The Maroon-Colored Claustrophobic Beauty

Mansi's AltoMansi has always been a car-lover. She has never been in a situation where she has had to depend on anyone else for a ride. In this latest cup of chai on CATW, she remembers her Alto fondly.

I’ve been riding bikes a lot longer than I have been driving cars, and I have no qualms about hitching rides from friends or strangers. My bikes, over the years, have abandoned me at so many crucial moments that I think I almost expect a bike I’m on to break down and force me to push it.

I’ll write a longer cup of chai on my biking (mis)adventures. Until then, we’ll have to use our imagination.

Twilight Dawn

Twilight DawnOppression filled the foggy twilit dawn, the recherché feminism of the morning light danced an undulating number with the mood of the solitary cyclist as he wound his way up the serpentine path to the crest of the craggy peak, bathed in the soft glow of the fiercely burning star billions of miles away, still under the horizon. The tires of the mountain bike crunched the partly-dewed leaves, much as innocence caught under sin’s cruel tires, all its spirit squeezed out.

The cyclist himself was an old hand at judging the curves – both of the road and of the weather – and immediately realized that the hiding sun was an aftermath to something oppressive that was in the offing. That’s when he felt the oppression. The Shah of Persia had once prophesized that an oppressive feeling was an indication of impending misfortune, but the cyclist had neither heard of nor had cared for the kingdom of Persia. So when he hit the pick-up truck that was barreling down the slope head-on, he attributed the accident to plain bad luck.

The cyclist’s name was Michener, and he was a hopeful for that year’s French circuit, when his career and his life had been cut short by an obese, drunk, hardly conscious idiot thought he could do a seventy on the slope, on the way down. The first thing Michener was aware of was an intense pain in his head – in fact, the pain seemed to originate from his head and spread its claws all over his numb body. Numb, that when he recognized the perpetual numbness. He couldn’t move an inch, let alone open his eyelids. There was a consistent hum in his ears that blocked out all other noise, but even the loudness of the hum didn’t feel in the least painful. It was, on the contrary, a soothing cacophony that seemed to say, “Hush, now. It’ll all be over soon.”

Through the pain, Michener amassed enough strength to force his eyelids open. He was staring at a black expanse of nothingness. The blackness confused his numb brain – he couldn’t tell for sure if his eyes were open or closed. All he was sure of was that, he could “see” the darkness clearly enough to deduce that he was, perhaps, blind. Though this thought didn’t particularly affect him, it shook him up a bit. To live a life without having to see it, to see the beautiful face of his two-year-old daughter, the twilight dawn, and a lot of other million things worth seeing, forced some tears to his eyes. Funnily enough, he couldn’t feel the warm tears flowing down his face, but could taste the bittersweet on his tongue.

This brought new hope to Michener, and at the same time, a new sinking feeling. Hope, that he was still alive, and had the use of his mouth, which probably he could use to call out, and despair by the thought that since he was alive, he had most definitely lost the use of his eyes and ears. Then, all of a sudden, the humming in his ears stopped and was replaced by memories – memories of the time when he had first heard John Denver sing “I’m leaving on a jet plane”, the time when he had first heard his mother put him to sleep with the story of the Three Little Pigs – her voice was particularly vivid – and the time when he had his daughter cal him “Da-Da” for the first time – and he found himself trying to smile, only he couldn’t tell if he was already smiling or not. The numbness was perpetual. The hum returned with a vengeance and filled his soul with a detached horror – a horror he couldn’t feel; a horror he would have given anything to feel.

Michener had heard the expression “Light at the end of the Tunnel” for years, and was not surprised to learn that it was a load of hogwash. There wasn’t any such tunnel, let alone light. His mind freed, his soul released, his life over, Michener found enough strength to close his eyelids – again, he couldn’t tell if they were closed or not, for the blackness lingered. Salacious thoughts entered his mind and he quickly snubbed them away. He forced himself to think of something else – he remembered the time his saloppete had torn on the ski slope and he had been the laughing stock of the entire lodge back in the valley, and he tried to smile.

