surreal capital

After being velcro-ed to Grade 1 and 2 Tamil Nadu science textbooks for three days straight I needed to see the light of non-Dwarka day and adult company. Got enough vignettes to last me a week.

Outside Dilli Haat as I was paying for my prepaid auto voucher, I saw three husky cops call a cotton-candy seller into the booth. They were dulcet-voiced when they called the skinny little manin. Then they slapped him a few times and told him to go away. I just gaped at them and the police-woman who was filling the form. I saw the man walking off with the pink cotton candy sticks held high above his head and felt hysterical laughter coming on. I had a deep urge to go in and bite the cops. Maybe I was channelling Judy Bidappa's spirit.

Went to Oxford Book Store and determinedly did not browse while I waited for Zappa. (Books acquired in lthe last twenty days are as follows: Author, Author (David Lodge), The Art of Cuisine (Toulouse Lautrec) three murder mysteries, Murder Ink: The Mystery Reader's Companion, My Years with Ross (James Thurber) and a very sweet Robert Quackenbush. ) Zappa is my only classmate from Hellmouth that I still talk to. When he finally arrives at Oxford Bookstore I show him a pony-tailed boy in store who had been strutting and flexing his muscles lots. Zappa tells me confidently (reverting to our old past-time of Mallu spotting) that anyone with a pony-tail in Delhi is a Mallu. His rationale is that ever since he himself started wearing his hair long, strangers have been accosting him and calling him Thomas. Hmm.

Zappa and I walk around Connaught Place where we look for stereos with steel bodies and wooden speakers. Zappa has now moved up in the world from the days he had to sell the stereo he bought in Chor Bazaar back in Chor Bazaar to eat for a month. He is now writing for various ad agencies with double-barrelled names and says plaintively that he is looking for a job that is not creative.

Zappa wanted a denim jacket. because he thought he would freeze on the way home. He has been ill with a disease that he thinks medical science was not ready to deal with just yet. He thinks he had a close cousin of dengue. He leaned and gleamed pleasantly while I dart into a lingerie store. With a grin he told me I should either buy Agent Provacateur or buy the pure silver lingerie that he saw in Pushkar. I am never quite sure when Zappa is serious so I just grinned and got out of the shop. I was astonished though when he took me into Benetton to buy his jacket. What happened to the original No Logo boy? While he was looking for the right size I wondered what his grandparents would have thought if they had seen him in Benetton buying a denim jacket. They had given up their land in Bengal for the country and joined the Auro Ashram in Pondycherry. So while I was having these thoughts it is natural to imagine a soundtrack which goes 'Caste is Real. Caste is Real, Prime Minister.'v A minute later I was sure that even my fevered imagination could not create a protest song to create ironic ambience for a MNC shopping expedition. I asked the store clerk to show me the CD playing . When he did I goggled. The group was called Caedmon's Call and the song was Dalit Hymn. The cover had a bunch of white people on it. The store clerk told me helpfully that someone had given the CD free to the shop. I kept a straight face until I left.

Did I mention that the McDonald's at CP was on fire?


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