Toothbrush 💕

with 8000 counterclockwise revolutions per minute and all that shit….


It was a cold day. The train was parked amidst some godforsaken jungle. The LTE sign on my notification toggle flickered like a dying candle. A mild morning light came seeping through the web of trees. And in front of me lay amorphous pieces of human turd which the last fellow passenger had probably forgotten to flush. That’s a regular scene in North Indian train toilets, so I did not make a fuss about it. I just peed, saving any possible collision of my stream with the last man’s debris, and then I tried to flush but there was no water, so I slipped out like a mouse.

The sleeping beauty on the side-upper berth had finally woken up. She fished in her fancy handbag and pulled out a fancy brush. It was one of those toothbrushes people with Swiss bank account buy – with counterclockwise 8000 revolutions per minute and all that hyper level shit; the ones so expensive that they don’t even advertise during daily soaps, so my mother has no idea about their existence.

I imagined telling my mother about such toothbrushes and about people owning them.

“We used powders and your Nanny rubbed ashes and sand on her teeth. Now I’m beginning to think we are cave people. “She’d say, and then add that toothbrush to her wish list.

The girl did not have a toothpaste though. Maybe it came with an in-built mint flavour, I thought.

Is there any cap to how rich you can get? I could have all the money in the world and still be poor as fuck. If I get rich enough to buy that kind of toothbrush, I’d rather buy one of Saturn’s moons and drill oil out of it to get even richer.

The girl went towards the wash basin. I was not sure if she could bear all that revolting shit. See, with richness there comes a whiff of intolerance. But she handled it pretty well.

A just-woken-up girl brushing her teeth in a train is not exactly how they show you in movies. I mean they look pretty wrecked up, but it’s kind of cute, nevertheless. Yeah, you won’t like to snog her but you could still make art out of her.

I thought I would, but then I gave up that thought. She was too rich and too far. And I had my own worries. So I turned around like a good boy and walked back to my berth, plugged in the earphones and played Kailash Kher on a loop.


A Priest from another Land.

And I almost got converted…

It was around midnight when a blinding light pierced through my eyelids. I squirmed and squinted and shielded my eyes with my palms, but I couldn’t stop seeing the light. I knew I was only conjuring it up, because my palms were perched like a crab upon my clenched eyes, but you know I have this condition that when I think something it just gets into my head. The beam of light broke through my skin, and my veins glowed like neon and my bones smoldered like coal, and the light kept seeping; it burned the tissues, it lit up the blood and it stabbed through the skin, searing each layer of me until it hit my pupils. It made me dizzy. What’s worse was that it wasn’t even real light.

Unable to find solace, I pried open my eyes. There was a white woman with a silver pony, arranging the middle berth on the opposite side. That’s all I could make out apart from her skin tone. I let my eyes dart around for a while. On the other side, I saw another girl. Black hair that sparkled in the light of a distant source, almond eyes that seemed lost in a distant memory – she seemed like a piece of art with deeper hidden meanings. She just sat there, unaware of my existence while I watched her from a shadowed bower that was lit up like a forest fire a few seconds ago. She was making me poetic. Oh my heavens! This compartment was choking full of hot women!

Only that there were slight issues which I discovered the next morning. The white woman actually turned out to be a guy. And the other girl went into hibernation once she got under her blanket. I was sharing a journey with a married woman, a zonked out woman who might as well have been dead, and a woman who was actually a guy with a silver pony – which is not exactly the kinds I picture my voyages with.

I checked the status of the train – it was 9 hours late. I stepped down and took up a seat on the lower berth, by the white guy. He had a rudraksh mala in his hand which struck me as weird. Then I studied him with the precision of a lab attendant. Saffron Kurta, white dhoti, a red tika on his forehead, malas around his neck – the only thing that was odd was his face, white as Sheamus. I wondered if he was an Indian guy with some skin disease. I didn’t ask him anything. I just observed.

“Iskon Temple. “He said as he showed me in his phone. The notifications dropped in a foreign language.

“Where are you from? “I quizzed.

“Russia. ”

“On vacation? ”

“I’m here to learn Bhaktashashtra. “He said.

