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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Blackout

I got up from a blackout on the cemented floor of a rundown grocery deli next to a gun and empty cases of nine mm bullets.

The back of my head had a blotch of an amorphous something and my hair strands were glued together in a thick syrupy red liquid, that could have been my blood or ketchup. My forehead had several linear bruises, like someone took time out of his day to scrape it precisely with a kitchen fork. And when I breathed into my palm, I smelled like I had eaten raw meat not too long ago. My gums, although still loosely holding my teeth together, tasted coopery and when I squished the edges with my tongue, a fountain of bloody juice shot up inside my mouth like the slimy pus when you press hard an acne or a blackhead.

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I looked around for someone – for anyone. But amidst the maze of pillars and layers of dust, all I found was my ownself restlessly fidgeting the unintended patterns casted by rusty ventilators and the lamp post light that entered through them. And all I heard was someone gasp in the back of my head, except I realized – much sooner than I thought I would – that my own voice sounded to me like it came from somewhere else.

Continue reading

Mean Animals

“When I was a kid, I used to nag – a lot. I would go to my room, shut the door, often latch it from inside, and talk to the posters of animals in my room and nag some more. Yell out my side of the story, seek sympathy, say things out loud that hurt me. Talk about other the mean kids. Yell out bad words.”

Mom would barge in and say, “Keep the door open baby. Don’t latch it from inside.”

“But why mom?”

“Because kids shouldn’t be confined in their rooms all alone. That’s why. God forbid, if something goes wrong, we wouldn’t even come to know about it.”

“Okay. Fineee, mom!”

“And that happened every other day. Any time things went wrong, or upset me, I did the same thing; locked myself in and talked to these lifeless posters for hours and hours.  And it was not always just a one sided vent. These animals talked too. And I listened to them more than I listened to my best friend, or my teacher, or my own parents.  And this went on, say, till I was in my late teen years.”

“And then what happened?” asked the doctor.

boy-and-dog

“Then it stopped. Obviously. I grew up.”

“But why is it the obvious, Sam?” Continue reading

of Salt and Assaults

“Can you pass the salt?” he said.

“Which one?” she asked.

“The white one. What do you mean which one?” he said.

“Sorry” she said, “I was distracted.”

“By?” he asked, stuffing handful of rice in his mouth, chewing it loudly, rolling his eyes.

“By that!” she said. Pointing at his face.

He slowly turned his head around, expecting a ghost or an intruder or at least an animal waiting to pounce at him.

“By … whatttt?” he said, his mouth half open in terror and half stuffed with yellow rice.

“Ughh … by thatttt” she yelled, “look at your fucking hand.”

So he looked at his hand. Turned his palm around and looked at the other side of his hand. He couldn’t see much. Then he lifted his left arm resting on his knees, hiding under the dinning table and looked at that. Still nothing. He stared harder.

“Aaa … what are you doing?” she said

“Looking at my hand” he said.

“And?”

“And what?”

“There is dal all over it” she said.

“Ah! Okay. I get it, you are mad that our marriage ring is soaked in dal? Aren’t you?”

“Nope! Not at all” she said.

“Then? What are you mad at?”

“Oh god! How do I begin?” She sighed.

“No, no … tell me. Go on … What is it?”

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“Sweetie, it’s not just our ring,” she said, “all your fingers are soaked in dal. You have folded your sleeves , which is a smart thing to do, given how you eat, but you should have folded it till your elbows, there is daal on your sleeves too! You know what? You should wear half sleeves at the dinner table. Yup, from now on, you are going to wear half sleeves while eating. In fact, no wait … you should wear sleeveless t-shirts. In fact wear a fucking vest. Eat naked. I don’t care. ” Continue reading

Goodbye and all that “stuff”

I am shoving her suitcase in the car trunk and then shoving it further down between her other bags, is when she says, “what are you doing? Be gentle! This one’s fragile.”

“Yeah?” I say, “Unfortunately I am not your cabin crew … and put a fucking sticker on this thing. Make it bold.”

“I have put a sticker on it. And it is bold. Look,” she points.

“Well then make it more bolder. I can barely see it,” I say.

“There is no such thing as, “more bolder””, she corrects me.

“Well, there is now,” I say, “And sorry, I am not born or brought up or moving to America, unlike some other people. For me, more bolder means, more bolder, you get it? Something I can see or read from 20 mtrs away … And oh! Boulder also means something I want people to get smeared by, when they annoy me.”

“I am sure, you can read this from far. If only you want to,” she says.

“Nope! I can’t. I can’t read or write things. I am stupid. Okay?”

She breathes deeply. Looks away and looks back at me.

“Really? Right Now? God! You are such a jerk” she says, not loud enough for me to hear it but loud enough to grab my attention.

“I heard that!”

“Good. Coz I wanted you to!” She yells, walking towards the house and slams the door behind her.

all-that-stuff

I stand there, staring at the open car door and appreciating a pigeon fidgeting with a dark spot on the windshield. His feathers are messed up. He is probably hungry too, but look at him; he is so calm and beautiful, he is not shouting at me, plus he is not even flying to a different country by himself. Even though he could – free of cost. This pigeon is a star! Continue reading

The Guard

Twice already, the guard, against his will, has entertained the access requests of her new acquaintances – who reek of tobacco and sexual desperation – tonight.

Over the intercom, she sounds a bit woozy, and her lisp – that often titillates the guard – is fiddling with her diction, and cannibalising the words and turning them into a puzzle of some kind.

“But madam,” the guard says, faking a cordial tone and suppressing an urge of defiance, “he doesn’t have an ID proof on him.”
“That’s okay, I know him personally. Let him in,” she commands.
And he compels himself to say, “Alright. Could you please come downstairs and sign for him?”,
“Yes. I will!”

And the third time tonight, she is at the entrance gate, arching her body like a sloppy contortionist, to sign the register, and while doing so, the strap of her brassiere falls sideways, and the guard, in his full capacity, pretends to remain oblivious to the sexual tension that she has ignorantly weaved around him.

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While the visitor, who clearly doesn’t know her that well, is standing at a little distance; smoking a cigarette and impatiently waiting for certain events – that he looks assured of – to unfold.

And then they both hug, a cold detached side-hug, and walk in the direction of the window that opens to her bedroom on a floor above the ground.

The guard’s eyes follow them, till they mould into elongated shadows, that soon collapse into each other and becomes a distorted sketch of temporary tenderness. Continue reading

Radio

Some of my childhood memories are about dad being all weird and having a strange relationship with his radio.

We would flock out behind him every morning, pressed against his leg like clueless kittens and he would stare out of the window at nothing for a good fifteen minutes, sipping his own made tea and smoking his own rolled cigarette, as the BBC tune in the background reached its crescendo.radio

During the summer vacation hot afternoons, when we pretended to sleep, the radio would transition from the news updates to the early 70s songs and then back to the news again, but dad – on purpose – would skip the songs that we craved for so much and tune into the news stations and would listen to the same news over and over again.

In my infant years, I believed, dad was an encyclopaedia and knew everything, just by listening to the news from all over the world, but in my adolescent years, I was just confused about his behaviour and doubted his ability to retain information.

The first time I brought Sarah, my girlfriend then and my wife now, over to my place, she said, “What’s with your dad and his radio?”, and I couldn’t think of a good answer and sat next to her blinking. Continue reading