Lipstick Shopping

The word ‘discount’ always drives her crazy; this time, it was accompanied with an adjective ‘heavy’.

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Hullo Everyone!
A few days ago, my mother got obsessed with lipsticks. Not that she didn’t love lipsticks before, but since the rumours of heavy discounts on Dry Lipsticks at R&N shopping complex reached her ears, her love skyrocketed to the point of mania. The word ‘discount’ always drives her crazy; this time, it was accompanied with an adjective ‘heavy’. She kept pacing up and down, like a kid who’s desperately waiting for the clock to turn 9 so that she could watch Oggy and the Cockroaches. Had it not been sunny and muggy, she’d have scooted off right away. But she decided to wait till the evening, and she did that bravely. As the sun dimmed, her excitement rose; and as the clock struck six, in the drop of a hat, my mother was out of the house.
I heaved a sigh of relief and opened xvideos, because that’s what you do when you are seventeen years old and not accompanied by your mother in a room with a free wifi connection.
My happiness didn’t last long, for my mother was back in less than ten minutes, her expressions suggesting she has been mugged.
“The shop was closed. “She said, disappointed.
“Some other day. “I tried to sound optimistic.
“Yeah. “She said and exhaled wearily.
Yesterday evening, we went for Lipstick Shopping. Of course, I was dragged. She promised she’d buy me novels at the Cheap Thursday market, and it sounded so rare from my mother, I couldn’t decline the offer. But then, you cannot deny that I was lured into this.
I had never bought lipsticks before. I hate lipsticks. Every girl I dream of, I imagine her without lipstick. I prefer the natural pink of the lips, and I’d not want my potential wife to wear any artificial sticky substance at the place I’m supposed to kiss her.
Anyway, I was filled with disgust as the girl at the counter, who wore magenta lipstick, laid out the sticks from a pack that had around fifty shades of red. In the case below, I clocked a violet lipstick. At once, my brain pictured every crush of mine wearing violet lipstick; mortified, I told my brain to stop doing that.

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My mother was viewing the lipsticks with the patience of a crane. It was as if she was contemplating the molecular mass of the cylindrical structures in front of her eyes. I was getting annoyed already.
“Would you choose one for me? “She asked, seemingly dazzled.
“I don’t think so. “I replied.
My mother then went back to studying all the shades of red. I stood there, wondering if shopping with a woman is the worst experience you can have in your life. I scanned through the items in the racks, and noticed sanitary napkins and wondered for the longest time what if men had periods. All the while, my mother was busy checking out lipsticks.
“Which one of these two? “She asked, rubbing two reds on the back of her hand. They were so similar that only a lab test could differentiate one from the other. I pretended to look closely and tossed a coin in my mind and pointed at the shade at the top.
“I think it’s better. “I said. She seemed to believe me.
“What’s the price? “She asked the girl at the counter.
“250/- ”
“Wasn’t there a discount? “My mother flinched. My mother was just pretending to be taken aback, she knew the price already.

“It’s the discounted price, madam. “She said, calmly.
After that, my mother bargained for an hour or so, and she got it for two hundred.
“That’s how you buy stuffs. “She said, a triumphant smile across her face, as we stepped out.
Later, she took me to the Cheap Thursday market and got me The Cacther in the Rye and If I Stay for one hundred rupees. Their printed total was 698/-.

♥ In The Metro ♥

As the doors closed behind me and the train left the station, I wondered if time could really measure love stories….
The girl never saw me.