His soul felt a lot lighter when he could sense it! He felt the smile spread slowly across the face! He could feel the gentle stretching of the skin across his cheek. And then, he saw her.

And when he did, he knew he was really dead. There she was, the only woman he had ever loved – his wife, who had been cruelly wrenched away from him and his daughter a year ago, also, ironically, by an accident. He had always blamed himself for her death; he should have never let her cross the street alone. But when he saw her standing there in all her beauty and radiance, he could see that delicate nose, those deep brown eyes he had missed all these days, and the lithe figure he had fallen in love with. His soul felt a thousand times lighter and he felt himself standing up – it took hardly any effort – and he walked up to her.

“What about Amy?” were the first words out of her mouth.

“Oh, she’ll be fine,” said Michener. “I’ve finally seen it.”

“Seen what?” she asked.

He held her tight and kissed her on the lips long and hard, then hugged her. He could still smell the intoxicating perfume that lingered in her golden hair. He would never let her go again. Amy would be taken care of by his mother, who would be heart-broken at first, but she had always been a woman of astounding mental strength. It never is bliss to attend a funeral, but for a parent to arrange the funeral of her son was punishment enough for her unnamed sins of her past years. Her chastity and her unquestionable purity of this life was a mockery to that effect.

“I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel, darling. It’s you,” he said and they both held each other.

Image Courtesy: TrekEarth.com

Thanks For All The Spit!

There comes a time in every PR guy’s quotidian life when he questions himself thus:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What am I supposed to be doing?
  3. Where are my pants?

I did this yesterday and realized that I could answer two-thirds of the above questionnaire and felt very happy about myself. Just because I am in a good mood, I will share my responses with you.

Who am I?

A mildly confused, over-ambitious, relatively ignorant (I ignore my relatives), slightly overweight, extremely shortsighted, creatively challenged, socially active, coffee guzzling, beer loving, nicotine liking, technologically superior neanderthal. I wear worn-out clothes to work. My clients like me and the media is noncommittal, but I’m sure they like me too. I care deeply for a few people and for a few people, my care runs shallow.

What am I supposed to be doing?

Apparently, I am supposed to be working hard, trying to pretend that I know what I am doing. I accomplish this task with a positive nonchalance.  I am supposed to be wrapping up the day’s work early, today being a Friday. I am supposed to be thinking of newer pick-up lines for the sweet girl who thinks I am being not serious when I say I like her a lot.

Where are my pants?

I have no idea. Someone stole a pair of my jeans yesterday night, when they had been hung out to dry. The only reason I had washed them in the first place was because someone spit on them. Yup, you read it right. Someone spit on them. Stuck in traffic yesterday morning at 8:00 am, on my way to work, I was thinking how a day could begin any worse.

Just when the thought crossed my mind, I heard someone clear their nose and take a deep snort and spit out a major blob of sputum. It so happened that this environmentally conscious citizen was sitting at a window seat of a crowded bus and that window just happened to be right where I was standing. The blob of spit landed on my left leg, just above the ankle and forced me to lose my temper, scream at that guy, show him the finger thrice and call him a ‘Fuck-headed fucker.’

I returned home, put the pants in the washer and came to work late. I went back home at night to discover that someone had stolen the pair of pants. I pity whoever stole them.

Thanks for all the spit, you fuck-headed fucker. 😀

The Finger!

For some strange reason, people like to give me the finger! They think that raising their middle finger at me and glaring at me (if-looks-could-kill kind of looks) would make them feel better, perhaps even make up for all the injustices I have heaped on them. And the other thing that bothers me is that whenever people give me “the finger”, more often than not, they are people I don’t know and am passing them on the road. I sat down and seriously considered my driving skills one day.

