Unlike other times, I had time on my side.
My kidneys collided and my constipation almost turned to diarrhea as I bounced on the back of a line Auto from Chumukedima to the local maximum city. That was how I reached Dimapur in the afternoon today. I checked into Acacia Hotel and had the remaining day for myself which was unusual.
It is good to be alone in a hotel room and have time at your disposal. I miss my family and would not travel if I can avoid it. But I am also glad that I could have this time of solitude. I opened the window curtain in my fourth-floor room and I saw the hustle and bustle of the street below. I like the thought of having a private space in the midst of noise and commotion. In a crowded place, I enjoy the space and moment of privacy, like a side room with a sofa seat or even momentary alone time in a restroom. To have half a day is luxury during this phase of young parenthood.
I ordered chicken fried rice, sweet corn soup, and coffee to be served in the room. I am still a social animal and it was good to have a friend come over to the room for a chat. He is a colleague in office, someone with similar family and professional backgrounds, and ideals. In the evening, I decided to go for a walk into the city without any to-buy list except a boxer and slippers in mind. Unlike other times, I had time on my side.
I saw a new balloon which I have never seen before. It was a transparent balloon with shimmering Christmas lights tied around it. The balloon is attached to a handle where the battery is located. Aha, so it is a battery-operated-Christmas-lights-balloon. As the sun set and darkness slowly swept across the horizon, the balloon sellers were happy to hog the limelight: They were the center of attraction. They were not in a hurry to go home and so were the other traders and shoppers. In the capital city Kohima, the city would have closed down except for the shops selling potato chips and mineral waters. You will not get the joke there if you are from a non-prohibition state.
I bought the stuff I came out for: Bata slippers and a Hans boxer. To buy something for my wife crossed my mind. But I hesitated and reminded myself, ‘Let me show my love for her through other gestures’. I don’t have a sense of shape, size, or color when it comes to buying clothes or anything for my wife or anybody else. When I was single, I would buy clothes and start to hate them in the evening. I am happy those days are over.
I think I made a good purchase when I bought Bata slippers. There was no discount of even one rupee. I tried but there was none. I tried harder but I could sense that my effort was futile. So, it got me thinking that these were no-nonsense slippers. If they had given me a discount, I would have suspected that they cheated me. I would go back to my room and think that I should have bargained harder. By not moving an inch, I was certain that each and every buyer bought those slippers for the same amount that I paid. That brought me a sense of justice and peace in my heart.
Why was Hans chosen over Jockey? The Jockey advertisement is more familiar and it is said to be the next best thing to naked, but I didn’t fall for it due to one reason. The waist circumferences of the two brands were the same. But the Hans had a narrower lower end which would help when wearing thin trousers over it. The Jockey with the broader lower end would result in more folding which could be visible on the outside. After having selected the brand, I paid for it without a comparative study of the prices. The narrower end was enough to clinch the winner in this case.
I saw Persimmon fruit and asked as if I don’t know anything about the fruit. I didn’t tell them that I have a Ph. D from Google university on Persimmon cultivation in Nagaland. Type ‘Persimmon cultivation in Nagaland’ and see for yourself what appears at the top of Google search. It was sold for INR 320 per kg. That is INR 120 costlier than our price. These fruits came from Himachal Pradesh. I pretended that the fruit is so foreign to me and I would like to buy one piece and see how it tastes like. So, after bargaining, I got one piece for INR 60. It tasted the same but it must be due to the long journey, I feel that ours have more zing.
If something is not on the list, I don’t buy it. My wife is the opposite. Even after queuing to pay, she keeps on looking. And after having made the payment, she will look for some more. That is the way they are wired it seems. So, obviously, that is an area where we don’t see eye to eye. But I broke my own rule on this walk. It was not clothing though. I bought a book called ‘All-Amazing Garden Secrets’ by Reader’s Digest and Frontline magazine. But the hotel room was so dim and there was no reading light. The only way to read them was to go to the bathroom where the light was bright. And I bought a hat subconsciously. It must be the consciousness that I have been rapidly losing the remaining hair in the last few months that informed my subconscious to cover the head with a hat.
I had my dinner and the day was done. There was one more thing to do. Write.
I didn’t go around the city with a superiority complex holding a pen and paper and noting all the details that I saw. But I was happy to have the distinction of being someone who had all the time for himself, even if it was just for an evening or half a day.
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