Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Last Day

Well, today was the last day of school. It's weird. I'd always had a rather cynical view of how I'd feel when this day came around. I thought I'd be annoyed by everyone talking about how much they'll miss school even though if they had a choice they would still leave. I thought I'd play my part and then laugh when I was alone. After today though...
It started off normally. One of the other sections had their last assembly. It was pretty damn good, finishing off with "Papa Kehte Hain". One of the guitarists, a friend of mine had borrowed my guitar which I had fitted out with what I'd like to call my jugaad strap - a laptob bag strap hooked onto a long blue shoelace-like cord tied around the head of the guitar. I'm still pretty proud of that.
Anyway, that assembly talk gave us a real inferiority complex since we hadn't done as much. I started falling back into my familiar black mood. A crow narrowly avoided shitting on my head which was all for the best.
Afterwards, there was a flurry of activity - people writing out their speeches at the last minute, the order of the speakers being thrashed out and final song practices. Finally, we all headed downstairs where we had a brief respite from this feverish preparation. I hung out with a couple of friends of mine and we took some really weird photos of each other. I had decided that I was anything but photogenic, so I made the most effed-up faces I could. Then came  the assembly.
It started off well. The speakers spoke well, everybody was listening. Every now and then, I would throw in an entry from my list of the Top 10 Things We'll Miss About Bosco. I'd only put it together the night before, but it went down well with the crowd.
Next, we came to my good friend Avranava's rendition of Breathless. Two words. Fucking awesome. I had the privilege of being his guitarist for the day. It was just one chord (E Major) but I just couldn't get the strumming pattern right. When we performed it on stage though, my timing was spot-on. Unfortunately, the amp stopped working, so you couldn't hear me play. Oh well.
We got a huge round of applause, but it seemed to loosen up the crowd. They started talking amongst themselves and as a result the poem written by one of my best friends got drowned out. That sucked.
The ending though was memorable. We sang "500 Miles", our class teacher's choice. We were apprehensive about doiung such a common and simple song at first, but the fact that everyone was familiar with it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We wrote an extra verse, threw in some embellishments when it came to the vocals and I sang a bridge I had written all by myself. The climax was a repeat of the first verse with me exhorting everyone in the hall to sing along. Since they all knew the words, we truly brought the house down.
The huge round of applause we got surprised us. We thought we would suck, to be quite honest. But some people said it was the best assembly out of the lot! That was a really heartwarming experience.
We moved to the junior assembly hall to stuff ourselves with food and then danced the day away with DJ Babdoo (don't ask). A friend of mine took pictures of his friends on his tablet and then turned all of us into zombies. My effed-up faces came in handy there.
The best part was everyone scribbling on each other's shirts. Old jokes, farewell messages; it was definitely the highlight of the day. I got my shirt pocket torn off and danced an Irish jig in the middle of a crowd of bhangra boys. I loved it when I heard people I didn't even know used to be friends writing on each other and then saying "Tujhe abhi bhi woh yaad hai?" It felt good knowing that they remembered all those memories. And it was kind of sad that they didn't talk about all the good times they'd had more often. 
It was a great day and I look back on it not with cynicism but with understanding. I know now that it's not about missing school; it's about the way you say goodbye to your friends.
It wasn't maudlin, but it wasn't an excessively exuberant occasion either.
And it was the perfect way to say goodbye.

If you miss the train I'm on
You will know that I am gone.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Boogie Nights in the Mithai Ka Dukaan

Hey, everyone. For reasons I'd rather not divulge, I won't be putting up any fiction for a while. However, that doesn't mean I won't stop posting altogether. About an hour ago while I was heading towards the market, I was mulling over a few possible blog posts. I'd formed a couple of them in my head when I saw something that made me stop and take notice.
It was your average neighbourhood sweet shop. Jalebis being fried in giant vats. Lots of people milling around. Sweets which have probably had enough flies crawling over them to erode all tastes except insect feet, all neatly arranged in gleaming steel trays. A steamed corn stall manned by the usual red-uniformed dudes. On a side note, why is it that all steamed corn outlets everywhere have the exact same flavours (Classic, Masala, Pepper, Chinese and so on), the same colour scheme (TGIF red and white) and very similar names (Hot & Juicy, Spicy & Sweet, Sweet & Sour, Hairy & Mildly Discoloured... okay I might have made up that last one)? Anyway, after squeezing my way to the back of the shop past a tray of what looked like tiny translucent bits of snot/petha bearing a label which called it 'Chana Murgi' (despite the fact that it had absolutely no chickpeas and sure as hell no chicken) towards the kaju burfi, I found myself staring at a rather large, very shiny, spinning disco ball.
Take a minute. Picture it in your head. A mithai ka dukaan. With a disco ball.
For those of you who don't know what a disco ball is, it's a large-ish spherical ball, suspended from the ceiling and encrusted with small reflecting plates so that when it spins, it reflects tiny moving rectangles of light on the walls in a manner which was, no doubt, all the rage around the time Saturday Night Fever came out. You've probably  know what I'm talking about. Here's a picture:

I should probably mention here that although I've seen disco balls on TV, this was the first fully functional one I'd ever seen. There is one in our school auditorium, high above the stage and never turned on, occasionally turning when a stray gust of wind manages to sneak up there. This one, however, was spinning like a ceiling fan. But that's not the best part. Here's the best part. It was almost completely surrounded by mirrors and CFL bulbs with the result that it reflected as much light as is physically possible onto a portrait of the deceased original owner of the shop, most likely a close relative of the current owner. I kid you not. You have a large portrait of an old, white-haired man, adorned with a pink and white, tiny mirror-dotted mala  he probably wouldn't have been seen dead with when he was alive but ironically is doomed to wear perpetually now that he actually is dead, condemned to stare at a relic from the 70s till kingdom come or the MCD bulldozers, whichever comes first. A relic that spun as fast as if the old man's immortal soul depended on it. 
I stood staring at it for a couple of minutes. Later, I realised that no one else seemed the least intrigued by it, its incongruous monstrosity notwithstanding. That made me wonder. Were they just being polite? Had they seen it countless times before, in which case why the hell hadn't I? Or did they actually find it completely normal to come across a disco ball as an accessory to the portrait of a dead man? I also wonder where and why in the name of all things holy the proprietor managed to get a disco ball. Chances are some shady knick-knack dealer convinced him that it was a genuine Hanuman Suraksha Gend and that the faster it spun, the happier the late Shri Motilal Mehta (obviously not his real name), recently deceased, would be in the great beyond. In fact I'm convinced that's the case. I just can't imagine someone walking into a store and saying, "Bhaiyya, woh ek bada sa disco ball mil sakta hain, Papa-ji ke picture ke liye?"
And so let that disco ball spin in the mithai ka dukaan. No doubt because of it, the soul of Shri Motilal Mehta (recently deceased) is boogieing down in Heaven as we speak.   


Friday, September 23, 2011

A Rather Odd Sort of Play - Scene 1 - The Meeting


<Our tale does begin on a dark and stormy night
   A night dark and stormy enough to give Freddy Krueger a fright!
   The scene: a dark street
   One can hear the sound of feet
   A lamppost stands tall
   And illuminates it all
   It is a city far away, quite far, very far
   (Or very, very close; it all depends on where you are)
   The curtain rises
   The audience members of various sizes
   Take their seats and hold their breath
   The air is still; as still as death. 
   We see a man of countenance haughty
   Leading a child, not wicked, but naughty!
   The man huffs and he grumps, looks around him and sighs
   Takes out a pair of glasses, places them over his eyes
   And says- but wait! We haven't revealed yet his name
   Let there be no hassle on that point (a trifling one. But all the same...)
   The name of this gentleman with his hat on his head
    Is Isaac Menander. Let's use IM instead.
    And so this man Menander looks down and he says:->

IM <To his son>: Fear not the dog that bays!
                             For I shall protect you. Protect you...that's right.

<The worthy man shudders in what seems to be fright.
   He clasps the poor boy's hand with all of his might.
   When a vision in red sweeps into his sight.>

IM <To himself>: My God, that's pretty!
                              Come now Menander, think of something that's witty.

The lady: Oh sir!

IM <stupidly>: Derrrrrrr.....
                          Are you talking to me?

The lady: Why yes. You see
                 I seem to have lost my way.
                Could you do me a favour this fine sunny day?

IM: It's night.

