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.

 

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.

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

“But why is it the obvious, Sam?” 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

The Ephemeral Death

And then he made sounds one makes, when one is trying really hard to make sounds but he cannot. His mouth felt gagged. He also tried to drag himself up, using one of his elbows as an abutment of some sort, but he felt armless, as in, he had arms but they somehow felt anesthetized. And although he knew they felt anesthetized, he yet, in his mind, could wave them in the air, clasp his fingers into a fist with his thumb on top, or clap vigorously, but in actuality, none of that accomplished anything.

No, no, no, not again, he moaned in his mouth, but his mouth had this futile existence, which if he could recall then, may have seemed like possibly the worst forlorn feeling, out of all the other times he was caught in a web of helplessness.escape

On his right, from the tinted window, the faint yellow morning light through the drapes, had made its way to his forehead and to the corners of his bed. His bed, on which he lay on the edge, with what felt like a paralysed arm dangling lifelessly and touching the ground and deadening his body, was not creaking anymore. It always otherwise did. Whenever he tossed on it, or breathed heavily on it, or curled himself on it, to plug his phone’s charger. Continue reading

Those Dead Things

One more person had died that day. And a lot of people were dying that month. It was a depressing time in general; the economy was going down, government’s policies were fucked up and the working class was overworked. When I inquired further, the gatekeeper said, “He was young”.

dead things

“How young?”
“Late twenties. Maybe twenty-eight or twenty-nine. Doesn’t matter now. Does it? He is dead. He will always be dead.”
“But wait … ” I said, “that’s just … and … so … we don’t know how he died?”
“We do, we do. And listen to this, it was a suicide. How often do you hear about such a thing?”
“Not that often and that’s horrific.”
“Indeed! He was a business consultant, quite like yourself. And they found a ligature and a stool in his apartment next to his hanging corpse. I think he was a failure. Classic suicide story. Right?” Continue reading

Pretty Fucking Please?

“Did you do something with your hair? It looks like you kinda did … you did right? It used to be all, I don’t know, wavy, somewhat curly. Right? It looks like it is more straight now … and wait … is it correct to say more straight or is it supposed to be straighter? And straighter? Is that how you say it? Straighter? Is that even a word? I don’t know. Anyway … how … how have you been?”

So that was a no-brainer, I was over-compensating for the damage by doing the awkward talk and she said, “Really? You called me all the way here to talk about my hairdo?”

I sagged in the chair. On my way to the coffee shop, I had already had an entire, fuck this, fuck that, fuck you conversation with myself, but as soon as I saw her, I, by the very own default nature of mine, wanted to be nice; give her a hug, ruffle her hair, tell her she is beautiful and all that. Basically, my feeling was: hello? Can we end this already? It is too much for me to handle, plus, I kinda, sorta, miss you.

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And after the long pause and more awkwardness, she decided to flinch her eyebrows, which I thought was an inappropriate reflex and also somewhat late in arrival. And then she removed her glasses, placed it on the table and said, “So when was the last time you’d actually noticed my hair?” Continue reading

JIM

10th of Sept 2001.

Started writing diary today. My first post. Never been into diaries before, don’t know if I should start with a, “Dear diary”. Because what’s the point? Diary doesn’t listen. Diary is dead. All the things I talk to, are dead, except for things that aren’t dead, in which case, they are annoying and I don’t like them.

Ellen said yesterday, I must write diaries. Diaries are great ways to remember things. You keep a diary today, it will keep you someday, she said. I don’t know what she meant. But she is smart, so I am sure she meant something nice. Anyway. Got to go. This is all I have to write today.

18th Sept 2001.

Drove car today. Dad said, go slow. I said, I am going slow. He said, then go slower than that, you idiot!

I said, I am not an idiot. Dad said, you are an idiot, and did this thing, where he tapped the back of my head with his knuckles. I pressed the break.

And you wonder, why no one likes you? He said, because you’re an idiot. No one likes idiots.

Dad was angry. I let him be. I don’t like angry people or my dad or my dad when he is angry. I drove slower. He said go slower than that. I went slower than that. He still yelled. I hate my dad.Jim

23rd Oct 2002.

Saw a puppy on the streets. It was raining. Puppy was in the corner. Shivering. Picked him up. Brought him home. Continue reading

Birthdays – The beeps of a ticking time bomb

As you grow older – and oh boy, are you getting older faster than you thought you would – you realise, birthdays are like the beeping reminders of a ticking time bomb. You have thirty more beeps to go before you explode, or fifty, or five, depending on how you are programmed.

