Why aliens have not attacked us till now

I have figured it all out.

There have been numerous alien sightings all over the world. People have seen discs flying overhead, pilots have seen strange objects flying next to their planes. People diappear around the world and when they come back, they have no recollection of the missing days. It does not shock us anymore. Of course, Hollywood’s brainwashing antics have a role to play here which cannot be ignored. There isn’t a city in the world which has not been destroyed by the very human-like aliens who want our resources (as if we haven’t sucked the Earth dry already) or want us as slaves (as if we haven’t done that already to each other). Buildings topple, humans scream and then the countries unite (surprise! Surprise!) to defeat the villians before they can go back to bombing each other for oil.

Of course, no alien attack has happened in reality. They haven’t even made a friendly appearance (how snobbish of them!). But prey, why?

Here’s why.

They are keeping an eye on us. They are the guardians of the universe and they are holding the door so that we do not escape and unlease our destructive potential over the universe. Think of them as the item girl in Bollywood movies who keep the villians (us) engrossed in their pelvic thrusts so that the good heroes (kind aliens) keep the universe intact. Imagine the havoc the villians will create if the item girl is not there.

Let’s admit that we are a shitty race. Look at the turtles or the snails. Even the spiders. They live in perfect harmony with Earth.  But not us. There isn’t anything left on the Earth that we haven’t monetized for profits. We have raped her of her dignity and we will keep doing it till she dies. We are cutting the branch on which we are sitting but who cares till we are mid-air falling to our doom. We believe our religion will come to save us and a wad of notes will cushion our fall. Our children are not our priority and the aliens in their flying saucers know this. They know that if (heavens forbid) we become capable enough of flying outside the solar system to inhibit other planets (which is highly unlikely. We will probably have a World War 3 before that), we will end up repeating our Earthly mistakes on it, killing it in the same way.

As Agent Smith rightly said to Neo, we are the virus of this universe.

And the aliens are here to contain us. So, will they ever attack us, you may ask?

The answer is – Yes, they will.

If they ever get the slightest hint in the future that humans are capable of moving their house out of the Solar System, you will see a full Independence Dayish assault that day. They will spray their pest control laser beams on us and finish us long before we start the countdown of our Noah’s Ark into the space. Just like what you will do if you see an increase in the cockroach population in your house.

So, humans you have been warned. Please stay where you are. Send probes to Mars and Pluto. Gawk at the ice mountains on them. Be surprised at the Earth size storm on Jupiter. But, never ever dare to develop a technology that will let you find wormholes and travel to other galaxies. Because that will be the day when the alien mothership will direct a high precision laser beam at the Earth and break this begging-for-euthanasia planet into a million pieces.

The art of picking your woman in your arms

You know, I was dying to do some armchair activism today. I was looking forward to write a post titled – Dear India, what the fuck? – and scream my lungs out about the way our priorities are royally misplaced. How we don’t care about rapes and farmer suicides and discuss AIB as if it is the latest discovered deadly virus. How we don’t bother about the bovine Sakshi Maharaj distributing his pearls of unbelievable wisdom but are ok with attack on an activist’s car because she circulated pictures of rapists. But then I thought, what is the point? We should all acknowledge the fact that we have been self-centred chu***as since hundreds of years and move on to other important topics.

Like the art of picking your woman in your arms.

Bollywood has always been an inspiration to the society. You can actually trace back all the crimes to Bollywood. If you go to a jail and do a heart-to-heart with all the inmates, 99% chances are that 99% of them will cry over how they saw a Bollywood movie and lost control of their senses. So, it is only understandable that we can find the roots of how we romance in Bollywood because that too is a crime in this country.

I was exposed to Bollywood as a kid. I think it was accidental that the first scene I saw of a movie was a man strangulating a woman with a wire. I could not sleep the whole night. The second scene that I accidentally saw was of robbers looting a village. It took mom a while to pacify me. For the longest of times, I imagined Bollywood movies to be a dreadful and nasty planet where people hurt each other for fun. Much like Earth.

How wrong I was.

Because then I discovered its romantic side – couples smiling at each other and singing songs while heavens play the orchestra, couples changing their clothes five times in a song as if they had a whole day dedicated to this activity of changing and singing, couples kissing behind gigantic flowers and making the flowers shudder. It was a new world. Blissful and sensuous. But then something was always disturbing me, slowly pushing me into the depths of anxiety. It wasn’t until years later that I was able to put a finger on it.