The lady: Is that right?
               I could have sworn it was sunny.

IM <To himself>: Now that is most funny.
                              This lady is obviously not right in her mind.
                              But oh sweet Moses! What a behind!
    <To the lady>: Allow me to lend you my hand.
                             My name is Menander of Menander's Marching Band.
                             Perhaps you have heard of us? There's me, Larry, Curly, Mo...

The lady: I'm quite sorry but my answer is no.
                I do not believe I have heard of you lot.

IM <To himself>: The nerve! Oh well, she's hot.
     <To the lady>: I apologize. I didn't catch your name.

The lady: Elizabeth Brewitt. Formerly Dame.

IM: Formerly?

The lady: Yes. My husband recently died.

IM: Dear dear!

<And he sat down and cried>

EB: But Mr. M! Good heavens! What's the matter?
       Your behaviour does deem you as mad as a hatter.

IM: Do forgive me. The thing is my wife
       Recently died too after much pain and much strife
       Leaving me this boy that I named Master Bill
       A common enough name, quite common, but still...

EB: Oh you poor man! Do not say a word.
       For my heart has been melted from what I just heard.
       Pray tell which illness was it that finally nabbed her?

IM: Beg your pardon Miss Brewitt. You misunderstand. I stabbed her.

EB: Stabbed her you say!

IM: Yes. That was the way
       I finally rid her of her miserable life.

EB: Excuse me. I believe you mentioned much strife.
       But a stabbing is swift. So I must ask you, you see...

IM: Say no more! All the strife was for me.

EB: How so?

IM: She was a nag.

EB: Oh.

IM: So tell me, my dear, where is it that you live?

EB: Beg your pardon Mr. M. but I'm not inclined to give
       You my address after hearing a history like that.

<So saying she lifted her skirts and like a bat
   Out of hell she was gone when the bright morning came
   IM gazed wistfully after the scurrying ex-Dame.>

IM: Such a pity! She had a beautiful bod.

His son: Ah, shut it you slimy old sod.  


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No 1 Fan - Part 6 - The End

<Well, here we are. Finally we reach the end of the Author's Tale. It took me one hell of a time to finish, but it's done. Give me a moment, I'm just so friggin' relieved. I've been working on this for almost a year now and I've gone from having a story to tell to getting sick of it and then picking it up again. Finally, it's through. I hope you've been reading the earlier installments. If not, here's a list, so you can read the whole story at an entire sitting. Enjoy:

No 1 Fan - Part 1 - The Author
No 1 Fan - Part 2 - Just Checking
No 1 Fan - Part 3 - The Book
No 1 Fan - Part 4 - The Reason
No 1 Fan - Part 5 - The Gist

She didn't even pause. Just went on about how a typo in his third book was actually a Freudian slip revealing that he had an untamed fear of heights. "I'm guessing she has a degree in psycho as well," he thought. And he didn't mean psychology.
Finally he stood up as if to leave. That got her attention.
"Where are you going?"
"Nowhere. But I've had enough. I'm telling you for the last time, I do not put hidden messages in my books. None whatsoever. Not even a hint of a hint. And if you're finding them, lady, you have some serious problems which you should probably look into."
She stared.
"You mean..."
"...not a single..."
"Not even half."
"Well, what about...."
"Or the time you wrote..."
"Absolutely not."
"But how about-"
She looked at her hands for a while. He noticed she was nodding very slowly. Her lower lip started trembling and her upper one almost disappeared behind it. He thought she might cry. For the first time, he realised just how important it was for her to find meaning in something, even in his writing. Perhaps it was easier because it was so simple and saccharine. It's easy to draw your own images on a blank, extremely bland slate. This was probably the one big thing in her life, the one thing that made her feel special. And he had just taken it away from her. For a minute, he almost felt sorry for her.
Just for a minute.
Suddenly, she seemed to come to a decision. Her head snapped up and once again her eyes were cold and emotionless.
"Well then I gues you really are just a talentless hack."
And she picked up her jhola and walked the fuck out of his life.
He would have been slightly pissed if he wasn't so grateful to see her walk away.