Oh my…doesn’t Putin love you anymore? I didn’t even know there was a thing called Bhaktashashtra. They don’t offer it at DU, so anyway.

“How much time has it been…”I almost faltered.

“5 years. “He said as he smiled with great satisfaction, the one you get when your daughter finally gets married to a nice guy.

5 years? I mean is that even legal? 😑

Then he showed me his Bhagwad Geeta, and I began to realise he was completely brainwashed.

“You know about this? ”

Yeah. That’s what they made Amrish Puri pledge upon in a Bollywood courtroom. And it’s full of moral preachings and there are no hot scenes in its entirety.

“It’s a part of Mahabharata. “I said.

Then he started explaining stuffs and Krishna’s messages and I felt like a pagan.

“I guess I am an atheist. “I said. The married woman chuckled at my tragedy.

Then came the Russian guy’s girl, from the other compartment, and I froze, my eyes stuck on her like I was an esthete and she was a Michelangelo masterpiece. You remember the fairies they tell you about in pre-school? That was she. Dressed in a saree, with nose stud and all. I felt weak at my knees even though I was sitting. This is unfair, isn’t it? You can’t learn Bhaktashashtra for 5 years and have an ethereal wife at the same time. Such is life, my dear friends, such is life.

They stayed for a while and then the girl went back. The guy tried to show me some more videos of his Keertan but I said I was sleepy and so I climbed up to my berth and checked if the sleeping beauty had woken up but she had not, and so I slept, wondering why foreigners are so queer.

to be continued…


Bookstore @ Bhagalpur Junction

books and strategy 😂


Bhagalpur junction is just slightly bigger than Godzilla’s ass, but it has got two bookstores. There’s a restaurant as well, and not to mention free wifi, and random switch bords with enough holes to allow half a million people charge their phones simultaneously. The icing on the cake, though, are the girls – hot and plenty.

I roll my trolleybag to a bookstore, browse around for a while and then check my pockets. Everything – phone, wallet, key – is at its place. I feel a sense of relief that otherwise only comes with peeing after a long time.

Probably I should stop masturbating, a random thought brushes my mind.
I start thinking about my dick after that, and it takes a while. Brain is a shitty dirty place. I mean you think about your loved ones and then you think about penises, all through just one organ. That’s really absurd if you see it that way.

Since the train is still a few stations away, I take the liberty of scanning through the stacks of books. There are Paulo Coelhos perched over Chetan Bhagats, there are Tolkiens mixed with Preeti Shenoys, there are Dan Browns lying around with Amish Tripathis – this pacific disarray makes me wonder that the world could be at peace if humans were just the books they wrote.

My eyes catch a book titled Omnibus. The author – one of my favourites – Jerome k Jerome.

“What does that cost? Omnibus? “I ask the shopkeeper as I point at the book. He isn’t much for books, if you ask me. Fat guy with eyebags, and he is using a Salman Rushdie as his tea coaster. It takes him about a minute to locate Omnibus. He checks the MRP and plonks the book at the countertop as if he were tossing a dustbag.

“200 bucks. ”

I flipped the book. 200 it is.

“Don’t you offer some discount? “I ask. I mean I love Jerome K Jerome but Amazon was offering the same at 175. And they give bookmarks for free.

“No. “He says. I turn around and start moving. An old trick I learnt on wikihow.

“10 rupees. “He calls.

Alright, it’s working. So maybe if I keep walking he’ll bring the price even lower. Good, you’re learning. Okay, if I have to draw a price-distance graph, at what point will the Omnibus reach the upper limit of my book expenditure fund?

Ummm, now would be a good time to check your phone. And wallet. And key.

I have reached the edge of the platform but the shopkeeper hasn’t called yet. Something is wrong. I could have carried on, but I don’t want to be found dead on tracks, so I move back, mortified, and start walking towards a fast food joint that promises delicious biryani.

to be continued…


My Brother is Back…with 4 large bags.

our crazy family gets even crazier… 😂😂


My mother called me from somewhere underneath her blanket. When I went to her room, the first thing I wondered was,

“Where’s her head? ”

“You know what, I’ve got this great business idea. “Her voice came from the other side of the bed.

To be honest, I’d far more important jobs to do, like unlocking my phone to check if Dale H has made any moves in our three-day match at, but I chose to listen to her great idea. That’s how good a son I am.

“I was thinking of designing a full body winter suit, which would cover you from the tip of your hair to the nail of your toe. And it would be skintight to keep you warm.”

“Well, such suits already exists. “I said. In porno.

“Really? Who wears them? ”

“Lara Latex. “I said, and then I realised my mother knew how to search names on google, so I quickly covered it up.

“He’s a superhero. Like Batman. ”

“They have funny names. “She said.

“But I am designing it for common people. Like really common people who can’t afford a stove, for example. It could make me rich. ”

“People who cannot afford a stove would rather save money so that they could afford a stove so that the whole house could be warm. “I said. The silence that followed after suggested that my mother understood my point but didn’t quite like it.

“Check if your brother has reached Katihar. “She said.

My brother was on his way from Kota with 4 large bags. He has travelled that distance before, but my mother was worried for him, because he has never travelled with 4 large bags before. You see, mothers’ worries kind of make sense. I checked the running status of the train.

“It’s budged one and a half station from where it was three hours ago and is right now parked at some godforsaken halt which has a funny name. ”

“Really? Who the hell is driving it anyway? ”

“No idea. ”

My brother’s homecoming, unlike mine, was an event. Boxes of Gulaabjamun were happily perched in the refrigerator and despite it being my birthday, I was not allowed to consume more than a couple of those. They’d got his brand new phone out and already put it to charging so that he could feel special and loved. My mother had, by now, called four of our relatives to tell them how brave he was for travelling alone with 4 large bags.

And my brother did arrive safe and sound in the morning, with all his bags. And wished me a belated happy birthday. When I asked him for a gift, he presented to me an unused bottle of mineral water which he’d purchased on train. I vowed to gift him a pink hanky on his birthday. My mother kind of jumped on him and hugged the life out him. I could hear his bones crack, it was so brutal. Then he asked for his love, his phone and my mother told him to first take a good little bath. My father asked him where his other shoe was.

“Oh I lost it in the train. “He said. They pretended as if it was normal to lose shoes in trains and carried on with further conversations. I faked a stroke but they completely ignored me. Then I went back to Dale H because that’s the only human being who literally responds to every move of mine, and I don’t even know his sex, or anything else apart from the fact that he/she is married and has a kid.

It was rook to C4, attacking my queen. I moved my queen away, to D5.

After all the talking, he fished out a polybag from one of his large bags and threw a shirt at me. It was red and sexy. I looked at him blankly while he stood there with a big smile. Damn. He is love. I would have hugged the bones out of him but it was too cold so I decided to do it later.
He fished out another shirt and gave it to our father. It was blue and it had buttons and a front pocket, exactly like my father wanted. The real surprise came after he fished in his bag for the third time and took out a glitzy slim silvery bracelet watch and gave it to our mother. My jaw dropped and made a hole in the floor.

“Have you started selling drugs or what? “I questioned. He just laughed.

“I saved it.”

My mother hugged him even tigher. I swear I heard a spine fracture this time. The last time I had saved money, it was in a piggy bank, to buy Spiderman trump cards. There was no way he could have saved that much. I mean it’s twenty first century, even oxygen costs, like twenty bucks or something. His polybag must have some magical properties, I told myself. It was a more believable prospect.

When he was done I asked for the polybag. I wished for an iPhone, spelled some charms I’d learnt from this Bengali magic book in std 4th, and fished for it in the bag. Nothing came out. He laughed harder.

I quietly slipped back inside my blanket and played chess for the next two hours while my mother discussed the great business idea of full body winter suits with him.


Cigarette Date #4 : The Pieces

The final part of the journey…


We hail a cab which drops us at Ratu Road, from where, another cab drops us at the main gate of SAIL township, from where we walk through the Satellite Road to enter Shyamli. All the while, we are talking about her friends, her friends’ friends and her ex-boyfriends’ ex-girlfriends. I don’t have to say anything as my life has been quite unextraordinary. Imagine me as the agricultural tv channel they put on government set top boxes and imagine her as the flamboyant ESPN, in HD.

