I blame the cold. And the cough as well. Of course, they in turn will blame me for allowing them to visit me. But that - I think - will be silly of them. Just because I decide to have a butterscotch cornetto at 10:00 pm in the cold cold rainy night of a Saturday doesn't mean they have to come knocking at my door.
But knocked they did. Now I am a very courteous host who cannot quite say no. And so, they walked right in and decided to make themselves at home. Needless to say, that spelt a harrowing time for me.
Sunday I barely managed to keep a flood in my nose. And on Monday, I was unbearably repulsive. I could barely talk without two sniffs or more. The more I tried to pretend as if nothing was the matter, the more the matter in my nostrils made itself known.
By Monday afternoon, I was Cold Inc. I can certify that I was the official cold and cough giver. And since I hated looking like a tired mess of a man, I excused myself and decided to leave office at around 4:30 pm. A colleague dropped me midway at Wakad from where I was to take the PMPML bus no. 372 to Akurdi - where I reside these days.
Well, I crossed the road and waited, along with several dozen collegians, ladies, and grumpy, listless men, at the bus stop. Five minutes passed. A company bus teased its way down the road. Ten minutes passed. Three more went the way I was to. But my darling PMPML bus no. 372 was still playing hard to sight, forget to catch.
In the bargain, I lost patience and quite promptly, a rickshaw landed up at my feet. Of course, in Pune, you cannot just go sit in a rickshaw. You have to bargain. It's as if you are haggling for a ride home with the local kanda-batatawallah in the bazaar. So, true to that tradition, the rickshaw driver quoted an astronomical amount. I made a face and brought it down to a scandalously paltry sum. The driver shook his head. It's too far you know, he told me. I looked away - as is the norm when you are bargaining so that you indicate you are looking for another 'seller'. That’s when he quoted a price quite close to my paltry sum. And since I was all set to let my nose run the moment I could, I closed the 'deal', got into the rickshaw, and dragged my bags and umbrella alongside and blew to my heart's content as the rickshaw sped towards what was now my home.
A few minutes later, it was time to pay. So I paid the fellow and began to walk towards my apartment. And a few more minutes later, I realized I had dragged only myself and my bags out of the rickshaw.
The umbrella I had allowed to go see Pune!
To be continued...