Today was no extraordinary day. Like any other, I awoke from a bizarre dream, got ready for work with loud music playing (Somehow lets me keep a check on the time), gulped down breakfast, stormed out of the house. No revolutionary thoughts. No qualms.
I got to work quite mirthful. I had to work on content that had to be written using a black gel pen only. I quickly rummaged one out of my Hermione’s Bag (As my dear friend calls it due to its colossal appearance) Luck has always considered me to be its foe and today was no exception. I could barely complete the first word when my ailing gel pen demanded a commemoration. I looked all over the workplace trying to find a new one to continue and simultaneously chuckled, mindful of the fact that I would not find one.
Why would I? Misfortune and I are inseparable. Work could not be delayed (further).
I stormed out of the tiny gate of my workplace in search of a stationery arsenal.
I had anticipated the forthcoming annoyances. One frivolous gel pen made me walk almost 2 miles in search of it. The first stationery I found was closed at 10:30 a.m. Its competitor, just inches away was no reservoir of black gel pens. Nevertheless, I was enlightened about the myriad new pens in the market and how their “features” were better. I politely thanked the proficient storekeeper and walked in search of another store. The third and fourth were sardonically shut. I guessed it was a unanimous strike. The fifth one seemed the biggest and most promising to end my peregrination. To my surprise, the storekeeper impatiently began his hunt for the pen before I could finish telling him what I had come for. He looked through many shelves and drawers and told me that he did not have a black one. My irritable question, “Not even a Cello?!” He said, “Oh! I have something similar but it costs 30 rupees. Will that do?” I gave him a funny expression and said “YES”. I found the question to be inappropriately amusing. He handed me the pen, I thanked him and started walking back to my workplace.
As I was walking back it suddenly dawned on me. It had been eons since I had gone to a small-scale stationery. There was no need to when you got satisfactory service at a large bookstore. Likewise, I guessed it had been eons since a small-scaled storekeeper sold something the great giants also proudly sold. Bangalore is no longer a small town. Urbanization has altered life. Urbanization made the small-scale industry proficient and our tastes “refined”. It is embarrassing for us to drink piping hot, authentic coffee from a small shack at the corner of the road. We now prefer a cold, stale concoction of coffee served with pretentious portions of food at “reputed and cool” coffee hubs. These supposedly cool coffee hubs are so loud with their “cool” music that we are barely audible. After having tried hard at miming the conversation, you give up ,sip your coffee in silence and even enjoy paying an unreasonable amount for an uncommunicative cuppa coffee.
Ever wondered about the last time you bought a ttk map of Africa at 10 p.m. for a school project? The last time you had onion bajji at the corner store? The last time you took the bus? The last time you relished an ice gola? The golas are not easily accessible anymore due to compelled urbane culture. Is this the town we grew up in? Since when did the small joys of life get overshadowed by urbanity? Since when did money become a synonym of happiness? No wonder the fifth storekeeper asked me if spending 30 rupees on a gel pen was okay with me. He thought that amount could only be a prospective tip for a cheque in hundreds at a coffee hub. One frivolous gel pen made me realize there is a lost town waiting to be discovered in every cosmopolitan city. The town of our childhood that brings back fond memories of happiness being fresh gooseberries from the vendor. Let us relive the simplicity all over again. I wish we discover the lost town and keep it alive amidst all the urbanization.