Expensive Dreams

When dreams fly over stratosphere…

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My mother has always wanted to be rich. On sunny winter mornings, she sits in the verandah, pestling cinnamon sticks and wondering about money. She asks me if I am free, and doesn’t matter what I say, tells me to sit down with her and listen to her ideas regarding the Jacuzzi we are going to install in our bungalow. We don’t have a bungalow, and neither the space to accommodate a Jacuzzi, but she’s quite convinced that an elegant hot water bath will be good for her Arthritis. 

“But you don’t have Arthritis, Maa. “I point out. 

“I’ll have, one day. It’s a pity you never think about the future, son! “She shakes her head in disappointment, in a way she does when her number fails to show up on the Daily Lottery Chart. 

I consider mentioning her that there are better reasons to have a Jacuzzi installed in the bungalow, but she won’t listen to me whatsoever. 

“We could make a gym on the second floor, with tv and everything. And there has to be a lawn with imported grass, and a metal spiral staircase with vines wrapped around the railing and spindles. The vines shall be imported as well. ”

It’s another thing that we don’t have a second, or for that matter, even a first, floor, but my mother strongly believes that somewhere in future, we’ll be living in a palace. 

“How about having a mattress stuffed with notes? A pillow full of currency? “I jibe.

My mother ponders over it for quite some time, her eyes narrow as if she’s been given a whatsapp puzzle to solve.

 “Ah! I guess no. “She says, “Because that won’t be good for my arthritis. ”

A few days ago, while skimming through her whatsapp chatbox, she came to know about a Tamil guy who set stalls of old defunct coins and sold a 1973 minted, historically valuable coin for 300,000 rupees. She was convinced that the coins she’d sneaked from her grandmother’s almirah in her childhood would fetch her at least a million. 

“It’s a prized collection. I’m so lucky I didn’t spend it. I must have been a genius back then. “She said happily. 

“Where is it? “I asked. She pursed her lips, squinted her eyes, and thought for an eternity. 

“Somewhere in the house. “She replied eventually. 

And then, she made us comb through the house, through every dusty corner and carton and pot and case and shelf and box garnished with shit pellets and fossilised lizards. We discovered three kittens that we didn’t know existed before. 

“Here, I found it. “My father pulled out what looked like a witch’s potion bag and ran out to wash his hands. 

After the coins were sterilised, we checked the dates. The oldest one was minted in 1973. 

“Oh My God I’m going to pass out! “My mother exclaimed. Both her eyes had Jacuzzis floating in them. 

“It’s not sufficient. It has to have a value. A historical value. Plus, you need to find out the buyer. And for that, you have to go to a metropolis where people have enough money to invest in purchasing an old rotting metal disc for a price that could cure Bangladesh and two other countries of poverty. And you can’t just sit on platforms and sell coins, you have to initiate a small business or contact a middleman. You have to pay the middleman. And there’s no guarantee of return either. ”

My mother searched for trains to Tamilnadu for a while, and after the Jio stopped working she chucked her phone in disgust.

“Nobody wants to see me rich. “She said as she tossed Rotis in our plates in the evening. 

“We’ll be rich some day, maa. And we’ll have a helipad on our terrace. “I tried to give her some hope. 

“Actually that’s a good idea. But the helipad shouldn’t face north-south because that would be incorrect according to Vastu. ”

😑😑😑

Well, some things don’t change no matter how rich you become. 

Tae-Kwon-Do : nostalgia #8

Everybody fights for a cause. Well, unless you’re the seventh graders of MZMS.

There are things Seventh graders do in lunch break. They eat their lunch, talk about their first attempts at masturbation, or just solve their Linear Equation homework.  
We played TaeKwonDo on the terrace. And no, I wasn’t in a Chinese school. And it wasn’t even real Tae-Kwon-Do, it was just 30 boys copycating Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music. Without wearing any protection, of course. And without the swag. Or dexterity. 
I dont know why we did that. When we got the top floor with a terrace, we had no idea what to do with it. We only knew we had to claim it before girls turned this heavenly place into a stupid noisy canteen. Initially, we used to roam around at the terrace like old diabetic people do in children’s park, after which Atif started bringing the book of erotic stories he stole from his Aunt’s collection, thus infusing some exuberance in our lunch break strolls. 
Hardly a month later, everybody was kicking everybody without any particular motive, or reward. 

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“What the fuck are you guys doing? “I asked Atif as somebody kicked my butts. 
“Tae-Kwon-Do. “He replied, missing Tiger Mandal’s waist by a few millimetres. Tiger Mandal was swift and he kicked Atif twice after that. I wanted to point out that it wasn’t Tae-Kwon-Do, but another kick in my calf made me drop that idea and run for cover. It was a crazy sight. It seemed like people had gone mad. It seemed like everybody had slept with everybody’s sister.
Those who didnt participate were termed “Eunuchs” and I was one of them. 
“You have to join us! “My friends would say, “For the sake of Indo-Dragon gang. ”  
Our class had a few groups we called gangs. They were as followed –

Mayo Gang. Bichchu Gang. Shudra Gang. Hero Gang. Liliput Gang. Mard Gang. And the IndoDragons
It was me who came up with the name, the logo, and the team members. I had recruited them, and now I was labelled an Eunuch by my own members. 

I had reasons to not participate in this barbaric activity. For starters, I was the class monitor. Then, I was still sane, unlike my friends. Also, I didn’t want to be kicked in front of Doctor. 

So I accepted the tag and kept asking them to end this risky game. They didn’t listen to me anyway. Their pants kept ripping at the perineums with embarrassing chhrrrrrsss, yet they continued. Now if that couldn’t stop them, a monitor surely couldn’t have. 

Their circus didn’t last long though, as the staff room was just below the terrace and the lunchtimes for teachers and students were the same. 

So one day, when they broke the desk, John Paul sir ran up and joined the Tae-Kwon-Do. He was a six feet adult. He kicked the shit out of everybody. Four boys, including Atif, were charged. And BN Thakur sir, the Eagle of MZMS, thrashed them good. 

Tae-Kwon-Do stopped since that day and Atif restarted sneaking erotic storybooks from his Aunt’s collection. 

I was happy again. 

Trump and Modi

24 hours ago, things were pretty normal. Then, things changed.

Two incidents that bent the course of history. And also, fucked my Facebook wall.

Read on.

The world has witnessed unexpected turns in the past 24 hours. Till yesterday, you could stick a 500 bill at a shopkeeper’s face and he’d have rummaged his arse to provide you a change. Till yesterday, girls announced their contemporary states of emotions every two hours along with pout-selfies, and boys spent their time proposing them in comments-section. Or everybody shared Rajnikant vs. CID Jokes. 

But these 24 hours changed everything. Sensex figures. Purpose of social media existence. And even humanity. 
I had to buy winter clothes, and since I’m exceptionally good at procrastinating I’d stalled it for the day I catch my first cold. I had to get a huge recharge (because Airtel). And I had a few big notes.

 So I’m having a nice time skimming through Sanjeeda Sekh’s hot photos and all at once, the big currency is demonetised. Or whatever. People are silent as furniture, earphones plugged in, listening to radio, their expressions grave and contemplative. In a minute whatsapp inbox floods with messages. People who never cared my whereabouts before are forwarding this ‘urgent’ message and the theme of group chats has suddenly shifted from SEX to corruption and economics. I must be a hollow man, for despite studying economics for 16 hours with Lord Evans in the past 2 years, I don’t have any idea. I feel like the Tribbianis. 

Modi suddenly attained Rajnikant’s status. Jokes and memes and tweets crashed the internet. Stock market went through a rampage. The night promised sleepless hours to many. 

Then came Trumps unexpected victory. The final nail in the coffin. 

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I woke up at 11 am, and checked my wall. 

“Holy Fuck. “Escaped my throat. People giving shitloads to Americans for letting Trump get a lead in the race. Clinton was behind and Trump was surely grabbing the throne. People were busy comparing this American election with that Bihar election. Every post had something to do with Trump or Modi. It seemed like the only ignorant bastard in the universe was me. I quickly checked Trump and Clinton on Wikipedia. I even brushed up some basic economics. GDP – depr. = NDP stuffs. In a short span, I came to know that currency demonetization is an instrument to curb curruption and counterfeit, and that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t actually the first president of the United States. It was George Washington. 188 cm
I was really surprised to see that people aren’t that stupid or unemployed as I thought they were. They research about presidential elections of United States in their free time. They also know that Donald Trump is Kalki, and he would wipe out humanity. And they are quite aware of Macroeconomics. 
I was full prepared to come up with my status. A super-verbose two liner summing up the two historical incidents. Like something Sehwag would tweet if he had Sidhdhu’s vocab. I couldn’t. And to be honest, it was humiliating to see an endless stream of posts expressing wisdom and superiority and opinion, while not being a participant in the process. 

