It was the best of days, it was the worst of days… Oh wait, no. It was definitely the worst of days.
I wake up groggy and tired after yet another dream-ridden night, and forego breakfast to barely make it out in time for an appointment at 9. There I am, riding my scooter as fast as I can through the morning traffic when some kind of reddish liquid splashes on my left hand. Now, I didn’t have the time to stop and inspect it in close quarters. Actually I didn’t even have the time to stop and wash it off for fear of running late, so I spent the next five excruciating minutes watching it dry up on my hand as I sped towards my destination, all the while wondering which end of what species it might have risen out of. It certainly didn’t seem like bird droppings, unless said bird had had some kind of gourmet tomato soup for dinner, in which case it might also be a case of spewed breakfast that didn’t sit too well. The second contender was human – the kind that’s male, middle aged and in the habit of marking his territory with tobacco-laden spit with abandon. Yup. In all probability, I had finally achieved the status of having been spat on while driving on Indian roads. (More on that phenomenon in an upcoming post. Hold on to your seats.)
I was supposed to grab my favourite breakfast from the canteen after the appointment – egg dosai and filter coffee – but just as I was leaving, Dr V decided to let me know of an incident that I had been blissfully unaware of till then. A girl from our institute had been mugged and gang-raped two days ago when she was on her way back from the movies around midnight with a friend. She didn’t even report it – the guys who did it were caught by the police for drunken fighting on the streets, and one of them let it slip that they had robbed and raped someone, which led to the incident coming to light. I lost my appetite and found myself standing in the parking spot for a long while, just trying to comprehend what I had just learnt. All my illusions about living in a relatively safe city were gone in a flash, and I thanked my stars that I had decided against going to the same late night show by myself the other week. I kept wondering about all the other cases that must have gone unreported simply because the culprits weren’t blabbering idiots.
Self-defense classes. That’s what they should be teaching girls in school first, before maths or science. Why don’t people make that an effing priority. Maybe I could write to the institute requesting the same for students and staff.
I grabbed breakfast after a bit, but it tasted like mulch in my mouth.
I had so many things to get done during the day, but I ended up doing nothing. I had delayed one piece of work for so long that I realised it had gotten reassigned to someone else altogether. By lunch, I packed up and left the office and spent the afternoon surfing YouTube and having another round of fitful sleep instead of having lunch.
I needed to start packing right away and be done with everything by tonight if I was to catch the 11.50 train I had preposterously chosen to book for the next morning, knowing full well that I had a meeting till 11, and that it could take close to an hour to reach the station. Of course, my initial plan to head to Delhi directly and not stay over at Chennai was cancelled BECAUSE I didn’t want to play roulette with time. It just hit me that I had gone ahead and done it anyway, and I might as well have gone to Delhi after all.
As I started packing, I realised I didn’t have anything decent to wear at the conference. Awesome.
I headed out to grab some clothes. I am on my way, riding my bike, and a splash lands on my arm. This, unmistakably, was bird poop. I swear, stop, wipe it away with a dirty rag and swear some more on my way. You know the day’s been excellent when you get spat/shat on twice in a 12 hour period.
Well, maybe shopping would brighten my mood I thought. It did. A little. Till I got around to billing and realised that I had amassed stuff close to 20k. To be fair, a lot of it was for MB to repair his pathetic, torn wardrobe, and there weren’t a lot of unnecessary items in there. In any case, I decided to forego a couple of shirts, and brought the sum down to 17k. This is when the salesman presented the ludicrous affair of the Signature Membership that I could avail for free, now that I had decided to splurge a quarter of a month’s salary at their store. It would get me a 10% discount on all purchases they said. Oh well, great then, I said. I felt pretty good about the whole thing and decided to proclaim to all my friends and brethren how I could graciously offer for them to use my discount as well to shop at said shop. To which a friend replied, “oh, but I’m already a member. You could have used mine now”. Right. So I had just missed the chance to save all of 1700. All the dopamine that sprang from the shopping promptly disappeared.
I realised that it was already past 10 at night by then. All the hotels were closed, there was literally nothing to cook at home, and the grocery store was out too. I rode home furious, swearing and supper-less, and it was only when I had dumped the bags in the living room, that I realised I was supposed to have picked up cash at the ATM for the next day’s journey. Now that also was to get squeezed into the morning slot.
And THEN realised that the suitcase I routinely travel with had had a broken zipper for the last few months that I never got around to fixing, and so I need to find an alternative to even start with the packing.
I’m guessing this is when I should start throwing things at the wall.