November 12, 2008

We have a small, neighbourhood grocery store nearby that we go to for stuff we need urgently, like, for instance, a Pepsi or an ice cream.

This shop is run by two chaps and a tiny TV. As far as I know, the TV doesn’t have any role in running the shop, but Amit says the two guys are forever watching some religious nut giving moralistic lectures on this TV, and that this has addled their brains. Not wanting to slander or otherwise insult anyone, but the guys, in particular one of them, do give every appearance of having had their brains addled. In fact he/they appear distinctly dim-witted. But, I’ve been to this shop many times (urgent requirements for Pepsi and/or ice cream being quite a common occurence around here) and found that both chaps manage to run their business quite alright, even if they do need a calculator to add up 3 and 4.

Anyway, yesterday it was Amit’s turn to do the urgent requirement procurement, and when he came back, this is what he told me.

A young woman with a thin voice approached the shop and said, “Ande hain?” (Do you have eggs?)

The shopkeeper replied: “Sunday nahi hai, ande hain.” (It’s not Sunday, eggs are there.”)

Apparently the damsel was completely dumbstruck at this reply. Can’t say I blame her; if it had been me, I would have taken this to mean that the man was a certifiable lunatic and would have run screaming all the way home. What does the day of week have to do with the availability or not of eggs???

Nothing, actually. Apparently the shopkeeper thought he heard, “Sunday hai?” (Is it Sunday?)

So that’s why the egg ad on TV says (or used to say), “Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande.” (Whether it’s Sunday or Monday, eat eggs every day.)

Tennis Shyness

November 12, 2008

Last Sunday, I broke yet another small shyness barrier. I went and played tennis on our nearby courts. Alone.

Alone? How does anyone play tennis alone?

Oh, that’s easy, you play with the wall. The wall is a very faithful partner.

But the thing is, being very shy and particularly about my sporting ability, I hate to even play with Amit in a new environment. And this nearby court is not the one I play at regularly (for various complicated reasons I go to one 7 km away). If Amit were with me, he’d be coaching me, so I’d have to swallow my self-consciousness and submit to being coached. But alone, I felt, as usual, that I’d be under the microscope of any other players present.

I went at the unlikeliest of hours, at 1 p.m. when all sensible would be indoors, out of the heat, eating lunch and snoozing comfortably. But no – the courts were full! I almost came away, but then decided to try to play anyway. So I marched determinedly on to the court and requested the players occupying centre court if I could please use the wall. They agreed, and then I was stuck – having asked, I could hardly turn around and leave.

So I made up my mind that I would not think about them and worry about how good they were or about whether they were watching me or what they thought of my game or what they thought of this strange woman wandering on to court alone and playing with the wall… I decided I would put it all out of my mind and just focus on the ball and the wall.

Of course, I couldn’t. But I did manage to play regardless of all these thoughts and considerations. And, in my estimation, I played well. I don’t know what the other fellows thought of me, but what’s important is that I went alone and I did it and I enjoyed it and now I know I can do it again.

Another small victory in my battle against my shyness.

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