Letter To Cupid, 2012

Statutory Warning: The following post contains words and imagery that some people may deem as inappropriate. I have used the word ‘fuck’ twice and I talk about raising my middle fingers to someone, giving that someone the message to go fornicate with themselves. I have used a photograph of a winged child-thing found dead, face down, with an arrow in its back, lying in a pool of its own filth. If you or anyone around you find(s) my language and mannerisms offensive, please click here. Else, continue reading. 

Cupid is Dead

Dear Cupid Asshole

Here we are again, in 2012. I’m still here, single as fuck, and you’re still there, dancing around with your gay wings and your gay arrows. I wrote to you earlier, around 4 years ago and you promised me that the next time would be different. You are a filthy liar and nothing more. If I look back on this year, all you’ve given me is hope, despair and embarrassment. What the hell is the matter with you, jackass? Can’t you just do your job right?

So, in the light of all that you’ve done for me this year and for the past so many years before, I raise both my fingers to you. Go suck an orange, kid.

Do you remember how I signed off my last letter to you? You don’t? Drop Dead.

In all sincerity,

Go Fuck Yourself.

Advertisements

Once Upon A Time In Mumbai

A few days ago, I braved the cold, early morning drizzle and freezing winds of Bangalore and made the 40-minute commute to the airport. Against my better half’s better judgment, I boarded a flight to Mumbai, and two hours later, at 7 in the morning, I sat on the pavement of India’s busiest city, drenched in my own sweat and stinking of fear and indecision. I took a decision that could potentially affect the lives of everyone I knew, and I did it with half an optimistic mind. At times like these, I usually look back on all the bad decisions I’ve made in my life and weigh them against the one I just made, and whichever is the lesser of the evils, I defend.  As I sat on the Mumbai sidewalk, waiting for a friend to pick me up, I questioned my reasons for being there.

Was it a career move? Most probably, yes. Also, this is the only rational explanation for which, I won’t hate myself. Was it a move based on a rapidly depleting sex life? Not really. I’ve been quite active and I didn’t need to come to Mumbai to get laid. Was it something that I was running away from? Probably not, because I’m just ninety minutes away, and not too far for my fears to hunt me down here. Was it the search for independence? Could be. To an extent, and definitely a few months later, I would be independent. Was it the incessant need to prove my worth to myself? A definite no. Was it a move that was rooted in long-term self-loathing due to twists of fate that prevented me from staying in a job for more than six months at a time? Might be, to a very small extent. But then again, all my so-called career moves in the past have made perfect sense to me.

Forty-five minutes later, I was sitting in my friend’s living room, talking to him about this and that, and I still did not have an answer. I went through quite a few misadventures in Mumbai, starting from a thirty-minute wait for an auto-rickshaw in the middle of the night to getting lost in roads that all looked alike. The fact that my body is not accustomed to the humidity of the island made matters worse, and I must have lost close to a kilo in body weight through sweat.

I am still searching for an answer. Meanwhile, the city that has the reputation of sapping people’s energies and leaving them soulless zombies getting pushed around from one corner to another on local trains, has been quite good to me. I like it.

The 46-Rupee Meal

Ten years ago, when the world was a nicer place to live in, I was just getting out of high school, full of misdirected ambitions of making a difference in the world. Of the many things that were ideal back then, I liked the fact that I could have a hearty meal for less than ten rupees. That’s about 5 cents. Maybe not a ‘hearty’ meal, but certainly a couple of idlis and a vada for eight rupees. For the uninitiated, an idli is a white colored, steamed rice cake, about the size and shape of a BlackBerry Curve and a vada is a brown colored doughnut-shaped (and sized), deep-fried eatable that goes perfectly well with an idli. Ten years ago, a pair of idlis and a vada together used to cost eight rupees.

Today, ten years later, I realized that there has been a 475% increase in the cost of the same meal. A pair of idlis and a vada, today, costs 46 rupees.

Idli Vada
Two Idlis and a Vada - The 46-Rupee Meal

That’s still less than a dollar, but for someone who’s spent the better part of his life here in India, that’s daylight robbery. The strangest part of the entire experience today over lunch was not that I was fretting about the astronomical increase in the rate, but the equally enormous decrease in the quantity and taste.