Hullo Everyone!
Of all the times I have imagined waking up, I never quite pictured it as being jolted off a pleasant state of unconsciousness as a soggy towel asphyxiated me and a pair of hands hauled me away, while “Jingle Bells Jingle Bells” blasted in the background. When I finally woke up, I pointed out to my mother that it was an inhuman way to wake somebody up, to which she fake-yawned and said I better head off to the bathroom and take a goddamn bath right now. I did just that.
We had to leave for Deshbandhu college, where we would be clarifying a few queries regarding admission. So I bathed hastily, and wrapped myself in whatever clothes my mother had laid out for me. It was a check-shirt, which I loathe, and a pair of dark blue jeans, which is the only pair that fits me these days, and my old shoes, which I really like even though those are shabby and untidy.
I slung my bag and left the apartment with my mother. We walked an extra mile so that we could hail a cheap cab. We reached Vaishali Metro Station in a few minutes. If you ignore  amputated beggars sitting in the shade and little stunted kids wandering around with a bunch of flowers that nobody buys, Vaishali Metro Station is a nice place.
“Oh my God! “My mother exclaimed. “I forgot to put on the deo. ”
I watched her in horror as my mother pulled her Spinz out of the bag and sprayed enough of it to perfumate the whole station. YOU DO NOT PUT ON DEO IN A METRO STATION, AT LEAST NOT AT THE STAIRCASE! The man who passed us must have sniggered to himself and decided that he would tell the story of a woman who was frantically spraying deo on the stairs of a metro station to his wife at dinner. I imagined them having a good laugh about it.
My mother got the cards top-upped, and so we were able to reach the platform without any hassle. As the train arrived, a sea of people flooded in, and soon, all the seats were taken. We sat on the seats reserved for old or handicapped, and I shut my eyes and dozed off.
My mother told me she’d get off at JLN while I’ll have to go on till Govindpuri.
It was boring till we reached JLN, for I was, for most of the time, trying my best to act like a sick child so that old people out there do not ask me to leave my seat. It was mean, but in my defense, I was sleepy and nauseous.
At JLN, my mother strictly warned me to not to take biscuits, or any kind of food materials, from strangers.
“They give you biscuits and then they kidnap you and take out your kidneys. “She said. The gentleman standing by looked at us, quite baffled. My mother asked me to be wary of that guy. As she left, I instantly raced towards the women’s coach, because that’s what you do when you are seventeen years old and not accompanied by your mother in a metro train. There were two guys there, eyeing the girls. There was a middle-aged man too, who was continuously staring at a woman, who looked like his wife. Of all things, I felt pity for him.
I clutched a pole and let my eyes sweep through a spectacular set of women. Girls! Oh my sweet Heaven! I had never seen a women’s coach, so I was kind of stupefied. They were so pretty and so hot and so rich that I couldn’t even rank them on the basis of their visible attributes. I stared at their dresses, and I observed that each woman was wearing at least forty different colors. I looked at the men behind me, and found all of them wearing check-shirts and dark blue jeans, carrying with them uni-colored bags which evoked nothing beyond pity and sympathy. I felt sorry for those men. And I also felt sorry for myself.
As I browsed through the crowd, my eyes stopped at a girl. And didn’t budge after that.
She had SHORT, SHOULDER-LENGTH HAIR. I was taken even though I could see her right profile only. As she stared out blankly, her earbead twinkled. I wondered what she was wondering. She wore a school uniform but was young, so I guessed she was in senior secondary. Her dress didn’t have forty colours, yet, it felt like she was composed of magnets and my chest had  horseshoes galloping inside. Her shoes had straps and her bag was green. Something about her was melancholic.
I wondered if she had a boyfriend. I wondered if her father was alcoholic. I wondered if she’d turn around and look at me. If she would, would she give it a thought, or let me be a background image that doesn’t matter? Will I be remembered, or will this insignificant moment pass? Will I get out of the train first, or will she? I wondered what she’d be like in fifteen years. I wondered if I’d see her again.

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It was silly, but it felt good. I find girls with short shoulder-length hair quite intriguing. Maybe it’s because of my past. Maybe I’ve some kind of obsession. I don’t know.
I imagined all the rare possibilities that I could have in this small journey, and as it was about to end, I took a final look at my beautiful copassanger.
“You’re under the surveillance of a cctv camera. “said a mechanical voice, “please do not misbehave. ”
It was one of the general instructions they speak every once in a while, yet, I felt guilty, as if I’d shoplifted a spoon or something.
The train stopped at Govindpuri, and I got out. She was still there, but I didn’t turn to look. As the doors closed behind me and the train left the station, I wondered if time could really measure love stories….
The girl never saw me.

