Me and Mosquito #just a rant



Here I lay in my cold November bed, listening to a Sonu Kakkar song, wondering where those times went when words flew out my mind to the wicked white screen, when I wrote witty whirlwind stuffs and felt the sheer undiluted awe. Yeah, I just tried an alliteration here. 

As I punch onto the screen the words that don’t make sense and have never heard of coherency, a lone mosquito dances in front of my eyes. It’s about midnight and it’s quite lonely here. The only source of light is this wicked screen, with its charge dipping faster than Airtel shares after Jio explosion. 

My phone has been sick for some time now. It’s dying of senescence, like we all are. You see, I am trying to get philosophical here, but I can’t. I don’t know how to be philosophical without being borriinng. I’m out of words. This is just a rambling probably. I’m simply typing my ideas. Everything that’s going through my head. And actually, now I feel good. Wow. Wo! Umm..okay. Wait. I need to think something. 

Yeah, the mosquito. The mosquito is a female one, because it’s buzzing. I suppose female mosquitos buzz. I don’t know much about their anatomy or behavior. Doctor knows them quite well. She draws mosquito appendages in the last pages of her copy. Okay, that was made up. A lot of things I say about Doctor are made up. But the imaginations still have their root in realities. Okay, that was philosophical. Kind of. 
Now I’m wondering about the mosquito – the only living soul in the entire universe amidst this impregnable darkness, besides me. How lonely! But there’s a certain mutual respect we share. She is bobbing here and there at lightening speed, almost like a quantum thingy which Neil Degrasse Tyson has been trying to explain in his shows for centuries. It’s wonderful but annoying. Wow! What an amazing paradox. 

Why the hell am I thinking about a mosquito? Seriously! I could think about anything. Like I could think about Pisa’s leaning tower, that giant phallus on the belly of the earth. I could think about ships and stars, about Dragons and Dinosaurs. But all I’m thinking about is a petty mosquito, who I could squash with a flick. 

I wonder what the mosquito is thinking. Mosquitos think, don’t they? But they think differently from us. No they don’t. It’s amazing to think how they think, though. 

Now I am blank. I could say I saw a nice movie a few hours ago – Monsoon Wedding. I could say the Desi Chinese girl is dating my dumb Manipuri classmate (and now my gang is planning his assassination). I could say how the Mount Zion School reunion plan went down the commode. I could say that my neighbor is head to toe in debt (thanks to poker). I could say many things, but I won’t. I just want to rant. Rant rant rant. 

And yeah, I just squatted the mosquito with my bare hands. And now I am alone, all by myself in this unending blackness, amid this infinite silence. 

Awkward Awkward

Well, guess what! I bumped into Doctor. 😐

For the last few days, this new glitzy fast food joint called Charlie has been our binge corner. We start the evening with PC or Bhola knocking at my door after I fail to register their 23 missed calls. I fumble around for clothes and wear whatever my hands pull out of the Kilimanjaro piled up in our armchair. Then I comb my hair, slogging to create art above my scalp, but alas, it’s always awful. I rush out, and there they are, fat and miserable, but happy anyway. And then we keep walking, till the earth turns green and the sky turns red…

It was one of those normal days. We had returned back from the stadium after a long exasperating talk session dominated by dialogues concerning counselling and admission and cutoff and ranks and courses and whatnot, but which was supposed to be a long entertaining gossip session dominated by dialogues concerning pussies and breasts and cricket and AIB and politics and anything but career and studies. 

The two swines, PC and Bhola, were sitting like crabs on the red swing of my house, which I am pretty sure moves on its own after midnight. 

“I am starved. I need food. “PC said it for the thirteenth time. He is always hungry. People are always hungry. 

“What do you want from me? “I asked. 

“Feed me anything. Or I’ll die. “He pretended to have a cardiac arrest as he grabbed his manboob and dropped his tongue out. I wanted to tell him that 1. That’s not how you die of hunger and 2. That’s not how you die at all. 

“There’s nothing much in the house. Just some cheap Bengali mixture. “I lied. Actually there was Bikaji mix in the house, but there was no way I was going to sacrifice that. So instead I grabbed a bill of 100 and asked them to come follow me. 

“Oh Ravish…You’re our protector, you’re our lord!!” They sang as they followed me. 

On the way, we discussed our orders.

“Chicken momo for us. Veg burger for you. “They agreed.

“Fuck. I’m the one who’s paying, guys! “I protested. See, the world is pretty cruel towards veggies (shhhh….). These non vegetarians get to lay their canines upon chicken and lamb and beef and beacon and pork and mutton and crabs and squids and octopuses and what not, and here we are, lone warriors of Paneer, consoling ourselves with the belief that ultimately non veggies are going to be burned in the devil’s kitchen. The ratio of benefit in this case was 2:2:1 against me. So obviously, I was unhappy. 

“Alright. I have extra twenty bucks. “Bhola said. 

And so we moved ahead, fantasizing our beautiful plates. 

“Doctor. “PC said as we stepped into Charlie. I kind of froze. 

Yes. There she was and here I was. And on our faces was nothing but one singular expression of surprise. All I could see was her face and her hair falling all around. Just for a tiny moment. And then I turned around. It was weird as hell. I handed them the money and moved to the other side of the road. Found the darkest place and plonked my ass on one of the benches and watched giant bright wheels for a long time, thinking about what just happened there. 

I wasn’t annoyed or scared, nor was I nervous or angry. Nor was I happy. She would have waved and said hello, I would have waved and said hello. Then some generic talks and more awkwardness. I mean what would the talks be about? I couldn’t imagine anything but pauses. Awkward awkward. Like we could have talked about our orders or something, or we could have maintained a silence after the casual greetings. Both would have been awkward. And how do you talk to somebody you don’t generally talk to? I mean it’s been some time since we had a proper conversation. A good conversation. She’s online and I’m online and yet we don’t talk to each other. So I just ran out of topics there. I didn’t know how to converse and nor did I had any intent desire to. I mean Facebook is enough I believe. Plus, I was wearing really short pants. 

Anyway, after she left the place I went back. My friends told me that I was a wuss and I should have talked to her and all and I asked them if my veg burgers were ready yet. They were not. 

Back on Facebook she didn’t text me. So I knew she was pissed off. Then she texted me the other day, obviously pissed off, and gave me an earful. I apologised, tried to explain, and also asked if I could do something to make her feel better, but she didn’t want to hear anything. So I didn’t say much, cracked some lame jokes and hoped she’ll get better on her own. 

Now see, I’m the kind of person who lives dual lives. If you’ve never met me in person, you’ll never know me in person. I’m someone else on social medias – active and funny and intelligent and interesting and caring and good and romantic. However, in reality, I’m exactly the opposite – lazy, unfunny, dumb, ruthless, evil and filled with lust. I keep these two worlds apart. And unfortunately, Doctor is a part of the fb world, where she sees me through her own lens, which is what I choose to show her. 

Anyway, that’s my identity crisis. For more information please watch Tamasha. 

The Disneyland and the Fireflies 

When light is darker than the shadows..

The night is ablaze again. The sky burns with unsteady flickers of turquoise and emerald. It seems like the heavens are awaiting a sorcerer’s spectacle. Down on the earth, one million LED Boards, shaped like peacocks and flowers and women holding flowers, sparkle brilliantly. In the shadows echo the blissful laughters of small, rugged children….

Welcome to the Disneyland, the small travelling funfair that is set up every year in my hometown. The preparations begin a month before and a century of trucks get parked in the Rangbhoomi maidan. Workers start setting the poles and gradually we see giant swings rising up, part by part, till they are ready to launch your soul up in the sky. 

When I was a kid, I’d clutch my mother’s fingers and hop for the next 20 minutes till we reached Disneyland. It was my dream to enter the place and never leave. I so wanted to hide beneath those counters and sneak out when everybody left. I’d go on from stalls to stalls, eat everything and sneak everything and maybe even take the taking parrot home. No I won’t go home. It was a dreamy world, my own spectacle, the Disneyland. 

Then, as it happens, I grew up. The sparkles don’t attract me anymore. I stay outside, licking Ice Golas with my friends, discussing the outrageous pricing policies of Samosa Vendors in the fair. 

“The same Ice Gola would cost double inside that little tent. “Atif says as he crushes the ice to make a solution. 

“They wouldn’t call it Ice Gola inside that little tent. It’d be a Ferrero Ice or something. ”

We laugh at this silly joke and carry on. 

Last night, my friends desperately wanted some cigarettes. I accompanied them to the kiosk in front of the Disneyland and they made a face and said,

“Ravish. You never gave us a treat. ”

I knew those bastards were asking me to pay for their cigarettes. I could have refused but it wouldn’t have changed anything. So they bought two goldflakes and vanished into the distant shadows to blow up giant smoke rings, feel weightless and heavenly as their souls floated and their lungs rotted. 

I meandered about, watching those lightboards, and how those lit the empty sky but left the crumbling earth with a sad silent bleakness. 

The world above my chest was a world of light. The kids in front of my eyes, however, weren’t tall enough. They hid behind the cars, chasing each other, playing hide and seek, running with unrestrained shrieks of laughter. They collided with light occasionally, exposing their boney frames, their tattered clothes, their immortal smile, but the next moment they disappeared again. When you stared hard you could make out their existence. There was a time my eyes would follow the lights, but age changes your perspective. Now shadows attract me more. I followed those happy little kids and all those people who lived in the mini slum at the periphery of Rangbhoomi, all of them enjoying their own picnic on the carpets of grass, talking amongst themselves sitting in the dark and watching the lighted sky. 

I wished I could listen to them, the things they talk, the jokes they crack. But no matter how close I went, the posh roar of Disneyland buried their feeble whispers. The crackles and the joy, everything seemed muted, yet unwavering. The delight was pure. But the dazzling lights exposed their misery. I could see their wounds, the gradual, persistent erosions that had washed away their layers, but not the souls. Perhaps they were the lives of the shadows, it was the light that made them look ugly. 

The world of light is actually darker. Full of shadows sneaking about, wearing a million faces, sneering, jabbing, lying, squabbling. 

The people in front of me were the fireflies of dark

“Do you have more money, we got to have chewing gums? “My friends asked.

“Fuck off. “I said and we moved. 

The kid inside me jerked to life again. But this time, I didn’t want to stay in Disneyland all my life. I wanted to stay in the shadows, with those fireflies… 

IITJEE and Jai Mata Di

He looked at me through squinted eyes, and then exclaimed, 

“Wow! Why couldn’t I ever think of that! ”

IITJEE is a nightmare for most of the candidates. You’ve an exam hall with the lowest possible sex ratio, and the girls look no better than William Frey’s daughters. Then there’s this question paper full of strange mysterious symbols, which pretty much appear like messages of Jaadu preserved by Rakesh Roshan and then unleashed on humanity. When I was taking the foundation course, the symbols on the board would start floating around like agitated fishes in a pond, and I’d wonder if I was really carved out for this shit.

One day, my friend showed me a man riding a bicycle. In a hogwartsy tone, he asked, 

“What do you see? ”

I thought about it for a while. I wondered if it was a normal question aimed at testing sight, or a deeper question which Leeladhar Swamy asks from his listeners every morning on Sanskaar TV. 

“I see a man. With a mango crate. He seems poor. And tired too. He is riding. He has stopped. Oh! He is riding again. “I said, wondering if my friend had finally lost his mind. He was rebuffed by a girl a few days ago, and since then he has been asking weird questions. 

What’s the purpose of life? Why are girls so evil? What would I do without her? Have you ever felt love? 

My ass. 

“You know what I see? “He asked. I didn’t want to know what he saw. I wanted to go home. But he spoke anyway,

“I see kinetic energy. And then potential energy. And then kinetic energy again. ”

I looked at his face carefully. His smile was fake, his eyes were lava pits, his hair was a hacked hedge. He was so pathetic you could caste him in child labour ads. Suddenly I realized two things – I was in the company of a lunatic, and that science was not something I should pursue. 

