“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.” – Mark Twain
Bangalore seems to attract all loons—and I don’t mean just the likes of Pramod Muthalik. Thinking back, I seem to remember a few characters with apparent bats in the belfry.
The Great Orator
My friend and I are walking in the park one evening—one of those decent parks, mind you, not the strange-characters-doing-stranger-things-behind-bushes sort. We sit a while on a bench and are in the middle of a nice conversation when The Great Orator saunters by. Getting on in age, he walks slowly. He stops short as he passes us, looks over his shoulder and hisses “And good luck to you too!” Then he carries on like nothing untoward just happened. My friend and I are dumbfounded and paralyzed with obvious confusion over what just transpired.
He then walks to another bench, sits down and flies an imaginary kite for a while. The imaginary strong breeze probably stole his fantasy kite away, so he clambers into the middle of the waterless fountain pool and proceeds to give a long speech. I have no clue what his tirade is about and I don’t stick around long enough to find out either.
The Great Orator has been spotted standing upon a cement structure that was once a traffic circle, in the thick of Bangalore traffic, delivering another of his obscure speeches. It is rather like watching a politician at a political rally on mute.
The Dark Knight
We’re standing on a pavement outside a park. A man in a white kurta with a long black coat and dark glasses sidles up and makes himself a part of our threesome. Our conversation trails off as we take in his overall unkempt appearance, prayer beads around his neck, pouch strapped around his waist and rod in his right hand, which he uses to support himself (or more?).
Two of us women move away instinctively. Our first thought is that this is a Ram Sena madman, gearing to instill traditional Indian values into us. After all, two women talking to a guy is taboo to them (and a certain boss at work, but that is another story for another day). The guy with us, who towers over everything and everybody, decides to stand his ground. The Dark Knight moves really close to him and says, “Move out of the way.”
All of us move away and keep moving, deciding to steer clear for our own safety. I am in no mood for a beating with a rod at the moment.
Moral of the stories? Stay away from Bangalore parks. The crazies appear to be crawling out of the woodwork there.