The Swag of Paul Morphy

Consider yourself a chess king, and consider this – a small guy, whose first set of beard has not yet sprouted, meets you at a table, plays blindfold, without a knight or a rook, or sometimes both, and beats you in fourteen moves.

Hullo Everyone!
Have I told you I am a chess fanatic? 
Well, I guess I’m the only seventeen year old single adolescent male in this country whose browser history shows more visits to chess.com than to xvideos.
It all started in winter, when waiting for The Rana to finish coating his face with Boro Plus, I found myself gazing at the chessbox that lay abandoned in one corner. 
“How about a game? “I asked.
“Sure. As soon as I am done with this. “He said, rubbing gingerly the sides of his nose with a blob of Boro Plus.
I waited patiently for him to finsih his make up job, but every time I thought it was over, he’d squint at the mirror,  wrinkle his nose, and apply another peanut-sized mass of India’s most loved body cream to one of the spots he’d left untouched earlier. After a few decades, he was finally done. We raced upstairs to my room and set the board for the battle.
We played a series of odd number of games – maybe five – and The Rana mopped the floor with me. Even though I was supposed to feel destroyed and suicidal, I was mesmerized by his game. He would take my knights and make it a closed game, thus paralyzing my pieces forever. I vowed that I’ll defeat him one day.
And that’s how it started. My obsession with chess.
I instantly subscribed to Mato Jelic’s channel on YouTube and liked his videos with the passion that’s mostly reserved for Mia Khalifa’s facebook updates. Most of the games described were complex, but The Opera Game, in which a guy named Paul Morphy beat the shit out of his opponent in fewer than twenty moves, got me enraptured. I wanted to know who this Paul Morphy was and what kind of food he ate and if he had a wife; I wanted to know everything about him.

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Paul Morphy was born in the nineteenth century. He is revered as The Pride and Sorrow of Chess. Pride, because he butchered his opponents ruthlessly, often playing the game without a knight or a rook, or sometimes both. Sorrow, because, he quit playing chess at a young age. Well, I guess there was no chess master left on earth who had not yet been molested by Morphy. Consider yourself a chess king, and consider this – a small guy, whose first set of beard has not yet sprouted, meets you at a table, plays blindfold, without a knight or a rook, or sometimes both, and beats you in fourteen moves. If I were subjected to that kind of humiliation, I’d quit playing chess and run off to Himalaya where no human could ever see me again.
But, despite his stardom and undisputed crown, he began to hate the game. He was so annoyed that a mere mention of chess would give his skin blisters. He never had a wife, but he really loved a girl, who kind of broke his heart saying she wouldn’t marry someone who is “merely a chess player”. Who would not hate chess after this tragedy?
Anyway, I followed his games closely. I was astounded every time he delivered a checkmate or his opponent resigned. I thought I could emulate him. I could be the next Paul Morphy. I just had to throw away my pieces and checkmate my opponent’s goddamn king. When you are Morphy, it’s the easiest goddamn thing to do.
I called The Rana for a three match series.
I played pawn to e4.
The Rana played pawn to e5.
Twenty minutes later, The Rana said for the third time, “checkmate, brother! ”
I think the greatest thing about legends is that they can’t be copied. They can be surpassed or eclipsed or forgotten, but they cannot be copied. That’s what you call swag, I guess.

Stay tuned!

“I am going to divorce your Father. “

“Am I serious? Hell, yeah. I’m dead serious. In fact, I want you to whatsapp a divorce message to your father right now. “

Hullo Everyone!