I mean even Hobo had written that Trump was an arsehole, and that humanity was massacred, and it was 9/11 part 2. And he doesn’t know a fuck about politics. I mean the only thing he likes about America is its pornstars. 
I was about to write one, but then, to be honest again, I seriously don’t have an idea why Americans chose Trump or whether it was good or bad. I mean the biggest intellectual concern in my life right now is chapter 11 of Wuthering Heights, and why Catherine is such a bitch.

 

I don’t know if discounting 1000 bills and issuing 2000 bills will really heal corrupt souls. I don’t know whether Trump would nuke the earth. And I don’t really care. And I won’t pretend either. 

Yeah, so I am the unaware, un-informed, ignorant, selfish citizen who should be exiled. Whatever. 

Could I have stunning selfies on my timeline again, please?

The Goddamn Admission – III

“You lost your character? “He asked, wide-eyed. As if character and character certificate meant the same thing!

I WAS ONE step away from the admission.

And I lost my Character Certificate.

Life fucks you right when you least expect it to, some noble fellow said once upon a time. The admission process would end at 1:00 pm. At 12:30, I was frantically flipping through the wads of my certificates and their xerox copies, looking for the goddamn document that would prove my honesty and crap. The teacher stared at me in pity, like you stare at poor kids picking rags at footpaths. He felt for me, but he couldn’t help me.

I raced out of the library looking for my character certificate, as if I’d really find it lying somewhere abandoned and realize I dropped it by mistake. Seniors were hell bent on helping us – college elections – and so I contacted one.

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“You lost your character? “He asked, wide-eyed. As if character and character certificate meant the same thing!

“I don’t know. I kept it in there. “I said, my voice already cracking. Goddamn it. I don’t cry when girls leave me, but I cry when my character certificate leaves me. Maybe that’s why I’m always single.

“Don’t worry. “The senior guy said, “note my mobile number. ”

I wondered if I had really started crying or what, but my cheeks were still red hot, so I believed I was saved from the embarrassment. I jotted down his number in my notebook, and he called one of his friends and took him ten steps away from me and whispered something in his ears. That guy took me to another guy who took me to a girl. Since I’m an incorrigible git, I’ll take a paragraph to describe the girl.

She was goddamn hot. Like the splatters of oil that jump out of the frying pan. She wore narrow jeans and grey top, and had sleek shiny hair. Her face was perfect, as if it had been constructed after going through one million blueprints. Her eyes were wild, her lips were bright, and her voice hit my head like a melody. Soothing. Hypnotic. Beautiful. If only I was 6′, had money, could sing like Arijit, and had written a few bestselling novels, maybe she’d have dated me.

She called another guy, who looked like a WWE champion, and he took me to another guy who was thinner than a straw. The WWE guy could send him to space with a flick. The thin guy took me to another guy, who wore nice hair and was charming as hell. He looked like a womanizer. I wondered how diverse a small herd of students could be. You turn your head, you’d spot a North Indian. You look the other side, there are Punjabis. It felt like the whole country was here.

He told me not to worry, and that he’d solve my problem. There were 900 seconds left before admissions would close. I was getting wobbly.

The guy asked me to wait for 5 minutes, and ran towards the exit. My heart was heavier than before as I fought back tears. It wasn’t the goddamn admission I cared about, it was the metro map. I sat on the steps and thought of her.

I didn’t know what I was doing. We don’t even talk anymore. And yet, I was enrolling in history so that I could wallow in the fact that we were only five metro stations apart, even though I didn’t know if we would ever see each other in these three years. It’s crazy if you think rationally. But then, I never think that way. We are just Five metro stations apart, and this is one hell of a proximity. Yeah, not enough for sharing mp3 files via Xender, but who cares. When it rains at my window, it’ll rain at hers too. When the daylight seeps in my life, she will see her daylight too. The wind that touches my face and the wind that touches hers, will find a way through the concrete cities and meet somewhere. Probably.

