Friday, October 26, 2007

Of Bikes,Boys, and Booze

" Hey,meet me at Bandra by 6 pm."
"what!!! You xpect me 2 get from g'kopar to bandra in half an hour?"
"No,not you alone.Get in touch wid M.He's ringing his bike.I m joining hesh on his bike."

This was VJ.One of my oldest mates,M,Hesh,Vj,Nish.We go back a long tym.and there was a new addition halfway,R/So this was an all out boys trip planned for us.Why Bandra?? Well,these are guys from small towns and suburbs,naturally,bandra has that sort of effect on ppl.

"Where are you guys? We are already at the parking lot.Get down there fast.Nish and R won't make it" - Vj

We get there and the air of the place rings out with curse words.The solitude goes for a toss,so does the privacy of a lot of other ppl.we backslap each other,swear at ourselves,and laugh for silly nothings.The bikers give their accelerators a workout.Finally,we grin stupidly at each other and sit down.

"Well,its been 6 months since we last had a meet." - vj
"Yeah,and that was when you treated us to that f*@#$^g movie." - Hesh
" Hey,anyone's thirsty.I got beer." - M
" You never told me you had that in your box" - me
"Oh sorry,guys.It won't be chilled.He's been sitting over it for a while." - M
" Ass#@&e" - me.

" So,what do we have here? An accountant(ICWA- vj corrects),a businessman,and a chef.Of course,me being a good for nothing cross between a philosopher and a writer"

"Oh just thought we oughtta get together.Its been a long time.and......." - Hesh
" And what..? " - M
"Nothing, Vj had an announcement" - Hesh
"And you have nothing else to say??" - M
"No,after him." - Hesh

" well....." - me
" Nothing guys.there's good news and there's bad news." -Vj
"whats the bad news?" - Hesh
"Yeah,we'll go with the bad news first.Easier to gulp with the beer." - M( he has a bad sense of humor)
" well,my boss fired me." - Vj
" Son of a bi......" - M
" May he die with his @#$^* crucified.may he be allowed entrance to hell when i am in power" - hesh
" Amen"- M
" Why??How??" - me
" What does it matter?It's done and over.Ididn't plan to work there for long anyways." - Vj
"So what's the good news??" - me
" Yeah,and it better be good.Or you'll be ........." - M
" Well,you guys remember that girl i was going out with in ICWA" - Vj
" Yah, silly kind of a......... Yeah,sorry. please do continue". - Hesh ( stops after M nudges him)
"we have been going strong for the last to years......And i think this is going to contine." - Vj
" Cool" - me
" Yeah.boy.You go get her" - hesh
" Yeah.Fine.But what is the good news?" - M

And we all resort to slapping him again.We then gang on Vj,and start a celebratory singing of 'We will rock you'.By now the beer is rumbling my stomach.I never kind of liked it anyways.

"how can you be 21,be a rebel and not smoke or drink?" - Hesh
" You don't need to drink or smoke to be a rebel.And if that is the picture you have of a rebel,i am not conforming to it." - me
" What? " - M
" Forget it" - Hesh
" So wassup with the rest of you guys?" - vj
Oh well,My parents have handed over the family business to me" - hesh
" I am so sorry for them" - me
" Yeah,I guess they'll be bankrupt by a few years." - M
" Yeah,right ass... at least I don't have to spend the day burning my ass oer the oven with a *@#^head shouting in my ears" - hesh
" All right,cut it out you two.I think i am gonna puke" - me
"Hey,I paid for that beer,yu can't spit it on the street." - M
" Right,H.......Allright,M say AAAhh" - Vj

and we all break out layghing.The shit stays in my stomach for a while.And a second rund of the drinks are called for.As we sit on the seaface of the promenade,crowded by anonymous couples,we are a strange bunch.I sit in the middle.Hesh to my right,and M to my left.Vj sits to the right of hesh.

" I think I love...." - VJ
" What!!!!!!" - me
" what?" - hesh
M looks confusedly at us.He had been chatting with hesh before i shrieked.
" Vj said something" - me
" No,nothing" - VJ
" what did he say?" - M asks hesh
" Nothing" - hesh
" No, you ass#@*! ! before that" - M
"VJ... better be out with it." - me
" I think i love her." - Vj

The air went all still.The only sounds emanating were that of the sea.A slow lumbering drone.
Then the beer flowed out of our nostrils,and we fell onto the pavement laughing.Vj wasn't amused.

