The stretch of the Highway A2, Galle Road, running through Colombo 3 is widened and modernized with wider sidewalks with colored paving blocks. Quite an eye pleasing improvement. But the improvements ends where it comes to parking. The designated color block paved parking places are owned by the ones who own the businesses nearby them. Or else, already occupied by an early bird. We wanted to go to the ‘PC Partner’ where I had bought an hp laptop and a lifetime friend with it. We were visiting him.
That was the third time I circled and retraced my own track.
No change of status in the parking spaces.
There was just one space big enough to squeeze the van in, in front of the yellow brown TNT building. I checked the mirrors, signaled to the right and swung right immediately. As soon as I parked neatly so that no part of the van was hovering over the restricted area, a uniformed security guard from TNT arrived at my window. He was dark and a bit overweight and I thought he had a pleasant smile.
“Sir, are you going to the TNT?”
“Oh no. I don’t even know what is TNT is. I want to go the PC Partner over there. There was no space there. That’s why I parked here.”
His smile broadened. I was wondering if it was a cynical smile or not.
“Okay. I’m leaving. I passed this place three times looking for a spot.” I pushed the key back into the ignition.
“Sir, wait. You just leave the vehicle right here. I appreciate your honesty. You could have lied. We meet so many big shots in flashy cars who park here and lie through their teeth. ‘I’m going to TNT or will be right back buying a bite from that shop over the other side’ or some bullshit like that. I never sympathize the liars who try to fool me. You are the only guy who honestly admitted that you didn’t come to our company without hesitation. I admire that honesty sir. You can leave the vehicle right here and go wherever you like.”
After that day, every time I pass that place, I peek in to see if that dude, whose name is Karu, is there. Most of the days he’s too busy. I wonder even though he waves back when I smile and wave at him if he remember me or this incident that took place a couple of years ago.
Last December, we wanted to visit several places in Fort. Most of the days after we park in the blazing sun in the dusty, pot holed Fort car park crisscrossed with abandoned tramcar rails to the matters worse, and walk around, we see nice shady parking places in some Fort streets with traffic wardens to look after the vehicles, too. That day we went in search of a place like that when I found this nice spot under a shady tree.
It was near the Sri Lanka Telecom building. As soon as I stopped the engine, I found a Telecom security guard in uniform with a frowning at me.
“This place is only for the Telecom customers.”
Even the road is encroached by the Telecom, huh!
‘Where are you going?” he asked in an entirely different tone to the one TNT Karu used.
I make it a point not to lie if I can help it because I have discovered in the long run that I have to say thousand more lies to cover up the original lie which definitely carries the unnecessary burden of remembering the lie, too. Even though the liar forgets his lie, amazingly, a lot of listeners will remember if for many years for comparison. So I didn’t answer his question and replied with my own question.
“Where is the entrance? Can I go in through this gate?”
Actually that back gate looked like a one that was going to a warehouse. I was pretending I was impatient to enter the premises when I asked that question. Dude’s mood and expression changed as he lowered his guard.
“What do you want to get done, sir?”
I noticed even his colleague who was scribbling something on a clipboard in the security post at the barrier, glanced at me.
“My phone is disconnected. I want to talk to someone about that,” I added a little temper to my voice.
Actually what I said was true. But the phone was disconnected a few years back on my request.
“Ok sir, you leave the vehicle there, walk to the end of this street and turn right. Then go in the entrance right by the shady temple tree. Talk to the gentleman at the left hand side desk.”
I thanked him and followed his directions. The dude at the desk had a pleasant face for a change. I asked him what I had to do if I wanted to get my disconnected phone line restored.
“What was the phone number?”
I gave him without a moment’s hesitation which he punched on the keyboard. The pleasant face stared at the monitor for some time and said,
“Sir, you have to go to our Maradana office for this.”
“Ooops. That security dude asked me to come here.”
“They don’t know about these things, sir. They are new.”
I didn’t let the pleasant face know how glad I was that new guys didn’t know about those things.
The after I picking up a few Telecom forms and a bunch of leaflets, we came out and walked around fort attending to the tasks we had originally planned to get done in Fort. And before getting back into the van I made sure to wave goodbye to the security dude with a telecom document.
Actually even though I didn’t say a lie, I don’t’ want that TNT Karu know about this incident.