The sizes of the idlis and vadas have reduced so much that its hard to spot them when you put them on a plate. You have to have a pair of really good binoculars to identify where they are and make sure that your spoon hits the mark. No, I’m exaggerating, of course, but you get the idea. And the taste, well, I have eaten pieces of cardboard (for free) that have been tastier.

I hate to call this inflation, because the term ‘inflation’ has a definition, a universally-accepted identity. I would call this phenomenon a gross negligence on the part of the Indian public, who have allowed this kind of injustice to penetrate every aspect of their lives. Our lives. Commonplace examples – a tennis ball that used to cost ten rupees now costs thirty. A piece of chewing gum that was half a rupee is now three rupees. A toothbrush that used to cost around four to five rupees is now thirty-five.

How I wish I were living in the stone ages, where all I had to worry about was the next critter I caught for dinner and the next female I slept with. If wishes were horses, I’d be a very rich, sexually-gratified stable boy.

Twenty-Four Hours

If  you knew that you had only twenty-fours hours more to live, what are the things you would do?

I know it’s a morbid question, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard about the guy who died three days back. Well, he was a guy in the prime of his life, much like I am, and he was on his way to work thinking, I’m sure, of all the little nuances we think about when we drive to work – the meetings we have planned, the way things are headed, last night’s dinner, the last person we had sex with, whether or not to buy the new phone, whether or not you can trust these online dating sites, whether or not its time to get the car serviced, etc. Out of the blue, he hit a particularly nasty pothole, lost control of his motorcycle, got thrown in front of a speeding bus on the opposite lane. I shudder when I imagine that it could happen to anyone.

So, to occupy my free time these past two days (and I seem to have a lot of free time), I’ve been making a list of all things I would do if someone told me that I had only 24 hours to live. It’s sort of a bucket list, but not exactly. It’s more of a death-row wishlist.

I would probably start off my last day alive with a hearty breakfast without any stops, without any of the usual healthy crap. I would stuff myself to my heart’s content and head out to get some action. I would probably sleep around all day with different women, and in the evening, drive up to a beach and drink some cold beer, watching the sun set. I would end it all by walking out to the sea and start swimming towards the horizon.

But that’s just me.

I’m sure you can think of a lot of better things to do than having a lot of unprotected sex on your last day alive. Anything interesting that you care to share? Free beer for the best one, if you’re a guy. Free date with me, if you’re a chick.

Does It Suck?

Being single. Does it suck?

Its been 8 months now since I officially broke up with my last girlfriend – let’s call her Kay, to protect her privacy – and the past 8 months have been quite weird. It’s not that things have been really bad, no. On the personal front, things are quite well, to be honest. I find more and more time for myself, to do things that I’ve never dared to do when in a relationship, to meet and flirt with other women – women I’d have just fantasized about talking to, for fear of being called unfaithful, and finally, the freedom to spend my entire paycheck on myself, without any guilt. It does not suck, on first appearance.

Being Single

Lately, I’ve been re-thinking my position on this issue. A quick introspection has revealed that being single, for all the goodness it promises, does indeed, suck. There are times when I miss the intimacy, and these pangs are becoming quite frequent in the past few months. To know that there is a woman in your life who loves you as much as you love her, who (almost) doesn’t judge you for what you are and do, who cares about your well-being and is a good enough friend to endure your drunken mistakes and laugh at your inane jokes, someone who knows when to fight and when to patch up, who understands your mood swings enough to change their lifestyles according to them, and finally, someone who doesn’t mind eating whatever you cook because they’re kind enough not to tell you the truth about the excess of salt or the burnt bottoms.

Well, Kay was all this and more, and not a day goes by when I question my actions that led to us breaking up. We all have the potential to be jerks, and I was one of the biggest back then. And at the time, I thought I was justified in being a jerk. Thankfully, I’ve matured enough to understand that I wasn’t. She’s matured too, making it on her own. A great job, a good house, a bike and good friends, and more importantly, she’s done it and doing it on her own, with little or no support from any family ties, in an alien city.

We’ve kept in touch, Kay and I, over the months, and have reached a stage where we can talk politely to each other, go out for coffee and occasionally, do the odd chore or favor for each other, without physically injuring each other. There was a time when we couldn’t be in the same room together for fear of ripping each other apart with our bare claws hands, and we kid about those times today.

