Your Ham is My Spam

If we are not blood-related or haven’t ever eaten a meal together, you don’t have my permission to add me to a group chat.

But of course, you don’t know that. So you’ll add me anyway. I will spend a total of twenty-eight seconds to scan what sort of fuckery I am being sucked in. Post which, I will collect my peace, my battery percentage, and my mobile data, and moonwalk the fuck out of your migraine-inducing, self-patting, spam-generating, chat factory.

Shit, if I liked spam so much, I would reply back to that Nigerian prince asking how can I get all that $100000000 USD I have just won. Or appreciate every time the elegance of the same diya that comes to me with “Happy Diwali” written  all over it, from 20 other people, who also got it from 20 other people, who also got it from 20 other people.

You see, I don’t need that kind of mental congestion on a daily basis, and I don’t want my phone to blink thrice as much as Miley Cyrus on coke does. I like to keep my notifications bar cleaner than my toilet; no toilet skid mark, by no shitty skid, Mark.
I also keep my friend circle small (it’s more like a half moon) and my chat list smaller. People who care about me, call me. People who are a little further away on the friendship spectrum, text me to find out if they can call me.

Then there is an entire gamut of irrelevance, coincidence, and forceful companionship jammed in the obscure bites on my phone. These ones text me once in a blue moon about certain things under the sun, and I text them back. Memes, emoticons, and gossips get tossed back and forth like ping-pong (but way less enjoyable). Until these ones get married, move to a different country, or drop dead. Although, so far – by the good grace of the lord above, and by the sheer misfortune of the foes of these nicely nice earthlings – no one has died yet. But we can’t rule out that possibility, can we? Not that I look forward to such a melancholic mishap, or that I have the genes of a posh white guy, who wears suspenders, inhabits the top chambers of a skyscraper and whilst smoking a cigar and manspreading, cascades down his dreams of owning the oceans, and the mountains, and colonizing the mars, to his entourage, <Insert Maniacal laughter here>, nor do I have the upbringing of a caveman, living under the rock of inhumanity, on a mission to perish the entire planet, because he believes the commandments of an imaginary creature weighs more than the buildings and the bodies he bombs, I just think it’s a bad idea to text a dead person.

 

And if you ever accidentally, or out of habit, texted them after their death, you will be two blue ticks and “Timothy (or whoever the fuck is dead) is typing …” screen away from a cardiac arrest. Next thing you know, you have lost your mind, and you are trying to convince everyone you see dead people.

“Muthafucka not dead yet! I tells ya! He not a ghost! I see him, behind ‘em trees ova there. I says the truths!” 

Look, I know I am being hyperbolic and black, but my point is, forceful chat groups, for lack of a better word, are wack (or is it called whack?)! It’s a very confined, very ambitious, and very annoying platform, where a group of people with very less to zero social life and a soft corner for drama, come together to share trivial information, wish each other happy birthday followed by firecracker and cake emojis, or ask everyone what time of the day it is in their time zone.

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“It must be late for you! What time is it? Is it today or is it still yesterday? Or is it tomorrow already? What day is it? What year is it? Is Jesus born yet? AD? BC? MC? How about primitive reptiles? Neanderthals? Dinosaurs? Are you behind us? You must be behind us! Because in my time zone, we now have face recognition apps, where you can morph yourself as a dog. You know, the whole point of evolution is to look like animals once again. Right? Wanna see me as a dog? No? Okay then, here is my picture as a dog. Goodnight!”

They share pictures of zucchini and guacamole on their plates, their pets dressed up in onesies, and their babies dressed up in a rag. Someone tell them, there is an app for all your pouts and whereabouts photos – it’s called Instagram. By the way, did you guys know, if you don’t share your food pictures on Instagram, the app doesn’t get full nutrition and turns weak? I know this! That’s why I feed that motherfucker good, once in a while.

