Tuesday, July 26, 2005


So the monsoon is here. Two weeks later than any other part of the country, I suppose. Yes, technically the sporadic showers started a while ago. Just not the monsoon. The stream-creating, sniffle-inducing, umbrella-requiring rains. That type of rain has just arrived in Bbsr. And I am suitably prepared.
Rubber chappals, trusty chhata, tightly braided hair. It’s amazing how unglamourous I become when there are no compulsions.
So as I made the first part of my two km trudge back to my pad, someone steps in front of me while I’m negotiating a particularly large roadside torrent.

‘Excuse me, madam? Kya aap humein thoda madad karenge?
Jee haan, bataiye,’ I offered, then realising I could be of no assistance. ‘Uh, dekhiye, main yahaan ki rehne waali nahin hoon.’ I have a fixed route with no time for detours. The area was still new to me.
Koi baat nahin, what do you think of the Women’s Reservation Bill?’ pulling out a sheet of paper.
It was already drizzling a misty haze. He could probably sense my haste- and the imminent downpour, which would leave him with no interviewees and a blank dope sheet. He was desperate. Even the girl with her pyjamas rolled up to her calves and a wet backpack would do.

So I obliged. Out came the red NDTV mike. I was asked to look at the camera. (Huh? That’s not what we were taught in college…) And then I gave a laughable soundbyte in half-Hindi, half-English. With a few monosyllables of Oriya directed at the cameraman (who was clearly annoyed that my chhata was taking up most of the frame).
I was on TV then. With my plum khadi kurti, umbrella overhead, backpack behind me, and glasses with raindrops settling on the lenses.
Dammit, on the day I skip my contacts and kajal routine, too.