Plant Pluckers and Other Morning Encounters
July 9, 2009
I often go for jogs in the morning. I’m not the only one: at dawn and dusk, parks are full of strollers. We have our own Central Park in Jaipur and while the sights are forgettable, the anthropological landscape is fascinating. Here is a selection of characters I often come across.
– The Fake Runner: the fake runner usually drags his feet, hence exposing his fraud to the world. He breaks into runs only to stop 10 meters ahead of me, blatantly staring when he overtakes, or 2 meters behind me. Right behind.
– The Sari-Chappals: The slightly overweight woman wearing sari and sandals is a common fixture in the winter, not so much in the summer. She is dragged to the park by her husband, who walks faster than her, having the notable advantage of wearing sport gear.
– The Country Bumpkin Politician: You only see him when the Parliament is in session, like now, and you cannot miss him. He wears white kurta pyjamas and carries the unmistakable beaten features of village life. He chews paan while he walks. And freezes when he sees a white girl. But probably not when he sees a panther.
– The Mysterious Plant Pluckers: the first man I saw stopping to pluck an unidentified flower I thought was an original. The second one, maybe an herborist. The third time I saw an old man stopping short in his tracks to pick yet another small flower from behind a bush of bougainvillea, I thought there was something going on. But what – I haven’t the faintest idea.
– The Dick: the dick walks in flocks of similarly overweight gents wearing tight polo shirts and fancy trainers. They take the whole width of the path and do not, under any circumstance, step aside for anyone coming in the opposite direction, hence forcing you to jump in the bushes or come in contact with their revolting bodies. I jump. Their total lack of grace evokes a herd of warthogs.