There are moments in life when you realize that you are totally out of your depth. That moment hit me just before lunch yesterday as the speaker droned on & on about random whatnots. I was just thankful no one paid any attention to the less than attentive expression on my face.
To be invited to a 3-day conference is not exactly the pinnacle of my achievements, but this one had about as much chance of seeing me in a professional avatar as the last cold one in the fridge on a summer evening. Or any evening, come to that. What sealed the programme's fate was that it was being held in Pune. To make matters worse, the venue was the National Insurance Academy in Balewadi. To be paid to go to Pune is akin to... err, dude I'm being 'paid' to go to 'Pune'. Enough said. Much joy. But, to be spending the day at the NIA is even less encouraging to the get-project-done stakes. A verdant campus even at the worst of times and February is not the worst of times. The trees provide a generous shade, the fragrance of flowers gently tells everyone to stop and smell something appropriate and the geese honking in the distance as they waddle toward the canal gives a ridiculously pleasant feel to the place. The balmy air does not help matters, constantly suggesting that one's time could be better spent resting with a book & beer under one of the aformentioned members of the flora. Or, playing cricket or somesuch sport for those inclined.
Of course, all of these thoughts were only passing in front of my eyes as I dully contemplated the chap pontificating along in a less than jolly fashion. There were some moments when my consciousness broke thru to the surface and I doodled on the pad in a laboured way. But these occasions were far and few and stopped completely once well... okay, you are going to question my sanity here but... once a dish of poha began to seductively dance right in front of me. The simple steel bowl winked at me in the dappled sunlight as the rich yellowness of the flakes was cheerfully complemented by a glinting wedge of lemon. A faint yet definite waft of fried peanuts was present. The diced onion, sev & green chillies only served to accentuate the whiteness of the coconut shavings and the whole dish steamed with a quiet nobility that people can only strive to achieve.
Like I said, I was out of my depth at the conference. But hey, I was at the NIA in Pune and the reverie was worth it.
Song for the moment: Under the boardwalk - The Drifters