Happy Diwali 

Not so happy 😑

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My eyes are full of tears as I write this. No, nobody died. It’s just that the blockheads who live on the second floor have been performing some fucking yagna for the last few centuries. As ancient Romans would call it, my apartment is gravioris infernum now. All I see is veiled objects, smoke billowing in and out of every window and door, and I don’t even have Asthma. It’s just that my eyes are a bit sensitive and more than that my brain is. I was happily watching Reaction channels on my mobile phone when my eyes started to hurt. Four minutes later, I was sure I was going blind. 

“Didn’t I tell you to stay away from phone? “My mother would say and I wouldn’t be able to see her. I wouldn’t be able to draw naked ladies. Every time I’d admire a beautiful woman she’d know I’m lying. How awful to be blind! 

I pulled myself up from that nightmarish thought and blinked profusely. I ran around like a pesticide-stricken honeybee, unaware of my destiny or senses. I ran for air but every inch of it was polluted, like they show in disaster films. The pigeons at my window had already flown away, and I with a complete lack of wings, was flailing my arms because that’s what you do when you are dying and don’t have wings. Those fucking pigeons! I rushed to the bathroom and splattered a sea across my face but it didn’t help. It felt like there were ants running on my cornea with katanas attached to their bootsoles. I started sneezing as well. The whole thing was like a Stephen King novel. 

Restless and dying, I soaked my towel, wrapped it around my head and stood at the bathroom door like a B grade remake of Tutankhamun. I was also cursing in muffled voices and bobbing and shaking my head out of irritation and pain. And then I heard the shriek of a woman. 

I removed my face bandage and discovered my landlady standing horrified, her face paler than a fish, her eyes two big meteor craters. 

“Aunty..I..I was just..”

And she scooted away. Perhaps she had come to ask for rent. Perhaps. Perhaps she’ll soon find a new renter. 

I thought about going down to the 2nd floor and confronting them, but they have an animal named Lucy. They say it’s a bitch but I am sure it’s a Leopard or something. Goddamn Lucy. I couldn’t go there. So instead I imagined my empty dustbin-carton was Lucy and kicked it till it crushed like a Styrofoam cup. Now feminists will say it’s misogynistic but I don’t give Santa’s fuck. I was dying. I could kill a bitch. Or whatever she was. 

There’s this sink in our apartment which we don’t use, as it leaks. The water flows directly into their flat. I thought about peeing in the sink but then I didn’t have the required urinary urge. I didn’t even have water. 

So I wore a shirt and went to fetch a bottle of water from my neighbor, or as I’d like to call her affectionately, my landlady. There she was, brewing tea peacefully. As I entered she froze like a spider. When I passed her she trembled. The minute that passed filling the water was the quietest minute in recorded history. It was so quiet scientists heard Big Bang waves without those byzantine radios. It was so quiet libraries and hospitals went into shock and Zeus rubbernecked through clouds to check if everybody was dead on earth.

I filled the water and my landlady asked, staring into my red eyes with stark fear. 

“You didn’t go to home? ”

“Hehehe..No Aunty. Hehehe..My home is very far. It’s so far…”I thought about adding humour but she was gazing me like sheeps gaze at a murderous lion, so I left. I went back and the mist hadn’t melted yet. I sniffled and sneezed and cussed and decided to write thise grumbling post. 

As I finish this, the pigeons are back on my window. And they’re fucking each other like it’s the end of the world. 

Sometimes I wonder how spectacular my life would be if I were a pigeon. 

And yeah, Happy Diwali

Long Day #1 : Birthday Cake

We decided to celebrate it…formally.

Index – Following are the petnames of people in my group :

  • Netaji – Hailing from a political and gangster background, he wants to become the president of India.   
  • Popatlal – Otherwise a genius, his skeletal frame makes him look like a grasshopper. 
  • Danger – I have no idea why he is referred to as that. 
  • Ummm, I don’t know, but we have a petname for his future wife – Begum Noor Jahan. For the sake of convenience let’s call him Dick
  • The Aggressive Guy – He so desperately wants to pick a fight that when he’s got no enemies he kicks empty air. 
  • Laddoo – well, that’s what they call me. Because I’m fat. 

 It was Netaji’s birthday recently and so Popatlal decided to throw in a surprise. Yeah, we are so single that we plan birthday surprise for our male friends. Danger called me and we agreed to a deal. We would get him a cake – that would be, essentially, for consumption. There are people who buy cakes for face, which, if you ask me, is the worst use of money after Pablo Escobar’s famous logfire. Anyway, we decided for a small cake (chocolate -> MANDATORY). It’s just that when we went to the store nobody had money. Cute. 

