Plans of a Reunion

Yaaayyyy…😆😆😆

Advertisements

It all started with a random post – the photo of an empty classroom – and twenty minutes later, everybody was nuts with excitement. PC was all geared up for the historic reunion which was  just coming out of the cocoon in the comments section of Haddi’s nostalgic rant, even though the photo he had uploaded was nowhere near to what our real classroom looked like. 



It was the classroom you find on google – an elegant interior with expensive, polished furniture, a high ceiling with flush mounted lights, decorated walls and a green board greener than the grass in John Green’s novels. On the other hand, our classroom was more of a whorehouse. Dingy walls that hadn’t seen a duster since their creation, old desks plagued with scribbles as old as Indus Valley Civilization, mainly composed of love letters to Bewafa Soumya, coarse floor that made a soul searing screech everytime somebody walked – our classroom was the place where you get dengue if you sat in the last rows. Yet, there is something about the old sepia images of insanely jolly kids within those dingy walls that makes me want to think about it again and again. 

I remember our classroom and our precious seats that were allotted through chits (yeah! 😑). Our principal was a fat lady with some serious phobia of seeing happy faces. So she made sure our life was worse than hell. It’ll take me an entire post to describe her. 

Anyway, as I write this post, I picture each of my classroom right through the 7 years I spent at MZMS. I can see people, the ones who mattered and the ones who matter, and Doctor in her three different hairstyles and forty four different frowns, and the winds and the sunshine outside, and oh, it’s beautiful! I remember walking upto this place very early, sometimes long before even the door had been unlocked. I remember sitting and waiting for Doctor to arrive (hopeless romantic I was 😅) and she wouldn’t unless the room was already infested with people who I could forget with a blink. I remember her entries more than I remember mine. The same expression – the big, innocent, confused eyes, as if she’d seen something odd, or as if it didn’t matter to her as well, as if she could, too, forget people with a blink. I remember her steps, the way she trudged along, the slow relaxed walk, the soft glimmer of peace on her otherwise turbulent face. Or maybe I’m making things up. Or maybe I really did see her like this. Like Jordan watches Heer in the end of the movie, while she’s nothing but a beautiful hallucination. Alright, I think I should stop describing her and get back to describing the reunion talks. 

So when we met the next evening – PC and Churan and everybody else – PC restarted the talk. 

“Hey. I’m dead serious. We’re having a reunion at the school. “He said. 

Churan thought for a while about that and said, “whatever. ”

“What do you think about it? “He asked me. I was already planning my hairstyle for the day of reunion by then.

“Yeah. But unless there are at least fifteen girls who are ready to submit it in written that “even if there’s a zombie outbreak in the city, they are coming for reunion”, I’m not coming. “I declared. 

“Can you even name 15 girls from our class? “They all butted in at once. Okay, now this was a rude thing to say. Of  course I knew the names of 15 of our female classmates. How could I not! There was Doctor and her two friends, PC’s 3 foot tall ex-girlfriend, this 7 feet tall, white-as-Sheamus girl I talk to these days, then a few girls I would not like to have babies with, and, and, and this girl, and oh shit, I am out of names.

“Okay. “I frowned. “But that doesn’t change anything. Fifteen girls minimum, that is. ”

“Alright. Talk to Doctor about it. I’ll talk to the Big Fish. “PC said. 

Talk to Doctor about it!? 

I’d rather wear red pants and dance in front of spanish bulls than ask that crazy girl anything. I mean you could never guess what would make her mad. It’s like playing a different game of chess everytime I converse with her. After the formal openings are done, you have no idea what’s coming. And she’s as unpredictable and tempestous as monsoons. She says hi and I say hi and then I start to pray because I don’t know what to say. Ughh. 

Anyway, she’s still furious after that you-ignored-me ordeal. And my last post got her pissed off even more for some weird reason only intelligent Roman Gods are aware of. 

“I don’t think so. “I said, “Tell her boyfriend about the reunion. He would ask her. Better chances of acceptance. “I laughed like an idiot. They all nodded as if it was a really good idea. Sometimes I wonder whose side my friends are on. 😑

After a long discussion. It was decided that we would do it in December. We’d start preparations towards the end of October. It’ll be a bang, if those 15 girls show up. And we also made an exception for Any-Hot-Girl-Who-was-Not-Our-Classmate-but-Shows-Up. I mean what if PC wore a deo and some angel dropped from heaven. For such a highly probable case, that exception was necessary. 

Having said that, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing at Reunion. Playing a host? Nah I don’t think so. Maybe I’ll watch Doctor and her boyfriend and fan my burning insides. But anyway, it’ll be fun. 

💀The Night of the Gloomy Sunday💀

It was silent as a grave, and then, it started singing…

I remember it quiet distinctly. It was dead dark up in the sky. The street lamps had been glowing eerily all the evening. Not a soul fluttered in the city. Not a vehicle purred. Fallen leaves crawled as if a zombie’s hands. The breeze brushed past, in silence, cutting like a steel, drenching everything in the stench of death. It was dead quiet – as if someone’d just farted….

We all stared at Heroine’s face in disbelief. His fat, sagging, baggy, tired but sly face. He had just told us about a notorious song called Gloomy Sunday, aka the suicide song, and how it has caused a thousand suicides in the past and how it was banned from radio and everywhere else and whoever listened to it never saw another day. It was a late night bantering that had now turned into a session of paranormal yarns. We were discussing how goddam scary the horror comedy Vikral and Gabral was when Heroine started talking facts and told us about Gloomy Sunday. 

“One of my friend’s friend told me this. I swear it’s true. “He started. We all knew about his friend’s friend, who was some kind of omniscient twat whose sole purpose of existence was to fill Heroine’s mind with all sorts of crap. He once told Heroine that Aishwarya Rai had a nude scene in a Hollywood movie, and this poor chap skipped school for the next few days and rummaged through seventy four porn sites and Wikipedia and even asked it on quora. By the end of his campaign, xvideos sent him their catalogue with various premium packs and alluring discounts, which he furiously trashed. Also, a few quora guys called him a pervert.

Now it was some shit about gloomy Sunday. I looked beyond his shoulders, far into the branching streets of SOP lit by a row of isolated streetlamps, and the vast emptiness surrounding them. The world couldn’t be any sadder. I wondered if people would really die after listening to some Hungarian harp rather than witnessing something gloomier, things like poverty, murder, or their Maths result. Rana was already busy googling away as the rest of us decided which side to take on. We had our own qualms, but we were kind of sure we would not die. But when I was a kid, one of my friend’s friend too was pretty sure he would not die

“People are stupid. It’s so shallow I can see tortoises running down there. “He pointed at the notorious green pond of the village. Then he jumped in and died. 


“It’s bullshit. Here, here’s the mp3. “Rana flashed the phone in front of us. 

“Here, Ravish. Download it. “He said. 

Now, people, whenever I’m in a group, I tend to project myself as a modern man who doesn’t believe in superstition. I give all sorts of rational, logical, scientific arguments and show people how ghosts and shit are things embedded deep into their psyche rather than being real things. Then I go home and google five ways to protect yourself from a succubus
“I think the person who claims should download it. And cmon Rana, you are brave. Don’t tell me you think it’s true! “I said, as if I was on a social awareness campaign. 

“Of course I don’t. “Rana replied even more emphatically, and added, “but I am yet to enter IIT and get married and you know. Plus you are a commerce student. Nobody gives a shit if you die. ”

“Yes. That’s true. “Said the rest of them. 

And so I set it to download. A few minutes later, others started downloading it too. We all took up Prince’s room, closed the door from inside, switched on the light and put on a curse on whoever tried to switch it off. Then we waited patiently, counted as the song slowly oozed into our phone’s memory. 

“It’s done. “Rana said. 

“Yes. “I said. 

And then, we played it. 

It was our last night alive. “Half a dozen teenagers found dead in a hostel room ” – I could see the newspaper titles. We had no reason to commit suicide but millions to justify it. Poor marks, no girlfriends, aimless and pathetic life glutted with porn and chronic masturbation. I was feeling sad before even it had begun.

At first, we couldn’t make out anything. It was so low as if composed in infrasonics. 

“Do people kill themselves because they can’t hear it? “One of us asked. We shshsh-ed him.

And finally, it hit our ears. Oh. My. God. What. An. Overestimated. Piece. Of. Shit. It was like, like, that fat lady song which results in the shattering of window panes and which highbrow, suited people listen to anyway. It’s the song that ruins dates and shoots global noise population levels by a million and scares aliens away. It was more annoying than it was scary or sad. I’d die faster listening to Barney song rather than this crap. 

“Why didn’t we die? Does anyone feel suicidal? Are we going to sleep together? “They all began to ask, and I wondered what if it was a cursed song and what if we were really going to die. The mind is always delusional. I was scared when one of my friends called. He said hello and suddenly a girl started laughing in my ears. I shrieked and dropped the phone. Later, he clarified that it was his friend and he had no idea why she was laughing. 

“Enough shit for a day!! “I said as I hung up and went to my room. I researched more about Gloomy Sunday and realised it was indeed a very sad song. 

The next morning, I woke up with a fine air, and thanked the heavens for not pulling my soul out of my body. I reminded myself of all the goals and dreams and places where I had to have sex and deleted the goddamn song before starting my day. 

The Summer Odyssey #1

How I finally reached home this summer….

Tickets being cancelled one after one, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was staying in my rented oven the whole summer. I had a full chart drawn out, chockablock with bullet points stating in colorful embellished letters how I was going to get a monthly subscription to The Hindu, join the National Museum summer internship and break Yoshida’s world record for the most nonstop push ups. But as they say, the most outstanding things happen unexpectedly. So I got to go home. 
It was around midnight when the confirmation reached me. I had to board the North East Express before 6:45 in the morning. For that I’d had to reach the station before 6:30. For that I’d had to find a cab before 5:45. For that I’d had to leave 1618 before 5:30. For that I’d had to wake up before 4:30. I did a few more calculations and set the alarm at 3:00 am. But I was so happy I couldn’t sleep. So I aborted the alarm at 2:30 and paced up and down my room for a good number of minutes, thinking about all the possibilities that could result in the cancellation of the journey. I was ready for a disastrous, impending earthquake anytime. I checked the weather report on Google and a few minutes later I found myself endeavoring to understand the mechanism of El Nino. It was to be a rainy day. I just wished I found a cab. 