Now, do you want to worry about the bomb the whole time it’s beeping, or do you want to forget that the explosion is inevitable, and therefore, you go ahead and indulge in things that make you happy? Like, I don’t know, perhaps, you go and make yourself a sandwich? Or watch a video on YouTube where people are tripping on hoverboards, or read a book about the Nagas or the secret or the secret of the Nagas, or get a tattoo, or have sex on your leather couch. Although, if you ask me, you wouldn’t enjoy having sex, if there is a ticking time bomb involved. But on the other hand – the hand, that you aren’t using for sex – it would be totally wild if you enjoyed it, despite being aware of the bomb in the back of your head. The bomb, that somehow feels like it’s strapped to your chest – there is no escaping from it and you’re a breathing kamikaze.

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And so what, if some of them continuously but subtly remind you, that you have lesser amount of beeps left than they do, and yet, you are spending it all on unimportant things; like finding happiness and peace and being as yourself as you can be. And not on more important things; like worrying and being an opportunist and reproducing, and all that. But all you know, and oh god, in your own very heart you know it’s fucking true, that you’ve not only survived through all the beeps so far but also enjoyed their sounds and learned from them, shit, you even danced to a few.

But the only problem, as it appears to you, is that somehow the beeps have now sped up. Every beep, seems like it arrived before its time, and yes, you, of course, weren’t ready for this one, and this one, and the one that is about to come, and the one that is here, and the one that will be forgotten soon.

So what do you do? Give it an old college try? A few desperate attempts in vain, to cease the moment? Because the bomb isn’t going to diffuse itself. Is it? But ah, then it all dawns on your thick skull, that there aren’t any plausible diffusing mechanisms known yet.

So then whatever, this whole fuckery and the creators of it can suck on a giant donkey hog, and that’s about how much you care!

You obviously can’t step out of the blast radius – because it’s that big – and it’s also a no-brainer, that you try very very hard to give a fuck, and hello …? That’s the best you could do. So you chin-up, make yourself one more sandwich, read one more book, have sex one more time, and do not bother, or cry, or worry, or reproduce. But that is because reproducing to you, sounds a lot like sex went horribly wrong.

Meanwhile, the bomb has beeped a couple of more times, and one beep dissimilar to many other beeps from the past, sounds a lot like an epiphany of some sort, but duh, just a temporary one. You already know, it is going to explode some day, but you still turn a corner, and someone close to you comes over and whispers in your ears, wow good one, things are looking better, aren’t they? Keep them up! And you say, thank you very much, and yet, somehow, by the next beep or the one after that, you fuck it all up, and congratulations, you’re back to square one.

But never mind, this all shall, and must, balance itself out, because, after all, it did pop-up on its own. Didn’t it? You did not plant the bomb, they did not put a snooze button on it, and oh yes, you know intuitively, acting a fool has perks involved in some good way, so go ahead and forget the beeps, put rave in crave, and the blessings shall be bestowed upon thee.

The Pervert Atheist

There you go again, bouncing on those stairs, and flaunting your round perfect little badonkadonks, inside that holy place and diverting my attention away from the drill machine, and shit, I am just one careless moment away from pegging a nail through my thumb, like come on, why would you do that on a Monday, on a Tuesday, on any goddamn day or night for any goddamn god?

It’s worth no trouble, plus your god, I say, if at all he is out there, is not listening to you, or your prayers, or your gospels, or your aartis, and he isn’t accountable for your mess or desires—he is busy. He is busy like I am busy, and I am busy like I am supposed to be, and I am supposed to be busy like I already am— being an obnoxious, breast staring, butt pinching, foul mouthing pervert.

But don’t blame me for how I may think, or behave, because your higher power isn’t blaming me either, and for all you know, he is perhaps pacing in his heaven corridor too, panicking and smoking a holy cigarette or a virgin joint—because he is the god and he is the virtuous one, and he doesn’t like adulterations and all that?—and man, I don’t know, maybe he is also kicking buckets and vandalizing heaven’s properties, because he is upset, and doesn’t have answers to all your prayers and maybe, he is also kicking a crystal pedestal lamp amidst the clouds from one end to the other, putting lives and people down, making some of you paralyzed for some shit you did in seventh grade, and when he is done throwing the towel, he is going like, this sucks, that sucks, you suck, your mom sucks, I don’t know why I agreed to do this shit, this whole program is buggy and this overall human race is fucked up!

the pervert atheist

Plus, only, believe me, it’s not his beeswax, to answer your prayers on Facebook Continue reading

It’s a drag!

This is what I said to the guy at the barber shop the other day, when he read me a section from the newspaper that reported about a tobacco company that was shut down by the government, in order to keep the society healthy, and then, what I told him wasn’t entirely factual, but he took me seriously anyway.