“That will be 220 rupees. “The shop owner said with a smirk.

Popatlal looked at me, I looked at Danger, Danger looked at Dick, and Dick stared at the duststorms left by the glamorous cars that zoomed by. 

“I don’t have that much. “Popatlal said. “What you all got? ”

“Umm..let me check. “I fished in my empty pocket, “Nothing. ”

“I was born poor. “Danger said. We all loked at Dick, who stood there, pale and flaccid. 

“We don’t have enough money in our family to buy a pen so that we could apply for Ration Cards. We are Bangladeshi immigrants. “Dick said. 

The Agressive Guy waited for somebody to ask him so that he could turn it into an argument and pick a fight, but nobody said him anything. 

“Here’s the money. “The Aggressive Guy gave in eventually, “If I don’t get it back soon, I’ll break all your teeth. ”
We happily accepted the money and I chose a beautiful cake with a dark chocolate layer at the top and two more in between. 

“Do you want to write something on it? “The owner asked. 

“Netaji. “We echoed. He smirked.

“No wait. ” I said. “Write Chutiya. ” 

They all stared at me. A pause. And Popatlal nodded. 

“Yeah. That. ”

The shop owner smirked again. There was something fishy about that guy. He took the tube and wrote the word on it. While he was doing so, his phone rang and Saare Jahan Se Achcha started playing in the air. The customers looked at us, the old ones, as if we were the reason why God sent Earthquakes and Floods in this world. 

But we got the cake anyway. 

“Wait, I’ll go first. “I said, as we stood outside his alley, “and when I say ‘All Clear’, follow me. Okay? ”

They nodded like a good battalion. But didn’t follow my advice. 

Netaji was already leaning on the rails of his balcony when we entered the alley. So that just ruined the surprise. He was dumbfounded to see the word Chutiya though. 

“Whoever wrote this, I’ll get him hanged when I become the president of India. “He vowed. 

After the formal birthday song was sung, Popatlal divided the cake into 4 parts – as the Aggressive Guy had a fast, Netaji wasn’t interested in cakes –  which he claimed were equal. They would have been way more equal had a bee, with a knife tied to its tail, divided the cake. Fight broke and I grabbed the 2nd largest piece. I licked all over it before I began to eat, in order to safeguard my possession from any possible foreign invasion. 

“This is unfair. I got the smallest. “Said Dick.

“You are a Bangladeshi immigrant, remember? You are lucky to even get a whiff. “

The Editorial 😑

Imagine going through this every morning….😡

1

Editorials are monotonous as fuck. When I was a kid my tuition teacher advised (ordered) me to read An English Newspaper everyday, especially the Editorial page as it’s rich in knowledge. I was 14 then. I had Ben 10 Alien Force stickers on the inside of my pencil box! Ugh..I had a pencil box!! My perception of knowledge wasn’t very clear back then. I mean I knew about Null-Void, but was that something that constituted knowledge? It was all so confusing. I watched insect wars on Discovery. I don’t know.

Anyway, I subscribed for a morning daily. The Times of India. It was either this or The Telegraph, and the latter didn’t offer glitzy Sunday supplements, so I went for the former. 

Now there are one or two things you need to understand here. I lived in a small non-English city of a small non-English state of a fairly large English country. The aforementioned newspapers didn’t have many readers around and so they weren’t published in a nearby locality. 

“You’ll get it a day late. “The hawker said as he sipped the free tea, sitting like a crab in my favourite little chair. Have I told you about my little chairs? Okay, I’ll. 

“Okay. “I nodded. It’s not as if I had a choice.

And so, it started. My teacher was the happiest person on earth the day he heard this news.

“I’m so glad that you got the paper. Now nobody can stop you. You will touch skies now. Just wait and see. “He said, his eyes two little balls of wildfire and then suddenly soot, “And oh…I’m leaving for Delhi tomorrow. I got a job. ”

Whaattt!!?? How the fuck was I supposed to read that goddamn paper now?

I knew nothing to begin with. Words like Corroboration, Logistics and Heterodox gave me anu…anue….aneu…Holy Santa claus….aneurysm. I wasn’t born an Angrez. I had received my primary education in hindi medium, so English words swam like stoned jellyfishes in front of my eyes. I didn’t know why cat meant pussy but pussy didn’t mean cat. I mean according to Euclid, they should have been same. 