Later, as he sat in his study, he looked back on the whole episode and smiled. it was all so bizarre. And now that it was over, it even seemed funny. He realized that it was probably the first truly unusual thing that had ever happened to him in his entire life. His life had always been so humdrum, so boring that he had sought refuge in the magical worlds he created, not literally of course, but enough to keep him insulated from the outside world. His worlds were unusual because his World was mundane. But his work was terrible because deep down he knew his life was terrible. But now, something had happened, something strange and unusual and it had set
He switched on his computer and logged on to a Tarun Rai fan page forum. But strangely enough, he couldn't think of any insults to hurl against himself. He couldn't stop thinking about his No 1 Fan.
He logged out and opened up a Word document instead. Outside, the rain had just begun. The rumbling thunder had given way to the hiss of the raindrops falling on the trees, the quiet yet forceful sound of the breeze. The night was awakening as the world went to sleep. But alone in a room that smelled of wet feet, hunched in front of a computer screen, he typed and he typed until there was nothing left. And then he began to read. He read about his encounter with a delusional fan, his discomfort, her obsession, his embarassment. He wrote about trying to get a word in in vain. And the joy that he felt when she left. Perhaps he embellished or even made up some of the things that were now on the screen. Had she really chased him home? Was her jhola really filled with cigarettes? Was the tea he was sipping before she came really the best he had ever had?
Probably not, but he had reached the point where fact and fiction had become inseparable; where the truth flows seemlessy into the product of his imagination; in other words, that grey zone where real stories are born.
The minute he wrote the words 'The End' at the bottom of the document, he felt an unaccustomed surge of accomplishment. One that he had never felt before, but needed to feel again. So he wrote another story. And another one. Every time, he felt a rush the moment he completed a plotline and like a junkie, he needed to feel that rush over and over again. And each time, he needed to write more and more to get that rush. Unbeknownst to him, his fiction was maturing before his very eyes. What astonished him was the fact that each and every story he wrote was born from a memory, a memory belonging to the recollection of his uninspiring, humdrum life. But as if his No 1 Fan was a catalyst, he transformed the recollections of his past into finely crafted tales, the like of which had never flowd from his keyboard before. He reached the point where he could even include veiled references to individuals and incidents. At that point, he stopped. The echo of words long forgotten rang in his ears. A woman trying to pick out secrets from the pages of a battered old book with his name on the cover. He giggled hysteically the moment he realised that this was exactly what she had been looking for. He giggled but he typed on.
The sun rose on a dingy room that still smelled of feet. But they were dry feet now and a different man was sitting in the lone chair in front of a glowing computer screen. A pair of eyes read and re-read the lines before them while a pair of ears heard the familiar noises of the old lady downstairs getting up out of bed, stumbling over her cat and cursing. Still the eyes read.
This was it.
This was what he needed. He knew that this was going to be different. He knew it was going to work. He got up, shaved, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, put on his clothes, hit print, and walked out of the house towards his publishers'. They were going to love this.


They hated it. Or, to be precise, they found it quite an interesting bunch of stories, but not quite what they were expecting out of him, thank you very much, after all he had a formula going and they really didn't want to lose (so sorry, they meant disappoint) their core demographic, now did they, and they weren't quite sure this...manuscript really appealed to that demographic and surely he could nip on home and write the final installment to his Conqueror of Crowp series of young adult novels, after all so many people were waiting for it with bated breath and of course he understood, didn't he?
He understood. He tore up his contract with them that very day, legality be damned. Thankfully, his successful career of peddling bullshit to kids had earned him a pretty little sum which had been careful to keep stored away in the bank, living frugally and withdrawing it in small amounts so that one day he could afford that trip to Vegas and watch Love.
All thoughts of Vegas forgotten, he decided to take out all the money in his account and use it to publish his book independently. It was a gamble, but he hoped it would pay off.
Did it? Well that's another story. It's set to come out this November. We'll see if fortune really does favour the bold.
Two last loose ends to tie up before we leave Tarun Rai to his future, whatever it may be.
First, Anita Sen had left her copy of  The Red Door on the table in front of Tarun Rai. He found a name and address scrawled on the first page in a green pen and so decided to send it back to her, even though she probably wouldn't want it. Sure enough, it wound up in the trash with its pages ripped out and the cover defaced the very next morning. Anita never read another word written by Tarun rai. According to her, she was done with 'no-good talentless hacks'.
And finally, Tarun thought long and hard and decided that his upcoming book, his collection of short stories would be named after the two words which had driven him to keep writing right after he typed them out at the bottom of each story; had pushed him to finish an entire 500 page collection in a single night. Those words and the name of the book they inspired were:


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No 1 Fan - Part 5 - The Gist

"My mother used to read your book to my little sister every night before she went to sleep. So every night, I'd hear your words, ringing in my ears. To be honest, I didn't think very much of your writing at first. I used to make fun of my mother and sister for reading what I thought was trash. Slowly though, as I listened to your words instead of just hearing them, I realized that there was more, so much more, just lying beneath the surface, just waiting for a discerning reader to come along. The first time I actually read one of your books, I read it cover to cover. It was an epiphany. Suddenly I'd found what I had been looking for for so many years, though I didn't know that I was looking for it. It was like your book just fit somewhere...somewhere deep inside me, in a place where neither man nor God has been, a place where there was nothing but is now so full of your brilliance; full like our plumbing after my Uncle Avranav pays a visit on Pujo."
He watched her rhapsodize in front of him with a mixture of uneasiness and amusement. Never before had he struggled to contain his laughter while desperately searching for a cop, just in case she acted as crazy as she sounded. What made it even more surreal was the fact that she was talking about him like that with...oh good God, she actually had tears in her eyes.
He suddenly noticed that she had finished and was looking expectantly at him. The old uneasiness set in.
"Er... listen...Anita. I really don't know what you're talking about. The truth is, my books don't have any kind of hidden meaning in them at all. See--"
"I knew you'd be humble."
"Um...excuse me?"
"I knew you'd try to downplay your magnificence. I knew it the minute I read Chapter Three: The Rocking-Horse of Enki-Boo."
"And, um, what about  Chapter Three: The Rocking-Horse of Enki-Boo?"
"Well it's obvious once you think about it. That's the Chapter in which you introduce Gilheridas the squirrel. The very fact that you compare Gilheridas' tail to a quill is very telling. Clearly, Gilheridas himself is an allegory for Tarun Rai, the author. You. The tail doesn't just look like a quill, it is a quill, wielded by you, the bard, the storyteller. The fact that you say Gilheridas is little is evidence that you have a tendency to belittle yourself. Gilheridas' voice is soft; in other words, you do not like to proclaim your greatnes in a loud voice. And the final stroke was when you didn't make Gilheridas a primary character, but an inconsequential one. I mean, he gets eaten by a rabid gorilla three sentences after he's introduced, for Christ's sake! Clearly you are secondary to your story, or at least you think you are. If that isn't humility, I don't know what is."
"Actually I said Gilheridas' tail looks like a quill because...well... I've always thought squirrel tails look like feathers. And I made him little because...well...squirrels are little."
"Oh come on now. You don't actually expect me to believe that, do you?"
"I really really do."
"Fine. What about Bawarchi, hmm? Don't tell me he isn't a atheistic metaphor."
"A king who became a chef? Clear reference to the Bible where God is referred to as a divine monarch. At the same time there are frequent references to a 'heavenly banquet'. By making Bawarchi a king turned chef, someone who would be expected to prepare banquets, you clearly set him up to represent the Almighty. However, the story dwells on how powerless he is and how he can do nothing without the help of children. Children. A clear indication that you believe in the theory that God is a creation of Man and not vice versa; that without Man, God has no meaning."
"Are you serious?! I haven't even read the Bible! And don't go calling me an atheist in front of my mom, she'll kill me! She already makes me spend an hour at the temple everyday ever since that time she caught me reading..I am atheist. I make donations to the local pundit, I fast every Tuesday, I-I-."
"Mr. Rai?"
You're rambling."
"Now let's talk about Neha. Obviously a personification of the emancipation of the Modern Indian Woman who isn't afraid to try new sexual experiences and indulge in deviant behaiour."
"What?! She's seven frikkin' years old!"
"Interesting choice of numbers. Seven deadly sins anyone? Anyway, that one's pretty much a certainty. After all, she is riding a centaur on the cover. Half-man, half-horse? And you're telling me that isn't a fetish?"
"Yes, she's riding on a centaur, but she's also riding with her brother."
"Don't even get me started on that. Plus, in the book, she gets a magic staff. Magic staff? Could that be any more Freudian?"
"You. Are. SICK!"
"Her mother's name is Savita? Come on. Does that ring a bell?"
He then sat in stunned silence while Anita proceeded to link the fact that his second book was called Indian Fairy Tales to homoeroticism, the colour of one of his character's eyes to the rampant corruption in the current government and the names of a group of crickets in his latest book to his (supposed) hatred for the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
For a while, he listened to her occasionally throwing in horrified interjections and corrections which she listened to patiently and then completely ignored. Then, when the constant stream of deductions became no more than a meaningless flow of words (turtle...Impressionism...dwarf....freedom of press), he started toying with the idea of pretending that his works really were insightful and full of undiscovered worth. But he'd been raised to be honest and, more importantly, he was reasonably certain that if he played along with this girl, his situation might change from that of any B-grade rom-com to something along the lines of Misery.
So it was around the point that she definitively proved that his desciption of a lake in his short story The First Gnome of Chlork was proof of his secret Communist beliefs that he said:

Friday, May 20, 2011


I know you think you're better than me
And I know I think you're not
I know the things they say about me
They mean nothing, but at the same time, a lot.
I know the words you expect from me
And I know they're what I can't say
I know I've got to cheat to win
I know crime doesn't pay
Like a tight-fisted parent whose face means nothing to you
You look around and then look within
For a sign of the greater things you know are to come
But like an imprisoned, impotent old djinn
Your rage wells up inside you
And I see it in your eyes
I eat but I can't think about you
I see truth in your lies
I know there isn't a ray of sunshine to break
Through me, not this time around
I know that you have been looking desperately for
Those things you wished you hadn't found
I know these words mean nothing to him
That my eyes turn away from hers
I know the evil that lies, lies within
The Ma'ams and the Dudes and the Sirs
I know they can't hear me when I cry in the night
I know it's the day that has dawned
I know you could try but you'd never convince her
That your uncle lies under that pond
She doesn't believe you
Deceive her instead
She's not going to see you
With that chip on your head
Your shoulder is bare, do you know it? I do.
I see it all day in the glass
That looks back at me with tears in its eyes
And whispers to me as it laughs
"What demon possessed you?
What have you done?"
Are questions that are never asked
But all the same
They're the questions that last.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Tombstone Talks

Here lies the body of Jimmy I. Hives
Kept twenty-four people from ending their lives
Listened to arguments and worries, complaints
That could try the patience of the holiest saints
With his cap on his head and umbrella in hand
Old Jimmy never shirked from lending a hand
When Billy Jean cocked a gun to his own head
"Don't do it" was what Jimmy's soft voice said
When Ricky Burrito said he'd jump from a cliff
Only Jimmy could keep him from becoming a stiff
Nancy Parker slit her wrists at six by the clock
And woke up to find Jimmy had brought her the Doc
Harry Paulson's wife Linda ran off to Rome
It was Jimmy's persuasion that brought her back home
Just in time to see Harry, in his hand was a knife
No doubt about it, Jimmy saved Harry's life
Candice DeMorgan, alone at eighty-two
Says she'd have just given up if it wasn't for you know who
He visited her in hospital, sat by her white bed
Jimmy I. Hives brought her back from the dead
He argued Arnold Van Dyke's case in court like heck
And kept the hangman's noose away from an innocent man's neck
Seventeen hostages owed their very lives
To that passionate negotiator, Jimmy I. Hives
He convinced the lone gunman to lay down his gun
And let them out of that bank, one by one
On his 50th birthday, Jim was in for a treat
Those twenty-four people went over to meet
The hero, their angel who had saved all their lives
They arrived at the home of Jimmy I. Hives
They knocked and they hollered, they rang and they frowned
And finally they got Little Bobby Brown
(Who'd been snatched from in front of a speeding car
By Jimmy Boy who saw it rush at the kid from afar)
To open a window, crawl in and unlock
The door upon which twenty-four people had knocked
He did so, they came in and rushed upstairs
To the bedroom where they stopped, they stood and they stared
Until someone in quivering, grief-stricken voice said
"It's Jimmy...Old Jimmy...Jimmy Hives is dead!"
They rushed him to the hospital where the Doc sadly said:
"Cause of death: overdosed while lying in bed."
You see, poor Jimmy had always fought depression,
He fought a lone battle without any mode of expression
'Cause Jimmy had always been alone
He never ever had someone to call his own
No friends, no family, no wife, no son
Jimmy I. Hives had nobody, no one
So he tried to help others and he never complained
Although in Jimmy's life, it had always rained
But though he saved lives and became a hero to all
That didn't ease his burden, for still no one called
Him while he sat at home, alone, all alone
Staring with dull eyes at the ever-silent phone
So he wrote an apology and paid all his bills
Then lay down in bed and downed a bottle of pills
And so here lies his body, alone on a hill
Undisturbed all year long, that is until
The 31st of December, his birthday comes 'round
And twenty-four people all crowd around
And lay twenty-four roses on that single grave
For the twenty-fifth life that Jimmy I. Hives couldn't save.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I know I'm interrupting No 1 Fan's plotline (again!) but I thought this was worth a mention.
I'd like to welcome to this blog a certain Ms. Dipin Kaur, who has recently started following it. Why is this of any significance you might ask? Quite simply, she is the first follower of this blog who I do not know personally! Seriously. Yeah, I know, it's kinda sad but hopefully this is a sign of things to come. So I'd like to thank Ms. Kaur for making my day and I hope to get some feedback from her. I also hope you won't tire of my inconsistency and bear with me which seems to have become the most often used phrase in this blog.
Oh and if by any chance you accidentally pressed the follow button and were planning to correct that but won't do so now because you feel it would be embarassing....meh, I'll take what I can get. A pity follower's better than no followers, right?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

