Happy Diwali 

Not so happy 😑

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

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

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

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

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

“Aunty..I..I was just..”

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

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

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

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

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

“You didn’t go to home? ”

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

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

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

And yeah, Happy Diwali

Long Day #1 : Birthday Cake

We decided to celebrate it…formally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Netaji. “We echoed. He smirked.

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

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

“Yeah. That. ”

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

But we got the cake anyway. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Editorial 😑

Imagine going through this every morning….😡

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Also, no paper from tomorrow. ”

2.

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. That was damn cheesy. 

My Flatmate Goes on a Date 😂

Accounts of a disaster.

My flatmate, the Kota Guy, is seeing a girl these days. Today they went on a date. Or whatever it was. 
Let me give you a nice little prologue here. A few days ago, he dropped in my room and began telling me about this girl on whatsapp who wouldn’t blink an eye before forty billion Goodnight exchanges. 

“I went to sleep at 4 in the morning. “He said. His eyelids were the first victims of a freshly brewing love story. 

It reminded me of Heer, so I told him about her. No personal details, just the story. Five minutes into it and he was bawling with laughter. I narrate my tragedies very well I guess. It wasn’t even that funny, I mean you already know how shit happens, you just have to add humour to it. 

“Did you get something in the end? “He asked, seemingly excited. He meant if I fucked her. 

“We kissed. “I said, “on her ex-anniversary. ”

God! Is that even a word!?

He gave me a puzzled look, so I told him about the shit that happened on 19th February 2016. 

He told me he was going to meet his whatsapp girl soon. And that he really wanted to fuck somebody. 

“You could go to Qutub Minar. Nice romantic place. “I suggested, imagining Heer and myself plodding through the quiet graveyards. 

“It’s very far. “He said the other day. 

“It’s worth going. “I said, “You don’t have to worry. It closes at 5 pm. No safety issue. ”

He didn’t seem too happy about it. 

“I’ve asked her for a night out. Chances are less that she’ll accept, though. “He said. “We shall go to CP, probably. ”

Ah, the CP. Such a shame people would choose those glitzy blocks in place of beautiful rotting monuments. I mean you can go have your pretentious little dinner in an air-conditioned hall with fancy tables and fancier walls, but you can never feel the love you do while walking under the bowers that have witnessed a million love stories for more than 800 years..

If I ever go out with a girl again, it will be these royal ruins where we shall head to. 

Anyway, my flatmate did go on a date, that’s what I thought when he left the flat. I had already given him a few do’s and don’t’s, and he had repeatedly said he wasn’t looking for a relationship. 

“Tell me, Barbossa, how can I ask for sex on the first date? “He had asked. I imagined him in a little box on Republic tv, already branded anti-national and anti-women and anti-matter and anti-whatever by Arnab Goswami. 

I was sick of writing assignments so I thought I should have some fun. I googled dating tips for men and sent him half a dozen screenshots and links.

see, how I care for people!
Despite everything, there was a teeny tiny possibility..
In case……

 Then, I went back to doing my assignments. 

He dropped in in the evening, and said,

“She almost saw that shit. ” referring to my messages. 

“How did it go? “I asked. He began looking for a word to describe the experience, however, couldn’t come up with anything satisfying. 

“I saw the tips. And I realised I was doing exactly the opposite of what men are supposed to do on dates. ”

“Did you crack some jokes? “I asked. 

“Yeah. Lame ones. “He said. 

“Like? ”

“Like I told her have you ever wondered that CP sounds like ‘see pee’? ”

He told her what!   

“Oh my God! That’s terrible. “I said, shell-shocked.

“That’s what she said. ”

“I mean it’s so terrible that..that…ughh it’s not even a joke, it’s a joke’s death. “I retched and laughed for a solid 15 minutes, wondering if the girl would ever go out with him again. 

“The worst part is that I had practised that joke. ”

“And when she asked me if I played sports, I told her I play chidiya ud. ”

I nearly fell off my chair laughing. I wanted to ask him if he got laid, but I thought I already knew the answer. He laughed too. 

“What did you guys talk about? ”

“The same shit as yours. About her ex-boyfriend. “He said, “She kept telling me about this ex-boyfriend of hers she was very good friends with. They dated for about 3 years and stuff. Then she told me about this cute boy she dated yesterday. ”

At this, I sprang off my chair. 

