17 April 2007

Grin and Bear It

Ok, this was really weird.

Those of you that know me know that I scoff at the idea of the supernatural, anything that cannot be explained by cold logic or science. So, naturally, when mum goes onto her philosophical ramblings from time to time, I naturally tend to get sarcastic.

This is two days before the deadline for the Inlaks scholarship application (I got into Oxford, by the way. MPhil Eco. Yay!) and I desperately need to gather certificates and letters as proof of my extra curricular achievements. I'm basically dying. I have to go to school in the morning to get a letter from the principal. Then I need to go to college to get one from the music society staff advisor. I need to drive back to Gurgaon and get shakesoc letterheads from Meetali. Then I need to to to dad's office to get my shakesoc letter printed. In the evening I need to pop into Sanjoy Roy's house (he owns Teamwork Films - I did a play with them once) to get a letter from him. Finally, I need to go to Aamir Raza Husain's house (two plays with him) to get a letter from him. Really tight schedule. Planned down to the last minute.

It also happens to be the day when dad has to go to Calcutta (oops.. Kolkata) for a meeting. For which I have to drop him to the airport at 5 am.

And this is what happens...

I wake up at 4 am and lie in my bead, reasoning that dad will wake me up when we need to leave. So I basically keep lying there till 7 am (by which time I'm wondering how the sun's come up before dad came to wake me up) until MUM comes to wake me up telling me that dad missed his flight cause he couldn't wake himself up. Now he's on a 9-something am flight. DAMN. Whole day thrown out of gear. Delayed by a good 2 hours. Which meant by the time I'd reach college, it would be cutting it real fine.

So I grumble about it and go to drop dad. He waits till we get to the airport, and then springs it on me. I'm to take the car for servicing and then proceed to whatever I was to proceed to. A murmur of protest is met with the usual 'YOU CAN'T DO THIS MUCH FOR YOUR FAMILY? THINK OF THE SACRIFICES WE'VE MADE FOR YOU, ETC, ETC, ETC' sermon.

So I take the car to the service station. By the time I reach there, its 9:30. And, surprise surprise, when I reach there, the guard walks up to the car window, rests both his forearms on the car, gives me a sadistic smile and says calmly 'woh to shift ho gaya. sector 14. yahan siraf denting. servicing wahan.' DAMN!

So I try to follow the guy's directions till the new service centre location, and, surprise surprise, I get lost. I roam Gurgaon, driving in every possible direction until I land up in some godforsaken place with a huge roundabout and lots of people. I finally muster up the courage to ask a rickshawwallah. I follow his directions and get lost AGAIN. I call mum and she explained the way to me. By the time I get there, its 10:30. Ma has made it there before me. Inlaks looks like a distant dream.

So we proceed to try and hand the car in for servicing. The staff behave like shit. First, its 'you don't have an appointment'. Then there's a problem with some other customer screaming his head off at the inefficiency of Toyota. Then there's some stupid f*** up because the 'D' in the car's number plate has been entered as 'B' in Toyota's records. Then there's an inordinate 15 minute wait for no rhyme or reason at all. It's 11:30. I'm getting SERIOUSLY pissed. I lose control and give it to mum.

We finally leave the service centre at 11:35 in mum's car. And we FIGHT. Why couldn't have you put this on me before? If I don't do what I have to do then my application doesn't go in. I don't even stand a chance of getting this money. Stupid traffic! Bastards! Sons of bitches!

That's when mum started. 'You know Saattvic, everything would be fine if you just smiled and didn't blow your lid.' Yeah right! Me smiling and not screaming will make the others suddenly want to go faster. Or maybe if I smiled, the others would have had a premonition and not come out of their homes at all that day just so that I could get to college in time. What rot. I continue to fight with mum, now also accusing her of being irrational.

Well, by the time I get to college, it is 12:30. The music soc staff advisor has left college. I leave the letter with his daughter. Aneesha and I chat. She also takes a few movies off my ipod. By the time I leave, it is 1 pm.

I hurry to school and find everyone leaving. I reach there just before the final bell rings. I needed to get Baveen Gupta to proof read the letter, somehow transfer it onto the school letterhead and then get it signed by the principal. I catch Baveen ma'am on her war to her bus, and I jab the letter in front of her face. She proof reads it and hands it to me just before her bus leaves. Then I hurry to the principal. She's leaving too, for an important meeting. She has a look at the letter and says 'this will look nice on the special letterhead, not the normal one.' So where do I get a special letterhead? 'Oh, Baveen ma'am has them.' But Baveen ma'am is almost home by now. 'Then do it tomorrow morning.' And out she goes in a puff. DAMN!!! Why can't she understand that all I need is certification of my extra curricular activities in school with her sign on it. Inlaks won't care if it's a special letterhead.

So I pick up mum and grab a subway sandwich for lunch. Knowing me, that's just not enough. So I feel weak and giddy for the rest of the day. Then, because there's only one car, mum drops me off at Dhaula Kuan from where I take a bus to IFFCO chowk, from where I get someone on a bike to drop me to the service station.

I go to Meetali's and pick up the letterheads. Of course, I get lost while going there, even though I've been there thrice before. I send Sanjoy an SMS reminder. Please bring letter. Promptly comes the reply. 'Sorry. Forgot. Will do tomorrow. S' DAMN!!!!!!!!

So I get to dad's office. There are three printers there. all three decide to take sanyaas when I step into the office. I get there at 5:30. I give a print command, and the printout looks like it's been used as toiletpaper. Not once, but about ten times. I get to the next printer, which just refuses to print. I go to the third printer, which refuses to be recognized by any computer. So I'm stuck. We work all three printers turn by turn, again and again. But no luck. I can see my life flash before my eyes. I'm going to die. By the time I get a decent printout, its 8pm. One of the printers has mercy on me the moment I remember what ma said and smile. It's a really tired smile of hopelessness and exasperation, but it works. I can't believe it. How cruel can fate be? You mean if I had smiled all day, everything would have turned out fine? I dunno. I decide to give it a try at Aamir's place.

I get there at 9:30 pm. Smiling. It works. I walk in, get sent straight to the computer, type out the letter, print two copies, walk up to Aamir, who promptly signs them. Then I make small talk for 10 minutes, and I'm out.

But it really didn't work out perfectly. I developed this nagging cough when I went to drop dad. Through the day it gets worse, and by the time I leave Aamir's, I have a cough, a fever, a cold and a post-nasal drip.

I'm still recovering. I haven't been to the gym in a week and I feel like an OOOOOLD man.

The next day, I smiled my way through and everything went according to plan. I even barged into a meeting that the school principal was having with the headmasters and the chairperson of the school board. I got away with the smile. She signed the papers. No one else was let in but me.

So grin and bear it, things will always turn out for the better. How? I don't know. But it happened.

1 comment: