Calvin And Hobbes: The Last One

He opened his eyes to darkness. He felt around with his hands and found the wall to his right, along which his bed lay. He groped around until he found a switch and flipped it on. Harsh white fluorescent light filled the room and hurt his eyes. Reflexively, he closed them and groaned. His head hurt – no, pounded from within, and it felt like a million sledgehammers threatening to break open his skull. He turned on to his side and winced as sharp points of pain pricked his joints and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he sat up. Still dressed in his clothes from the night before, he looked down at his hands and feet, wondering how he ever got home. The last thing he remembered was his tenth beer. There had been a lot of shouting, a lot of music, loud music, and a lot of dancing. He vaguely remembered throwing up somewhere, and sure enough, he saw the dirty yellow stains on his white shirt and blue jeans.”Shit,” he muttered, and swung his legs off the bed.

Standing in the middle of the room, he stretched himself and took a step towards the bathroom when he stepped on something soft and furry. He looked down at the old stuffed tiger he used to play with as a kid, and kicked it under the bed in anger. He had suffered enough because of it, and he had no intention of ruining his life further.

“Twenty years,” he said to the bit of furry tail still visible from under the bed. “Twenty years of my life ruined because I thought you were real. They stuck me in a nut house and asked me to swallow pills every two hours. I don’t know what I was thinking.” Then, calming himself, he took a few deep breaths and said, almost chanted, “You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He walked into the bathroom, showered, shaved and came out feeling refreshed. As he stood looking at his thirty-year old beaten, worn-out, pot-bellied frame, he thought back to the day in his youth when he had burned his parents alive. The tiger had asked him to do it. The tiger had said it would be a good idea. He had listened to the tiger and killed his parents. Pain wracked through his mind and he shut his eyes tight as tears rolled down his wet cheeks. “I’m sorry,” he said to no one in particular.He was different then, before the medication, before the doctors, before the black-outs…

When he turned away from the mirror, he was about to reach down to grab a shirt from the floor, when he stopped dead in his tracks. The stuffed tiger that he had kicked under the bed was now back where it had been. The single remaining beady eye and the empty socket where the other bead had been looked up at him in a cold stare, unflinching, as if daring him to talk. As if daring him to scream, to shout, to say something. He stared at the tiger, frozen in mid-step and too scared to do anything. He swallowed a large gulp of fear and said, “You’re not real. You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He turned away closing his eyes and shut both his ears with his hands, still chanting his mantra. When he stopped to catch a breath, he heard someone call his name from behind him.

“Calvin,” the voice said. “Why won’t you talk to me anymore?”

“No!” he screamed. “Don’t talk to me! You’re not real!” He still was turned away, now crouching near the wall, his head resting against the corner. “Shut up!”

“You think I don’t miss you, Calvin?” the voice asked.

“You’re not real. You’re not real…” he continued in monotone, rocking back and forth, drowning out the tiger’s voice.

“Of course I’m real. I’m right here. Turn around, Calvin.”

And he didn’t know why he did it, but he did. He turned, opened his eyes and saw the tiger standing there in the middle of the room. The tiger was smiling at him, standing on its hind legs, holding out its hands as if waiting for an embrace. Calvin took a tentative step towards the tiger, still confused and the madness showing on his face with no inhibition. “NO…!!” he screamed. “You are NOT real!” and he ran towards the bed-side drawer, pulled out a gun from inside and put it in his mouth.

He looked at the tiger’s eye and saw the tears rolling down to its cheek and forming tiny puddles on the floor. He was crying himself. He couldn’t stop the tears.

“Don’t do it, Calvin,” said the tiger, stifling a sob.

“I’m sorry, Hobbes,” he said and pulled the trigger. As the last shard of life left his body, he thought he saw a stuffed tiger lying at his feet. He tried to smile and tried to tell himself that the tiger was not real. He tried, in vain.

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And Then, I Dreamt About Shoelaces… :)

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Dreams And Shoelaces πŸ™‚

I dream a lot, sometimes while driving, sometimes while sitting through a meeting, sometimes while talking to someone and mostly, when I’m sleeping (thankfully). I have this ability to phase out of a conversation in an instant and start dreaming about something totally unrelated and it usually takes a slap or a hard punch to the shoulder to break my reverie.

I dream about a lot of things – women, alcohol, fame, money, glory, women, phones, happiness, women, books, people, friends, enemies, work, office and women. I sometimes dream about women too, but not always. Er, was that a bit too much information? Shit, I think it was!

Anyway, I digress. The coming of the new year has been tremendous to my spirits. By spirits, I mean the type that is usually consumed orally. But otherwise too, my state of mind has been generally quite a happy one, with lots of hopes and dreams about what the new year is about to dish out. One thing I know for sure is that I’m gonna remain the Divine Yo-yo that I’ve always been. What strengthened my belief in this was an incident that happened last evening, when I was having a conversation with my friend about the lamest of lame topics – shoelaces.

Yeah, I was actually having an intelligent conversation about shoelaces with a friend of mine over a smoke, and he suggested that it was unfair for a person to spend more than 3 seconds in fastening a pair of shoes. He wanted to invent a self-tying shoelace or something that would save us our time. He had obviously never heard of Velcro.

I gently reminded him that many shoes don’t even have laces nowadays and that people don’t actually mind spending a bit more than 3 seconds tying the laces. But the guy was adamant. Maybe because he had been drinking all day long and he wasn’t in his senses; maybe because he was just being stupid, as always, I don’t know, but he was really adamant about the fact that we need automatic self-tying shoelaces!

So, I ventured a bit and actually started dreaming about the possibility of automating everything in life. It wasn’t a very good dream, as I had quite a few pervert thoughts (as you can guess). I started giggling to myself at those thoughts, when this guy decided to slap me on the head quite hard. It was quite a blow – it made me fall off the parapet and land face down on the ground. It wasn’t that high a parapet thankfully but three feet can feel like three hundred when you fall face down, and unexpectedly.

I got a text message from the guy this morning apologizing for his actions as he had thought that I was laughing at his idea and that though he still believed the idea was worth a shot, he shouldn’t have hit me on the head.

I replied to his message, “Thanks, I needed that.”

He obviously failed to see the sarcasm behind that and sent a smiley back. What a world! What a start to the year! πŸ˜€

Image Courtesy: http://www.comictreadmill.com

The PR Lingo! :)

Being a public relations man has exposed me to a lot of interesting words and phrases, things that I’d never heard before, and things that caused me considerable distress (being a language purist) when I first heard them. Some of these are:

1. “Sit on this” – This is used while referring to an issue that has to be discussed or a crisis that has to be handled or a presentation that has to be finished or a document that has to be written and just about anything that has to be done. “Don’t worry, I’ll sit on this and finish it!”sounds more like a chicken-murderer plotting his move rather than a serious professional, but I’ll have to adapt! πŸ˜€

2. “Revert back” – A grammatically incorrect connotation of the more popular “Reply back,” this phrase generally refers to the process of replying to emails, text messages and phone calls that have to be returned. When I first heard the sentence, “Nikhil, the client has sent us a time for the meeting. Please revert back to him,” I had a sly smile all day long! πŸ˜€

3. “Collateral” – Completely and absurdly contrary to all the accepted definitions of the word, “Collateral” in PR lingo refers to any and all documents that the PR firm gives to its clients, including the clients’ profile and companies’ background. This is quite a strange term to use, because every time I hear, “Nikhil, have you seen the collateral?” my mind thinks of the movie! πŸ˜€

4. “Dip Stick” – Ahem! :mrgreen:
All perversions aside, the phrase “Dip Stick” refers to a survey conducted among journalists, to gauge their understanding of current affairs (Yeah, right!). This happens whenever a brand new company is formed and we call up journalists and ask them, “There’s this new company called so-and-so. Have you heard of it?” More often than not, the journalists hang up the phone! πŸ˜€

5. “Boiler Plate” – I first heard this phrase a few days back, when someone asked me, “Nikhil, where’s the boiler plate on this press release??” I looked back blankly and said, “Uh, what the fuck are you talking about?” Apparently, this refers to a brief note about the client to be included on all press releases! Weird, indeed! Something of a pot-boiler to spice up a bland release? πŸ˜€

So, there it is. There’re a few other weird instances where the English language has been massacred, but I think I’ve sinned enough for one day! πŸ˜€

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

One More Promise…

I am usually a man who keeps my word. I don’t make promises I can’t keep. But recently, I’ve been on a breaking-promises spree. It all started with the these words:

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

Peanuts enthusiasts will recognize this as Snoopy’s favorite (and perhaps, the only) opening line in his novel. In my room, I have a poster of Snoopy, hunched over his typewriter and typing out these words, and these serve as a sort of inspiration whenever I sit to work on my third novel, which is chugging along at a snail’s pace. Sadly, these words proved ominous yesterday.

It was a dark and stormy night as I did my best to balance my ancient bike as I raced along the empty streets of Bangalore, at midnight, returning home after a particularly heavy dose of stupidity and insaneness after seeing the movie Sarkar Raj. I won’t even get into how bad the movie was, because, honestly, I can’t. I slept through it. πŸ˜€

Anyway, as I was riding back home, I passed a store whose name was “Promise General Stores” and all of a sudden, it hit me that I had to write a statement of purpose to a friend of mine who was in Nebraska. I had promised him that I would send it by Monday evening (Indian Standard Time) and I had completely forgotten about it. I hope he does too! πŸ˜€

This is the hundredth time I’m forgetting to write things this week. I had to send out some press releases the other day and it completely skipped my mind to do it. I was sitting at my desk and wanted to check my mail and opened Mozilla, and when I saw the home page I completely forgot why I was sitting at my desk. I just browsed some hot chicks’ pictures and went out for lunch. πŸ˜€

Even writing this post, I was supposed to write something on Bollywood and the movie Sarkar Raj, but instead, I was sitting with my WP Dashboard open and thinking what to write about! I think I have Alzheimers!! Help! Is there a doctor in the house?

My ex was probably right when she used to say that I don’t keep up my promises! In my defense, I have amnesia! I don’t even remember my middle name! Do I have a middle name?? πŸ˜€

Anyway, here’s a promise I intend to keep: I am gonna post this after this sentence! πŸ˜€

Cover me up, Scotty!

OutlookIndia has always been a very conservatively-confused country. No, that didn’t sound right. Let me try that again. India has always been a country with conservatively-confused people in power. Yeah, that sounds about right. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a politically-neutral, wardrobe-indifferent, optically-challenged, mentally-blessed, verbally-strong guy – but some things that these politicians do just baffles me and makes me want to stand them in the middle of a crowd, strip them naked and laugh at them all day long, like Nelson in the Simpsons, “Haw! Haw!”

Every sport needs cheerleaders – not only to please the weary sportsmens’ eyes, but also to appease the gawkers and the single men (and certain women!) in the crowd. Indian politics is very insecure when it comes to scantily dressed cheerleaders waving away those frillies in the air and showing off their generously endowed ..er.. wardrobe! (Does that sound right!?)

They allow these lovely cheerleaders to flaunt themselves one day and the next, they are banned and are ordered to “Cover up or Pack up!” The next day, they’re back, doing what they do best! Isn’t this a bit insane? Sticking to a decision is the hardest thing any Indian politician can do, and especially when it comes to near-naked dancing beauties, I’m not surprised by the vacillation! πŸ˜€

After all, who wants to watch a game of football or cricket without the goddesses of ..er.. (F)rock dancing and cheering the home side on? No wonder they charge entertainment taxes on game tickets nowadays! πŸ˜€

I know a lot of people wouldn’t have an opinion on this issue, but I just had to get it out – can’t hold back political jokes anymore! We’ve crossed the line! πŸ™‚

Haw! Haw!

Tagged!!

I’ve been tagged by Bina! Here goes: (gulp)

Last movie seen in a theatre:
National Treasure Book of Secrets, Stamford, Massachusetts. The movie sucked big time. More than my money, I wish I could have my time back!! πŸ˜€

What book are you reading?
For the tenth time, The Bourne Supremacy!! πŸ˜€

Favourite board game:
Chess!!! Anytime, Anywhere… Ten bucks says I can beat you blindfolded! πŸ˜€

Favorite magazine:
Cosmopo… oops, I mean, PC World! πŸ™‚

Favorite smells:
Freshly-brewed coffee and the rain-soaked ground… πŸ™‚

Favorite sound:
Shru’s sweet sweet voice… Nothing comes close to it! πŸ™‚

Worst feeling in the world:
Waking up at 6 am on Monday morning! 😦

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
Yippee…!! It’s going to be a lovely day! (Except Monday mornings, when I’m homicidal!! Lol… )

Favorite fast food place:
Road-side gobi noodles guy!! πŸ˜€

Future child’s name:
Poor thing!! πŸ˜€

Finish this statement, β€œIf I had a lot of money I’d…”
Be in the Bahamas with Shru! πŸ˜€

Do you drive fast?

First gear: fast.
Second gear: wow, look at him!
Third gear: Road-hog!!
Fourth gear: Grease lightning!
Overdrive: E = mc
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Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
I’m not a pervert!! πŸ˜€

Storms – Cool or Scary?
Scary… Very scary!

Do you eat the stems on broccoli?
Love ’em! πŸ˜€

If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice?
Chocolate πŸ˜‰

Name all the different cities/towns you have lived in:
Bangalore, Hubli, Dharwad, Dandeli, New York.

Favorite sports to watch:
Cricket!!!

One nice thing about the person who sent this to you:
Potentially good sutta partner!! πŸ˜€

What’s under your bed?
My deepest, darkest secret – a newspaper dated August 20, 1984!! πŸ˜€

Would you like to be born as yourself again?
I wouldn’t mind! πŸ˜€

Morning person or night owl?
Twilight zombie…

Over easy or sunny side up?
Scrambled, with a dash of cheese! πŸ˜€

Favourite place to relax:
Gokarna!! I want to be buried there! πŸ˜€

Favourite pie:
3.141567346464323….. πŸ˜€

Favourite ice cream flavor:
Chocolate!!! πŸ˜€

You pass this tag to:
Shuz, Fruity, Shiwuz, Mariacristina, Suda

Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first?
Shuz… πŸ™‚

My Blog Feels Abandoned! :(

Boo Hoo! 😦

My blog stats are on the decline! I don’t know why! I don’t write obscene stuff. I don’t write politically explicit articles, I’m a decent guy who blogs on decent topics, no racism, no porn and definitely no slander! Well, almost no slander! πŸ˜‰

But still, this is very depressing news… What do I do? I can’t afford scantily-clad cheerleaders, nor can I offer free beer to all my visitors! All I can do is hope and pray that people read what I write. I wish I were one of those noble souls who aren’t bothered with blog stats… Sigh… 😦

Maybe what I can do is offer free advice and great ideas to everyone who visits me and leaves a comment. Just like Calvin! But I won’t charge them. I’m not as good a businessman as Calvin. Sigh, again… 😦

One more thing I can do is to change my wordpress theme. I’ve been using this theme for god knows how long, and maybe people are bored of seeing it. The same old header image (non-customizable, Grrr..!!), the same old font, the same sidebar and the same old boring topics!

Oh yeah, maybe I should start blogging about some socially volatile topics like abortion and child molestation and dangerously declining blog stats! (grin)

Actually, when it comes to such topics, I’m as opinionated as a doorknob. So, I’ll just continue to write about my same old boring life, the quirks I come across, the instances of stupidity and the complete lack of judgment, which often leads me perilously close to being a boring, old hag. Damn! My life is pathetically predictable!

As I said, Boo Hoo.. 😦