26 October, 2010

Heaven Can Wait.

“Yes. Okay. Okay, mom, okay I will. I got to go, I will call. Bye.”
She always does that. Every single time. Even before I can start talking, she is yelling at me.
“Is this a time to call? You don’t care about us.”
If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have called.
It’s Jimmy’s birthday today. We are in my car. I am driving. I had somehow managed to shut everybody up while I spoke to mom.
Tanya is in the back with Rohan. They have been “going out” since last week. That’s the phrase they use.
Manisha is sitting next to Tanya. She is unusually quiet today but she should return to her usual self after one or two drinks.
We are at King’s Circle. The signal is red. We wait.
‘Go, go shaawtie, it’s your birthday, we gonna party like it’s your birthday,’ fills the car as the RJ on whatever FM station the car radio is set to plays this song.
We sing along.
Damn that policeman. Shit, we are going to be late now.
Jimmy slips him a crinkled hundred. Free.
Finally, we are at Zenzi.
Adi, Sonia and Vivek have been waiting for us.
Manisha is looking gorgeous. As always. Butterflies in my stomach as she smiles back at me.
Inside, loud music greets us. Some French-African beats that would make no sense to me even if I tried to listen to it. Hot women in tiny clothes are all around us. Several firaangis.
We sit at our table and order our usual.
I don’t like this place too much. This is not my type of music – I am more of a lounge guy - and the food here is almost decent.
But Jimmy likes it. He likes the people who come here.
And of course, alcohol makes everything better. That is pretty much all you need.
Tanya and Rohan hit the dance floor.
Jimmy asks Manisha to dance with him. She smiles and nods. I know she doesn’t want to dance. She doesn’t like it. But it’s his birthday, so she doesn’t refuse.
She didn’t like to drink either. She used to try to talk us out of it.
‘I don’t understand why people drink. Just to get high?’
‘You know you will die sooner and faster because of it...’
But now, she spares us most of the speech. We are too high to listen to her anyway. After sometime, even she stopped caring. ‘We are going to die anyway…’
We have been here for 3 hours now; all of us are super high. All my senses are stimulated, though my vision is a little blurred.
Adi is talking about Red Indians, to no one in particular. Sonia has passed out and is sleeping at the table. Feet curled up.
Jimmy is still drinking,
I think I am passing out too.
I remember Navya, my cute 8-year-old neighbour. She is awesome.
She comes to our house daily. Sometimes, she asks me to play doll with her. I am a policeman and she is a doctor. I fight criminals and she treats my injuries.
Someone is flashing light into my eyes.
Yes, I had passed out.
I blink and open my eyes and look at my watch.
It’s 3.30 am.
“I think we should leave.”
Jimmy nods.
Adi is still talking about Red Indians.
I can’t walk properly. My legs are trembling. My eyes are watery.
I get inside the car. Drink some water. Eat mints.
Yes, I can drive.
I put it in reverse and almost hit an SUV behind me.
It’s okay. I can drive.
I am on the road now. Speeding. 80 km/hour. No traffic. It’s easy.
I look at Jimmy next to me. He is resting his head on the window. Manisha is sleeping in the back.
I look ahead.
And brake hard.
I hear tires screeching; the car crashes into a wall.
My head hits the steering wheel.
Blood. My blood.
I close my eyes. I see mom.
‘I told you, don’t do it, you don’t listen to me. You never listen to me.’
I see Navya. She is waving at me.
‘You want to play doll? I am the doctor. Don’t worry, I will treat you.’
There is darkness.
And then there is nothing.

                                                 Marine drive.

31 August, 2010

Age of Innocence

My heart was pounding against my ribs. I was breathing fast. My brain was numb. I was looking at the dangerous creature in front of me, whose black right eye was fixated on me. It's blue left eye was looking elsewhere, perhaps at a different prey. I blinked and looked around. Anxious faces surrounded me. I could see the fear in their eyes. They could see fear in mine. My terror-stricken face must have screamed for help, but none of them could do anything. They were as lost as I was, as scared as me. A bead of sweat slowly trickled down my back, dragging a chill down my spine with it. The creature took a step towards me. I gripped my sword. I had to fight this, I had literally invited this trouble, it was all my fault. What was I thinking then? It wouldn't notice? It wouldn't care?

