Thursday, October 4, 2012

LOVEboat and other drugs

It's like losing your most intimate friend, really. A mate you could count on when life puts you in those inevitable 'situations'. He's there, waiting for you when you've clawed your way out of the quicksand, but oh wait, he'll sink WITH you if you don't make it! Now THAT'S friendship, eh?

He'll be there, quietly listening to you as you think up big plans for your future. He'll be there when they go awfully wrong.

It's been 4 months now. 4 months. People start to think about new friends once they move to a new place. But forget HIM? I don't think so.

I should know better. I SHOULD forget him. He's a double-edged sword, this dude. You know the guy you love to party with, but then you shouldn't cos you always get screwed with that kind of lifestyle, but he'll be fine? I bet you had somebody like that in college. Well, that's HIM. It's just who he is. A puff of magic, a force of nature.

All it takes me is to just stop by on the way to work and see him. His home is on the way, anyway. So why not? Hasn't he been a solid chum for the last 6 years? So why this indifference?

Ahh, those rollicking days we had. We always used to somehow meet together at the same place, me, HIM and the OTHER guy. If  GUY1 was a puff of magic, then GUY2 was a free spirit. If I were to analyse this a little bit, I would want GUY1 to pacify me when things go sensationally wrong, and GUY2 to set the mood during the good moments in my life. Horses for courses, really. But then we love our horses, so we won't choose, will we?

And then there was this GUY3. I wanted to give him a late entry into this story, cos he's a superstar, he really is. He just makes everything so awesome. He came in and went off in these little cameos, that's all you got to see of him. With him by my side, I believed I could beat up any guy in my way. What a confidence boost. What a DUDE. I was usually pretty pissed off with people when he was around. Cos he had it SO gooooood, why couldn't the whole world be LIKE him? This guy, this Cuban rockstar, could rock your world. Literally.

******to be continued*****

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Na na na na

na na na


It's tough. Sniff.

It's hard to gulp down. Probably should'nt have met. Probably should'nt have gotten close. This is a faaaaar cry from those days. The days of butterflies inside. The days of,"Oh Christ, what've I done to get this lucky??".

Gawwwwd. It's painful to even think about. Aaaaahhhh.

Was someone's marriage. Don't even remember whose. Only remember her at the marriage. HER. WOW. Can't say what it was about her. Good-looking enough, but not intimidatingly so. Nice enough, but not naively so. Homely enough, not blandly so.

Watched her from a distance. Her face was adorned with the courteous warmth that suits these functions. Such a master, she is. Look at her go, polishing off those invitees. All smile and grace. So in her element.

She's wearing a gorgeous green chiffon saree. Amazing how a piece of clothing that covers so much can be so seductive. Every movement she makes is a celebration. I thank Him for the feelings I was going through. More than the possession of beauty, the appreciation of it is important. All of art depends on that.

Questions cloud my head (with why)
Tears on my pillow (as I cry)
Makes no sense to say (goodbye)
Impossible to hide the pain (inside)

She settles down to sit in the third row. The vibe I get from her is of a deep contentment, a lake-like calm. That's so alien to a fretty guy like me, but oh-so-attractive. The seat next to her is free. Suddenly I get this this-is-it feeling. I feel like I really needed to be in that seat, talking to her. I go forward.

Her face is open when she sees me. Hi, I'm this person's brother's-sister's-cousin's son. How are you ? Her eyes light up. "Oh hiiii, so YOU are her son. How are you? Come, sit".

We continued to talk. Awwww. I mean my mouth was talking. I was totally somewhere else. Had to try and focus so she was'nt left high and dry in between. Her eyes, her lips, her voice. Awwwww.

"It's been great talking to you. Here's my email ID. Let's catch up sometime, OK? Bye." Sometime? When's that gonna be?

We continue over the weeks through the net. She tells me about her passion for dance. I tell her about my plans for the future. You seem to have figured it all out, she says. Of course, I would'nt tell her how bloody lost I really was. I have to be this cocky, optimistic yuppie. Weakness is not expected from men.

