The old woman was at it again! She seemed to be fed up with the teenager’s repeated, “No grandma….”. I was busy myself, looking for an apt book that could be gifted to my friend’s daughter on her birthday. Though I had selected the book I wanted to buy, I kept on pulling out books from the shelves so that I could listen to the dialogue between the grandma and the teenager. Not that I was very inquisitive but the language they spoke [and the accent too] was exactly the same I was familiar with…the language of my native town where I was born and brought up. It is decades since I left my native town but whenever some tourists spoke that language, I used to overhear them!
On this occasion, it was at that book stall! I had selected my book but curiosity made a rare turkey cock of me! The tug of war between the old woman and the teenager came to an end when, finally the dame accepted the boom selected by the old woman. I glanced at it from a distance just to know the title of the book but the girl went to the cash counter, saying, “good earth or bad earth, I take it”.
There was a smile on the grandma’s face as she accompanied her grand-daughter to the counter where the girl’s father was waiting impatiently.
The bespectacled, lean old lady was none other than Hyma who was my classmate decades ago when we were studying in a government high school. She was a brilliant student…a rank holder..but that was all. I do not remember the rest of her life. May be she got married soon after her school days or it could be anything…but, before I could verify these facts she got into a car parked in front of the book stall. The other family members were waiting for her impatiently—she looked at me once or twice, may be because she too had the same curiosity!