Not eating at My Ex’s

There is a lot of dawdling around the city as restrictions get stricter. Wonder why people get restless and reckless when rules get stringent. Probably they want a better look at the city that usually hides behind the crowd and traffic. At least, that was not my intention when I wandered off one afternoon. It was simply hunger.
Even with no parlouring for two months and with a hirsute look, ‘Fro & Glow’ was not in my mind as I passed the closed salon. I got the ‘glow’ part but could not go with the ‘fro’. As I passed by, I kept thinking what special skin treatment the name meant. ‘Fro’ would otherwise mean ‘from’, an archaic English usage that was never meant for glowing skin. I need to come back to this place when the lockdown ends, I thought as I went to and fro the market place searching for an eatery.
I had to make another halt in front of ‘Lambu’ Saloon, thinking whether there is any connection with Amitabh Bachchan. Or does it only cater to tall men? Or is it just that the owner is a lanky man and Lambu is his nickname? Names can be expressive and deceptive too. I could not understand which one it was.
As the food ‘shopping’, quite a dull substitute for the real shopping that is orgasmic for most women and ennui for most men, continued my interest was uncannily piqued by a particular name, Hollywood Tailor. People here love western fashion and the name would have otherwise remained unnoticed had it not been for the lockdown emptiness. But the closed shutters on the biggest opportunity to dress up like the best in Hollywood show business crushed a part of me inside. The Michael Jackson imitation smirked at me from the wall. His posture mocked me as I realised that lockdown was not the right time for fashion.Till it is withdrawn, no California dreams baby, I made myself understand.
I quietly passed by thinking why the owner must have named his shop Hollywood. Is it because he California dreams as mine or is it that he found Bollywood too garish and out of taste? Whatever it is, I must admit that this particular tailoring master went a long way to prove his audacious talent.
After walking for kilometers I finally saw etymological fulfilment as the… wait, what? My Ex Fast Food? I see no chance of being catered to at my ex’s. My ex was never a foodie and would eat anything as long as it did not come from his ex’s (she is a chef). I had resolved to follow the idea if I needed to in the future. For the time, all I knew was that my ex would never own an eatery of any size. And instantly I felt a bout of guilt and sadness that overwhelmed my body and mind. How dearly the owner of this food centre must love the ex while I had not felt an iota of remorse while ending the journey with my then would-be ex.
I needed to sober up and get well and get going. The eatery was closed saving me some grace to walk ahead. I needed water but shops in the locality were closed and the only hope was a medicine shop. I bottled up my emotions and made a U-turn. After a few minutes’ walk, I entered the first shop I saw, Get Well Medicos. I was not surprised considering my tryst with names during my day’s journey. I definitely felt better, but whether it was the few sips of water or the psychological impact of the name, I did not know.
I had walked a long distance without much success and fatigue was overpowering my adventurous spirit. But the satisfaction of unearthing gems was soothing. In my mind, the best performer was definitely My Ex Fast Food though the contest was more or less close. For once, I thanked the lockdown.
~ NM

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