A Mother’s Love

ali-morshedlou-598386-unsplashNorman stood outside his mother’s room. He sighed and balanced the tray in his hand, he had made all her favorites, pancakes, sunny-side up eggs, and freshly squeezed orange juice. He knocked on the door.

“Come in” his mother’s hoarse voice shouted.

Norman entered the room and placed the tray on his mother’s bed, across her lap.

“About damn time. What is this breakfast or brunch?” Mother hissed at him, “ I thought you had forgotten about me.”

“Sorry mother, I had to go out to get the oranges, we ran out of them.”

“This is why I tried all my life to teach you discipline. God knows I tried. You used to be better when I could get out of bed and whoop your sorry ass.” Mother took a sip of the orange juice, “ and you still cannot choose ripe oranges. What am I going to do with you?”

Norman stared at his feet. He had to hold both his hands to keep them from shivering. His mouth was dry. He tried to lick his lips but there was no moisture in his mouth. Breakfast was the best time to tell mother. She would only grow grumpier through the day. And he had been wanting to say this for a while now.

“Mother…” he whispered. She did not hear him and continued eating the pancakes.

“Mother, I have decided to leave,” he said as if testing her hearing. Continue reading

The Duel of Derika

Derika dragged her feet and groaned as she glimpsed the looming shadow of the arena. It’s massive iron gates slowly, reluctantly, grated open, perhaps as reluctant to let Derika in, as she was to get into the arena.

Her father walked, proud next to Derika, a whole five inches shorter that her.

The duel was set and Derika was expected to defeat the mighty Amazonian Princess, Ina, if she every hoped to marry Prince Sebastian. And to be honest, Derika was more than happy to lose that match. It wasn’t that Derika had anything against the idea of marriage, but then it was against the idea of marrying Prince Sebastian.

She walked into the arena, just as thunderous applause rose all around her. Chants of ‘Derika’ ‘Derika’ roared in all directions and a shiver passed through her bones.

Would she…would she really lose a duel on purpose and let her people down? She thought. But then her train of thoughts was interrupted.

“Oh my liege”, said the Inn Keeper who also moonlighted as her family’s professional ass licker, “My liege, with legs as strong as a thousand donkeys, hair as long as the longest serpents and lips as thick as a baboon’s ass. What wondrous thoughts run through that tiny, delicate mind of yours?”

Derika

Source: https://andantonius.deviantart.com/art/Amazon-124185435

Derika often wondered how competent was their professional ass licker was in actual ass licking, because she had her own doubts about his competencies.

“I’m not sure about this fight, Inn Keeper. Do I really have to? Can’t the benevolent Princess Derika let Ina, the Amazonian Princess, have Prince Sebastian?” she said.

“But petite brained, Princess Derika, do you see the crowd? Every single one of them has paid for the tickets with either their lives savings, or their organs. Now, how can the benevolent Princess deny them, their one arm’s worth?” He whispered, his tongue, almost lapping up Derika’s ear lobe. A pungent smell of pork, chocolate Ice cream and garlic wafted near her nose and she almost gagged.

Continue reading

Little red ghagra choli

abstract-art-artistic-414768Little Pinky jumped up in joy because it was Diwali. It meant she got to wear her brand new red ghagra choli. It also meant she got to visit her grandmother. Little Pinky got ready even before mommy told her to get up. When mommy came into her room, mommy was very happy to see her ready and helped her into her brand new glittery ghagra choli.

“Can I go meet grandma now?” Little Pinky jumped up and down with excitement.

Mommy’s face fell. She rubbed her eyes and sighed. She forced herself to smile and said, “Yes Pinky, you can go and visit grandma…”

“Yay!” Pinky ran around the house in joy.

Mommy gave her a large box of sweets, “give this to Grandma. Wish her a happy Diwali.”

Pinky nodded, “I have my own gift for Grandma too.” She ran into her room, pulled out her gift from her school bag and placed it inside the box of sweets.

Little Pinky noticed her mom sitting sadly on the sofa. Mommy liked grandma too, just like Pinky did. But grandma and mommy had been fighting recently. Pinky didn’t know why, when she asked mommy, mommy simply said it was because grandma wanted to give her cousin Pappu more chocolates than her. This had hurt Pinky, why would grandma give Pappu more chocolates? Pinky always thought grandma liked her more. But Pinky was sure when grandma saw her in her new red ghagra choli and ate her sweets she would love her again. And she would give her more chocolates than Pappu.