“Dated when? ”

“Yesterday. She said he was a cute boy. “He said. 

“Oh my God. “I looked at him with wide-opened eyes, “I thought nothing could nullify your lame jokes but this so does. ”

I asked him if he was sure they were on a date and he shrugged his shoulders. Poor guy! Now I knew for sure they didn’t fuck. Had the Kota Guy followed my advice and took her to Qutub Minar and saved himself from being an unfunny comedian, he would have definitely scored. Hell, I had sent him stepwise guides to approach a woman. There was guaranteed success at the end of it. People don’t listen to my advice. Disappointing people. 

“After a point, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I felt like a dumb person.  She said she had never been to CP but she kept showing me the shops and lanes. Starbucks, Cafe Coffee Day, big words. Those fuckers charge 40 bucks for water. Can you imagine? ”

I could. Even though I am generally poor, I am familiar with the 40 bucks water thing. 

“I ate chicken, though. It costed 260 bucks. “He groaned. 

“It was bad I suppose. ”

“Barbossa, I will have to work on my jokes. “He said. “Chuck it. I will ask her directly if she is interested in fucking. We had a little sex chat, by the way. ”

Okay, that got me hooked. I asked him to elaborate the whole conversation and he said,

“She asked me if I knew they played porn at Rajeev Chowk metro station a few months ago. ”

I puckered my face to show my disgust. That’s not what you call a sex chat. Hell, that’s not even an information. That’s…that’s just shit. 

I wondered if I should suggest him a cigarette date, but then, decided against it. Some things are better kept secret. 

(Have I ever told you about this world-famous cigarette date I went on?) 
Anyway, the date, or whatever it was, was an epic disaster. And as my flatmate confessed, the chicken was more pleasing than the chic. And also, if you’re really interested, he did not get laid. 

First-time 

When Sargeant went out to score and be a man…. 😂

​”How was it? “I asked, pepped up as hell. He kept a straight face, let a feeble grunt followed by a sigh, a dramatic slump of shoulders and a slow shake of head. A few beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. And it was hard to believe he had sex just a day ago. 

“Mmmm…Great. “He said, his face exposing a drought of excitement. 

Had I put my dick inside a lady for the first time, I’d have stood on the top of Mansi Niketan with a banner and done a victory lap. I’d have distributed Kaju Barfi in the whole area. Hell, I’d have adopted Bangladesh or something, I’d have been so euphoric. After all, first sex isn’t merely an activity, it’s an event. 

Something was fishy here.

It happened in the latter part of my life in Ranchi. I had practically dissociated myself from the group and had only Lord Evans, The Rana and Heroine as friends. The rest of them weren’t my enemies either, but if I had a pack of Dairy Milk with me, I’d have certainly not shared it with them. The reason, the primary one, was that they were not my kind of people. I was an introvert. They were not. I liked to be alone. They liked to disturb me. I believed that God’s existence was questionable. They believed I was going to hell. Anyway, initially, they used to ask if I’d like to join them in their outings and adventures, and since I was happy just walking down the streets of Shyamli, I’d always decline. Soon, they got that I wasn’t a dreamy wanderlust like them but a lazyass bastard who would stand on his feet only because he is afraid of bed sores.

So they made a plan towards the end of the session. A two days stay at the tourist hotspot of Bihar – Gaya. Gaya is famous for the Bodhi Tree (It’s under that tree* that the most important event in Buddha’s life took place. No, not sex, it was enlightenment). Gaya is also famous for the Sarai Road and a dozen other red light areas that glow in close vicinity. Even a furniture would have guessed that they were not going for pilgrimage. 

“We are going there to pay our respect to lord Budhdha. “Protested one of them when I tried to extract relevant informations like rate-charts and everything. 

“Ah..I see. “I said, not wanting to argue. I wasn’t much interesting in fucking prostitutes (STDphobia and moral reasons and saving-it-for-someone-special shit) but apart from that I’m a pretty curious animal. For example, I have always wondered how many red-lights does it need to make a place a red-light area. And if they have a tv in brothels. What does a whore do when she is not doing her job? Masturbate? General curiosity about their lifestyle and everything. 

“Alright. Maybe Sergeant will fuck a nice little whore. “He admitted after a while. Sargeant’s lips stretched wider than the combined lengths of Nach Baliye winners. His blackish teeth reminded me of coal mines of Dhanbaad.  

