The monk sold his Ferrari cause the roads in India are bad. I don’t have a Ferrari because the roads in India are bad. Therefore the monk and I don’t drive a Ferrari because the roads in India are bad.
Point is the roads are just bad and a Ferrari needs speed for its longevity. That is the only reason the monk sold his and I don’t have one.
I started working for twistntales in the summer of 2007 in the month of March. I had called this lady up sometime in January after seeing an ad for an opening for a full time slot in a bookstore. We spoke briefly and I had forgotten about the fact that I had to get back to her in due time for my confirmation. She called back one day I believe and asked me if I could come in for an interview along with my resume. I said yes…don’t remember the date though. It was sometime right before or after lunch hour for the store. The interview went off on a more serious direction in my case. Something the least of what most people today would have expected or more people before would have either. I cracked no jokes, did not digress, appeared completely ‘normal’ in comparison to what I am now…some might say it was tnt that shook me and blasted me into a thin crusted crazy thing. It didn’t take long before I learnt a more articulate way of telling those ‘some people off to run along with their own madness and not mine.
So this lady, whom we call Boss, or Big J, or the wicked witch, or so on and so forth, looked at my resume and shot off questioning everything that was on it. I did not really have any previous actual work experience of this sort. My resume just showed all the work I had been doing with dad or for him from grape jumping to fermenting them, bottling, tasting, eating cheese, and a list of other stuff. No outside employers. It also had a range of hobbies, my mental health conference scenes, volunteering acts, etc. Then the question that sort of took a breath away or a couple from me was when she asked about my present education. I was pursuing my second year of Masters in Clinical Psychology. I told her I took a break for a while to focus on separate issues as the study itself can drive one crazy…in my case I was already a mistress to the very field (which of cause she did not know). I mean people don’t just go about walking into job interviews and telling their to-be employer that ‘yea I am what people have thrown stones at or called a curse…aka I have a mental illness it is called ‘scc……’ well something I can’t pronounce or spell.
Interview over. She said she will call me again and that I should give much thought to it before making that step and committing to it. Somewhere I felt she probably sensed something not in its place, apart from her hoping that I do not completely drop off from my education and get hooked to tnt.
I returned for the second round, this time it was in the evening and there were no lights in the city that evening. 7.30pm she said.
End of scene 1.
I was employed. I was actually ‘employed’ in its truest sense. I have had many ‘work’ or jobs even as a kid. I remember starting something in school called name cards with pictures, something like a very short bio data printed onto cards as small as business cards but with groovy pictures or backgrounds and quotes. I had to stop, because apparently my dad got a call from my teacher saying ‘your daughter is doing business in school’ and the rest of the kids are getting distracted by it. I was in 5th grade, the year 1990…when my younger sister was born. I was not grounded though cause’ dad certainly boasted about it to the rest of the South Indian business clan. So that was my first experience of work and earning bucks to collect all the first season copy of Archies’ comics. And this is probably what is called childhood regression which got me choosing to work in a bookstore.
But that’s not the complete picture yet.
I think I also chose this ‘odd’ job because deep within I lacked the confidence I had. I had no other work experience. I didn’t know what would happen in the context of my health issues. I was afraid of an outside world which was always shut to me. I could have applied for any other work. Some people remarked ‘Are you crazy? You dropped out of your masters to work in a bookstore?
Yes, in fact I was more than just crazy…I have the legal rights to be crazy in its every sense.
There were a lot of people, ALOT who were against me for
B. In a bookstore
Going to work was waking up to the song ‘It’s a brand new day by Sting’ while returning was to listen to many comments and pressure of stopping work. I never wanted to leave that place. TNT was this separate world all together. My biggest challenge: to work with people and relate to strangers when deep inside only I knew the fear of being an anti-social and having not been outside 4 walls for a very long time. I was 27 and this was my very first job. My very first actual cheque for the first time in my life and I somehow turned out to be the only person happy for myself during those months and probably just my older sister cause she had to back me up at all times during ‘off work’ days when people would say nasty things about me working and trying to stand up on my feet. It hurt a lot especially when some of them were family members.
TNT became just as school did to me. An ‘escape’…and that perhaps is the very reason I did not stay as long as I had committed to on paper as my health issues were worsening by constantly fighting simultaneous worlds. One called home. Second was outside home. Third was my own. And forth was tnt. However, tnt was the only world that comforted mine.