Damn it! It’s so cheesy!

But I couldn’t find another reason. Life is just a chain of moments. And my most beautiful moments have this crazy girl walking in them. I don’t know what else to do with my life.

I pulled out the file from my bag and rechecked the documents. DEARFUCKINGLORD! It was there! Stashed between my marksheets! I checked the time. 360 seconds to go. I grabbed my bag and ran for my life, thinking about the metro map and those five goddamn stations between the two ends of my present world. 

Stay tuned!!

The Goddamn Admission – I

“Yeah. Okay. History. Done. “I told my mother. At that moment, all I cared about was the metro map, and those five goddamn stations between Vishwavidyalaya and Welcome.

IT WAS THE last day to grab a seat in DU. My mother woke me up at 5 am and asked me to make a choice between History (hons.) and Sanskrit (hons.) I rubbed my eyes and let an everlasting sigh. I felt like burying myself somewhere safe, far from this ruckus and rant, where peace prevails, and where you breathe without worries. My mother repeated the question, and it killed my appetite for life.

At these junctures of life, you come to understand the term Hobson’s choice. I didn’t actually have a CHOICE; I didn’t even want to choose.

“History. “I said. I didn’t ask her the name of the college. At that point of time,  I’d have enrolled even in a terrorist camp had it carried the DU logo.

“Shyam Lal College. East. Three metros from Kashmiri Gate. “My mother said. I sprang to consciousness in one millisecond. It felt like a small heart attack, a nice one. I grabbed my phone, switched it on and checked the metro map.

Six metro stations from Vishwavidyalaya….

Hold on! Are you serious? You are not taking admission in history for fuck’s sake!!!

“Yeah. Okay. History. Done. “I told my mother. At that moment, all I cared about was the metro map, and those five goddamn stations between Vishwavidyalaya and Welcome. My mother was kind of thrown off by this sudden swing of my mood – from a devastated state to an overjoyed one. She stared at me for a while, probably wondering if her son has finally gone mad.

“Register online. Now. We’re leaving…in an hour. “She said, picking each word carefully.

I registered before I blinked.

We reached Shyam Lal College at 7:30 am. The auto ride cost us 150, and my mother kept cursing the autowallahs of Delhi in undertones all the way. We stepped through the giant gate as morning sunlight peeped at us through a lattice of leaves. The drowsy guard stepped out and told us that we were two and a half hours early. There weren’t enough chairs around, but we found an old dusty desk by the garden. As my mother got busy whatsapping people, I spent time observing squirrels and thinking about the metro map and the five goddamn stations between two ends of my present world.

Have I told you about a girl who is superamazing in every way a human could ever be? 

Well, I won’t tell you much because this post is read by people who know me. ( How I wish I had a blog with a secret id! )

About twenty minutes later, a girl entered the college. She had bright red lipstick on, and her cheeks were pinker than the rest of her face. But since she was wearing a tight dress, I chose to ignore her imperfections. See, this was a real choice, pretty unlike the course I was getting into. The girl asked me if it was my first class too.

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“We are here for admission. “My mother replied on my behalf, in a tone that she usually reserves for autowallahs of Delhi. The girl didn’t mind, or maybe she cursed my mother in her mind, and she began talking to my mother.

“Are you an OBC? “My mother asked. These days, she asks this to every person she interacts with. She’s developed a hatred for reserved category people since reservation fucked my ass. The girl took her time to reply.

“Yes. ”

“Oh! “My mother said; it sounded like the hammer of a judge, which strikes the desk for one last time. The girl should have guessed my mother was being mean. Instead, she asked for water. My mother works for NGOs in villages to help needy people, but she took a total of thirteen seconds to say yes to that poor sexy thing.

“Which course? “My mother asked before she could utter a thankyou.

“Pol science. “The girl said.

“What? ”

“Political Science. “The girl replied. My mother nodded. Nobody spoke a word after that. I went back to observing squirrels. Soon, another girl showed up and the two young females started having regular girlie chitchat. They discussed everything – from social issues to makeups, from crushes to breakups, from the oppression of women to the double standards of women, and they did a lot of bitching about other girls, and they cursed boys, and my mother’s temperature kept rising with every new discussion of theirs. It wasn’t the kind of talk that wins you an audience or something, but it surely didn’t deserve clenched teeth and twitched veins. I could see smoke pouring out of my mother’s ears.

