Waiting for the Call

“I already said no! And whose number is this? “

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The most important calls buzz my phone usually when I’m counting tiles in the comfort station. Like this morning, when after being woken up at 9:50 – that’s 2 hours early by my time, so it hurt – by Rohit and company, I decided to not to go back to sleep as I had an important call coming up anytime. It was from a superbusy relative, and hence, my mother had asked me to goddamn answer that call.

“If you let that call pass, don’t come home this winter. “She had said, emphatically.

And so, I’d kind of glued myself to the phone for the last two days. I’d sleep with the phone, I’d eat with the phone, I’d go out with the phone. The phone accompanied me every where, except for the comfort station. For toilets, I have another phone (yeah, I’m super rich). This toilet-phone is actually my old phone that has a nice radio, and a chess game. So some days, when it’s not discharged as fuck, I spend all my commode-time listening to Fever or something while having a game with the engine.
I waited for the call like it was my girlfriend on the other side, who could wake up from her decade-long coma any time. [Or maybe even a completely okay Doctor ( 😐 ) ]

It never came, so I gave up today night and tossed the phone on the table at 2:50. For the first time in my life, I felt ecstatic  getting rid of that goddamn phone. 

So today morning, as I went in without a phone and stared at the tiles and patterns and the Bear shampoo, I missed the call. There was an unknown number on my screen, flashing a smirk as if to say, “fuck you. ”

I dialled the number and a male, wooden voice said that I didn’t have a sufficient balance, which would have sounded fine, even sympathetic, had a girl said it. But that guy sounded like I was partly responsible for the recent collapse of Airtel shares or something.

I got a loan, and the guy said that I’ll have to pay the sum, and 20% extra, tomorrow.

“Like fuck.”I replied, but he wasn’t there anymore.

I rang the unknown guy up. He picked the call.

“Umm..hey. ”

“Hey. “He said. A familiar voice. This relative was kind of sounding like Rohit.

“Are you coming to the college? “He asked. He was Rohit. Goddamn it!

“I already said no! And whose number is this? ”

“One of my numbers. Are you sure you are not coming? ”

“No! And also, you are a dickhole. “I said and hung up, drained out and troubled, and wondering how I was going to pay back the goddamn Airtel guy.

The call hasn’t come yet.

8 Hours

There were pots and vessels from Harappan period, there was the skeleton of a married woman, and earthen chessmen, and jewellery and terracotta toys from that era.

If you’re an Indian, you must be aware of this festival called Rakshabandhan. If you are not, let me tell you quite frankly – it’s a nightmare for the billions of adult boys in this country, especially those who do not have girlfriends and are desperately looking for one. It’s the day single-and-not-so-good-looking boys lock themselves inside the safe confinements of their houses and do not step out unless it’s tsunami rolling by in the neighbourhood.

We were petrified when the mess owner’s daughter declared that she’d tie Rakhi around the wrist of each and every guy in our apartment. We instantly made escape plans, and it was unanimously decided that on the 18th of August, we’ll remain out of the danger zone.

We woke up before 9, got dressed up by 9:30 and left the apartment in the stealthiest manner, clever enough to put jailbreakers to shame. It was drizzling, and we kept outpacing each other, racing against the raindrops. The metro station was comparatively sparser in population, and we got into the train without a hassle. The crowd poured in at Kashmiri Gate, where we had to change trains, and had a tough time making into the boggie. We reached Central Secrateriet in a few minutes. There were autowallahs shouting the ride-costs for customers. We decided to walk on foot.

The National Meuseum is located very near to the India Gate. As we walked along the Rajpath, taking in the beautiful view of one of the very few war memorials in India, my stomach rumbled with butterflies. The road was a glossy patch, with parks full of blue-colored dustbins on both the sides. We turned right at the crossroad and after a hundred steps, we were at the gate of the National Meuseum.

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There were hot, white-skinned foreigners walking in, and so, for the first time, the meuseum idea seemed like a jackpot.

