So we're watching one of the SL/India matches on the television, and some batsman or the other is closing in on a fifty (aside: ever notice how many fifties are described as “a fantastic innings under pressure”?). Let's say it is Rahul Dravid. A graphic pops up at the bottom of the screen, a poll by SMS (that's right, aren't we in the 21st). The idea is that you SMS your choice to a given number and fatten some cellphone service's bank account. “Will Dravid score half-century?” it asks, and offers you not two, but three options.
The three options are “Yes”, “No” and “Can't say”.
Hmm. I'm wondering about that “Can't say”. Just who might give some thought to whether Dravid will reach 50, decide that he cannot decide, and then actually pick up his cellphone and dispatch an SMS to that effect? I have no idea who, but the same question is followed on screen by the current voting percentages, and in this case “Can't say” actually has a “1%” against it.
At least one dude out there.
I'm sitting in one of Delhi's splendid Metro trains with a nephew, a younger schoolboy friend and my 1.5 year old little girl. She's just woken from some hours asleep on my shoulder as we browsed for books in Connaught Place, so she's smiling and frisky. Playing with me, chatting with the boys, trying to run about.
The guy sitting to my right, I sense him watching us closely, steadily. Then I glance up at the window opposite and see our reflections, confirming that he is watching ... intently, that's the word. Just as I'm beginning to find the attention a little uncomfortable, he speaks.
Aap Dilli ke to nahin hai, na? he says with a genial smile. “You're not from Delhi, are you?”
Over dinner, a friend in Delhi tells the story of her uncle and aunt, who had a young couple as tenants upstairs. One day, their maid comes up and says in wonder: Voh upar-vale kitne acchche hain! Sahib patni ko kahega, "dalimb", aur voh turant kahegi, "dalimb"! (Those people upstairs are so nice! He calls her “dalimb”, and she calls him “dalimb” back!)
Dalimb: pomegranate. Now there's a term of endearment. Just a minute pomegranate, I'll be right there!
Several fish tanks in a tortoise-shaped building at the Kanpur zoo. It's less than three years old, but the tanks are already surrounded with plenty of graffiti. And at the tank labelled “Blue and Golden Gourami”, and the one called “Sword Tail”, and “Widow Tetra”, and “Blue Parrot”, and “Red Copper Oscar” – next to each of these and plenty more, someone has pencilled in “ILU D2”. Sometimes almost in full: “I Love U D2”.
OK, so D2 isn't quite dcubed, but I'll take it. Next question, who are you?