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Some of my friends tell me they are a part of chat groups with a social cause. That they discuss the most prevalent atrocities in the society. That when no one listens to them, they unite on Whatsapp for the greater good of the humankind. That they don’t understand the difference between an online forum, a modern revolution of sorts, and a mobile application meant for chatting. The content of few such groups, from what I am told, revolves pretty much around the most commonly and easily thrown “F-word” around these days. It’s the most sensitive, powerful and controversial word today. When someone drops the “F-bomb”, half of the room goes quiet in guilt, and you hear crickets in your backyard shaming your chauvinistic existence. And as you would have already guessed, I am not talking about the word “Fuck”. In fact, fuck fuck! Who gives a fuck about fuck anymore? And I am also not talking about the other “F word” that rhymes with “maggot”. That word can eat a bag of dicks! (Pardon me. This is just for Pun, guys!)I am talking about – guys, of all shapes, size and sexual orientation, please hang your heads low, and dig up a hole of disgrace and bury yourself in it – the word, Feminism. I support the movement, but I have never been a part of any such chat groups. But I know they exist, and in my free time, when I am bored of reading and watching lopsided millennial debates on sold out platforms, I wonder, if a group like that, consists of a bunch of privileged and empowered women with the halo of arrogance on their heads, simply agreeing with each other.

“You are the best.”
“No, you are the best.”
“I dare anyone who thinks otherwise!”

Firecrackers, heels, wine glass, bra, lipstick, kiss, tiara, firecrackers, biceps, and a monkey covering his face for some reason – in that order.

Well, I am going to stop now. I don’t want the entire F clan keyboard warriors to pick up virtual fights with me because I am never going to win such fights. Besides, why fight? Why fight with someone who is already on your side and wants you empowered (Or isn’t probably as empowered as you are)? Also, no one ever has ever won a debate on this topic by debating from the neg side of it. And if you ever try to play the devil’s advocate, the devil himself descends from the hell (or is it ascends from the hell? Either way, screw semantics!) to the debate assembly and tells you, “Bro, bhai, man, buddy, anna, dude, amigos, chetta, mate, what are you doing? Please shut the fuck up!” Yes, he is a feminist too, guys! He is a man, and he is the devil, and he is a feminist.

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Then there are family chat groups – you can’t escape those. You have to actively participate in the squabbles and the jubilant festival chants that go on for many celestial cycles, until you grow old, die and reincarnate, only to pick up from where you had left. Meanwhile, your last seen is from 20 years ago, and Google has made sure to pin all your personal data in a folder named “for creeping purposes only” printed in Harlow Solid italic, on top of it.
If you go quiet in those groups, they all smell disrespect. And if you go quiet for a longer time, they assume you are on drugs. And that you maybe, but the silver lining on being drugs is that you eat a lot when they feed you. And they like it when you eat a lot.

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And before I wrap it up, let me touch down upon the most inutile and the most pointless cringe-fest, that is, every alumni group, every residential society group, every long lost group, every omg-haven’t-seen-your-fat-ass-since -school-years-and-still-don’t-care-about-your-poetry-and-mimicry-skills group, every workplace group, every post gym talk group, and every other acquaintance created, owned, and poorly managed Whatsapp group.

People, seriously, and I mean that, in Samuel Jackson’s angry motherfucking voice, Kanye West’s, I’mma smack the shit out of you, face, and John Oliver’s, I am asking you a question, but I am actually making a great fooking point mate, hand gestures, what the actual fuck?

Why are we uniting (or re-uniting for that matter) under the pressure of the people who suffer from texting diarrhea (and probably carpal tunnel syndrome? I don’t know if you get it from texting, but if you spam a lot, you most definitely should.) and have pledged to notify us about every grain they ate, every air molecule they breathed, and every time their brain farted an easily forgotten limerick, joke, or a meme idea.

Can we just, for a minute, pause and think like an adult about the downside of creating a chat group full of people, with empty lives and free data packs, every time, an idea so unprolific, an infant could reject it, and is also probably the one capable of taking someone’s brains as a hostage, pops up? And think, maybe, just a fucking maybe, it isn’t the best way to treat people who have agreed to share their phone numbers with you on only one unmentioned rule, that you won’t get them in trouble.

If you are a sucker for virtual validation and spam generation, by all means, go on gallivanting from one mediocre gossip commode to another, but you should spare the people who aren’t meant for that shit, just like you shouldn’t hack into their phones, commit a proxy crime, and bite the SIM off.

 

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A Damsel in Distress

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The prince plunged his sword into the throat of a monster. It chortled as its blood spluttered on the cobblestones of the castle. The prince pushed the monster down and turned around swinging his sword. There were no more monsters on the bridge. The last of the valiant company of his men were fighting them further down. He could see the armor of the few of his remaining men, glitter in the cold moonlight. He wanted to rush to their aid, but the monster horde seemed endless. So many men lost, and it would all be in vain if he couldn’t rescue the princess. He gritted his teeth and turned towards the castle.

It took him a few tries to get the castle doors open. He ran into the empty castle, shouting her name. He wandered the halls calling to her at the top of his lungs. Finally, he stumbled into the throne room, there in the far corner on a large throne shaped from the skeleton of some long dead monstrosity, lay the princess. She lay in a nest of silk pillows and apart from the pained expression on her face seemed rather unhurt. Continue reading

“Life begins at forty”, they said…

Now don’t get me wrong, I have read enough inspirational bollock about people claiming that “life begins at forty”, and how forties are the new twenties. And I do suppose they are; with all that botox, steroids, liposuction and tummy tucks. Which is probably pretty similar to a 22 years old Kylie Jenner today. But that is not for us; middleclass folks.

"Believing life begins at 40, Dave decided to take it easy for the first 39."

I am sure you may think that your midlife crises would constitute “spur of the moment” vacations to Spain for the Tomatina festival, but then your bank will slap you on your face with it’s barely five figure balance and EMIs. So, then you decide to pick up a relatively inexpensive hobby, like an obsessive, aggressive, omnipotent, all consuming drive to convert your porch into a garden. And your Pinterest is all about DIY planters, perennials, annuals, terrariums and succulents.

You decide to garner words of undying appreciation from your social media followers/friends by calling your garden, your own tiny attempt to save bees from extinction. Because isn’t midlife crises all about finding meaning? At some point you really start believing that you care, in fact care a lot, you cry over the death of Harambe. And yet you don’t give a fuck about America’s elect president, teaching men “how to grab them by the pussy” but calling Climate Change a scam.

You realize your last year’s jeans feels tighter, you scour your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter every single day, multiple times to find anything, anyone out there to inspire you to lose weight. And the 81 years old nun who goes for Ironman every single year becomes your greatest inspiration. You search online; you find Gold’s gym right in the next lane. They charge 15,000/- a year for using the gym, and 36,000/- for six months of personal trainer. Your bank slaps you again with a reminder of your child’s overdue school fees. So, the next day you find out that Beyonce is Vegan, and then you wonder Vegan way would help you lose weight and keep your pockets heavy.

You invest a couple of thousand bucks in Rujuta Divekar’s diet for Vegan Gujratis. You blow another few thousands at Hypercity, you arm yourself with groceries enough to feed an orphanage, and very little olive oil. Because you realize that you are not as rich as that bitch, Rujuta, and you’ll have to sell your kidney if you want to continue using Olive oil for the entire family.

That evening you find yourself eating a salad comprised of spinach, cucumber, tomatoes and a bowl full misery. You brave yourself to stuff one forkful after another, and feel more of a cow than you have ever in your lifetime. Which then reminds you of that yummy beef curry from Ilango’s and that makes you cry, through your tear filled eyes, you open the Swiggy app on your phone and order a large, double cheese bacon pizza from Papa Johns with beef toppings.

But, no your mother hasn’t raised a quitter, so the next day you wake up and transfer 50,000/- to Gold’s gym, you’ll pay your son’s fees next quarter, along with the late fee, you decide.

When you walk out of your home, you barely glance through the dying plants in your tiny garden, begging for water. You tell yourself you’ll water them tomorrow, but today, today you sweat in your seven thousand rupees Adidas active wear and Puma shoes.

That night, when you take a whole of five minutes to slowly lower yourself on the seat of your English commode, because your body aches in places you never knew existed, you take your phone and check the prices for tummy tucks and liposuction.

