My Samsung cellphone has a mind of its own. Its charger has decided that it won’t charge my cell from any socket except a particular one at home! I have tried it in all sockets at home and numerous ones at office, but to no avail. All this, when I had bought an original cell with guarantee and all! So here I was, in Gaffar Market on the hot sweltering afternoon ( and I thought winters were close by!), haplessly looking for an ‘original’ Samsung charger. I soon realised that there’s ‘nothing original about it’. An original charger costs just 50-100 bucks more than a locally made one and it doesn’t have any guarantee! The standard reply which any vendor would give you there, is, ‘No guarantee for any original stuff as it doesn’t need any’!! what?!!
Anyway, I bought a suspicious looking charger, with no ‘Made in XXX’ stamp. After haggling for a while with the vendor about its authenticity, I gave up and satisified myself with a scrap of paper on which that guy had given me a 2 month ‘guarantee’. It had been duly signed by him.
It was well past my usual lunchtime. I was slightly apprehensive about having a solitary lunch. I’ve had a lone lunch several times at home, but an occasion when I especially go out somewhere (alone) to have lunch, has never happened. Out of habit, whenever I see a loner having a meal alone or watching a movie alone, I find myself sympathising with that chap and thinking what a sad life it must be. And I didnt want anyone doing that with me! But I had no choice, so off I went to McDonalds. I had been contemplating trying the Mc Curry Pan thing, for which they have shown several ‘moan groan’ ads on the TV. I took my order and went ahead for the lone lunch, and settled myself at a small three seater table. In due course of time, a kiddie made his way to a nearby table, apparently waiting for his parents to get the grub. With nothing better to do, he started looking around and I suppose I made a perfect specimen for a child’s inquisitive scrutiny. Mebbe his gaze had focussed on me because of the ‘Patrakaar’ way in which I had dressed up… a collared Khadi (long) kurta with blue jeans and brown sandals. The only thing adorning my face was earrings. Well, at least I didn’t have specs on or a cloth ‘jhola’ to make the perfect journalist. Mebbe he thought I would just take a pen and notepad and start asking for his views on Mc Donalds..I would never know. Soon enough a heavily-built-but-trying-to-be-hep-in-western-clothes female came and thudded on to a table (ok, the chair) right across me. Wonder how she managed to fit into those chairs. Like standard meals, Mc Donalds has a standard size for chairs too I guess. She had an array of plastic bags, all from the same shop, with a big SALE slogan written on them. She arranged all the bags as a barricade around her mini fortress – her table. I felt like asking her which shop had such a throwaway sale, that she managed to buy at least 12-13 articles from it…but left the idea in my mind as I noticed her grunting under her breath. She was soon joined by another friend of hers and they both took turns at stealing glances at me. Now I know that I am attractive and all that (ahem) but I definitely mind it if I get too much attention (even if it is guys giving me that attention). So I quickly swiped off whatever was left of the Mc Curry Pan thing (Let me mention that it is not at all worthy of that ‘moan groan’ quality that they show on TV) and left the place.
In the evening I decided to set out on another ‘lone adventure’. This time the venue was Sarojini Nagar. Even though the sun had set, it was tough wading my way through those innumerable sweaty bodies, slithering at a slow speed, whereas I wanted to zip through the crowd. My eyes caught some bright colored and sequined garment being sold for a discount. On questioning the shopkeeper about what he thought was worth the amount he had quoted, he told me that the same thing is worth 20K INR! I thought I hadn’t heard correctly and expressed so.. he instantly assured me that 20K was indeed what he had meant.. foreigners had paid 20K INR for that measely thing. Didn’t know which bewildered me more.. the exhorbitant price or the fact that he had actually used a foreigners ignorance to his own advantage.