End of Scene 2.
Work days kept me on my toes doing a range of multi-tasking things which certainly didn’t bore me. I guess my hyperactivity paid off constructively. Some days when there were hardly just one or two customers in at any given time, I would lean back on the chair, focusing on work but yet ‘keeping an eye’ out. Sometimes I would catch myself observing every move and analysing their minute body language that I would hit myself with the ‘STOP GLARING’ button. Then other times when there was no work or customers around, or I was just catching a break, I would find myself recreating this entire scene in my head and there is a whole slow motion replay of my interaction with a customer. It was like watching myself on a recorded video. It was fun. Sort of like when you are rehearsing yourself over and over again for a character role you have to act out for some weird twisted inter-galactic classic fantasy tale.
Thus, that certainly did me good. Not only did I get comfortable shaking hands with ‘people’, I was confident about my approach, my fear wore off and I could find myself relating to others…something which had long disappeared. Now that’s what one will never learn in a support group or rehab.
There again, TNT became my therapist. It probably owed to the fact that it was another room, surrounded by four walls, with many many many books, just like my room. But my room was closed to others. This room was not mine to begin with but it welcomed strangers with a smile, it asked them how they are, it allowed them to be in a single space yet not be intruding.
Perhaps, I had chosen this particular ‘job’ subconsciously because it did mimic the one I had lived in for 5 years…where I spent almost every day and night reading all the books I had. I had no friends. Just my folks and my younger sister. My dog had to be given away. My only ‘real’ friends turned out to be my books.
TNT granted me that space to try something new. To be able to share these friends along with others and knowing they have the same friend as I do made me realize many things in detail about human connection. I had to be constantly observing myself. Never too much or too little as I could not scare them off. But perhaps all those years of reading was now put to good use. It gave me the strength to communicate and talk to people from different walks of life or interest. And TNT no doubt was that karmic place. Like those mysterious little antique shops you see in movies…where you don’t really know what lies inside and you never really know what you are going to come out with. Alright, in short TWISTNTALES was meant to be its name because it just had that CHARM with no HARM! (unlike those mysterious little antique shops you see in movies eh)
There was a tale to almost everything in this little neighbourhood bookstore. Not to mention some really twisted jokes, hair-dos, constant hugs, employees and well yea even customers. Most importantly, the main lead, or the LADY behind it all reminded me of a nun from Sister Act. She just had this patience and compassion like a nun, but I definitely swear that beneath that invisible sister ’hood’ that she wore was this lady laughing and smirking away at everybody’s nonsense and sometimes even adding her own so subtlety that no one would realize she said the most craziest thing on earth! I hold my belief or delusion that she has multiple personalities, therefore every single one that she employed was very different. She probably got a good chance at living herself out through us! 🙂
Well at least, I did not see that coming! I do not know about the rest. You got to ask them.
End of Scene 3.
I left in a very short duration of time. I disappeared for a while, returned, disappeared again, returned. Then left. Showed up now and then to help around when needed. But left. I did not work there anymore but always turned out to be my first stop after a long hibernation period. Though there are always many roads we could take in life, at tnt I learnt there were many different ways of taking many different roads to get there. I remember walking it, cycling it, running it, taking a bus, hitching a ride, driving it, sleeping in the car the whole night waiting for it to open the next morning…well this one nearly got me crucified. I certainly advise no one to ever do it but if you must then do try it under supervision and permission. I didn’t get to try paragliding it, or flying it, or the other spatial rides.
End of Scene 4.
Boss had asked me to paint the shutter and I never did…for 3 years. She, knowing me well enough, called me up and said ‘You just have to come and do it as we need it for the 10th anniversary’. (something that sounded like that)
It was again the month of March. (must be something to do with that month!)
So well, I showed up to talk about what she would want how I could do it, yada yada art gibberish stuff. She insisted on paying me for it though I said it could just be for the materials. But well, she knew that I am part of the typical struggling artist syndrome. I accepted her payment nonetheless. There it was another ‘cheque’ from The TNT! It felt different since I was not working as an employee there. I was painting the shutter. I swear I was dying to have some people show up and pass on nasty comments about how crazy I am again to be painting a shop shutter! When strangers do it, it makes no difference…though I love it when someone who knows me has something intelligent and wise to tell me, on how I should find something constructive in life instead of painting shop shutters.
