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!