Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Still Don't Know

When I died, I wasn’t surprised to be escorted in to the gate that read:

Welcome To

where else


Death leaves one with the bitterness that can't be cured. No one recovers from the humiliation. Building heaven for the dead is like building a machine that snatches the eye balls out of a man and gives him tickets to a silent movie in return. The “Where Else” made a lot of sense. Everyone goes to hell; because wherever one goes, there is hell.

But there is order in hell. Hell is divided into many large halls. (You don’t see any fire or demons; the memories of your death are torture enough.) Which hall you go to, depends on the way you died.

A hellboy appeared.

“This way, Sir.”

He looked exactly like me.

“We’ll have to pass through a few of the halls before we reach your deathbed.”

“So, I get a bed, eh?” I was lame when it came to small-talk, even in death.

In the first hall, some beings were standing, some were sitting and some were lying on their beds. Those who were lying on beds cried the loudest.

“Sir, if you sit on your bed, you can never stand again, but you may lie down. And once you lie down, you can neither stand nor sit.”

They all kept repeating how they died in between their sobs. This hall belonged to those who died a natural death of old age.

We entered the next hall. This hall had lesser lethargy but more gloom than the previous one. It belonged to those who fell victims to fatal diseases before they could grow old. I looked for my dog.

“Sir, the animals are immediately recycled back to earth.” Hellboy knew it all.

The third hall belonged to those who were quashed in accidents and natural disasters. The tone of weeping had stronger sense of wrongdoing and uneasiness about it.

“Sir, please brace yourself. We are about to enter the most hostile hall in hell.”

We stepped in to the next hall. Men were bawling violently. They were trying to talk, but midway through the sentences they would turn away and begun wailing and stomping their limbs.

“What kind of deaths did they suffer?” I asked apprehensively.

“Sir, they all died in ridiculous fashions, and for little fault of anyone.”

Shouldn’t they be in the Accident Hall then?”

“Sir, there is a difference between being run over by a car and being asphyxiated to death beneath a fat whore.”

“You see that man, sir? He died of shock because he mistook his kid’s belt lying on the floor for a snake. And that man died of a bullet fired up in the sky by one of his wedding party reveler. These men are so embarrassed of their ways of death that they can’t speak about it and so the sorrow lingers on and becomes more and more severe.”

In one corner of the hall, I saw a room with its door locked. Hellboy was leading me to it. I could hear horror filled yells from within the room.

“Sir, the man in this room had his balls eaten of by his lover’s dog. The dog had never seen a naked man before. This man has been the most severe case of embarrassment we have had in recent times.”

Hellboy proceeded to open the door of the room. The man inside ran to me and held me tight and opened his mouth to say something, but voice escaped him. He was asked to go to a nearby bed.

“Sir, may I request you to please proceed into this room.”

“What! Did I die such a sorry death?”

Hellboy stayed mum.

“Am I the dog that choked on his balls? But I would have been recycled then!”

Hellboy continued staring at the floor.

“Won’t you please tell me how I died? I don’t seem to remember it.”

“Sir, we don’t tell anyone how they died. They all know it on their own.”

Saying so, he shut the door on me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Tailor's Box

When Abdul took measurements of his customers, he secretly measured their age too. Decades of sewing clothes had taught him how the human body decays with time.

Years ago when the rich landlord had brought red silk for making curtains for his house, Abdul saved enough material to tailor his daughter Abeeda’s wedding dress . He hid the dress in a box which he opened on the day she got married twelve years later. Abdul invited everyone to the wedding, but the rich landlord.

Kasim, the butcher was invited too. Kasim’s daughter Sakina was Abeeda’s friend. Sakeena eloped with Kasim’s assistant and came back home five days later at midnight, bruised and beaten. Kasim took her to his slaughterhouse and lynched her. Her body was never found.

The whole village had eaten Sakina bit by bit the next day, at the price of a cow’s meat. Abdul knew this because he got the bone which matched the size of her hand. He puked, but he kept quiet.

