My favourite scene from the movie Mask is where Jim claims to have an inner ear problem. I was waiting for that particular scene to come on, in spite of being junk-sick, then I was gonna go out and get some tramadol. After satiatingly watching the scene, I went to the kitchen and stole 100 rupees from my mother’s purse while she was suspiciously eyeing me from the living room. I came out of the house and started walking on the right side of the road while I encountered a homeless man dressed filthily, carrying a machingly filthy bag. He wouldn’t compromise paving way for me to walk through, so I had to duck him at the last moment.
Fifty feet afterwards, there was a crowd beside a city bus, man-handling a guy. The man had dirt smeared all over one side of his clothes as if he had jumped out of the moving bus. The conductor of the bus was holding the man by his collar and by the man’s gait, I could tell he wouldn’t pass a Romberg’s test. Little respect for the cerebellarly challenged in this world.
I finally reached the pharmacy, said, ‘tramadol capsules’ and handed the keeper 112 rupees. He gave me totally 18 capsules as three strips (10+4+4) in a unnecessarily large paper bag.
I took the strips in my hand and threw away the paper bag immediately; pooled saliva in my mouth, bringing back the mucus from the back throat as well and swallowed 3 x 50mg capsules from a 4 pill strip. I contemplated for a second and swallowed the fourth pill too, dryly, and it got stuck in my throat. I regretted using up all the money for tramadol instead of buying a water for 10 rupees.
Walking back home, desperate for a drink, I saw the homeless man again, digging up a garbage can, competing with a black dog.
I saw two ad-posters. One for ‘Suguna chicken’ and another: Preethi clinic. They’re obviously the names of the proprietors’ female relatives. I’m not sure how Suguna feels about the slaughtering of thousands of chickens in her name daily.
Preethi clinic was for hydrocele, piles and syphilis.
The walk back was exhausting and sweltering with the sun on my face. I sneezed thrice because of photic sneeze reflex.
I got home, drank water until my throat cleared and switched on Movies Now. The movie was Leap Year.
All I had to do now was to wait for the tramadol to come on.