I was standing in the cinema theatre premises, waiting for the ticket window to open. The window had not opened yet and the people, who had come to buy the tickets, were wandering about or looking at the posters or gathered around the popcorn counter. A handful number of people like me were waiting under the shade of the trees.

The people had not queued up before the ticket window because there was not much of a crowd; once the window opened, it wouldn't take long to get the tickets.

I was standing under a tree and thinking of nothing. The tickets were for some of my relatives who had arrived from Kolkata a few days ago on a visit. They would be reaching the cinema hall after a nice lunch and just minutes before the film was to be screened; I would hand over the tickets to them and return home. I had been ordered to forsake my lunch, stand in the queue, and obtain the tickets. I could have my lunch later.

My tummy had started grumbling and when I said I was thinking of nothing, I had lied. I was, in fact, thinking of food, more food, and still more food.

As I was thus engaged in my wonderful meditations, I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a middle-aged man. He seemed to have appeared from nowhere. He came to me with folded hands and touched my feet. This was really embarrassing. The man was many years senior to me, and this show of reverence was very disconcerting. Besides, I had never seen this person before in my life. But, to tell you the truth, I was a bit flattered as well.

"Er.....," I said, "have we met before?"

"No," he replied shortly.

"Then, why this sudden affection?" I wanted to know.

He pointed to my neck.

I was completely lost and did not know what to make of it. What had my neck to do with this sudden burst of worship?

"You have a mole on the neck," he said.

That's true. It is a huge circular mole, jet black, and almost an inch in diameter on the right side of the neck.

"It is a good sign," he said.

"It is just a mole and nothing else," I said aghast at this superstition.

"Shut up, you don't understand anything," the man said and left after another round of feet-touching.

I was dumb-struck. Here comes a man with folded arms and touches my feet and then tells me to shut up! I touched the mole; it was the object of all the adulation. I, as a person, deserved no respect!

The ticket window opened. I joined the queue and purchased the tickets.

Some useful links for
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  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad -
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  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi -
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training -
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) -
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi -
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai -