The Human Race Is A Gift That Keeps On Giving

She did not pretend to be coquettish and try to lower her voice. She went for the jugular and given the empty vast space – her already loud voice reverberated.


It was a desolate late morning. Desolate because Pune weather can never make up its mind on whether it wants to be cool and breezy OR humid and sweltering.

And given it’s much like me and has an innate inability to choose a righteous path, it decided to play the fence (as always) and have the sun come out (yeah!) but still sent over nippy wintry breeze.

I went to the local mall to buy a pair of walking shoes for a new exercise plan I had no intention of keeping. Two empty stores with more sales staff than customers and who surrounded me like an eagle pouncing on a hapless sparrow, I cut out quickly and made my way to a marriage hall size food court for a cup of cutting chai that costs more than the monthly mortgage payment to a house I don’t own.

I sulked at the aimlessness of modern life and bent down to imitate a deep slurp of the personality-less milky lukewarm and over-sweetened tea that did not deserve my enthusiasm, I heard some noise. In a space that can hold over 500 people, I saw maybe 10–12 humans scattered across the 5000 square feet.

But my wandering eyes immediately nailed the spot from where the noise was coming.

She didn’t try to lower her voice!

It was a young woman on her phone having a full-on, scratch-and-watch-you-die, burn-in-hell Cersei, kind of loud snarling fight with her significant other. She did not pretend to be coquettish and try to lower her voice.

She went for the jugular and given the empty vast space – her already loud voice reverberated. I quickly abandoned the sad chai to fend for itself and sat back, relaxed, and decided to take in the glorious spectacle about to unfold.

And a spectacle it was.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

Slowly and steadily the rest of the 10 or11 folks followed my lead – two aunties quit whatever gossip they were in the midst of, one dude took off his headphone in the midst of his conversation with someone, shut the phone off, folded his hands and started to watch.

Unfortunately, the young lady was yelling in a language none of us understood. But instinctively sensing that our collective may start to fade, she very helpfully started speaking in a language we all understood. ‘Thank you!” I mouthed silently to myself.

A few minutes later – our attention was starting to flag. Since humans are never satisfied and always want more, the 10 or11 of us also wanted more.  We wanted context. We wanted to hear the other side of the argument so that we could have the full picture and then judge both of them equally.

She turned on her speaker

As I said, humanity never ceases to surprise. And neither did the young lady disappoint. She put her partner on blast AND on speaker. The next ten minutes were what utter and complete bliss is all about. This time I saw her eyes on me and I mouthed ‘Thank you’ TO HER. She acknowledged with a bright nod.

As is wont to happen – this drag-on, full-on, fight eventually ended. The young woman looked beat as hell – from life, her drunk-ass partner, and how things played out, I guess. She then looked at us 10 or 11 people expectantly.

Oh, shit, I thought! Was I supposed to talk to her and empathize and sympathize now? The dude who had turned off his phone now diligently tried to turn it on and looked at it up and down as if he was in the middle of a life-changing surgery. I flailed around in utter despair about what to do next.

Were the advice helpful?

But again – life and the universe never cease to amaze. The two neighbourhood aunties came to our collective rescue and quickly walked to her and squeezed her shoulders, sat down next to her, and probably gave her advice that was completely useless.

And I quickly got up, my abandoned tea looking at me with accusatory eyes, and made for the escalator tout suite.

I did not drink tea, nor did I buy my walking shoes. But I had the best morning in a long time.

Image source: CanvaPro

Liked this post?

Join the 100000 women at Women's Web who get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads - you can also start sharing your own ideas and experiences with thousands of other women here!


About the Author

Roopa Swaminathan - The Messy Optimist

Hi...I'm Roopa. I'm also a messy optimist! I'm an academic-cum-artist. I'm a writer, filmmaker and professor of creative writing. Academically, I've a Double Masters and a Phd read more...

25 Posts | 55,320 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories