Monday, October 20, 2008

In Mars We Trust - XII

As in every other facet of life, I believe that there is no clear black and white in the field of lying and that there are degrees of lies. Now we men swim through, in our lifetimes, a virtually incessant stream of lies. Starting from the time some weird nurse or doctor or – if you were more fortunate – midwife, picked you up as an infant and actually refrained from telling all around just how abominably ugly the new arrival was, life and the various actors in it keep the momentum going.

Now, without getting into a blow-by-blow account, let me just say that I do believe that most of these lies are – in the eyes of the assorted liars at least – harmless. Like when your parents tell you that you can’t have a video game because they love you so much that they would rather you actually speak to them rather than lose your soul to the Nintendo. Or when they tell you that beating people up is bad and that little boys who fight will go to Hell and will not actually get rewarded with the ice-creams of the victims. Or when they try to tell you that getting into a good Engineering college is the last time you will actually have to work hard and that life will be like sex on toast after that.

Nothing that a man encounters in his constant battle for the truth though, quite matches what he is subjected to by the women that attempt to ensnare him. Women, in my opinion, are not just consummate liars, but are colour-blind too. Not to mention their being the truest and purest sadists ever. How else do you explain anyone making the statement “Pink is the new blue”? How on Earth can pink be blue? Quite aside from the obvious difference between the two, pink is – without wanting to sound homophobic or anything – completely and indubitably gay!

Women these days seem to just yearn to buy their guys some pink shirts and I can’t for the life of me imagine any well-wisher buying the object of those wishes anything pink in colour, particularly if the object in question happens to be male. Can you imagine any woman wanting her man to look like David Furnish (I just googled up his name and will not tell you who he is. Google it yourself!)? The only other category such a person would fall into would be an African-American rapper or a pimp or doped elephant! And then they try telling us that it’s because pink is the new blue! Surely even the most lovelorn idiot should be able to tell that as a blatant and image-threatening lie! Pink is blue? Can you imagine the NYPD traipsing around the city wearing shocking (in more than just colour) pink uniforms? Unedifying thought, eh?

However, I digress. The point I was making, before the aforementioned digression, was about the lying, which was meant to lead up to the point that it finally has led up to which is that women consistently and unfailingly – not to mention unflinchingly – manage to say things that they themselves do not truly believe! As an example, how many women do you see wearing pink shirts to office as compared to blue ones? In my experience, it’s the blue that the women themselves prefer to wear, while guffawing in delight at all the poor unsuspecting victims of their “new blue”.

The worst of this duplicity though is seen when women start describing the kind of qualities that they want in their men. For example, every woman starts off by stressing just how much she hates and detests the possessiveness of her ex-boyfriend and how she just yearns for a man who will let her be her own person. Well, we all know how that turns out, don’t we? The first step is the complaining of the “insensitivity”. It’s what I call the “You don’t care about me” stage. It’s a lose-lose for the guy of course (as is every situation involving both genders simultaneously, unless there’s sex at the end of it all). If you ask whom she is out with, for example, you’re liable to be told, “Aaaah! Jealous are we? I won’t tell you who I’m out with! They’re just friends!” On the other hand, follow your instincts and continue to watch the match and don’t ask and you get the classic, “You don’t care about me at all, do you? You don’t even care who I am going out with!!!”

This stage extends till the woman decides she’s met a guy whose looks+money score is higher than that of her present companion at which point the present companion is either labeled as over-possessive or insensitive, depending on whether or not he asked her where and with whom she was on the various nights she spent scouting the town for the guy with the highest looks+money score who was interested in her. Women, as you can tell unless you’re blind or single, are quite adept at getting the best out of any situation. They even got the Creator into a corner and made him give them exclusive rights over headaches and “that time of the month” to avoid unwanted sex…

Now, a load of women I know, stress that they can’t stand men who are not decisive. They would like, they claim, to have men who make decisions and who do not allow the woman to make all the decisions. Now, this, as any man would willingly aver – apart from the men who are now hopelessly caught in a woman-woven web of duplicity and deception – is the biggest load of bunkum ever spoken since the time that Hitler spoke of his great love for all things Jewish. It all dawned upon me a few days back in the most ironic circumstances:

P: I really liked him and we were really perfect together. Everything was just so perfect, but there was nothing to be done. We just could not have survived together.
Me: Umm…pardon my asking, but does not the word perfect seem to suggest that there was nothing wrong, thereby implying that…
P: Shut up! You idiot, I obviously meant that we were just incompatible!
Me: But you just said you were perfect!
P: No, no! I said everything was perfect and it was (Typically irrational woman-speak, as you can see) except that he used to allow me to make all the decisions!!!
Me: Ah! So that is why you liked him so much, eh? I always wondered how…
P: NOOOOO! You really are stupid, you know? I can’t stand men who allow me to make all the decisions. It shows that they don’t have a mind of their own!!!
Me: What? Are you – the consummate control freak, if there ever was one – telling me that…
P: Shut up, I tell you! I am not a control freak! Anyway, I told him that the only way it would work out was if he was a bit more decisive. And he called it off…
Me: Well, you can’t argue with that being decisive!!!
P: You are so irritating!

Now, take me out to lunch.Now, this, I must admit, was where I decided to be decisive. You know how every one of us has these urges at times to try breaking down a brick wall…

Me: OK. Let’s go to the ‘Devil’s Kitchen’ in Ptolemy’s Gate compound then.
P: No! I don’t like that place.
Me: Hmm…what kind of cuisine do you want then? (She’d got me to start wavering already!)
P: You know how I hate people who can’t decide! You decide!!!
Me: OK. We go to ‘Flyover’ then. That’s pretty close too!
P: No. I just went there last week. Why can’t you decide on something nice like ‘Caravan’???
Me: (completely missing the hint in the last sentence) OK, so how about ‘Carlos’’ then?
P: You’re so useless! Please decide fast now! And some NICE place. And I don’t care which one you decide. Just something nice. So, where are you taking me?
P: Oh good! I like that place. See? I love guys who can make decisions…

Women, you see are consummate manipulators who believe that the ends more than justify the means. That’s why Elizabeth Bathory was a woman! You wouldn’t ever hear of a man called Elizabeth Bathory after all, though of course, the name has nothing to do with my assertion here. If you look at that conversation above, it should be obvious though what women do really want from their men. They want men who will make the decisions that they want them to make. Unfortunately though, women often underestimate the high IQ levels of us men. Women, you see, would like to kid themselves along with the notion that they allow us to make the decisions that they want and that we know nothing of this devious intent of theirs! I have however, devised a way to countering this, which I shall elaborate at length at some not-so-distant time (I hope). Till then though, I shall leave you with an exchange that both proves what I have said about women trying to manipulate us and also formed the beginning for my counter-attacking strategy…

S: So, can we have that wall painted pink then?
Me: No.
S: But it would look so nice!!! OK, you decide what to paint it then…
Me: Fine. We’ll paint it the same colour as the other walls.
S: No!!! That’s so boring. It has to be a different colour. Now you decide which colour.
Me: Umm…black!
S: No! No, no, no! Anything but black!!!
Me: OK then. Ash grey!
S: You’re making me cry now!!!
Me: Awww… OK then, let’s just do it…umm…cream!
S: What? But that’s the colour of the other walls!!!
Me: Yeah well, maybe we could have it a single mini-shade different then…

Sometime between the time we spoke and the time I found my underwear, she got me to agree to paint it “blue”… I promise you though. The moment I put my finger on just what it was that undid me, I'll have the solution in my hands...

PS: Please do not set the hounds on me for the truly dreadful innuendoes in the last line. I vow to try harder next time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Binges, Trees, Pornstars and An Irate Mom

The incidents that I am about to narrate in my own flawed and often meandering and boring manner, concern Wastrelius, a person I consider to be a close friend (although I know not how friendly he will be after this post) and one who has provided me with a fair few reasons to smile, some of which are of course, mentioned in the narrative that follows. For reasons that will soon be obvious though, I am unable to propose a toast to the man…

A single glance at Wastrelius would enough to inform all but the most innocent of observers that he is anything but a connoisseur of liquor. A gut that he needs to actually hold up to avoid friction with the Earth below shows all too clearly that nobody remembered to teach him in his impressionable years that the shapely figures that he clasped so joyously were to be caressed and not ravaged, specially when they bore the “44% V/V” legend. Of course, the law of mass and gravitation ensured that the two of us have been close pals for a fair while which gives me the authority to state quite conclusively that this was a man whose low tolerance for alcohol had no impairing effect on his consumption of the Divine Spirit.

And so it happened that ensconced in a hostel that consisted of inmates with a similar love for the bottle, albeit without Wastrelius’ low tolerance levels, it was not an infrequent occurrence to see Wastrelius in the company of Misera and Rajrotter, straggling across the roads at night asking innocent bystanders if they’d seen their underclothes flying by. It was on one such night that I noticed that Wastrelius looked rather more bogged down by internal worries than was the norm.

Wastrelius you see, was one of those souls that it was hard to hold down and I don’t just mean that literally. Given the fact that years of experience had taught him that the only shapely and curvaceous forms he would be permitted to clasp to his ample bosom were perforce the ones made of glass, nothing life could throw at him could contrive to make him blue, apart from a forced abstinence from the bar counters.

Given the circumstances therefore, I was naturally more than a mite concerned and began my endeavour to understand what was troubling his ‘chicken’-brain. “What’s up, Fatman?” I asked conversationally, only to have my head almost bitten off. “What’s the matter with all you morons?” he bellowed? “Can’t anyone talk in this place without being rude to me? Why does everyone always want to fight?”

I decided, I thought wisely, to turn to Misera for an explanation about the decidedly strange demeanour of the normally placid pachyderm. “Oh, he’s alright. Just a tad peeved at the fact that Building was slightly rude with him. Refused to carry his guitar case for him, would you believe it?” Misera told me. “But, he’s not carrying his guitar case,” I replied. “Oh! Don’t say that, you blot on the landscape. That’s exactly what Building told him and that’s what upsetting the bloke!”

It was at about this point that we heard emanating from the brush behind us, sounds of a skirmish with an unmistakable voice bellowing with rage. Noticing that the owner of the voice was nowhere to be seen – an unusual event in itself given his none-too-easy-to-miss size – we were naturally perturbed enough to head into the brush and investigate further. There he stood, facing a large black form.

“You bastard! Why the fuck are you being rude to me, eh? What’s the matter with you?” I’d have been completely on Wastrelius’ side, had it not been for the fact that the large form before him –which was several times W’s own size – was showing no inclination to respond verbally or physically. “Answer me, you c*nt! You *&%^$@! Take that!” and Wastrelius swung out a meaty right. I was about to start off to help him out and explain to him that the form was not responding solely because it was rooted to the spot and had branches and leaves protruding from it’s trunk, when I perceived Misera breathing heavily standing next to me.

“Let it be, dude. I know how to handle him” he whispered to me and I began to thank my stars that the unfolding events seemed to have brought him down more than just a couple of pegs, pun intended. He proceeded then, with great determination to walk up to Wastrelius, take him by the arm and lead him aside with a curt, “Let me handle this, my friend. Let me take care of this.” “He was rude to me,” panted Wastrelius, who seemed clearly to be exhausted with the recent skirmish having actually thrown four punches and even aimed a couple of half-hearted kicks at the enemy.

“Yes, I know,” said Misera as he turned to the offending tree. “Why the fuck were you rude to my friend, huh? Answer me! Why can’t you answer, you son of a bitch?” screamed Misera as he began pounding the tree with vicious rights and lefts that left no doubt in my mind that the health of his knuckles was not really the highest priority for him at that point in time. I felt distinctly alone standing there as I seemed to be the only one missing out on the fun. So, I lumbered off, leaving them to fight their own battles while I headed off to find my own bottle of joy…

Barely a day or two after this evening, I found myself at the ritual Saturday evening institute party. Yes, those very parties renowned for the invariable shortage of alcohol that would occur after 3 AM, regardless of the quantity that was started off with. I was feeling pleasantly chuffed I recall as I’d just conversed with Nicky who’d assured me she’d dance with me later in the evening as long as I could jog for 4 kilometers after drinking 2 jugs of vodka. While the possibilities of my getting a dance that evening were none too high by my reckoning, I thought myself justified in concluding that this was a distinct improvement on the last occasion I’d asked when she’d said she would consent only when I was down to 102 kilos instead of 120.

Humming pleasantly to the romantic tune of ‘Unite the Dead’, I was therefore not upset to hear the rumbling that alerted one of the approach of Wastrelius. “They’re playing crap music,” he bellowed. I wasn’t upset one bit at the bellowing mind you. Wastrelius you see had been a technician for a heavy metal band as a young man and as such was used to having to bellow to have himself heard over the sound of twin guitars. The experience had affected him deeply as he had never quite adjusted to speaking outside the environs of rooms where two guitarists were duelling with each other – musically that is, of course.

“Let’s get him to change the music,” he continued and I, in complete agreement with his sentiments accompanied him in walking across the room to the DJ’s table hoping to have a quiet word with the chap. What transpired of course was a mite different as Wastrelius stopped a few yards before the table and began shouting loudly. Even by his standards, which were quite loud as a norm, as I have just explained, he really was roaring now. “You c*nt! Play some decent fucking music, damn you! I said play Cannibal Corpse! At least play Deicide mother****er! I’m going to pour vodka on your system now!” I felt it my duty at this point to prevent Wastrelius from making a scene of me and therefore holding him firmly by the arm, I led him to the opposite side of the hall while he continued bellowing.

Of course, I needed a bit of help and by the time we were halfway through our journey there were four of us, resembling I am sure, flies trying to divert an elephant from his chosen path. It was here though that events took a turn that made me wonder if perhaps we may have been better off with Wastrelius screaming at the DJ instead. Spotting the female closer to his size than any I have ever had the misfortune to see, Wastrelius made a beeline for her. “You’re a pornstar aren’t you?” he queried. “Wastrelius, we really should be getting away!” I exclaimed. “What did he say?” asked the lady in question. “Err…nothing. He just said you look nice and dance well,” I assured her while Wastrelius decided that having failed for once to make himself heard, he would try harder this time around. “She’s a pornstar I tell you! I saw her movie last night! She does awesome things dude!” I smiled weakly Nishuska and realised to my relief from her expression that she had either not heard him clearly or had no idea of what a pornstar was.

Wastrelius’ evening wasn’t quite over though. We managed with no little difficulty to get him outside the hall into the lawns and decided we needed a breather. Wastrelius seemed to have regained his balance somewhat, so leaving Misera to hold him, we let go for a minute. A loud crash a moment later made us turn around to find that Wastrelius had decided to do a volcano impression and had then promptly lost his balance after the sudden loss of weight and fallen face first into the ‘lava’…oh wait, not face first really. He made a cushion out of Misera…

While this would normally have deterred Average Joe from drinking for the next few days, Wastrelius is by no means your Average Joe which made it a tad surprising when, upon inviting him for a party in my room, he told me he’d turned into a teetotaller.

“It can’t be dude! What happened? The pornstar turned you off that much?”
“Umm… No, not really. Bastard, don’t tell anyone about that please. It’ll ruin my reputation!”
“Uh, what? Oh c’mon. It was just funny dude!”
“No way dude! It was embarrassing! That was Nishuska! I mean, blech! And anyway dude. That never happened!”
“Eh what? You just said you even know who the girl was!”
“True. But it didn’t happen dude! You guys are just making it up!”
“Bah! Liar! Though I am sure you don’t recall the incident, so let’s allow that pass for now. Getting to the issue again then, what on Earth could wrench your beloved from your hands dude?”
“It’s sad maan. Dude, my parents call me every night ok. I mean, I’m the only kid, apple of their eyes and everything and so they call me every night at ten. Well, last night, I was at another party and for once, I started drinking at nine and forgot to switch off the phone.”
“Uh-oh. So you had to ignore her call when your mom called?”
“Umm… Well, I was high enough to not realise it was her and the conversation, well, was kind of, umm… emotionally draining, to be honest”

This is the transcript of the conversation as reported by Wastrelius and confirmed by those who were present:

W’s Mom: Tinku! How are you?
W: I’m gooooood. Verrrrry good… Who’re you?
W’s Mom: Heh heh! Nice nice. Enjoying yourself, beta? Where are you?
W: IIM Lucknow…
W’s Mom: Heh heh! Very funny. OK. Where are you?
W: Off Sitapur Road… Who are you?


I don’t blame the bugger…

Wastrelius, I know you won’t join me in this one, but really, I propose a toast… Cheers!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dreams Undreamt and Final Words

Born to a world blind in belief,
Born with a wish that I could see,
Tamed by the times, a civilization breathes,
While I yearn for the air of the seven seas
Flustered and sweating, with time running short,
They call out to me as I stand by and watch,
Why do I feel they’re the ones left behind,
I’m just drifting away somewhere in time

Clinging to visions that haunt and strike fear,
Too familiar with fear to let go of the scare,
Fighting with outcasts and closing upon selves,
Cloaking the emptiness with nakedness and air
Striving to reach out, building their own walls,
Efforts to nothing when death’s on His way,
Riding alone in groups of made of millions,
Each one a minion, the same as the rest

Whispers are passions, a call unto no one,
A sermon all that’s needed to paint lands red,
Deriding the bystander, horses getting higher,
When was my joke turned into your prayer?
Their running gets faster and eyes close tighter,
My stillness still gets me further away from the race
Would you still hold me and tell me it’s all right,
Or will I lose even my closest friend?

The boy knows not for what he yearns,
Trying to please all the blind men that guide,
Lives spent in vain or in glorious reflection,
Aware of but little, but so wise as to decide,
Blissfully holding the boy to their own dreams,
Every road thronged these kinsmen born damned
There was a time when the mind ran free,
Now dreams are bounded; there’s nowhere to hide

The young man, he dances for those departed,
While praising the fires that consume the live,
Macabre motions while crawling down the heights,
That overlook those that embodied the strive
Scream while I sit here move closer to nowhere,
Aging not one day while years me by,
Laughing in madness at your desires,
That cause the insane to sit down and cry

Every tear unshed, every unrealized fear,
Every minute unlived while walking the line,
Desires fulfilled while life feels so empty,
Dreaming for the young boy his own successful life,
How do things end when they never begin,
What price a dream when someone knocks on the door,
Where live a life punished for unwilling treason,
Committed by an old man who’s dying once more

Maybe I should not have been alive,
Or maybe I should have felt pain,
When I tell the truth and contemplate the lie,
And when I know I’d do the same again,
The flame that burns; that ebbs and dies,
It wasn’t meant to be for we all die,
They chant as one; they’ll die as one,
But will anyone remember their lives?


As I have alluded to in a Mars post (which of course reminds me that it’s been ages since I wrote one), people often mock my fondness for professional wrestling, questioning how I reconcile that fondness with my extreme displeasure over expressions of a Low IQ. Quite frankly, I believe that a person who belittles pro-wrestling quite clearly has no knowledge of the same and is therefore exposing his or her IQ as being low by belittling the sport.

A couple of weeks ago, the WWE held WrestleMania and the night prior to that was their Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Skipping over the non-essentials, I just saw excerpts of the acceptance speech given by Ric Flair, the first ever (and probably last ever, too) active wrestler to be inducted into the pro-wrestling HoF. It was quite an experience to say the least.

Seeing the whole hall rise to their feet for the man and then see that not a person had a dry eye in the entire place was an edifying experience. Seeing wrestlers and fans across age groups stand up to applaud the achievements of the greatest of them all was something to savour. Seeing a 7-foot tall man (Paul Wight aka the Big Show) blubbering and crying like a baby when Flair said it was an honour for him to have wrestled Big Show was stirring. Just as stirring was to actually realize that even after a speech that lasted an hour, those who saw it aver that they still wanted him to go on speaking.

As Paul Levesque (otherwise known as Triple H) stated, while introducing Flair, “people say that Ric Flair is arguably the greatest wrestler ever, but we’re all still waiting to hear the argument.” The man inspired most present-day wrestlers. He revolutionized the way mic-work was perceived and was the best mic-worker ever. His promos are the stuff of legend and his career – all 36 years of it – is studded with more landmark promos and 5-star matches than the rest of pro-wrestling combined.

(Let’s face it. No promo ever will come close in tone, wording or emotion to the near-shoot promo that Flair did when he tore into Bischoff (The ‘It was real damnit!’ promo) and nobody will ever forget the line, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man”. And his in-ring wrestling was classic too. As a famous wrestling commentator said, Flair and Steamboat (Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat) could have put on a classic on one leg with both their arms around their backs and drugged! And for Flair to then move seamlessly from that era to the current one where wrestling is more about kicking and punching is another pointer to his greatness. There seemed to be nothing he could not do…even at this age. Look at his Ladder match with Edge as an example, or his street fight with Triple H!!!)

