This is how where I found myself today. Sans keys, locked outside home, with a newly-discovered tantalizingly close park throwing eager invitations out to me. Armed with a book I am supposed to review I bravely went and sat down on one of the ornate benches.
But the as the park came alive before my eyes, I couldn't peel my eyes away from the scene unfolding infront of me. Little children ran around in their characteristic Brownian motion, creating havoc wherever their tiddly feet pattered around. Harassed mothers threw furtive glances at smug mothers-in-law who crouched gossiping in little huddles.
Manicured Mother: "Honey don't wander into the bushes. Come play with Momma my poodleywooshiewoo. There there don't play in the mud and soil that frock."
Saasuma 1:"Meri bahu kehti mumma attache kahan le ja rahi ho? Maine kahan tu kaun hoti hai poochne waali? Mera ghar hai, main jo chahoon le jaoon."
Saasuma 2: "Hai re! Bahu raaj chala rahi hai! Tere ghar mein! Line mein rakh. Meri ne aaj kaha kya bana rahi hain mummyji. Ajeeb baat hai. Ab khana bhi bata ke khana padega?"
Meanwhile a nebula of smudgy toddlers are playing "ring a ring a roses". Bossy girl butts in trying to clasp any available hand to join the circle. Everyone retaliates. Snotty, wannabe-Dhoni boy sees the commotion and from far away smashes his plastic ball for a perfect shot, squarely on bossy girl's bossy arse. She runs off,"Mummy mummy, Dhoni ne mujhe maara, ball se" (fake tears make way for the entry to boohoodom). Dhoni is made to apologize, which he does in an insolent arrogant manner. I get the nascent whiffs of a Bollywood love story here.
Saasuma 3 arrives and asks me to shift. I scoot to the other edge of the bench, my book in tow. Here I meet Old Nanaji massaging his joints. He speaks to the universe in general, me in particular. "Beta don't read in this light. Aankhein phodni hain kya?" All psuedo attempts at reading were now put to rest. "So beta where do you stay? What do you do? Padh rahi ho kya? You must wear something warmer, mausam ka koi bharosa nahi hai dilli mein." Unnervered by his concern and weird fixation at looking at me top to toe, I go back into Saasuma comfort zone.
Fat ladies walked briskly around me. Boys rode cycles in the grass and were told to get lost by the aunties. Kids played, uncles were chanting the hanuman chalisa in a corner, two girls giggled past, avidly gossiping, the trees sighed sleepily, dusk was setting. The proverbial dog had not yet entered my ephemeral haven. I found myself at the risk of actually finding one of the girls in her polka-dotted frock and two bindis on her cheeks for "rouge effect" as she put it distantly cute. The missed call came. Keys were here. My book and I walked away from the laughter and gossip, bitching and sobs.
As I entered the galli, the galli stray lifted his black and white head. Seeing it was only me, the weird girl who never said anything more interesting to say than hello, he looked up at the stars as they winked in their sky of black.