I guess its cathartic, what we do. It’s given us a fresh outlook to the whole process of dating and relationships, to an extent that we try to set each other up with other people. Maybe its the residual feelings talking, or maybe just a sadistic longing to share my loneliness, but I’ve managed to dig up a few creeps for her to date. More importantly, she has managed to find some bigger creeps for herself, without any help from me. On the other hand, she has vehemently refused to find me a date, as she feels that my social life has a lot more people than hers, and that I should have no trouble in finding someone on my own. I don’t deny it. But the fact that I truly wish, from the bottom of my heart, that she does not find someone better than me, is cause for concern. It’s not jealousy or sadism. It’s just selfishness from a man who still loves her and is foolishly optimistic about his chances of getting back together. Very foolishly.

Oh, we did flirt with, and give up the idea of getting back together. Its like yesterday’s chocolate pudding – very tempting and a very bad idea. She’s still out there, looking for a decent guy to date, and I’m still here, resisting the urge to reach out and keep her selfishly to myself. Shouldn’t we learn from our mistakes?

PS:  She’s quite the character – fun, hyperactive like Pigwidgeon on dope, very hot and very very sexy. She hopes that this post of mine will be a very decent and non-desperate alternative to a dating site, and urges decent men who read this to get in touch for a date.

PPS: Same goes for me. Hot chicks, get in line for a good time.

Image Courtesy: Profilebrand.com

Heads Up: The True Story Of Why I Quit Journalism

Finally, I am strong enough to reveal the truth. This incident took place in the offices of a leading newspaper in the city. None of what follows in fiction. Unfortunately, and gruesomely, every word of it is true. This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I am a little apprehensive about sharing this incident with you all, but then, it’s about time I set the record straight and confess to everyone why I left journalism.

I’ll try to report exactly what happened, objectively and without any emotional bias. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m going to tell you exactly what happened. Trust me, this is scary…

It was 2 in the morning, and the office was deserted. I was on the night shift, and had just finished a satisfying smoke and was walking up the old staircase to my workplace. There wasn’t a soul anywhere in the huge office. The only sounds I could hear were those of the air conditioner clanking up a notch and the occasional roar of a speed devil out on the road. There was a chill in the night air, and I hugged myself for warmth and entered the office. If I stood still and strained my ear, I could hear the footfalls of the people walking on the pavement outside. I glanced at my watch and decided it was high time I packed up and went home for the day. Being on the Internet/technology desk of a newspaper isn’t a comfort. More than anything, it’s a hindrance. Unfortunately for me, this newspaper was widely read, and so I had to stay back till two in the morning to give those insomniac readers the latest update of who killed whom in the world.

I returned to my desk and started to close all my open windows in the computer, switching off the AC and the muted television, where the cricket match of the day was being shown again. As I heard the satiating jingle of windows being turned off, I switched the monitor off and picked up my bag, and stopped…

My bag seemed exceptionally heavy. I didn’t remember bringing any books to work and I distinctly remember the bag being very light. Now, I noticed that there was a slight bulge in the bag’s midsection also. My bag is one of those horizontal zipper bags that require to be slung across the shoulder. These kinds of bags are great for carrying books, but are woefully inadequate for anything slightly bulky like water bottles and tiffin boxes. They stand out like a pregnant belly. There was a similar bulge in my bag. I was confused.

I looked down at the bag again and placed it back on the desk. Frowning, I opened the zipper and looked inside. I almost screamed out…

There, lying in a pool of dirty papers was the most hideous looking head I’ve ever seen. And the fact that there was a HEAD in my bag almost made me faint. It looked up at me with this horrendous expression fixed on it. I couldn’t speak, my mouth was dry. I wiped the sweat off my head and looked around to see if there was anyone who was watching me. There wasn’t a soul…

Now, I’m a pretty rational guy, and my mind quickly switched on the rationale. I started thinking of how this head could’ve gotten in my bag. Obviously, someone must’ve placed it there when I wasn’t at my desk. Now, there were only two instances when I was out of my desk – once for dinner and once for my habitual two a.m. smoke. I could rule out dinner, because the office was packed more tightly than a circus at eight.

So, obviously, someone had put the head in my bag at two, when I was out smoking. This made me feel a bit frightened, as I was sure that there wasn’t anyone in the office!

Or was there…?

I felt goose bumps rising on my arms all over. A streak ran down my spine. “Relax,” I told myself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts!”

