It was 9 pm, Tuesday, Thiruvananthapuram....
Me and my colleague were on our way to have food in a restaurant. I used to survive most nights with Chappathis and chena bought from a Chappathi corner, near my office. But that day, I want to try something different. Besides, if you are frustrated or angry, good food can do magic.
Usually, we used to stick to restaurants, nearby. But on Tuesday, we opted for one which is a bit far away.
On the way, he slowed his bike. I asked him why?
“ See, that man is following us,” he said. And he was right . He followed us half of the way and then took a detour.
I saw his prying eyes. It was annoying.
Before reaching the restaurant, in front of the secretariate, we stopped to take cash from the ATM. While returning from there, my colleague again said “ See, those men are looking at us.”
He is right.
I saw many prying eyes.
I hate it....I tell you.
For the first time in my life, I felt I was being stripped. That feeling makes you angry at the whole world.
We entered the restaurant. This time, he didn't have to tell me. I saw them - prying eyes.
“ I feel uncomfortable. We should not have come here.” I told him.
Is age catching up with me?
Am I really afraid of those prying eyes?
Or Is it just that I am being practical?
I don't know.
We were silent for a few minutes and then said almost together “ We are journalists. Shouldn't be afraid of such frivolous things.”
But we knew that both of us were upset.
I had tomato soup and veg noodles.
He had one glass of Lassi.
When we were about to leave, we saw a huge tanker carrying inflammables passing by. And then heard a screeching noise.... A youngster was riding a scooter with sparks underneath its wheels. It looked as if it would skid and would ram into the tanker transporting inflammable. We were alarmed.
For once, their prying eyes shifted to that scene. Before we could discern what was happening, an old man came along and started asking money for food.
A bit upset by the scene, my colleague thought the man was abusing us . So he said something angrily.
I asked him to shut up and said “ He was asking money to buy some food.” and took Rs 10 from my purse and gave it to him. The moment I gave him the money, the old man started howling at us. We were taken aback by his furious reaction. He started abusing us, hurled cuss words.
We were angry at the old man. But refrained from creating further scenes and left the place.
The man was drunk. I didn't know. “ That's why I told you thousand times not to give money to such people. They are lazy parasites,” he said angrily.
I said “ I would not give again.”
We didn't speak all along the way, immersed in our own thoughts.