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

Advertisements

Umbrella Fella :)

)
Almost Similar To Mine! 🙂

It’s been raining cats and dogs in Bangalore for the past few weeks. Every day, like clockwork, the rain starts at around 5 in the evening and goes on till almost 10 in the night. This has forced me to avoid stepping out of the house/office, wherever I am, during this time period. Yesterday was an exception. 😀

A close friend had come down from Delhi and he was staying over at my place. Around four in the evening, we decided to get out of the house (Oh, I had taken a day off from work) and go window shopping on MG Road and Brigade Road. And as soon as we got ready to leave the house, God decided to water His plants. 😀

The rain did not stop for an hour, and around 5, when it subsided a bit, we realized that it would be utter stupidity to go on my ridiculously unreliable bike and settled on an auto. I grabbed the only umbrella in the house – an ancient monstrosity that can shield an entire football team when opened – and stepped out to hail the auto. We stepped out to bright sunshine and birds chirping. We looked at each other and contemplated the bike again, but decided against it as I had the feeling that God wanted to play with His favorite yo-yo. 😀

We got the auto and managed to squeeze in along with the huge umbrella and reached MG Road at around 6 in the evening. We walked around looking at expensive things and dreaming of being able to afford them. All the while, I looked like a clown straight out of a traveling circus, carrying the umbrella around. I felt so embarrassed when a couple of young kids started walking behind me making whooping noises. 😀

)
Masala Dosa! 🙂

Answering the call of hunger, we both entered a small wayside restaurant for some hot masala dosa and ate to our hearts’ content. It was a standing restaurant, and a very cramped one at that, and apparently quite famous, because the crowd was suffocatingly large. The steams from the tiny kitchen and the overpowering aroma of the food played contrasting tricks on my brain.

Finally, we emerged out of the restaurant and walked the entire length of Brigade Road, admiring the sights and sounds of the city’s most happening road. We watched as cops pulled people off their bikes for not riding with a helmet and we watched a ten-year-old kid buying cigarettes on the street. We saw the colorful advert hoardings screaming out silently for attention. We saw…

Oh shit, I had forgotten my umbrella in the tiny hotel! 😀

We ran back all the way and finally reached the hotel and I pushed my way through the hungry mob and those eating food, knocking over a freshly-made plate of dosas and reached the corner where I had stood. And there it was, nestled safely in the corner, just where I had kept it, standing as if there was nothing that could affect it. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and picked it up and caressed it and apologized to the umbrella for forgetting it. It forgave me! 😀

Images Courtesy: Neatorama.com and Woodland USA

At Last!

The Dark Knight
Why so frikkin' serious!

At long last, I did it! I finally watched The Dark Knight! 😀

It happened yesterday, when Aparna sent me a message saying, “Hey, I’m going to watch Dark Knight tonight!” and I officially became the only living being alive not having watched the movie. I put a plan in motion at around six o’ clock in the evening and made up my mind that I was going to watch the damn movie no matter what! 😀

I sent my terrorist brother to his friend’s place – a friend who had managed to download the movie through μtorrent – and asked him to burn the movie on a DVD. He was not supposed to return home without the movie. And the kid did not disappoint! He returned around ten in the night and held up the DVD and said, “This is gonna cost you a hundred bucks!”

Are you frikkin nuts? I would’ve gone to the theater if I had to pay so much!” I screamed. I was now eying the DVD like it was ‘my precious’ much like Gollum did in The Lord Of The Rings! 😀

“Ok, I’ll head back to his house and return the DVD, then,” said the terrorist and turned around.

Wait!” I shouted. “Just wait. Can we.. can we negotiate?”

“How’s this for a deal: I’ll give you the DVD and you give me the hundred,” he said and leaned against the wall, as though he had all the time in the world. I fidgeted. I half-considered snatching the DVD from his hand and running to my room, but quickly dismissed the idea because he’s a bit bigger and a lot more stronger than I am, though I hate to admit it, and he’d break down my door and kick my ass if I did that. Oh, he’s broken through a few doors in his time. 😀

So, I said, “Ok, so give me the DVD.”

He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “Do I look as stupid as you do?”

We needs our precious!
We needs our precious!

“My precious,” I murmured and eyed the DVD through greedy eyes.

“My money,” he said and yawned.

“Ok, ok,” I said and opened my wallet and saw that there was exactly one hundred bucks, including the coins, which themselves added up to thirty bucks! So, I literally cleaned out my wallet and dumped all the money in his huge hands and said, “My precious! We needs our precious!” 😀

He stood there and counted the money carefully and only when he was satisfied the I hadn’t short-changed him, he reluctantly handed over the DVD to me. I snatched at it and held it close to my chest and slunk back to my room, murmuring, “Precious! My precious!”

I plugged in the DVD and sat back, put my feet up on the table and smiled to myself. I was finally going to watch The Dark Knight! After so long, after reading countless reviews in the papers and on blogs, after being ridiculed at work and outside for not having seen the movie, having sat through four weeks of lunch breaks at office, listening to people commenting on the movie and how brilliant it was and how awesome it was and how breath-taking it was and of course, those long accolades hurled at Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhart – after all that, I was finally going to watch the movie.

