Team Alphabet Soup
“Read the previous part of the story by Ranjini here"
The young lady, as usual, locked her front door and walked down thestreet. The stray dogs, Princy & Brownie – her loyal friends - heard her gate creak open and joined their self-proclaimed master, for a short walk. Her worn out shorts, ganji tee and her camera back pack made her look like an alien in a Kochi street. She was inseparable from her camera. She believed that good shots were opportunities that came without short notice & she was ever prepared for them.
Her pierced eyebrows & heavy accessories, made the conventional Kochi crowd check her out at least twice. But it never bothered her. She knew it was unacceptable in a city like Kochi, and that was what gave her a kick out of her life. To live in a place, where her extreme behavior, gave a gastro- acid attack to the people.
Jennifer Joseph, in her late 20s, was born to a Malayali mother and American father. Her mother worked as an interpreter in a US embassy in India while her father was posted here. She was their love child. After her birth, her dad got transferred back to US and the love between the couple also took flight. She lost her mum to cancer a few years ago. Since then, she has been living in Kochi, her mother’s native. Money was never a problem in her life. Her dad, who barely visited her, ensured that Jenny got a handsome allowance. She made her way to the cigarette shop with her dogs on tow, while the men in the street gave their usual look of astonishment and disapproval. A middle aged man with a crooked, yellowing front tooth sat behind the shop counter. Without a word, he held out his hand to give her regular Marlboro Lights and the news paper. She nodded at him and as usual, lit her cigarette using the lighter hanging at the corner of the shop. She stood there for a while, taking a puff. She loved annoying the men who stared at her in the shop. She walked towards a bench on the foot path, just a few yards away. She played with her smoke rings as the stray dogs followed her obediently. As she sat on the bench with her backpack, Princy hopped by her side. She always took pride in sitting next to Jennifer while
Brownie was comfortable being near and around her legs. Jennifer took out a pack of Parle-G to feed her friends. While they munched their treat, she began flipping through the morning paper. A particular column on second sheet of the page caught her attention. She read the article intently & made a couple of calls. She threw those papers in a hurry, stubbed her cigarette and fumbled with her back-pack for a lighter and another cigarette. She needed them more when she was stressed. She lit her second cigarette and was lost in
A man in his 40’s was curiously staring at her shoulder blade. It was her tattoo. 4 lines of Sanskrit shloka, visible through her ganji tee,permanently etched on her brown skin in a black ink always caught people's attention.
"Tvad anyah paanibhyama bhaya-varado daivataganah
Tvam eka n'aivasi prakatita-var'abhityabhinaya;
Bhayat tratum datum phalam api cha vancha samadhikam
Saranye lokanam tava hi charanaveva nipunav.."
( sloka written in Devanagari on her shoulder balde)
Tattoos weren’t a rare sight on a Kochi street. But a lady sporting around a dozen tattoos, wearing heavy accessories & unusual piercings was indeed a weird sight. A Christian with a Sanskrit script as a tattoo always made her friends and those who knew she is a Christian wonder about it.
Princy, who was busy licking his private parts, sensed the man’s piercing eyes on jenny, now dog's protective instincts are alerted and started barking at him ferociously. Brownie who was taking her nap next to Jenny’s legs, joined the drill. The man, now alert & a bit scared, started walking away from them, muttering some curses in Malayalam.
Jenny, in her stern voice ordered them to stop barking. Like a loyal slave, he took his master’s command and started wagging his tail in expectation of a pat from her. Jenny got the hint and smiled at them and started rubbing their necks.
Finally she got up, flung the backpack over herself and said, “Fellas, I will be away for a while. Got some business to finish. You guys go on with your daily affairs. Be careful while crossing roads and Princy! don’t get into petty fights. Brownie! Take care of her. Love you all and see you later”
Saying so, she walked away.
Read the next chapter- Here
Read the next chapter- Here