 

 

After all these years

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The ball landed near the bedroom window and Kumara Swamy went to pick it up.

“ I need a change,” Tatta said sinking deeper into his inclined reading chair.

“ Oh, you always say that…you said that on our first anniversary fifty years ago…” Patti smiled running a comb through her long white hair.

“ Yes, you are right. I have wanted to do it many times before…never could muster the courage really…until now..”

“Oh, it is just a fancy with you. You think like this for a while and then things go back to normal. I think it will last for maybe a week this time…wanna bet?” Patti gave Tatta a naughty smile.

“No, this time I know for sure it is different.” Tatta stared at the ceiling from his reclining chair. Something in his voice made Patti stop, she stared at him, comb stuck halfway through her hair.

“What are you saying…” her voice snagged on a tangle in her hair.

“I am saying I need a change. And this time I am going to do it.” Tatta’s voice was tired but determined.

“Ok, but why do you want a change after all these years…?”

“Because I am bored of it!” Tatta hissed.

Patti half stood up out of the bed, comb still hanging from her hair. She could hear years of resentment seep like vitriol into the silence of the afternoon.

“I see, and how long have you been ‘bored’ of it.?”

“You said it yourself. Around the time of our first anniversary…” Tatta’s voice was low again but like a coiled snake ready to strike. Continue reading

Sahib and the widow

Jaishankar shivered, not because it was too cold, which it definitely was, but because a jolt of desire ran down his body just as he set his eyes on the widow. He sat on a frayed cane chair, in her small verandah surrounded by towering pine trees and a splatter of wild geraniums. Her three children ran around the verandah in various stages of undress, their rib cages jutting out like those children in Somalia, completely oblivious to the chill; a chill that grazed the insides of Jaishankar’s bones, especially after it had rained all night in the hilly town.

“Sahib, coffee.” She said, holding a dirty tray with a cracked ceramic mug, and steaming filter coffee inside. Jaishankar stared at her, rather stared at her olive colored cleavage spilling down her blouse, the seams of which were on the verge of tearing. Her cheap cotton saree wafted of sandalwood and sweat; and some where between his legs, desire reared its head.

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“Theek hai ji, thank you.” He said. He regurgitated the phlegm stuck at the base of his throat and spat a mouthful at the bed of geraniums to his left. He watched in fascination as the dirty green, thick mold slid down a purple flower and splat on the grass bed below. He then cleared his throat and turned to talk about the matter for which he had visited the widow’s home.

“Saritha, I have heard rumours about you.” He said and allowed the base of his throat to loudly scratch his adam’s apple. He could feel another cluster of phlegm forming there.

Saritha squatted on the ground next to Jaishankar and shooed her three children away. “What rumours, Sahib?”

“That you…” He cleared his throat and spat again at his favourite bed of geraniums as a waft of freezing wind shook him with vehemence, “That you…you know…give favours, in exchange for money.”

The widow stared back at him, her eyes glistening. “What?! What are these rumours, Sahib? Who told you this?” Then just as understanding dawned on her face, her voice trembled, “Have you come to arrest me, Sahib? Where is the constable?”

“No..no I have not come to arrest, not just yet. I have come…” He cleared his throat again, and his pants suddenly became tight. A welcome surge of warmth engulfed his body and it took massive amounts of self-control to not grab the widows olive breasts and chew at her nipples. “I have come to ask, if you know, you will help me…how you help those other men.”

A heavy veil of silence fell over the verandah, even the children froze between playing kabaddi, and the only thing that broke the silence was a violent bout of wind.

The widow opened her mouth to say some thing; he could see her throat working and her collarbone jutting out in righteous defiance. He spoke quickly, to make his desperate point clearer.

“Look Saritha, you give me what I want and I will make sure you’re not arrested.” Jaishankar spoke, he was already antsy sitting out there in the verandah; wary of any passers by who might see the celebrated police inspector, Jaishankar, in the house of a whore.

“But Sahib, the rumours are not true. Look at us, me and the children, do we look like have any money to feed ourselves?” Saritha pleaded, her eyes filled to the brim. “It has been six months since my husband died, we are only surviving on the frugal savings we had when he was alive. My children haven’t had a proper meal in days. We are low caste people, Sahib. Not even memsahibs want me work in their homes.”