The movie started at 10.33 pm (I made a note of the time) and ended at precisely 12.56 pm and for those 2 hours and 23 minutes, my hand was frozen halfway between the bowl of potato chips and my wide-open mouth.

Ah, heaven! 😀

The Day I Almost Died…

Well, not exactly. But I came dangerously close to losing my life. 😀

I live a dangerous life. My job takes me all the remote corners of the city and more often that not, I end up rubbing the wrong people the wrong way. No, I don’t give back rubs for a living, but something close. Whenever I fail to make my clients look like God’s gifts to mankind, and end up looking bad in public, they scream bloody murder and run behind me with guns, knifes and swords, baying for my blood. A few days ago, I almost regretted being in this business. 😀

Everyone would probably agree that the word “jobs” does not mean “people”, literally speaking. This schism between the two words is enhanced if they are used in a sentence like this: “We’re offering jobs…” and “We’re offering people…” 😀

Journalism is losing its charm in this country and when this happens, the quality of people entering the field drastically comes down. Exceptions aside, all the new kids in journalism are very green, with loads to learn, starting with the difference in meaning between the two sentences above! When a multinational company’s CEO is quoted as saying, “We’re offering people…” I tend to get a bit nervous and fear for my life. The moment I read this quote in the paper that morning, I gulped and crouched under the table, and sure enough, ten minutes later, the hits started pouring in. 😀

“Whom do we offer PEOPLE to??”
“We offer PEOPLE??”
“What sort of a joke is this??”
“Where do you stay??”

and so on…

The CEO wanted me killed. The mafia had a gleam in their eye, wondering about who it was that encroached on their human trafficking business. The MD of the company wanted me killed. My friend, whom I was doing a favor by promising him a quote by the CEO of the company (it was technically his client) wanted me killed, fired and then shot. The bloody journalist was “not reachable” on his phone. 😀

This is the last time, I thought to myself, that I help out people outside my clientèle. I’ll stick to my own circle and face the music on my own, with the number of people baying for my blood reduced by half, well under the panic limit. 😀

Gully Cricket Season!

After recent events in the world of cricket, it’s that time of the year again, when Sundays are reserved for playing gully cricket! 😀

I have always been a cricketer, training under Brijesh Patel and Anil Kumble at the BPCA, starting at the tender age of 12. Now, it’s been almost three years since I held a bat in my hand and played the game, and yesterday, it was back to basics! In front of my house, there’s a good 20 yards of space to play cricket in, and when we were still young, innocent kids, the entire compound got together to play. I learnt how to play the game here, in front of my house, and yesterday, I walked down memory lane again.

I bought a tennis ball and dusted my old bat and coaxed my terrorist brother to abandon his studies and play with me. We started playing something called “short cricket” where the batsman can become out with a “pitch catch” and by hitting the ball out of the compound. We played for nearly three hours, with a cousin of ours, who stays close by also joining in. 😀

I had almost forgotten the quirky little things like calling out “Ball, please!” to passers by, whenever the ball went out of the gate and on to the main road; calling out “Fast Appeal!” whenever the ball missed my bat and hit the wicket; refusing to give up my wicket unless there was hard evidence that the ball hit the makeshift wicket; running behind the ball trying to prevent it from reaching the other end of the compound for a boundary; and all the other funny little things that kids do when they play cricket. 😀

We reminisced about the time when cricket in our compound was a major event – kids from all over the neighborhood would come to play here, we once had installed a 60-watt bulb through some very ingenious engineering and played through the night – our very own version of floodlight cricket! 😀

Oh, those were the days! We stopped playing when I hit the ball out of the gate and it landed inside a passing auto and the auto guy never realized it and drove away with the tennis ball inside! Bastard! 😀

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

The Funny Guy! :)

I have recently been awarded the dubious distinction of being Mr. Funny Guy by my friends. I should be honored, and to an extent, I am. How this title came about and why I am not really satisfied with it will be apparent after you read this whole post. 🙂

It was a dark and gloomy Wednesday evening, around six, when I decided to wrap things up in the office and go all the way to Yelahanka, where my brother was waiting in the police station after his bike had been towed away. I had to go there and pay the fine of 600 bucks to bail the bike out. When I left, the rain had just about abated and I made quick time in traveling the 30-odd miles to Yelahanka. We both got drenched on the way back, but that seems to be a minor point of little or no interest to the readers, who’re probably well accustomed to my bouts of bad luck. I met a few friends for dinner that night and decided to liven up the night with a joke.

“Okay, people! I am going to tell you a joke!” I announced. Everyone fell silent and listened intently, being aware of my reputation for spinning a lovely yarn. I was actually trying to impress my friend’s cute cousin who’d joined us. She was sitting next to me and seemed to be hanging on my every word. I desperately wanted to impress her and make her smile. So, I dug into my vast database of corny jokes and pulled out the best one!:D

“There was this scientist,” I began, “and he had just invented a biologically-engineered refrigerator. The fridge was so cool (no puns intended!) that it could order groceries online and make instant breakfast. It ran on some pretty cool DNA-computing circuits and was state-of-the-art! It was more intelligent than the most intelligent computers of the day. So, this scientist was selected for the Nobel Prize that year.”

