2.9.08

The tales of Jeroo: Of tea and trouble

Jeroo Dalal leaned on the railing of her little balcony, and took a exploratory sip of her tea. Satisfied at its milky sweetness, she took another, and then looked around.

None of her neighbours were out yet. No matter, there was bound to be something interesting happening on the road below.

Aha. Like that little fellow sneaking up on those two girls...and was he holding something in his hand? Yes.  A balloon? No, too small. A stone perhaps? But what was he going to do with....

oh! The silly goose! He gave her such a start, bursting that nasty little cracker so unexpectedly. No wonder the girls were chasing him; she would too if she could. Not that they stood a chance of catching him - he was always too quick. No wonder they called him Jaldiram Haldiram.

Although she really did think that was such a silly name. Always made her picture one of those snack packets running about everywhere, prancing about in shops, hiding from the grasping hands of a baniya desperate to get some money from the fat man at the counter who was drooling over the thought of gorging on what was inside them. Poor little packets. Plucked, torn apart, their innards devoured, with fingers poking into all the little crevices looking for the last morsel, and then being discarded dismissively, their shiny skins soon to be grimed over by all the effluents of the world.

Besides, it wasn't as if it was a proper nickname. And he had such a nice name too - Vikram...Vikrama...Vikramaditya. Such a solid name. You could hear the echo of centuries each time you said it. Vikramaditya. Yes, such a good, old name.

And so rare. You didn't hear too many of them anymore - names her generation had been proud to carry, because they meant something, had some history to them. Kaikhusroo, Jalaluddin, Banoo, Meherbanoo, Gerson, Marilyn, Amreesh, Pradipto. Names that had a personal history for her, all old friends and family. All gone, of course. And what was she left with? These newfangled foreign words, with as few syllables as possible. Kaia. Gaia. Laia. Miel. All Greek and Hebrew and Latin and whoknowswhich other languages. No wonder she just kept calling them baby. They probably thought she was senile. Let them - she still knew what was what.

Ah, there was that nice upstairs Mr. Narayanan (with his cup of coffee, of course). What was he pointing at though, and why was he gesturing and grinning so much? Aha! That boy was right below her window, and the girls were headed in the other direction. Well. He might have a nice name, but he had startled her.

She leaned out a little, and carefully poured half her cup of tea over him.

And as he yelped and jumped up, only to be spotted and chased again by the girls, she settled back, acknowledging Mr. Narayanan's exaggerated claps with a modest smile.

It looked like it would be a pleasant evening after all.

18 comments:

Space Bar said...

i am very partial to the name jeroo.

??! said...

Well then I must have subconsciously known that and altered the name accordingly - my first choice was Armaity.

DewdropDream said...

Jeroo is a very nice name :D And a very good piece of writing there... brought a smile on my face while at work :D

??! said...

DD:
I must admit, it's rather growing on me too. And thank you.

Shyam said...

O Brilliant and by-4-kg-less-Thin Person, you have been selected for an Award, for which please to visit my site thanking you yours sincerely :)

Mystique said...

nice. feel-good.

brinda said...

I *like* Jeroo Dalal :-) The name and the character. I wonder what she'd have turned out like if she had been called Armaity...

Cynic in Wonderland said...

very nice. i read the name and thought of rohinton mistry.
now i feel like some tea.

??! said...

Shyam:
You mean more. and I saw that.

Mystique/Cynic/Brinda:
Merci. I've been meaning to write this for so long, and I'm glad it came out well.

Brinda:
Armaity would have a nasal voice, be scrawny, and have funny teeth. At least, all the ones I've known have.

km said...

"Jeroo and the Jaldirams Haldirams" is a great name for a rockabilly band.

??! said...

Hahahaha! That is the truly the bestest thing I've heard in a while. Sooooo cool.

Shyam said...

No, I didnt mean more. You're less thin (aka heavier) by 4 kg, arent you? :)

Thanatos said...

Nice. I want some elaichi tea with bondas. And rain would be nice. Please.

DewdropDream said...

Care to pick up an award?

??! said...

Shyam:
Ah, get it now.

thanatos:
Mmmm...elaichi chai. Elaichi-and-pudina chai. Elaichi-adrak-and-pudina chai. Mmmm....

DDD:
Did, did.

the mad momma said...

i love it :D

??! said...

MM:
A rare comment. Gratifying, for that, and the compliment.

Anonymous said...

Good post, adding it to my blog now, thanks. :)