“I hate that girl. “She said as we left the desk. I didn’t say anything.

“Did you see the way she was talking? “My mother asked, rhetorically.

“Well. What about that? “I asked.

“She calls Political Science Pol Science. Phony girl, I tell you. She’d scars on her wrist. She must have slashed it to blackmail boys. ”

“Ugh…stop being so insensitive, maa. Not every girl slashes wrist for boys or whatever. “I said.

“She drank my goddamn water. “She complained, as if that was the last millileter of H2O available on planet earth.

“She asked first. “I pointed out. My mother pretended she was deaf.

“Why don’t they make separate colleges for boys? You, stay away from those kinds. ”

“Which kinds? ”

“Those who talk like honey and have fake pink cheeks. “My mother said. The only girl I think of these days has probably stopped thinking of me long ago. She doesn’t have fake pink cheeks, and her voice sounds like crispy combo chips – sweet and tangy in perfect proportions.

As my mother began to find another thousand flaws in the girl at the desk, I switched off my auditory system and went towards the line that had slowly started filing in for one great event of life – the goddamn ADMISSION.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

Stay tuned!!

The Babyzilla

Sos!!! Help!!! 911!!! Maa!!!!

Hullo Everyone!
If there’s anyone I hate more than these pretentious grown-ups, the government of India and Kamaal Rashid Khan, it’s my baby cousin. She will turn two this August.
You might think of me as a stone-hearted asshole for hating the loveliest, cutest and purest kind of our rotten species, but, to be honest, that doesn’t change anything for me. I will continue to hate her till she grows up and realizes her mistakes and calls me one fine day to say, “Hey brother! I am very very sorry for all the trouble I caused you when I was about to turn two. And it would be kind of you to whatsapp me your address so that I could send you a blank cheque as compensation. ”
Well, there was a time I used to like kids. I mean they are cute, and it kind of melts your heart when they flash their gummy, pearly smile. But then, one of my neighbors, a two-year old, took advantage of me. He was adorable at first, but as we gelled together, he became bossy and whiney. He’d call me Kaliya and ask me to cook Maggie for him. I could no longer watch sports channel because he wanted to watch Lungi Dance they played all the time on 9xm. He made life hell and I swore to myself that I would never, ever, allow myself to undergo such molestation again.
And then, Delhi happened. It’s been almost two months now. Two months of extreme torture. Two months of freaking babysitting.
The girl is one smart thing, I tell you. She’s treated like she’s some kind of queen. The only thing she has to worry about is her one-eyed teddy ,which is treated like he’s some kind of king, and which keeps getting lost all the time. Well, I am sure he’s sick of her too, for she is always pulling and biting his nose, because she believes it’s a berry.
At first, I thought I could handle it. I have faced tough situations before. I took tetanus injections in my butts all my childhood. I was sure it couldn’t be tougher than that. But then, one fine morning, while I was carrying her in my arms and showing her our neighbour’s Chihuahuas, that little thing pissed on me. And I swear on Holy Santa, she smiled after that, as if she had been planning this for a long time. As Doctor would say – that spineless git!

