Sunday, October 02, 2011

Mr. Fantastic...Totally Bombastic

We had just arrived in Rishikesh. It had been a very, very long, frustrating day of travel from Shimla. It was dark and and we had just found a guesthouse to stay in, thankfully. It was hot, even though the sun had long set, we were hungry, thirsty and exhausted. We really wanted some cold water. Conveniently located right beside our hotel was a little store. These are the kind of stores everyone buys everything at in India. No big department stores or supermarkets. Just a collection of little shops, none with doors or windows- all open air, selling everything from shampoo and razors to candy and bulk rice and spices.

'Do you have any cold water?' I asked the shopkeeper, a younger Indian man with a smiley face and big maroon oval (tikka) painted on his forehead. "Everyt'ing is possible!" he cried. Well, is it possible for me to just have a bottle of water then? I thought cynically. 'I have the best and most fantastic water in the whole city!' he reported cheerfully. He was very excited. His enthusiasm over the bottled water caught us off guard. 'Great. We'll take it!' I said, half wondering if our water was going to come with a side of ecstacy. As he reached into his fridge to get us the bottle, he started singing. "Mr Fantastic! Mr Bombastic! Mr Lovuh Lovuh.....Everyt'ing is possible" We couldn't help but smile. After such a rough day, his happiness was a wonderful relief. 'What are your names?' he asked us. Knowing where he was going, Jonathan played along and said, "You can call me Shaggy." We knew, though, that he couldn't hear our response as the incessant honking of the motorbikes and trucks on the road behind us had suddenly increased in already deafening decibel. 'My name?' he asked, without any prompting from us. 'I'm Mr. Fantastic! Mr Bombastic! Mr Lovuh Lovuh...' We laughed. He had his speech perfected. Mr Fantastic continued on his spiel of all that was fantastic and bombastic in the world. He had a lot to say. Turns out, we live on quite the fantastically bombastic planet. Our bellies were rumbling though, so we unfortunately had to move on after hearing only ten minutes or so of Mr Fantastic's bombastic ramblings. Note to Self: don't stop by for one of Mr Fantastic's "Everyt'ing-is-possible-best-super-cold-fantastic bottles of water" if you are in a hurry. 'Ok! See you later alligator! In a while crocodile!' Mr Fantastic called to us, waving goodbye wildly as we left in search of dinner.

The best part about Mr Fantastic was that he was just genuinely friendly. Every time we passed his shop he smiled wide and waved. "Everyt'ing is possible!" he would remind us. Every time. His shop was beside our hotel, on the main road. Mr Fantastic repeated his mantra a lot. Not that it is bad to be reminded that Everyt'ing is possible!

Hoping for some more bombastically cold water we went to visit Mr Fantastic a few days later. There was an older Indian man in the shop and Mr Fantastic was bent over a film camera that looked to be perhaps even older than the old man. He looked up from the camera that he was dissecting, saw us and smiled. 'His camera has a bombastic problem,' he told us grimly. We laughed, despite the probable demise of the old man's old camera. Was his camera going to live to take another snap? Well, it didn't look promising, but as Mr Fantastic would say, Everyt'ing is possible!

ps. Happy First Anniversary to the Fantastic, totally bombastic Mr and Mrs Lovuh Lovuh, Sarah and Ed!!

1 comment:

Swathish said...

Great to see you guys having a blast in India ! I think now you have travelled more that me in India :)