Emptying my bowels, I downloaded the Ola app. They offered me a prime ride only for double the price an auto driver would take. But auto drivers are hard to rein this early, and more than that, they are hard to find. I looked for some coupons but seemed like Ola people were no more consumer friendly. I wondered if I should call my friend Abhishek who has a museum of coupons but I looked deeper and found the cheapest ride to Anand Vihar ISBT. They called it Micro. 

I packed my stuffs and my mother called up. In a dozy voice she reminded me of all the stuffs I had to shove in my bag. 

“Don’t forget my handbag. “She said for the fourth time, as if I could forget her handbag. If you had a mother like mine you would never forget her handbag. But where the hell is it? I recall seeing it a few days ago….

“Ah. Ookkhhayy. “I said, fumbling around for her handbag which I had kept somewhere I didn’t remember anymore. Shit. 

I found it in the end. Below the bed.

I also sneaked into my landlord’s apartment like a thief, and returned the water camper to its place. I wondered if I should leave a note stuck to the handle, but going by the fact that they don’t have pan cards I wasn’t sure if literacy was a concept known to them. 

Forty minutes later, I was waddling in the rain with two bags in my arms towards the stupid Ola cab that didn’t budge an inch despite my persistent requests to bring it near me because it was pouring so goddamn hard. I had been standing under the overbridge looking towards the glorious Shyam Lal College on the other side of the road for an eternity, waiting for the cab. It was honking all the time behind my back, on the other side of the other road, which is both unethical and stupid. 

“This is Shyam Lal College. And you’re here! You had to be IN FRONT OF Shyam Lal College. “I complained.

“This is Shyam Lal College. And I’m here. I am in front of Shyam Lal College. “He said, as if it was an obvious thing. I was about to debate strongly, but I was already drenched and I had a train to catch. So I jumped in and he drove. As the Go slid through the quiet dimlit silvery morning, I followed the drops rolling down the window glass. There was a mesmerising harmony in everything. Life was beautiful. 

Half an hour later, I was dragging my bag through the rain. I had to hurry as the pouring had now become a torrent. Puddles went deeper than Mariana Trench and the ground was buried beneath a raging sea. It seemed like it could rain forever. If only I had a nice balcony and a hot girlfriend. And condoms. And some Samosas

I raced towards platform number 3. It was 6 am. 

To be continued….

♥The Last Walk♥

When you can’t say farewell…

♡♡♡

Its 5:45 pm and it’s drizzling. Probably. I’m buried inside my blanket and my room is locked. I have to meet her at 6 o’clock. She leaves today evening, 9:25. 

For the last few hours, I’ve been pausing and replaying the moments of our short-lived togetherness inside my mind, over and over. I want to etch every bit of us in my memory; I want to remember every little detail; I want to store every tiny trifling moment my brain. I want her to stay alive in my consciousness, bring a smile on my lips every time I think of her. I want to keep her for life, till I turn blue and they declare me dead. Sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? But have you ever fallen in love?

I also prepare a short farewell message I’ll be speaking to her. I’ll talk about the evenings, and the sheer bliss of walking by her side, of watching her through the corner of my eyes. And I’ll do some cheesy poetry; I’ll tell her what I have written so far, I’ll tell her her eyes shimmer like stars, and she always keeps me on the edge of my seat, and with a wink, she triggers my heartbeats. I’ll ask her to stay, for the sake of the story. Maybe she’ll hear me out and she’ll stop. Maybe Gods would go kind and cancel her train. Maybe the world would end we would die in each other’s arms. Maybe…

At 5: 50, I jump out of my bed and race out of my room. The world outside is foggy, damp and cold. The sky is veiled and the roads glisten from the mild wash. There’s no noise – no vehicle with blaring horns, no woofers with ear-deafening items, no hammered lodgemate howling – nothing except a dreadful, engulfing serenity, only invaded occasionally by birds chirping in the distance – melodic, rhythmic and beautiful. The air is icy, the kind that gives you a red nose if you race your bicycle against a motorbike, and every time it caresses my face, memories sweep through my mind like a gentle, glistening tide of a full moon.

I pace up and down at our meeting spot and think about her and the time ticking away, and I feel this twinge – the jabs in my head, and the stabs in my heart. How I wish calendars to stop and clocks to freeze

She arrives twenty minutes late, as usual, and I wonder if girls have a different way of reading clocks. For boys, 6:00 pm means 6:00 pm, for girls, it means 6:20 pm. 

“Hey. “I wave at her. Clad in yellow, she looks the same as she did the day I saw her for the first time. Thin, very thin. I watch her curls, and the smile that’s just leaped on her face. She’s perfect. 

“Hey. “She says, and it starts to rain.

“It’s raining. My hair looks terrible. And I lost my gorgeous white top. I am very upset. And it’s raining! “She yammers. We run for a place with a roof and halt at the entrance of St.Xaviers. She wants to get in, but there’s a guard in the distance and he looks like an old grumpy man who never returns the cricket ball to the neighborhood kids. 

“Maybe you should go back. You have to travel. “I suggest, half-heartedly. To tell you the truth, I don’t want her to go. I want her to stay with me, amidst this downpour, talking and laughing and staring at me with that piercing, curious look, as if I’m a mystery to her. 

“Shut up. I’m not going anywhere. ”

We watch the rain, the one million drops that fall and implode and make ripples; we listen to the soft music of endless taps, and the silence in the background. We look at each other, sometimes. 

We start walking again as it stops, only to run for a shade a few seconds later. Today’s the day of surprises, shocks and separation. She says we should go to Spring City, and I wouldn’t really mind, though I’d prefer NOP, but anyway, we walk and she turns towards NOP. Surprise!

On the way, she makes some very good attempts to push me to the ditches – her idea of fun – but I skip over every little pool of muddy water, and this constant battle of goodness and evil ends with her sandal getting splashed over with the mud, and even though I feel like laughing my stomach out, I’m afraid she’ll incinerate me with her looks. She finds a broad leaf, and wipes her sandal and then rubs her hands on my jacket. It isn’t exactly romantic  (even though I think I’m going to keep the jacket forever) but it’s still better than getting thrown into mud by an angry goddess. So I say nothing and listen to her as she talks about her lost top and her messed hair and her mother who’d kill her for losing the top. As long as shes talking, lifes good.

The Harry Potter lamps are yet to glow, the day yet to end, and the farewell words yet to be spoken. As I try to match her steps, I wonder what I should be saying, or if she would understand my silence. 

“I can’t believe I lost my top. And my hair is a mess. I look like a witch. “She grumbles. I’ve already told her a dozen times that her hair is perfect, and curls are the best things to have on your head when you are a girl, but she says I’m flirting. I tell you, girls should be included in DU course material, they are stranger than String Theories. 

We revisit the place we went to on our first meeting. The ambient settlements of a township. It’s dimly lit and there are only few people around. It’s cold and it’s our last day of togetherness. I don’t know what to say. I’m quiet because I really don’t have words. I mean I had them at 5:50 pm. We sit for a while on the cricket ground. Her quiet eyes gaze into nothingness, as if she’s thinking about something, something which she wouldn’t tell anybody. Or maybe she is just bored. I pluck dried grass blades and snap them into smaller pieces. I hear the chirping of crickets. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to look her in eyes, my emotions are unreined horses. I don’t want to speak either. I don’t want her to leave, however selfish it might sound. I want her to stay and talk to me, to take a million evening strolls with me, to plod through the street with Harry Potter lampposts, recounting the stories that sound interesting just because she’s lived all of them. I’m already missing her so much, even though she’s a hand away. 

Tell her, you idiot. Tell her how much you crave her. Tell her about her eyes and the winks that trigger your stupid heart. 

We leave the ground and plod through the colony. She says I look better when I’m clean shaven and I tell her how facial hair is a man’s asset, in response to which, she retches for a minute. I can’t believe I’m talking about hair on our farewell walk. 

“My hands are so cold. “She says and presses the back of her palm against my cheek. Her fingers feel like frozen chillies. I wonder if she’s a vampire. She puts her hand in the side pocket of my jacket, and we carry on like that, our steps slow, steady and symphonic. A few pedestrians watch us sometimes, and she pulls her hand out, but keeps it back once they’ve passed. We walk to NOP where she buys chewing gums and then we enter Shyamli. 

“Where’s the road you posted the picture of on Hike? “She asks. 

“On the way. “I say.

I take her to the road and as we pass the Community Hall and a gang of (according to her) hot,  shaven teenagers, we slow down at the dead dark street in front of us. 

It looks like a place you go to and never come back, the kind of place where witches hang from the trees and axemen hide in the bushes. A place where even still air sends shivers through the leaves. There are no stars above, only a giant spider web of withered branches, and the occasional spooky quakes through them. There’s no streetlight. It’s dark as hell.

“I’m scared. “She holds my arm.

“Don’t worry, I have six-packs, a black-belt and three toothpicks in my chest pocket. I can handle one. Or two. ”

“Haww! And the rest of them? ”

“You can run, right? “I ask. She clutches my arm tighter. 

“I’m scared too. “I confess. She tightens her hold.

“And my arm is frail. It can break. ”

She doesn’t listen, and we walk briskly through the ghostly lane like two stupid people in a horror movie. This is not the kind of darkness I appreciate. 

She doesn’t let go of my arm until we see some lights. I secretly wish she hadn’t left my arm. She suggests we should go to the park. We walk and I mistakenly mention a hot classmate on the way, which proves to be a blunder as she instantly stops talking to me and instead, puts every cell of her oral system to the unproductive task of blowing balloon out of the chewing gum. 

“Why are you not talking? ”

“…..”

“What did I do now? ”

“…..”

“I’m sorry. ”

“…..”

“I’m really sorry. ”

“…….”

“This is not fair. ”

“…..”

“…..”

She offers me the chewing gum, without words.

“No, thankyou. ”

“……”

“……”

“Where’s the park? “She asks, and I heave a sigh that could demolish a colosseum. Her silence is a disaster, it just wrecks my world. 

“There there. “I say.

We reach the park and enter through a break in the fence. 

As she sees the swing, she bursts with excitement and races towards it. I’d run only to a strip club with that speed. I follow her, baffled, blinking furiously to check if she’s a real thing.
She takes up one of the swings and I take the other one. It’s pretty childish. I feel like I’m Nobita.

 “You know you could totally kiss me right now. “She says, and I am almost thrown off the swing. 
See, that’s why you shouldn’t watch porn. You start hearing voices and making up things.

She looks at me in an inquisitive manner. 

“Umm…”

“You’re a wuss. “She declares, and I don’t know what to do so I just push my feet against the ground and think about her lips. 

“If you don’t kiss me now you’d never. “She threatens. A thousand questions leap out in front of me. The first one is – how do you kiss? Not that I don’t know the theory, for I could write a thesis paper on the mechanism of kissing but I have never kissed anyone before. I notice her and the feeble cheers of children in a distance and this dim lit corner in the floodlit park and the gorgeous foggy shimmering night sky above us and all I am thinking about is how beautiful her lips are and then everything shatters into shards because it’s our last day. 

“No. Some other day. “I say. 

She doesn’t reply and goes back to enjoying the swing. She moves with it, leaving me and all the emptiness down here, in the melancholic stillness of losing something precious. 

And then, it starts to drizzle, again. We don’t leave the swings. As the droplets fall all over me and all over her, I begin to think about the farewell message. I had it all planned out. I had to say everything that I couldn’t. I had to tell her how she has been the best thing in my seventeen years. But I haven’t spoken any of that yet. I tell myself that I’ll tell her just before the goodbye, but I don’t believe me. 

Ill. Ill say it all.

We go to the seesaw. I’m stronger than her, so I lift her up. She tries her best to press herself down and send me up, but – didn’t I tell you, I’ve six-packs? – she can’t. Actually, sitting on a seesaw is potentially dangerous for a man’s balls, especially when the person on the opposite end is hell bent on tossing you up miles in the air. I figure that out soon and tell her to umm, maybe walk around a bit and leave these amusement tools for children. 

We exit the park and walk through the street, taking a right into one of the forks. We stroll along, circling the park, she talking about the exams, and me, checking the time left. Our steps are in sync, and her fingers are wrapped around my arm.

“I’ll miss you. “She says, all of a sudden. I can’t think of a reply. She would never know how much I’m going to miss her. I don’t say it out loud, but I feel everything. I feel her presence and I feel her absence, and even though it’s ending, I know she’s the best thing in my life.

Spit it out, you moron. 

“Why are you leaving then? “I ask.

“Because I have to. ”

“No you don’t have to. ”

“I will miss you. ”

“Hmm…I’ll miss you more. ”

“No you won’t….You shouldn’t. ”

Ill. “I look her in eyes, and they hold; the connection between us momentary and yet so endlessly ethereal. 

“My hair is a mess. “She frowns. 

“And you’ve lost your top. “I say in a singsong voice. 

“Yes, how could I forget! I lost my top, my hair is a mess, give me a hair band. ”

“I don’t have one. ”

She tugs at the lace in my jacket. I pull it out. She ties her hair with that. I like her untied curls though, but I am tired of remimding it to her. She always thinks I’m flirting. She pulls the lace out and begins to tie knots. 

We turn into another empty, faintly lit street. It’s 7:14 pm. 16 minutes left.

Okay. I’ll say it. I can’t wait anymore. I’ve to ask her to stop. I’ve to….

“Listen….”

“Yeah. ”

“…nothing…. ”

“Tell me. ”

“Nah! You’ll feel awkward. ”

“We discuss porn. It can’t get any more awkward. ”

She looks at me for a moment, her face a blend of reluctance and hope, her eyes vacant and lacklustre, and says,  

“Can I hug you? ”

 Seconds later, we are wrapped around each other like a cocoon. Yet, I feel her slipping away. I smell her hair and her ears and her skin and I want to inhale every last unit of her scent and store it inside me. 

“Can’t you hold me tighter? ”

I do. I hold her like we were one. Her heart paces up and she digs her fingers in my back. Every nerve of mine craves her wildly, and yet I stand here without words. The farewell message, the things that could possibly stop her – all those got erased somehow. I feel like a fish trapped on land. 

I hear her breathes, and I don’t now how, but suddenly, the final strings snap. I know now she’s not getting back. The spaces between us are full of bricks, and the love has begun to evaporate. The uncertainty of her future and the stupidity of my actions have ended this for her. I wish there was some other dimension, where you could listen to each other without hearing them. I don’t want to stop her anymore. I don’t want to speak the farewell message. She’s going, and I don’t want to make it tough for her. I’m not John Tyree, but I know this – somehow, she’s better without me. 

“I know. It’s okay. “I say and rub her back. 

“Thanky…”

“Shhh….”She cuts me off, and we stay in the embrace of each other for a while.
We leave the place at 7:26 pm. She points out that our steps are matching, and I like the fact that I’ve finally learnt to slow down with her. But it doesn’t matter now, our walk is almost over. We trudge back, and after eating Gulabjaamuns at Manju Shree, make our way to the last street. 

I wish it was a movie where people get happily – ever – afters in the end, where you don’t watch your life trudge away from you, never looking back. I wish we had more time, more chapters in our story, or maybe a sequel where everything becomes right. I wish we didn’t have to be scared of our demons. I wish we had more courage. I fight back this loneliness as I watch her go, and as she vanishes from my life, the bitter truth dawns upon me – our little infinity comes to an end. 

I don’t know about her, but they were the most beautiful evenings for me. Every moment I spent with her is a memory to cherish. And no matter what the future brings to our imperfect story, I’ll always remember our tiny forever, our little infinity

Nostalgia #The Day of Dicks

The day Lord Evans went crazy… 😂

“Are you alive? “Lord Evans asks as he raps at the door. If he doesn’t stop, the bolt is going to come off. 

“What the fuck is wrong with every creature who knocks at my door? “I yell, more to myself. 

“I have something important to tell you. ”

“You better be telling me that the hottest girl of SOP is waiting for a sizzling lap dance free of cost, and you have sacrificed me your share of divine act. “I shout as I take a look at the image I’m going to put as my profile pic on Facebook. It’s blurred, and my eyebrows are bent at funny angles. 

“Kind of. ”

Three seconds later, he is in my room, strectched on my bed like a four legged spider. Stretched on my bed like a four legged tarantula on a matchbox. Like a four legged tarantula who has a gigantic Fabre Castell ruler, which seems very akin to my own accountancy ruler, in his hand. 

“It’s six-four. ”

“What? And that ruler seems familiar. ”

“Here, take it. ”

I snatch the ruler from his hand. My secret initials are visible at the end. It’s mine! Oh wait! I drop the ruler almost reflexively, struck breathless by the scary anticipation. 

“What is six-four? “I ask, my voice gruffy. 

“My penis. It’s not small. You were wrong when you accused I have a small dick. That hurt so bad I couldn’t sleep. I have spent all night memorizing countrywise average penis size on Menxp. I am six-four. I have a Jamaican Penis. “He glows with pride.

Actually, Lord Evans got me to a rip off deal where I purchased vegetable chops for a price 5 times the normal price. So I called him a mindless, physics sucker. Then he started explaining the beauty of Quantum mechanics, so I called him the owner of micropenis. That had him shut up. And now he had come to seek revenge, contaminating my lovely ancient ruler with his dick. 

“Did you fucking use my accountancy ruler to scale your penis? “I say, flabbergasted. 

“My Jamaican Penis. “He stresses Jamaican, like it’s a sin to not mention the word. “And right now it’s the latest craze in Mansi Niketan. Half a dozen people are measuring their joysticks at this point of time. ”

I at once race to the washroom, turn on the faucet and place my hands under the running water. I squeeze out a giant blob of Dettol handwash and rub my hands together furiously.  I’m so apoplectic right now that I am going to explode into shreds. I feel like wearing a surgeon’s gloves and cut off his Jamaican monkey. Did I just hold the ruler he used to…. YUCK. I am going to get my hands sterilized. And I’m definitely going to puke on his head.  

“Whaaat? You don’t look awed. “He speaks from outside the door. 

“I am. I’m ecstatic about you using my lovely ruler to scale your Jamaican Longfellow. In fact, I feel so honoured that I might offer you a handjob. “I hiss as I open the door to face him squarely. 

“What’s your size, little Alex? “He winks at me, “Is it a North Korea? ”

“What’s north korea? “I ask impulsively. 

“Three eight. It’s the smallest range of human penis. Rana is a Turkey. Five five. Right now, he is googling penis enlargement devices on my phone. “Lord Evans says. He is so happy talking about dicks. 

“What’s the longest? “I blurt out at once. 

oddfuturetalks.com

“Congo. Seven point one inches. And that’s the average. So if you consider the concept “averages hide deviations” we might even see longer penises. I really want to have a congo. ”

Well, me too. Wait! Have you totally lost the plot?? What are you thinking!? You’re supposed to be enraged.

“I think I’ll be slightly better than Turkey. And I’m still growing. Also, I think you are a terrible person. ”

“Penises stop growing after seventeen. Average Indian size is four. “He says, seemingly unaffected by my last statement. 

“Dude! “I can’t help but gasp at him, “did you have penispedia for dinner or what!!? ”

“Never. Ever. Call a man small. “He speaks as if his words would, in future, be recited as scriptures. I nod in compliance. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to forgive him for stealing my ruler! I mean who does that? Also, I have to take my own measurement. With other ruler, of course. But first, I have to express my rage. 

“What about my..”

“Oh! I’ll wash it. Do not worry. ”

Seriously

“I don’t think even factory-recycling this ruler would erase the touch of your Jamaican Penis. ”

“It’s midas touch. I’ll buy you one. “He says. “You want to take a stroll through the corridors? ”

Okay. This sounds interesting! Didn’t he say that six people are currently busy taking measurements? I could have made a statistics project on this, had I been in std. XI, and had they accepted a project titled – The Story of Sizes : a survey on penis. You see, this is the kind of educational reform I want. Okay, not this precisely. But preparating pages long  Cash Flow Statements isn’t exactly an enthralling project.

The next second, we are assaulting doors like Spanish bulls, and in return, they are calling us the choicest of names. We ask them about their sizes and they are all six, as they vow from the secured confinements behind the bolted doors. When we ask PC, he yells,

“Nine.”

“We are not talking about centimeters here, convert it into inches. “Lord Evans deadpans. PC cusses us and tells that he was talking about inches and we could go fuck ourselves with a faucet. 

“He is bluffing. I can bet my testicles on that. “Lord Evans declares. I believe him. This stuff is surely going to be the event of the day, and I’m sure, today evening, we are having a debate over penises in Mansi Niketan. That’s what twelfth graders do. They talk about dicks.

After we are done with our survey, which is totally inaccurate since all of them lied, we head towards FCR discussing the actual possible lengths of our lodgemates. 

“I’m quite convinced Rana is not a Turkey. I mean he doesn’t look like that. “I say. 

“What about you? “Lord Evans scoffs. 

