I suppose, in retrospect, supermarket parking lots are odd places for those moments of profound realisation that change the way you see yourself. Some years ago, I was innocently loading groceries into a car when I noticed a pair of girls standing off to the side acting suspiciously. Seizing on an opportune moment, I wheeled around as they were snapping a photograph — rather sheepishly, they explained how they’d been taking turns comparing their height against mine and wanted to record the lopsided image. That’s when I realised I was tall.
On any given afternoon, Chandigarh’s Leisure Valley park in Sector 10 buzzes with activity. Scraggly attendants are taking well-fed dogs for a walk, elderly couples in matching fleet-boots trot around the pavement that encircles the grass lawn, confused tourists are herded out of buses and abandoned in the parking area as their driver takes a lunch break. Suddenly, the serenity of the tableau is broken: a gigantic SUV, indistinct bhangra blaring through its windows, thunders through the parking lot, turns down onto a dirt path, zips around inside the park, drives back up, and continues on its way. The attendants roll their eyes, the old folk are scandalised, and the tourists are even more confused. Their tour-guides would be well advised to indicate the park marks an endpoint on the city’s infamous ‘geri route’.