Pinky went to Mommy, “Don’t worry mommy. I will make sure grandma loves me more. I will take good care of grandma.” Continue reading

Devil’s contract

agreement-business-businessman-48195.jpgSamir reached for his phone just as he opened his eyes and checked the status of his last released book as was his habit. It was still first on the bestseller list even after all these weeks. He picked up the newspaper, an article on the lower right-hand corner read, “Health of the hugely successful and controversial writer Samir Shastri rapidly deteriorates.” Samir put the paper away and wondered how much of the book’s sales were due to his supposedly sudden demise. He had wanted to finish another book before his time was up, but he found the constant headaches made it difficult to write. He had known the devil had a good sense of irony but had not predicted that he would have a brain tumor because of it. Well, as far as cancers went it was a fast way to go. He looked around himself at the five-star hospital room where he had spent the past few weeks of his life, it wasn’t a bad way to go.

Samir was sure it would happen that day because the same day ten years ago he had signed the contract.

“You can show yourself now you old hag, we can have a chat before you cap me off…” Samir shouted to the empty room.

The window on the right of his hospital bed darkened. The darkness seemed to pulse and percolate into the room where it gathered itself just a few feet from Samir’s bed. The darkness grew until it seemed to feed on the light in the room. It condensed into large leathery wings, a face that had the large eyes of a fly and lion’s mouth and a snake’s tongue. Its body had four arms with long claws and the body ended in the tentacles of an octopus.

Samir rolled his eyes.

“You will show more respect when you talk to Beelzebub, Duke of hell.”

“Hey, there you are Beelzy, you old fucker. He wants respect it seems, and what you going to do if I don’t show any, kill me?” Samir laughed and began to cough. Continue reading

Holier than thou

 

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“Would you ever hurt your own mother?” Mr.Om glared at the audience, “Would you let anyone else hurt your mother?” Impassioned spittle flew into the microphone. “No” Mr. Om answered himself, “then why is it okay to let our gaumatas get hurt? Why is it ok to allow them to be killed just to feed Ome adharmic rakshas somewhere?” Mr.Om shook with feeling.

“Are we not here today because of our gaumatas? I know I am. I have enough calcium in my bones today because of all the milk I drank over a lifetime, from countless cows. I have enough strength in my muscles,” Mr.Om flexed a hefty bicep, “because of all the ghee I have eaten thanks to the generous gaumatas. Monsoons are here, the weather is changing, I can see a lot of you are sick with the flu, and yet here I am perfectly healthy, talking at the height of my voice. How is this possible? This is possible only because of the gomutra I drink every morning.” Continue reading

Kill your darlings

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“You are joking, right? You have got to be joking.” Ria’s laughter echoed in the basement parking lot. She sounded amused like he had actually cracked a joke but Samir could see the shadow of fear in her large brown eyes.

She pushed her hair behind an ear and Samir stopped. He hated that she could still make him stop.

“But, why? Why would you even be thinking about it?” there was that voice again, like a feather caressing skin.

“Come on Ria, you have always known someone had to go.” Samir scratched behind his ear with his pen.

“Yes, of course, someone has to go…but I thought we agreed it was going to be the other woman…” there was just a small shiver in her voice like the feather had passed over a razor. Continue reading

Blind Date

blind-date

Nisha could hear them talking about the wedding already. She plucked silk threads from the pallu of her saree. She could not remember the last time she felt her parents had been inconsiderate of her. She had always brushed aside the issue of marriage, but arriving back from work and finding a family sitting in their living room had shocked her. She had not realized her parents were so keen on her getting married. Not that she didn’t look forward to it herself. But a heads up would have been good.

When she had entered the house her mother had hurried her into their bedroom and handed her her mother’s favorite silk saree, the one with the swans swimming along the pallu. That was when Nisha knew they were serious about this. She had expected to be called into the living room for a while now. And having waited for a while she was getting restless. She paced up and down the bedroom and put an ear to the door to try and hear what was being said. When she heard words like ‘dowry’ and ‘cooking’, she shook her head, opened the door and walked into the living room.

Nisha walked directly to the empty sofa opposite the prospective groom and sat down in it. An awkward silence followed in which the prospective groom and his parents stared at Nisha and her parents as if to ask how she had walked into their conversation unassisted.

Nisha folded her hands and raised them to the groom’s parents, “Namaste!” “ Hello…” she said to the groom. They seemed too dumbstruck because no one said anything.

The overhead fan could be heard creaking in the awkward silence. Her mother’s bangles clinked as she folded her hands nervously. Continue reading

The Environment Engine

environment engine

Keerthi took a staggered breath as she rang the bell to Tarun’s flat. She watched a few holographic butterflies flutter in his garden as she could feel the ones fluttering in her stomach. “After all this time…” she sighed to herself. She didn’t have to look around to notice the old rusty wind chime that chimed squeakily in the artificial wind. She didn’t have to look up to remember the teal blue of the sky above his house. She had stood at this threshold a hundred times in her dreams and had never really crossed it. She opened her eyes just as Tarun opened the door.

He looked the same as he had in college. She scanned his tousled brown hair for any whites, his wide forehead for any lines, or his taut t-shirt for signs of a beer belly, nothing. He was exactly the same as he was in her dream where at this point he would gather her into him for a kiss.

“ Hey Keru, come on in…” he barely looked at her and walked back into the house.

She stepped into the house and back into all the summers of her college days. There was the same dimly lit room, the same half deflated bean bag furniture and the smell of Tarun’s musk that an ocean-scented room freshener was trying hard to mask. Nothing had changed except for the second bedroom of the house that had obviously been converted into an experience engine.

Tarun walked back with a bowl of chips and two beers and handed her a beer along with his lopsided grin. Keerthi suppressed the butterflies in her stomach. This was why it was so difficult with Tarun, he hadn’t changed at all and she knew he never would.

“So what is this about Tarun?” She took a sip of her beer.

Tarun drank his beer and stared at the wall behind her. In her head, it was a look of realization, when Tarun finally saw that his soulmate stood right beside him, always had and always would. She shook herself, hard.

“I needed her your help with something,” Tarun said, he walked to the experience engine and opened its door.

“If this is about defeating another boss in that stupid game of yours, forget it. I have better things to do.” Keerthi said.

“Please Keru, don’t pretend you have a life, it’s just me. We will get to the next level in my stupid game. But, this is about something else.” Tarun walked into the room.

Keerthi tried to resent his mock condescension and his confidence that he knew her life down to the dot, and for the thousandth time, she failed. She chugged the last of her beer and entered the room.

A warm sea breeze lifted her hair and her bare feet sank into the white sand. The door closed behind her, she turned to find a pristine row of coconut trees swaying in the breeze. A dreamy sun was setting into a lulled ocean, like a tired bather entering a hot tub. The waves crashed into the white beach a little too rhythmically. Tarun stood at the edge of the water wearing only swim shorts and a smile. Continue reading

Fury…

It is past midnight. You struggle between the need to watch another episode of Black mirror, or to sleep. You take a look at the time again, 12:30 am. You calculate that if you sleep just about this minute, you would get exactly five hours of rest before your alarm starts screaming to “it’s all about that bass” by Meghan Trainor. A heavy cloud of exhaustion lowers itself and settles on your shoulders. You feel burdened, not just by your increasingly heavy frame but also by your head that carries viscous notions. You sigh and promise yourself that tomorrow you would put Adi early to bed, so that you would have the time to watch at least two episodes of Black Mirror and yet get to sleep by midnight.

You shut your laptop screen and half walk, half tumble into Adi’s room. Partly out of habit and partly out of admiration. You remember how terrified you were of sleeping alone when you were six. In fact, you admit to yourself, but only to yourself, that even now every night you have to stop yourself from begging your six year old to sleep with you, in your room.

You switch on the night-light and watch your little son sleep, his steady breathing calming the storm inside you. You are going to switch off the light and walk back into your room, but you decide against it. You don’t want your child to burden the night terrors that you did, growing up. You are about to turn your back to Adi, when you hear a scratching noise. Your hands freeze, an inch away from the night-light. You stop breathing, your eyes are wide, bulging out of their sockets. Your feet are tethered to the ground like massive Oak trees. Your heart…Your heart beating like horse hooves in a stampede, is the only sound you can hear now. You try telling yourself that you imagined the scratching noise. Yet a sane part of you begs you to double check under Adi’s bed, inside his closet and under the study table. So then, you attempt moving your feet that are still rooted to the ground, after some amount of nudging; they move and as if on autopilot, walk you back into your room. You try to convince yourself that if you don’t acknowledge the fear the fear, doesn’t exist.