No 1 Fan - Part 4 - The Reason

<Sorry it took so long people, my exams were on and I kinda lost interest in this plotline. But never fear! I am back on track and hopefully I'll be able to finish this thing soon. Please excuse the brevity of this next part, but it takes a while for me to get back in the groove. Bear with me!>

He looked at the book with disgust. Then he looked back up at her.
"This is why you're here?"
"Of course."
"But it's trash."
"I know it is..."
He relaxed. She was insulting the book. All was right with the universe again.
" compared to your later work."
He coughed. His later work? The Red Door was a steaming pile of cowdung, but it was only marginally worse than the rest of his books. As one reviewer put it, "Tarun Rai's one admirable trait is his consistency. Possibly no other writer has managed to continuously and dilligently churn out as much nauseating material as Tarun Rai."
He decided to ask her outright.
"What exactly do you like about the book?"
She thought for a minute.
"Well... I like the subtle way in which you mock democracy's shortcomings. Oh, and the veiled references to your contemporaries is pretty entertaining as well. But what really impressed me was the absolutely unassuming way in which you tackle the subject of your own mortality whilst highlighting the futility of resisting the temptations that come our way everyday."
He smiled. And then he nodded. And then smiled again. He looked into her chestnut eyes, past the lenses of the round spectacles perched on the bridge of her nose. And then he asked her:
"What the hell are you talking about?"  

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I tried to write the next part of "No 1 Fan", but I found I was in the mood for a lil poetry instead. Never fear though, I shall return to the Author's tale anon.
Let me know what you think of "Mobius".

I sit here typing endlessly
Waiting for another chance
A shot, a glimpse of eternity
A tiger with no pants

Feel free to rhyme
It is no crime
For all you see
Is all but me

A terror in the turnip field
Came calling at my door
A letter once with steam unsealed
Can be glanced through no more

Another time
A bog of slime
I feel so free
As the swineherds flee

Can you imagine the bonds we broke?
The supple fields, the brook and bridge?
A stranger in a dark green cloak
A fearsome brow upon a ridge

He comes to take
All those who fake
A way outside
To find their pride

Alas, my memory unbroke
A gargoyle turned to me
And then began to fiercely choke
All that was left of thee

Could I have saved
What critics raved
And ranted to be
A fallacy?

