subway to reach the other side of the road.
"I am sure my husband is either watching television or hooked up with his clients on the phone," said my friend while adjusting her dupatta.
A weird-looking man in a brown rusted coat and shabby beard was staring at us with glittering eyes. An eerie feeling swept up my spine and we both hastened towards the stairway opening to the pavement outside. Nothing really happened as he kept doing his work and we ours. We encounter people at odd places and their behavior stuns us in inexplicable ways.
Stunted bushes, neatly pruned, adorned the edges of the stoned pavement of the marketplace. Intermittent benches for taking rest in between sweep-of-your feet shopping have been meticulously set. Bargaining was of no use at this place, all fixed prices. Soon we had our hearts full with shopping. We were famished and could ravenously eat a plateful.
We eyed for a modest eatery as we were running out of money. Excess shopping had made us penniless. We entered a small, dark, and airless restaurant. The air was redolent of spices and stew. The restaurant was a typical one, in the nascent stage perhaps. The cooking pots and utensils were set up in a makeshift kitchen at the right side of the entry door, put out of sight by a red muslin portiere. We were looking for the table when we found that there was no counter to receive orders. A young couple, in their twenties, were having coffee. However, we found a table and sat on the slim-legged chairs. A young chap happened to pass by us.
"Can you please help us with placing orders? We are a bit confused about this place," I asked trying to fit my shopping bags under the table.
"Sorry ma'am, I don't understand what are you saying," said the boy
"We are hungry and so please bring the menu card quickly," my friend interrupted
"But ma'am there is no menu card. We prepare meals according to the choice of the production unit and actors," the boy informed
We gave each other a shattering look and then glanced at the place again. It was a set for a teleserial, put up on the open ground by the sideway. The shooting was on halt due to lunchtime and what we thought of as a makeshift kitchen was actually so. And as regards our longing for a plateful to satiate our ravenous souls, let's discuss it in the next episode...
"When frogs jump
in your vacant plot
and cents don't suffice,
you can play the flute
to bring some respite"
By Nandini Sengupta