I gave up on physics after that. But many of my friends didn’t and they suffered a lot. 

Atif is always the guy in wrong profession. He should have started a band, performing live concerts by now, but like every other small town guy, he is taking IITJEE. Last year he asked for some advice regarding the exam, and if I knew some tricks to solve MCQs. 

“You always get good scores. I can’t believe you haven’t got some secret trick. All intelligent people have a secret trick. ”

I wondered if I should suggest him to take a healthy diet and sleep on time, but it didn’t seem like those ideas would be welcome, so I asked,

“Alright, Atif. Have you studied anything for the exam? ”

“Nah. I didn’t even know that coordinate geometry was in syllabus until yesterday. “He said coolly. 

I nodded, and said,

“I know what you got to do. You got to pick an option and mark the same for every question. ”

He looked at me through squinted eyes, and then exclaimed, 

“Wow! Why couldn’t I ever think of that! ”

I remained immersed in guilt for a few months after that. And a few more after Atif told me he’s done exactly as I suggested. I asked him if he solved any question, and he said he couldn’t differentiate Alpha from Beta, and since a girl sat beside him, he couldn’t have risked to look stupid trying to figure out the harmonic progression of some trigonometric identities. 

“The girl asked me if I knew what’s the atomic number of uranium. And I was so excited I couldn’t even reply. The boy from the other side replied and he won the girl. Uranium had never been so important before.”

“Oh! “I said, wondering if I would ever go out with a girl who asks me the atomic number of uranium. Nah. Never. 

Results were declared and what’s unbelievable was that he was only 10 marks short of the cutoff.

“This is so heartbreaking. “He said. “I marked B in every question. Should have gone with A. A for Atif. ”

I was quite taken aback. I didn’t even know such a trick could work. Had I cracked the code to pass MCQ exams!?

“This time try mixing options. Do a Jai Mata Di. “I suggested. I had a strong feeling that he would be in top 100 when results are out.

He followed my advice. 

Results were declared. 

And he isn’t telling me his marks now.

“C’mon. How bad can it be? You haven’t got negative score, have you? “I keep asking.

“Let’s talk about something elese. I should have taken commerce.”He says. 

The Girl in My College

Yeah, lately I’ve been stalking somebody. 😈

Okay. Today I’ll tell you about this pretty north-eastern girl I’ve been following for some time. When people ask me to describe somebody in one word, I usually go nuts, but for this one girl, after a thorough research on I finally have a word. Kaleidoscopic

Brownish bob cut hair with streaks of chocolate cherry. Round face, bright lips, dazzling specs. Loose shirt, often black. Baggy trousers, gathered at ankles. A pair of white sneakers. Samsung in a minion phone case. Painted nails. Everything I usually detest with all my heart. I don’t know why this eye-jabbing combination works so right on this girl. Despite all these contrasts, she looks stunning. Kaleidoscopic

She’s in English Honours, but we have a common class at 12:30 – Political Science. Last semester, I had a pathetic attendance record  (it was the highest in the class, by the way) as our pol. science teacher is as useless as a crushed toothpaste carton. He kept begging us to show up in the class for the love of God, but nobody had the courage to bear extreme psychological torture for nonstop 60 minutes. So as it turned out, nobody showed up. I occasionally did, just because I felt bad for the poor guy. 

But this semester, I have got a nicer reason to race to room number 32 right after Roman History is over. This girl. 

I don’t know her name. Now, you can’t make out their names, I tell you. Not in the first six attempts in any way. 

There are a few classmates of mine who belong to Manipur. They all have unpronounceable names. There’s this guy called Lungpolkam or something, there’s Bethel Debobarma, then Some Liasharam and then there’s P.G. because even those Spell Bee nerds can’t pronounce the full form. 

