Sounds From An Open Door

The room’s a cozy corner placed in the strangest way possible. Open the door and the world right in front you, but the room is still pulled back into the far end of the plot.

Overhead my neighbors feet thunder and scatter as he realizes he’s late for work again. A kid whines and implores this parent to look at something. I imagine he pulls at his fathers shirt as  autos ignore them. My UPS screams as if annoyed at having being woken, and the window sequels as I close it. The chair squeaks as I turn to the left and reopen it.

After a session of charging at howling vikings and dodging the metallic rings of swirling scimitars I hear curious footsteps and then a quick shuffle. I realize the door has been ajar for the enter day and the swaying branches having been singing as they always do. Lazy scooters buzz past as the housewives get a move on before the mid day sun catches them. I forget about the footsteps as the windows theme announces its shutting down.

Light dew floats by when I return that evening. My neighbors’ wife seems to be talking to someone on her balcony. Proof of her existence is always rare.  I prepare for my french viva as the neighborhood fills with the sound of cricket balls flying, stone wickets failing to stay upright, and uncles offering helpful tips. My monitor buzzes monotonously and more fights about the score ring out as more childish voices appear.

Thunder rings out but the voices don’t care. I step out and listen to the dirt between my feet and earth scrape. I wonder if there is some ancient part of us that loves to be reminded that in a world that sees so far, that dirt still scrapes lightly beneath moving feet.

Ragi mudde

I could barely smell anything and had to blow my nose every ten seconds as we walked to the place. It wasn’t far from home. “just here”, “just here” Neil kept saying. Naffah was being grumpy, upset that we kept talking about his receding hairline.

It wasn’t out fault. What would you do if the old class jock turned in a eternally exhausted, almost bald 18 year old engineering student? Naffah has an odd face that never stops smiling, so you can never tell if he’s angry just by looking at him. The waiter gave him a weird look, as he grumbled. The place smelt bad and Naffah grumbled about Neil’s’ terrible taste. Thanks to his face, we weren’t sure if he was really upset. There were a lot of people around but we found a wobbly bench and wet steel topped table before anyone else did. It was probably a house before it was tuned into a restaurant. Naffah was convinced the walls were made from mud.

Neil kept shouting to people he knew or at least claimed to know. The military hotel which lacked any signboard or name was just called ”the military hotel”. It was a small place a little away from the local temple, which meant that a crowd was always around. Thankfully we didn’t have to look at our feet and pretend not to know Neil for long. The service was fast. Naffah was convinced that this was because they were giving us yesterdays’ food. I told him to find a toothpick and jab at his Ragi mudde to make sure there weren’t lizards in there. He smiled, but Neil  insisted Naffah was annoyed.

We all ordered the same thing. My food tasted bland, maybe it was because I was sick. Neil told me to soak it in chutney, so I did. The experience improved considerably. Naffah smiled and asked me if I wanted a spoon to check for grasshoppers in the chutney. I decided grasshoppers were delicious and really should be used more often if that means food will be so cheap.

Neil started calling out to people again and Naffah tried to borrow through the table with his forehead. He got some bits of food on his head but I didn’t say a thing. He doesn’t like it when people remind him that he’s balding you see. Neil ordered another plate that took a lot longer than the first order. The place had gotten more crowded as the school nearby closed and mid day sun waned. We ate everything on Neil’s’ plate as revenge for his repeated public hollers.

Naffah got a call and left early to do engineering things and loose more hair. Neil called some of his friends over and wanted to order more food. I thought the food was kind of bland, or maybe my cold made everything bland, so I left before Neil realized I hadn’t paid for my food.