Shyamli is this beautiful township of Mecon, so serene that if Anurag Kashyap visited this place he’d start directing Bhajans. It was my idea to smoke in Shyamli. We walk and walk and walk and stop at a park which looks desolate except for a man fooling around with his German Shepherd. Why do people hang out with dogs? Like, what the fuck are cats for?

“Are you sure we should go in? “I do not feel safe in a park with a German Shepherd dancing around. She looks at me and starts walking. Into the park. Damnit! I follow her. Godamnit!

That goliath monster charges at us as if we ran away with his engagement ring, barking like German artillery of World War 2. Heer screams in fear. I am already bleached out, my heart on the tip of my tongue and my ribcage ready to slip through my ass. That’s how I’m dying! Godspeed!

But I jump in front of her anyway, and I’m not sure if I peed or what, but as I sacrifice myself to keep her from harm I tell her to get away. I don’t know what I am thinking right now but somehow I know that when I’ll look at this in retrospect, I will choose to visualise myself as a caped Zorro.

A miracle saves us though. The dog turns as his owner calls him back. He’s chuckling at a distance and even though I give him a nervous laughter in response, I want to sue him for life. We race out, swearing and wheezing. Then, we laugh and swear and laugh and life suddenly gets better, and safer. We could have kissed but I have the heart of a mouse so we just slow down in a street which looks devoid of people. That’s the place.

“We’ll smoke here. “She says. There’s no one around, except for a guard who looks like his wife became a monk and that’s why his life is hell and so he wants to poke around and have some fun from observing people’s activities.

I nervously pluck two cigarettes out and hand one over to her. Then, I light up the matchstick and light my piece, my heart a canon of Arras inside my chest. Then, with shaky hands, I light her cigarette too. I don’t want to die of lung cancer. And I don’t want her to die of lung cancer.

“You first. “She says. Dear Lord, forgive my sins! My lips touch the cigarette butt and even though it doesn’t feel like orgasm, goosebumps cover my skin. I inhale smoke little by little, as suggested by the Wikihow article for beginners, and look at her. She doesn’t look that ecstatic.

“It’s gone. Light it up again. “She frowns. I rub the stick against the box and light her cigarette. And just like that, we are taking drags. It tastes like burnt corns, which is not exactly delicious and it doesn’t have a soothing effect on any of my senses, as they swear on their mother’s life. In fact, I feel like I should have bought a Frootie instead. But a Frootie Date won’t look good on a blog post title.

Heer is grumbling about something. She looks beautiful while doing so. She wants to blow smoke clouds and it’s not happening. I tell her that that only happens in movies, but it doesn’t calm her down. She wants her smoke rings. She says that this friend of her blows smoke rings every Tuesday night at India Gate and people from all over Delhi flock around him to watch this spectacle.

As I look behind, the guard is gawking at us. He seriously needs to have fun with his wife more often, he looks so downtrodden. She gives up after a few drags and since I don’t have any good reason to do so, I carry on. My lungs still feel like lungs. But yeah, the smoke stings my eyes.

We walk under the starry sky, along the quiet avenues, not talking, our steps parallel and slow and in synchronization. And a few seconds later, Heer asks for my piece. I’m gobsmacked. ( Gobsmacked is this new word I’d run into in Lord Evans’ Merriam-Webster, and it means dumbfounded. )

“What? “She looks at me quizzically as I hand it over to her. As if sharing cigarettes is a normal thing! It’s quite intimate, it’s as intimate as sharing herpes. She deftly holds it between her fingers, like she’s Augustus Waters, and she begins to draw smoke. I blush like Hazel Grace Lancaster. After two drags, she scrunches her face and coughs.

“You okay? ”

She nods through the hazy cloud of vapour and goes back to sucking through the cigarette as I steal longer, intent glances at her. Heer is ethereal. Not in terms of physical attributes or the ability to talk interestingly and consistently, but in terms of being so expressive without having to make an effort. You have to see her to be able to believe. She’s not a person, she’s an event. Witness her unfold and smile in joy.

