Now that neighbourhoods are empty of the normal din of a city, sounds travel easily, making your minding-his-own-business columnist a reluctant eavesdropper privy to information that would otherwise have been lost in the hum of urban cohabiting.
Shanta jhadoo-pocha na!” Mister’s voice from the background: “But that’s what I do, and cook too. Come and eat your breakfast so I can wash up.”
Socially distant walker #1: “I want to open the factory but there’s no labour any more.” Socially distant walker #2: “…then HR called and said I must take a 30 per cent cut on my package from when I joined five years back. I told her that’s peanuts, and she told me they fired Harish and are looking to prune the department further. So, I said yes.” Socially distant walker #1: “My missus is saying we should sell the factory, but who’ll buy it now?” Socially distant walker #2: “I don’t know how I’ll pay my EMIs any more — on the car, on the house, on the loan I took from my brother-in-law for the Alaskan cruise the children insisted on. Basically, I’m bankrupt.” Socially distant walker #1: “Hey, you want to buy my factory, I’ll even give you a discount, black, white, no problem, damn good location, full staff, reputation also in the market…?”
In a queue to buy provisions, two friends talking over the head of another shopper, everyone a meticulously measured six feet apart. Babita: “Just finished a Zoom
meeting, have another one after lunch, bakwas.”
Wife on phone with said Sarla: “The whole day, I pot and re-pot plants, I water them, I take them inside, put them on the staircase, wash their leaves, move them outside again — you’d think there’d be some appreciation, but kahan?