“so what”, i say to myself, “i shall convert this setback into an opportunity and go swim in the gym!”
i set out earlier than usual, in a crumpled wrap-around skirt and sleeveless top (which are inappropriate for work).
a slight snag is, last night, i left my gym things and swimsuit at the office. i have to pass the office on the way to the gym, so it’s no big detour… except that chatushringi mandir, next to my office, is a bee-hive of activity in these days of navratri leading upto dusshera.
so the usual right turn to my office lane is barricaded, meaning i have to go ahead half a kilometer and make a u-turn. and worse, i have to actually pass the gym building to get to office now. oh well.
i am expecting all of this, so none of it is too much of a big deal – yet.
i hope to nip in and out of office before anyone sees me. as i am about to slink out with the clunky gym bag, i bump into two bright and chirpy chaps. muttering about a swim, i quickly get out. i walk along senapati bapat marg, drinking in the humanity, wondering why i usually dislike crowds, and why i’m not minding them so much of late.
there’s a festive atmosphere. people from villages around pune dressed in their fineries have come to worship the goddess of chatushringi. and cops are standing around looking important in crisply ironed khaki and whites.
i longingly eye the pale lavender lotuses that are being sold out of buckets all along the roadside. goddess or not, they will make a wonderful bouquet….
the roadside is abuzz with fruit and flower and toy vendors – green and yellow guavas, children selling strings of jasmine, a woman on the pavement nursing her infant, toy helicopters which i vaguely wonder if i should buy for aditi and akash… and bizarrely comical toy hens on wheels.
some may say it’s too early in the morning for sweets… but the poisonous looking mounds of glazed pumpkin sweets, coconut barfis, and other sinful unknowns make my mouth water.
i resist the toys, the sweets, and the lotuses, and resolutely trudge on, cursing my wrap-around skirt as it flaps open with each step. yes, yes, i know, it *is* my fault for wearing that, as well as the not-quite appropriate platform heels to walk the half kilometer to the gym. a qualis takes a left turn, and i have to paste myself on another parked car to let it pass without scraping me.
as i pass a gate guarded by a bunch of smartly uniformed security guards, one of them throws the plastic wrapper of something he just popped in his mouth. unable to stop myself, i tell him “aisa mat phenko” with a smile to soften the admonition. i am pleased and surprised that without any complaint, he just picks up the wrapper!! “wow!”, i think to myself…. telling *does* help sometimes… or perhaps it was the skirt factor telling :-]
i am smiling to myself as I walk on, and without warning, lose my balance and fall down – as i step off the pavement – scraping my right knee. i know i’m falling and there’s nothing i can do to stop it. what’s worse, my cold-war enemy, the female security guard at icc towers has seen, and is solicitously enquiring about how my foot slipped, as she checks my bag… shit shit shit.
i gather my bag and what’s left of my dignity and carry on – up the lift to the top floor where my gym is – only to see a sign pasted on at the entrance: “there is no water today, sorry for the inconvenience”
aaarrrgh. i can’t believe my eyes. i ask the staff in the vain hope that the notice was not taken down from, maybe yesterday. no such luck. tail tucked, i change into work clothes and walk back the half kilometer to office.
it’s only 9:45 am, and it has not been my day so far.