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Continue reading

Where’s the honour in that?

tea cups

“Would you like some tea?” Nusrat idly stirred the pot on the stove.

“Tea?” Zabin adjusted her hijab, “I couldn’t drink anything right now.” She stared at Nusrat, “you do realize what they are discussing in your living room right now, right? Or have you completely lost it already?”

Nusrat looked up from the pot, “ I know what they are discussing…” she continued stirring it.

“You already know what they will decide. We all do. I don’t even know what the point of this meeting is.” Zabin shivered despite the warm day.

“The decision is already made. They are just hashing out the details…the where and how of it…” Nusrat gave the pot a violent stir and some of the milk spilled out if it.

“Khuda…how has it come to this? What will they do?”

“Well, of course, the punishment will be harsher for my Ali…electrocution seems to be in fashion this season. They will probably strap him to his bed and tie a naked wire to him. Remember when they did that to Rahman a few months back…the transformer blew up…we didn’t have electricity that night..” Nusrat stared into the distance.

“He is your son, he is hardly seventeen. How can you be so calm about this?” Zabin shook with stifled sobs.

“What else can we do? I am making him his favorite mutton biryani for his final meal…” Nusrat pointed to another pot as tears streamed down her face.

“Where is he right now?” Zabin said.

“Upstairs in his room…” Nusrat said, “ I am sure they will be kinder to Noor. She is the girl and younger. They will probably shoot her…it will be painless.” She smiled at Zabin.

“She cried herself to sleep again. She hasn’t had anything to eat ever since they brought her back. She keeps repeating Ali’s name like a kalma.” Zabin said, “ foolish children! Why did they ever do it? They  knew what would happen if they got caught.”

Nusrat added tea powder to the milk, “what does it say about us, that they would rather risk running away than talk to us.”

“What good would talking have done? When does talking help anyway” Zabin stared at the men in the living room.

“Why is anyone surprised that they eloped. They have always liked each other. Sometimes adults are more childish than the kids.” Nusrat added sugar to the tea.

A fragment of conversation drifted in from the living room, “let’s do it today. No point in delaying it.”

Zabin covered her mouth and cried. She held Nusrat’s hand, “There must be something we can do. Let’s talk to them. Plead with them. Maybe they will let the kids go.”

“Let them go? Hah!” Nusrat’s hollow laughter rang in the kitchen, “why will they let the kids go? Where is the honor in that?”

“Where is the honor in killing our own children?” Zabin shook as tears poured down her face.

“Perhaps there is more honor in letting them die, then asking them to live like this…” Nusrat pushed away her own tears.

“Then we shall not say anything to the men?”

“I already spoke to Ali’s father…” Nusrat said.

“ What did he say?

Nusrat lifter her burqa to reveal a large bruise that ran down the front of her body.

Zabin gasped, “there really is no use talking to them then…”

“We already knew that…” Nusrat said.

Zabin pulled out a pouch from her burqa and put it in Nusrat’s hand, “This is all my jewelry. Let us help the kids run away. We can smuggle them out of the house. There is a bus that leaves in a couple of hours.”

Nusrat placed the pouch back into Zabin’s hand, “Idle hope. Our husbands have already sent people to the bus station. The kids will never make it out of town. They will be dragged back right here and we will be back making more tea.”

“There really isn’t anything we can do, can we?” Zabin shuddered.

“Nothing honorable anyway…” Nusrat said, she rummaged around the bottom of the kitchen sink and pulled out an old frayed packet of rat poison.

Zabin covered her mouth as her eyes widened. She nodded to Nusrat. Nusrat slowly added the white powder to the tea like it was sugar.

“Should we drink a cup of this tea ourselves too? This will not end well for us.” Zabin said as Nusrat poured the tea into cups for all the men of both their families.

“No,” Nusrat said, she smiled as she lifted the cups on a tray, “where is the honor in that?”

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

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“For the last time Miss Rupa, did you or did you not set your own book launch on fire?” the police officer said.