Then, at WrestleMania the following night, Ric Flair wrestled the last match of his 36-year career. Once again, he belied his age with a match that was probably the best of the night. On a night that featured Triple H in a World Championship match, Undertaker and Edge in their Championship match and the awesome 7-man Money-in-the-Bank Ladder match, this was an achievement in itself, but it was hardly surprising, given the man that is Ric Flair. Special mention also to Shawn Michaels for working that match to perfection, but for a 59-year-old man to pull off a match like that? Divine.

The following night’s RAW (which aired last night in India) was something special too. The last 20 minutes were the Ric Flair farewell and what an experience it was. When Flair’s address lasted only a couple of minutes, you knew there was something special that was going to follow and for once, WWE did not let us down. When Triple H walked in, I expected him to have a block-buster statement to make and boy, did he or did he! We saw some of the most awesome scenes I can remember in a ring. Sorry, the undisputedly best scenes ever seen in a ring.

Seeing the original Four Horsemen walk out (without Ole Anderson of course and with Barry Windham), followed by Dean Malenko, another Horseman who featured in the next generation of Horsemen was a pleasure. Perhaps the best moment for most smarks and aficionados was watching Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat walk in, of course. Then there was Harley Race. Watching Shawn Michaels (the man who ‘retired’ Flair in the storyline) walk out and hug Flair and burst into tears was touching, but the real scene-stealers were yet to come. Triple H started it off when he went down on his knees and bowed to Flair. The crowd stepped in with the ‘Thank you Ric’ chants. Then each and every wrestler on the roster walked out and the entrance ramp was crowded with bodies as they stood there and applauded and chanted ‘Thank you Ric’.

There were only a couple of things that could – perhaps - have been better. The first was that despite the fact that Orton is a heel at the moment and may have been booed, he really should have been in the ring, introduced as the others were and not in the crowd that came out together in the end. The second was that John Cena should not have been in the former category. Orton was part of Evolution, Flair’s last great faction and a man who was elevated to the top (along with Batista, who was introduced as the Evolution stable-mate and was in the former category) thanks to that association with Flair. John Cena never had any storyline association with Flair. Still, I guess the WWE did that to avoid any booing and they may have had that down right.

It was something else to see the top heels, Edge and Orton standing at ringside and see tears flowing freely down their faces. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the arena. There were grown men in the audience who were weeping. Flair was weeping as he hugged his family who were introduced to the ring after the Horsemen. After RAW went off the air, Vince McMahon walked down to the ring too.

It wasn’t a soppy scene. Oh no! This was a landmark moment and I couldn’t help wonder what Flair felt like, standing there and seeing all that respect and all that adoration. How many of us get to experience that as we leave? Most people just fade away and become dim memories, if even that. Only the rare and really special experience the exhilaration that Flair must have felt.

For most of us, a farewell will probably comprise of a token watch, a short speech by our bosses and perhaps a small drinks party with close friends. Contrast that with the scenes I mentioned (and trust me, I have skipped a fair bit). You get to see multitudes of people thronging the funerals of famous people, but that’s when they’re gone!

Started wondering what I could ever do to experience the feelings that I mentioned. I don’t really think there is anything. Most of us don’t have the gumption that is needed. In 1975, after a plan crash doctors told Flair, he’d never wrestle again. I wonder what they think now…

For those of you who don’t watch pro-wrestling, perhaps you could try catching a re-run of the RAW episode I mention to understand what I am saying. For those who do follow pro-wrestling, missing this would be a crime. And go ahead and buy the WrestleMania DVD when it comes out. I’ve seen excerpts of the HOF ceremony and can assure you that it’s a must-have. And you can imagine what a speech it was from Ric that nobody mentions the speech that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson made at the same ceremony!

Think about it. What wouldn’t a person give to be in Flair’s position? Pro-wrestling may not be something that the masses take seriously; the pseudo-intellectuals may deride it as ‘childish’; the authorities may criticize it for ‘portraying brutality’, but for me, the entire WrestleMania weekend and the RAW that followed it reinforced once again just how wrong these people are.

So, thank you Ric Flair. Woooo!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Binges, Hangovers, Trees and a Preet Parayee

It’s been a really long time since I blogged – something I realized only when I read a comment that expressed surprise that my blog was still active. Not that I can really call it active I guess given the length of time that I’ve been inactive in the blogging sense of the word, but hey, let’s not get all caught up in the semantics of the situation – if that is what I mean to say.