I’ve tried to get her name out. I badgered P.G. for a while, and then I started sitting close to her in pol. science classes so that if the name pops out in some conversations in her group, I catch bits of it. There was a golden opportunity once. The teacher was asking everybody if they had understood what he just taught. So he went like, ” Ravish, did you get that? ” and I lied with a tonne of confidence,” yes sir, I got that. ” Then he turned to a few more guys before he finally turned to her, “You with a difficult name! Did you understand what was Ambedkar’s view on women? ” She nodded in an apathetic manner. I told you, the teacher is useless. 

After that, it slipped out on a few occasions. But I could never make out the head and tail of it no matter how much of my genius brain I applied to decipher the sound.  

So one day, I consulted her classmate, a UP guy, who seemed to have never watched porn in his life. He was quite shy for a college dope, and he blushed as he said he didn’t know her name. 

“But she has a boyfriend. “He mentioned. My heart kind of broke. Not the glass-globe-hurled-at-the-floor kind of broke, but like a tooth foliage, like the sharp pain of a torn muscle. 

One day, Rohit asked her directly. She looked at him dubiously, and asked back,

“But why do you want to know my name? ”

Well, so, till this day, the name is a mystery. 

But today I saw her in shorts, and God! She was HOT! Waxed porcelain skin. She was sitting on the stairs and I was passing by and my eyes just got stuck at her. She saw me and drew her legs together. I swear to God I wasn’t thinking about her vagina or whatever. I was just looking at the legs. I mean that’s allowed, right? 

I spent a good fifteen minutes by the stairs, having patties, and stealing glances at her. Rohit was smirking at me all the goddamn time, but I couldn’t react, I was already dazzled by the light of her skin. 

Happy Holi. 

Holi, nah, I don’t like it!.

I am not much of a festival fanatic, so I did not write a post about how I drenched kids in toxic paints or smeared Gulal at random cleavages after guzzling down barrels of Bhaang, which I didn’t, this Holi. I belong to a land where Holi is an important festival, because there’s a monolith in my neighbourhood which people refer to as Prahlad Stambh, the most important artefact associated with Holi. Now I don’t know or care if the mythical lion God really broke out of that goddamn pillar or not, but the thing is that my people are crazy about this festival. 

Every year you’d see the the fervour reach its crescendo amidst the awfully gloomy board exams. Shopkeepers suddenly start the additional business of colors, Gulals, spray guns and Bhaang and people of all kinds and ages flock at their shops to buy in bulk. Then, on the day of Holi, they go utterly, extremely, crazy. There are people everywhere on the streets, painted and ghostly in appearance, laughing hysterically with their ugly blue teeth and their ugly blue tongues, which would make Jared Leto feel bad about his existence. 

There’s a special set of clothes people wear for this occasion. Unlike how you Americans dress up for Christmas, or how we Indians dress up for Diwali, the apparel for this festival isn’t glamorous at all. Holi clothes are usually the shabbiest cheapest pieces of cloth, blessed with a garden of holes, patches of wear and stratas of dirt amassed over a period of time. Well, in India, every cloth is actually destined to become a wipe or duster towards the end of its life cycle. Just before that phase of drudgery, it becomes a festival cloth for a day. We wear it on Holi and let our relatives suffocate it with paint, and rip it into pieces, and then rip those pieces as well. 

Then comes the Bhaang part. Bhaang, or cannabis, is a psychoactive drug prepared in pots and offered to adults. Adults guzzle it in one breath, and after that, as shown in every tv soap in the history of India, get to fuck their lowly girlfriends with romantic music playing in the background, which they, as a part of plot twist, regret later. I had a friend who had bhaang once. He kept abusing for three days on trot. He also revealed loudly and elaborately how hot he found her newly wed aunt, much to his embarrassment later. So bhaang is basically a Veritaserum with a side effect. And no, dear Americans, we don’t get laid after bhaang overdose in real life. So it’s rather unfortunate. 

That apart, women are assaulted quite often, not like the Monica Bellucci Irreversible assault, but gentlemanly (like hello madam! I’d like to fondle your breasts a bit while pretending to play colors, even if you don’t actually intend to participate in this enlightening event.), under the garb of celebrations. There’s a lot of touching and ogling going on. 

