Smaller than Life
Why a blog? Simple. Cacoethes Scribendi -- the urge to write! My literary pretensions and caprices bring me here. Like any writer I write to be read. All my posts, though fettered to my small world and trivially myopic, will live and yearn that somebody connects to them someday. Cognitive frenzies, sardonic musings, aimless banters, incoherent ramblings and trivial indulgences; this is simply an episodic narrative of my trivial world -- in a grain of sand… Smaller than Life.


When I am dead,
I hope it is said,
'His sins were scarlet,
but his books were read'.

- Hillaire Belloc

This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me, --
The simple news that Nature told
With tender majesty.

Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

- Emily Dickinson

The thoughts of our past years
          in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction

- William Wordsworth

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Does this ring a bell?

I did not believe it at first. When I heard temple bells ringing while fiddling, along with my friend, with forks, spoons and pizzas at Pizza Hut, Brigade Road, I attributed the carillon to my constantly hallucinated mind. I had suffered, in the past, from delusions of girls, delusions of cricket, delusions of directing movies; why, till date the most curious delusions I had suffered from were, perpetrated by the public, delusions of ringtones and delusions of cells! But delusions of bells... never in my life. Hence when I thought I was hearing temple bells at Pizza Hut, I was appalled at the rate at which my delusions were getting increasingly chimerical. Hence, it was a matter of no small relief to me when my gaze instantly shot back and found that there was, indeed, a bell. It, in fact, resembled quaintly a temple bell, except that it was smaller, polished, was bereft of vermillion, and was not rung only by overly pious priests with half-tonsured heads. Menfolk and womenfolk rang the bell everytime they passed by it, and everytime the bell clanged sonorously, "Thank you!" shouted voices from inside the kitchens.

The waiter placed the two huge books -- they call it menu cards here -- before us and asked us with overt courteousness if we wanted any more to eat. Ravenous as our appetite was on that day, we ordered for a second pizza which we planned to share. The waiter put on a smug grin on his face and politely clarified, "Your pizza will reach you in fourteen minutes, sirs." I asked him incredulously, "Are we to go and ring the bell as if to symbolise our protest and clamour for justice if the pizza takes longer than fourteen minutes?" The waiter's smug look rapidly segued into one of constipated apoplexy.

Later, upon more discreet enquiries to a different waiter, I came to find out that if people were satisfied with the quality of food and service, they were encouraged to ring the bell and publicly display their appreciation. I had not, in the least, expected such a literal translation of Tennyson's " Ring out the old, Ring in the new" into deed. They were trying their best to ring in changes, based on customer feedback, and they were making no bones about it.

As far as I kept an intrigued watch, two youths tolled the bell to see the girls at the nearby table giggle at the din the clangour was creating, a tot struck it to see if he could jump up to that height and strike it as hard as the elders, a lady with a pram tugged at the bell in desperation because the infant seemed more attracted to the bell than her and would only be quietened if the bell made the racket, most people trickling out struck the bell because of a collective consciousness to the bell generated down the queue; the waiters from inside religiously intoned everytime "Thank you Sirs and Ma'ams" for the Sirs, Ma'ams, kids jumping up, and babies in perambulators. Through my watch, the bell must have been tolled dozens of times, but not once did it strike me that the bell was rung as an intense gesture of appreciation.

I ate the pizza with a constantly lingering feeling of being summoned by the forces of nature to a higher calling. The weekend pizza was enjoyable to the troubled tastebuds and clouded olfactories. I was satisfied with the food and the service that night. Pizzas with ketchup definitely taste good. But pizzas with bells don't. When I left the place, fearing that I might rudely jolt other half-terrorised poor souls nibbling at pizzas, I consciously kept away from the bell.

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