My mess owners are descendants of Satan. They are pure, unadulterated anthropomorphic incarnations of evil. If Magic Mirror existed in real world, it would show them as red, horned, sharp-toothed, fork-tongued, tail-bearing, trident carrying dwarf creatures. When my mess owners die, wars shall stop and epidemics would dissapear and everybody would be happy and Gods would descend down to take free, relaxed morning walks in the pure rejuvenated air of earth.
“Ah! The world is so less polluted now. “They would say, and casually look around for some tight assed girls.
I had read about pathetic mess facilities in books, especially in Chetan Bhagat novels, and I had witnessed the appalling condition of mess on news channels. There were runny sambhar, bug infested rice, charred rotis. Not to say they all tasted the same. My mother used to warn me when I criticised her cooking talents.
“Once you start living away from home and join a mess, you’ll know what a magician your mother is. “She would say as I made fifty different expressions of disgust at the dinner table.
Now that I think of it, Ranchi was still bearable. I mean they did provide Paneer twice a week and Friday nights were Fast Food Specials. That apart, salads were fresh and free. The cost was minimal, too. And the mess owner was hot. Okay not so hot maybe. But at least she was not 80. The delicacy and comfort of home-cooked food was absent, but I coped. I mean what could have been worse!?
My definition of worse changed after I started living in Delhi. Here, you can’t define worst. You think this is the limit to which evil could be thrusted upon you, but yayyy, surprise! that was just the starting line. Get fucked more.
I switched to my current mess after I was fed up with the former one, who charged thousands for shit. I mean how long can you survive on type 7 human stool they call Dal, manufactured and salted citrus droppings they call Pickles, and half-baked circular pieces of dung they call Roti!?
Once, they cooked Paneer. The excitement and joy that flooded the PG at once could never be equalled, not even if there was a bukake festival in town with a free entry. I had suddenly started feeling grateful for my mess owners. Then came show time.
It looked like paneer. I mean only paler and less attractive, as if it had been boiled and peeled, and poisoned, but it did look like paneer. I stared at my ex-neighbours’ faces, and they stared at mine. I took a lump. And how unlike paneer the paneer in my plate was! It didn’t taste like anything. If I were blind I would have sworn on my mother it was potato, or lady finger, or whatever the hell they cooked because everything tasted the same. I was sure that the cook believed all of us either were diabetic or had damaged tastebuds.
“How’s the Paneer? “The cook asked.
I wondered if I should suggest him to quit cooking and look for some other career options, maybe even make his profile on jobs.com, but I just smiled in fake appreciation. Ah! How bad it was! If that guy went on Masterchef Sanjeev Kapoor would have him executed.
“It’s awesome. “My ex-neighbours said. And so did everybody else. I came home wondering if my ex-neighbours and the cook and everyone else were plotting against me.
“It was shit. We were just being polite. “They later clarified.
The new mess is owned by a pair of ancient people, who are old enough to enter Guinness World Records. I’m convinced they practice black magic.
The old lady is sweet but shrewed. And her man is a talking machine. First, I’ll describe the old lady. So good natured she is, you’d wonder if she lives a secret life chopping kids and storing their pieces in the refrigerator. A wrinkled face that evokes sympathy, a speech full of honeytalking and oversentimental stuffs, and a brain full of evil and selfishness. She’s such a drama queen. One day she was looking at her grandson’s photo, her eyes wobbly and quivering. My neighbours spent a good deal convincing themselves that the young guy sitting like a crab in the sofa in the next room is actually her alive grandson and not his ghost.
“I mean her grandson was like four steps away. And not even dead. And she’s was like this is my grandson, you see? “My neighbours later told me.
The old lady once offered me some almonds. I was so thankful I wanted to hike her pay at once. Then I came to my room and chewed those almonds. I had to take three Listerine gurgles to erase the horrid taste.
Her husband is pretty delusional. Maybe it has to do with old age, or maybe he is a genuine asshole. Once I was standing right in front of him when he asked,
“Has Ravish gone yet? “I was so speechless.
Once I showed up without a lunch box. When I asked if he had spare lunch boxes, he said of course, and pulled out a Shenaz Husain Gold tub and started pouring Dal.
“Uncle, “I said, “I guess I’ll run back to fetch my lunch box. ”
My neighbours were sick of their parasitic nature. So once they went to seriously warn him to improve the quality of food or be prepared to lose customers.
“Uncle! “They satarted.
“Oh! Kids. Blah Blah Blah…..Blah Blah…BLAH….I HAD A HEART ATTACK ONCE….Blah Blah Blah Blah. ”
3 hours later.
“You were saying something, kids? ”
“No. Uncle. Nothing. Nothing at all. “My neighbours said.