" i am serious" - Vj
" yeah,and I am Caesar" - M ( told ya he has a bad sense of humor)
" Vj,you are 21.At this age a lot of us feel a lot of things.You'll probably love somebody else by next year." - hesh

we packed him still protesting,into the bike and speed off for dinner.The night has gone deep.People are asleep.But we roar around on our bikes.And i puke onto the street without getting off.!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Conversations In An Exam HAll

" hey there buddy!! you done for the exams??Now,don't you pull up that long face before me.....I knoe all you smart ass*&^#$!!! You guys prepare and then just try not to tell anyone.what was that ?? Oh of course, i prepared.What do you think i was doing yesterday? Except i have just prepared to score uptil the point,when the teacher can declare that i've passed the exams.

Hey A,wassup dude? Yeah,i got some serious problems with the political system..... oh,sorry,did you mean the subject?? Of course,you meant the subject.You got any extra notes.Oh man,sorry.I almost forgot.You too didn't attend any lectures,did ya?Yeah,the prof still has the hots for me.Last heard he was asking R about my whereabouts.No,yaar.I don't think he will come to supervise the exam.At most,he might come to give any corrections that we need.Not that it would help a lot.Yah,We need answers more than we need correct questions.HAHAHHA"

"No,you bloody .... go away,let me study in peace.No i don't know about the Federal system.Of course,I don't have any notes for that,which is the basic reason behind my not studying it.What do you mean?? NO WAY!!! They are not giving a 15 mark question for that chapter.Gimme that note.Wat do you mean you have to study?? what were you doing till now? Showing off. All right,seat your royal arse down.Let us work as a coalition,just till the exams."

......what??? The bell already rang?? Sure.... crap,these things go off just wen you don't want them to.You done the studying.Good,help me out if i ask you.Who's with you? oh,she's a 'good girl'.She will tell you any answers you want,just ask the right questions.Yes sir,we are ready for the exams.what sir? You want us to keep the bags outside the hall,how then are we supposed to write the exams? Jus' kidding sir,right away.Yeah,you too.Hey jackass,Best lucks, you need it more than anybody else in this room.At least we have sharing space on the benches,You seem to have hit an empty spot."

"what the f *** is this? Yes,thank you.I know it is a question paper.You know the first one.....Good,keep your paper to the right..easier to copy that way.Hey!! get your elbow outta the way."

" Hey!! stop kicking me from behind....I don't share your arsical properties that keep you immune from such feelings.What do you want?? The answer to the third question is about a page long.....I can't narrate it.I've been taking stuff from N in front of me.Wait till the last hour,wen i have finished scoring at least 35 marksI'll show you whatever you want to see....Hhaha.Glad to see that the fear of ATKT( for the uninitiated Allowed To Keep Terms)hasn't numbed that shit you call sense of humor."

"Yes Sir?? No sir,I am not copying.OF course.sir.I never knew copying.Do you think i can fail twice in the same exam if i can copy?? Yes sir....Ohhh that....I was asking her the time sir.The cap,....Sir?? It is for my good luck.Yes sirr, No amount f good luck can replace hard work.but sir,you oughtta try it once.No sir,never.I'd never keep ay chits under my cap.Any ways,Its the worst place to keep it.I'd rather keep it on the ...... Can i sit down to write, Sir? Yes sir.No more talking.I won't even breathe if you don't want me to.Thank you,sir."

" Hey N, what's with the attitude?C'mon girl...Jus the last answer.I promise i won't bother you again....Yes,that's the spirit.Ahhh...don't even fear him,He just threatens you with all sorts of things,never actually does one."

"What's the matter with you?I told you i still have an answer to write.What do you ean? I've kep my paper so far to the right that, that scumbag in the next row might write the paper.No,He's of no use.He's way below,even you...hard to beleive, yah!!Hey,write if you can,or else let me write the paper.At least one of us would pass this time."

" crap!! There goes that darn bell again..what is the next point....Son of a bi.......I had it here before that bell wentt off....sir,hold on,sir...just one more line...A few last words maybe....Sir,that could help me score a mark.......crap,wait till i get the better of you someday......Don't you even ask me,How was the paper?? You didn't even show me a proper,decent answer to begin with.Ok,was that 15 mark answer guaranteed? Yah,gratified..Thanx,that wud help."

Epilogue: The situations in this blog are not fictionalised or fake,They are as close to reality as possible.Yes,even those characters mentioned do exist.unfortunately.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I saw something today,that i might not forget for the rest of my life.Even the mere recollection of it brings my dinner up from the stomach.It was a bleak picture,except that it was life unfolding itself before me.I have sen this before,but it never struck me as being so poignant .

It was a 7-9 year old boy.In the middle of a hot afternoon,scourging through the garbage bin.he only company he had was that of a dog,who was there for his own selfish motive.He dipped in his hand and found a stale packet of bread.That was the find of the day for him.He sat under the shadow of the bin,and began sharing that stinking morsel with his friend.At that point,I just could not take it.Then I did what first came to my mind.I left my company,went up to him and gave him a 5 rupee coin.He was first apprehensive at this intrusion of his lunch,then surprised at my foolishness.But then,he smiled.No other smile that i remember had wrenched my heart so much as this one.He held the coin in his hand,picked up the packet and walked away.

