There’s a small feature titled “Bizarre” that appears in The Times of India’s supplement. It’s usually a short description of a wacky incident from anywhere round the globe which leaves you in splits. For example, there was a story about a man who stole a million dollars from a bank. Made hungry by his exertions he headed straight to the nearest McDonald’s. As he stuffed burgers and French fries into his mouth, he lost track of the world around him. After swigging a bottle of Coke, he turned round to pick up the money, only to discover that he himself had been robbed! A classic example of “What goes around comes around”, wouldn’t you say?
This feature has inspired me to write about some embarrassing situations we all find ourselves in.
The first one I’m writing about has happened to me all too often when I drove my old Scooty. You’re waiting at a traffic signal. It turns green. You pull back the throttle, but instead of moving forward, your two-wheeler makes a spluttering sound and the engine turns off. There you are, stationary in the middle of a busy road, with vehicles buzzing past you and irate drivers honking their vehicles’ horns in frustration behind you. You’re desperately trying to get your vehicle to start, frenziedly trying to work out whether getting to the side of the road is a safe and doable option. The vehicles behind you skirt around you and the drivers throw you looks so venomous, you’d think you’d just done something deserving of being thrown to the lions. Those beads of perspiration that drip from your forehead…
Most college students would have bunked lectures at some point of time. You’ve gone over your schedule and your professor’s schedule. You’ve worked out the ideal time to sneak out undetected. Accordingly, you’ve placed yourself in a strategic position, such as the corner behind the stairwell. At the right opportunity you’ve climbed down the steps stealthily, checking over your shoulder to ensure that the coast is clear. You’ve reached the entrance of the building and are almost over the threshold when you come face to face with the very professor you wanted to avoid!
“No sir! Indeed I wasn’t planning to run away! It’s just that I seem to have left the key still attached to my bike. And I didn’t particularly want to leave my bag behind in the classroom…”
You may have occasionally been accosted by someone who claims to be a “long lost friend”. His face looks familiar but you just can’t remember his name, or how you got acquainted with him. Out of politeness you engage in small talk. All the while your brain is working in overdrive trying to place this person. Primary school? Std. 10 tuitions? Swimming class? Drawing class? Friend of a friend’s? Heck, who the hell is this guy?!
The trouble is that he is talking as though you were fast friends at some point of time, as though there’s no way you could have forgotten him. Yet you seriously are clueless as to his identity. Meanwhile he’s now become full-fledged nostalgic and has embarked on a series of random “Do you remember when…”s. You are nodding absentmindedly, trying to place this person based on the incidents he is mentioning. All of a sudden something he mentions triggers your memory and you feel you’ve finally solved the puzzle. So you confidently start teasing him over some silly trait he (supposedly) used to have.
It’s his turn to look clueless now. Visibly hurt he informs you that you’ve mistaken him for someone else.
“Oh… Umm… Sorry… How about you add me on Facebook…?”
If you’re forced to pay courtesy visits to extended family, you’ll be able to relate to this one. You’re at an aunt’s or great-aunt’s home. She’s already made you feel senile by exclaiming about how much you’ve grown up and how tiny you were when she met you a long time ago. You’re putting up with all her cooing and fawning over in the hope that you can make a quick getaway.
She’s trying to serve you her “signature dish” which you absolutely detest. You surreptitiously check your watch and pretend to be late for something. You tell her you’ve had lunch before you got there so would she please excuse you for not eating the “delicious speciality”? She’s bought the lie and is walking with you to the door, telling you to make sure you come round for dinner the next time. And then your stomach gives a loud traitorous rumble.
“I must have got acidity or something… Yes I’ll definitely take some Gelusil…”
Then there’s the matter of mistaken identity. You phone your friend. The call is received. You begin to gush about how you just saw your crush, which coloured shirt he was wearing, what he was doing, what you were doing, how you gazed at him and daydreamed about a life spent with him, how he suddenly looked at you and you had to quickly avert your gaze, and how you’re now on Cloud Nine. You’ve been rambling on for a good five to ten minutes before you pause for breath.
And then the person on the other end of the line says, “Umm… Actually, this is your friend’s mom speaking…”
“WHAT??!! Good Lord! How could I forget that my friend and her mom have identical voices? Why didn’t I confirm who I was speaking to?!” you scold yourself.
“Aunty… Hi! How are you? I was… I was just joking…” you blabber sheepishly.
Let’s admit it, these incidents make us turn pink – at that time with shame or humiliation, and later because we’re laughing very hard while recounting them! Many of these stories turn into anecdotes told again and again with relish! They are a good source of material to tease friends! And ultimately, they are some of the best memories one can have!
After all, what’s life without such hilariously crazy moments?!