Anyway, I said, back in the time and the place of which I am speaking, due to our government had mandated us all, we all had been told, that tobacco, and other crudely manufactured leaves that produced pernicious fumes, which now we know are hazardous, but back then,  were told to be good for your lungs and your throat and your neck and your tongue and your tonsil and your skin and your whole body, so they often advertised saying, go on and smoke what you feel you must, see how it lightens you in the head, for, on a scale of one to euphoria, attaining euphoria is an absolute myth, but the main thing is, what you are getting by smoking tobacco, is the only thing that is close to what you can attain. So have fun, make the most of it, don’t you shy away, it’s all alright!

Cigarette-smoking.jpg

And then in the nights, when one was done with the day, and when one was told he can go home and smoke after work, you would find one, and by one, I mean even the ten year olds, exhaling rings out of their mouths, entangled one inside the other, which now looks very much like the logo of a renowned brand of a car, but back then, was only a way to show off their skills. So you would find rolls and packets and cubes and all the tobacco crumbs in one’s house, by the room, by the lamp, by the kitchen, by the sink, by the ring, by all damn things.

And that’s all I am saying it was back then.

And also, what I am saying is, who could blame Nate, Continue reading

The Bar

Its chandeliers are hanging by the roof miserably, tied by thin and delicate knots, strikingly lopsided; yet illuminating the room, keeping things in place, guiding lost ones to the correct path, like an old man of the house. I put a strange amount of trust in it, when I stroll past the goblets; toppled upside down adjacent to the wine cellar, over what seems like tipsy arbors—like everyone else here tonight.

The brewery on the sixth main, where I gulped an enormous amount last night, mimicked a similar décor; wooden counters, beige wallpapers and amber pedestal lights, except it did not have a soul. It did not correct itself from unscrupulous inanities. It let glasses and bottles smash; on the ground, on the table, on the bar counter and on your head.

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Humans did it, most would argue, but the vibe I felt, said it all. The place not only wanted all that to happen but also put a scandalous plan behind it. Perhaps it did that every night; snitched on people, left them bruised, robbed their identities. Or perhaps, it did that when a stranger—like me—invaded its territory. It ambushed him like a predator in disguise. I say so, because my freshly stitched forehead tell me to, in retrospect. Continue reading

Brotherhood

I was at the back, curled up like a fetus, my elbows touching my penis—and Sam, Sam was mostly awake. And he often gawked at the pictures of bikini models and men in speedos (I couldn’t tell which one, when) on his primitive smartphone with joystick and compact buttons.

Tch! The Wi-Fi sucks”, he would grunt loudly, in fact, I woke up to his grumbles more often I remember I woke up to my alarm.

I was new to this. I was new to everything. Our dormitory smelt of cum, at places, of cum and piss. I would walk in, walk out, no eye contact or exchange of greetings—like a slave.

The very first day, he and they—all of them—occurred odd. I barely managed a “hello”, at the shorter, less intimidating and almost likeable guy in V-neck vests. He winked. Strange! I thought. Fourteen years of my life, and no one had ever winked at me. My dad used to wink at me, but he would do that only when he cajoled mom in getting me one more scoop of ice-cream after dinner or hide an entire packet of jelly beans from my elder sister, just for me, or things like that.

brotherhood

That day I walked up to my rusty cot—it stroked like a swing, whenever I tossed or turned on it—carrying my backpack, a pair of sneakers, the dormitory guidelines Continue reading

That Valentine’s Day Story

You are in the open air parking lot of your high-school when you see her for the first time. You are drawn towards her—she’s the magnet, you are the metal. She has a name that you are scared to ask.

You see her again in the class—packed with a few hundred desperately inane students—the next day, and none of them matter to you. The sinusoidal wave equations, if at all you pay attention, dance funny. And in the next class, the one about the alcohols, phenols and ethers, you get up and sit three rows closer to her. The class after that—although you like limits and derivatives—is exhausting. The teacher doesn’t speak loudly, perhaps has a lisp, and the students—most of them—are either obnoxious geeks or teenage hooligans and you stay away from all of them. In fact, you stay alone, driven by an overpowering awe. Your admiration for her, from this point onwards in life, is laughable. Like your frayed and baggy, patchy jeans. Like your middle partitioned long hair. Like your cross shoulder unwieldy backpack. Like you!

You are awed by her for months, almost a year. A year and a half, maybe. You know her name now, you know she laughs a lot. You know, you aren’t the only one who is obsessed with her. You have overheard confrontations from some fuckboys in the alley. You have seen her name scribbled on the desks of the classrooms. You have seen her close friends being over-protective of her. You know she laughs loudly, maybe her friends are funny, maybe she’s always happy, or maybe she laughs only when you are around. These are just assumptions after all. You have never spoken to her. She seems unapproachable and you know you are still scared deep down. You have seen other guys being rejected, if not by her then by some other girls, so you are saving yourself from all the embarrassment. You know, you will never gather the courage to talk to her. And the day you do, pigs will fly in the air, in a flying saucer, full of Italian sausages.