It was a fine morning today, cold and cloudy and just how I like it, with the breeze gushing in through the open windows and a pair of pigeons cooing in the opposite balcony. It seemed like the day you get your call letter from Delhi University bearing a note, “we will be lucky to have you in our family. Also, enclosed with this letter is a three-days, four-nights holiday ticket to Mauritius. ” I was lolling on my bed, listening to twentieth century songs on 106.4 FM, when my mother entered the room stomping her feet. She had the look on her face that says,’I am going to divorce your father.’
“I am going to divorce your father. “She said.
What!!??? I recoiled in shock. Is this a dream!!?? I mean, is this a nightmare???
Her eyes were burning with fury. I gulped in horror as the earphones fell out of my ears.
“What! But why? ”
“Because I’m sick of him. “She snapped. 
I considered asking her why she was sick of him, but as I looked at her scarlet face and clenched fists, I dropped the idea.
“I want to know who you are going to be with after the divorce. With me, or your father?”She said emphatically.
Er…how do you answer that, guys? I thought divorce happens only in movies! I considered saying ,’I am going to be with you, maa.’ but then I weighed the pros and cons of being with her. And then, I didn’t feel like saying that anymore.
“Are you serious? “I asked, instead. She glared at me as she said,
“Am I serious? Hell, yeah. I’m dead serious. In fact, I want you to whatsapp a divorce message to your father right now. ”
Whatsapp a what!!?? Okay, this is crazy! Is she high?
“Um..don’t you think divorce messages are kind of intimate conversations which shouldn’t be passed through children? “I said. I certainly didn’t want to type a divorce message to my own father. She seemed to ponder over it.
“You didn’t answer my question. Who you are going to be with? ”
“Well, I think I’ll be living alone, in a lodge, attending a college. ”
“Don’t try to duck the question. “She said as her piercing gaze bore through me.
“Of course I want to be with you! In fact, I have always wanted to be with you. I too am sick of my father. In fact I have always been sick of him. ”
I was already filled with guilt as I bitched about my own father. He is the best one you get. But I didn’t have any option, you see. A triumphant smile leapt on my mother’s face.
“Wait, I’m looking for lawyers. “She said as she exited the room, leaving me flabbergasted. What the hell!!?
I instantly whatsapped Papa.
“Why is Maa so mad?”
“I accidentally broke the flower vase. “He sent, adding two innocent-face emojis after the text.
“Which one? “
“The one she bought from Kolkata. “
Oh, fuck! She had fought three women for that vase in the one-time sale fair in her only trip to Kolkata. It meant the world to her.
“Well, she is going to divorce you. “
“What!!!!”
“She is looking for divorce lawyers. “
My father went offline.
Then, I didn’t hear about my parents for a few decades.
A few minutes ago, my mother entered the room stomping her feet. I prepared myself for alimony-related discussions.
“I think it was terrible of you to speak about your father in that manner. What kind of son is sick of his own father!!?? “She said.
“Uh..I…I..”
She shook her head and left, while I sat gaping, wondering what on earth is wrong with my mother.
Stay tuned!

D-Day : the day Delhi University released the first Cut Off.

My mother recoiled in shock, as if someone just mentioned that onions have suddenly disappeared from earth.