“What is it like? “I asked Hymenchoo (I know, weird petname, but he was a veteran in fucking whores, a regular customer at Sarai, and it was his idea to travel to Gaya. )

“Aahh…aaahh….Oh My God…yeah yeah….aaahhh.. “He made moaning sounds that people made during tooth extraction before the era of anesthesia.  

“No. Not that. I know that. I mean how is it like visiting the place? ”

He stared at me like you stare at a maths problem. Then, he said,

“There are rooms. But first they show you a catalogue. Then they show you a room. If you are rich they show you a different catalogue. That’s why always go in my Holi clothes. Once they mistook me for rickshawpuller Ramkhelavan’s son.  ”

“What are the rooms like? “I was getting pretty excited now. 

“Tiny. Suffocating. But you won’t feel it when your cock is hard. “He laughed. 

“Oh. And? Are they pros or what? I mean what about Blowjob? ”

He burst into another bout of laughter.

“It’s not America. They don’t do such things. Most of them are experienced, but still not suck your dick. If you press hard, they’ll charge double or even more. I had asked a girl once. She slapped me hard. They are so angry all the time. But there was this little girl once. Frail and innocent. She started stripping as I entered. Totally flat. I asked her how old she was. She counted on her fingers and said 12. I was so disgusted I ran out. Then they showed me another room. “He said. 

It’s not as if I didn’t know a number of kids are thrown into prostitution, but hearing the live account of it is much more disturbing. 

“Who is Sargeant going to fuck? “I asked. 

“Not a minor, for sure. “He said. “Actually, I’m gonna give him my woman. “He winked at Sergeant. 

I wished them all the best and asked Sargeant to remember the event vividly. 

And since the moment Sargeant had returned, he had been mum as a mummy. 

“Why don’t you tell me anything? “I asked him again. Nothing. 

Another day, Hymenchoo came to my room and asked if I had a brand new extra toothbrush. I shook my head and asked him about Sargeant. He laughed for about 5 minutes and said,

“Poor guy went in with a tonne of confidence. Said I’d fuck her so nicely that she’d pay me. Came out 5 minutes later. Drained and exhausted and groaning like a dog. The whore was laughing inside the room. Red swollen penis is what he complains of now. ”

“HIV? “I asked.

“Premature ejaculation. “He said and laughed. 

♥The Girl in the Train♥

A journey pleasant and not so pleasant. 😌

We drove amid the downpour for an hour to reach Katihar Jn. The loud splashes at the window and the faint music in the car sort of swirled into a nostalgic lemonade, throwing me onto the glowing streets of Ranchi – Airport road and all – and I ended up thinking about someone I shouldn’t. I was also missing my mother a lot, because she’d always come to see me off in all these years and that day was an exception. It was plain nostalgia, but it was pretty awful.



The train arrived, trundling with an ebbing musical roar, well before time and I picked my luggage up and started towards B8. Red coaches, white lights, blue seats – Rajdhani offers you weird amusements. The last time I travelled by this train, I swore never to come back here. But you know my mother, right? She thinks Rajdhani is Noah’s arc and so I was here, yet again, jostling through the crowd to find my seat, my mind doubtful and my soul uneasy. 

That’s when I saw her. Black top, dark blue jeans and rectangular frameless specs. There was a man by her who I suppose was her father. They both didn’t look related at all, though. She was pretty and he looked like the normal middle aged guy who acts in teleshopping commercials. My seat was just above her and it was kind of comforting. No, I wasn’t filled with lust instantly like I am supposed to. You see, when you are missing your guava trees, erection is impossible. 

I sat on the edge of the seat and twenty minutes later, the dad bid her bye and got off the train. Okay, now I was curious. I scanned through the boggie and found just one competitor – the guy on the side upper berth. He seemed like a narcissistic moron, who would spend a hundred bucks on haircut. But he wasn’t much interested, it appeared, and that escalated my chances of getting to strike up a conversation with her. 

I had it planned. I’d pretend to look out the window, but just so well that she knows I’m pretending to look out the window, and check her out, just so well that she knows I’m checking her out. Then, I’d check her reaction. 

Yeah! That was it! This trick never gets old. How else do you think Roman knights wooed their damsels? They pretended to look somewhere else. 