My heart beat faster. I could hear the winds howling. It seemed to me they were celebrating my impending defeat. They were supporting my enemy, but after all, it was his kingdom. He ruled it.

The creature's mouth moved. It was almost as if it was talking. It repeated the same action. I still couldn't understand what it was doing.
Then something sharp poked me in the back.

"Are you nuts? Answer his damn question!!'

"What?" I was confused now.

Then reality zoomed back to me as my friend poked me again with a pencil.
My chemistry professor was staring at me, with both his blue and black eye.

"What is the answer?" he said, perhaps for the third time now.

"I am not sure sir. I got 316 kilo joules per mole."

"316.14 kilo joules per mole," he corrected me. "Pay attention now."

06 June, 2010

Here comes the rain again.

It rained yesterday.

It had been cloudy for the last few days. Thick white clouds would form shapes across the blue evening sky as the sun set.

I was sitting at the window and listening to songs on the radio. Cold wind blew through my hair and splashed raindrops on my face.
I put my hand outside and cold water trickled on my arms.

People started scurrying around for cover. Kids from my building were jumping into the puddles formed by the downpour. The watchman from the next building looked happy to get drenched by the rain.

It seemed that every body had been waiting for it. Every bird, every tree, everything.
The leaves that had been bent down by the summer dust turned fresh and green as they swayed in the rain. I saw flashes of lightning but I didn't hear the thunder.

Finally, after months of bearing the scorching heat, after tolerating power-cuts for days and sweating it out, the monsoon is finally here.

25 March, 2010

My Monday morning

Omg! Late again! No auto at the stand. Damn.

I swipe my ID card at door. ‘Thank you’, the machine says and I try to enter the classroom

‘Please may I come in sir?’

‘What time does the lecture start?’

‘I am sorry sir, I couldn't’t get an auto.’

‘Come in’
I sit with my loyal group of friends who have saved me a seat on the last bench.

I take out my notebook and stare at its cover. It’s a Photoshop disaster! There is a picture of a vase with roses that are three times the size of the vase. The text reads ‘Time and tide waits for no man’. What does that have to do with oversized flowers?

Rucha punches me hard. ‘Homework kiya? He said he will check.’
Damn, I haven’t done it!

The professor talks about atoms, molecules and nucleus. It’s hard for me to concentrate as I am really not interested.

Rutherford’s model… postulates... energy of a electron in Bohr’s orbit... hydrogen spectrum...yaaaaaawn…

Yet another hour left for the break.
I look at Shruti; her face is screwed up in concentration, Megha is staring back at sir, Divya looks bored just like me but is still listening. I try very hard to concentrate.

I think I might have just slept for two minutes right now.
Note: Sleep early tonight.

The professor asks us to draw some energy profile diagram, I doodle something. Scribble lyrics in the margin. So bored.

I stare at Rucha, who mouths, ‘Ultra pakking, yaar.’
I nod in agreement.

‘Last bench, stand up.’
My professor’s cold, dark eyes pierce me. I want to say, ‘Who? Me?’ but I remain silent.

‘Explain hydrogen spectrum’

‘Whaaa...’ I choose to remain silent.

His eyes seem to penetrate my brain… He has probably figured out that it is empty and none of the spectrum has entered it.

His bushy moustache is perfectly perpendicular to his nose.

‘Why were you talking?’ he asks me, his south Indian accent drawls.

‘Because I’m bored,’ I want to say but I keep my mouth shut.

‘Answer me, why, eh?’

My giant dumb head does not come up with anything. Maybe I could say I had a doubt but since I was paying zero percent attention, it wasn’t right. Or I could say I was asking for a pen or something but he hadn’t asked us to write anything.

Or I should have told him the truth that I was ultra bored and left the class for ever. But that would have lead to a quick phone call to my parents, followed by screaming, yelling, shouting, punishments and assignments!
Err.. no thanks.

Just then I could hear students from the next class make noise outside. It was time for the break, finally!!

The professor gave me another cold stare. The atmosphere was becoming more and more restless.

‘Everyone revise and come next time.’ Another furious look and he left the class.