Hungry eyes

A darshini in J.P.Nagar. Friday Evening. Around 8.30.

It was a long, tiring day. No mood to cook and no patience to wait at restaurants waiting for food. “Dinner at a darshini?”, asks my husband. Sounds good.

We ordered dinner, as in we paid for it and collected it from the counter. A young man is relishing his noodles. A couple is busy stuffing the kid with idli. The road is almost deserted - 9 is late in Bangalore. An empty table at the far end, almost touching the road. That will do.

As I am gulping down my meal, my eyes lock with another pair of hungry eyes. I look away embarrassed. The other pair continues to stare alternately at me and my plate. A tug at my heart, a wrench in my stomach and my mind made up itself to face the situation.

I walk up to the owner of those hungry eyes.

“What’s your name?”


“Do you know Kannada?”

He shakes his head.


Shakes again.

“Which language?”


“Kya khaoge?”

No answer. I can see he is embarassed, ashamed.

“Idli khaoge?”

His eyes light up. He is almost inaudible. “Bhel Puri.”

“Idhar hi ruko.”

After five minutes, the darshini-wala calls out, “One plate bhel puri.”

I look around to spot the eyes. They are no where to be seen.

Darshini-wala says, “Is this for that boy?”

I nod.

He and his colleagues start searching for that boy. He is hiding behind a car. They call him. He shakes his head.

One guy shows the parceled bhel puri to the boy. “This is for you”, he says.

The boy is still not sure. Reluctantly he comes to collect it. He collects the parcel, and walks out, not even once looking at me.

Darshini-wala says, “He comes here everyday. Some four-five times. He will come back again after some time.”

I ask myself, “Did I do the right thing?”

The Secret Life of Bees: Sue Monk Kidd

The review is here.

The English Patient: Michael Ondaatje

The review is here.

Why do we support the weaker one?

Watching Australian Open last month was fun, to say the least. We saw a lot of upsets. Federer challenged by Tipsarevic in round 3, the defending champion Serena Williams thrown out in quarter finals, the World No.1 Federer and No. 2 Nadal failing to reach the finals - this was one nail biting tournament.

I watched the semi-finals between Djokovic and Federer and then the finals between Djokovic and Tsonga. Amazing matches, both of them. In the semi-finals, the crowd was cheering for Djokovic. There were many Federer fans present, no doubt, but Djokovic fans were more vocal in their support.

Cut to the finals match and the exact opposite happened. People were cheering for Tsonga. Djokovic fans were unusually quiet. Djokovic showed his disappointment about this in his acceptance speech.

The match was not about Serbia vs. Switzerland or Serbia vs. France. This was about strong vs. week. The crowd was not cheering for the country the player represented but the quality he represented. In both the matches, the crowd wanted the weaker player to win.

Why are we humans like this? Why do we want the weaker player to win? Is it because we want to boost his confidence or empower him? Even if either person wins, the crowd doesn’t really gain anything. What do we gain by supporting the weaker player? To feel good that we didn’t support the obvious winner but supported the less obvious one and hence did a good deed? Or is it just because we want to see an upset and hence a hot news to talk about? What is the intention behind this loyalty shift?

Why only the crowd, even I wished the same. My loyalty towards Djokovic suddenly shifted in the finals and I was hoping Tsonga wins. If I ask myself why, I am not happy with the answer I get. I want the weaker player to win because this will create a new sensation and breaking news and I have something to talk about. I want to discuss/gossip about how the champion was defeated and that gives me some wild pleasure. Strange!

What’s your reason? Why do you support the weaker player?

An article on Jasper Fforde

If you haven’t read Jasper Fforde yet, then I urge you to do so. And so does Pradeep Sebastian in his article which appeared in Hindu this Sunday.

On Chesil Beach: Ian McEwan.

Review is here.