She tries a few more drags and then gives up. She returns it to me with a frown. I have developed a sudden liking for smoking. And I love this girl who smokes because I-have-to-exhale-puffy-clouds-and-watch-them-glide-away. And I absolutely abhor, loathe and detest the guard who’s following us like a tail. We take a U-turn and keep on walking. I am drawing smoke from the same spot her lips touched moments ago, and in a rather unconventional way, it does feel like kissing. As I’m relishing the evanescent taste of her mouth on the brown tip, she pirouettes and gives the guard a spectacular display of her middle finger. I am blank and confused and awestruck and terrified. But that’s the normal psychological state when you’re with her. The guard stares at us and I tell Heer to run.

“No need to run. HE’S A FUCKING STALKER. “She says and I’m ready to sprint, but the guard is only staring at us, expressionlessly, so we cancel running and simply assume he is a zombie, and float away.

“This is the principal’s house. “I point to K/95 and she paces up.

“Oh no! I’m dead if he sees us. “She speaks in hushed undertones.

“He won’t. Only the guard will. “I say as I peer at the armed guard who also has the longest moustache I’ve ever seen in real life.

“Damn! “She says as her steps are hastier than before.

“What? ”

“The guard. He was at school, you remember? ”

“He sits at gate number 3 nowadays. What about him? ”

“He sits there because of us. Umm..we were late one day. One of my friends flashed a hundred rupee note before his eyes and he grabbed it and let us enter. Well, I recorded it on my phone. And then, I blackmailed him. I always reached school late, and then one day, he disappeared. ”

“Poor guy. That’s so wrong. ”

“That’s not. He is a corrupt man. He deserved it. ”

I do not say anything. I feel sorry for the guard but I don’t want to discuss morality and ethics on a cigarette date. Also, Heer could nuke an entire continent and I’d still love her with same passion. As we’re about to enter the E/16 street, I see a familiar gigantic homo sapien trudging towards us. He is Lord Evans. THE FUCK!

“Shit! Run! “I say, and we wheel and run. He has already spotted us though. But anyway, we keep running.

“Why are we running? “She asks, panting.

“Lord Evans. ”

“What the hell was he doing there?”She says, exasperated and baffled.

“There is an empty house there. We go there and click pictures and make scary videos of the place. ”

“He didn’t see us, right? ”

“He did. I’m so screwed. Let’s go somewhere else. NOP. ”

She nods and then, we go to NOP. We watch the famous Haunted guest house, buy chewing gums, sit at a bench, take selfies, share the silence, feel weird and leave together.

On the way, she asks,
“What after tomorrow? ”

And all of a sudden I am just an empty space.

“Seventy more days to go. ” She reminds.

I know. And I know it won’t be the same after she leaves. I’m suddenly enveloped in this gloomy shroud of sadness. People leave, after all. I don’t know how to stop her. You can’t deceive time. It’s just not in your hands. I don’t want to lose her, but today’s warm moments will be blisters tomorrow, and they’ll pinch and hurt and stay. So I don’t want to say anything. I’m already missing her, and I know I’ll miss her more when it ends. That’s the theory Einstein won’t give you – the closer you get, the worse you break. I don’t want to break, I’m scared. Moreover, we are playing roles, so maybe I’ll have to be careful and hold my emotions before they begin to fly high.

“We’ll see. ”

The smoke fills my heart. I’m just ash.

She doesn’t say anything. I don’t have the guts to. So we leave it there, the question of tomorrow, floating in the streets, rustling in the breeze, looking for something, somewhere, some time…..


Cigarette Date #3 : The Plane

Third part…💕


Hi. “She says.

I mouth a faint hi and hand over the wrapped book to her.

She looks beautiful in black. And she’s saying something that it was unnecessary and all, but I fake deafness and we start for our second walk. As always, I ask her to get to my left, because left is safer, and she responds with a

“What’s the point? “. Then, she gets to my left.

I don’t have a place in my mind. She decides for Airport road and I am fine with it. I mean she could have chosen a mortuary and I’d have been fine with it. Places don’t matter when the company does. I nod and we start walking.

“Did I tell you that I’m scared of crossing roads? “She says as we reach the two-lane. We have to get to the other side to catch an auto.

“I’m not. Don’t worry just follow me. “I lie as we begin traversing the wide lane, vehicles zooming along at super sonic speed. Our father in the heaven. May your holy name be honored. Please save my ass from getting squashed.