The first drop of paint smeared right on the shutter. It was after the store closed. Malhar was there to keep me company and also help paint it along with the cupboard. Not to forget he had to drop me back home by midnight as boss didn’t want us to stay longer than that unless she or Barneyman was around. Looks like I got a better deal than Cinderalla! She was inside the store in some book while I was outside it, a very not ‘Cinderalla’ kind person. See…the constant childhood regression was always showing up.
That’s how it went for 10 days in a row. Painting started right after the shopped closed, from 9pm to 12am +. Then I would show up in the morning around 7ish till it opens at 10am. It was a slow progress at first, a mess here and there, mistakes that looked better than what was my actual idea, my actual ideas that needed more corrections. It sped up soon. Every night we had someone join in. Everyone who did got their hands on a paint brush or a graffiti pen and begun exploring the shutter. The next morning was meant for my ‘alone time’ to be with the shutter and get more work done using natural light.
It was fun, it was tiring, it was reliving, and it took me across borders meeting great kingdoms where Mr.Buddha was at par with the Hookah smoking caterpillar. Then we realized the monk sold his Ferrari cause’ he actually crashed it right into the tree where Mr.Buddha had been meditating. The monk had a ride of his life surely, and met The Cat in the Hat who was floating higher than him, poor monk was learning to swim under the big blue whale and he was staring at Mr.Shakespeare who was all the way down writing something in invisible ink. Mr.Owl was perched somewhere up at par with Dr.Seuss. I guess he was teaching them kids how to play chess, learn about first aid and importance of health, and that some tigers can be cute and comforting as they are probably in a state of trance with the hookah smoke, probably also got run over by the monk, and thus the scary man eating Tiger followed the path of true liberation, inspiration, hope, philosophy, and religion. This Tiger didn’t know where his destiny was taking him. He had music around him, the hippy movement and peace, the social political reasons for why Genies were made to grant economical happiness. The poor fellow probably thought he was in such a twisted tale he was going to lose his tail. Imagine how he must have felt when he saw Mr.Owl with a bling bling dollar. I’m sure Mr.Tiger’s brains were completely boiling in Chemistry and it mutated his DNA after seeing Mr.Dilbert across the tracks on some weird gadget called a computer with a tiny canine standing on it.
Now what was that doggie looking at thought Mr.Tiger. So he rolled his eyes a little higher and saw the Sanksrit word for the number zero and he warped into a Zen mode and figured there is a hole in the wall or there is a wall that surrounded the hole. Now that hole was HUUUGGGEEE. So he spoke to the Indian fellow next to the tree thinking he was Gandhi. And this Indian man showed Mr.Tiger the Hat, and told him to look deep within.
So Mr.Tiger looked deep within the magician’s Hat for some answers. He saw the whole earth he walked on, he saw these demonic things with locked mouths, he saw secret codes, he saw this huge white space, he saw bubbles, he bumped into the illusion of a bull which really freaked him out cause’ he thought it was Lord Yama but it was just Maya. Thus, he also learnt a little word play there. Finally, he saw this golden space filled with the fluorescence of the universe in green, red and black…and THEN, he saw the sign board which read ‘twistntales’. He thought to himself ‘man I had to go through all of that? Why did I not just look up first?’
So I told him ‘cause I didn’t paint that yet silly tilly. I took a short nap to allow you guys to bond’.
Now that was one trippy trip and it was all done!
Start Scene 5.
There it was all done. My story of this little neighbourhood bookstore summed up…well quite long. I could add in more but my arms are sore and numb.
This was a place where I and surely everyone found their voice. I discovered so much about me and not me. I didn’t really have any particular personal or work issues with any other employee. I think boss just needed to make sure I kept focus and not distract them during their shift.
It might be closed in the physical world, but I think it left each one to discover many many worlds and that will always continue growing because tales never really end.
Of course, now I have to actually think of finding another therapist and paying them instead of buying a book!
A word of reminder: Just like those little mysterious antique shops that close down but continue to haunt people, twistntales will continue to have its spirit lurking around somewhere…YOU NEVER KNOW! p/s: boss make a movie on tnt! 🙂