It was the ease with which heroes picked up the heroines in their arms. Even as a child, I knew that was something superhuman. When Shammi Kapoor lifter Sharmila like a dry twig in An evening in Paris, I gasped. Was it that easy? The question nagged me for years. The first thing I would notice in a song is the picking business and then wonder about it for hours. Of course, there was a category of actresses who were never lifted (like Meena Kumari) because lets face it, our heroes were not trying to be in the Olympics.

shashisharmila

image from here

And then SRK happened in the 90s. I think he set some sort of a world record by picking each and every woman who crossed his way. It drove me crazy. It was as if he was not able to control himself. Whenever he saw a woman in his movie, he had to open his arms, tilt a bit, give her a dimple. And then while she was swooning at the gestures, he would pounce at her and pick her up.

Of course, I never tried it at home at that point of time. With woman that is. I tried with buckets. And boy, were they heavy! When I got married, I told my wife (very early in our relationship), that I was going to pick her up and walk across the room in a slow gait singing a song, just like Veer picked up the heavy Zaara as if she was tied to strings from the ceiling. My wife was game.

veer zaara

Image from here

I remember, the first thing that appeared in front of my eyes after I picked up my wife were stars. Not the romantic, twinkling variety but those that appear with shooting pain. But then I remembered to my horror that I was supposed to walk across the room and my wife was looking expectantly at me, as she gripped my neck in what I think was a deadly Taekwondo lock. There wasn’t much time and I was not supposed to drop her on the floor. It was an arranged marriage.

I galloped across the room cursing all the Bollywood actors. I even forgot to sing the song. We never tried it again.

Now that I look back, I don’t blame the heroes. They must have been on drugs. You really don’t know what you are doing when you are under their spell. It must have been tough for them. SRK had a back problem years ago.

It was a childhood fantasy for me. But I did what I always wanted to do. At least I tried. My wife was euphoric later although I could see beads of perspiration on her forehead when I was sprinting across the room with her in my arms. Isn’t that is what is important in life? Trying.

Valentine’s day is upon us. So I thought I would share the story of what I thought at that point of time to be one of the most intimate and romantic gestures I had shown to my lady. Of course, now I think it was anti-feminist. And no, it isn’t a case of sour grapes. How can you even think like that? Look at the way our society treats women. It is all because of these Bollywood heroes picking actresses in their arms and showing them as weak. Why would anyone pick a woman in his arms? She can’t walk? Did you take her permission? I think we should carry out a campaign, burn effigies and beat our chests if a hero tries to do that again. We should debate this on news channels. How dare they show women in poor light?

The armchair activist inside me is waking up again. Maybe I should write the “Dear India, what the fuck?” post. It is amazing how my perspective changed over the years. It took only a handful of stars.

Mechanophobia minus Matrix

image from here

image from here

No, I am not going to rant about the impending doom of humanity because Terminators are here. Neither am I going to convince you that we live in the Matrix. And no, my laptop did not transform into a Transformer and attack me.

What I am going to tell you is that I am suffering from mechanophobia. I fear machines. Not the imaginary machines whose fear Hollywood have instilled in millions of us over the years, but the real machines that surround us all day. It is strange how that fear is instilled by small minor incidents that stay with us and grow their inky black tentacles in our brain as we grow up.

Take for example, the ceiling fan. A very harmless machine, you might say. Not for me. I remember my grandfather telling me years ago how a man was decapitated by a ceiling fan that suddenly decided to part from the ceiling. I was a kid and the story stayed with me and every time someone would switch on the fan, I would look at it with fear as if this was going to be the last swirl of air to hit my face. Till date, winters is my favorite time of the year. A few days after my grandfather told me this story, a ceiling fan fell over my uncle’s massive and turbulent tummy as he was sleeping. It is another story that the fan just bounced off him because of the fats he had accumulated over the years. He lived to tell the tale.

A few days back, a guy died in our locality because he had left his laptop switched on to download movies in the night as he went to sleep. The battery developed some problem and emitted some sort of a poisonous gas. The poor guy did not even knew what hit him. Now, I have this habit too and ever since I have heard this story, I have developed a fear of leaving my laptop switched on at nights. I do not want to wake up in heaven without even knowing what happened. I have started sniffing my laptop and I look very suspiciously at it.

