Wai wai and the Kirana Pasal

Being inside my room all the time has made me tired. It’s not that I don’t like this place, I absolutely do. But because everything has been shut down, I do not quite know what to do outside. There probably were things to do, there always are. I could go on a walk, maybe ride my bike around the neighborhood, maybe even take pictures in between, but I did not think I had enough inspiration to be able to take good pictures or enough energy to ride a bike. I still could go and walk around.

Two options surfaced- stay in or go out. There was no use staying in. So I locked my door and went out, not knowing exactly why or for what purpose.

I started walking down the cemented galli until I reached a blacktopped road. Do I take a left or a right? Taking a left would have taken me to the main road but a right turn would mean more inner gallis, meaning less chances for cops to pop up and question me. I had already planned what to tell them beforehand- I needed to go buy vegetables. I knew that the shops were closed- I had heard that the cops were patrolling the streets a few days ago and forced all open kirana pasals to shut down, but one can always pull off an innocent face in front of the cops if they are brave and privileged enough.

As I took the left turn, a short man with an off-pink shirt walked passed me. He had an old Nokia phone on his ear. His slippers made hard slaps as he walked on, as if expressing an overbearing emotion. I overheard him say, “I do have to pay the landlord, please understand, sir. I have some obligations too!” His voice was not angry, but was rather polite. His slippers said the otherwise. I could not hear more, nor would have it been wise to poke around and hear more. We ‘met’ momentarily and then we parted our ways, like we always do everyday with strangers.

To prove to the cops that I had a purpose being out if they ever decided to appear out of a street corner and provoke me, I had carried some change in my pocket. If I was smart enough I would have carried a cloth bag too but my wits decided to stay low that day. I walked along in search of an open kirana pasal to buy some wai wai (don’t ask me why, I was deeply craving for it- maybe because of the MSG), although deep inside my heart I already knew that I would be disappointed. Wai wai has always confused me. Not for the aesthetic reason- not because it is shaped interestingly. Wai wai confuses me because it made someone a billionaire. Binod uncle and his sons do not need my money, but that day I really needed my wai wai.

The first shop appeared and it was… closed. I walked a few more seconds until a second shop appeared… closed. I sighed, turned around and started walking back to my house. A few people had mustered enough courage to go on a walk too (or maybe to walk to a hospital, who knows?). I looked at the few people who passed by me. I could not place exactly what kind of emotions their faces were portraying. I did manage to narrow them down to sadness, sorrow, grief, and pain.

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