"Beta yeah 84 ka bus stop kidhar hai"
A hundred people standing in queue for the bus and the dear old lady had to choose me to ask this question. My annual pilgrimage just done, I refused to open my bad karma account so soon. I studiously ignored the lady. The girl in front of me looked at me with accusing eyes. I didnt care. Why dont u answer her Miss Accusing Eyes, my eyes accused her back. The lady mesmerised by my innocent looks decided to stand next to me with hopeful eyes. I continued to ignore her. Miss Accusing Eyes could take it no more. She turned to Lady Hopeful Eyes and pointed her to the right direction. The lady seemed like she needed to hear it from me. She looked at me, waiting for my approval. I nodded. Smiling, she left.
For anyone who has read this blog for any length of time, it will come as no surprise that I absolutely suck at directions. Yet, blessed with the innocent, bhola bhala type chehra that I have, I usually get picked by absolute strangers to ask directions to places I have no clue about. On the rare occasions that I travel by train I am asked 'Aur kitne stations ke baad XXXXXX aayega beta' to which I usually respond with a blank stare hoping the lady next to me comes to my rescue before I blurt something out.
Because I suffer from the compulsive answering syndrome.
It doesn't matter if I know the way or not, it doesn't matter if I have never travelled by the Central line before, it doesn't matter if I know whether the dish is vegetarian or not, if I am asked a question, I have to answer it. All the annual pilgrimage trips that my mom plans for me have to do with my compulsive answering problem. She thinks I annually accrue a lifetime worth of bad karma by making staunch veggies eat non vegetarian fare and on other occasions sending people off in directions completely opposite to the one they are supposed to take.
Like yesterday, when a guy asked me which way Malad station was. Being new to the area, I had absolutely no clue. And yet, I pointed him to a completely random direction whilst my mom looked on in horror. An earful of "Why cant you just say I dont know" and " Parmeshwara, when will this girl learn" later, I ran towards the way I pointed, found the guy and pointed him in the correct direction.
Or like at my friend Fari's wedding. Just as I was about to taste a starter, a totally random lady comes up to me and asks me "Beta, yeah veg hai kya?" I quickly take a mouthful and blink at her while chewing slowly hoping she gets disgusted and scoots off. No. She doesn't. She finds it fascinating and decides to wait till I finish eating.
2 mouthfuls of the starter and 5 thoughtful minutes later, I come to the conclusion that it indeed is vegetarian dish made of paneer. I confidently nod and decide to move around and try out something else. 3 starters and a couple of main courses later I realize that in addition to directional dyslexia and the compulsive answering syndrome, I also suffer from pannerchickitisis ie the inability to differentiate between paneer and chicken.
After misguiding 3 strangers this week and turning 5 staunch veggies into non vegetarians @ Fari's wedding (who comes to a Muslim wedding hoping to eat vegetarian khana anywayz), I have decided that I need another quick pilgrimage before the year ends :(
You now know what I am doing this New Year's eve :(