Friday, November 27, 2009

Her Diary

Everyday life for a female is never easy in a conservative society. Being a werewolf doesn’t help.

Waking up naked beneath the park benches, even if only twice a month, belongs firmly to the class of experiences better not had. Digging out the box of clothes and dressing up while lying down on the ground can’t be excluded from that category either.

It all began six months ago. On the first such full-moon night, I was lucky to have slept with door bolted. Rinku was too keen to get a second opinion on his guitar skills and mom-dad were out of town. In the morning, my bed-sheet and nightgown was shredded to threads, the door was scratched (a SRK poster hides the nail-marks now) and the room smelt of poop, which lay on the carpet. I cleaned all that up before parents returned.

“Didi, this is not fair. I played the guitar only until 11 and you howled throughout the night. But I’ll throw away the guitar if you teach me how to howl like a wolf as good as you did last night. It sounded so real, though you overdid it.” Rinku complained later.

Since then, on every full-moon night, I go to the park with a box (to keep my clothes), a couple of horse-tranquilizers, and no make-up. At around 11.30 PM, I get undressed beneath a park bench, put my clothes in the box and bury it in the ground before taking two shots of the tranquillizers. The tranquillizers keep the wolf-me drowsy and inactive; or so I think, because I can usually recollect only hazy memories of the night once I wake up in human form again.

Despite all the careful planning, at least one murder can be attributed to me; it was committed when in human form. Four months ago, when I woke up in the park, I found that the wolf-me had torn apart all my clothes during the night. There was no way I was coming out from below the bench, stark naked. Luckily for me, an early jogger came and sat on the bench. I pulled her leg and when she looked down, I hit her head with a stone with a force of magnitude that was more than necessary. I quickly changed into her clothes and jogged my way back home. There were reports later “Woman killed in park. Her torn clothes found nearby.”

Thereafter I bury the clothes in the box before having the shots to keep them out of harm’s way. Also, have changed the park after that incident.

Apart from such hazards, too many lies have to be told to keep this affair concealed. Firstly, I have to tell my friend Sheena to give me a missed call on certain nights so that I can tell my parents that office has called me for the night shift. Sheena has been told that I need her help to sneak out for my fictitious boyfriend Raj. So as not to let her observe any pattern, I ask her to call on normal nights too sometimes.

Another niggling problem is the increase in expenses on waxing. On normal nights, whenever I look at the moon, my body-hair grows at a faster rate. I have to keep visiting different beauty parlors to avoid suspicions. Don’t advise me “Permanent Hair Removal”; therapy. A skinned wolf would never make for a good sight.


Before I whine further about more troubles, you might be curious as to what caused this werewolf phenomenon. I say, ask who first. He (may be she) calls himself Dr. Why. I got to know about him only last month on the day of Rakshabandhan.

While having lunch on that day, Rinku began recounting a strange correspondence that started many months ago. He received a post from a certain Dr. Why. It contained two tablets wrapped in a five rupee currency note. On the note, it was written “Eat these”. Rinku threw the tablets away, but kept the note. A few days later, he received a letter asking him to return the five rupees since he hasn’t eaten them. Horrified at Dr. Why’s knowledge, he posted a five rupee note back to the address where the letter came from.

Two weeks later, another post came, with two tablets, but in a ten rupee note. This time Rinku flushed the tablets at midnight. Once again a letter followed, some days later, demanding the ten rupees back. Rinku obliged.

This continued with fifty, hundred and then a five hundred rupee note. Rinku never ate those tablets and kept returning the money. But every man has a price. Teenage boys have even lower. Rinku gave in when Dr. Why sent him the tablets in a thousand rupee note. He dropped a tablet in my tea (that was the only day in my life when he has brought me tea from kitchen).

No letter came for weeks after that. But four days after I had my first transformation in the park, Rinku received another thousand rupee note on which was written “This is even better”. Rinku never understood that Dr. Why must have seen his sister naked in animal and in human form. On the day of Rakshabandhan, when I tied him Rakhi, he gave me a thousand rupee note and the explanation of where it came from. Mom just slapped him on his head. “Naughty boy”, is all he got. Rinku says he doesn’t remember where the other tablet is.

I went to the address where the letter came from. No one was to be found.

I keep my ear open for any footsteps that might follow me on full-moon nights. Haven’t had any luck till now; but the day I find Dr. Why, he would be torn apart.

Meanwhile, the immediate concern is Karwa-chauth. Mom wants me to fast the entire day, which I can manage. But the looking at moon on a full-moon night might result in shortening of the life of the wives on terrace. I am yet to find a solution for this one.
____________________________________________________________________________________

To be continued: (The intent is defintely there)

PS: This blog has been nominated in the “Best Personal Blog” category for 2008 by Indibloggies. Kindly vote for me (How shameless have I become!) here. You would find Brown Phantom in category 16, the last on the page. Thank you all :).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cheerleaders in T20 : An analysis of poll results

Following are the results of a poll conducted on RCB blog :



If I were Pratibha Patil, I would invite the WCWHB party to form the government. The single “Other” {Nirdaliya) is all they need to woo to reach the critical halfway mark. In fact, even the second biggest opposition party with 32% votes wouldn’t mind giving outside support to WCWHB, a party that is keen to follow traditions but is brave enough to entertain experiments.

So strong is the winning party’s philosophy that the ideologically opposite and right-wingish NCAA (No Cheerleaders at all) party members are being speculated as lunatics. More about this loser party, later.

Let’s have a look at the demographic distribution of supporters of these parties. As is the norm in media, I would ignore the Nirdaliya.

1. WCWHB: Hope shines out from the party’s name. Remember Obama’s campaign. Those who voted for WCWHB, saw a colorful future. The fusion promised the taste of old and a sight of new, a beautiful amalgamation of different cultures . A few nerds too joined these guys just out of curiosity. They mistook the rhetorical beginning “Why can’t we” literally.

2. ILWMG (let’s have foreign cheerleaders): Some might accuse this party of patronizing anything foreign. The nasty ones can even smell racism (I love WHITE Mischief Gals). Truth is that this party liked what it has seen so far (understandably) and hence is resisting the change.

3. IP(We should have Indian cheerleaders): One might recall “Videshi Hatao, Swadeshi Apnao” days. The party should now look at the benefits of globalization that this country is reaping. Whenever Ross Taylor hits the ball for a six, we would love to see Indian cheerleaders dancing with dandiya sticks, but wouldn’t it be nice to have the foreign ones with pom-poms to compliment them. By the way, dandiya sticks would be so cool with some steps.

4. NCAA: Sadist would be a stronger word for the party. One out of the four is a not-so-considerate-wife. The second one doesn’t have a Tv and follows cricket on cricinfo. Third one is a religious fundamentalist with misplaced interests. Fourth one is Kallis himself, the one whose sister Janine dances for the opposition. As a cheerleader in the IPL 2008, Janine started dancing at the fall of a RCB wicket only to discover it was brother Jacques trudging back to the pavilion. "I don't mind really," said Kallis. "Except, she really did seem to be doing her job very well when I was out. She didn't have to look so pleased!"

I am so glad that the party I voted for won. It helps recover from the blues mentioned in previous post after the CL got over.



Conclusion: Cheerleaders, as a rule, are all good.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Coming Back To Life

I’ve been rediscovering myself for the last few days after the stay with RCB in Windsor Manor got over. Following facts have made themselves clear:

1. No magical powers are working for me in the background. When I return from the office, I find that the bed is still not made, the towel is still where I left it and the mirror in bathroom still has traces of splattered water.
2. When I am hungry, I need to do a little more than picking up a phone beside the bed. The terrible truth, that something as basic as food isn’t free these days, is yet to sink in fully.
3. While creating the rules that govern the universe, God was sloppy enough to allow temperatures to vary outside the range of 22-24 degree Celsius.
4. On stepping out of my house I am more likely to meet a cow than bump into Rahul Dravid.

Co-incidentally, my Mom too discovered that her “Sarvaguna-sampanna, Ram-avatar” son isn’t quite a teetotaler:



Grappling with so many changes hasn’t gone down well with my brain. I was going to write a story which begins with an introduction of a seventy year old Afghan whose wife disappeared forty years ago. But the structure and flow isn’t coming naturally in the writing. I wanted the story to raise your hair with horror. The title would have been “Raven”.

As the story would have moved further backwards in time, you would have learnt that Noor Mohammed (henceforth referred to as NM) lived near railway tracks when he was a kid. Being a lonely child, his favorite time pass used to watch vultures and eagles eat away the bodies of cattle that came in the way of trains. Through a series of events, the story would have shown the possessive character of NM. In the end, the reader would have been left to connect the dots, which when done correctly would have pointed that NM grew into a cannibal and ate his wife for infidelity.

In an attempt to add to the shock value, I would have revealed that the story is loosely based on my childhood experiences of watching scavengers doing the same thing to the unfortunate buffaloes and goats. Our house isn’t far away from the railway tracks. I was seven when we were the first family to move in that area, which now doesn’t have any open spaces left.

Although I haven’t demonstrated any inclination towards cannibalism, the smell of rotten flesh, whenever encountered, brings back fond memories of a silent childhood. Those vultures looked so huge that I used to hold my little brother’s hands fearing that one of them might snatch him and fly away.

Relying on a meticulously planned inactive weekend to restore normalcy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Breaking the Jinx



Image : Dale Steyn & me chatting with the fans during the RCB vs Cape Cobra Match

Friends, Royal Challengers must win in tomorrow's match to go the League stage.
It would be an exciting match to watch.

I am blogging about the stay with the team here. You can also get a sneak-peak into their routine during the tournament on the chief photographer's page. You may also log into the RCB site during the match to chat with one of the RCB players.