Anyway, I began reading the paper. There were some Chetan Bhagat articles, devoid of humour. There were no jokes in his pieces, all he did was trying to make sense which didn’t make sense. I mean I knew him as a story-teller. There were goliath articles, each the size of Indian Ocean, and I’d find twenty thousand difficult words before I could finish the first paragraph. It was a struggle, it was like decoding an ancient script, only without the possibility of winning a Pulitzer. 

I tried a few more articles and then I gave up. Except for Jug Suraiyya’s tiny comic pieces, nothing in those pages made sense. People wrote monologues on political, social and economic issues. Nobody talked about Null-Void. Nobody talked about how cool a KameHameHa wave was. So, I found an alternative use of the paper. I started cutting out sceneries and made an album. When my mother saw it she admired my work wholeheartedly. 

“Wow! This is so amazing! “She said, as she flipped through the album,

“Also, no paper from tomorrow. ”

2.

Fast forward to 2017. I have subscribed for The Indian Express. If The Hindu is the iPhone of newspapers, The Indian Express is the RedMi. Poor people read this and try to compete with The Hindu readers. This paper belongs to the phylum UPSCE of species Newspapers. People who want to crack CSE perform fellatio on this newspaper and then swallow it like a Black Widow Spider. I too have been licking it for some times. It’s not like The Times of India – full of ads and hot women and hot topics and that shiny Sunday supplement with raunchy series like the Diary of a Single Girl. On the contrary, The Indian Express is almost completely Black and White, with a complete absence of perky breasts, sparkling cleavages, screaming matrimonials and Hashmi Dawakhana ads. It is full of something which you’d rarely find in a newspaper – news

The editorial is boring as hell, still. There’s one event of national importance and bam! Everyone’s got their tits out and long and endless articles appear days after days till the issue is squeezed to the bones. In the recent privacy verdict, the front page was full of supreme Court judgement. Then, there were half a dozen pages full of explanations, detailed coverage of the event, history of privacy, interview of the heroes, future scopes, shit, poop, etcetera, etcetera. Then there was the Editorial page. Then there was the Ideas Page. I was so flummoxed I took a leave from the college for a couple of days to finish reading it and still had six pages remaining by the time my short holiday ended. I was disgusted. 

Most of the articles are similar in structure, they carry the same tone, and have the same appeal to the reader. Stirring articles – Yashwant Sinha‘s latest, for example – are rarer than Spontaneous Human Combustion. People wait, with telescopes, in their balconies, for such articles. Even Halley’s comet passes by Earth thrice before such an article shows up. Rest of the days, it’s just people ranting and rumbling, criticising or defending the government, pointing out how dalits are oppressed, how women are oppressed, how farmers are oppressed, how Muslims are oppressed, how immigrants are oppressed, and recently, how journalists are oppressed. They talk about the problem, mention a failing scheme/law and provide general solutions. Now if you’re learning how to make a soap such a narrative would be fine, but being a history student, a blogger and a novel maniac, this narrative doesn’t work for me. I have to read those like people read H C Verma – with care and guessjobs. 

Yeah. What else? There’s Sudoku. Well. And comic strips which are not The Wizard of Oz or Dennis the Menace. There’s Sports page without the column that’s usually reserved for a tantalising photograph of an athlete’s girlfriend. They discuss Dengue Prevention schemes on page 3. I mean, you get the picture, right?

I hope you understand how life is. But I’ve to plough. Because – to conclude with a cheesy English line – no matter how ugly the shipwreck, the Heart has to Go On. 

Okay. That was damn cheesy. 

It saddens me….

The century of machines has already made us machines….

Two people I’d known died this month. What hurt me the most was the insensitivity of those online mourners who expressed grief through texts, the number of crying face emojis directly proportional to the magnitude of their sadness. There were also those crappy filmy oneliners that would have made much more sense in a Broadway tragedy. I knew the people that died and I knew the people who mourned. Knowing them just saddened me even more. Every new message that popped up on my notification toggle only made me sicker. 

People aren’t sensitive anymore. Injured men lie on the road, groaning, calling out for help, but all the onlookers do is take out their phone and record their helplessness. The news channels were once showing how a man who lost his wife and kid in a road accident was crying, stuck to his dead family, in the middle of the road. Nobody offered him a soothing hand, nobody asked his whereabouts, nobody  cared to talk to him as he wept for hours while people recorded him. 