Whenever I am using the grinder in the kitchen to chop onions or garlic, I have this fear that while I am putting them in the grinder, it might get accidentally switched on and I will lose half of my finger. Every time I operate this machine, I imagine half of my finger finely chopped with the chopped onions while the other half squirting blood like a fountain. I just can’t shake off the image.

The machines that carry us places terrify me even more. Whenever I sit in cars or buses, I keep wondering if this is my last day on Mother Earth. What if the car explodes in flames or one of the tyres of the bus burst while the driver is over-speeding? What happens if the Metro fall off one of its pillars? What if the train I am travelling in collides with another one and I am stuck with entangled metal and dead bodies with an iron rod jutting out of my shoulder? I can’t sleep at nights in a train. I keep imagining that all of us are going to DIE! Whoever came up with the bloody idea of running this crazily heavy machine on two thin metal tracks was a fool.

And ever since that Malaysian flight has vanished, my fear of flying has multiplied. Think about it. There is this huge machine made up of a million part flying thousands of feet above the ground and you are encased inside it. Thousands of things can go wrong. One small part stops working and that it it. You will end up screaming to glory, falling to Earth in a huge ball of fire. Or worse, end up as shark food.

And don’t get me started on lifts. Every time I hear that slight creaking of the lift as it fills, I keep imagining that the metal wires that keep it dangling are going to snap and we will all experience zero gravity before splattering to our death. I hate confined spaces that does not give you any chance to save yourself.

I fear the drilling machine too. Every time dad brings it out to drill a hole in the wall, I get all panicky when he switches it on. I keep imagining that the drill bit will fly out of the machine any time and head straight for my head. You can’t imagine how many deaths I die before that machine goes back in its box. I keep imagining the drill bit embedded halfway in my forehead.

And I can go on and on. What if my mobile phone explodes? What if the room heater catches fire while I am sleeping? What if the CFL falls on my head (It fell off once in my room and shattered to pieces. Thankfully, no one was standing beneath it)? Sometimes I feel like a walking Final Destination. All Parts.

Of course, I do not let anyone around me know of my fears. I behave as if I don’t care and am perfectly normal like every one else. They have no idea about the storm raging inside me. But then what do I know about the kind of fears other people are living with? On a basic level all of us are the same. Phobia is a part of our psyche. There was a time when I thought that I was going mad, fearing things that are a part of our every day life. I thought I needed some help. I realized it is not the fear of machines per se. All the phobias stem from our fear of death, of losing something. If you ask someone what they fear, you will always get a couple of things – Dads, Bats, Lizards, Darkness, Men, Women, Loneliness, Sea, Company, Self etc etc. So, I think I am all right. I am not falling to pieces. Not yet.

Now if you would excuse me, I need to go and kill a cockroach. I am the only one in the house who is not scared of them.

Open letter to my maid

image from here

image from here

My dear Maid, 

I know guys don’t write letters to maids and they definitely don’t call them ‘dear’ and I hope you do not take offence in me addressing you as someone who is dear to me. So help me God. I have seen women write incessantly about the love-hate relationship they share with their maids but guys usually shy away from it. I blame our system for it, much like Rahul Gandhi. We are not supposed to feel affectionate towards our maids. I am breaking the barriers here and that is why it is so important for me to call you ‘dear’. It is not a word, it is a hammer and I am using it to break the wall and show my gratitude to all the lovely ladies who have worked in my house over the years. 

Let me begin by saying that I was brought up with a sense of being higher up in the pyramid of society. My grandma used to keep a separate plate and glass for you to eat breakfast and drink the tea she provided with a sense of charity. We were not supposed to touch those utensils and it was blasphemy to eat in your plate or drink water in your glass. You were supposed to be a lower class nobody who could never be satisfied with what has been given to her and your whole community was supposed to be like you. Well, let me tell you dear, that the phoniness of this unabashed display of superiority pissed me off as a kid and I gleefully indulged in numerous acts of blasphemy when I ate in your plate and drank water from your glass, much to the utter shock of my grandma.