All the Indian T20 teams have been loosing till now. Wish for the RCB victory to break the jinx :).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Chief Blogger of Royal Challengers Bangalore

Yes Guys. Click here for the announcement.

Met Anil Kumble. Got the "Letter of Appointment" in a press conference with cameras clicking all around. Those were my fifteen minutes of fame. Photos and name are published in some newspapers. I saw them in Deccan Chronicls, DNA & Deccan Herald. A friend tells me that he has seen it on TV9 & Times Now too.

I would be travelling with the RCB team from 8th October and keep the RCB fan-blog rolling till the Champions League ends on23 October.

This now dislodges my last boastful achievement of getting calls from the IIMs and not going for the interviews :). Yes, the humility has gone into hiding for a while :).

Below are some of the posts I wrote for the contests in last two days. The first one, which played a major role in winning it for me, was written on day one. The other 6 were written on the same day. It wasn't easy churning them out.

I would like to know your feedbacks on whether you would like to read such posts on cricket. It would be great to hear from not-so-die-hard fans of cricket whether they enjoyed reading it. I kept them in mind a lot while composing them. Come on guys, give the first post a shot and then see whether you can read through the others :).

1. The Agony and a parrot
2. The effects a shoe-sale can have over T20.
3. If I were a Ball ( Another way of describing the playing styles of RCB squad)
4. The Flying Fans
5. A Gem of a Game
6. Nature over nurture
7. A possible path for RCB to win the Champions League

Many thanks to my blog friends for voting and references which were pivotal to get me through to this level. Apologies for not responding as I have been too busy with the contest.

This is also my 50th post. Would elaborate further on it soon :).

Monday, September 28, 2009

In Top 9 For Chief Blogger RCB

Just saw the results here. and I am shortlisted in top 9 for the post of chief bloggers.

Extremely relieved and happy right now.

I must thank you all for the support, votes and references.

Have to rush to work. Would come back and update with details. The highlight is that I am gonna meet Anil Kumble this Saturday.

Thank you again friends :).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Please Vote For Me

I need your votes for the 'Chief Blogger' Contest for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 'Chief Blogger' gets to travel with the team and blog about the team during the forthcoming Champions League. Based on the quality of application, number of votes and references, 9 Bloggers would be shortlisted out of which one would be selected after interviews and other tasks.

You may help me by voting (Click here) . Feel free to add a refernece too which should highlight my writing and strategizing/analyzing skills. Come on people, lie a bit for a fellow human being.

I don't really have words to thank Preeti, who is helping me get more votes here.
Below is copied the 'About me' section of my application :

I have done B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and am currently employed as a Team Leader in a software firm.

Cricket has molded my way of thinking. You would find me giving analogies with cricketing situations to explain almost any problem, even at workplace. I am the kind of person who is always playing shots with whatever he has in his hands, be it a pen, broom or a snake.
Until the 1991 world cup, my parents used to be concerned whether I would ever be able to wake up and see the Sun rise. Their fears were laid to rest when their sleeps were disturbed regularly at 3AM with cheers of fours and sixes.


The only worthwhile thing my left hand can do is to bowl leg-spin with Tennis-ball. It’s been observed that my happiness-index is ten percent higher whenever there is a cricket series in progress. Besides gorging on the display of skills, I enjoy munching on the statistics, graphs and analysis that follow a cricket match.


My blog
http://brownphantom.blogspot.com has more than 70 registered users. The content is comprised of short stories, observations and analysis.

Rest of the applcation can be read here at the same place where you can (should) vote for me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tina

Damn the vulnerabilities of daily existence. Just when I was going to coin the term Pseudo-Swines for those who were cashing in on the flu-mania to stay away from office for trivial reasons like running-noses/headaches/body-aches, I was hit with a viral fever, harsh enough to warrant a sick leave. Laziness crept in thereafter and I rediscovered the joys of sleeping for over ten hours a day. It took me two days to get rid of the virus, but the fungus of laziness stayed on for three weeks. Hence the prolonged absence and probable rustiness in the current write up.

Having justified the procrastination, let's talk about the fictitious time when a young NRI girl named Tina was traveling alone for the first time in a second class train compartment in India. I was going to pin her age at 20, but am in a generous mood; you may choose the age, but kindly keep her young. I'll go a step further and let you choose her attire as long as it is not on the lines of a bikini or hot pants. Please dress her appropriately enough for an Indian train journey. No more interactive participations for the readers in the story.

Tina was traveling from Calcutta to Delhi. She chose this train journey as a way to get in touch with her roots. Her intention was to see the forests, the villages, the simple and unassuming people, the real India as she perceived after reading many travelogues. In doing so, she ignored the warnings of dacoits on the route that the train took. There had been three such incidents in last couple of months.

A few hours into the journey, she wasn't sure about the strength of her choice. She had somehow managed to squeeze into her place by the window. A man sat next to her. His wife and six year old son sat opposite to her. The other seats didn't have permanent occupants. Until then, she had underestimated the abilities of six year olds to embarrass the fellow passengers. The son kept staring at her. She forced herself to ask his name. Bittu looked away. The parents didn't encourage him to respond either.

She wished for some conversation between the husband and wife. But the wife looked resentful. For a change, she took a trip to the loo. Looking at the graffiti inside the lavatory, she was thankful for her illiteracy in reading the languages that accompanied the sketches. When she returned to her place, she found that the husband and wife had swapped their places. The man wasn’t very pleased, but wife seemed contended that her man is away from the stranglehold of another female. The wife now talked eloquently about how mean and miser the husband’s relatives were and recounted stories of being shortchanged on every occasion. “I got her daughter a set of ghaghra-choli and my Bittu didn’t even get a full pant”. Bittu immediately wore a look of victim in his half-pant as he put his hand on the uncovered knees. Tina now knew the kid’s name.

Having given up hope of any fruitful social interactions, she tuned to the moving world outside the window. “Wouldn’t it be great to see the glory of the land which nurtured a billion lives, which gave the world so many Gods and wise men, which had a history beyond the time?” Three excreting human buttocks caught her sight. The owners of the organs were having a chat; perhaps discussing the weather, just like she did with her friends as they sipped coffee in Starbucks.

It was with relief that she noticed the family preparing to get down at the next station. Her anticipation for a better company, however, couldn’t have been more ill founded. In place of the otherwise harmless looking husband-wife and mildly irritating Bittu, now sat two shady looking middle aged men. I go back on my words which prohibited any further participation from the readers and allow you to choose the number of hair in their mustaches.

In contrast to her observations on Indians in general, she found both the men to be too animated while talking. Tina picked up the word “Pistol” during their conversation. Were they the dacoits she was warned against? The only comforting factor in such situation was a hint of eyeliner in the otherwise hardened masculine faces. She kicked herself, metaphorically of course, for not heeding to the warnings. The fantasies of deep forests and simple beautiful people were now replaced with thoughts of getting robbed at the very best.

Things took a more sinister turn when one of the men opened his bag. She spotted blood stained clothes and a shiny long dagger. Tina gasped in horror which was noticed by both the men. The man quickly zipped the bag. The men exchanged the looks and their lips curled; Tina could tell that both of them read each other’s mind.

“Let’s finish it off”, one of them said.
“Patience.” said the other.
“Do you think they suspect?”
“Doesn’t matter.”
“True, doesn’t matter.” They laughed devilishly.

Tina’s heart was pounding by now. She feared that a reaction in the form of a scream or trying to run away would only hasten the inevitable. She just sat there, waiting for things to happen. Certain adventures are not worth taking. Right now she could have been served a sandwich by an air-hostess. She would have ordered an orange juice to go with it. The pilot would have been announcing the landing shortly.

Cursing her romanticism, she peeped outside. A small town was approaching.
“An excellent opportunity to slip out, if I survive till the station.” Hope hadn’t given up on her.

As soon as the station approached she stood up to go to the door. Both the men left their seats too.
“Have I seen more than I was supposed to when the man opened the bag? Are they going to 'take care' of me for doing that?”
She jumped out of the slowing train and walked as fast as she could. She turned back and saw both the men following her. She ran frantically outside the station and into the streets of this unknown town. Three bystanders simultaneously expressed the opinion that she ran faster than P.T Usha. None of them had seen a deer running when chased by tigers.

She sprinted until she could run no more. She stopped, panting for breath. The two men were nowhere in sight. She turned her head towards a long boundary wall. And there they both were. But, in a poster. “Are these two wanted men?” She couldn’t read what was written in Hindi below the poster. Then she spotted another poster. “What are they doing dressed like ancient warriors with swords in hands? And why are there wounded men lying around them?” She got hold of a little boy and asked him to read what was written below the posters.

“Twin Girls. Uttejak nazare, dekh mere pyaare. Shankar Cinema Hall.”, said the seven year old who looked a lot like Bittu.

“Not that one. The one above that.”

“Bharat Nautanki Group. Roj 2 show. Lal Maidan ke pass.”

Many realizations dawned upon her. She took a rickshaw back to the railway-station. Next train wasn’t until the next day. Buses were on strike. The taxi-wallahs of Madanpur had never been propositioned with an offer to drive till Delhi. Tina’s only option was to take the most expensive hotel in the town for a day.

Once in the hotel room, she took a bath and reflected on the happenings of the day. A little later, she found herself picking up the phone and asking the receptionist “How to reach Lal Maidan from here?”

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Men In The Mirror

Everyday as I drive to office, I dread that one minute, the time to be spent in the lift. The lift in my office has reflecting surfaces on all four sides and on top.

Usually I am never alone in the lift. It’s a joy being the only person in that lift. You can look at yourself from all angles. Make faces. Plus there is that comfort of your own space. But such days are rare.

You keep waiting for lift to come down to the parking floor and by that time there are at least 5-6 fellow travelers who wait with you. You greet the ones whom you know. The doors of the lift open and everyone gets in. Nothing new about it. The process is similar almost everywhere.

But, we have reflecting walls in the lifts. Normal human beings, who greeted each other, now are in a very uncomfortable state. You can’t look anywhere. Six people entered the lift, but they find themselves surrounded by thirty virtual ones in various dimensions. Not only that, those thirty reflect each other and multiply exponentially. If you look straight, you would always find yourself staring at one of those many men/women. Quickly you turn your eyes and there it is, the same person from different angle. If the group that entered, has a mix of genders, things become even more embarrassing. Once, one of my reflections caught eyes of another’s reflection and both of them blushed and said “hi” to each other.

So, as a coping mechanism, a person tries to look at the digital display which shows the floor number the lift is currently on. But if you just see only that person in a video, he would look like an extremely nervous person, too anxious to get to his floor and only half trusting the lift to take him there.

Hence, follows the great guilt show. Everyone stares at the floor. Shameful, heads hung low, looking at their buttons/mobile/shoes/paunch. Once again, if you see this video, you would know that each one of them is sorry; sorry for their past deeds and sorry for bringing in so many intruders in that weird combination of real and virtual spaces. They feel, they shouldn’t have been there.

And whenever the lift door opens, it’s a feeling of liberation. Like a curse is broken. Even if it’s not your floor, you can still look outside the lift or look at those who enter and exit on the pretext of making space to stand. Then you notice the same phenomenon with the new entrants. They look all around for a fraction of second, get scared, and then look at the digital display and then finally join the guilt parade.

One day I entered quite defiantly in the lift resolving that I would not allow the circumstance to make a fool of me. So I stood upright that day. And as I looked at all those heads, I had to bit my lips real hard to stop myself from laughing. It was funny. And I asked myself :Why the guilt ?

Since then, I’ve learnt to hold my own and not be shameful for reasons beyond control. Repetition has taken the humor out of the situation. Instead, a spiritual feeling transcends every time I see all of us, and our reflections which seem to be having a life of their own. The way every one behaves, trying to be non-intrusive, thereby expecting the same from others, it leaves you feeling that deep down inside we are all one. Thoughts and experiences are different, but Mother Nature has nurtured us all on the same principles of evolution: mental, physical and emotional. We are all just another manifestation of the unique miracle called life.

I am sure,with time, a new perspective would replace this one and I would update this post when that happens :).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brought To You Bai

My maid is on leave this week.

Her absence is becoming noticeable day by day. Apart from executing her designated duties, she also acts as a worst-case-alarm for me every morning. That’s why she is not allowed to come on weekends.

She must be over 60. The previous resident of the house was a friend of mine and she told me that the bai (maid) can’t see properly but is very honest and her Hindi is strong enough to carry on commonly occurring work related conversations (e.g. Kapda kal karna). She called her Amma and so do I, with no urge of being original in matters which have been taking care of themselves with harmony.

But there was a period when this harmony was threatened. Let me begin with telling the morning routine on days when I am not inspired enough to wake up before 7, thereby allowing Amma to be my worst-case-alarm at 8. Usually 4 out of 5 days, she gets to discharge this additional duty. I never wake up between 7 and 8. (Never knew that this post would become so rich in numbers).

On such uninspired days, Amma rings up the bell and then she tries to peep through the translucent window-glass. I open the door and then go flat once again on the bed savoring my last 20 minutes on the bed guiltlessly (You can’t get ready for office with a maid roaming around in your house). It’s understood that she must broom and sweep, wash utensils if there are any, and then ask whether clothes should be washed today or tomorrow. I take that decision whimsically, with my eyes closed.

Four years ago, when my mom visited Bangalore for a week, she made me buy 6 big and small plates,6 spoons,6 katoris (bowls),6 glasses,5 jars, a pressure cooker, 2 frying pans, a mixer-grinder, a chakla-belan and all that is needed for a family of four to cook and eat. I even have a sandwich-toaster. The salt, spices, sugar and other such things brought four years ago survive till this day.

All that Amma gets to wash are 2 glasses, 2 spoons, a bowl and sometimes a tapela (bigger bowl) in which I store milk. That’s because I eat corn-flakes for breakfast. Once in a while, maggi is cooked which contributes a plate and one more tapela for washing. All other utensils just lay there, untouched. Or so I thought about a year ago.

It all began that night when I was slightly hungry and stepped into the kitchen to have a snack. There were just two chocolate biscuits, one less that expected. Though friends drop in sometimes, I attributed the missing biscuit to a slip in memory. Then a spoon went missing. I grew suspicious. I counted the katories. Only four. I felt bad for my mom.

I could still be not so sure that Amma was the culprit. After all, her honesty was sworn by the previous resident. May be I lost some utensils during shifting from the previous place. But the seed of doubt was planted. This played havoc with my guiltless sleep of 20 minutes during Amma’s stay. I paid surprise visits to the kitchen when she would be working. On lazier days, I would just slap the floor with hands, while still on bed, to create an illusion that I was coming.

The day of reckoning came. I remember that it was a Monday. Three empty cans of beer were sitting pretty on the kitchen stand. Amma rang the bell and then entered the kitchen. I heard her clearing the cans and putting them in polythene with other bottles and containers. She used to do that once or twice in a month : taking away empty containers of food, beer, cold drinks, honey etc.

Then she began cleaning the floor and came into the room in which I sleep. I had a slight hangover and weakness, and so I thought of having some water and honey. So I got up and went to the kitchen. There I saw all the cans and containers stuffed into a large black polythene. I looked for the bottle of honey. I couldn’t find it. I remembered that there wasn’t more than 2-3 spoonfuls of honey left in it and so Amma might have mistakenly put that bottle with other empty containers. But I was quite keen on honey and so I opened up the polythene.

A discovery, or solving of a puzzle that has been troubling you for days, usually brings joy and fulfillment to the heart. But my heart sank when I saw a glass and a spoon carefully hidden in the containers. Amma was still in another room. I was enraged, though not much. I quickly got over the shock and having absorbed the passion in it, I began thinking about solving the problem at hand.

“Should I confront her right now? Maybe I should put the glass and spoon back in the polythene and catch her red-handed when she is leaving with it. But what should I say?”

I lacked the courage to accuse someone (even if rightly) who is over 60 and on top of that, a woman. There was just too much shame involved from both sides in it. So I began manipulating myself.

“What good would come of humiliating and then firing her? The only reason to keep her employed despite sloppy work was that she had received high marks on honesty. If she steals, then why won’t her replacement do so? My 20 minutes of guiltless sleep is doomed. But what do I do now with this glass and spoon?”

Then, with a stroke of genius, I kept the glass and the spoon right beside the polythene, tied the polythene back and went back to my bed. After a minute, Amma entered the kitchen. My heart was beating fast. She continued with her work and then left with the polythene. I got up, went into the kitchen, and saw the two tokens of love from my mom still lying where I left them.

It’s been a year now since that incident. Nothing has gone missing after that. Not even the biscuits. Amma has stopped taking stuff in polythene. I have to throw the mountain of containers after every three months or so. But I get to blissfully sleep for those 20 minutes.

Not a word spoken, but a soul reformed.

_________________________________________________________________

Afterthoughts:

You need to step into the other’s shoes to understand the reasons why Amma was perceived to be honest. She never stole money. For her, a hundred rupee note is a rarer thing than utensils and she thought that it wouldn’t matter to me if a couple of spoons and katoris went missing. Reverse was the truth. I wouldn’t notice if someone removed a hundred rupee note from my wallet. For Amma, utensils are daily things she deals with in abundance. But I still remember the day mom bought those 6 glasses and spoon from CMH road. The equations didn’t favor Amma.

I shouldn’t be perceived as too soft-hearted towards maids in general. In fact, while staying with four of my friends in Gurgaon, I was the one designated to scold and , at times, fire the house-helps. Hard-talk was my department.

My other responsibility was to get rid of cockroaches in the house. There were too many and they came back every week. I would go into the kitchen with HIT, and then shoot in all the corners. I felt like a ranger. The weak roaches were dead on the spot while the stronger ones would get out of their den and run hither-thither. Then Piyush and me would run with slippers in our hands and nail each one of them down. It was an excellent outlet to the hunter instincts suppressed for centuries within a man’s heart. Oh, the raw joys mankind has given up for this timid civilized life.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ghanshyams vs Fairbrothers, and Bala goes to Singapore

The Ghanshyams are at it again.Dark fat bastards. The barbarians hit each other harder and harder. Each blow brings a cry with pain and their shrieks are loud enough to rattle the windows.

They scared away poor little Fairbrothers. They always do.

Fairbrothers.White nimble darlings. Gently they move with heavenly grace. Always well behaved and quiet.

Right now, it is the grimy Ghanshyams who occupy the stage. But God, in his infinite wisdom, has ensured that they won’t survive for long. If they are lucky, they move away unharmed, with painful lethargy.

However, the movement only delays the inevitable for the doomed brethren. For, it is their fate to kill each other, to degenerate each other into the tiniest of pieces till the last drop of their blood spills over the ground beneath.

And when the massacre happens, the occasion is celebrated. Peacocks dance. Thirsty trees begin greening. The farmer Ramsakha from Bhusakhedi thanks God for the rain. The violent death of dark clouds nourishes life on earth.

Later, accompanied with cool wind, return the white clouds that were chased away by Ghanshyams. Then, even Ramsakha from Bhusakhedi, standing in his green fields, admires the Fairbrothers playing in the blue sky. For him, the only virtue in Ghanshyams is their immediate destruction, right in front of his eyes.

I call it God's own apartheid.

Added later: Many told me that this piece was confusing. So, to clarify, Ghanshyams are Dark Clouds while Fairbrothers are white.

________________________________________________________________________________

That’s it. I’ve deleted the remaining drafts now and would make a fresh start from next post.

By the time I publish this post, my brother (nicknamed Bala) would be on his way to Singapore for his new job. I don’t have a family connection now with Mumbai anymore which saddens me. He has been there since last eight years.

Anyone who needs Gold Gym membership in Bandra at dirt cheap price, please leave a comment. You get to pump iron and run alongside Salman, Bipasha, Neha Dhupia and many models and actors.

Bala would be sending his Television to me. No matter how far I run away from the idiot box, it follows me with even greater fervor. Three years ago when I shifted to my new place, the owner was a friend and left the Television back. I dumped it at another friend’s place. A bigger irony was to follow. I got a job where they write software for set-top boxes and I have Televisions (fantastic digital ones) all around me in office. I can have Tata-sky or Airtel digital Tv connection for free as per the company policy. I must withstand the temptation if the blog has to survive, if my Yoga has to continue and a few more good ifs, because the presence of TV around me works like dementors. I loose all senses and numbly zap thorugh the channels for hours. I prefer youtube. That way I watch only that which is worthy of searching and waiting for the streaming through broadband at Indian speed.

Bala had posted his requirements for a residential stay in Singapore on various rental sites. His inbox is getting invitation to share apartments from females too and each such mail is duly forwarded to all his friends in Mumbai.All of a sudden each one of his friends has gone high on morals and culture; they are voicing concerns that Bala should not forget the Bhartiya Sanskriti.

Understandably, my parents are not in a jolly mood today. But the point is that for all practical purposes he has shifted closer to them. Earlier, he used to go by an overnight train to Dewas which took 13 hours. Now he would reach home in 7 hours since all of his travel would be via plane.

He visited Dewas last week. He went to the VT Railway station directly from his office and removed his shirt to wear a black T-shirt in the taxi itself. Then he rolled up his yellow cargo pants. He was going to remove the black leather shoes in train itself before going for sleep. At the gates of the railway station, security police stopped him and started checking his luggage. He was surprised and looked around for a clue. Then he caught sight of a mirror. His outfit and luggage looked exactly like none other than that of Kasab. To make matter worse, he was carrying passport and other papers for visa preparations. You can only sympathize with the growing suspicion in police-wallas. Bala was a regular at the aforementioned gym and has good body with biceps and all. He answered all their questions patiently, explained them that the metallic rectangle is an I-Pod and let them hear Eminem through it; they even asked him to explain about the book he carried: “Three Men in a Boat”.

You feel the distance more when the time-zones are very much separated. Then it feels as if you are in a different universe. While in US, I always found it difficult to communicate with my parents. There were very few eligible slabs for calling home, mostly at least one party would be sleeping or in office. But Singapore is just 2.5 hours ahead, which in fact gives a perfect offset given the lifestyle of my parents and Bala. Parents sleep at 10.30 while Bala doesn’t even think of going to bed before 12. At 8 o’clock when my mom would ask, “Khana kha liya?”, I would still be saying “Itne jaldi kaun khata hain” while Bala just had to truthfully answer “Haan”. But the best thing about Singapore is that it is so easy to pronounce.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Alchemistress

Stella was on the hospital bed. Her left leg plastered. This had to be the worst day she has had in years. She slipped over the stairs as she was leaving the school after checking out the result for a test which was very important for her. Her mind wandered to the scene in canteen two weeks before the accident:
_____________________________________________________________

“Not that trash again”, said Allan dismissively. Steve nodded in his support.

“Cynical fools ! I've experienced it before. Twice. The world did conspire against all odds to give me what I desired from the heart.” Stella was adamant in her reverence of Coelho.

“You fall too easily for selective statistics. For every successful person in favor of whom the world conspired, there are hundreds more who, too, were wishing from their hearts. But no one interviews all the failed ones.” Allan always caught the finer points.

“Maybe their desires weren’t strong enough. And abilities must justify the aspirations too”. Stella tried to spin the argument.

“That’s doublespeak. What’s left for the world to conspire if the need for ability is acknowledged?” Allan said impatiently.

“Cool it down guys. We have the test for the exchange program with the Paris school coming up in a week. Stella, you are dying to be there. But Allan is clearly the favorite to ace the test.” Steve intervened.

“That’s right. I want it so badly that I am sure luck shall take me to Paris. Allan you would be rotting here while I’ll be sipping the wines there”, Stella replied over-excitedly.

“I was planning to miss the test anyways. Got my band here. Paris is for the old hags anyway.” Allan said .

“NO ! I’ve been working my ass off for the test only to outdo you and others. Tell me what would make you sit for the test with all its seriousness” Stella spoke challengingly to Allan.

“Hmm..I love my band. We were planning for a few jigs during the summers. Hard to beat that. Let me think” Allan paused and then said as offhandedly as he could “If you promise to give me a lap-dance in case I top, maybe I would give my all for the test.”

“Done” Stella said resolutely.

“What!!! Are you nuts? No trip to Paris and becoming a Lap-dancer for the one who robbed you off the trip. That’s what you face if you lose. Screw Coelho.” Steve tried to put some sense into Stella.

“I have worked hard and I want the trip more badly than anyone else. Even more than a pervert’s desire for a free lap-dance. That’s all I know.” Stella looked possessed.

“I’ve already begin to appreciate Coelho. The deal is on.” Allan said slyly.
_____________________________________________________________

A knock on the door shook Stella out of those memories. Allan and Steve entered the hospital room, both grim faced.

“Hey Stella. Everything OK ?” said Steve sheepishly. Allan had his eyes on the floor.

“Thanks for coming guys. I’m good. They’ll discharge me tomorrow.” Stella did put up a brave face.

“Great !” Allan mustered enough courage.

“Yeah. And good luck for the trip to Paris”, Stella couldn’t hide the envy in her voice.

“I don’t think I’ll go. And that deal is off too.”Allan blurted out quickly.

“Thanks Allan. You’re such a sweetheart. I finished third. So the guy who stood second gets to go there.” Stella says.

“Yeah, that would be George. We have a party this saturday night in the school backyard. I got hold of a fake ID to buy the booze. You would be able to make it?” Steve changes the topic.

“Three weeks before the plaster is off. But do toast a drink for me, will you?” Stella says smiling. Her eyes twinkle.

Allan & Steve left after a while.

The Saturday night party was a riot by midnight. And that was when the students heard the siren. It was only the third time in five years that the high-school party with booze was busted. Cops took the students into custody for the night and let them go in the morning.

School authorities however were not that forgiving. Punishments followed. George was caught too. His Paris tour was cancelled which meant Stella goes to Paris. Allan and Steve agreed that the world really conspired to make Stella’s dream come true.

Stella returned to school after a few days. That day, just before leaving the school she caught hold of Allan in the empty corridor.

“I got to confess this to you. That night, I called the cops.” Stella said that in a single breathe.

“You are a super-bitch. Aren’t you!” Allan couldn’t hide the shock in his voice.

Stella stood silent, ashamed.

“That’s ok girl. You actually did a favor to me. I was having a hard time to explain the abandoning of trip to everyone. And look, you did get what your heart desired.” Allan continued with a chuckle.

“Really? So you are not cross with me?” Stella was so relieved.

“Of course not! I never wanted the trip anyway. You know what my heart desired” Allan let his eyes roam as he said this.

“And that desire shall be fulfilled. Who am I to falsify Coelho?” Stella pushed Allan into the abandoned classroom. Het top was off before Allan’s bottom touched the chair. The dance was without any music, but Allan didn’t mind this conspiracy of the world at all.
_____________________________________________________________

PS : I am cleaning up a few old drafts. Please bear with some average posts as mentioned in the previous post. I got to get a clean slate before fresh ones start coming.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rage Against The Tags

I have been busy doing nothing for the entire week. As a result, the blog suffered blatant neglect. Time to make amends. First, a few important acknowledgements:

1. Thank you Preeti for the card here. Preeti is a lovely lady and a gifted author with a fantastic blog and book. I am overwhelmed with the praise she has bestowed in her post and in comments.

2. Thanks Jason for the wonderful contest. My entry squeezed into the Forties club. Quite relieved to be there since I was afraid of loosing too many points over a few technical flaws, especially due to the discontinuity in the flow of the write-up. I was pretty pleased with the idea though; plus the fact that my last name begins with D, pushed the entry into the club.

3. A big thanks to Choco , Nicky & Ekta for the tags, award and wonderful words of appreciations on your blogs. Readers, please do check out their super-cool blogs (click on their names for the links). They are a treasure to have as fellow-bloggers.

However, I am not a huge fan of “Tags” when it comes to me doing them. I must justify. Reasons follow.

This (and most of the blogs I read) is a personal blog with some novice fiction thrown in once in a while. Regular readers have already been awarded with the information that I have stayed in Dewas, Kharagpur, Gurgaon and Bangalore, and hence I refuse to explicitly answer “Four places you have lived?”.

Point is that I am not willing to let anyone have the voyeuristic pleasure at my expense so easily. Not that I am a secretive person. A keen observer of the blog wouldn’t fail to notice that I have already exposed my navel and nipples on more than one occasion. You gonna have to read the blog for knowing more facts about me like the sadistic tendencies towards insects in general.

One of the tags carry the question “Nice stomach or arms?”. Well, well, well. I don’t deny having a preference (marginal though), but wouldn’t you agree that I try real hard to be subtle in my writings? Besides, isn’t there a strong co-relation between the two anatomical features? I guess, one has to morph a photo of a beautiful person twice, once with ugly arms, once with a paunch, and then present it to the world to get an honest answer. [One isn’t an economist unless one says “Ceteris paribus” in every argument.]