I am a safe driver, I don’t go beyond 60 kmph and most of the times, I apologize for bumping into some other vehicle or some old bugger trying to cross the road, and at the times I don’t apologize is when I don’t realize that I’ve “made contact,” a fact which I realize only when I go home and see the fuel or the oil leaking out from a hole in the chassis. But still, I haven’t killed anyone or anything on the road, and am generally on the right side of the traffic. 🙂

Anyway, these things are beyond my comprehension. If people on the street want to give me the finger, they can go ahead and do it. I don’t really care. But if they really have to give me the finger and shout out loud that I’m a “rotten scoundrel who has to learn how to drive and respect elders,” when I’m standing in front of my house, with a few cute girls whom I’m trying to charm, thus ruining my chances with the lovely creations of God, then it pisses me off! 🙂

Anyway, dear reader, I’m back from my hiatus and will be filling these pages with more of my singular and quirky experiences hoping to make you laugh, and I thank you all for your support.

Shefaly has tagged me with a lovely meme here, and I am in the process of compiling the relevant information to do that. Hopefully, I’ll finish it soon and post the tag.

Cheers! 🙂

Cursed! Again and again…

…and again!! I don’t know which side of the bed I woke up yesterday, but I’m never going to do it again, hopefully! My day wasn’t all that bad, actually, but for some reason or the other, I got cursed seven times!! Seven different people in seven different situations cursed me with some unspeakable pejoratives! There was a movie, where someone asks, “If you are called a jerk seven times, do you actually become a jerk?”

If the answer to this question is true, then I don’t know what I’ve become now!! Here’re the situations, as best as I can remember them, and I’ll let you decide whether I deserved all the colorful language hurled at me.

1. Late afternoon, I was riding my bike in heavy traffic and singing a romantic song, thinking of my girlfriend, and gleefully unaware of the honking and tensions all around, when all of a sudden, a lunatic auto rickshaw careened out of the corner and scraped my front fender. I’m not a person who loses his temper, and as long as I’m not hurt or my wallet is not hurt (read as, bike screwed) I don’t care. So, I just whipped out my middle finger at the auto driver and continued my singing. This guy, I don’t know why, he popped his head out the vehicle and screamed, “Ninakkan!” and drove off. This word, in my language, has something to do with elder sisters and incest. I don’t have an elder sister, but still, I was kind of annoyed. I hadn’t raised my voice, only my finger, and I don’t think I deserved this insult!!

2. The second incident occurred when I was walking down the road from my office, with a breath mint in my mouth. I was rolling the piece of mint in my tongue, when I passed a mother and her small girl walk past me. Just then, my tongue made a smacking sort of a noise because of the piece of candy, which the mother mistook for something else. She turned around and glared at me and called me a pervert! I knew there was no point trying to reconcile. I just shrugged and moved on.

3, 4, 5. The next three instances happened almost simultaneously. I was in my friend’s place in the evening, watching the cricket match and munching some peanuts, when three of my other friends walked in. They said the following things to me:
Friend 1: “Hey asshole! How’s it hanging?”
Friend 2: “You bastard! How’re you man!?”
Friend 3: “Fucking moron! Long time no see!!”

6. Just when I was about to sigh and resign to my fate of being cursed all day long, there was an ad running on TV, which screamed out, “Nikhil’s a loser!” I mean, why couldn’t the ad feature some other name? If they wanted to portray a loser, then why choose a name like Nikhil?? Not fair!! 😦

7. Lastly, when I realized that my day had been extremely weird and that I’d been cursed enough number of times, things just got worse. While driving back home from my friend’s place, late at night, I was whistling to myself, when I stopped at a red light. I was still whistling, when I heard a scream of anger from next to me. There was a couple on a bike, the man driving and the woman sitting behind him, and both of them glaring at me and the guy was about to take his helmet off. He said, “You pervert! Stop eying my girl!”

I lost my temper a bit. Just a bit. I was about to open my mouth to retort when the lights changed and the guy flipped a finger at me and drove off at full speed.

I started thinking on my way back, that maybe its not a good idea to sing or whistle when driving. Maybe its something else altogether.  I don’t know. I’ve been wronged and I demand justice!! 😀