Today morning, I was jolted off my bed by a pair of hands that had long red nails. I was about to shriek, however, I stopped myself, as the limbs ended to shoulders that carried a face very similar to my own mother. Sweet Jesus Christ! What sort of human possesses long red nails!
Women, came to my mind.
My mother stood before me, and her face donned an expression that she usually makes when there is a snakecharmar displaying cobras on the streets, or when she has to tell that Ginni Mausi got pregnant, yet again.
“It’s the day! “She squealed.
Ginni mausi is giving you another cousin!!! Isn’t that amazing!
“Cut off! They. Have. Released. The. Cut. Off. Wake up you slughead Kumbhkaran. ”
“Cut off? “I asked, just to be sure. She nodded.
“Yeah. So? “I spoke through a giant yawn.
“So CHECK THE LIST RIGHT NOW! ”
I stretched myself for a while  and grabbed the phone from the rack, preparaing myself for the sight of a spectacular collection of fuck-all figures. The network sucked despite this place being the capital of the country, and after a decade of watching the blue line inching painfully towards the rightmost corner of my screen, thus opening the page that took me to DU website and allowed me to download the cut off list, I exhaled and crashed on my bed. My mother didn’t like the idea of me falling back on the bed, so she, for the second time, referred to me as a slughead Kumbhakaran. She quite likes the idea of comparing me to monsters and insects and vegetables.
Anyway, I opened the pdf file and scanned through the list. I didn’t need to, though.
“What is it? What is it? Which course did you get in? “My mother asked, dying to listen that her son made it to St. Stephens or equivalents.
What exactly is a nice way of saying, “no maa, I’m not getting any college. “???
“These are all ninety plus, maa. “I said, only to see her ever-bright face dim a shade. I hate myself when that happens.
“Look carefully, son. Go wash your face, and then take a look. “She suggested. Had washing my face caused miracles, I’d have attached a wash basin to my chest. I scoured through English cut offs. Holy SantaClaus!
“I am looking carefully. 96 for English. ”
My mother recoiled in shock, as if someone just mentioned that onions have suddenly disappeared from earth.
“96, did you say!!!???”
I nodded.
“When I was in college, they took you in for English just like that. “She snapped her fingers.
“It’s DU. Not BNMU. ”
“Whatever. What’s for commerce? ”
“99.25. “I declared.
“Are they crazy? “My mother gaped at me.
“I don’t know for sure. ”
“Let me check. You are still sleepy. Go wash your face.  “She snatched my phone. There’s always a significant risk involved in handing over your phone to your mother, especially when you don’t browse in incognito, so I just sat there, making sure she only sees the cut offs.
Her face kept changing colors as she scrolled through the enormous list. She went back to the top and scrolled it back again, and I felt like shooting myself in the head. Am I not a disappointment already?
“Why are these so high? “She asked rhetorically.
Because of people like Ginni mausi who can’t stop producing kids for the love of God. Because of Modi and Manmohan and every prime minister before, and because of you the grown-ups and because of us, the nutsack teenagers. Everyone has to be blamed for me not deserving a seat in DU.
“Hey! “My mother’s eyes sparkled momentarily, as she said,”umm..it’s sixty percent for Sanskrit. ”
I stared at her, gobsmacked.
“Could you claim a seat and later change the course? “She had so much of hope in her eyes, I felt like telling her, ‘yes, maa it’s such a brilliant idea.’ But DU people are not third graders who could be duped by her tactics. 
“No. “I said as I snatched my phone back and locked the screen. I was fed up by now.
As I went to the wash basin and splattered the rancid water on my face, I heard her shouting in the background,
“I think we should get it printed out. Maybe, then, we could find a seat or something. ”
“Yeah. We would. Why don’t you stop using red nailpaints instead? Maybe that would find me a seat.” I yelled back.
To that, I didn’t get an answer.

Pop, or pollution?

I don’t know if these people are trying to redefine music or destroy this planet.

Hullo Everyone!
As you all know, I am trapped in the capital of this Country. Without enough provision. And even though I don’t have to swallow locusts or drink my own piss in order to survive, I am living my own Man vs. Wild episode. I’m trying to not die in an alien environment and in harsh circumstances.
I wake up at noon, skipping what used to be breakfast in my earlier days. I take lunch, which is always some kind of bean recipe, and then I glue myself to my phone. I mostly listen to radio, where, apart from saccharine voices of female RJs, there’s nothing much you’d like to give a fuck about. The radio channels here play something called Punjabi Pop, which makes me want to leave earth and settle somewhere far, where it would take a millennium for this sound energy to reach my ears again. The songs are all the same, having the same tonal arrangements, conveying the same thoughts, with same lyrics save a few words reallocated. Every song has a boy who is supposedly a stud, an alcoholic, a millionaire, and a thug. He is trying to impress a girl who he calls baby, billo or equivalents. He tells her how many dollars he has ( always freaking too many ), and he recites quite a few whiskey brands, and mentions the Rolls Royce that he’d take her on a ride in. He boasts about his minister friend/brother/tau who give the impression of main villains from the Bollywood cinema of 80s. He talks about his king-size life and and asks, implicitly, if the girl would like to have some fun. If I were a girl I would definitely not want my man to have purple hair, pierced ears, and a boastful attitude. And I would definitely not want him to make weird gestures with his fingers and serenade for me sick raps elaborating alcohol brands. I don’t know if these people are trying to redefine music or destroy this planet, but if this noise pollution is not stopped soon, I’m sure melody will turn in her grave.