Did'nt really have to propose to her. As we continued later on the phone, our voices became softer, our tones coochiecoo-er, our relationship clearer. Those were some feverish nights. Sure it was cheesy, but we need a little fat to cook anything, don't we?

I been sitting here waiting (by the phone)
Give anything to hear (your tone)
It was all my fault (I know)

Now I just stand here (alone)

Walking by the beach, holding hands. This is my first date, she says. Just the way I like it. The coy clumsiness is lost after that one time. She'd no clue about how her off-key movements were making me feel. I felt blessed.

At Barista. Listen, I'm not doing this for fun, I say. I want to marry you. What do you say? "Hmm. Haha." Hmm? Haha? What does that mean? She looks at me. I can see she's looking for something in my face, searching for something to convince her. She's using her uniquely female radar to confirm if I'm indeed The One. Uh-oh. This is a screening process like no other.

"Talk to my parents, sweetie". Great! That means two things. One, she approves, and two, she wants me to take the lead. She just wants to be swept away, like every girl.

That night was the happiest of my life. Opened a few drinks with friends. Party time. Whooooooo!! I was high, drunk like never before. You know why people drink? Cos they want to be movie stars. Yep. That's right. Being drunk gives them the guts, and more importantly the license, to act like their favorite heroes. For a few moments in time, they get to be the centre of the universe. They get their five minutes.

Heroes are'nt afraid of speaking their minds, or declaring their love. And I was about to do just that. I wanted to call her. I wanted to tell her how much I love her in the most 'filmi', unforgettable way possible. I can tell you, I was up for it. Hooooo yeah. HIC.

I dial her number. "Honeyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, HIC!". "You are the light of my dayyyyyyy, the beat of my hearrrrrrrrrrt, the tune of my souuullllllll, and I love youuuuuuuuuuu, HIC!!"


OH GOD!!! It's her DAD!!!


It's been so many days. And she's yet to forgive me. Don't you think that's a bit harsh? She doesn't take my calls. She says that, now that I've impressed her dad with the most becoming of introductions, I may not even bother about meeting him in person. Her parents are everything to her, and I have to win them over, she says.

Hmmm. I got to think up something. This is a tricky bridge that I've got to cross, I agree. But her face is all I need to burn all my bridges. I can't lose her. I can't.

So alone without (you)
Where'd you go I miss my (baby boo)
It's a shame cos I can't breathe (without you)
Please come back girl, cos I'm missing youuuu......

Wish me luck.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Those above, those within

C: There he goes again. That's his third catch of the month. I've had it upto HERE with this guy. One more convert, and I swear upon my Father, he'll ROT IN HELL.

I: You and your converts. What's the use if they can't do something for you? Real faith, my friend, is measured by action. Tangible action. Look at them! Such sacrifice! Such submission to faith!

H: Ha Ha! Submission to faith. Sure, if 72 beauties are going to submit to you later. It's a selfish act. It's a DEAL.

C: Hey, hey, hey, it's the selfless ego, shooting from the hip! Back from your mind-BLANKING activities? You know, I always wondered what the mind, with it's complex emotional circuitry and endless creative genius, was meant to do. But of course, it was meant to go BLANK! Now why did'nt I think of that? You really are a master of the obvious!

H: Sarcasm does'nt suit you, pal. You don't have the moral high ground for it. Not when all you want is something as petty as political dominance. I don't need your world power, you can have it.

I: Ah yes, you WOULD say that. Ever the laidback. No wonder you were only thinkers , and never doers. The world is there for you to contemplate on, is'nt it? What nonsense. You think we're fooled by your self-realisation crap? When you can't face the reality of life, you run away to the mountains and just sit there. It's a defensive mechanism, just accept it. Life can be dealt with in a more practical way.

H: Oh, pleeeez don't get me started on the 'practicalities' of life. Your bedouins from the B.C may've been able to pray five times a day; there was nothing much else to do in the middle of the bloody desert. You expect people to do that now? When a guy does'nt have a minute to waste? You're forcing centuries-old values and customs cultured in a harsh environment upon well-to-do, upwardly mobile youth of today. You're stifling them.

C: Hell yeah, I second THAT. Anybody who condemns music has got to be insane.

I: Mmm. At least we're sane enough to NOT think that we're damned because we were born! Seriously, you need to cut them some slack. A guy's a sinner BECAUSE he came into this world? And he needs saving the MOMENT he takes his first breath? You never give them a CHANCE, do you? Poor sods must be feeling pretty low about themselves.

H: And hats off to you for convincing everyone that it was all real. Walking on water, my foot! But you're playing with fire with that resurrection shit. That takes some believing, and the moment someone disproves it, that'll be the end of your sorry clan.

C: It's for the greater good, my friend. You can't hold that against us.

H: Sure. Maybe we should applaud you for your extreme shows of faith. Like waiting for divine intervention to treat your ills .

I: Chill, Mister. It's better than clasping your hands in front of anything that MOVES. Your GAZILLION gods make for great characters in your mammoth stories, but we look down upon them with scorn. They're cartoons for all we care.

C: Sorry mate, but you're the CARTOON here. It's funny how your females have to cover themselves up. For what? Is that to do with the guys' behaviour over the years? Must've been some pretty horny dudes.

H: Yup, insatiable. You know, you're smart. By nature, man is polygamic, and marriage is antithetical to that. Now, without being married, you're not legitimate. So what do you do? Marry more! What a great idea!

I: Don't judge us! We've only good intentions. Your sanctimonious bigotry's giving everyone false notions about us!!

H: And you plan to rectify that through Jihad? It's a senseless war that you've brought upon yourself!! You don't deserve a legitimate life!! You should be cleansed from this earth!! You.....

I: You're but a small bunch of ANTS to US!! Our reach is far beyond what you can imagine!! You don't stand a chance ........

C: Oh, to hell with you two!! You should be put away for good!! You don't understand the Way of Life! You.......UH-OH. It's HIM!



I: Greetings, My Lord. We were just talking.........

H: Yes, Your Highness, we were having a very fruitful conversation......

C: We were discussing what more we could do for the betterment of mankind......

T: You have done ENOUGH, already!!

Everytime I come here, it's the same. You have not learned from what I have taught. I thought you would learn with time. But you have not.

You know what I am here for. I am here to say things as they are. I AM the actuality of all things, and therefore my job in this universe is to simply BE. The rest will be sorted out on its own.

And it's also my job to remind you, from time to time, of what YOU are.

C: We know, Lord. We keep reminding ourselves. We couldn't forget.......

T: Well, why does'nt that sound so convincing to me? You will always be prone to go down the wrong path, and so my frequent visits are something you will have to put up with.

And, so on to our usual MINUTES of the day.

YOU, are HOPE. A man hopes that he does not live, or die, in vain. He hopes that there is a purpose for his existence. He also hopes that he is not alone, that there is someone watching over him. Someone who will reward him with residence in an ideal world, if he is good. Because being good is a lot of hard work. And he hopes that it is all for SOME thing.

YOU, are FEAR. A man's fear of the unknown. There are many things in this universe that he does not understand, and so he fears that there is an unseen force that creates, destroys, and maintains things. And he better be on its good side.

And YOU, are DESIRE. A man wants a lot of things he can never have. He fantasizes, he dreams. His imagination is endless. When he badly wants something, he understands that even if he does eveything right, he might not necessarily get it. And so he has no option but to ask for help. From above.

Now, don't you forget this. This is what IS, and you better come to terms with it. Don't try to bite off more than you can chew. Don't try to envisage yourselves as something higher or greater than what you really ARE.

C: Yes, My Lord. We will always be mindful...........

H: We will never tread far from your teachings................

I: You have our word..........

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Doormat

He's the doormat.

The doormat. You know the type. Shy, passive, submissive, without a shred of self-worth. He's a sight, this guy. Head held down, light, frenetic walk, eager to please, almost apologetic about his very existence. The meek shall inherit the earth, He had said. Well, yeah, they might as well stay there, cos there's no place for them up here. No, Sir.