I am never in favor of generalizations without scrutiny. Feminists, please don’t take me to the court for claiming this: “Tagging is a girly concept”. Look at the topics : favorite colors, number of children you aspire to have, burnt by love, last text message you received, last furry thing you touched, first thought when you looked at the mirror. Yes, such questions are theoretically applicable to males too, but I advise secretly taping male conversations to investigate their inclinations towards such matters.

Some questions are totally gender dependent and needn’t be there at all. Like “Would you kiss a stranger?” is mostly answered by females in negative. Some just say “depends”. All males would be slightly more eloquent here and say “depends on the gender”.

If tags were a male phenomenon, then first thing to disappear would be “Four things about you”. Four is a big number when it comes to talking about ourselves. See what Dphat had to resort to when asked about “Four places you would rather be”. Two is the most we can handle. Easy to tell two favorite sports, drinks (Beer & Whisky), cars, ..., you get the drift. Also, you would have to replace the choices like “Eyes or Lips” with relevant ones like “Bust or Bum”.

I rest my case against (me doing) tags now.

Forthcoming weeks shall see more activity on this blog. Increased quantity would lead to a temporary slump in quality of the posts from 10 paise per dozen to 5 paise per dozen, but that drop is essential to practice and reach to the level of 15 paise per dozen. This is what I like about writing: The more you write, the more ideas you get.

I was going to end the post on that positive note, but as these last words are being typed, the fan above, for the first time in three years of its existence, is making strange noises. Spooky night on a third floor in Bangalore.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Truth in Wine



A life’s work continues to conjure questions well past the funeral. Take Arthur’s case. His son was convinced that trash-can is the rightful place for his late father’s poetry while his wife didn’t see any harm in keeping the papers till the winter; the pile was large enough to keep the fire-grate burning for two nights.

Up in the sky, his afterlife trial began.

“My Lord, Arthur wrote too many lies. Take his poem ‘Post-Big-Bang Symphony’:

Eve had to eat the apple really soon
Adam was keen to sleep with the moon

Liar is a sinner. He belongs to Hell.”

“Romanticism needn’t be a sin. He was a kind fellow. Didn’t even pluck a flower after he turned ten. Let him be in Heaven please.”

Romantic souls were always hard to place. God adjourned the court for a break.

Post-break, God announced, “I’ve put Arthur’s words in that locker”.

The locker was labeled ‘Truth In Wine’ and carried five glasses of red wine atop it.

“To open, drink the glasses in a magical sequence. Else the wine gets refilled”.

No one, who managed to read his words, judged them lies.

Statistics reveal a 65% rise in romantic population in heaven after the T.I.W. constitutional amendment was established.

Back on earth, Arthur’s poetry was rescued before getting burnt. His grandson smuggled the stack to his school. That year, second-graders had paper boats whenever it rained, or as Arthur would have put it, whenever Juliet shed tears in heaven.
________________________________________________________________________________

PS : This is my entry to the Clarity Of Night Short-story contest(click here). 250-words limit was a challenge.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Behavioural Inefficiencies

1. Here’s a puzzle with straightforward answer but many come up with incorrect solutions in real life: Imagine yourself seating on a chair (not extremely comfortable but decently so) in a closed air-conditioned room for an hour doing almost nothing. There are around a hundred more normal looking human beings in a similar situation in the same room and the room doesn’t have enough space for all of you to stand and roam around in it. Also, let’s say there are about a hundred bags (corresponding to each human) stacked up in the racks above. Now there’s an announcement that the doors of the room shall be opened in five minutes from now. What would you do? :

A. Remain seated for the doors to open.
B. Stand up, squeeze yourself into the little standing-space with others, pick up your heavy bag, and keep hitting yourself and others with elbows and bags.

Most of those who travel by plane between Bangalore and Mumbai choose option B immediately after the plane lands. Those who sit at the window-seats, stand with bent backs and hit their heads against the rack above. Sad part is that they don’t reach the airport any sooner than those who choose option “A”. The bus that takes the passengers to airport doesn’t differentiate based on caste/gender/common-sense-level.

Don’t let the opportunity slip by, to make eye-contact with those who stand, next time you are on board. They would be embarassed at their troublesome situation, but their ego won’t allow them to sit back.

2. If you have a friend who constantly complains of honking on road while he drives, before you sympathize, please check which lane is his favorite. Driving safely is a virtue. But driving at 40km/hr in the rightmost lane is a crime in a country like India where the square-feet road per head is agonizingly low. Sit with your friend while he drives and if he is of the safe-but-drives-in-right-lane kind, point out the five-cricket-pitches of distance between his and the next car ahead. That is the amount of national real estate he wastes every times he takes his vehicle on the road. And if a white Santro takes over from the left side, honking incessantly as if to punish your friend, say “Hi” to the driver and I shall wave my hands too.

Take your friend to a park where an entire bench is rendered useless because a couple is sitting at its corner, indulging in activities that better be carried out somewhere else. Such abuse of public property should not be tolerated and hence your friend should drive in the left lane.

3. This third point is probably taking intolerance too far. I am a sucker for Andhra-food and eat a lot of rice despite not being from east or south India. However, most of my last ten years have been spent in these very parts of India. This means I have spent a lot of time looking at people eating rice, mostly with hands. Here’s a tip for them to increase their efficiency.

Do not try to wipe your plate clean to the last grain of rice if you are going to take the next helping in the same plate. Do it only in your last serving. Once you notice that the rice in your plate needs replenishment, go and help yourself with more before your run your hands to every corner of the dish. If you are hell-bent on not letting a single grain go waste, let me assure you that the amount of rice you eat remains the same even if you clear the last grain of rice only in your last serving. So no food gets wasted and you do the hard work only once and not thrice (if you took 3 servings).

Another related observation, applicable to whole of India and the world population in general, is the way non-vegetarian food with bones is consumed. Contrary to the economic principle of diminishing marginal returns, the last bits of flesh stuck to the bones are pursued with extreme effort and greed. One sees a lot of teeth and forks involved once the piece of chicken is 99% consumed. To the naked eye, the difference would have gone unnoticed, had someone removed the two grams of crumbs before serving the piece.

But I guess eating up the last bits has its joys. The “diminishing marginal returns” principle doesn’t apply in this case, much like the way one values the last days of a long holiday much more than the initial ones.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Short Story Contest and An Indecent Ending

Here’s an entirely useless piece of information for more than 6 billion humans and the entire Ostrich species. I am going home this weekend for a week. Yes, the economy would be spurred a little. But in the larger scheme of things, Milky-way shall continue approaching the Andromeda galaxy at the speed of 130 Km/s, leaving Bangalore Metro Corporation with just five more billion years to finish the work on CMH road.

Meanwhile, you guys still have time to read and write stories in the upcoming contest here. The contest opens on July 8th. You are supposed to write a story in 250 words inspired by the picture of a glass filled with red wine. Co-incidentally one of my posts (click here), written three months back, comes quite close to being an entry with minor editing. However, going by the level of stories in Jason’s contests, I would have to come up with something better.

His previous contest had a picture of escalator with a pair of legs riding it. My entry "Life is Beautiful” (click here) obviously didn’t win a place and I can see so many glaring gaps in it now. It did manage to be in Forties club which includes all the entries that scored more than 40 out of 45. The best part about the contest is the high quality of entries and super-kind comments you get there.

I would love to see fellow bloggers’ entries there. It is a rewarding experience. Get your creative juices flowing (rather unimaginative phrase, I know ).

If you are still here, join me in wishing my Vinnie a Happy B’day. She turns five today and is all mine now with the last installment being paid on first of this month. Here’s a humble picture of hers, two years ago. As is evident, the owner has never been a very colorful personality.



Below is the current-me after having gulped fifteen portions of dead chicken, goat and a fish. There’s a bottle of beer by the pool side. If one ignores the lingering finger and has noticed the thin half-naked me, one shouldn't have any doubts that my mom, as usual, is not going to like what she sees when I reach home.I've always been thin due to a high metabolic rate. Eight meals a day is the forecasted routine for the next week, without any consideration for the quest for a six-pack. Contrary to what one might infer about me from the content of this blog, I am a huge SRK fan. And if he can do it after forty, I am not going to die without a six-pack snap to show to my grandchildren. Like it or not, that snap shall be on display here too once I succeed. There are as many as nine bets running over it since the time Om Shanti Om was released.



Please report abuse in the comments section.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Good Old Days

After every seven years, you are a new biological person. Defining the boundaries of a new generation is a difficult question and doesn’t have any objective criterions. As against the present times, a man released after 30 years in jail in 550 AD wouldn’t have had to deal with the strangeness of cellphones, cable-TV, high rises and short skirts.

In Indian context, I would say that those born after 1987 are the current generation. They don’t know that Door-Darshan was simply called TV, those driving Maruti-800 were considered rich, they probably have never heard about Cibaca Sangeet Mala and the SurTaaz Bigul, and they didn’t witness the emergence of Sachin Tendulkar. By the time they were five, the waves of globalization had begun engulfing the country.

You hear a lot of “Kids these days are so smart” chat these days just because they know a lot and can play with gadgets. They absorb a lot of filth shown on TV. Life used to be simpler in those days when we just had Ramayana and Vikram-Baital for our fantasies.

My younger brother (Bala) and I used to have Yudhha with bow and arrows. It was a pattern with every game that I played to win while he played for fun. However, one particular day he was extra ferocious and caught me by surprise with his Brahmastra baan. The moment I died, he walked two steps towards the wall and shouted “Pushpa Varsha”. Three kids were waiting with flowers on terrace and threw them on him chanting “Dhanya ho Bala! Bala ki Jay ho!” Watch this video to gain the perspective.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC987YJCqvY&feature=related

Inspired by the Olympics of 1988, we used to have a fight-hour everyday after the school which included boxing, karate, kushti etc with strict rules like no pinching, hair-pulling, ijjat se khelna (pulling down shorts) and no going to momma crying after getting beaten. The last rule used to be broken sometimes or to shut him up I had to carry my brother on my shoulders (Vikram-Baital style) while he used my ears to navigate left and right turns. To begin pillow fight, we used to pretend as if we are laborers carrying heavy sacks (pillows) on the back and looking up at a fictitious aero-plane in the sky. Then we would collide and shout at each other “Abe saamne dekh ke nahi chal sakta” and then in rage, attack each other with our sacks.

Whenever there was any chat of naughty toddlers at home, my mom would start “Humara chotaa bahut badmaash tha…” When I confronted her once for any tales of my childhood adventures, the only claim to fame was “Isko to jahaan chodd do, 2 ghante baad wahin baitha milta tha”.

And then there were trips to villages, where we ran around in fields in 45 degree Sun, sat on bullock carts, bought 5 paisa burf-ka-gola and saw death been taken lightly. There was no need to divide players while playing cricket. Caste did it for us. It used to be Patils vs us. I was in a pretty good form in one such match and when I played a shot high in the air on leg side, the Patils shouted “Sursyaaa, Catch Ghe” who was supposed to be fielding there. Suresh becomes Sursyaaa in Marathi. However, Sursyaa was shitting outside the boundary at that time. For 70% India, the whole world is a toilet. I am probably the only batsman in cricket history whose catch has been dropped because the fielder was squatting to answer nature’s call. I wish I could show that video to bowlers when they angrily scream for catches that even a fifteen footer couldn’t have taken at the boundary.

Given a choice though, I would like to be born in present times. The only disadvantage I see is that there is a lot of borrowed wisdom nowadays due to easy accessibility to knowledge. It is a painful experience to read about a 14 year old blogger impressed by Ayn Rand’s philosophy since she was eleven. I am not against 14 year olds blogging and reading books. In fact, not very proud of myself that I read my first book at 19. But they must be shielded from stupid ideas until they acquire the abilities to judge them.

Taking things to be cool because they are western and different happens a lot these days. In Kharagpur, I once entered into the room of a friend who was shouting “We Don’t Need No Education” with Pink Floyd. That was the age when many of us spent days with drug, masturbation and rock n’ roll. Ok, replace drug with alcohol.

My reaction to that guy was “Saale nakli. Din me 25 ghunta padh padh ke IIT clear kiya hain. Abhi Stanford me Ph.D. ke liye apply kiya hain. Sun-na hain to sun ye gaana. Lekin feeling ke saath chillane ka natak mat kar.” I mean seriously. I don’t get the head-banging people over here do in rock concerts while listening to a number on Vietnam War when they can’t even locate it on the Map, let alone know reasons behind the lyrics. And they yell with rage “Daddy what you leave behind for me..”. Bhai , bharat ek parivarik type ka desh hain. We have mostly loving families here who want to leave behind as much as possible for their kids. The only single parents you would find in India would be Preity Zinta in “Kya Kehna” or Sushmita Sen in adopted reality. Teenagers here stay with their parents and the only ones who are independent and start earning by the age of sixteen, usually don’t have access to such songs.

Recently I read a blog of a teenager who was 17 and worried about getting older. She already has doubts that she would die a lonely dame. Let me recite a recent incident for her. Bala and I would be going home next week. We’ve been playing cricket on our terrace since the time it was built. Bala told me that when he informed Mom of our plans to come, she said this to the maid “Baai, chat (Terrace) achche se saaf kar dena. Bahche aa rahen hain. Cricket khelenge.” Of course, if my mom would have had her way, it would have been our kids for whom the terrace shall be cleaned.

PS: Preeti has tagged me here with the title of the post.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bloody Indians in Vegas

As mentioned in the previous post, here’s another twisted tale of telephony.

First, the disclaimer: Unlike other incidents on this blog, this one is not autobiographical. It happened with three guys whose identity shan’t be revealed. Being trustworthy has many benefits in the long run.

Three twenty some-things, born and brought up in India, gathered in Las Vegas. Let’s name the three characters as LK (Logical Kamina), CB (Confused Bhola) and DA (Devil’s Advocate).

LK stays in India and was on a three-week business trip to California. LK and CB had studied together in a reputed institute of India while DA and CB were doing their MS degree together in a reputed institute of USA. CB was the common friend and it was he who planned the two-day trip to Vegas in honor of LK’s short visit.

Apart from having good-natured fun, adventure and gambling in the sin-city, the idea (as must be expected given the group’s demographical attributes and the geography they were in) was to do something “sexy” (a refinement of their terminology; they called it chamdigiri).

LK is a pompous fellow and had already announced to the world that he was going to Vegas. Everyone in his circle naturally assumed that he would at least visit a strip-bar and so it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. It would have been foolish, according to LK, to take the blame and still not commit the crime. You have to hand him some points there. But let’s also keep in mind for the rest of the post that LK has been brought up quite well in a very traditional family.

CB, like most of the engineering student, was still a virgin and not very proud of the fact; however he was a good boy with a good heart. He has a wavering mind and can get carried away in his weak moments.

I don’t know much about DA apart from his role in this episode and hence the name. He was single mindedly focused on getting laid in Vegas and that was the reason he was on the trip, despite not being a close friend of LK.

Let’s jump straight to their hotel room when they were about to plan that something “sexy”. Of course, they have been discussing and researching it since days, but now was the time to act.

“We have three options: 1. Go to a nightclub, patao drunken girls, do some grinding and may be more. 2. Get a Lap-Dance in a Strip Club 3. Call a hooker.” LK summarized the problem efficiently.

“Let’s do 1 first and then we’ll do the third” DA was in the mood to live life to the fullest. The reason for him not including the second point was the budget constraint put on the "sexy" task before the trip began.

“I can’t do point number one. 24 saal me ek desi to pati nahi, ek raat me gori kahan se pategi” CB was brutally honest here.

“I agree with CB. Mujh se bhi nahi hoga point one.” LK had no delusions either.

“Ok, then let’s call the hooker. No point wasting time.” DA didn’t like the structured approach taken for the purpose.

“Naa. Raani nahi yaar. We’ll just take a Lap-dance and that’s it. Full-fledged thoda jyada ho jayega” the traditionally brought up LK voiced his reluctance.
(“Raani” is an intentional typo here. Call me a hypocrite if you will, but to me, expletives and swear-words in Hindi sound much more horrible than in English.)

“Who is going to know? What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” DA tried to persuade using conventional wisdom. He was distraught at the stand being taken.

“I agree with LK. Having paid-sex doesn’t feel right. Lap-dance is a good compromise” CB continued with the analytical tone.

“Majority wins. I am going to bathe and then we’ll all go to the “Rebecca’s Palace” across the street for the Lap-dance.” LK was relieved at CB’s support, and closed the discussion.

As LK finished his bath and walked into the room, he saw the pale face of CB and a nervous smile on DA.

“He called the hooker. Teeno ke liye ek hee mangaayi hain” CB was quick to offload the guilt. Clearly DA had attacked the still-a-virgin weak point of CB and got him to agree in LK’s absence.

“Abe, why did you agree!! Aur TEEN ke liye EK. Imagine how we would do it. Taking turns into the room ?? How filthy can you get!!” LK was extremely annoyed.

“Per-head one was getting out of budget constraint.” said CB.

“I don’t care. I am not participating. I am going alone to Rebecca’s. You two do what you want to.” LK made his point clear.

Within minutes, CB was back on LK’s side. DA couldn’t afford the cost alone. So they decided to call it off. So as to not bruise DA’s ego further, it was decided that CB would have to call up the agency and cancel the service.

“Do it quick. She would ask for money if she gets here” LK was strict on CB.

“Kya bolke manaa karun?” CB posed a valid question; not many have any answers to it. For an inexperienced bunch in a foreign territory, it was all the more difficult.

“You just call and say whatever comes to your mind at that time” LK, the wisest amongst the three, said.

CB rang up the number and came up with this gem “Hello! Actually our parents are also coming here. Please don’t come.”

LK and DA were in tears within seconds. Only a true son of soil, from the land where once Shravana was born, could have come up with that excuse.

CB didn’t lose his virginity that night, but all three had great fun at Rebecca’s. More importantly, they have ensured sound sleep without any worries for Indian ladies whose worse half would be traveling to Vegas. By now the word must have traveled through the escort services there and all the Indians must have been blacklisted.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Twisted Telephonic Tales

Rain Gods, all over the world, have developed quirky little sadistic tendencies in response to the Global warming. But those in Bangalore seem to have lost the touch this year. Right up to 2008, it used to rain heavily exactly between 6 and 9 in the evening. Those who have suffered know how cruel that timing is. This year however, it rains when the city sleeps (siesta time included) or after 9 at the worst. I am not very pleased with the situation though. Life has taught me to be wary if someone naughty starts behaving like an angel.

Anyway, here’s an entirely hypothetical question. Would you pick up your expensive mobile phone from a shit-pot (clean and western style, to make matters clearer), back in 2002, when recession was still very much there and incoming-calls were still not free? If yes, would you tell that to the world?

In my 3 year old mobile, the received calls’ duration is 320 hours while the dialed calls’ duration is 405 Hours. That ratio used to be 1:2 once upon a time; now it highlights the behavioral shift. Also, I am not very proud of the nearly 45 minutes/day blabber that these statistics indicate; though there are a few excusable reasons. There have been quite a few interesting minutes in those 725 hours. For example, two weeks ago, I received a call:

“Hello” I said, following the usual protocol. The number displayed on the mobile screen was unknown. There was a pause and the call was disconnected. It was midnight. My mobile beeped again a couple of minutes later with the same number and I picked up the call without speaking a word.