I looked at the cute girl, paused for effect, and smiled. Everyone on the table was gripped. “The Nobel Committee waned him to fly over to Stockholm and demonstrate his bio-engineered refrigerator. So, this scientist rented a single engine Cessna plane and started his journey. Halfway through the flight, the single engine died and the plane began to crash. The pilot screamed, “Hey scientist! We are too heavy and the plane can’t handle it! You have to throw your fridge out!”

“No way!” screamed the scientist. “I have given my whole life for this invention!”

“Look, fella! If we don’t throw it overboard, we’re all going to die. It’s too heavy. You have your research data with you anyway. It’s just a question of assembling it again. Please understand!”

“So, this scientist, after careful deliberation, opened the door with a heavy heart and threw the fridge out.”

I stopped talking and took a sip of water and leaned back with a smile. Everyone on the table were leaning forward, intently waiting. “Then what happened?” asked the cute girl next to me.

“Nothing,” I said. “That’s the end of the story. ”

When they all realized that I had conned them, it was too late. The expression on their faces was a million dollar one. I started laughing out so loud that I drowned their angry retorts and groans and the hotel manager came up, glared at me and said, “Sir, please don’t laugh so loud. You’re disturbing the other guests!”

I continued laughing in a whisper and the other people around the table were ready to drown me in my tomato soup. “Okay guys, I am sorry,” I said. “I’ll make it up to you. I’ll tell you a better joke this time and I swear on the graves of all the men, women and children who died building this hotel that you will not be disappointed.”

My reputation as a funny guy preceded me and they all agreed to give me one more chance. “Last chance,” said the cute girl next to me. “I’ll slap you if you do this again.”

I wanted to tell her that I would do anything to get her to slap me because that would mean she would have to touch me. Oh, she was so cute!! 😀

“Okay, get ready,” I announced and cleared my throat. “There’s this beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere and in the center of the lake is a small islet on which the most beautiful flower is growing. The lake is infested with crocodiles and sharks and piranhas and just about any man-eating critter nature has created. On the banks of the lake, a man and a woman are sitting, cuddled up. They are very much in love with each other. The woman asks the man to swim across and get that flower for her. He protests and says that he’s going to killed trying to cross the lake. “Is this how much you love me?” asks the girl, very depressed. So, the man takes offense and says, “If you want me to prove my love to you, then I will cheat death and get you the flower.” He strips down and starts swimming. He battles all the critters that come in his way and finally reaches the middle of the lake, plucks the flower and swims back, again battling nature’s fury. He reaches the shore and climbs out holding the flower. And then, right in front of the woman’s eyes, he dies!”

I paused for effect. “Why did he die?” I asked, looking around at everyone.

They were all listening to my story so intently that one of them immediately said, “The flower was poisonous”

“No,” I said.

“Something attacked him!”

“No”

“He had a heart attack?”

“No”

The cute girl then said, “Tell me, tell me! Please!”

I couldn’t ignore her cries. Oh, and her voice was so sweet. So, I told them the answer – “The fridge fell on him!”

For two minutes there was complete silence and I inched closer to the cute girl and turned my head at an angle so that she could get a good whack at my cheek. But to my surprise, she burst out laughing and so did the others. They liked the stupid joke! I was so annoyed!

So, that’s how I got the title and that’s why I am not too excited about it! She didn’t slap me! Now, I don’t know when I am going to see her next. Damn! 😦

Moto!!!

I got my old phone back!! Yippeeeeeee!!

Ok, I got carried away. I apologize. When I went to New York a year ago, I left my lovely sleek camera-less Moto flip phone with my younger brother for safekeeping. Of course, I should have known better. He disposed of my SIM card and got a new Airtel number and started using it. I expected this, obviously, having lived with the jerk for nineteen years. But what I didn’t expect was his resistance in giving the phone back to me! I hounded him for four weeks and finally, after a lot of blood and sweat, I got my baby back! Here’s what transpired:

Week 1: I asked him nicely. “Please give me my phone back.” He refused and ran out the room.

Week 2: I tried bribing him. “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if I can have my phone back!” He scoffed and said, “I’ll give you two hundred to drop the subject!”

Week 3: I tried stealing it. He had left it home and gone to college. I exchanged SIM cards and tried to start the phone, only to realize the jerk has activated a security code! Bah!

Week 4: I tried wrestling it from him. My neck is still weak from the choke hold he applied for ten minutes as I passed out.

Week 5: I emotionally blackmailed him. I promised to buy him a brand new drum kit if he gives the phone back to me.  He relented after bargaining for an hour – one drum kit, one carton of chocolate ice cream and a brand new Moto flip phone next month. I looked at my phone, resting in his hand, being held hostage. I never negotiate with terrorists, but my lovely phone had been through enough. I couldn’t bear to see it tortured anymore. I agreed to the jerk’s demands and said yes.

Now, I’m broke, he has a new drum kit and I have my phone back! All in all, a very satisfying deal.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, today’s his nineteenth birthday. Happy birthday, terrorist! 😀