People shoo him away like a fly. And this guy lets them. Everyone cracks jokes, but this guy cracks self-deprecatory jokes. And he keeps cracking them. And along the way, people forget that they were jokes. They become realities. Now THAT can't be good.

He is talented, this guy. Have you seen The Talented Mr. Ripley? Bingo. Now you know what I'm talking about. Except, unlike Ripley, this guy's character does'nt have any grey shades. He's just a poor, bumbling, talented sod. What do they call it? Yes, the BETA male. They really know how to name these things, don't they? I mean, Alpha definitely sounds cooler than Beta, any day.

Every night, before going to sleep, the doormat thinks. He resolves. He promises. He decides. You see, he knows what's wrong. He knows that he's taking a lot of shit he does'nt deserve. He understands that a lot of the defects he thinks he has are imaginary. He accepts that the world is not waiting to swallow him up at the slightest provocation. But you see, it's a program. And it's been running without bugs for 25 years. He needs to re-write it. From scratch.

The next morning, he wakes up. He thinks,"Today, I'm going to act out my promise. Today, I'm going to call a spade a spade. Today, I WILL ruffle a few feathers, if that is the consequence of me speaking my mind. Today, I will say no when I want to say no. Today, if someone lets rip just for the sake of it, he is in for a ****ing surprise".

He walks out to the car pool waiting for him. "Where the **** were you, douche bag?! You are 3 minutes late!!".

It's Tony, the asshole-in-chief. If people like him smell even a whiff of weakness, they pounce on it like lip-licking hyenas. No reason, no logic, just something that naturally comes to them. There's something pathologically insane about these guys. Like the Joker in Batman, their karma in life is to be carriers of chaos. Haa Haa. Hee Hee.

But today, the doormat is armed with a new purpose, a raison-d'etre. Not today, not this time, he thinks.


There. He's done it. Now that was not so hard, was it? Feels good. A sense of exhiliration pervades. Goosebumps. A high, albeit tinged with a flavor of something ominous.

He looks at the recepients of his choice words. Hah. Hares in the headlights. Freeze-dried. And, what do those Brits say? Yeah. GOBSMACKED (only the Brits could come up with something like that). Even the car sounded shocked. A whimpering purr from its engine now. He gets in.

No one utters a word on the way to office. They still can't suspend their disbelief. There's a natural order about all things in this world. Like there is a natural food chain (where goat eats plant, lion eats goat, etc), there is also a 'social' chain in human beings (where Gary rules over Tim, but is rat poo to Jonathan). Up till yesterday, that order was intact. But now, everything has changed.

This 'chain' has nothing to do with a guy's background, status, job, etc. This is all about PERSONALITY. When you're in a man-o-man, when push comes to shove, are you a confronter, or are you a pussy? THAT'S the question.

Even a slight tweak of this established chain can have catastrophic, cascading effects. Men can go mad. People can die. Even a nuclear holocaust is not out of the question. Though THAT might be a little far-fetched.

He looks at them. This is my chance, he thinks. Strike when the iron is hot. "So, assholes, what're your weekend plans? Tony, you still think puckering your lips to kiss your boss's ass will get you that promotion?? Hey Tom, I still can't stop laughing at the holier-than-thou look on your face when you talk to people. Dude, no one but YOU has the mistaken notion that you are some kind of Royal shit-prince who has been punished to live in exile with us 'common' people. And you, David, buy some conscience from somewhere. Or maybe it's just as well, cos then you don't have to be embarassed about fattening your purse every month without doing an iota of work!".

Hooooo yeah. He's enjoying this. Likey, likeyyy.

He gets to his seat in office. He gets to work. He's looking at the computer screen. Suddenly a haze of smog whizzes past him. He cranes to look. It's a horse! What? No. It's that new girl. Who is like a horse. Which passes by in a haze of smog. Whoosh! Neighhh!

The underlying core of the above illusions is, please don't be shocked, a bloated sense of self-importance. See, there are good girls, and then there are the Smoggy Horse girls. The oooh-I'm-too-hot-for-you gaits in their walk seem to give them the illusory gallop . And you better believe that they lead busy and happening lives. Why else would they walk so smoggingly fast?

