Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Looser Who Won

I am backing out.
What ?? There is no going back. A yes is a yes.  I have already paid 2000 Rs to Zafar. Gaurav is also contributing 1000 Rs.
Ok, fine. I will pay the rest. I know, My promotion treat has been long due. Raj was poked enough number of times for his treat, so as to concede defeat.
This treat would be one of its kind, a treat no one else would have given to anyone.
May be (pause). I have not been to many treats, So how would I know ??
Yes, let’s make this diwali night memorable for all of us. A night, I am sure, we all will never be able to forget in your lifetime.

As his moped left a trail of thick black smoke, Raj kept staring at the circles formed by it, wondering if it were a noose, tightening around his neck. He used to be a good boy, in fact in his college days, he was so dumb, a special award was constituted to honour people like him. And, today he is going to get a bravery award for something, he would never imagined even in the wildest of his dreams. Trin.. Trin.. Trin.. Raj was woken from slumbers by the all-too-familiar Nokia ringtone.

Hey Raj. Happy Diwali, man.
Same to you man.
What are doing on Diwali ??
Nothing special.
Come over, I have few friends gathered, after bursting crackers, we plan to drink. You want to join ??
I don’t drink, man. What will I do ??
You can have some Fanta, man. Come over.
Ok, I am in.

Chetan was due to come back by 9. A glance at his wrist watch gave Raj some relief, It would be another couple of hours, before we will have our surprise. Raj is sure, he will be back in time. 

Are there any more crackers left ??
No dude, we are all done with crackers.
I am feeling hungry, man.
Let’s order some chicken. Chicken goes along very well with Red Wine.

The chicken arrived in no time. There was a KFC outlet very close. Who are these people, working even on Diwali nights, delivering happiness to their customers. Raj felt very sorry for the delivery-boy. This world can never be the same for the rich and the poor. Raj wished him Happy Diwali with a cosmetic smile on his face and offered a generous tip. Inside the room, everybody was busy pouring lemon onto their glasses of Vodka.

No fanta for me. Raj almost screamed, taking everyone by surprise.
Why ??
I want to drink.
Really ?? Dude, this is not Red Wine. This is Vodka, the real wine.
I want to give it a try.

The first sip induced a burning sensation near his threat, but Raj somehow managed to swallow it.

Not Bad, Raj. I had vomited my first sip, you did a lot better.
Second sip onwards, Raj started enjoying the taste of Vodka.
Another glass for me.
Are you sure ??
Yes, I am.

No body knew, what occurred to Raj on that fateful Diwali night, but he kept on drinking, as if there was no tomorrow. There was something heavenly about Vodka. Raj can only vaguely recollect a Russian story from his school days, when a farmer was made aware of beauties of Vodka by an imp. Though, it was just a story and the imp just an imp, Raj somehow felt imp's presence in that room, as if he was talking to him. Remember...After first glass, you all will become fox ...

Hey, Raj. Don’t you want to go home. We are done with drinks. Raj's body was being vigourously shaken, but Vokda magic was not going away soon.
I don’t think, he will wake up. Let’s not waste time.
We had a great time today, hadn't we ??
Ya, man. Raj turned out to be a dark horse. 
What is the time ??
It is already well past midnight.
No wonder, I am feeling sleepy.

All of them were now lying one after the other, just like pigs in a pool of mud (After 3 glasses, you will become a pig). Suddenly, the infamous Nokia ring-tone made its present felt.

Shit, man. What an irritating ring-tine ??
Must be Raj.

Raj was not known for his taste of music, but this ring tone was too bad, even by his standards.

Hey, Venkat.
Is Raj still there ??
Yes, he is (pause) but sleeping.
Really ?? Tell him his surprise is here. What is he doing there ?? Would not he want a taste of his surprise ??
No man, he is drunk and fast asleep.

Even though Venkat's voice was loud and clean, Chetan tried adjusting the volume of his handset and requested Venkat to repeat his words

Drunk and Fast asleep.
Almost in disbelief, When did he start drinking ??
Only today.
Poor chap. The surprise would be here only for a night. He missed out on some real fun.

Next morning, when Raj reached his flat, he was informed of the surprise and the opportunity missed. It is better to be a clean pig than a corrupt human. Raj won’t get the bravery award, as planned earlier. But he is not sad. He has not won many awards in his life, but this was one award, he was happy loosing. 

As Raj readied himself for an important meeting in office, Chetan’s voice was still echoing in the room, You looser, You looser ...

Saturday, December 08, 2012


I don’t know why people always mistook him for being a hard-nosed person.When I got close to him, I felt he was more like a coconut, hard only on the periphery, but very soft deep within. May be, people never got too close to him to find out his true colours. Though, he was very neatly dressed, as would be a village-chief, there was nothing flamboyant about his looks. A cream-colour dhoti along side a translucent, somewhat oversized, silk-kurta was probably doing justice to his body. A turban was sitting atop his head, reminding me of a character in a Rajasthani play, I witnessed in my college days. I am not good at guessing numbers, but he looked to be in his early forties. But, I was soon proven wrong, when I noticed the black spots on his face, reminding me of times when vaccine for chicken pox was still elusive and being developed. My mother used to tell me rich people never grow old, looking at him, I felt she was right. May be, Rich people know how to defy their age and time.

I had heard from my friends that he hardly opens up in front of strangers, so I was taken by surprise, pleasantly though, when he offered his hand. Those were probably the hardest and roughest hands that I ever had a handshake with.

I know, this is not the ideal time to ride the train, today being cattle’s fair in neighbouring villages. So along with human beings, you will also have goats, sheeps, calves as your company. But this is now how it usually is. You should give this train another try.

Though, it was stinking inside the compartment, somehow, his kind and empathetic words made me forget the stink for a moment.

Hey, don’t tie the cycle to this window, can’t you see, I am sitting in this compartment, he was shouting at the top of his voice, as he announced his arrival.

You could have taken a bus or a boat, why did you choose this jam-packed train, MukhiyaG asked me.

Where else you can ride for free ?? I promptly replied.

MukhiyaG burst out laughing. I appreciate your honesty. Not many people from town are like that.

MukhiyaG had this wrong notion of people, living in cities, to be mean and dishonest. I don’t know what he saw inside me, but he started opening up in our conversation.

Do you live in town ??

Yes, I do. Why did you come to the village then ??

I am returning from a pulse polio drive in neighbouring village.

How about you ?? I asked back.

What will I do in town ?? I am a damn villager. Only once in my life before, I have been to town, when I went to drop my daughter. You know, there are no colleges in village, so I had no other choice, but to send her to town. Today is the second time, I am going to town. My daughter wants me to see her new campus, her new hostel, her new college building, her new life.

The discussion was becoming more and more personal.

But why did you send her for further studies ?? The moment, I uttered those words, I felt like crossing the line. I wish I could take back my question.

See, Girls at my daughter’s age are being married off, some of them have even become teenage mothers, but I wanted my daughter to be different. I want her to set an example for others to follow. Girls are not meant only to be homemakers and baby-generating machines.

Very brave. MukhiyaG was living up to his billing of a fierce communist warrior.

Which college does she study ??

R.S.M College.

Is not that too hi-fi a college ?? I have seen boys and girls roaming around freely holding each others’ hands. Aren’t you afraid your daughter will forget her roots.

No, not at all. I have infinite trust in her.

I hope, your trust remains intact, I kept my thoughts to myself.

If you don’t mind, I want you to introduce to my daughter.


Will she be there at the station ??

Yes, she should be waiting for me.

As the train crossed the last unmanned signal, I knew, the end of our journey was near. I pulled out the glasses out of my short’s pocket, MukhiyaG adjusted his turban and stood motionless.

Oh man, people have already blocked the door. How will I get down ?? MukhiyaG was increasingly getting worried.

Don’t worry, I will help you. And the train will stop for nearly 5 minutes, so we have enough time. I tried calming MukhiyaG nerves.

The train came to a screeching halt. People started shrieking, almost crushing the cattles seated next to the toilet. MukhiyaG eyes were scanning the platform, searching for his beloved daughter.
                                                  To Be Continued ...