“Hello Priya !!” a nasal voice from the other side. He was probably drunk too. I disconnected with a succinct “Wrong number”. Phone beeped again.

“Hello, who are you?” we both said together and then he repeated it without the “Hello” and then I did the same.

They taught me at the school that the one who calls must first introduce oneself; I agree with the principle. I also find myself putting chewing-gum wrappers or any other paper in my pocket if there is no dust-bin around. However, the worst suffering is inflicted by the habit of turning up on time. Damn those manners, but now they are wired into me.

Coming back to our caller, let’s call him Ranjha, since I still don’t know his name. He told me to give the phone to Priya. I gathered that he was expecting her to pick up the phone when he called. I didn’t tell him that there is no Priya here; just me and my..errr..thoughts. He kept calling and I kept disconnecting after a few seconds, allowing him to scream “Priya” everytime. Apparently she must have been sleeping with me.

Later on I got bored of him and put the mobile in silent mode. There were 28 missed calls by the morning. I was pleased with my enviable status and saved his number as, guess what, Ranjha.
Ranjha called me again next night while I was surfing around and the last night’s pattern followed. I was now in no mood to clear the misunderstanding. On the third night I was ready for him and when he called, I let him listen to the “Bheegey Hont Tere” on my laptop. Man, how he swore.

Next he called me during the day time. When I picked up the phone, he realized, probably for the first time, that the phone number might actually belong to me or maybe I keep Priya’s phone always with me. That should have given him some respite and he should have logically concluded that it’s not wise to infer Priya to be with me during the nights if I pick up the phone always. I can’t say for sure whether love is blind, but Ranjha is definitely dumb.

Ranjha started flooding my mobile with SMS’s now. The plan was to irritate me by flooding the Inbox and force me to call and talk to him. Little did he know that my flat-mates used to call me “Baba” not for nothing. Scratch your nails on the table and I shall smile. Serve me the food of your canteen and I shall gorge. Turn off the fan and I won’t mind. Ranjha must have wasted at least Rs100 that day even with the best of the postpaid plans.

He still calls me sometimes and gets ignored mostly. Once in a while, I experiment if I am in the mood. Till now he has heard the spoon hit against various plates and bowls in my attempts to create music, the flush of the toilet and my futile whistling attempts.

I am not planning to let go of this toy soon, but let me announce the way they do it on Radio “If Priya is reading this blog and her number ends with something similar to 26267, she must contact me to claim a jealous, confused and by now definitely broken-hearted idiot.” Till she contacts me, I would take your requests and suggestions to torture him further. Suggestions like “get a life” would be courteously ignored.

Of course, his misery comes to an end if he introduces himself politely instead of demanding to know who I am and the same has been conveyed to him. But he refuses to learn those basic manners. He should have studied in my school.

Coming up two more tales of the phone in the next post:
1. The one who knew why you called.
2. Bloody Indians in Vegas.

Let me finish with a small incident while I used to stay in Gurgaon. My phone rang and the voice at the other end said “Hello Prashaaanttt” in a typical Delhi accent. I was expecting an invitation-for-Diwali-dinner call from my friend’s mother that day and I eagerly replied with an obedient “Namaste Aunty”. She clarified that she was calling from a bank and so I apologized, as sincerely as I could, while friends around me laughed aloud. She wanted me to have a personal loan from her bank, but by then she had lost the conviction in her voice.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Profound Lie

A solitary word spoken for the entire day and that too was a lie. Optimizations, in daily life, have been stretched too far I guess. Probably, I need to review my social life as well. Allow me to explain this profound lie.

At the Darshini hotel nearby, they have the same yellow colored six Rupees coupon for Tea and coffee. You are supposed to buy the coupon at cash counter and then present it to those who serve the food or drink. I drink coffee but say ‘Tea” at the cash counter while getting the coupon. Saves a few lip movements, less trouble to vocal cords and gives a timid thrill as an added benefit. Then, of course I take the coupon from the owner at the counter, then go to the waiter and point my finger at the coffee machine. It adds novelty to the waiter’s life as well.

I am tempted to go further and claim that I just say “T”. Beat that. That “T” is like a Black Hole. So much mass (with a destructive connotation) concentrated at a point and then nothing nearby.
Is it possible to speak lesser in an entire day and still maintain the property of falsehood? You must say something, gesture won’t count. You may request someone to ask you the question “Who rules the world, yet is wise and modest enough to keep it a secret?” or “Who slept with Cleopatra last night and got paid for it?” Then you might say “I”. That would be a lie, not much meat in there to debate over it. But there are quite a few potential problems with this approach.

You need to find someone who would just ask you the question and then leave you alone for the rest of the day. Clever ones can circumvent that by pre-recording the question. Care must be taken to have it pre-recorded by someone else because there is a room for the philosophical objection that word count for the day in your account is increasing even if your past self has spoken them. If we allow this objection to stand, then most of the film-stars and singers must have to forgo the cherished dream. Plus there must be someone else whom you are lying to. Deceiving thyself needs no words and is a widely followed practice.

The indisputable argument against the above mentioned pair of question-answer would be that “I” involves more effort and duration than “T” and we must find other alternatives. “E” looks to be a good choice since it involves the least syllables and other resources. I am considering only the English language here.

So assuming that you did manage to find someone who would help you fulfill this ambition by co-operating to circumvent the issues mentioned previously, we are still left to find questions that evoke an answer “E” which, of course, should be wrong. Here’s an example.

Fill in the blank: “When I was 14 and saw a loose one coming on my leg, all I had in mind was s_x”. You say “e” and break my “T” record, lying with the least (non-zero) effort on vocal cords, thereby projecting me as a pervert blinded by hormones instead of the cricket crazy teenager I was.

However, mathematical purists, with working knowledge in Linear Algebra, can argue that the lie with the “Tea” is not as absolute as I am making it out to be. Tea is neither opposite, nor orthogonal to coffee (they both have milk in common). Economists would nod their heads as most of them have fed on Tea-Coffee as a classic example of substitutes while studying the elementary utility theory.

As I pressed “enter” after the previous sentence, MS word put me on a new page. That crap took up one whole page. I am forced to reflect at this moment on my blogging habits. Some of the posts have been based on true incidents or some stupid analysis. At the other end are the stories which involve time-travel, naked woman bleeding, animals and inanimate things talking. Once a bee did the whole narration and she was dead three days ago, so a bee-ghost too managed a representation. There is absolutely no middle path and I would try to bridge that gap in my next story. It would work under realistic constraints. However, the next post would be again based on real life incidents: “The Twisted Telephonic Tales”.

Meanwhile, let me share this absolutely gorgeous song I came across on a BBC radio program in which they showcase some upcoming bands which are still far away from stardom, if at all they would reach there. The song is “Hellhole Rat Race” by the “Girls” band. The lyrics are deceivingly simple with a groovy flavor. It’s got a distinctively psychedelic touch to it, which is why it is being put here. Give it a go, have some patience with it and this visit to the blog might not be as futile as you might have been ruing two paragraphs ago. There is no video content, so streaming should be faster.

Friday, May 29, 2009

VAT 69

Centuries ago, strange events occured in abundance simply because there was no one to report them. They laid the foundations for many anomalies we observe today.

So when a wise sage informed Rameshwar and Revati that extraordinary things would happen in their family once they give birth to a pair of twins, Revati believed him and resolved to name them Karan -Arjun. She had fed on Mahabharata stories since she was five and was a big fan of these two sons of Kunti. However, the twins were born under very ordinary placement of planets in their horoscope, which foretold no special qualities in them. A disappointed Revati named them Nakul and Sahadev.

But the wise sage wasn’t wrong about the extraordinary part. Immediately after the twins were born, dreams of twenty-first century started haunting Rameshwar in his sleep every Saturday night. In his dreams, he would always be in Betty’s room invisible to the inmates of her room. Betty was a regular American girl and a cheerleader. Rameshwar would watch her TV when no one was around, else he would simply be the invisible voyeur until his dream broke to the cries of their pet cock.

Rameshwar kept his dreams to himself but he did claim of having visions of the future. He figured out that in times to come, Indians would be ruled by foreign invaders since they would be busy dividing themselves into castes and regions. He taught the English Language to Nakul and Sahadev, hoping that his descendants would be in a strong position to get clerical jobs when times come. To his dissatisfaction, Sahadev was growing up into a cynical sadist while Nakul was becoming a romantic wannabe.

I shall burden you with just one more character: he, who must not be named so soon in the story. He lived near Rameshwar’s house and was a compulsive peeping-tom. Although a thoroughly straight guy, he enjoyed watching Rameshwar bathe every Sunday morning. Rameshwar had guarded his secret well, but like all other mortals, he needed an outlet. In his nearly open bathroom, he would practice the way Betty’s boyfriends would impress her, he repeated their dialogues. And even though Rameshwar had a good grasp of Sa-Re-Ga-Ma and the ragas and a great deal of respect for the Shastriya Sangeet, he couldn’t help humming PussyCat Dolls numbers when alone, presumably of course, in his bathroom. The peeping-tom memorized most of the acts, even though he couldn’t understand the words.

Years later, Rameshwar confided in the wise sage and on his advice went on a pilgrimage to Himalayas. Nature has its way of balancing.Immediately after he left the village, Betty evaporated from her cheerleading act for her college football team (which led to a minor injuries to the girl she was going to catch) and got transmitted in Rameshwar’s village, centuries behind.