Wait. The horse is turning back. OMG. It's coming right at the doormat! I'm only used to human feet, he pleads. But then he remembers . Today is TODAY. Bring' em on!

The horse has the usual haughty look on her face. "Hey, open the door for him with your access card", she says, pointing to the entrance. "Fast, man. I don't have time". He waits for a moment. He takes out his mobile, puts in on cam-mode, and focuses it at her. "Say PLEEEEASSSSE, bitch!!".

Hah. Freeze-dried tomato. Tomato is getting redder as he looks at it. All 9 of the Navrasas slide past on her face, before she settles into a blue-green flummox. "Uh, please? Sorry? Please?"

Hah! He feels like the king of the world! Whoooo!

He keeps working.

It's been a while. He needs a break. He goes out to the balcony for a smoke. His ex-roommate is there, puffing away. He remembers the fall-out. Or, to be honest, he remembers being thrown out. This guy, his former roomie, is no ordinary man. He is the Lord. What he says, is the Supreme Law. And what he does, is the Supreme Act. Supreme shit-head. He could make this whole invincible image about himself, and convince people about it. Only the roomies knew what a fake he was.

The doormat walks upto him. "My fridge and couch are still at your place. I need them delivered to my house by tonight". The Lord scoffs at him. "Ha ha! And what makes you think I'll do that, you little prick?". The doormat looks very coolly at him. "Cos or else I'll tell your slut of a girlfriend, who is 'the only one you ever loved', of your clandestine rendezvous nights around town". The Lord, the Creator, looks at him blankly. And stays blank for a few seconds. He has never had to deal with this kind of emotion. His facial muscles don't quite know how to twitch here. He still searches for the right expression, but his voice is pretty clear about how he feels. "Dude", he retracts. "Chill, man. The things will reach your place tonight. Just be cool, man, huh? How about we go for a drink tonight, buddy?"

So far, so good. The character evolution seems to be working. Is this what they call Nirvana, the doormat thinks. Not freedom from action, but freedom in action. It's a giddy feeling, this. The possibilities are endless. A new world order brings with it uncertainty, but also opportunity. The world looks a much more liveable place now.

Time for the conference call. All the head honchos are there . Including that arrogant air-head of a PM. Everyone's waiting for him to burst out. "What about last month's throughput?? What the hell is wrong with you people? Were your brains damaged because of malnutrition? I want to know NOW why we have not met our SLA. I mean NOW!!" Everyone has the performance report staring at them. Everyone knows what's wrong. But everyone keeps quiet.

The doormat is not everyone. Not today.

"Well, Mr. Hot Shot, if you had a look at the data plugged in to create that graph, you would know that the numbers are wrong. But then how WOULD you know? Do you even know HOW that graph is formed?? You know ZILCH, Mister!!".


For a moment no one knows what to say.

And then the chat messages start pouring in. "Dude!!!! You are a ROCK STAR!!!" . "A modern-day messiah man!!!!". "OMG!! I can't believe what I heard!!!". "Hahaha I enjoyed that!!".

The PM takes a long time to regain composure. "Uh. Yeah. Thanks for pointing it out. The numbers are wrong. Carol, could you please come after lunch and tell me how this graph works? Okay, everyone. Thanks for attending the call". Click.

Very rarely, maybe once or twice in a lifetime, a man, after much soul-searching, comes upon a rule that he THINKS he can apply to all aspects of his life. And succeed. Like the scientists are searching for a unified theory that explains all things, a man keeps looking for that one phrase which can define him, help him win his struggles, make him do the right thing, and lead him to love and happiness.

The doormat is sure he has found it.

He's not quite sure how to phrase it yet, but he knows that what he's been doing all day is not very far off from it. Thank You God, the doormat thinks. Now I know my purpose. Now I see my path.