It’s middle of the summer and you are in college fourth semester. You have found yourself some really good friends. You have learned a thing or two about life. Your hair is still long, your pants are still baggy and saggy and your backpack, although less bulky, is still off-putting. You have not changed much, except you talk more now. You’re quirky, funny and somewhat likeable. You talk quite often about her, to your really close friends and they laugh. They mostly make fun of you, but you laugh along. They have no idea, where you come from.

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You haven’t seen her in almost two years Continue reading

Palash ji, let me explain …

At first I thought he was joking, but no, this man was dead serious and I could tell that soon, by the way his hands moved; persuasively, making signs in the air, pointing at stuff around, like he was the boss—a smart fucking Aleck, wrapped in polka dots. His statements were quotes, his words were jargons (well most of them), his gestures were unduly animated, and his one sided emotional blabber was fairly convincing for the man who sat next to him.

“Palash ji”, he said. “I had a very terrible childhood. I was very young, say, twelve or thirteen, when my mother passed away.”

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That was, I kid you not, his opening line. I was at Starbucks, a table away from this man, and of course, Palash ji—the pumpkin of a man, who was wearing thick rimmed glasses over his frog eyes. He also had a pink baby face and wavy coconut hair, and if you made an effort to look closely, you could have seen the deposited clutters of dry heena on the scalp, lurking on the edge of the patchy hairlines. Continue reading

Tingu

The most awkward moments in life, are not when the old lovers meet again or when your family finds out that you’re a queer. It’s when you are stuck in the lift with your boss­ – for 10 minutes or more.

If being hairy, and built out of inordinate bones aren’t the only things, that make me, how some of those ladies put the best; “an obnoxious cock”, then you also must know, that I am part of a nine to five desk job, where the management asks me to shut my face in the computers and type incessantly.  So think of all the things that can keep a guy tied unwillingly in the cocoon of social abhorrence and I have them in abundance. Long complex story short; I am short!

I am, however, never sad or vocal about it. After all, no one shows compassion to a dwarf who says, “I am not happy”, their immediate response is, “then which one are you?” Now I know, I know, it’s an old joke, but some of these people repeat it like a broken record.

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So on an ordinary day, I look around and all I see, are people in their formal clothes, hating their tie colours that don’t go very well with their belts and hitting their keyboards, like wife-beaters on some kind of highly violent hallucinogens (like that AZ from that Jacob’s ladder movie). But I, on the other hand, tend to keep away from all that antagonism, for I am mostly funny, mostly friendly and mostly clubby, but not, “I-would-gel-with-six-footers-and-have-a-great-time”, clubby. Continue reading

Periza

I am on the edge of a rock, half-bent, clambering on a mountain, trying not to fumble, is when I see her coming along the far invisible lines of the road. She is alone and she is walking towards me. I am alone too, and I halt for a second and gaze at her distinctive, but alluring braids. I tell myself, I will wait for her. I don’t wait for anyone, for I am a solo traveller. I meet and greet people, share my experiences, listen to theirs, and then part my ways with a goodbye, and sometimes with just a smile. But I will wait for her, I tell myself­ again.

She is being chased by the local kids. She politely tells them, “no”, every time they try to sell her tea or coffee. These kids are street smart and quote one price to the locals and something entirely different to the foreigners. Kim, a fellow traveler, calls one of the chubby kids, “cheeky”. That’s one word I have not heard in a very long time, I tell her. It’s just an English way of calling someone that, she concludes. Continue reading

I mean, what I mean is …

I wouldn’t say I have been great lately and I mean, I have not been myself, but that’s not where I am getting at, for that’s an entirely different story. What I mean is, that sometimes, the line between my dreams and reality is so blurred, that I am not sure, which side (of the two) I am going to wake up the next morning.

For instance, two weeks ago on a Saturday (I think it was a Saturday), I was at the liquor mart.  And next to me, clothed in crushed trousers,  was a man with a purple hat in his early fifties, peeking through the wine cellar; wine browsing, like some say. Now you’d argue, why a fifty year old man would wear a purple hat? Honestly, I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t care, and honestly, it’s not important or something that I am getting at. Anyway, I am someone, who goes for the cheapest one on the rack. So I crossed him out of my turn, mostly because I was in a hurry, but also because I knew what I really wanted. It was impolite, yes, but the oldie was taking too much of my time that I did not have.

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Then, I stood at the counter waiting for the cashier to ring the bottle up, but he was quiet and lost; I had to tap his shoulder twice. I paid the bills Continue reading