Jaishankar’s stomach dipped, while he knew she was telling the truth, his struggle with his sense of morality was short. Especially when his lions roared imagining Saritha’s supple breasts cradling his face and his hands squeezing her round, smooth bottoms.

“Fine, we have enough witnesses to state that you have been illegally operating as a sex worker, Saritha. Wait for me, I will come back with a constable.” Jaishankar spoke and stood up.

“No Sahib, please. My children will be on the streets, Sahib.” Saritha fell on his feet and begged him for mercy.

“Then give me what I need, Saritha.” He spoke, a rueful smile already lining his lips, his confidence along with his desire, reared knowing that the outcome would be exactly what he wanted it to be.

“Fine Sahib.” Streams of tears ran down Saritha’s cheeks. “Meet me at the abandoned boathouse by the lake tonight at 10:30 pm. I can’t do anything here with my children around.” She said, softly enough to make sure her little ones did not hear her. And instantly Jaishankar broke into a smile.

“Make sure no one knows about this.” He said and walked out, leaving his filter coffee half empty.

Lately he had been dying for a relief and none of the town whores were good enough to satisfy him. It wasn’t until he had laid his eyes on the helpless, young widow, Saritha, that he decided to concoct a small to lie to get what he wanted.

His chest swelled at the victory and his cunning mind. No other police inspector in the entire state could have boasted of intelligence as bright and vile as that of Jaishankar.

That night Jaishankar walked down the empty lake with a spring in his step and a song on his lips. Even the biting chill couldn’t dampen his spirits, perhaps it was the excitement of fucking Saritha or the four large scotch shots he had had that night. Even that darn phlegm had subsided after his drink. Some where in the mountains he heard a long howl and looked up to notice a full moon shining through an array of clouds.

By the third song he reached the abandoned boathouse, it was unlocked, a broken padlock lying among damp weeds next to the door. It was a beautiful night, he thought. The kind of night where the sky reflected its marvelous beauty on the water of the lake, the kind of night where even young, nubile, innocent widows learned to break locks and unleash the temptress within. His penis was hard, hard enough to be painful and he couldn’t wait to release it.

He opened the door, slightly ajar and saw her silhouette against the subtle rays of moonlight, falling through the slits of the wooden planks that made the boathouse. He paused a moment to admire the widow, even three children hadn’t dampened her curvy body, in fact if anything enhanced it all at the right places.

“Come Sahib.” She said, stretching her arms just as the mountains resonated with another howl.

In a dog like frenzy Jaishankar removed all his clothes before stumbling towards Saritha, he was done waiting. He had dreamed and fantasized about this woman since a month now. His right hand reach out to grab a blouse-clad breast, as he squeezed it hard and took her small mouth inside his whole. Saritha did not resist, neither did she initiate. Jaishankar had his way with her, tearing her clothes, biting her, chewing her nipples, bruising her, pulling out clumps of her hair. But now that he had her, there was nothing that was going to stop him from ravaging the widow, except for perhaps, the three little figures who stood by the door, with their father’s sickles in their hands and drool dripping down their mouths.

It did not take long before the wolf howled again and the widow commanded her children to unleash themselves on their first whole meal in the last fifteen days.

 

Why Hell is an Alumni Group

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So some lame-ass in my college gang of 2004 has suddenly decided that it would be an awesome idea to find the phone numbers of 57 other class mates (two dead, may their souls rest in peace away from all social media) and form a whatsapp group. The poor dear has convinced some of his other friends to go through the painful task of collecting all the phone numbers, with the sole intention of forming another whatsapp group that we could all rudely exit from.

But this time, I’m pressing pause on that exit button. And I’m watching the damn ball game. Or very soon, this will escalate into a full blown cocktail party invitation.

There’s the usual two-person conversations that happen with a 58-strong audience.

“Hey Mark. How’s Oregon?”

“Hey Jude. Oregon is amazing. But tell me about Portland. Because I’m sure that the 50 member audience mostly stuck…

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