“No, I mean, yes. I mean I didn’t mean to set it on fire…I mean I wanted to, but not so much fire, you know. Just a little…not enough to really burn anyone.” Rupa wrung her hands staring at the smoldering remains of the auditorium.

“Wow, you are at a loss for words. Normally, you are so eloquent in your speeches and your books. Big fan by the way…” the officer touched his hat and smiled at Rupa.

She tried to smile back but was distracted as the paramedics rolled out a few more people on stretchers.

“So far, no one has been seriously injured” The police officer tried to sound reassuring, “But there will be an investigation into the matter. It is best for you to be honest with us…”

“I guess…” Rupa sighed. Continue reading

Taking Offense

im-offended1Varun pulled the white lab coat closer around his neck. His palms were sweaty around the megaphone in his hand, he was so wrong for this job, but it needed to be done. He raised the megaphone, “Ladies and Gentlemen…” Varun said into the megaphone, his voice sounded loud but nervous.

No one seemed to pay him any attention, then again it was weekend at the mall, people continued to flow around him. Just as he was about to raise his megaphone again few people approached him, Varun smiled at them. “Excuse me…” one of them said, “ Did you just address all of us all ladies and gentlemen?” Varun was puzzled, “Um…yes I did…but can you please sign this motion to stop the asteroid  that is hurtling to our planet?”

The person gave him a quizzical look, “look here, I don’t identify as ladies or gents so that public address of yours just offended me…”

“What? No no no, I didn’t mean it like that. Sorry.”

“Oh yes, my person is offended too.” “Yes, very offended”. “How dare this person address us like that…” the other people surrounding Varun said.

A clear voice spoke in all of their ears, “Good morning. Public offense detected. Offense level 10. The Offender is Varun Naik. Thought freeze time 10 seconds.” Continue reading

Such a Roach

Amel Rahman

I feel the disgust rise within me.
When I see the Roach.
It’s there everywhere.
This insect.
Work, Play, everywhere.
The Roach.

He looks like me, sometimes.
He wants to be like me, I think.
He’s trying, it seems,
To make something good,
For a while.

But then I see,
He’s a Roach.
He prefers to feed
On what I leave behind.
Its just the noise he makes,
Its not a question he asks.
Its not in earnest he sees.
This Roach.

He wants what I have, Okay.
He wants just a piece, I think.
But he wants it all, in time.
Then he wants to stand with his shaking belly in the air.
He’s mastered it all, he says,
He’s got his crown on his weird head,
But dude, we all see you,
Such a Roach.

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Trail by combat

I unsheathed my sword and rubbed it against my chest, ensuring not to break eye contact with my nemesis. My husband, stood next to her, massaging her shoulders, rubbing her arms, whispering words of motivation into her ears.

She kept nodding while staring back into my eyes, a miasma of fear and determination swirled like deep pools of unrest.

I stepped forward indicating that I was ready, and the crowd comprising of every single individual who lived in Fulton Street, burst out in a cheer, that especially rang from the right. A smirk lined my lips, and a jolt of pride rocked my insides. Of course everyone championed for me, I had grown up with these folks, and that bitch standing opposite me, with her ass being massaged by my husband (John, the prick who needed tantric sex to get it up), had only entered the scene a year ago.

Taking my cue, as always, Wansi, the unoriginal bitch, stepped forward. And suddenly I could hear a cheer louder, much louder than the one that came when I stepped forward. It rang from all around me, and I stared at my neighbors from Fulton Street in disbelief.

The realization that there was massive crowd support for my nemesis was a small bump, and it wasn’t going to stop me. I had known for more than six months now that it would come to this, to this barbaric fight until death. Plus it was almost as if she had literally begged for it.

Trail by combat

I mean, it would have been all-okay, had she just been content wrapping my husband of eleven years into her tentacles and having tantric sex with him night after night.

In fact, I remained a modicum of classy dignity even when she grew her hair and colored them to a mahogany red, just like mine. Or when she suddenly decided to start wearing light green contact lenses, just like the color of my eyes.

I remained a stoic figure of wisdom and tolerance when she started posting images of her Cheesecakes all over social media, knowing that I was the reigning queen, and had an existing brand of cheesecakes named after me.

Even though it chipped my saintly demeanor in various places, but I attempted to tolerate her less than basic attempts at poetry, knowing that she was only attempting it because I was a well-known poet.

