Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My blind date on Valentine's Day

I thought I'd quickly write about what has been happening in my life lately.

Well, not much has been happening in my life lately.

~ducks~ (Pardon the silly attempt at humour, but I'm really spaced out here.)

Oh !! Except for the fact that I happened to have an impromptu blind date with a charming lady on Valentine's Day (now that I'm sure has gotten the audience attention).

Before you fall off your chairs of surprise, let me tell you that the lady in question happens to be my 87 year old, 4 feet 5 inches tall neighbour who I happened to meet on Sunday evening. From the manner in which she spoke to me, it was pretty evident that she is pretty lonely and doesn't get much to speak in front of her children who, she tells me, consider her a pest. And so, when she realized she had in me a guy who patiently kept standing at his front door listening to her stories of how Calcutta was in 1941, she decided to make the most of it.

The old lady spoke non-stop for almost 20-25 minutes and she covered a range of topics and a timeline which was mind-boggling. Knowing that I was from Calcutta, she started by telling me that she too had spent her initial years in Cal.

She narrated stories of the terrible riots that blazed through the city soon after the partition of the country in 1947 as if it were just yesterday. Later, her family set up an achaar-chutney-paapad manufacturing unit in the city. Business prospered and she settled down into the regular Indian middle-class housewife routine of caring for her family.

A couple of decades down the line, one of her sons moved to Mumbai and she came along with his family. Some years later, this old lady travelled to America to assist one of her daughters who had married and settled there and was pregnant. The old lady told me how thankful she was for having been educated by her family in an era when education for the girl-child was more the exception than the norm (is it a norm today yet or am I just looking at my country through metropolitan-tinted-glasses?). This education came in handy when she went abroad and had to communicate with citizens of a country she had never ever met earlier.

She told me she had studied Sanskrit and literature when in college around the year 1941. She said she loves learning new things and given an opportunity would love to learn German and Spanish even today. Here, the conversation (I smiled and nodded politely right throughout) took a different turn and she started discussing Hindu mythology. And no, not Ramayan or Mahabharat, which I'm so fond of. She began at the beginning of time!! She started quoting from the Vishnu Purana about how the creation of the world came about and the significance of the Holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

On my part, it began simply as an exercise in being polite. To be honest, at the start I was only wondering when she would cease so that I could go back to the Domino's which I'd ordered and was getting colder by the minute lying on the dinner table. But then, something struck. I got completely engrossed in the old lady's life-story... it was like watching a small history of India unfolding right in front of my eyes.

Anyway, so much for a Valentine's Day blind date. ~grins~

1 comment:

Shekhar said...

Got a couple of comments on my Facebook page, on which my blog appears as Notes. Putting up the comments here:

Aneesha Gulati:
reminds of mish's grandad-in-law who took a fancy to me and started telling me of his times as a freedom fighter! he also writes books (in english) but has never gotten any published... he went on to add he may put me in one of them! :)

Anna Rozario
Very sweet of u to gift her a pair of listening ears, the best gift she cud have got after a long long time.

Swastik Agrawal
shekhar: the eternal ladies man and gentleman to the core

Shekhar Ruparelia
@Motee: :D

@Anna: ~smiles~

@Swastik: Thank you hai jee. :)

Saurabh Goyal

Anand Deb
nice entry dude... u planning to write a book someday?? ;)

Shekhar Ruparelia
@Saurabh: Thank you. :)

@Anand: Ha ha. Of late, have linked my blog to my Facebook account, hence these are appearing here. Have been blogging for 4 years now at

As for the book, well, you never know. ;)