“You are, like, the worst ever pedestrian in this world. I mean if people were ranked on the basis of road crossing skills, you’ll be the only person with legs to not make it into the list. “She says as she stops in the middle of the road, letting the bike pass. Who does that?

“Well, my horoscope says I’ll die in a road mishap. “I shrug. She rolls her eyes. I want to tell her that she looks kind of cute when she does that.

We hail an auto and set off to Birsa Chowk. She shows me some hot chicks on the way and I don’t know whether to feel excited or dubious about it. You can never risk your character with girls. As my mother says, they’re expert in setting traps. I pretend that I’m asexual and gaze at the hoardings. Then she starts showing me hot chicks on the hoardings. And at last, I have to admit that the poster featuring Sunny Leone was really hot. She knits her eyebrows and pouts her lips and pretends to be angry. I get sweaty palms just by the realisation that I’m in the same auto as she is. I don’t know what to say. How do you react when someone pretends to be angry? Like do you play on, or just apologise? Why the fuck does our school curriculum teach us about tec-fucking-tonic plates when what we really need to know is brow behaviour and pout analysis?

We have to cross a couple of roads when we reach Birsa Chowk and after we are done, I feel like that’s enough for a day’s adventure. Anyways, Birsa Chowk has traffic lights and traffic police and gleaming roads and dazzling shops. It’s the first time I’m here and it looks great.

“We have to walk from here. 2 kilometers. ”

2 what!!??? The last time I walked this long, I was a dinosaur.

“Okay. “I say. I guess 2 kilometers is a walk-able distance. She wouldn’t suggest that otherwise.

“When you’re with me, you can’t pause. Just keep walking. With me. “She says.

We cross the road again and this time she is convinced about my incapability to cross the road. I remind her of my horoscope and she doesn’t comment whatever she was going to. And then, we walk, and talk.

Airport Road is maintained like a national treasure, unlike the roads in my hometown where most of the asphalt is covered with cowdung, horseshit, or red spittle. Airport Road looks like they mop it every day with Lizol. The street lamps remind me of movies. It looks like a highway. There are small trees lined up between two lanes, the shrub beneath them fluttering in the breeze.

The population goes on diminishing as we go further. The sky is beautiful now, an ethereal mix of red and blue. There’s Venus shining bright above us, and a few stray stars, and then, the streetlights sparkle the road. I listen to distant cacophony of humanity, fading away, slowly, as we amble towards a quieter part of the earth. We’re doing what we always do – she’s talking and I’m listening. She’s telling me about her last visit to this place. More than the content, her voice is what hooks me. The sound of she speaking is what soothes my troubled soul. It feels like a scene from some Nicholas Sparks novel, only that we are not forty years old divorced loners.

“Where’s the cigarette? Show it to me. “She’s suddenly excited and I don’t want to ruin it, but I don’t want to pull it out of my pocket in full public view either. A bald guy has been following us for a long time. Maybe he works for some espionage organisation.

“I’ll. Let’s find a place first. “I suggest.

“Okay. Keep my phone in your pocket. I don’t have one. “She says. I adjust her gigantic phone in my pocket, and now I feel heavier by twenty kilograms. She goes on talking about her adventures from std. 3 to right now, which is one hell of a collection. I’m also scared for her, because this place has, like, a million eve-teasers, which is not fair in any way. I don’t want people to comment on her.

“Hmm..this. “I pull the Goldflake and show it to her. Her eyes grow bigger and her face brightens up. She takes it from me, fiddles with it and then gives it back.

“Open the pack. “She says. I obey. She smiles.

“Where shall we smoke?” I ask. She’s not sure either. I don’t want to smoke here and get into trouble.

“What time is it? “She asks.

“6:19. “I check on my phone.

We see a bench and she asks,
“Will it be okay to smoke there? ”

For some weird reason, that bench did not look romantic at all.

“I don’t think so. It looks eerie. ”

“Umm..where then? ”

It’s been some time and we cannot reach a decision. And we haven’t seen any plane either.

“How about we go back? Try smoking at the Dibdi bridge. “I suggest.

