An old fan on the high ceiling of an Irani café rattles and whirs.
“How’s that lady we met. She runs a food website, doesn’t she?”
Slurrp… A sip of stewed dark brown tea from a saucer.
“The one who lives in Winconsin? I think she’s fine. I haven’t seen her website in a long long time.”
A ceramic saucer lands on our table, neatly lined with pieces of Irani bread, with a generous amount of butter lathered on.
“I don’t want that. Too many calories!”
“I want to dip it in the chai. What time is the movie?”
“Hurry up with your chai, we have 20 minutes.”
“We have a lot of time, it’s only a 2 minute walk. That pao looks tempting, Mama you want a portion without the butter?”
Mama nods. Slurrrp.
“Madame ke liye ek pao bagair maska…” Dad turns to me, “You took quite sometime to get the tickets. Full hai kya?” I love the Bambaiyya burst the chai has brought about.
“Nai re. There was this couple in front of me at the counter. They were checking out the seating plans in all the three shows.”
“They didn’t know what movie to watch or what?” Mama asks innocently.
“Arre they wanted to know which show is emptiest. They took forever to get those khopche wala seats.”
I explain. Dad is laughing silently.
“It’s sad. There should be some lovers’ gardens around the city. I mean kids have parks so do the oldies. Why deprive us youngsters?”
“The Parsis had made that provision. Five gardens has seen generations of lovers hold each others’ hands,” Dad explains.
“Off late, there’s moral police everywhere. Where does one make out?” I stare in wonderment at the frankness of my question.
“True. Space is a luxury in the city. There should be a lovers’ park,” Dad agrees.
“What do people do though, if they can’t afford malls or cinemas?” he wonders.
“They just tell cabbies to drive around for a fixed amount or something,”
Dad doesn’t believe me.
“They have no choice. Think about it. It could be a newly married couple, living in a 250 sq ft house with 6 other members in their family. They can’t shell out Rs. 300 for the comfort of a theatre, so they pay a taxiwalla Rs.100 and say take me around.”
“You can’t go around much in Rs.100,”
My mother is watching us silently.
“Dad, when did you last take a taxi. 100 rupees is good enough,”
“Hehe, you seem to know a lot!” Dad’s usual attempt to tease.
“I was working on a story about lack of space for lovers! Don’t jump to conclusions…”
“You two hurry up, movie starts in 10 minutes.” Mom announces matter-of-factly.
We walk into the film.
Michael Clayton amuses us.
There is a major scene set in Winconsin and you know what’s a coincidence? The film ends with Clooney entering a cab and saying, “Give me 50 bucks worth. Just drive.”
Me and my Dad have a good laugh at how our random conversation’s strings reappear in the movie.
This is my life- mad, random and weirdly intertwined with movies.