Er..As it turned out, though, the girl took my acting seriously and started looking out the window herself. She thought I saw something fishy, like a flying baby or something, so I stopped peering out and let a behemoth sigh. This idea tanked like Bombay Valvet. 

I thought about giving another try. I pulled out my sleek golden Galaxy J2 and plunged my earpieces in and fished through my albums for a girly romance. There was none, so I played Lootera. I was halfway through the movie when I realized I had to only pretend to watch the movie, and not actually watch it, and just so well that she knows I’m pretending to watch the movie and well you know the rest. Ughh…this was proving to be a lot more difficult than I’d imagined. 

The train staff arrived with samosas, and just ten minutes later, a family stepped in. There were five kids in that goddamn family. Perhaps the news of the invention of condoms had not yet reached their village. Five kids who looked alike and wore the same dress. I bit the samosas with trembling jaws as I calculated how many hours more to go with those imps in the next boggie. Delhi was yet a billion light years away, but I hoped they’d realize they’d boarded the wrong train and get off at the next station. That didn’t happen anyway. 

The bastard – the other guy in his late twenties, with receding hairlines and all, who looked like an Insurance agent you shouldn’t trust – on my opposite seat took advantage of my nervousness and tried on the girl. First, he called somebody on the phone and started conversing in lame English. There’s this English that you speak from your heart, and then there’s this English you speak to make your copassengers guess if you are the illegitimate child of Warren Hastings. This guy was getting an accent in his conversation, and that pissed me off. 

Then what he did was completely out of the book. He hung up and asked the girl if she was from DU. 

“Galgotias. “She said and I almost laughed.

“Oh. “He said, “My cousin studied there. ”

Like fuck he did! Like fuck he had a cousin! 

“Oh nice. “The girl said. Now I was getting worked up, and to add to my ire, the five kids in the next boggie started crying together. There was no symphony in their wails and it jabbed my ears and gave me cerebral aneurysm. I loathe kids. 

The man started talking about his cousin and this teacher who she would probably get to know in the second year, and I just pretended to look at my Galaxy J2 while I gritted my teeth in rage. 

The only comfort was that the girl wasn’t interested much. 

The kids stopped howling after their mother thrusted a lollipop each in their mouths and I felt like asking why she hadn’t done it already for the last one million years. Parents are dicks, I tell you. 

I finished Lootera and concluded that love is bullshit after all and nobody’s going to paint leaves for me, so I climbed up onto my berth and tried to sleep. I couldn’t because the blinding white from the flush mount ceiling light was giving my soul a third degree torture. I considered switching it off but the girl had already opened The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by now, and I was pretty sure she couldn’t read in the dark. Damn. 

Late at night, when people were about to sleep, she asked me if there was an extra pillow on my berth. I felt like giving her my own pillow. Umm…not really. Sacrificing your pillow is the zenith of virtue. This Ranchi girl I dated once asked me to come over to her room so that we could sleep together (in the most innocent manner possible) but get my own pillow because she wouldn’t share hers with me whatsoever. 

Anyway, that bastard got off his seat and went to the train staff and demanded a pillow without the delay of a breath. 

“I’ll rate this train a big 0, I swear. “He swore, and I could see the girl’s face and I almost laughed at how she wanted to jump out the emergency window. 

“Is he your brother? “I asked. She looked at me, pretending to be thinking about it, but just so well that I knew she was pretending to be thinking about it and said,

“That would be a nice proposition. ”

He brought two pillows with him and asked her to tell him if she needed anything else.

“Thanks Bhaiyya. “The girl said. 

They never talked again. 

An hour later, I thought about giving it a shot, this time, without any pretense, and so I poked my head down, but she was asleep and beautiful and so I just smiled and got my head back on my berth and slept. 

Till the kids started crying again. 

A Day in the Bank

Yes. There was a girl.

A few days ago, I had to visit the SBI office in my city to report a minor bug in my message alert facility. Given the triviality of the issue, I thought dressing up would be a bit too much. So I just slapped my face with water and touched my hair a bit. I haven’t had a shave for two months, and I looked like a person you would rather stay away from on the subways. I wore the same short pants and shirt I was wearing a few weeks ago when I ran into Doctor. If you really want to know, I wasn’t somebody a girl would masturbate to. 

“You know what, sometimes I wonder if you’re adopted. “Said my mother, who never leaves the door without wearing eyeliners and lipsticks and Shehnaz Hussain 24 Carat Gold Facial Kit. 