Understandably, she was quite confused in the beginning but figured out that she is in India. What she failed to notice was that she had also time-traveled since everything around looked exactly the same the way they show India to be on TV: poor people living in huts, excreting in open fields and no signs of development, scientific or otherwise. She tried communicating with some but couldn’t overcome the language barrier. No one understood the signs of a telephone or a plane; but they all agreed amongst themselves that she looked stunning in the tiny red skirt.
Wandering along in such sorry state, she saw the twins, Nakul and Sahadev coming her way. All Indians looked the same to her, but these two were simply indistinguishable. They too were checking out this beautiful white creature.

“Piss off, you jerks”, Betty stil hadn't got used to being stared at.

“EXCUSE ME…” Sahadev talked in English for the first time outside his family.The twins were pleasantly surprised to know that their Dad wasn’t fooling around with them for all these years. English really was a language spoken by humans. Betty figured that these two must be working in one of those call-centers and was relieved to no end.

“Hey Guys,where can I get a phone and a bus or anything to get to the airport. I am stuck here since days” Betty got to the point without much fuss.

“I am sorry ma’am. Never heard about these things. Why don’t you come and stay with us?” Nakul cooed. He saw this whole episode as providence’s way of gifting him this lovely bird.

“Are you nuts? Stay here in this shit? No phones!! No electricity!!Haven’t you guys ever done anything worth speaking of?”

“We Indians invented Zero.” Nakul came back.

“I am sure you did. How could you not? Just take a look around”, Betty said. Beneath the red top, she had a heart capable of sarcasm. Nakul let his eyes wander and noticed that there indeed was quite a bit of whole lot of nothing around them. He got her point.

“We invented Yoga too” Nakul wasn’t going to give up so easily.

“Oh! Would you please teach me that before I leave? I need to get in shape” Betty moved her hands around the fatty parts of her body.

“Yoga is supposed to awaken the Kundalini. Is that how Yoga is sold in your part of the world: A butt shrinking exercise?” Sahadev was not too keen about her. Betty let her hands hang on her sides.

“Is there no way I can go back home?” Betty showed first sign of sadness.

“Throw a penguin in the desert” Sahadev replied with conviction.

“How is that going to help?” Betty regretted asking that, that very moment.

“In the same way that the sacrifice of two buffaloes last year finally led to good rainfall” Nakul tried to explain. Betty had a blank look on her face.

“You see, the logic is simple. God is kind and powerful, but he remains busy as hell while trying to serve billions of prayers. So he prioritizes based on the severity of the requests. When the villagers prayed for water, they still had wells to drink from and food to eat, although not in abundance. God had more important things to do meanwhile. What does a child do if mother doesn't listen ? He cries. The villagers cries however wasn't audible to God because they were not heart wrenching enough.

So the villagers cut the head of the two buffaloes and in their dying moments the buffaloes yelled out to God in an agony only dying ones can. God left creating new species which could survive on mud and rushed to the buffaloes which by that time were dead.

'Who on earth did this?' was the next logical thought in his mind and the answer was we, the villagers. Having captured his attention, we were already standing there with hands folded and being the good-natured almighty, he gave us the rain and took the buffaloes to heaven. Some said the rain smelled of Buffaloes’ pee but you got to take it anyway.” Sahadev finished his theory with a convoluted nose.

“Can’t she simply sacrifice a goat instead of finding a Penguin and the desert?” Nakul wanted an easy life for Betty.

“In case there are many Gods, the God in charge of displaced beings would be the first to rush for the Penguin and there our Betty’s plea will directly get serviced without much bureaucracy” Sahadev always had solid reasons to back his words.

Betty wasn’t even listening by this time. Someone doing a hip-hop dance caught her attention. It was he, who shall be named shortly. She walked towards him ignoring the twins.

‘I got real big brains, but yaa lookin at maa...” sang he with a pelvic thrust. Years of peeping at Rameshwar was finally paying off as Betty started grooving with him. He followed that with a few more moves that Betty’s boyfriends used to impress her. She was bowled over by his charm and chose to stay with him forever.

There was never much verbal communication between them. Their bodies talked to each other passionately. She taught him different ways of making love. The sexual positions he learnt from her were too many in variety and number than what he had observed while peeping around in the village. He finally decided to write a book on those artistic positions. She used to call him Vat; it was difficult for her to pronounce his full name, Vatsyayana.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Bribe

Just when I am supposed to study Econometrics and Statistical Inference, the urge to blog overwhelms me. Escapism is a widely prevalent vice. During exam-time in Kharagpur, we wing-mates had a tendency to elaborately plan a trip for the vacations to follow. Everyone knew that there won't be any trip, but no-one acknowledged it as long as the planning kept our minds off the exams. To make the planning more credible, we would get down to the minutest logistical details like where would we stay and of course covered the basic necessities like how much whisky and cigarettes to pack. One such fictitious trip to the nearby Digha beach was postponed because one guy pointed out that there would be a high tide; so we instead planned for Darjeeling.

However, we did manage to have an extremely successful trip to Gangtok after the final year exams. In a similar spirit, I did go for a jog one particular morning in the eighth semester; unfortunately no one saw that and now I myself doubt whether that was a dream, an illusion created in subconscious as a response to unfulfilled yearnings.


Another forgettable thing about those days was my contribution to the final year project. It's rare to have two or more people working on the same project, but since the project assigned to me was a sponsored one and relatively difficult (Speech Controlled Toy Car), my project guide assigned it to two of us. The toy-car was really cool: red with jazzy stickers and big enough for a four year old to sit and drive it.

We were supposed to develop a speech-recognition software that could decode the basic verbal instructions and then interface the hardware to control the navigation of car. That is all I can tell about the project. Most of it was done by my partner. The partner was also kind enough to give me some slides to show in the final review and told the review committee that I contributed in a few modules. My only contribution was cleaning the rat-poo inside the car after we returned from a month long winter break. Kabhi kabhi kapda bhi maar deta tha car pe. I sacrificed one of my old T-shirt for the purpose. Though I did feel sorry for letting down my professor and sent him "Happy Teacher's Day" mail after passing out.

My stay in KGP isn't all about failures and disappointments though. I was a regarded as a master in manipulating data extremely fast such that it doesn't look manipulated. Friends used to drop by in case they failed to get their experiments done on time. One more high point was that I and my Bridge-partner Piyush managed a Bronze medal in the year we learnt how to play the game. What must be considered here is that Kharagpur is a Bong's den and I really can’t tell you how well versed Bengalis are in doing things that involve sitting for hours.

There were quite a few wildly funny incidents which involved ragging, nudity (male) and intoxications; let's take up a cleaner one below.

Our wing of 12 guys had a open door policy; anyone would walk-in for a sutta( cigarette) and find people playing cards at almost any hour of the day. Piyush and I were aspiring Instrumentation Engineers in our third year and firm believers in cycle-pooling.

One fine evening a sincere branch-mate walked into a smoke filled room and tells us that next day there is a class-test on MicroProcessors. He also informed that last year the professor had given 20 questions from the GATE exam and hence deduced that he should be studying the GATE paper. We inferred that it would be an objective type question paper and hence deduced that we should create a cheat-sheet. We wrote 1-20 on a sheet of paper and idea was to keep exchanging that sheet in exam hall with correct answers written on it. Satisfied with our preparation, we meandered into the world of Kings and Queens, and Hearts and Diamonds.

Next day Piyush and I wore shirts which had front pockets. Two guys wearing formal shirts riding double-seat on a cycle is a rare seen in KGP, we were men with a plan and least bothered about the general expectations in accordance with non-existent fashion trends of the campus .I kept the neatly folded sheet in my pocket. Piyush entered the classroom first and sat behind a bright chap and then I managed to sit behind Piyush. Luckily another studious fellow named Bornik sat behind me. We were all set.

Professor distributed the question papers. I knew answers to 2 out of 20, Piyush knew none. Everything was going as expected. I passed the sheet to Piyush with my 2 answers and then he returned it back without any value addition. I hurriedly pushed the sheet back into my pocket. We were sweating and nervous.

Then I saw Bornik’s left palm slightly open behind me. Even though he wasn’t in the loop, I decided to slip the cheat-sheet to him and rely on his presence of mind to comprehend its purpose. When the prof was about to turn, I got hold of the paper in my pocket and squeezed it into his hand, keeping my eyes all the time on the prof’s movements. Heartbeat-rate trebled. Bornik was apparently shocked by the action. The following conversation ensued:

“Ye kya hain?” (What’s this?)

“Khol ke dekh. Sab samajh jayega.” (Open it and you’ll understand)

“Aisa kyon kar rahan hain? Iski kya jarurat hain ?”(Why are you doing this? What’s the need of it?)

“Abe saale, discussion ka time nahi hain. Khol ke dekhaa ?” (Not a time for discussions; did u open it?)

“Mein aise hee bol deta hun. Mujhe nahi chaiye ye. Wapis le le.” (I’ll be telling you verbally. I don’t want this.Take it back).

“Abe likh ke de Ghochu. Kuch nahi hoga. Durr mat.” (Write it down #&@&#. Don’t worry)

Of course there were gaps in the above conversation, the words were not clear and we spoke whenever the professor turned. After a few such frantic and confusing verbal exchanges, he simply started dictating and we could manage 4-5 answers amongst us.

Then the bell rang and prof collected the answers. I leaned forward to Piyush and we exchanged that once-again-fucked look. I told Piyush that Bornik didn’t have the courage to exchange the cheat-sheet; he kept the sheet with himself and hence I couldn’t pass it along.
Meanwhile, Bornik stood up and took two steps to my desk.
He thumped his palm loudly on my desk.
When he lifted his palm, I saw a ten rupee note there.
He walked off in anger.
I was baffled for a second. Then it dawned.
I checked my front pocket. In it, lay the sheet which was supposed to sail us through.

PS : Bornik, to this day, thinks that I tried to bribe him for helping me in the test. He would never talk to me for the unintentional humiliation caused.