Was flying KF the other day and the movie channel happened to be showing a flick called Dhamaal which is a blatant rip-off of the excellent Rowan Atkinson starrer Rat Race (which is a must-watch in my opinion and co-stars Whoopi, Cuba Gooding Jr, John Kleese and others). Anyway, a scene in the movie involved one character driving his car straight into a tree and that really reminded me of an incident that happened with me once way back in a time and place that seems to be covered in that ever-so-romantic mist of cobwebs and dust…sorry, memories and lust…err…you get the picture!

That reminds me rather that I need to provide a smidgen of background here perhaps. It was my second year of Engineering in the God-forsaken place I describe and while I grew to love it immensely later, this was the time when the sole benefits of the place were that I was free from the shackles of home and had an illegally-acquired credit card. It was a combination of my realization of my new financial responsibilities and the credit card though that had probably resulted in my state of pecuniary bankruptcy. I am convinced to this date that this was only because the restaurant I frequented had realized for some reason that my signature did not match completely with that of my uncle, whose card it was, but some people I know believe that it may have had something to do with the fact that my uncle had been dead for the last four years and the card had expired well before even that sad passing.

Anyway, I awoke this particular mid-afternoon with the mild remnants of a hang-over of the sort that afflicts those that stay up on a 7-hour long drinking binge. One of those mild affairs that involve your feeling like a highway stone-breaker is trying to hammer his way out of the confines of your skull on both sides and is using a pointed axe for the purpose. While I do acknowledge that this vision may test the imagination of a few, I trust that it has done the job of conveying what I intend to convey.

That apart though, I felt as fit as any hung-over drunkard with a combined financial fortune of Rs 200 ever can and decided that this would be the day I traveled to the city (which had a massive population of 50 thousand people I reckon, though one would hardly have suspected that, given the emptiness of the streets after 3 in the morning) and purchase replacements for my stilts which were beginning to creak in an ominous way and also grace my friend’s place with my presence for lunch; the latter being the one of the few bright spots that a hosteler in an Engineering college in the backwaters of Jharkhand (though the place is the capital now) can possibly look forward to during that four year course in sycophancy and globe-spouting.

With these noble and charitable intentions in mind therefore, I set about the odious task of availing for myself the services of an auto-rickshaw, that three-wheeled monstrosity which cursed though it is by every motorist and pedestrian on the streets of Bombay, happened to bear an eerie likeness to manna from Heaven in the afore-mentioned backwaters of Jharkhand. After a bone-jolting 3 kilometer ride in a cycle-rickshaw which seemed to awaken an even bigger beast than I had earlier suspected to reside in that stone-breaker within my skull, I reached the highway and a couple of failed attempts at skirt-raising later (failed, only because I was not actually wearing a skirt and auto-drivers tend to be wary of drunkards hitching their jeans above their knees in an attempt to entice them to stop), I actually managed to get myself an auto; a feat that caused me to indulge in more than a little marveling at my unexpected and hitherto (and thenceforth as well, with the benefit of hindsight) undemonstrated skill at hailing autos and negotiating rock-bottom prices with them!

A few minutes later though and the man in my head seemed to die a sudden death. A death as sudden as the vanishing of the pleasant sleep that had begun to descend upon me with the rhythmic jolting of an auto traveling over gravelly roads. The auto-driver you see had turned around and was addressing me and even in my heightened state of drowsiness and despite the fact that I was reeking like a few dozen breweries, I had the whiff of a distinct and extremely strong smell of hooch – country liquor that is, for the uninitiated.