“Yeah,” replied my brain. “But there’re serial killers and murderer and psychos!”

Now, I felt really scared. I am a well-built guy, and I could hold my own against anyone looking for a fight, but the thought of defending myself against a crazed lunatic who’d just dumped a frikking head in my bag?
Well, I frankly preferred the quiet life…

The phone rang on my desk, suddenly and shrilly, making me jump put of my skin. The sound of the phone seemed unnaturally loud in the quiet office, and scarier with a head in my bag! I approached it gingerly and picked it up. I could hear my heart beating against my chest.

“H-hello…?” I said.

“Nikhil?” came a gruff voice that I couldn’t recognize.

“Yeah, who’s this?” I demanded, slightly strung out, hoping that the person, whoever it was, wouldn’t notice the tension in it.

“Are you alone?” the voice asked.

“What?” I asked, now scared. “Who is this?”

“Do you have the head?” the voice said.

I was terrified, and a bit angry. “Who the hell is this? And what’s the meaning of this sick joke? Whose head is this?”

“Joke? Mr. Nikhil, I assure you this is no joke. Didn’t you find my note?”

“What note? Who the fuck are you?

“You don’t recognize me, do you?” he asked.

“Obviously not, asshole!”

“Check the note next to your computer. That head is mine,” he said, and the line got cut.

I held the dead receiver next to my ear for a long time with sweat running down my face, and finally put it down. I looked next to my computer and found a yellow post-it stuck on the side of the monitor. Why hadn’t I noticed it earlier? Curiously, I pulled it out and read what was written on it. And I almost fell down…

I looked at the head in my bag and back to the note I was holding in my hand, and vowed never to do night shifts again. I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Nikhil,” the note began, “please find the head of cabbage in your bag. Keep it in a fridge and bring it tomorrow. I don’t have a fridge at home. How was dinner? Thanks. Ranjit.”

That asshole colleague of mine didn’t even tell me! Imagine finding a head of cabbage in your bag when you least expect it! I am freaked out…

I resigned the next day. I prefer the quiet life. Without heads.

It’s A Burpy Ride!

Chennai!!
Chennai!!

I went to Chennai on Friday for a day’s work and caught the 9.30 pm bus back on the same day. It was a Volvo bus and quite comfortable. As soon as I entered the bus, the sticky humid heat of Chennai was forgotten and I settled into my cozy seat and put my feet up and pushed by seat back a long way until I heard the squeal of terror from an old hag sitting behind me, whom I’d just crushed, and sighed contentedly. It had been a tiring day, made more tiring because of the heat, and I’d sweated all the three litres of water I’d consumed. I took a long swig from my bottle of cold mineral water and held the bottle up against the side of my face. It felt so good. I could feel my body cooling down, and I smiled to myself. I’d be home by 5 am tomorrow, and in the peace and privacy of my own private toilet, I’d answer Nature’s calls. 😀

Just when my eyes were half closed and my mind was imagining something romantic, I heard heavy footsteps climb up through the door and I felt something heavy plonk itself down next to me. I ventured a peek and saw that there was a huge, obese man who was breathing heavily after his exertions of climbing up the three steps of the bus. He wheezed loudly and I thought he was going to have a heart attack, but thankfully, he didn’t. He had a bottle of water in his huge, pudgy hands and he drank half of it in loud gulps. He then leaned back in his seat, turned his head towards me and burped. 😀

I jerked up and glared at this mountain of flesh masquerading as a human being, and made my best angry-disgusted face. He excused himself and three minutes later, he was snoring away. I was apalled. I tried to forget the incident and read my book for the next hour, when the bus stopped for dinner at a wayside restaurant. The fat guy went down, and a few peaceful minutes later, came back up with a creame bun and some Ruffles Lays and these he devoured with an admirable speed. 😀

Just when I thought the trip would be uneventful, the jerk began picking his nose and rolling up his snot into tiny balls and tossing them around. I cried out loud within myself and covered myself with the sheet and tried my best to control my anger!

A harrowing 5-hour ride later, we entered Bangalore and finally, I was free from the indignations of the mountain of snot. The bus driver burped as I was alighting and the auto driver burped as I was getting into the auto. I caught a glimpse of the sky as I climbed in, and saw that the moon was crescent, almost resembling an evil smile! 😀