This is a dangerous, dry world we are moving into. This apathy will someday gobble up humanity. My teacher died a few days ago. The whatsapp group was full of messages like – Sir please say it’s a lie. Sir please come back. I feel like crying – from people who never attended the class. I so wanted to scream in their ears that it’s not a fucking goddam movie. A person has died and you are well aware of it. And still, you’re giving oneliners. There was a battery of emojis following texts. That pissed me off. How convenient it must have been for them? Tap 😭 six times and it makes you the most devastated soul in the entire fucking universe. Mourning has become instant and ready-made now. Those bastards started putting up statuses, each with his photo and at least 3 crying emojis. They made it seem like they were shattered beyond recovery. The fact is most of them didn’t even know him. And this girl who wrote in the group – I am going to cry right now – never dropped a tear when she heard the news. It made me even madder. If you are going to cry right now, why do you have to tell it in a group? Just go cry in a corner, don’t fucking announce it. You weep in the chatbox because you want to come off as a caring person who’s sad. You want people to believe you’re sad. You want people to see that you cared for somebody. You want people to see it how you empathise with somebody. But when you want people to see, the whole purpose is lost. It just enrages me. 

We deleted the group and then they started asking how we could do that. 

It is so disappointing to see these platforms of virtual reality drain out sympathy, empathy and sensitivity from people’s heart. Mourn, pray, cry, but please don’t update your statuses with wooden words. The dead won’t see your WhatsApp mournings. 

Daily News

Last week

A lot has happened in the last 10 days. The whole country has been on a roller coaster ride as milestone verdicts from the Indian Judiciary popped out day after day. (For those of you who are not much into current affairs, let me brush your general knowledge a bit.) 

The first sensational verdict was on Triple Talaq. The Supreme court struck down the practice of Talaq-e-Biddat, declaring it invalid and illegal (not ‘unconstitutional’ though). People roared with happiness on National television.

The next day, in a remarkable 9-0 verdict on the question of privacy, the Supreme Court declared privacy as a fundamental right, apart from being a natural right inclusive of sexual autonomy. This paved the way for the much awaited scrapping of the IPC section 377. 

And then, a popular Godman was convicted with rape after a 15 year trial. The followers ravaged the city, killing more than 30 people and injuring hundreds. The atmosphere is filled with fear as the governments failed to protect innocent people yet again. 
So it’s quite quiet here. Like the tranquilness before the tempest. The Love Charger Baba, as he is affectionately called, is to be sentenced today. Section 144 has been imposed in many areas of Delhi and I have already received messages from my classmates to not to attend college tomorrow. The Book Fair plan has been cancelled and I feel like little Anne Frank living off her last days in the secret annexe. The other day, a lot of buses were torched in Shahdara, and the Kota Guy sent me 5 missed calls before deciding I was dead. He was happy to get my room and was vividly imagining his life in there when I said hello to him.

“You are not dead yet? “He asked, a bit disappointed. 

“I was at Rohit’s. Playing Mini Militia. ”

That’s just another story. At first Rohit was reluctant. His 512 mb RAM phone couldn’t bear the weight of Doodle army. So as we started to play, his phone gave up. I told him to uninstall Amazon for the love of God and clear cache while we played the game. He was so disheartened he uninstalled Mini Militia as well. Then we got it reinstalled and started playing and I beat the shit out of everyone. Rohit would often dangle about with the launcher and I’d kill him with a revolver. Flame thrower is my favourite weapon of all time. I’m invincible with that shit. 

Anyway, I came back and the Kota guy told me about burning vehicles and swelling violence. I checked the news and it was everywhere. More than two dozens lost their lives because a rapist was convicted. Social media was abuzz with grief and rage. Sakshi Mahraj gave a stern warning to the Judiciary that if the decision is not corrected (reversed) there shall be more riotsand large scale violence. That’s my country, guys. Welcome to India. 

If I have to be honest, I hate Godmen. More than that, I hate blind faith. But that’s the evergreen problem with humanity. Doesn’t matter if you are a caveman or a businessman, doesn’t matter if you wear hides or suit, doesn’t matter if you fiddle with stones or iPhones, you are always blinded. This is the reason such swindlers emerge and are able to carry out their evil plans. Then, there’s politics of course. It’s shit, actually. You’ll have to come to India to see it. Though I would suggest against it because you might get raped. We are an incredibly dangerous people. Our national capital is infamously called the “Rape Capital”. 

What could be worse?