Saturday, April 26, 2014

The One Time in the Bathroom

A typical day (or night) in YOUR life! 

Warning: This post has been rated X. It contains graphical descriptions of nudity, obscenity, and violence that could scar your minds for ever. Read this only if you're above 18 years of age. If you're below 18, I request you to close this page immediately and clear your cache memory.


It is a few minutes past 8.30 PM. You have just arrived home after a grueling day at work. And the long travel? Oh even worse. You enter your room. This is the one place where you're the ultimate boss. This is your kingdom and you're The King. Errrr. Wait a minute! Let's make that The Prince. The King is probably downstairs, siting on the sofa, snoring away to the rhythm of the soap opera running on the television. The Queen, on the other hand, stares unblinkingly into the idiot box, engrossed in the woes of the abala naari, the reincarnation of Sita Devi herself, the epitome of selflessness and sacrifice, who loved one man, married another and gave birth to another man's child! She is quite oblivious to the snores of His Highness. A sigh escapes her nostrils. Poor woman, what did she do to deserve all this in her life?! The sigh reverberates through the house and finds its way to your room upstairs. A sigh escapes your nostrils too. Polyamory, extra marital affairs, and the comforts and security of a marriage, and she's still the abala naari! Welcome to the world of soaps!

Errr. Where were we? Ah yes, you're in your room. Okay. Now, the room feels stuffy. The summer is at its peak but the nights are cool, and you sleep like a baby, thanks to the air conditioner that works hard to spit out cold air into your room. So, that means a strict no no to open windows. No wonder the room felt stuffy. Wait a minute! Why do they use the phrase sleep like a baby when most babies, in actual, wakes up and cries a lot during the night?! Strange! You decide that it is time for some fresh air to enter your province. It had rained yesterday night. Who knows? Maybe the atmosphere outside is cool. You forget the fact that you had just walked half a kilometer from the bus stop to your house in this very same atmosphere! You draw the curtains to either sides. Click! Click! Click! Click! And lo and behold, two windows are open. You stand in front of the open windows, waiting for a gush of chilly wind to caress your face. A moment passes. Two. Three. Nothing. The atmosphere outside isn't as Shimla-like as you imagined it to be. You feel like an idiot and decide to take your evening shower.

You strip out of your formal clothing and dump them in your laundry bag. You tie your Turkish towel around your waist to cover your loins. You see your reflection in the almost full-length mirror in your room. Not bad, you say to yourself! You try to do a little Saawariya in front of the mirror! Jab Se Tere Naina, Mere Naino Se Lage Re. Suddenly you realize what you're doing and stops yourself. You hear the Russell Peters inside you say, Be a Man! You think he's right. It's macho time, baby! And then, you begin to show off those little pecks of muscle that you have. Ding! Ding! And here comes your hero, weighing a 130 pounds, from the God's Own Country, and the current heavy weight champion, The Yoooooooooouuuuuuuuu! You can see Salman Khan in the mirror, rolling on the floor, laughing his ass out and peeing all over himself. You quit your antics and walk into your bathroom.

You strip to Adam state and hang your towel on the towel rod. You switch on the new vaporizer you had bought a couple of days ago. You've a bad cold since the past week. Sneeze! You take in the steam for a good 5 minutes. Wow! That's the longest stretch by far! If your Regional Head had seen this, he would instantly send an email to the region group. Good Job, Team You for using the vaporizer for five minutes! Kudos! Who will be the next one? Another sigh escapes. The steam has formed a layer of mist of your bathroom mirror. You write your name on it with your fingertip. Y-O-U

Wait a minute! What's this? Your eyes fall upon the tube of clarifying mud pack on the shelf next to the mirror. How did this get here?, you wonder. You don't remember buying it. Yet, it is half empty. You must have bought it long time ago. But why didn't I notice it till now. You're baffled. After all, you stand in front of the mirror twice every day, brushing your teeth. Okay. Now now! I agree that on some days it is just once but come on, give me the benefit of doubt! You plead for your cause. After all, you wanted to be a lawyer, didn't you?

Anyways, you decide to try it now. You read the instructions on the back of the tube. Apply evenly over cleansed face and neck, avoiding the area around the eyes. Allow it to dry for 10-15 minutes. Remove with a wet sponge and wash the skin with cold water. Okay. You know it all by now. You open the cap and squeeze the tube. A gush of air comes out with a sound. It sounds like a fart, you think. You realize that it was more empty than you imagined. But you're no loser. There's no going back now for you're The Prince! Having lived in a hostel for 4 years, you know more than well how to squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out of a tube that's so thin and beaten that you could tie a string to it and fly it as a kite! You start from the bottom and gently work your way up towards the neck until you get what you wanted. It reminds you of something else. Something you did the same way. What was it? What was it? You try hard to remember. And then it strikes you - Women! Silly me, you think!

You have enough cream on the insides of your palm. You begin to apply generously of what was left in the tube. You didn't want to keep anything more for later. Suddenly, you start feeling a tingling on your face. Okay, this is funny!, you think. You check the tube for the expiry date. It is still in its safe usage period. You're half relieved. Then you see it, in tiny italics - May cause a tingling sensation due to herbal active ingredients, which is normal. You smile to yourself. Silly me!

You sit on the crapper and relaxes. You look down and smile. That's my boy! Who's your daddy?! Who's your daddy?! The smile turns to a grin. But the boy looks uninterested! Suddenly, you hear your intestines calling out to you, Hello! I'm trying to work here! And you're not helping the cause! You're embarrassed and decide to postpone the boy-man thing to later. You lean back onto the flush tank and close your eyes.

You're brought back to reality by a strange noise. It is like something stirring against something. And then, it stopped. You can't place either of these somethings. As an instant reflex, you lift your legs from the floor and look around the toilet's base. Nothing. You keep your feet back on the floor cautiously while your eyes still search for the source. Clear! You look up on the roof of the bathroom. Clear! A third sigh escapes you. You throw a are we done here? look at your intestines. It nods back in denial. You lean back onto the flush yet again.

Then you hear it again. This time it lasts longer. It is from outside the bathroom. There is something outside that door and it is clawing at the bathroom door. It must be something fairly big by the sound of it. Mouse is your first guess. No way. It is a new house and there aren't any here. What if it came through the window? Ah! Could it be? Whatever it is, it couldn't come inside the bathroom through the narrow gap between the door and the flooring. But then, it will still be in your room, waiting for you to come out! The thought is somewhat creepy. You usually don't fear such small rodents or insects. But the fear of the unknown is inexplicable. 

The thing is moving again. This time, you can see a black, long thing protruding from underneath the door. Now two! What is it? Tentacles? Legs? Was it a scorpion?, you wonder. After all, it rained yesterday and the Earth had cooled down a bit. Or a cockroach? No. It wasn't as small as a cockroach. Besides, a cockroach, no matter how big, would have easily made it to the inside by now. Wait a minute! Is it what I think it is? I had thought it was just mythical. That Lilly and Marshall had simply made it up. That Robin had given in to it to make them feel good. Then it wasn't all cooked up, was it? Is it really the Cockamouse that is waiting for me outside??!!! 

You start to hyperventilate. You quickly grab the health faucet. Later honey, we've got a situation here, you tell your bowels. It is a now or never moment. There is no escaping. This is when you face the worst of your fears. If Robin could do it, so could I, you decide. You grab hold of the long handle of the bathroom floor cleaner brush. As soon as I open the door, hit it on its head, you tell yourself. Open, hit; Open, hit. No delay. You sigh again. This is the fourth for the night. But this is different. This is a war cry. I don't know what I've been told. If I die in a combat zone. Box me up and send me home... 

And the door swings open. There it is. Huge and black. You hit it but misses by a few inches. But it falls onto the bathroom floor. And you get a good view of it. Thank goodness, it isn't a Cockamouse! But this is worse. This is a huge wood borer beetle, the size of your palm. Okay, now that was an exaggeration! Fine! Half the size of your palm. Happy?! Before you get a good view of it, it decides to test its wings to see the level of damage suffered in the surprise attack. And it flies straight at your boy

You hardly have any time to realize what is happening. You are still busy staring at the beetle as if you could tell his scientific name by doing that. The beetle had attacked you at your most vulnerable spot. Maybe it could see that you were standing stark naked; both of you on equal playgrounds; no armors. The moment you realize what has happened, you shriek. Your shriek is muffled by the exhaust fan running at full speed. War fields are not for cry babies. You hit at beetle with your limp hand, forgetting for a moment where the beetle was resting. Ouch!!!!! The beetle fell to the ground so did you. You hit your elbow on the walls in the process. Luckily, your head is safe. You can feel fire burning inside you. Vengeance. It really hurts! 

You decide to forget your pain for the moment and stands up. You arm yourself again. You search for your enemy. But the view is blocked by the tears that has formed in your eyes. No room for pain in the war field. You wipe off the tears with the back of your hand. There he is. He is pretty shocked too, it seems. He is lying on his back, unable to move or launch his next attack. Everything is fair in love and war, you remind yourself. You beat the brush in the general direction of the beetle again and again. And again. Tears and vengeance have blinded you again. By the time you regain your composure, the beetle is in a bad shape. Alive but hurt pretty badly.

Vengeance is such a bitch. You don't kill it. You leave it like that - injured, maimed, and begging for an quick death. You lift it by one of its legs. You are still a bit scared of a spring attack from his part. Your first thought is to flush it down the toilet. But then, you decide against it. You have seen a lot of Hollywood movie to convince you against doing that. What if he gets mutated and comes back for revenge at your vulnerable worst, when you least expect it?! Don't forget, vengeance is a bitch! You decide to throw it out of the ventilator. You open the ventilator and swing out the beetle. It falls two storeys down, into the lap of Mother Earth, where we shall all return one day. Sigh the Fifth!

You decide to complete what was interrupted earlier. You return to the throne a.ka. the crapper once again. You lean forward and hum a tune. It is the victory song. I don't know what I've been told. I know a girl dressed all in black. She makes her living on her back...

And then, out of nowhere, something huge lands on the bare back of your body. It lands with a thud and you can feel it crawling on your back. You're so taken aback that you jump forward and collide head on with the wall. Bang! You vigorously shake your body and swing your hand over your back. Something falls on the ground. It was him again! You can't believe your eyes. Yes! It was definitely him! You could see his transparent blood oozing out of the part where you had broken him into two. And still he managed to fly two storeys high. But how did he get in? Remember the ventilator you opened? You were too proud and busy celebrating your victory that you forgot to close it. Vengeance is definitely a bitch! But you realize that it was all he had left in him. He couldn't launch another attack even if he wanted to. It was time; time to go, you tell yourself. You take out your sword and swooooosh! One blow is enough. He dies. A brave, warrior's death. You step back and give him a salute. It was an honor fighting you! You pick him again and return him to Mother Earth yet another time. But this time, you make sure that the ventilator is closed afterwards.

Those of you who thought that the story is over by now, brace yourself up. Because it isn't. You are quite happy with the final win but the bump on your head is growing. You realize that you need to rub a little water on it lest it grows huge! And you did exactly that. But you forget the fact the face pack is still on. And it drips onto your eyes. Oooouuuucccchhhhh!!!! *clattering sound* What did I break?!

FootNote: This has been an absolutely fantastic month for me, creatively and otherwise too. And with this post, I concede to the requests from a few dear friends to shed the serious crap and write something humorous in the lines of The Barber Shop Story. I'm not sure how much humor you found in this one, but I must say some serious crap was definitely shed throughout the story!

ToeNote: For all the die hard animal lovers, fanatic advocates of culture and heritage, and other self proclaimed "minorities" who were offended by my post, I present to you The Bird!

NailNote: To all those kids below 18 years of age who are still reading this, I'm sorry to disappoint you. But then again, if you actually "stumbled" upon this expecting something else, then you don't deserve what you were searching for to begin with! Kids!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Three Wishes

The afternoon was hot and humid. The sun was blazing on the tarmac covered parking area of the church giving rise to a mirage. It was completely empty. On any given morning, Sunday or otherwise, it would have been packed with cars. I pulled up the car underneath the lone tree that stood in the vast expanse of the courtyard. It looked as if the tree signified faith that stood the test of the sun, proclaiming aloud "O Come, Ye Faithful".

Both the doors opened at the same time. The first rays of the summer sun hit me like piercing arrows. We walked hurriedly towards the church's entrance, she led and I followed. The air inside the church was no different. It was hot and I instantly felt sweat forming inside my shirt. I felt an ease knowing that there was no one else inside the church.

She walked slowly towards the altar that stood empty. Her heels made a tapping sound on the wooden aisle, the sound resonating in the thick air of the empty church. Again, I followed her lead. She chose the second row of seats to the left. She knelt on the old, mosaic flooring of the church and drew a cross. Her hands automatically reached for her shawl and pulled it into a veil over her head. The non-believer that I was, I chose to sit on the wooden bench behind her while she got engrossed in her prayers.

The heat was getting to me now. I could feel the sweat drops forming along my collar line, later rolling down my chest, over my tummy and finally settling on my tucked-in shirt. I wondered how she could remain so oblivious to her surroundings. But then I knew the answer myself. She was a faithful, a firm believer. No amount of cajoling or reasoning could shake her faith. Boy, had I tried?!

I watched her as she stood kneeling, deep in her prayers. I looked at her lips. They weren't moving. But I could sense that a millions prayers were being chanted by her in the inside. I thought I could hear the hum of those prayers leaving her heart. Little beads of perspiration had started to form on her upper lips. The moment and her, both felt pristine.

I heard a sigh escape her. Tears were rolling down from her closed eyes. I was worried but knew it was best not to disturb her. Or ask her about it later on. She drew a cross again and opened her eyes. She wasn't looking at me. She stood and sat next to me, her eyes fixed on the figure high above the altar in front of her.

"Is this the first time that you're coming here?" She broke the silence in a timid whisper. I don't know why she whispered. Maybe she was afraid her voice would break the sanctity of the place.

"Yes. Even though I've been here on a few occasions, I had never entered the church." I replied in a whisper. What was I afraid of, I wondered! Being an atheist, I thought of myself as the equivalent of what the church called Satan. Shhh. I didn't want them to know that I was here! I think I had a smirk on my face then.

"Anyone who visits this church for the first time should make three wishes. They say that it will come true." 

I looked at her face. It reflected the purity of her heart; her innocence, and faith. I didn't want to make fun of it.

"What did you wish for the first time you came here?" I was curious.

"I don't remember it. It was long ago, when I was still in school. It was probably about the exams or something similar. But I do remember that they came true."

I smiled.

We both returned our gazes towards the altar again. We left the church after spending some more time in total silence.

As we walked towards the car, she asked me, "Did you make the three wishes?"

"No." I replied

She didn't pursue the matter anymore.

                                                              *** *** ***

It was later in the afternoon. She was waiting for me by the curb as I bought cotton candies for both of us. She wanted pink, I wanted the white one. The mini truck swerved to the left. It was its outstretched rear view mirror that hit her arms from behind. The shock and pain made her swing, causing her to hit the metal advertisement board by the pavement.

She fell down on the pavement. The mini truck screeched to a halt. I stood transfixed to my spot seeing the sight unfolding before me. Another moment, and I regained my senses. But everything was like a mirage. I screamed her name. I ran towards her. I pushed the people away from her and lifted her head into my lap. She wasn't bleeding. She wasn't conscious either. I felt a faint heartbeat. I screamed for some conveyance. I shook her to wake her up. I fought the people who tried to separate her from me.

And then it happened. It took her in my arms and held her tight and close. I didn't want to let go of that embrace. Here we go. I wish I could hold her tight in my arms. I felt a strange coldness on her body. I was becoming hysterical. I was screaming, shouting, crying. I pulled her closer and kissed her on her forehead. Secondly, I want to kiss her. Two pairs of arms took her from my fold forcefully and carried her to a car. They lifted me into the rear seat. Her head rested on my lap.

There were voices around me asking me things - Name, Phone Number, Address. I couldn't hear them. It was as if they were screaming from afar. I was in a haze. Oh, I had forgotten to collect the cotton candies! What will I tell her parents? Was the mini truck driver detained by the people? Who will call the police? I needed cash to pay the hospital. Is there an ATM nearby? And then I passed out.

Third wish, third wish. I want her to be mine, in every sense, in every way. Pause. I'm such an ass, ain't I? Okay. I will change it. Hmmmmm. Let her have a smile on her face and be at peace, always. She was in the comma for 33 hours. She had a severe brain injury and had suffered a concussion, I was told. There was heavy internal bleeding and tissue tear. 

I stood there as prayers were chanted in the background. My friend received her last rites. I stood leaning against the pillar in the porch. I hadn't showered or changed in two days. I probably looked like a disheveled lunatic. There were faces everywhere. Some I knew, some I didn't. But I didn't want to look at them. The eyes, they were piercing at me, I thought. He is the one who killed her. I could hear them saying to one another. 

I felt a hand on my shoulders. It felt heavy. I looked up. He nodded. I slowly walked into the front room of the house. In a moment, the cries from the inside of the house rose to a heart breaking shrillness. I felt my feet collapsing underneath my body. The hand from earlier still held me. It was as if he knew.

I took one look at her, draped in white satin. She hates satin. And silk. Didn't they know it? Idiots! She looked happy. She had a smile on her lips. And she looked at peace with herself. And the world. And they closed the coffin, preserving her smile for ever.

FootNote: This post is written exclusively for someone, in remembrance of the afternoon and the Three Wishes that were made.

ToeNote: Considering the dry spells during the past few years, I feel like I'm approaching the prime of my creative self. I sincerely hope that it last.

