I had just read a collection of short stories by Khushwant Singh, and was too much inspired to buy another one of his charming descriptions of life, when I walked into Crosswords the other day. Crosswords or be it any decent book store is my favorite stop for writing, having coffee and reliving myself. I took a checkered red stool and dragged the lousy thing to the end of the Indian fiction gallery. I sat down, and started to flip through the ‘To be bought Next’ books before I actually went for the ones I had to buy that day. I got 2 of KS, side by side – ‘Burial at the sea’ and ‘The company of women’, the others seem to have been bought by others. I had read the former longtime back, and so picked up the latter. It is my habit to read at least 20% of the book before I decide to purchase it, and this habit is simply not a reflection of my money mindedness but an activity which I engulf in for the joy of witnessing things at these particular book shops. While I was reading KS with his most vivid and utmost livid encounters, a girl of about 16 came near the rack where these books are piled up. She looked at me disdainfully (yes disdainfully is what I mean) and then knocked by my long and confused stare went away to the other part of the shop. I gave pride to myself that she will not be able to understand the story anyways, unlike me. Focusing my attention back on the book, I decided to purchase it without fulfilling my 20% reader thumb rule, there was only one copy on the stack and I had no desire to go home empty handed. While I was just giving a final look to the future buys, she came again; This time with a sleeky, kinky, and the –ky adjectives guy (‘I am the Dude, and I can puke’) , the guy looked like Leonardo Dicaprio did in Man in the Iron mask(Physique wise). He was wearing jeans that couldn’t be shredded more, I believe he would have wrapped the denim around himself and asked the tailor to stich it. How the hell does the skin breathe in that THING- I thought, The Dude had spikes, no not spikes but hair resembling to ‘Kroor Singh’ one of the fascinating Villains of a famous Hindi Tele Soap in 90s(Chandrakanta), wore some shoes equipped with pencil heels ( I used to wear those as a Kid and I am still not Old) and the T-short he wore said it all ‘ F*** the Shit out’. I thought for a moment that he could not mean it literally but then who knows. He smelled of Red Bull or some higher version of it, I had to make way and so I did. He stared at the book I was reading, a long stare.
They both sat at some distance from me, on the floor, and started searching for some magazines. I do not need to mention what kind of magazines they were reading together but I couldn’t stop myself from telling them ‘You could find all this on the internet, really no need to come here all the way’. The girl replied ‘And so can you’. I was not flabbergasted, I WAS ANGRY. Khushwant Singh is known for his candid works, and wrote very openly about Life and its stages but nowhere the acclaimed books and their very close relations to life were similar to the magazine content these guys were reading.
I got up before my mouth could blurt out some more unnecessary advices to them.
The first thing I did after coming out of the shop without the book was to call my younger brother , ‘ Can you send me the snaps of your latest tees, also any recent snap of yours will be fine’.He said ‘Are you nuts, I am in the middle of a test’ and hung up.
I just stood there asking myself whether I was nuts. I had forgotten my house keys at the store and the sun was on its way reminding me of the dawn.