"Hey, that was one hell of a conference call!! You really showed him, did'nt you??". He turns back. Oh. It's Jennifer. The plain Jane. Well, that's putting it mildly. Jennifer is NOT the good-looking type. She's one of those poor girls who nobody would notice, however hard she tried. A lonesome thing with very few friends. The doormat is one of that few. The doormat understands her. He gets that no matter how people may sugar-coat it all, for a girl looks ARE important. And he feels for these unfortunate types.

"So, here are the bike keys. Shall we go?". The doormat blinks. Oh, fish. It's Friday. Time for the weekly ritual. The doormat always drops Jennifer to the subway on Fridays. At first, it was a one-off request, but then it became a regular trip. Mostly because she got a smirk from everyone else she asked.

But the doormat pauses. Why should I? I mean, am I on contract here? This became a regular thingy because I was unnecessarily nice at one point of time. But all that has changed today, hasn't it? I'm not the guy I was yesterday! I got to stick to my principles. Do I want to drop her? No. Nowadays I say no when I WANT to say no.

"Sorry, Jenny, but I can't go with you". Jenny gives him a confused look. "Oh, you have some work?". Speak your mind, the doormat thinks to himself. "No, because I don't want to drop you off anymore". A mixture of surprise and hurt crosses her face. But she does'nt want to fight it. "All right, no problem. I'll go on my own."

The day is over.

The doormat gets back home. He makes a drink for himself, and gulps it down in one swig. Yeah, baby. He feels he has DESERVED that drink for the first time in his life. For the first time, he feels like a man. A man in CONTROL. I'm going to get everything, he thinks : success, fame, popularity, girls, respect........

His mobile is beeping. He goes to look. It's Ian. He pushes the receive button. "Dude!!", Ian sounds terrified. That's not like cool Ian. "Dude, come to the city hospital, man, quick!!! We are all here!!!". "The hospital?", the doormat asks, irritated. "I just reached home, pal, what's up at the hospital?". "It's Jenny, man. She has had an accident. The cab she took to the subway collided with a truck. She's pretty serious man..........................................................."

It's the second day after the incident. The doormat is lying on his bed. He has been lying there for almost a day now. He keeps looking blankly at the ceiling.

By the time he had reached the hospital, it was all over. He could'nt look at Jenny's parents. Their grief was not loud, but their eyes had a despair that could melt you into nothing if you faced it.

People kept asking him questions. "Dude, you used to drop her on Fridays, right? What happened?". The doormat did'nt have an answer. He did'nt want to be there. He left.

The doormat looks at the ceiling which has kept him company for the day. Two words have been trying to break in and rampage through his mind, but he has held them back until now. WHAT IF. He will never come to terms with those words. WHAT IF. So THIS is his defining phrase. He thought he'd almost found his all-encompassing slogan, but fate had done him a favor and found him another.

So how does this world work, he reminisces. Does everything happen for a reason? Is there a certain right way each thing on earth should behave? Are we humans wrecking the order of the cosmos with the very thing that makes us human: free will? Would it be right to speculate, that just as the apple falls only downwards, we too are obliged to live and act in a certain way? Supporters of free will may cry foul, but what if the very choices we make using free will are pre-ordained? Doesn'nt that make it redundant?

The doormat remembers something he had heard not very long ago, between two wise old men.

"Do you believe a man can change his destiny?".

"I believe a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed".

The doormat wakes up the next morning. It's time for work. He wants to go back to the old days, when he was what he was meant to be. The DOORMAT. He knows where his comfort zone is, and would like to stay there.

He walks to the car pool waiting for him. "Dude, man, I'm sorry, I did'nt call you for our road trip last weekend. I promise I'll make it up to you," says Tom. David gets out to open the door for him. "We'll give you a pass on this week's gas pool", says Tony."We know you've been stressed lately. We're all there for you, man!".

This could take a while.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The beginning of the rise

Hi there!

I am a self-proclaimed writer-in-the-making. And I'm glad I've taken this step. So what I'm going to do from now on is simply write stories. Fiction. Based on true events. Satire. Experiences. Feelings. A mix of all or some of these. Hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I will writing them.

I have started with the short-story called The Doormat. Please read :). Criticism, constructive or otherwise, is hugely welcome.