NailNote: During the past few days, I've fell in love with Thrissur more and more. It will always be on my Top 5 Destinations to Live In!

Sunday, April 06, 2014


Have you ever felt vulnerable? Stupid question, isn't it? Everyone would have, at some point of time in their lifetime. I too have, time and again. But it never dawned upon me that vulnerability  was multi-faceted until today.

Incident 1: It was around 10 in the morning. I was with my friend at Sree Kerala Varma College ground in Thrissur. Our bank's inter regional sports finals were being held here. On the eastern side of the ground stood a few old, time-worn buildings that housed the men's hostel. The path to the canopy put up by us was through the hostel compound. As he and I walked towards our colleagues, I saw someone coming from the hostel's direction. There was something different about him. As he came closer, I realized it. He was blind.

He had a bag across his shoulders and was dressed to go out. What struck me the most was the fact that he was without his walking stick. As he heard our approaching footsteps (or was it our conversation?), he asked us whether we would help him get to the road. Without hesitation, I volunteered. The main gates were closed since the college had closed after the end of the academic year. Hence, we had to take the side entrance which had a swivel gate and would take some effort to get past.

I never had any previous acquaintances with people with any forms of disability. So, in my eagerness to help, I grabbed his hand so that I could lead him towards the gate. To my surprise, he hurriedly freed himself from my grip and to my even bigger surprise, grabbed my hand instead. It took me a moment to realize that blind people held your hand when seeking guidance and not the other way around. I felt embarrassed at my over enthusiasm and felt painfully aware of my surroundings. Even though there was no one else around in the area, I felt like there were a hundred eyes piercing into me. And it left me wondering - who was really vulnerable here - him or me?

Incident 2: The cafe was on the third floor of the mall and overlooked a busy junction of Thrissur. Even with the air conditioner on and the fan running at full speed, the heat outside was getting to us. The menu card on the table proclaimed "the food, the view, the people". True I thought. The food (at least the cold coffee) sucked, the view was of cluttered traffic but the person was special.

It had been a year since I saw her last. Even now, she made me skip a heart beat!Things had changed drastically since our last rendezvous. The prelude to today's cold coffee were long spells of silence and general chit chat. And would you believe it, we actually made small talk about the weather! Finally, the blazing sun warmed up our cold coffees and the conversation. And in a matter of moments, we were talking, unaware of our surroundings, enjoying each other's company.

Here was someone to whom I could talk anything and everything. She had seen me at my weakest, when I was truly vulnerable. This realization gave a totally different dimension to our whole conversation. And I believe that it was mutual. Very few people know me by my vulnerable side. It is something I rarely open up before someone. But here, I didn't care. I could talk about everything - my plans, fears, apprehensions, problems, people in my life, to her. Sometimes, vulnerability is a good thing.

Incident 3: I was back in Sree Kerala Varma College ground for the afternoon session of the day's events. It was close to evening. I was in the small shop next to the hostel's main gate when an auto came to a halt and someone stepped out of it. It was the same blind person whom I had helped in the morning reach the gate and get an auto. He was back after his errands in the city. He was asking the auto driver if he had got out in front of the shop itself.

I went and offered him help and he gladly accepted. He asked me which year I was in. I told him that I wasn't a student and explained why I was there. Again, it took a moment for realization to strike me. I told him that I was the same guy who had guided him in the morning. I slowly took his hand and placed it on my arm. He held it in a firm grip and I guided him to the shop, all the while observing each and every one of his movements. This time, I felt like I was seated in a balcony, overlooking the scene that was being played before me. I went from my earlier vulnerable state to a dominant, shielded state. Later, I walked him till his hostel's entrance leaving me with a dozen unanswered questions.

Similar situations might have played before me scores of times before too. But I hadn't realized the depth of the situation unlike today. Maybe I was too oblivious. Maybe I chose not to acknowledge it. Maybe my moment of truth was slotted for today. Whatever be it, it had given me enough food for thought for the day. Or the next few days to come.

FootNote: This post is dedicated to you, Jinu. Thank you for supporting me through yet another period of writer's block and for showing faith in me. This is for you dear. You're a wonderful person. Things are going to brighten up. There is a rainbow after every shower.

ToeNote: My first real experience with a blind person left me wanting to know more about how to interact with one. Looks like I made more mistakes than one! I humbly urge you to read this for starters. You never know when this might come handy. If it does, let's show them that they aren't anything special!

NailNote: As I finish up my blog post, vulnerability strikes yet again. This time, it is yet another facet, leaving me.......vulnerable.