“Seeee!!!!! Plane!!!! “She almost squeals as we watch a gigantic airship take off and zoom away. The sky is the colour of my uncle’s desktop wallpaper. The crescent moon looks like a silvery arch drawn in the middle of it.

“Look at the sky! Prussian blue. I haven’t seen it anywhere except in paintings. “She almost screams with joy. Yeah. The sky is a magic. And so is she.

As the plane disappears, we trudge back, her voice in my ears, the cold Goldflake in my pocket, and her favorite sky gleaming blue behind us.


Cigarette Date#2 : The Preparation

The second installment of a roller coaster ride…💣💣💣


As we were whatsapping, I told Heer about my failed attempt at being an author. Nevertheless, she got excited about it and wanted a copy, but I swore that I’d discarded the manuscript and forgotten the plot. It was so bad. She didn’t believe my lies and asked me to at least tell her the synopsis. I told her it was about a boy with a dead mother visiting his village to attend a marriage and in a series of (not so) spectacular events, ends up finding his soulmate, a girl with a dead mother. Heer pointed out that dreamlike, forever love stories do not suit the twenty first century, and also, teenagers do not fall in love like adults. Sometimes, the distinction between Heer and Doctor becomes a blur. I should forget Doctor. She’s a thing of past. Almost.

“Real love is more flawed.”she texted. The discussion stretched and we kept talking about love and ambitions and writing and books. Do you ever get bored talking about books?

Heer : so, what kind of story do you want?
Me : something I could turn into a page turner. Something that I would store and read over and over. Something which is mind blowing as hell.
Heer : does it have to have a girl too?
Me : yeah, a girl would be amazing.
Heer : I have a plan.
Me : tell me about it.
Heer : Let’s make a story.
Me : A what?
Me : I in?
Me : Write together?
Heer : No. Live a story together.
Me : are you sure you are not kidding? Because I am thinking about the possibilities.
Heer : I am serious. Are you on?
Me : Damn it! My heart beats like bongo drums.


My alarm clock bursts into an ear-deafening Walk in the Forest ringtone, and with a throbbing head and a pair of stinging eyes, I remove the blanket and dismiss the alarm. It’s 4:25 pm. And I have a date at 5:15. Cigarette Date.

Okay, so how it happened was like this. I thought growing up required one essential component called experience. The world is less familiar unless you do stuffs. I always knew what a cigarette looks like, what it’s made of, what it feels like when you put it between your lips, how it smells, how it tastes, how to blow smoke, when to go for a biopsy. I had every bit of information of a cigarette and the journey of its smoke from the first time it entered your lungs to the time it left you dead. But the very fact that I never had it made me thirsty. Like, Henry the navigator who never actually navigated a ship. You see, it’s a deep philosophical shit you’d find on Ted-ed. If you can imagine all the world from a tiny little dorm, is it fair to say you have seen all the world?

These questions buzz at the top of a teenager’s head and so I decided to give smoking a shot. When I told Heer about this great revelation, she got all pumped up and that’s how it happened – a cigarette date.

I squint my eyes, shake my head and yawn and jump out of my bed, giddy and ditzy and anemic. If it were not for a date with Heer, I’d have skipped my own coronation and slipped back to my cozy blanket and dozed till eternity. I trudge to the washroom, turn the tap on and splatter the icy cold water across my face, wondering if I am sick or just keyed up. I am nervous, I decide, and the thing I’m feeling inside my stomach is butterflies, and not acidity.

I apply some facewash and rinse my ugly face in the sheer hope that it’d shift at least a couple of places in the Fitzpatrick scale and she won’t refuse to recognize me as we see each other. Damn! Couldn’t I have a better face!? I was not asking for a Tom Cruise mask, a Jigar Modi or a Raman Bhalla would be fine.

I think about the mantra Baba Sexidas (who wasn’t even that sexy, if you ask me) had once shared with me. That sentence – You’re Fucking Awesome! Yeah! I am fucking awesome. I have won a watch in DTSE, my IQ score is 129, my drawings (okay, only some of them) cross 50 likes on facebook, and I am going on a date with one of the most amazing things I’ve encountered in my seventeen years. I must be fucking awesome!

