Just Emkaying: TSB 7 Booth Tales

Sep 3, 2010

TSB 7 Booth Tales

Previous post in the series TSB 6 Of the Road

The Telephone booth Job was basically a distraction from turmoil. I got the job through a friend who worked as a Bus conductor in the bus that I used to take up and down from when I visited home. A year ago, I would not have dreamed of something on these lines. But life has a way of teaching you lessons in different ways.

My friend used to have this pit stop over at the petrol station, where there was a telephone booth. The guy who owned it hardly had the time to run it, as he was also riding an auto rickshaw at the time. So he was looking for help, and I was only glad to get something to do to avoid going home and having to face Murali and his musketeers. The thought had my hair stand on end, and I didn't care what the job was.

While I used to reach the booth at around 5.30 pm, I met all kind of people there. People who you ordinarily would not meet in the ordinary scheme of things. Bus Cleaners, chai walas, rowdy's, and the likes. Not that you would not meet them, but not necessarily be your pals for evening chatter or discuss life over a cuppa tea.

The booth was a source of constant chatter. People talking to husbands in foreign lands. Constables talking to girlfriends, students threatening random people, and maids making up lies to get leave from work. I met a lot of interesting characters, but the most interesting was the local rowdy that I got acquainted with. Of course I only knew he was a rowdy when he disappeared, just before I quit.

Often he'd come around with some peanuts, and hang around chatting, teasing someone or the other. He used to show me how to throw a punch, and explain why the dagger is held in a particular way. Sometimes I felt I was taking lessons in chopping vegetables from a seasoned chef. He always had the same shirt on, the same faded jeans and the back pack. A small back pack. At times he'd never turn up, and I'd never ask. He'd just turn up smiling and fooling around.

One of the things he told me, which I shall never forget was this, "I did not get to choose many things in my life, but one thing that you must never do, is to give up. Never Give up and Never hurt your parents. Life is like this only, but keep smiling as others remember you that way. Don't become like me, I did not want this. "

He sounded like a stereotypical Bollywood movie villain. Dark skinned, dark haired and a pearl white smile. I would have taken it as some random advice to a young guy, gyaan from a guy who had got it all wrong and could do nothing about it, but that was before he showed me something in his bag. A bundle of money, surgical gloves and stained clothes. I vaguely remember that face to this day. But on that day, I hadn't known I'd never see him again.


Pre Reads in the series
The Story Book 1
The Story Book 2

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