A few months before the whole village ate Sakina, Kasim had come to Abdul to get his trousers loosened. Abdul found a lottery ticket in his pocket and hid it in the same box in which he hid Abeeda’s wedding dress.

After a week when the lottery winners were announced, Kasim’s ticket won a petty sum that wouldn’t buy anything more than a good meal for two. So Abdul took the ticket to Kasim, expecting a good meal as an appreciation for his honesty. Kasim shut the door on him and swore that he will tell the entire village that he is a thief. But Kasim didn’t do that; he just stopped going to Abdul to get his trousers loosened.

Abdul was happy that Abeeda didn’t elope. If she had, he would have given the red silk dress to the rich landlord and hid Abeeda in the same box in which he hid the dress.

But she didn’t elope and she got married and nine month later she gave birth to Suleman.

One day when little Suleman was sitting in the mud, Abeeda asked Abdul, “Papa, will you make a dress for my Suleman’s funeral. And keep it in the box in which you hid my wedding dress”.

“Yes, I will.”

Abeeda looked longingly at her Suleman and asked Abdul in a trembling voice, “Papa, how tall will my son grow?”

“Taller than me.”

Abdul was right. Suleman grew up to three and a half feet, a good two inch taller than his grandfather. And when Suleman died an old man, shrunken by an inch, they took the dress, which Abdul made seventy years ago, out of the box. It fit the dead body perfectly.

The box remains empty since then.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tooth-Fairies And Soap

Yesterday I helped the cause of a budding barber. Although my right ear still hurts, I am satisfied with my readiness for an impromptu “Who has the shortest hair?” contest.
It’s been a long break and I am pleasantly surprised at the number and identities of the people who noticed the absence. I have come to realize that this blog is seen more as a tool for self-exhibition than as a place where I write stuff.
But this self-exhibition is still a fiction (albeit of little commercial value). What I exhibit is of course chosen and/or manipulated. (E.g. More than half of the apologetic scenarios mentioned here never happened. Apologies for that.) Nearly all of us do this selection with a varying degree of awareness and intent.
Does that make me liar? Well, I do lie sometimes in real life, but the lies on this blog are of different nature. I add ornamentation purposely to entertain, and not to cheat. Things that I have on mind while writing are on the lines of “Does this sound funny or intelligent?”, “What if?”, “Is this getting too inconsistent?” etc. I don’t see this blog as a place where I express my innermost thoughts (blah) or try to connect with people.
However, I maintain that I did have that haircut from a novice barber yesterday.
Meanwhile, my new neighborhood is living up to the expectations mentioned in the previous post. Also, there ain’t gonna be no Deember for me. Fish are too selfish to bother about their owners. I now have a small garden instead, with over a dozen plants bought from a nearby nursery. Tender little weeds have begun sprouting in most of the pots. I don’t have the heart to snatch them out of the soil. They look like a bunch of street puppies wagging their tails amidst the foreign bred dogs.
I watched television for a few weeks (mostly trash). In every episode of “Emotional Atyachar”, after the initial preaching about the vices of infidelity, whenever the cheating partner smooches the enchantress, they blur the area of action and pop comes the advertising banner below: “Spraymint . Be kiss-ready”. I love capitalism.
I must clarify though that despite the last example, I am all for capitalism. More things get created, both good and bad. Creation is, well, interesting. If you mock at it, you better be good. Saying “Tooth-fairies are bullshit” isn’t enough, true though it might be. Saying “The only Tooth-fairy I have known is that beautiful dentist” is better, but still lame. It’s hard to match the idea of “Tooth-fairy”, however ridiculous it may seem.
Things need not be fantastic in a general sense to be marveled at. Take Soap. Soap, like every one of us, is made up of many-many subatomic particles. It can be traced back to Big-Bang. And soaps, as we know them, will cease to exist in not so distant future. The soap I bought after the hair-cut, had it been luckier, could have rubbed the dirty body of a beautiful Tooth-fairy. It still could, if I get luckier. A soap can be eaten too (it’s delicious).
I must stop here. I am hungry. There are too many loose and philosophically contestable statements in this post already.