I leave these questions in your hands
I tried to let it flow
As lonely hearts and their respective bands
Show'd unto me the way to go

Green fields of jade
For whom they paid
At this arcade
As mem'ries fade
And horses neighed
The butchers weighed
The flesh; a shade
Watched these fair women wander free
I sit here typing endlessly...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

No 1 Fan - Part 3 - The Book

"Look, would it help if I told you why I'm here?"
His head snapped up at this sudden lifeline being thrown his way. He took a deep breath and said as if she'd just asked him whether he'd like her to remove the Great White Shark snacking on his vertebral column, "Yes, please."
"Very well then. This is why I'm here."
She fished around in the jhola she had with her. Finally she took out a book.
It was a rather unremarkable book, much dog-eared with a once bright yellow dust jacket, now faded with age and repeated perusals. The cover depicted a little boy and girl riding astride a centaur, surrounded by a multitude of fantastic beasts: dragons, manticores, ogres et al.
The Red Door by Tarun Rai.
A book that was widely panned by critics shortly before its release, but quickly sold out when it hit stores. Its signature blend of characters culled from a dozen different ancient myths, large, colourful and yet bland pictures, cringe-worthy verses, one-dimensional characters and more than a sprinkling of all-too familiar themes (plagiarism? Maybe a little.) proved inexplicably popular with children below the age of 10 and, more importantly, their parents. More important because whether or not their tiny tot really liked the book, every mother and father wanted their child to read it because it was "safe", "innocent" and, that most hideous of all adjectives, "cute".
And so it sold. Thousands of kids read about little Hari and Neha who find a gateway to a magical world called Jaadupur in their scooter garage, befriend Bawarchi, the erstwhile king (now chef) of the land and, finally, overthrow the evil dragon, Chip-kali, who had long ago usurped the throne (no explanation for why a dragon would want to usurp the throne, considering the local villagers already worshipped it. Not to mention how it did so, considering it was killed by a pair of 8-year-olds. With a broom. An enchanted broom, granted, but still, it's a rather tenuous argument.), after which they promptly and rather annoyingly live happily ever after with their various pixie friends who merely serve as cardboad cut-outs of characters.
He hated that book. Loathed it actually. He would often rip pages out of his own copy to use as toilet paper. He had also taken to ripping it apart in online chat rooms under the name TarunRaiSucks363784 (yes, there were actually 363783 others, probably more), an activity from which he derived a rather sadistic pleasure, especially if the person he was chatting with happened to be a fan. He actually kept a notebook in which he had noted down all the fallacies of the plot ('What happened to the kids' parents? Did they just leave them behind without even a note? Rotten kids.' or 'Exactly why is Bawarchi resigned to live his life as a chef? Do people really want such a lackadaisical, inefficient ruler who can't even find a damn broom without the help of little kids? Come to think of it, who the hell names their son Bawarchi? I mean, come on!!!' or 'Why the Red Door? Nowhere in the book is there a significant red door. The door to the scooter garage is painted white, for crying out loud!' and so on).
He despised it.
Its very name made him shudder in disgust.
It was also one of the first books he had written.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No 1 Fan - Part 2 - Just Checking

<Okay, I know it's been a while since I've put anything up. Basically, I've been strapped for time. Or, to be precise, I never seem to be in the mood to write and have time to write at the same time.
Anyway, I've had certain observers of this blog ask me why I've been hibernating, so I decided to break the rest of "No 1 Fan" into even smaller installments, so I can at least have regular posts.
This next one's pretty inconsequential, but it moves the story along and, hopefully, keeps you in suspense. Or maybe it'll just piss you off.
Whatever the case may be, enjoy. More to come>

He gaped at her for a while. Then he realized he looked ridiculous with his mouth hanging open and decided to close it. He looked up at her. She was looking at him expectantly. He opened his mouth to say something, realized he had nothing to say and shut the hell up once more. She was still looking at him, one eyebrow raised. He started sweating. He opened his mouth and then closed it again. He repeated this little exercise a few more times before clearing his throat.
Then he just stared at her.
Slowly, he grew suspicious. Had he heard her right? Best to make sure.
The bored expression partially left her face.
"Um... sorry, but what did you say?"
"I said 'yes' with a lilt at the end which generally suggests that what I said was interrogative in nature."
"Riiiiight... no, I mean what did you say before that?"
"Are you okay, Mr. Rai?"
"Before that."
"Oh. I said, "My name's Anita Sen.""
"And I'm your number one fan."
"Ah, right."
And then he went back to doing his goldfish impression.

To be continued...