After weeks of unseasonal thunder storms, winter has suddenly descended. A jerkin and socks are needed when the blankets are off in the morning. And just like my childhood days in Shillong, these days I make a dash for the balcony and soak in the sunlight for a while after getting out of bed. The evenings are shorter and badminton raquets have been brought out of the closet. And as has naturally been the norm, one expects noisy days in the sun to follow.
The households around here are inhabited by families of a different make than what I have grown up seeing. Most are couples who work in the offices nearby. Some have one or two small children. The older kids board a school bus in the morning not to be seen again before evening. The younger ones vanish within the walls, probably engrossed in television. Elderly familiy members walk around noiselessly amidst the manicured gardens and pathways and return to one of the innumberable buildings. In the quiet solitude of residential complexes, the only things that seem to have a life of their own are the water sprinklers in the garden.
Contrast this with a normal winter day from our childhood. Term examinations would be over and 2 weeks of holidays followed. After breakfast parents tried to get us to study for a while, more as a discipline than for any academic advancement. Very soon one of the kids from the neighbourhood would come knocking and that was the end of studies. The bunch of kids from the vicinity would gather and with loud squeals everyone would head to the nearest ground where people would group up for cricket, badminton, and random assorted games. If the sun got too hot, then people would gather together to play house and eventually end up with a mud pool to wallow in (don’t even ask). This would continue until lunch time when mothers (and if you are unfortunate enough then a very angry looking father) would notice the mess and start hollering from the windows or sometimes show up near the ground to drag the errant off-spring home. Since daylight hours are at a premium in eastern India during winters, after lunch most kids would be sharing time fighting off the siesta demands at home and start pinging each other. Yet again the groups would gather on some sunny terrace or ground and the loud racket would continue until the sun goes down and the chill sets in. End of a busy day.
Human1: Hey hi. Whats up with you? Did not see you all day.
Human2: Yeah.. sort of having a rough ride. Sorry, I couldn’t look you up either.
H1: Thats alright. You don’t look too good, take a break for while.
H2: Naa, I just want to finish this thing that I am working on. How is it going with you?
H1: I am good. Remember the tour I told you about? I finally managed to work out some dates for that.
H2: That is *good* news. You need to tell me more about this. Lets catch up over coffee or something later?
H1: Ahh… good that you mention. H3 and I were off to the coffee shop and I came by to ask if you wanted to come along.
H2: Umm.. don’t think I can go now.
H1: Too bad. Would you like us to get something for you? Doesn’t look like you have had any kind of food for a while.
H2: That would be great… maybe a donut, if its not too much trouble for you.
H1: No trouble at all. We’ll be back in around an hour. Hang in till then.
H2: Thanks buddy.
… and with a sound of the loud buzzer, H2 wakes up from her dream. Frack!
Is it just me or do humans follow a different conversation protocol (i.e. other than the greeting->general pleasantries->parting-greeting) these days.