Saturday, 8 June 2013

random strangers, random encounters

Some of us live for random encounters and some of us are scared of random encounters. Rajneesh lies somewhere in the middle. He loves random (happy) encounters but is scared to approach random strangers.  Its like a curse.

the lanes buzzed with people
Rajneesh admires people who can smile at others on the street, being absolutely confident or not caring at all about other person's reciprocation. He looks up to people who are able to approach random strangers in a gathering and talk to them flawlessly. Rajneesh is ok if someone introduces him to a stranger (no longer stranger eh!). So, Rajneesh is not a socially awkward person, he just lack initiative.

Anyway, this is the story of a few days from Rajneesh's life, packed with random encounters, colours and experiences.

colours of the morris dancers
It was a nice sunny day. The lanes were full of people, arms brushing against each other (sorry! pardon me! excuse me!). And why wouldn't they be, it was the weekend, the sun was out. In short it was what the british like to call 'a glorious day'. To add the cherry on the cake, 'the festival' was on. So, the lanes with  their amazing shops and cafes were not only buzzing with people but also artists, bands and dance groups. Rajneesh was walking around with his friend Chutki. They were looking for a place to grab some lunch at. As they were looking around, two old women passed by them and one said to the other, "there are too many good shops here". Rajneesh and Chutki looked at each other, "just what we were thinking". The lanes with 'too many good shops' were just mesmerising. Anyway, they grabbed some lunch and moved on. As, they reached 'the Tavern', another amazing sight greeted them. A crowd had gathered near the Tavern and several groups of Morris dancers were standing by. Several dresses, head gears, face paints, masks, feathers, colours, shapes, sizes, ages were in front of R&C. This is where they had their first encounter.

morris dancers
She was a little women with an infectious smile. Someone who you would be forced to smile back at. She was dressed in white and purple, with a tiara of flowers on her hat. There was a band running from her shoulder to waist, full of badges and buttons. Rajneesh was attracted towards them like a kid and just as a reflex action, he went up to her and asked about the band full of badges. These were badges from all the various festivals she had danced at. Collected over the last 12 years (yes she had been dancing for 12 years), the badges were in all shapes, sizes and colours. As the badge band story ended, her group was up for its performance. Well, to say the least, the next 10 minutes or so were just mesmerising. She smiled every time she passed R&C while dancing. Rajneesh took several photographs and at the end asked her to share her email so he could mail her the photos. She readily did. Thats when they found out her name, Angel.
Angel's troop
So, after the kasme-waade (of sending photographs) with Angel, R&C moved on. Through the colours and the crowd, they reached a lane that was lined by used goods sellers. This reminded Rajneesh very much of Dariyaganj in Old Delhi. Old cameras, lighters, hip flasks, paintings, photographs, books, shoes, shoe brushes. You name it and it was there. This was the spot of their second encounter.

Ms Brown
the location of Ms Brown's encounter
Walking through the sights and smells of old things R&C reached a little stall with another little woman. The stall had pictures which looked hand drawn but were printed. They were in all the sizes from post cards to wall hangings. Chutki looked at a stack of postcards with photos of dogs on them and quickly picked them up. She also grabbed a button with, guess what, another dog on it. (Does Chutki love dogs? No! No! SHE IS CRAZY ABOUT THEM!) Anyway, the hand drawn yet printed cards were highly intriguing. Drawn yet not drawn. Printed yet not printed. They had to ask. Ms Brown, as the woman called herself was an artist. She used to draw for magazines and such. Until one day, when she was heavily criticised, she broke down. From that day onwards, she lost her confidence and left drawing. After several years of banwaas (in retirement) and thinking, she decided that she no longer cared about what the world thought. She picked herself up and got back into the market. Now she draws photographs and gets them printed by a local printer. She sells her art online and at markets like this one. Now she was an artist and a business woman and a successful one at that. R&C felt proud (of her) and inspired (by her).
Ms Brown's (and now Chutki's) dogs

Devil wears 'a smile'
Feeling warmed by the sun that had once again broken through the clouds and their first two encounters, R&C moved on. In the next street near the bubble man, they had their next encounter. This wasn't a proper detailed one so I would just think of it as a half encounter. Rajneesh saw an elderly man interestingly dressed in all black with a cross hanging from his neck and a staff with a skull in his hand. Rajneesh asked the man if he could click his picture as he seemed much more interesting than the bubble man (and believe me, the bubble man was very interesting and entertaining). To Rajneesh's amazement, the man readily obliged with a smile. Be it the sun or the festival fever, the 'lane folks' were really a spirited bunch.

After these sweet and savoury random encounters, some questions remained with R&C. All these people who stayed for such brief moments in R&C's lives, are they not important? Are they to be ignored and not thought about? Were they random or life has a pattern of itself (that seems random to us)? Were they strangers or have R&C met them (or people like them) before? Would the random pattern of life bring them together again?

It is uncertain if the answers to these questions would be 'yes' or 'no'. However, what is certain is that, these people made that particular sunny saturday in the lanes magical. And the memories of one magical day sparkles throughout the life. These random encounters seem like gulaal during holi. They remain in the air for only a brief moment but leave their colours on our faces. The colours may not stay for long on the face but leave a lasting imprint on the heart.

Aren't these random encounters like those holi colours?

In the end I would just leave you with some more colours of the lanes, the vibrant, the colourful lanes with 'too many good experiences'.

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