Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Devotee

I have written a lot about my ex roommates. There have been various experiences but one of the most unique ones was the one with my first ever roommate.
We happened to be roommates by chance than choice when we had just joined a new company as trainees. The training was to be for a month and a half and we both ended up sharing a hotel room by pure random selection I guess.

So first thing, I started talking to him in my usual Bombayya hindi and after talking to him for some 5 minutes the first word he spoke was "What?". That's when I learnt that hindi even though the national language was still beyond the understanding of a whole lot of people from Tamil Nadu.

The next few days for me were spent talking in Bombayya and then translating all of that into plain English so that my tamil speaking roommate might understand. Soon I learnt that I could tolerate a lot of south Indian music and Kamal Hassan movie flicks were about to become my favorites. After all the only thing I couldn't understand in those movies was the language, otherwise they were all the good old dance around the trees, bash the bad guys, cry with your family kind melodrama.. Not too different from the menu of a bollywood masala flick.

On the first day to office, I was still struggling to come to terms with the dreaded alarm clock, my roomie almost scared me with some mumble jumble. I discovered that he was an devout follower of religion. For an agnostic like me any sort of rituals were best avoided. However with this guy as roommate I couldn't continue ignoring them for long. The first day he was up at 5: 00 am and was performing some pooja at that unearthly hour. I was too sleepy to pay any attention and told him to wake me up when he was done.

A few more days and I depended on him more than my alarm clock to wake me up in time to catch the morning bus. Now even though the mumble jumble of his pooja's and his early morning breathing excercises etc were scary for me on the first morning, my laziness reigned supreme. Soon I would wake up only when he or my alarm clock woke me. My laziness was contagious too. Towards the last few days of our 3 weeks (it was truncated due to some organizational reasons) of training, he was skipping his morning sessions for the much wanted sleep and on an odd day I would even wake up before him.

I couldn't get to know this guy too well like some of the other roommates. After all we spent only 3 weeks of which most of the time was either spent in office or sleeping for me. Thus the only real picture I can remember of this guy is that of a devotee in a squat position offering prayers in the middle of sleepy night (5:00 am is more like midnight for me)

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