Saturday, September 01, 2007

Random Conversation #1 - Ode to Saki

It was a late Friday evening. In a brightly lit room in a dimly lit part of the city, a bunch of people got together for their weekly ritual to celebrate the passing of another week. Conversations veered from topics as diverse as weather patterns and dog fighting to local politics. Sometimes it was difficult to tell them apart.

The wine was plentiful, the music mellow. Despite wearing a bored-out-of-the-skin expression, some of the guests could actually be said to be having a good time. As the night wore on and the level of blood alcohol rose in the room, so did the noise level of the party. There is something about alcohol that brings out the raconteur in even the dullest of people, while transforming others suddenly into experts on ancient Mongolian rug weaves.

Not everyone indulged in the revelry however. In the corner, on a rather comfortable looking recliner, sat a young man nursing his whiskey sour, seemingly lost in his thoughts. He had only recently moved to the city, and had been invited to the gathering by the host. "It'll be a good chance for him to get to know people in the area," the host remembered telling his wife later.

The man however showed no inclination to grow his social network, and instead focused his attention on the strip of wallpaper on the wall across from where he was sitting. It fascinated him. As far as he could see, there was no other piece of paper covering any of the other walls in the house. Why then this one strip, so conspicuously at odds with everything else. It couldn't be just for decoration; the colours were too plain and jaded for it to be considered art. It had clearly been there for some time too, as the edges had begun to fray, probably not for the first time.

He started imagining all sorts of reasons for the strip. "Perhaps it's there to conceal a shoddy self-repair job. A misaimed hammer that left a nasty little dent. Or maybe it's there to hide a secret door. A door to another room, locked away forever behind the cloak of secrecy. A door to another past. A door..., Oh hullo!"

The last two words he said out aloud, for he found himself suddenly accosted by the host of the party.

"You have been awfully quiet all evening, even by your standards"
"Well, ummm... ah"
"Yes, exactly. Now that we have that cleared up, why don't you come and join the rest of us in the lounge?"
"Ummm... No, I think I'll be fine just sitting here".
He wasn't going to give up the comfort of the recliner that easily.
"Come now, don't be such a loner"
"Oh, but I am a loner. Always have been. I'm not sure why, but I don't seem to get along well with other people. I guess for all my wit and charm, I have the emotional quotient of a grasshopper"
"Charm? You have charm? Since when did you acquire charm?"
"That is not important. The point I was trying to make was..."
"Wit, I can understand, but charm?"
"I said it was not important. What's important is to establish that I have the emotional quotient of a grasshopper"
"I'm not entirely sure about that. Some of these grasshoppers seem to be highly social insects you know. Traveling in swarms, hording food for the winter, and all that"
"Yes, but don't they also bite the heads off their children?"
"No, they don't. Those are praying mantis you are thinking of. And they don't bite heads off their children, only their mates after having sex"
"Really?"
"Yes"
"Hmmm.. Then I couldn't have been thinking of praying mantids. What kind of monster would I be going about biting heads off my mates. No, I don't think I'm a praying mantis"
"That may be so. But you sir, are no grasshopper either"

As the man reluctanty renounced the recliner to mingle with the other guests, his thoughts were still elsewhere. "Maybe the strip of wallpaper has been put up to cover up a less than flattering sketch of the host engraved on the wall by his pesky little kid".

1 Comments:

At September 12, 2007 at 12:32 PM, Blogger Vishesh Agrawal said...

Somehow it reminded me of Marvin and someone else for that matter...the eternal cribber of our times!

 

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