Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Last year I broke some spokes in my bicycle wheel. Trying to get them replaced, I eventually found a really good group of roadside mistris and took the bicycle to them. They started working, but in the meantime a downpour started. Leaving the bicycle with them, I ran off to the nearest shelter I could find, which happened to be a long, narrow shop in an alley called Nurer Chala.

I stood at the entrance of the shop waiting for the rain to subside, but it went on. I took a look inside. It was a paint shop of sorts. Along the long back wall, two men were preparing a signboard for painting.

I watched the rainy street with an occasional look back at the signboard. They had painted the first letter: C. Then it became a C-o. I went back to watching the street, wishing I had brought my camera. Drenched rickshaw pullers were doing their utmost to keep passengers dry. Wet dogs ran around looking for shelter. In the meantime, the signboard was now saying C-o-n, and half an f was done. A large puddle formed in front of the store. Some kids ran by, throughly enjoying the soaking. The rain picked up. I looked inside: C-o-n-f-i-d. Several elder pedestrians for their feet wet in the puddle. The sky started clearing. Then, slowly, the rain stopped. I waited for a few seconds to make sure it was real, and stepped into the street.

I took one last look at the signboard and stopped on my tracks. I groaned. They had been doing so well...

Some days ago I found the signboard at its destination:

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