My posse of beloved Sri Lankans-in-India has increased in number this year. In addition to gutterflower, there's now also the pterodactyl and the pterodactyl's roommate (who's actually Mauritian, but let's not be pedantic). We meet up for the occasional festive flail, such as that of Eid, and so we decided on an Eid picnic this year! Yay.
We had bags full of Lays chips, bottles of soda, Oreos, pasta, chocolate cake and some random Indian pie that the pterodactyl found somewhere. We collected all our picnic-gear and headed to Central Park. Apparently, today - and this we found out only on arriving there - there was going to be a grand show at the Park courtesy of the Moscow Performing Arts group -- and it was free for all. Needless to say, there was a 10-mile queue lined up at the entrance of the park. We walked for a few minutes and still didn't find the end of that line. We had 2 options: 1. Stand in the queue and have our picnic AN HOUR LATER, when the pasta and the biscuits are all cold and pooey.
And 2. 'Let's jump over the fence'.
The pterodactyl is a super-cautious creature, who though is utterly eccentric (dressed up as Terry Pratchett's Death for her college costume-party), never does anything on just pure impulse. She looked at me and said NO. WAY.
Ten minutes later, I was on top of the fence. Once I got on top of it, I realized I hadn't exactly... thought it through beyond that point. So I was standing there, precariously, awkwardly, on this spikey fence of death, my legs dangling around, trying not to get impaled. People were passing by and going like 'dafuq is this?' and the pterodactyl was just... This calls for a Paint illustration.
I finally got to the other side after a few awkward minutes of almost-getting-impaled-in-the-butt. Then I was like, okay now that I'm on this side, you have no choice but to jump too. This is a common technique of persuasion (creative blackmail, if you will) I utilize in situations where the opposition refuses to comply. So ptero and her roommate managed to jump over as well, while we used my bag as a buffer between the fence-jumper's butt and the spikes of death, to prevent aforementioned almost-impaled-in-the-butt scenario. I still can't believe we convinced the pterodactyl to jump over spikes of death. She claims it was because some bald man walking by had laughed at her while she was struggling on top of the fence, pissing her off and making her want to jump over and GET THE LAST LAUGH (yes, someone has issues).
Naturally, all this was proceeded by much collective 'omg I'm such a badass' fist-pumping and such. We called gutterflower up who was running late and told her but she was like 'god, that's the scary thing that you guys said you did?!' and she did not appreciate our badassery. I was all, you had to be there, man. It was like Vlad the Impaler meets Mission Impossible.
While picnicking on the lovely grass at sunset, suddenly a stranger appeared to my right. He looked at ptero and said 'May I ask you a question, from a distance?' We were like, wut.
'May I ask you a question, from a distance?' he repeated. He was Indian, looked about in his mid to late twenties. I'd heard horror stories about flashers, so I looked away just in case.
We nodded hesitantly. Then he was all, 'Where are you guys from?' Sri Lanka. 'Oh where in Sri Lanka?' Colombo. Then he sat down. He sat down next to us, in our circle on the grass.
He started talking about how he liked to learn about new and different cultures. Asked about Sri Lankan politics. Asked what ethnicity were we a part of. Etc etc. Then he said 'I saw you guys jump over the fence' (that was 20 minutes ago, has this guy been watching us?! - Ptero was asking me with a stare). I was like 'Are you a cop? You're a witness, we're going to have to kill you'. He laughed because he thought I was joking. The fellow was well spoken and looked decent. But it was 6pm, in Central Park, Delhi (a city reputed for highest number of crimes against women in India), we were three girls - and here was this random dude who came out of nowhere and sat next to us to ask us random questions about our lives. Ptero, as I said, is very cautious, so she kept silent most of the time, casting furtive glances at me and at the pie. Her roommate was just dodging his questions ('Where in the Maldives are you from?' -- 'Oh the Maldives are so tiny, it doesn't matter where.'). I was just munching on my chips and wondering if he was a rapist.
When gutterflower sat down, I was like 'hey man, eid mubarak... this is... a random dude who just sat next to us'. She was all, uh okay. The four of us tried to talk about normal things, trying hard not to feel totally uncomfortable about the random stranger who wouldn't leave. We tried pointing out how weird it was that he had randomly come up to us, we tried creating long awkward silences to give him the hint -- but he just kept sitting there.
I check my phone. gutterflower has texted me while sitting next to me: 'WHO IS THIS GUY YOU GUYS HAVE PICKED UP.' I reply: 'DO U THINK HE'S A SECRET RAPIST?' She replies, 'HE SEEMS NICE BUT THIS IS SO STRANGE.'
After some more awkward silence, someone finally goes, 'We should probably head off to the Moscow concert over there'. And we nod and I say 'Well it was nice meeting you' to the strange dude, which is code for 'BYE!' And we ran off. Poor guy. Probably just doesn't have any friends. Or he was a secret-psychopath who was going to chloroform us after befriending us.
The Moscow Performing Arts were awesome to watch. Russian dancers, jugglers, circus people - pure entertainment. They were like those little screw-up-dolls in the music boxes, with almost battery-charged energy and flawless choreography. 'The Butterfly and the Beetle' was the most memorable performance - featuring a woman on 10-foot-tall stilts who looked like a huge butterfly with wings blowing in the wind.
Headed home then, listening to my new playlist of The Black Seeds, getting my reggae on in the subway train and making old Indian aunties give me the stink-eye. All in all, another great Eid. Eid mubarak, everybody!