“I have the size of a fucking Hentai Monster. ”

“If you’re a Hentai Monster, I’m a Godzilla. I’m a Goliath. I’m Italy’s fucking tower. ”

I do not counter that. There’s no way you could counter that if you have seen Lord Evans. If people are catfishes, he is the blue whale.

I take a mental note to do my own research in my own private time. Nothing else in the life of a male adolescent has ever been of more significance than the length of his manhood. Although I still feel what Lord Evans did was a treacherous act. 

As we reach FCR, the stationery shop owner looks at me expectantly. I’ve been buying glossy girlie magazines from him for almost two years now, and that’s the reason he always looks at me expectantly. I don’t like to disappoint people, especially scrawny stationary shop owners who get me five Durjoy Dutta novels for just Five hundred rupees, however, I’m currently broke. I’m so broke that I’m going to order vegetable rolls, which are the cheapest kind of stuffed rolls on the planet. As Lord Evans places orders, I glance at the shop owner, at the stacks of books in the plywood racks, at the sultry magazines hanging from clips, at the twin tables standing tall at FCR, at the sunlight glistening on the road and at the rusted iron gate of Shyamli that leads to JVM, and all of a sudden, tight lumps block my throat. In a few weeks, I’ll leave Ranchi forever.  

Nostalgia #Operation Classic Okra 

Boys trying to cook. 😂

So as it happens, One evening, I do end up at Lord Evans’ house at seven pm, gawking at the electric piano that stands still beside the sofa, its shine almost blinding. It has been a long time since I’ve seen a proper house, with cupboards and all, so I am sort of dazzled by the elegance of this handsomely furnished place with carpeted floors and tiled walls. There are cabinets and cupboards everywhere, and the washbowl holds a designer faucet. In my house, we have the most common, probably-the-first-kind-to-be-engineered, faucet. This flat must have cost him a fortune. 

“TV is in there, although I’m not sure you are getting the remote today. “Lord Evans says. 

“I have already promised Keshav. Well, he wanted to watch DD Sports. But we bargained and everyone settled for Star Gold. “He explains. 

“Star Gold? “I stare at him, wide-eyed. I mean, we are evidently poor and have an ancient LG tv at home, but we never watch Star Gold. 

“Well, majority. “He shrugs.

“Alright. Gimme a charger. And a chair. ”

“Charger on the shelf. And chair, there. “He points at the dinner table surrounded by four similar posh chairs. I grab the stuffs and find myself a place. 

There’s nothing to do, actually. The network is painfully slow, and I’ve already heard enough melodies to develop a temporary distaste for music. I don’t have video games, nor am I the kind to play them. 

“Have you seen the Paalak Paneer yet? “Rana barges in. He was playing Mini Militia with the group; it seems they’ve kicked him out. Oh wait, did he just say paalak paneer?

That’s something I haven’t heard or seen in, like, a decade. 

“Really? ”

“Yeah. It’s at the counter. A bowl. A goddamn bowl. “He rhapsodizes.

“How many people? ”

“Seven of us. “He says, does some mental math, and adds, “six cubes to each. ”

Suddenly, my enthusiasm peters out. The goddamn bowl seems so small now. 

“Alright. I’m furious. “Lord Evans butts in. His forehead is crinkled, and that’s the most remarkable feature of his fury. Even newborn babies would beat him in display of anger.

“What happened? ”

“It was mutually agreed that they’ll switch to Star Gold after nine, and not when they were showing FAIRY TAIL on animax. “He says, shrugs, and adds, after a strategic pause, “They threw me out. ”

Then, another guy, Yash, comes in as well, for he was always losing in Mini Militia. 

“They all team up, and the first thing they do is find me, nuke my ass, and eliminate me. Then they are like, you win this one, I’ll win the next one, and MB will win the next one, and so on. “He says. Rana nods. 

“What do we do now? “I ask. 

Lord Evans shrugs again. He always shrugs.

“I guess we cook. “I suggest, not that I want to become the next Sanjeev Kapoor or something, but I honestly have nothing better to do, especially with this 437 b/s downloading speed.   

“That’s a brilliant idea. “They all say at once. I feel like basking for a while, but they have already started darting questions at me.

“What do we cook? ”

“Do you know how to cook? ”

“Are you going to assign roles? ”

“Who’s preparing the list of ingredients? ”

“Can we just kick them out and trim the crowd? ”

Their excitement has reached stratospheric levels, and I am still not sure if I really meant it when I said we should cook. 

“We google. “I say. 

Two minutes later, twenty-one jars stand on the countertop as we guess the contents inside them. 

“That looks like powdered coriander. “Lord Evans says, scratching his genius chin. 

“Just because it is green, it doesn’t have to be coriander. “Yash argues. 

“Maybe we should open it. “Rana says, his expressions as if he is the hero in some sci-fi franchise and the jars have been dropped by UFOs. He would find mystery in anything – like even in a jar full of green maybe-coriander. 

Lord Evans steps up and opens the jar. A familiar strong tangy smell floods the atmosphere. It’s not coriander, it is something else. 

“Is it clove powder? “I ask, and realise it was a stupid question. 

“Green chillies. “Yash says, and Rana snaps his fingers in Archimedes-ic delight. 

“Oh Yeah! ”

We are so going to be terrible husbands and burdens-on-our-wives in future. 

