Bitty Ruminations #31

Posted on November 20, 2010


NOV 20 – There are experiences in life too precious to be locked up in the vault, stories that need to be shared instantly and endlessly. This, gentle ladies and gentlemen, is one of them, and it began as I was ambling down the peaceful by-lanes of my seaside neighbourhood.

The salt in the breeze. The morning sun, as yet undecided about its wattage. Children clamouring for a school bus. And suddenly, a sight that left me at once appalled and amazed. A woman pressed a finger on the right side of her nose, and, before my horrified eyes, snorted and sent a pellet of mucus flying through the other nostril. It landed barely a hand’s length from my quivering feet.

But my composure collected after the lucky escape, I couldn’t help but marvel at her audaciousness – and her adroitness. It was such a clean operation. She didn’t even need to wipe her hands afterwards.

Had I been in the same situation, in the balmy open, I’d have fished around for a handkerchief, hastened to a relatively secluded corner, and coaxed out the contents of my nose in as unobtrusive a manner as possible, with least noise, keeping in mind that other easily scarred humans were scurrying about.

City life, I tell you, has this occasional way of making you reach for the nethers and checking that the nads are still there.

PS: I would have made an Arre O Sambar out of this delightful anecdote, with its plentiful punning possibilities. (Sample: How did the author of Frankenstein refer to her phlegm? “Meri Shali.” ) But I daren’t, what with Bala and Priti waiting, wings extended, to swoop down on my misdemeanours. Ah, ’tis the fate of the comic artist to go unhailed in his lifetime.

PPS: This incident reminded me of a beloved aunt. No, she wasn’t an accomplished single-nostril-snorter. But she did tell me, the dear thing, about her childhood, when children with stuffed noses used to be regaled with a version of the hit song of the day. Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu… Shaliyaa mookku shaliyaa! The entire family is like this, unfortunately.