Sold Out!! Sold Out!!

What is luck-is it chance or timing-being at the right place at the right moment-wanting the right thing-wanting it at the right time? Where were you at that moment-that millionth fraction of a second which lay between the smile and the scorn. Why did you choose A and not B – your eyes could end up being shiny, not droopy. Who, what, when ,why draws that frail line between luck and despair.

This is the biggest conundrum of life which stands before me again and again, in different forms ,in different gestures ,coming out of somebody’s mouth as “Sorry Ma’m” or as a placard hanging itself on the doors as “CLOSED”. It makes me cautious which is good, but also superstitious and sceptical, which is definitely bad. I remember one of the colossal Murphy’s laws I have heard from people - “ If you want something bad enough, chances are you won’t get it.” I don’t know who Murphy was , is , but he would have gone through a lot, to coin such laws.

I cannot trace back the provenance of bad lucks, small and big, because my observations had not graduated into a belief for a long time. Not getting a particular job maybe capability, communication skill, profile mismatch and what not but what would you call an offer made at campus placement which is revoked after a month when all the placement activity is at a complacent standstill. Yes, it happened to me- the offer could not translate to an actual job for me because of the company’s situation et al. This was probably the first axe strike that reached the sap. And I had to pedal all my limbs vigorously to keep afloat, somehow. Anyway today I am grateful that it happened – it was a marketing job offer- otherwise today I would be groping in some marketing jazz, away from the IT world, which is more cozy.

Coming to teeny-weeny things in life – how difficult can it be to get boiled eggs on the roadside in Delhi in winters – these egg-vendors mushroom up everywhere as soon as there is hint of winter with November ending – in the dark alleys with smoke-producing kerosene lamps hanging in their stalls and black soot-engulfed kerosene stove proudly holding a blacker aluminium pot in which the eggs jump and crack freely in bubbling boiling water. This is winter in Delhi- eating hot delicious eggs garnished with onion and green chillies and special masala and served in newspaper-cut square pieces which are disposable plates with no trashcans to dispose them – after all, why deprive the street dogs of the leftovers, who could be more cruel a human to let the poor animals sleep on an empty stomach. Yes, we Indians genuinely care for our animals, even if they are stray, they are well-fed.Coming back to the taste buds - is it the eggs or the water they are boiled in ,or the pot or the masala- but that taste you can never get at home – as I can firmly vouch for the tea of the dhabbas which gets its taste from the pot which is on fire,dawn to dusk - and I believe that taste comes before hygeine. The road to my apartment complex was lined by these egg-vendors on both sides. But a certain evening at a certain time when I craved for those boiled eggs, they all vanished in thin smoke and the one or two standing there had sold out- no more eggs !!I couldn’t believe it , got gloomy and what not, but hubby dismissed it saying it could happen to anyone.

On the last day of a vacation, just before catching the flight home, there was no time to grab a bite on the way so we decided to eat at the airport – so before boarding I looked at the promising Burger King-, yes a Veggie Burger could be good because I am a very selective non-vegetarian, maybe one of a kind -but only to get nearer and realize that it is closed. How can they close down on the airport in the early evening? Tired and famished I looked at the adjacent Pizza Hut proudly displaying OPEN – Well I will have the breadsticks. “Sorry , we are out of breadsticks now, it will take another 10 mins .” What can a person ,who is too hungry to protest or yell , do – I waited and coveted the chicken sandwich that hubby was eating thinking how lucky he was and he consoled –“You will get the freshest breadsticks ever.” Eventually, I got the breadsticks,devoured them greedily, and I am really sorry that my stomach asked for some more. And as I was reaching the counter to buy more, the lady turned the sign to CLOSED.

While eating at a lunch buffet in an Indian restaurant, I was eyeing the gajar-halwa from the time I entered the place .The place was jampacked and there was a queue – everyone holding the plates and cursing the one standing ahead for taking too long. Finishing the main course quickly, I stood in the queue again for the dessert - gajar-halwa but as I was just one step away, the waiter lifted the big empty container –“The halwa is over,we’re getting some kheer for dessert now.” What!! who wants kheer? I want the halwa.The waiter sensing my desperation said - “Let me look inside” and off he went. I returned to our table without taking the kheer and informed hubby that kheer was the new dessert if he wanted to have and he said- “Good, I like the kheer better.” But soon the waiter returned with a small bowl of halwa which was left in the kitchen. My happiness knew no bounds and hubby’s eyes grew wide with wonder at what was happening. I guess I might have sounded very annoyed to get the special treatment– enough to make the waiter serve the dessert at the table at the busy buffet time.

There are hundreds of such incidents which have made me a firm-believer in my bad luck and now hubby shares my opinion too. After all it is a time-tested, weathered belief. So when we go shopping or eating out he warns me –“We will see what is available, don’t form ideas beforehand what u are going to buy or eat – it maybe SOLD OUT.”

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