But there are a few good things about holi as well. Like food, and joyous people, and of course, sex if you get to have it.

When I was a kid, I preferred watching Sinchan movies they showed at Hungama to playing colors. Because like women, I too don’t want to get wet without my consent. (Totally punny!)

Anyway, these days, a few kids in the neighbourhood had targeted me for a while. They had thrown balloons at me, but they missed, (no hopes for Olympics, lads!) the earlier day. They were the same kids who were shooting arrows at me on Dusherra. 

I planned my day this time. I purchased necessary supplies, and spent the day holed up in my room, playing against 34 people on That was a perfect holi.


Whiffs of a Journey

Everything smells of something. You just need to breathe in with closed eyes…

I was strolling down the drenched road, sploshing through the sparkling water that soaked the atmosphere with a familiar smell. I closed my eyes so that lights fade out to a silent black. And then, I inhaled. Like a riffle of cards, a series of photographs flashed on the back of my eyelid. And the scent, just as the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle, fit every scene perfectly. I could see the downpours of July 2010, I could see the showers on my Uncle’s marriage eve, I could see myself standing at the gate of St. Xaviers with a girl on my side, raindrops ploping down in front of my eyes in a musical symphony. 

There‘s a scent attached to every memory, every moment that stays solid inside your brain. Events, places and people have particular smells. In the evenings of the autumn, near the grocery store in my neighborhood, there’s often the smell of burning wood. I close my eyes in those moments and it whisks me to my childhood, when I’d be in my mother’s village, joyous as a bubble. It’s been 7 years since my last visit to the village. Things aren’t the same there anyway, as they say, everything is drearier and more torn apart these days. There’s no more wooden fuel, and no more solidarity. 

The dusk in those autumns, ironically,  reminds me of prevernals. There’s this smell of evening you cannot evade, it always has a gallery of memories for you. The autumn, particularly, is the saddest. It smoulders with the breaths of melancholy. Maybe that’s why they call it Fall. The air is gunpowdery in India in autumns, due to festivals. And festivals, you’d agree, spark off endless frames of nostalgia. 

Just as I move beyond the grocery store and take a left, the smell of avenues begin to pervade my soul. It’s the mossy, woodsy smell that takes me to Shyamli, where I’ve spent the most significant part of my life walking along the serene avenues. 

Then, I turn right, and the air starts reeking of people. Loud noises ring in the back of my mind. Crowd, dust and smoke rise up and there’s a mayhem all around. It’s the irritating sight you get when you’re in a bus inching through packed traffic in a May afternoon. People always stink. That smell stays for some time, through some more turns, and then, comes the road.

It smells like shit. Not the metaphorical shit, but the literal ugly amorphous decaying brown semi solid paste of organic matter that drops out of anus. It’s dogshit on most occasions. Not that I specialise in shit recognition, but I assume that because there are plenty of dogs out here. As you walk on the dilapidated sidewalk, you come across myriad specimens of shit. Some are old while some are fresh. In the small journey of two minutes, you get nasal cancer, if there’s something like that, from smelling all that shit. It reminds me of Court Station, Purnea, where a train full of shit, again, not the metaphorical but actual shit, rotted for six years before they removed it. Stations in my place serve as open public toilets. Often on train journeys, you’d see people squatted behind the bushes, giving you a carefree look through the leaves as their bowels rock and roll. That’s a disgrace, but people are real poor and ignorant here. 

Then, there are buses. Buses stink of vomit. Remind me of Khadgada bus stand at Ranchi, which was situated beside a cemetery. The place was full of dust and buses. The stench made my stomach churn. 

The comes the college. As I move in, a beautiful scent replaces the odour. The smell of morning grass is the breath of God. It frees my soul of all the diseases. I stand, shut my eyes, and inhale. 

My soul is enveloped in the fragrance.

 I can see the grass Whitman talked about, I can see the field Rumi talked about….