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SOS! Help! 911! Maa!!!!
I ran to my mother, who laughed till her eyes pushed tears through the corners and her face went red.
“What’s so funny? I just got pissed on. “I hissed.
“Well, that’s what’s funny. “She said and restarted laughing.
“Is anybody here aware of a revolutionary invention called MamyPoko Pants? “I yelled. Aunty arrived on the spot, and then she laughed too, and then they both laughed together. The baby looked at us as if we were from a different planet.
“At least you’ll bathe now. ”
“I need chemical cleansing. “I said, “I need Dettol. ”
That’s only one of the one million ordeals I’ve been through. A few weeks ago, she asked me to wear her Tiara and sing Jingle Bells for her. I politely declined, and she began to howl as if I’d put a lizard in her shoe. My mother said, “why don’t you just do it? ” and after I did it, she said, “you’re, like, the worst singer of all time. ”
The baby smiled in agreement.
Back when The Kite Runner arrived at my doorstep, I took the parcel with a butterfly stuck on my forehead. The courier guy looked at me in mortified astonishment, and I had to explain that there’s a baby girl in this house who believed it’s extremely important for every person in this house to wear butterfly stickers while communicating with strangers.
“Oh! “He said, befuddled, “That’s….”
“Unique? ”
“Yeah. “He nodded.
She is learning alphabets these days, but to be honest, all she cares about is the picture of ice cream on the third page of her book. I told her once that she was not learning properly. She punched my nose and squealed, “Dhhish. ”
My mother goes crazy with joy every time she speaks a new word.
“Did you hear that!!!??? She just said ‘bottle’!!!!” As if bottle was Massachusetts!
“She is so intelligent! “My mother planted a few dozen kisses on her cheeks and announced a treat. Wow! I don’t remember being adored like that. Maybe that’s because I was very small, but I certainly don’t remember being gifted a book with a picture of ice cream in it.
The baby absolutely loves throwing away my shoes. I have told her a million times to stay away from them, but I always end up spotting them in weird places. Two days ago, I found my shoes in the mixer.
And to add to that, the number of Dettol baths have shot up, too. So yeah, IT SUCKS.
Her birthday hits in August, and everyone’s excited as hell. My mother is looking for baby products on amazon.com. I have  decided what I’ll gift her, though. MamyPoko pants.

Stay tuned!!!!

Beans

Life was getting better, and then, suddenly, beans happened.

Hullo Everyone!
Alright, let me confess it – I am a foodaholic. Not a foodie or a gourmet or an epicure, but a savage glutton. I am the guy who returns from a buffet with his stomach bloated to the bursting point. I am the guy who contemplates snatching Dairy Milks from lone kids on the streets. I am the guy who fancies getting accidentally locked inside a confectionary or winning a life-time free coupon to a restaurant. Food pleases me so much that sometimes I wonder if my taste buds are composed entirely of G spots. 
Anyway, let me tell you about something that happened yesterday. My faith in miracles was restored when yesterday evening, my mother bought me a chocolate-rich, pricey Cornetto accompanied with a Luxuria pack of Sunfeast Dark Fantasy Choco Fills. I almost fell on her feet. She told me I could eat the ice cream right away, however, I shall have to earn the Dark Fantasy Choco Fills. Maybe it’s because my mother said it, the idea of earning Choco Fills somehow didn’t sound beautiful. It seemed like a decoy. I should have weighed the possible consequences of agreeing to the terms and conditions set by my mother, but since the Cornetto was melting, I said okay, I’ll earn it. And as it turned out, it was a trap.
I have been eating beans since yesterday night. It was a bean special with gravy for dinner, fried beans for breakfast and fried beans with balsam pear chops for lunch. Despite being a foodaholic, I wouldn’t say I’m quite fond of balsam pears and beans. These materials do not belong to the category called food, they belong to a category called Ayurvedic medicines. I am quite sure that nobody on this planet, not even those who grow it, would list bean as their all time favorite. So yeah, I kind of HATE MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. I want to transform into Parshuram and rid this world of beans. Why my mother keeps feeding me beans has to do with my consistent weight gain and unhealthy food habits, which is not as horrible a thing as you suppose. I am a bit fat, but I certainly do not look like a round potato. And moreover, if there’s somebody who needs beans more than me, it’s my dear mother. But well, she’d rather have pickles and roti all the time, which, ironically, is something people eat when they have absolutely no idea of a term called ‘healthy diet’. My mother says she’s lived her life and ablazed the world with her charm and set new parameters and everything, and also produced two diametrically opposite progenies – one who is matchless and special in every way (my brother) and the other one who is, well, round – so it doesn’t matter if she is a savage glutton. She believes she has reached the stage that relates to the peak of Maslow’s pyramid – self-actualization. And self-actualization, according to her, couldn’t be anything else from pigging out on suger free ice creams and Paapdi chat at roadside stalls. I’m not allowed to fulfill the self-actualization need because my lower level needs that consist of a job and a wife have not yet been met. And that’s why I get to eat beans. And balsam pears.
The Choco Fills await my arrival with thumping hearts, and here I am, chewing green substances and wondering why life’s such a ruthless bitch.

Stay tuned!!!