Bizarre. I always have loved the sound of the word. But this day gone by, it took on a whole new meaning.
It actually started the night before. I was at Beautyma’s place, feeling all fabulous after my 10 minute, 2 km run, something I’d managed after two years of injuries (my knees, ankles, back, have all, in turns, kept me away from the treadmill). I was feeling so virtuous, I snacked on an apple, and had salad for dinner. Then the unthinkable happened. While Beautyma and I were talking, my hand reached out for the cookie jar on the table. I ate one. Then I ate another. Soon, I’d polished off a jar-full of chocolate chip cookies. Now this was inexplicable behaviour. For one, I’m not a cookies-and-cake person. I’ve never been fond of those things. For two, chocolate chips annoy me, because they hurt my very delicate teeth. For three, I can’t stand the lingering taste of too much sweet in my mouth. For four, I have a very small appetite. Two apples is all I need to fill up my stomach for a couple of hours. And there was me, devouring those cookies like I hadn’t eaten in days!
Then came the inexplicable hunger a few hours later. I found myself raiding the fridge in the middle of the night, something I’ve almost never done.
The sugar rush, some work and a few phone calls kept me up all night. And I didn’t seem to be complaining, even though I had to be up early. It was Gizmo Geek who pointed out I had a sugar rush. I hadn’t realised it, which is also strange. Normally, when there’s something unusual up with me, I’m the first to figure out. You don’t have to point it out.
Then, there was the weirdness of the conversations. It was Pretty Poo’s birthday. I’ve known Pretty Poo since we were five. Now, Pretty Poo’s always been the giggly, coy types. It’s usually me doing the talking, as in most other cases. But it’s a little different, because Pretty Poo’s happy to let me talk while she giggles. Last night, our programming was a little off. In our 45-minute conversation, Pretty Poo did all the talking, while I sat on the bed, stumped. And all her coyness and naivette had gone flying out the window, with the year gone by. This 27-year-old Pretty Poo was another person. I do not exaggerate when I say that I was sitting there with my jaw open. We finally hung up because I couldn’t take it any more (and because Pretty Poo had a line-up of the worst one-liners ever)!
I spoke to Midnight Rambler. The conversation went by in a blur. All that I remembered (fortunately) at the end of it, was that I was to meet him and we were to go for a meeting.
I had clean forgotten I’d told Gizmo Geek I’d be calling him. Fortunately, Gizmo Geek lives by night and sleeps by day. Now, Gizmo Geek and I have always had this rather interesting relationship. We call each other once in a few months, and usually when we need a good laugh. A standard conversation lasts about two hours, and the majority of the content is “Haahaahaahaa”. That’s all we do. I never fail to make him laugh. And I never fail to make me laugh. But this 3 am conversation was different. We actually spoke. Rather, Gizmo Geek spoke. No, he wasn’t distraught. Neither was I. But we were actually ‘talking shop’.
After we hung up, I have no idea what I was doing. But by the time I slept, it was morning. I was up in 2 hours, bright and awake. Also strange, because I need my eight hours of sleep.
So far, things had been an aberration, but then the bizarre kicked in. I got an email from this chick I’d sent some stories to a month ago, saying she’d never received the stuff. I mean, it’s email, not the Indian post. How can stuff not have reached??!! Anyway, I resent it all.
Then it started to rain crazily. I must have walked a 100 m from my house, when the strap of my chappals broke. Luckily, like all smart girls, I had a spare pair in my bag. But this somehow struck me as weird, like an omen of sorts.
Anyway, I got into an auto and was on my way to the said meeting. I was making good time, but then midway, there was a massive traffic jam. As I reached closer to the source of the jam, I saw black smoke, and then flames. A car was on fire, right there, on the road. Bizarre or what!
By now, I seemed to be cutting it too fine for the meeting. Just then, the auto guy decided he didn’t want to take me any further because he wanted to have his lunch. Fine then. I had him hail me another auto, because I refused to get down in the rain and let him leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere.
I made it to the meeting before the others. As I waited, I decided it was just one of those days, and I wasn’t going to think about it.
Somewhere in the middle of the meeting, my phone battery decided to die out on me. After the meeting, Midnight Rambler was headed halfway in the same direction as me. So a colleague and I took a ride with him, got off at the said midpoint, and hopped into an auto. Ten minutes later, the colleague got a message from him, saying there had been two blasts in the city and we were to head home straight. I didn’t bother checking my phone, because there was no point. It was dead. Now this particular auto driver seemed to have a fetish for left turns. He did not quite know the way, and even though I was giving him the directions, he wanted to turn left at every point. Anyhoo, I reached home, and it struck me that I hadn’t spoken to the parents all day, and given the situation in the city, they would be panicking by now.
So I rushed to put my phone to charge. But there was no phone. I emptied out my bag, looked in the house, hoping I’d walked in and left it somewhere, but no luck. It was nowhere. By now, I was panicking. There were bombs going off in the city. I had no idea where. I didn’t know where my flatmates and other friends were. And they didn’t know where I was. There was nobody at home. And my phone! Where had I left it???
Thankfully, I’m a calm and usually logical person. I found my brother’s friend online, told him to call him and tell him and the parents that I was safe. Sent emails to my flatmates, to check on them and tell them I was fine. Mailed people to call up Midnight Rambler to check if I’d left my phone in his car. The first response said he didn’t know. I freaked out. Ten frantic minutes later, I got a response saying he had it. By then, the flatmate I call Monkey was back home. Flatmate two, the Diet Monster, was stuck at her workplace. She hasn’t come home tonight. The good friend, Midnight Rambler, put my phone to charge, and spent a major part of the evening telling my friends and family that I’m safe.
Right now, I’m tucked in bed, warm and safe. But not everybody was as lucky as me. I will not go into the politics and the humanitarianism of of what happened. Because by morning, every person on Facebook, on Twitter, in blogosphere, would’ve done that. No, I’m not trying to be different, but the humanism of it is more important to me. I’m shaken up. Which is perhaps why the cookies and the conversations seem more bizarre to me than they actually were. But what sums up the day to me was the fact that at every step of the way, there was some kind of danger or disaster lurking, and I got away without a scratch. Without my phone too, yes, but that’s quite immaterial–I’ll have it back in the morning. What’s fantastic is my choice of day to have not charged my phone completely before stepping out, and then leaving it behind in the car. The latter was an aberration too, because I’m the paranoid sort who steps out of a vehicle and then turns around to make sure my phone’s not lying on the seat.
And then, how I got lucky. When my chappal broke, I could’ve hurt myself (yes, yet again!) but didn’t, and I had a spare pair too. The car on fire was on the other side of the road. When the auto driver decided he wanted his lunch more than the money, and I was running late, a free auto pulled up right next to us at a signal. I left my phone behind, but in a friend’s car. Well, it’s not saying much, given what has actually transpired in the city today, but I’ve been lucky!