Waiting for a bus can be less tiresome, if one cares to look around and enjoy the simple pleasure of observing the life around. Lakshmi, myself, and another lady burdened with a lot of bags were craning our necks for the 10 am bus. As it was nowhere in sight, the lady shifted her bags and was evidently looking for something she desperately needed, which seemed to have got mixed up in one of the many bags she was carrying.
We were joined by a family of goats — mama, her two kids, and a dangerous looking wild billy. They were looking for banana peels, fallen leaves or whatever the nearest dustbin yielded. Even posters peeling off the walls of houses were being vigorously torn off and devoured.
Mama goat,with nothing particular on its mind, looked thoughtfully at the lady and cosied up to her. I don’t think the lady noticed that the goat was sniffing one of her bags, for her parrot nose was deep in another bag hunting for misplaced keys or a purse or bus pass. The goat emboldened by her impassivity, nudged against the bags. The woman made threatening noises. Unperturbed the goat got its nose firmly into one the bags. Five minutes passed and both the lady and the goat were seriously going about their respective businesses.
Finally, the lady straightened up. She mopped the sweat streaming down her face with the end of her sari, and waved to a passing friend across the street. Matching the goat’s disdain for propriety, the lady decided to look the opposite way with studied indifference. We underestimated her intelligence and athletic skills. When the goat was within kissing distance of her, still looking the other way with careful concentration, the lady landed a convincing Muhammd Ali left hook, full on the side of the goat’s face with her free hand.
So strong was the blow that for one moment I thought that the goat had a dislocated jaw. The goat stood absolutely still. It looked foolishly at a distant spot with its yellow eyes. Maybe it was seeing stars. Lakshmi and I turned our backs and laughed our heads off. When we turned round, we found that the goat and the lady staring at us: they shook a hand, a hoof on one conclusive point — that my daughter and I had pathetic manners.