My friend came up to me and said," Well,now he won't go hungry for 2 more days."His observation chilled my heart.If it was sarcasm,it was cold.If he said the truth,even more so.Now,I sit here on a public platform and tell my story to young,rebellious and intellectual minds.I could quote Sartre,speak like Che,but does it matter? If i do,I might get a few more hits on my blog.But then,would i not be the ame as the many ppl of this city,who see such sights everyday,tut-tut for a moment and catch the next train home?

we have all seen movies.SALAAM BOMBAY,CHANDNI BAR,TRAFFIC SIGNAL.What happens after these movies?We all applaud the grit,courage of the filmmaker.The director wins a national award,the actor a filmfare.But what of those characters?What about the beggars,the prostitutes,the 'system'?They keep on.With every turn of the reel they return to their pain,hunger and humiliation.Eternally trapped within 24 reels.

I am doing my BA today.I might do an Ma.Years later,I might go to Oxford.But what of the boy on the street?What future does he have?Is it going to be better? If so,how?What kind of company does he live in,what sort of a life would he lead?Does he have a family?Or a mother ? Where is his mother...does anyone know where his motheris? Is she happy that her son can feed himself? Or is she scavenging somewhere else?Or worse...?

Mumbai is a city of dreams.what sort of dreams are we talking about here?Does this boy even dream?He probably walks around those desolate streets at night,hungry and under the influence f drugs.Used more to obliviate hunger,than as a tool of pleasure.What country gives its citizens food not fit for dogs?So what if it is 'imported'.Well,we have so long been used to seeing slavery,oppression that some of us have got used to it.The poor are happy,as long as they get to eat,so what if it is dog food,It is imported.

I feel nauseating.I find my life and the existence of it in such a society disgusting.Who am I to judge others.I am a hypocrite myself.When you have such thoughts,questions,and see such sights.what do you do?What could you do,other than ignore them and continue to live in a blissfully fictional world,where 'pain is but an occasional episode'.

Wake up,for somebody else lives a life in pain.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Naaka

He sits there in a corner ,on his haunches inches above the road.the crowd mills on.Its just morning.He is accompanied by scores of faces on the 'naka'.He puffs slowly on his 'bidi' without a care and yet the creases on his forehead are symbolic of a premature aging.There are more faces than my brain can register.I have no idea where they come from,who they are or what they do,but i see them there.everyday,every morning.

The morning sun starts burning from 9:30.The bank has just opened.Traffic is at its peak,yet these people stand there,unnoticed uncared.As if their existence itself is visible to a select few,the ones who seek and the ones who have found.The 'paan tapri' at the nukkad is doing brisk business.After all,these are his first customers of the day.The paans are not much asked for,they are above reach,instead the bidis and the sachets of gutkha flow out.

The boy brings in the tea-chandelier.I have often amazed at two things,one is the knowledge of travelers about an oncoming train without even looking at the indicator and the other is the dexterity of the eternal 'chotu' balancing ,more tea cuttings than his fingers.He hands over a cup to my 'unknown friend'.I watch as the boiling watery tea slowly decreases in volume.He waits patiently,after all patience is a virtue more associated with the poor than the rich.More out of default than choice.I know why he is waiting.

The truck arrives and the manager gets out of it.Soon the motley crowd is drawn to it.The voice of the 'manager' is heard shrilly above the rest.Clear,sharp and precise to the core.

It is a job at a construction site/50 rs for the day/No lunch provided/Those who are strong are the only ones who will be taken.

It is as simple as it can get.No complex interviews,no haggling over the wage,no cal-you-back-later.Just plain You-interested-Get in.He walks up to the manager,effortlessly grappling through the anxious crowd.He says something and gets picked immediately.An impression of his thumb on paper and he's off.The rest, a pack of young old men and old young men,wait for the next truck.

As the truck dissapears around the bend,I wonder why i am standing here.What was it that interested me,was it mere ennui or was it something more? I don't know.These are people that are fighting to exist.Each hou spent in idyll is more hours of hunger for a kid or a day more of labour for a wife.these people are not here out of choice,they are desperate to get job.What right do i have to use them for my creative pleasure?They feel to me like a lonely island of people who stand by each other in adversity,because they know if he doesn't work his kids will be just as hungry as mine.They wait patiently,puffing on their bidis mulling n their gutkhas,not cursing anyone a job acquired but waiting for a job,any job that comes for them.They are alone in this world of hungry,greedy and selfish sharks,like me,who'd use them to write a good article and not pay them a penny.Yes,they are alone.

As Rilke said

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.