“They charge them 600 or something, which is 30 times what they charge us. “I said, and Mr. Selfie Addict turned to me.

“It’s less than 10 in their currency. “Mr. Selfie Addict said emphatically. He is a Bcom student, and he knows hell lot more than me about money and currencies.

We entered the first gallery, which had glass cases displaying ancient artefacts. There were pots and vessels from Harappan period, there was the skeleton of a married woman, and earthen chessmen, and jewellery and terracotta toys from that era. It was an astounding sight for a history student. Two galleries later, my brain crashed from information overload and I stopped observing deities and started clicking selfies with them in the background instead. Foreigners would walk in with headphones on – audio tour – and I kind of liked one girl. Thank God foreigners don’t have Rakshabandhan. Mostly, it was Mr. Selfie Addict who was the showman. As the name suggests, he took selfies like crazy. Of the 418 photos in my phone, 378 were his selfies.

We roamed around ceaselessly, and stopped 5 hours later, worn out and starved. And when we entered the well furnished canteen, hoping to relish ourselves with a variety of mouth-watering cuisines, the solitary pakodas in the menu broke havoc on our dreams.

“How many photos, Ravish? “Selfie Addict asked as the Gym Freak grumbled about the rats in his stomach.

“418. “I said, and he let out a triumphant smile. The Gym Freak stared at us with contempt and ordered two more Pakodas.

To be cont….

The Normal Days

What else to say about her? You’ll like her. Everybody likes her.

Today, I went for a movie with my lodgemates. I wish I could say I was enamored with Rustom, however, apart from Esha Gupta’s cleavage, there wasn’t much to watch in those monotonous two hours. They have tried hard to make a suspense-thriller-patriotic-also-a-bit-romantic-and-full-of-social-messages-and-trying-to-raise-some-kind-of-inescapable-question-that-requires-introspection movie, however, it’s only the minor characters that remain longer in the mind than Ileana D’Cruz and Esha Gupta and THE PLOT. Anyway, I didn’t mind spending 150 bucks as it gave me another chance to socialise with my lodgemates, who are very different people from what my world would consist of.

Then, I got the wooden foldable chess by courier, and as it turned out, it was a ripoff. The paint has already started to come off. After Mr. Gym Freak tore open the packet, we had a chess marathon and we played like 50 games and I won each of them. By the time it ended, I was bloating with pride. Then, I went out, had junk food, and came back.

I checked FB and there was a message from Doctor. In this world tarnished by selfishness and greed, it’s these messages that give me a reason to calm down and stop cursing everything around me.

Doctor got her ears pierced for the second time, and when I asked her why on earth she did that, she replied very coolly,

“I was experimenting. ”

I wasn’t gala about it, but they are her ears and since nobody can claim a right over those and the rest of her, I decided to not say much. She said it hurt, and I wished I had an ointment that could heal every wound of hers, but that happens only in movies, so I didn’t say anything and we talked about chess instead.

God! One hell of a chess player she is!!!

She beat the daylights out of me in the game we played through alpha-numerical codes. It was like a chess chat, and it felt good. She made a deal that she’d put lots of kohl around her eyes when she meets me if I beat her under 10 moves. A few minutes into the game, and I resigned. She was unstoppable!

“No kohl. “She said. She can be evil sometimes, I tell you.

And then she asked me to write a post about her, so here I am, at 2:38 am, when the whole world is quiet except for Ankit Tiwari, typing words and listening to Tay Hai as mosquitoes pierce my skin and suck blood like I’m a government tanker. Anyway, it’s a nice song.

What else to say about her? You’ll like her. Everybody likes her… She’s like this soft feather that never stops floating, that caresses your skin and brings all your tenderness out, that’s beautiful and delicate. You meet her, you know her and you fall in love with her. Ooops..I almost forget that she’s going to read this…so no further description.

After she wished me a goodnight, I went back to playing chess with my lodgemates. I beat them in every single game.

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!