“Aap eehaa se nahi na hain?” he slurred. (“You’re not from here, are you?”)
Err. Nahin”, I responded with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach (“Err… No”)
“Par hum to yahinye ke hain”, he leered (“But I am from this place itself”)
“Hmm… accha. Bhaiyya, zaraa road ko dekh ke chalao”, (“That’s alright, but please look at the road while driving”) I said, with the uncomfortable and growing realization that the chappie seemed to think I was some buxom beauty or something, given that he had not turned his face away from me since I had stepped into the auto – an observation that caused even my own dim brain to realize that he really could not have been looking at the road ahead, which being a national highway was populated with a far from negligible number of speeding trucks.
“Arre bhaiyya, oo sab to theek hai, par hamaara usool hai ki dil apna aur preet parayee”, he told me cheerfully. (“That’s all fine, but my credo is, dil apna aur preet parayee” – I am unable to translate this quite frankly)
“Bhaiyya, road dekh lo. Aage se truck aa rahi hai” (“Look at the road. There’s a truck approaching”).
“Arre, oo sab theek hai bhai-saab. Aaj main aapko daaru pilaoonga. Apne type ka. Aapke paas paisa nahi tha, aapne kahaa tha. Toh chaliye, aaj hum aapko pilayenge. Humaara usool hai ki dil apna aur preet parayee” (“Oh, that’s all fine, sir. Today I will treat you to liquor. My type of liquor. You said you were short of cash – I had said that while negotiating and was repenting that statement by the split second – so today I will treat you. My credo is dil apna aur preet parayee”)

The truck managed to avoid us despite the best efforts of the driver and I had realized that I didn’t really know what I fancied more: a crash and subsequent hospitalization and amputation of my foot-long lower limbs or surviving and having to accompany the lunatic to ‘his type’ of boozer!

“Bhaiyya, road dekh lo please. Dono ko marvaoge. Aage turn bhi hai” (“Please look at the road. You’ll get both of us killed. There’s a turn up ahead as well!”)
“Haan bhaiyya, zindagi mein bhi bahut turn hota hai. Isi liye humara usool hai ki dil apna aur preet parayee” (“Yes, there are a lot of turns in life as well, which is why my credo is dil apna aur preet parayee”)
“Haan bhaiyya, isi liye, dil apna aur…” (“Yes, that is why, dil apna aur…”)

We went into a tree as the road turned and neither the auto driver’s head nor the auto itself happened to turn in keeping with the principle that vehicles should follow the road. As I opened my eyes, I saw that the windshield was smashed, the wiper was hanging like a grotesquely severed limb and the auto itself was at an uncomfortable incline with me back therefore at an uncomfortable angle.

“…preet parayee. Arre sala, ee ka hai? Kaun hai be?” (“…preet parayee. Hoy! What is that? Who is that?”), continued my decidedly sozzled and self-anointed would-be drinking mate.

As I crept out of the auto and tested with great trepidation, my ability to stand without support, I saw to my disgust that the chap was standing outside and remonstrating with the tree, “Ka ba? Ka dikhta nahin hai ka? Hum to bole the ki humra usool hai…” (What’s up? Can’t you see? I had said earlier that my credo is…”) and that was when I left the spot…

Without getting into what follows, let us just leave things with the following as taken. I left the spot in a remarkable hurry and without actually paying the chappie a dime, which was fair enough I thought, given the circumstances. However, given the sudden revitalization of the bloke inside my head, who had seemingly only gone missing in order to fetch his army of fellow axe-wielders and my newfound knowledge that my knees were in fact made of a particularly wobbly kind of jelly, I decided to let laziness reign over necessity and wisely opted to hail a shared vehicle (known in those parts as a ‘trekker’ – a peculiarity that I shall describe in greater detail in a future post) that transported me back to the comforts of my room…

Needless to say, I never bothered bargaining with an auto driver again… And to be quite honest, I still don't know whether I was more relieved at being unhurt or at the fact that I had just escaped the prospect of a drinks session with the man...

Next stop? More on consulting as a profession, a Mars continuation and of course, more from the Engg classrooms…

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I don't understand some people. Like this lady in my complex. A week or so ago, I noticed a new dog with 6 pups in a corner of the garden in the complex. Was amazed at how they'd suddenly materialized. Then I discovered that the dog was a pet! A house dog who had a litter. Then the owner decided she didn't want any of these! So she just dumped mother and pups out!!! The mother obviously being unused to the open is now in the SPCA hospital with a broken rib leaving the pups (a month old at best) out in the open...

The erstwhile owner says with great magnanimity that she will "feed them till they can take care of themselves". As I said, I don't understand these people.

If you, or anyone you know wants a pup, please do contact me (Mike) on +91-9920251603. I'm attaching pics (the pups are far cuter than they appear in the pics though, trust me) of the pups below. Oh and yeah, the pups (and me of course) are in Bombay...