It wasn’t until last week that my fraying thread of patience with my husband’s mistress broke.

After a long week of baking my famous cheesecakes and writing my famous poetry; my feet felt like they had run a marathon and what I really needed to end my Friday was a foot spa.

So, I walked into my favorite Spa and Massage parlor, Happy Endings, and asked for Fabio, my fabulous masseuse. But then to my utter horror, the staff at Happy Endings told me that Fabio was pre-booked.

No one pre-booked Fabio, especially not on a Friday evening, especially when they knew I was a regular.

“What do you mean pre-booked?” I shouted. “The entire Fulton street knows not to pre-book Fabio on Friday. WHO. BOOKED. FABIO?” I screamed and flicked a hair off my forehead. I took in a deep breath and realized I needed to maintain my calm.

The girl at the reception had gone pale.

“Mam…I…I’m sorry. I can’t tell you that.” She said.

I walked across the reception, almost a hair’s breath away from her. Lowered myself to her barely five foot stature, looked into her uninspired, dirty brown eyes, and whispered, “Your pathetic existence makes me want to throw up. You will redeem your existence by telling me who pre-booked Fabio. Now.”

“WANSI!” She almost jumped and whispered, loud. “Miss…miss Wansi, pre-booked Fabio.”

“That tantric whore!” I muttered under my breath and stomped in. I knew that she just hadn’t booked Fabio, she would have also requested for my favorite room. The one with a view of Fulton Lake.

And I was right. Standing outside the Platinum Spa room, I heard Wansi flirt with Fabio and both of them giggling over something, that I am almost positive were jokes about me.

That moment, I walked up to Fulton Street Municipality office and put in a request for trial by combat. I wanted that bitch to die, and die at my hands. I wanted her blood to run though my skin and drip, drip, drip down to the ground.

She had broken every single barrier of my patience by stealing Fabio and the Platinum Spa Room from me.

The cheering from the crowd finally subsided, and I took my stance. Wanda ran towards me, screaming like a warrior, her mahogany hair flying in the air, and her ample boobs bouncing as she ran; and her eyes, with light green lenses watering, because lenses hurt.

Just as she came close to me, close enough to pierce the tip of the sword, I stepped aside and let her trip on my foot. She fell down on her face and the arena fell into pin drop silence. The temptation to then bury my sword into that ass which my husband just finished massaging was too much. But I resisted.

I needed to give these people some drama; I needed Wansi to lose miserably. So pathetically, that there wouldn’t be a single person who would blame my victory to luck…

AI for the Indian Girl

Amel Rahman

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The wedding was loud, just like the bride’s makeup, with one too many relatives to avoid.  What Sowyma needed was a blocker, that would automatically seal the mouth of any woman greater than 45 as they approached her, especially with questions of her own mariagge, and why it had no signs of materializing.  But Sowmya would have to make do with what she had.  She adjusted her glasses, and whispered as if to herself, “Anjali, can you tell me the list of hot non-losers at this wedding?” The voice cackled at her ear piece, before Anjali’s sweet Mallu accent flooded her ears “16 long-term possibilities, 4 possible flings, and seven to keep away from.  All seven in the custody of Priya auntie. Safe distance from auntie recommened.” Sowmya grinned. That accent could keep her rolling through this day.

“Ok, show me the nearest Nair available that has something more than…

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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.

to-the-person-who-set-up-this-whatsapp-group-chat-i-will-find-you-and-i-will-kill-you

“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.

 

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

grandparents

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

Why that Bimbo Smart

Amel Rahman

Bimbo sits a few cubicles away from me at work.  Of course, she’s Indian, probably Punjabi, I dunno, long black locks of hair, luscious lips, and white skin, the works.  The kind of girl who is pretty because she firmly believes and takes enough selfies to prove it.  Obviously, she’s no friend of mine.  Brrr…..I strictly avoid eye contact when she crosses me in the office walkways, my lips lined with barely concealed disgust.  Why?  Because she is shallow, has no ambition beyond her clothes and netting a fancy husband, makes as much noise at the workplace as ten pigeons in heat, and seems to be living it up despite my obvious disgust (which she is clearly not registering).   Meanwhile, I am dying of an occupational ailment, resulting from chronic insecurity and a need to take work till I get my ass-fucked, and then some more.

So recently, I…

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