I went in, and to my surprise, there were a few hot girls waiting in the chairs. Tight black clothes in the month of July – they must have been aliens for pulling off this – and no hint of sweat. They kept moving their head around aimlessly, presumably bored with the unending wait. Their eyes would pass through me as if I was invisible. Sometimes I wonder if girls have an auto-reject button inside their brains. They spot you and then totally ignore your existence. I touched my beard – it felt no different than pubic hair – and wondered if I had made a mistake. 

I went ahead towards the counter and oh my God! There she was, A Goddess in glasses! Parrot green suit, parrot green specs, and a face made out of snowflakes. She was a girl you see in movies, beautiful and intelligent and oh my God. I started to sweat profusely. I felt like running back. How I wished I had been to a salon before dropping here! 

I moved back a few steps and turned around. I cleared my throat and whispered to myself, 

“Ahhmm..Excuse me miss. ”

No. That’s too cocky.

“Ahhmm..Mam. ”

Are you going to ask her a calculus doubt? 

“Ahhmm…”

Stop coughing for Santa’s sake. 
“Hey listen. ”

She’s not your clingy ex.

“Ummm..”

Confused moron.

“Uh. ”

Dumb fuck.

“Argghh. ”

Goon.

“Fuck. ”

Molester.

“Okay. Okay. I’ll just go and speak whatever comes out of my mouth. ”

That’s always landed you in trouble. 

I switched off the other-me and turned back to walk upto her. I stopped at a glass door and pretending to be a curious art lover who just hit upon a masterpiece, started checking my hair. As already mentioned, I was invisible to the girls. As I was fixing my hair, trying to give those frail strands artificial erections, I saw two ugly eyes staring at me through the glass door. 

“What the fuck! “I flinched. A short round face, pencil mustaches and tired sunken eyes. He looked like someone with a terminal disease – so like myself, only older by a thousand years. I glared back at him for a good 30 seconds and then I looked above at the small plate on the door. 

Manager – it said. 

I slid away like Tom the cat. 

I went to the angel at the counter, who had defied the concepts of blackheads, pimples and dark circles long ago, and who was waiting just for me. She would have been 5 years older at most, and I was sure that that wasn’t much of an age gap to start a family together. You see, when girls say, “Boys just care about sex ” they are wrong. They have been with wrong guys all the time. If you go out with me, I will treat you with all due respect, like those polite males in Ekta Kapoor serials. We could have sex – umm, make love – every Holi, blitzed out by Bhaang, with the most romantic chartbusters in the background, as a result of a conspiracy planned by your nemesis or something. Wait, getting back to the subject, there she was and there I was, a transparent yet impermeable glass between us, and how amazing she looked… All those stupid ions in my body started having their own Hedron Collider experiments. 

“Yes? “She said. 

Will you marry me? – I almost blurted out, but I told myself to maybe start with the basics first. How about a

“I am facing difficulties with my registered number. Could you help me? ”

Wow! That was easy peasy. 

“Write an application. Get a xerox copy of your id proof. “She said. So romantic! I imagined our babies playing with debit cards and singing SBI theme songs in their cribs. So nice! Hunky dory. 

Hmmm. I had written applications before. But in all those applications, I was either terribly sick or had to attend my relatives’ marriage ceremony. Why don’t they ever teach you the actual applications you’ll need to write?

I googled and Google helped me without a hiccup. I wrote the application as if I was designing my tombstone epitaph, making swirly Ys and all, and it took me half an hour to write it full. I was sure she’d be impressed – I had devoted my entire artistic experience to this boring job, so it was only fair of me to assume she would get my handwriting xeroxed and save it in her secret album. Boy, was I confident? 

I erected my hair again.

And strutted upto her with full confidence.

She saw my application and yawned. She covered her mouth with her slender porcelain fingers and said,

“Get it signed by the manager. ”
“The who? “I asked, just to make sure I heard it right.
“The manager. There. “She pointed to the office I had found my older version in. Damn.

The manager had a good look at me once I went in. He interviewed me like Chanakya IAS academy does to UPSCE aspirants. And then he asked me to go fill the Net Banking form. 

All in all, it took about 3 hours. By the time I got the kit from the gorgeous lady, I was a miserable heap of sweat, not sure anymore if she’d still go out with me.