“Alright, we google. Okay? ”

“Wait. We have Okra in abundance. Look for some okra recipe. “Lord Evans says. Rana has been trying to sneak a paneer cube from the bowl but Yash stops him every time with a cold stare. I google “Best Okra Recipe” and the article “7 best Okra recipes” pops up on my screen. Number 7 is called The Classic Okra, which seems like a mouth-watering dish from the pictures. There’s not much of Okra in there, but it still looks delicious as heaven. 

“We are going to prepare The Classic Okra. “I declare. It sounds more like a flight announcement. Lord Evans mocks my tone and accent by saying, ” We are not on RMS Titanic. ”

“Alright, we need bread. Do we have bread? “I say, and thus begins the most extraordinary adventure of our bachelor lives – Operation Classic Okra. 

We grab all the contents, identified through instincts and agreements and google searches, and set the stage. Lord Evans brings the pale white apron with a green flower in its center, and we have a slight disagreement ( actually a war ) over who’s going to wear it. I really want to wear the apron. 

“Dude, you are not even cooking. You’re  just dictating from the screen sitting in the chair stuffing yourself with bread. “Lord Evans exclaims. Whatever. I still want to wear the apron. 

“I will squeeze lemons and maybe chop some garlics for you guys. Now give me the apron. “I say. They look at me in contempt, and two minutes later it’s decided that they’ll wear the apron in turns. And I am out of this. Assholes!

They place the materials on counter and look at me for the dictation of plan of action. 

“Okay, so we start with dicing okras. “I say, and Yash pulls out the knife from the pantry. He cuts them carefully as Lord Evans asks him to maintain the geometrical symmetry. 

“And the tomatoes. And grind the spices in mixer-grinder. ”

Rana tries for the millionth time to steal some paneer, and Yash handles him garlics and asks him to bare them. Now peeling garlics with fingernails can be a really tough job, people. I feel sad for Rana as he carefully scrapes each layer of the garlic clove, staring hungrily at the bowl. 

“Put some oil in the pan, you bunch of scurvy scums. “I yell. I feel like Captain Barbossa giving orders in the Black Pearl. I’m in the driver’s seat and they are my slaves. Yeah but I really wish they let me touch the apron! 

“How much oil, and which oil? “Yash asks, and I look at the screen. It’s not mentioned, maybe because it’s one of the basics.

“You don’t know that, you dumbasses? Put cooking oil in there. “I say, furiously punching on my Google search box – which oil to use for frying okra?

“Put mustard oil. No, Fortune oil. “I say. In the other tab, I’ve opened xvideos, so focusing on Okra is kind of getting difficult. 

“Alright. Fortune oil. “Says Lord Evans, and with it goes the oil in the pan. We’re rocking the kitchen floor! Yaayyy!

clipartfest.com

Fifteen minutes later, we have diced ( with scientific precision ) okras, the paste of spices, lemon juice  ( Lord Evans squeezed them ), bared garlic cloves, and sliced tomatoes. And I have an erection. All we need now is zucchini. Wait! What is zucchini? 

“Hey! Does any worthless hag here know what’s zucchini? “I ask. They shake their heads.

“Sounds like bukake. “Rana laughs at his own joke as he blinks furiously cutting the onions. He has been promoted to the onion job, poor Rana. I peep inside the TV room to check what they’re watching, and I am quite disgusted to find some stupid weightlifting game from some big event. I mean that’s not why you keep televisions. Why the hell nobody watches 9xm here!!??

I search zucchini, however, the network is so painful, the page never gets loaded. I am frustrated now; I want to kill every Vodafone official. 

We decide we’ll prepare the dish without zucchini. I read out the steps and walk into the kitchen every five minutes for inspection. As far as debutants go, they possess good culinary skills. I’m impressed by the neatness and the precision of their acts, and I’m sure they’ll spend all their lives chopping onions while their wives will be watching Star plus or something. The story of my father. 

“Alright. When do we turn off the knob? “Asks a puzzled Lord Evans. The okras in the pan have formed a multicoloured collection, some charred black while some still fresh green, and I don’t know what to do now. 

“Lower the flame, you worthless git. “I say, and Lord Evans snarls, and then turns the knob anti-clockwise. Poor guy can’t even dominate me. 

We wait for the rest of the okras to get coooked, and toast the bread in the meantime. There are crumbs of cheese lying in the refrigerator, and some coriander leaves which could serve as garnish. And maybe we could also use tomatoes. I’m already drooling as I think about the cuisine, and the ethereal taste of it. I’m savoring the thought with all my passion, when a sharp smell floods my nostrils. 

“What’s it? “I quiz. 

“Smells like okras burning. “Rana says lazily. He is making flowers with the onion peels, the poor Sherlock. 

“Oh turn it off! “I shout. 

“Knock it off, loudmouths. There are people in here. “The guys in the TV room yell as Yash turns the knob to its terminal position. 

“Why is our okra so black? “Lord Evans asks as he peers at the image in my phone. 

“C’mon now! Don’t be a racist! “I say. 

We get the partially-burnt dish in a bowl, and I tell myself it’ll be better when we mix lemon juice in it. We garnish the Classic Okra, and get to the TV room. 
Later that night, we binge on Palak Paneer and our piece of heaven – The Classic Okra – as we watch Diljale on Star Gold. 

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….