A Lot Can Happen Over Chewing Gum

I took a bus from Bangalore city to the Ashram, which is like a half an hour ride towards the outskirts. All the seats but one were occupied, the one right next to the driver, there was a man sitting there. I went and sat next to him. The bus started to crawl, and i mean literally, alas! one of the signature bus rides of India, and as a cherry on top, the man sitting next to me reeked of booze, and not the mild smell of vodka, or a deep smell of whisky, but the smell of rotten organs due to heavy intake of pure ‘desi’ all through the day and night and whatever lies between these. He reeked booze through his nostrils, through his ears, through the pores of his skin, even his aura stunk of booze. ‘Oh my God’ I thought, ‘what have I done to go through this nasal, leading to mental trauma?’ I tried to slide the window open, but it wouldn’t, ‘its a conspiracy’ i thought, I put on my earphones and switched on some music on my phone to distract myself, but as the name says ‘earphones’, it just blocked my ears, my nostrils were still exposed to this intense smell of highly infectious local liquid that reeked through this man’s existence. ‘Am I going to die?’ ‘will I lose my consciousness?’ ‘will I go into a limbo?’ these crazy thoughts surrounded my mind and were seeping in and I almost went into a blur.

Ten minutes the bus had covered, it seemed like a lifetime full of broken promises of roses, daffodils and lavender. I wanted to ask him what he had for breakfast, but i thought that wouldn’t change the present that stunk, so, the good cultured me, dug into my bag and took out a pack of Wrigley’s spearmint gum, and offered two sticks to him. He looked at me as if I was offering him poison, i nodded my head like you do when you’re offering something to a small kid. He again gave me that look with his booze drenched eyes, but stretched his hand and took the gum from me, opened it somehow, looked at it and put it in his mouth. I popped two in my mouth too, to give him the notion that it wasn’t poison, and if it was, I would die with him, as if I wasn’t experiencing death anyways. I could see by the way he chewed that he never had chewing gum before in his entire life, I wish they would give chewing gums complimentary with ‘desi daaru’. So after chewing for some thirty seconds, he gave me a smile, his drunken eyes opened a bit more and he nodded his head in acceptance of the fresh flavor he had in his mouth for a change. He kept smiling as he chewed it, he seemed to love the taste and the elasticity of the gum, and he said something in Kannada. I told him i didn’t understand Kannada, so he said ‘bahut tasty’ and giggled again.

There was something innocent in that Wrigley’s giggle, and then I did something that I didn’t know I could, I gave him my earphones, he took them and plugged them in his ears, and in an instant he closed his eyes and went into bliss, as if Dave Matthews just whispered something in his ears, he started tapping his thighs with his hands in sync, the smile went into deep concentration, and the chewing became intense, so intense that he was drooling gum juice all over his shirt.I couldn’t help but smile,smile at the paradigm shift in my mood and in the atmosphere, and to be honest I couldn’t get that stench any more, I sniffed to confirm, but I couldn’t get that whiff of drunk air. What happened? I dont know, but I know that something happened. I looked at him again, grooving and chewing to the music with his eyes closed, and I smiled again. It started to rain, I looked outside the window and got lost in the streets getting drunk by heavenly liquid, and smiled again. The next thing I saw was the sign of the Ashram. i shook him gently, told him that I had to get down. He unplugged the earphones and gave them to me, and I gave him the pack of Wrigley’s. With a twinkle in his eyes he took it from me, and said ‘thank you’. I got down and walked into my abode listening to Dave Matthews.

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5 Responses to “A Lot Can Happen Over Chewing Gum”

  1. sumanr April 9, 2011 at 2:44 am #

    Now that post suited my vocabulary 😉 Nice read! TY!

  2. Divya April 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    zzzzuperrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrb piece of writing mannnnn!!! 😀
    zimmmmblyyyyyy awezomeee!! 😀

  3. jaideep April 12, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    🙂

  4. KP April 20, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    very nice…!!! I learn t a lot..!! funny too.. 🙂 😉

  5. vedvarun January 20, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Amazing, you are too good, I read it all in one breath…

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