Monday, June 9, 2008

It`s bright and sunny today.. The sky,bluer than a robin`s egg. The grass so green. The breeze pulling my hair back into a frizzled mess. Just like how a perfect summer day should be.

And I was walking back home from the bus stop (Yeah,Yeah the old empty home. I just cant seem to let go,can I?)

On the way, there`s a children`s day care center. You can hear the colourful voices calling out to each other,even before you spot the play pen around the corner. And as I walked by, smiling at the dirty little faces peering curiously from over the fence, one lil girl called out to me.

“ Are you Indian?”

She must`ve been around 5 or so. And I was stunned.

“Yes, how did you know?” I smiled back.

"Parents mustve had a racist conversation over dinner", I thought.(Shall dwell on the racism thing in another blog.)

“ You`re wearing red paint on your hair,like Sid`s mom does,” she said matter-of-factly!

(Referring to the ‘sindoor’ I use. )

My sister doesn’t use sindoor anymore. Lotta people don’t. Some use a red paint,like a nail paint or a lipstick – supposed to be convenient and less messy. Others use designer ones,like the ones you see in the Ekta Kapoor serials on zee tv! I stick to the regular form,along with the traditional bong style ‘shakha pola’ –Weird as it may seem to people who know me (or hardly!)- this bold,outgoing persona that I project – I`m basically timid at heart(??!!) and scared of experimenting on this one!

And as I stood there chatting up bull with the lil kid, there loomed in front of me, a huge,wobbly apparition clad in a worn-out, ill-fitting garment straight out of Salvation Army`s thrift store(I usually don’t comment on people`s clothes or looks but this one really got on my nerves. You`ll know why).

With one hand on her oh so generous hip and the other dangling menacingly in front of my face, she asked me what I was trying to do with the kid! As I stood there,trying in vain to explain that it was the lil girl who stopped me and not the other way around, she refused to take any explanations whatsoever. She continued to bare a crooked, yellow set of teeth and snarl at me.When I saw her turning purplish-blue in the face(pbly hypoxia due to continuous shrieking and forgotten gasps of breath, thought my medically trained brain!), I decided I needed to back-off before she fell to the ground,dying.Death caused by sudden rupture of a cerebral vessel in a fit of rage!! And suddenly I was glad I`m still not allowed to practice medicine in this country!The idea of doing a mouth-to-mouth nauseated me! And so, off I went. And it was only once I turned around the corner,about a mile from the play pen,that her booming voice faded into the distant air. And I allowed myself a breath.

Of all the things I have been misunderstood to be, a psychopathic child-picker wasn’t ever one!!

The incident shook me up pretty bad. I can understand a person being protective of children, especially in a country like this where we get to hear crimes of the sort,everyday on tv or through the newspaper. But some level of discretion should be exercised, some judgement should be made about whom to suspect and whom not to. And if we are to go by looks or body language or whatever it is she went by, I`m sure that by any standards, I would have to try really hard(and still never succeed) to look more "suspicious" than her!!

I kept thinking about it,getting more and more angry by the minute. Until I remembered an incident that occurred when I was posted to J&K in the Year of the Lord 2003.

I shall continue in another blog. Until then, feel free to comment ;)

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