I tiptoe back to my room, fearing an encounter with my lodgemates. That would be disastrous. They’d gang bang me with questions. I hate questions. But it looks like everybody is snoring or busy jerking off to Mia Khalifa inside his blanket. Better.

I enter the room and a soft piano instrumental fills my eardrums. It’s my ringtone! And it’s Heer. And the call ends right when my index lands on the green icon. Damn!

I call back and when she picks up in the last gasp of the ringtone, I wallow like a lottery winner. She sounds as if she’s just woken up from her beauty sleep, still on her bed, trying to make sense of this world and my voice. If voice was quantifiable, hers would be twenty times better than Lana Del Rey.

“I’ll start getting ready when you leave your room. “She says.

Yeah right! Girls have to keep boys waiting. It’s something to do with the xx chromosomes. Biology.

Stop complaining. She has beautiful smouldering eyes.


“Okay. “I say. I don’t mind waiting. I am a patient guy. All because of long queues before the school-fee counter in the Union Bank, they can make dragonflies wait.

I’m super excited to meet her, light up the cigarette and blow smoke rings. I glance at the glossy Goldflake Premium packet, and I imagine myself sitting in one of those empty park benches, holding her hand, taking long drags and talking about deep stuffs, the starry sky above us and the wet grass beneath. Like they show in movies.

I play agar tum saath ho in my phone and brush my teeth. For some weird reason, now I like the girl’s part. I put on my favorite, and the only, dress, and comb my hair. I should have bought a hair gel. No, I should have been to a salon. Or maybe gotten a plastic surgery. Sassoon was even offering one at 500 bucks.

I comb my hair in four different styles and take a look at my pocket-sized mirror. My hair looks like a ransacked nest, and the only way she’d go for a date with me is if she were blind. Hell, I’m so horrible that I won’t go on a date with myself. I do my hair again and this time it looks less pathetic. I dig Looking for Alaska out of the bag and grab some change. And a few bucks. And Goldflake.

Outside, it’s a clement weather, not that cold, and the street is joyous with people busy in their jobs. Nothing new, but today feels like a carnival. I clutch the Goldflake tighter in my pocket and make my way to Ajay gift shop, to get the book wrapped and ready.

The fatso owner is busy making some toy-train deal with an agent. He looks more like a cocaine dealer. He looks worse than me and I’m almost overjoyed. So shallow I am! I pick up a Dairy Milk silk and go to the counter.

“Pack this. “I say, carefully keeping the book at the most dustless part of the countertop. He wraps the book deftly, launching frequent inquisitive glances at me. He’s good at his job though, or maybe I think so because I’ve never wrapped a gift myself. I don’t know how to put covers on a book and the last time I tried making an envelope it turned into a weird origami. I remind myself that I am not that stupid. I can name more than 10 literary devices and I know what left-right political spectrum is. So I can date Heer. I can impress her.

With a breath of confidence, I pay and leave. I see people looking at me, and that makes me drop my gaze to the road and walk like a hoodied contract killer after his prey.

Do they know I’ve Goldflake in my pocket? Is it illegal to roam around with a pack of cigarettes? Am I coming in newspapers tomorrow?

Don’t be silly. And stop checking your pocket every next second.

I buy a matchbox and call her.

“I’m out of my room. ”

“Oh, good! I’m going to get ready. “She says.

I walk to our meeting place and observe walls, utility poles, rickshaw pullers, popcorn kiosk, vrooming bikes and random girls for a couple of decades. People are now looking at me with suspicion. I call her.

“I’m almost there. “She says and I say okay. I don’t know why I get so nervous around girls. I mean she isn’t a futunari! Shit, I am speaking in hentai terms. I should stop hanging out with Lord Evans.

She finnnaaallllyyy arrives towards the beginning of the 22nd century and I’m almost old and rheumatic by then and they have started teleporting humans and Saath Nibhana Saathiya has reached its finale episode. I look at her and then I look away, because, looking at a girl has a catastrophic affect on a boy’s heartbeats, and I couldn’t risk a cardiac arrest. Okay, cheese aside, I could fall in love. Well, that’s the law of attraction -you cannot look into a girl’s eyes for too long, you’ll fall in love.