Dear maid,

I remember so many unintentional hilarious and sad incidents involving you that I have lost count. So, thank you for the doses of laughter and the pauses of pondering I have collected over the years. I remember, when grandma in her rare moods of philanthropy, started teaching you the Hindi alphabets. I was surprised to know that you could not read or write. I was young. And then, grandma and you reached the alphabet ‘sh’. She would say ‘Sh se Shatkon’ and you would say ‘Sa se Satkon’ and it went for such a long time that I thought that only a calamity like grandma grinding all her teeth to dust or an astroid hitting the Earth could possibly stop the loop. And your name was Geeta which is one of the many ironies of life. Then you transformed into Bhagwanti. You were usually beaten blue and black by your husband when you came to work. You were 2D thin. I always wondered how much endurance you had for doing such physically challanging work when half of your body was swelling with pain. You made me laugh by the way you cleaned the utensils with all your might as your sari danced like waves with your movements. Then you turned into Sheila, who used to steal spoons for reasons I could not understand. It was hilarious because once mom caught you while you were trying to hide a spoon in your salwar. You said that you were itching terribly and merely rubbing the spoon over your skin. Then you turned into wide-eyed Sampa who would, in excited shrieks, tell her sisters over the phone that you went to the mall with us and saw a movie in the theatre and had chow mein in the food court. 

Dear Maid,

I know sometimes people are ruthless and you end up doing more than you could endure. You are constantly pestered at times, even when you are doing fine. Sometimes, you rebel and then you are told that you belong to a category of society that can never be thankful for what is being given to them. Have you noticed the crazy flip-flop of hatred and harmony you experience with a family? At one hand, you are sitting with them and having tea in your designated cup, telling them the story of your life and how miserable everything is, expecting some gift on Diwali and New Year and on the other hand you are blamed for being lazy and not doing things properly. How do you handle such relationships when you are at the receiving end? Of course, you grin and bear it, just like all of us who take shit from people above us in the pyramid, conveniently forget it and do exactly the same to the people below us.

Dear Maid,

I would like to thank you. Thank you for cleaning my room, my wash-room, my clothes, my utensils. Thank you for dusting my house, for making the food, for folding my clothes, for making tea for me, for being there. I know it would be impossible to survive without you. I know everyone knows that, no matter how high in the air their nose is, no matter how much difficult they find it to give you a raise which is equal to the price of a plate of chicken tikka kabab in a mall. 

And in the end, a small note for my present dear Maid –

It has been a month since your mother-in-law died. I know you have no love for her (and I am quoting my mom here), but you have already extended your 15 days break to 30 days. Yes, unbelievable as it may sound, my household has been operating sans you for a month now. It is a miracle and we are enduring one day at a time but a day does not pass when we don’t remember you. What you have done is unprofessional but it is OK. As always, mom will forgive you after giving you a nice piece of her mind. And then everything will be as it always was. It has nothing to do with the pyramid, believe me. So, you should return now. We are somehow, barely holding the fort but we need reinforcements. We have never told you how important you or your successor (who might be a reality soon) are to us and that is what this letter intends to tell you in addition to the fact that we are dying without you.

Thank you,

A humble dependant.

p.s. I will be a bit erratic for a while on my blog and all the amazing blogs I regularly read because I am working on my second book. Please forgive me.

Daddy Diaries : Beds and Hobbitses

Dear Diary,

The day for which the Sharma family was eagerly waiting arrived a few days back. Anika started crawling on all four (more like an alligator) a few days back and the house was buzzing with gossip about how long we had before she would fall off the bed. Everyone was of the opinion that her crawl was more of a slither and that she won’t be able to pass the single pillow barricades. How wrong we were! It so happened that one fine evening when Geet was stuffing stuff in her overstuffed almirah while Anika sat sprawled in her pillow cage, she suddenly heard a thud followed by a blood-curling wail. Anika had broken the cage and fallen off the bed.

image from here

image from here

There was a sudden buzz in the house. Anika was passed from one hand to another, like a stack of bricks at a construction site. It was one of the landmark days when you realize that your child has crossed a very important milestone. We almost had a party to celebrate the bump on her head.

Anika has also started reacting to all the food that is never going to get into her mouth for a long time. She hates her Cerelac and mashed bananas but stares gluttonously at the aloo paratha in my hand. She then licks her lips and makes sound with her tongue as if she has not eaten in months. She stares beseechingly at Geet’s dinner plate but closes her mouth the moment I try some fruit juice on her. She seems to be a pretty good actress.

Geet and I left Anika with her grandparents and had some ‘us time’. We watched the desolation of Smaug and had pasta followed by brownie dipped in boiling chocolate sauce and got nostalgic about the good old days when we used to eat chocolate off each… never mind. So, we came back home and I decided to create a Lonely Mountain in our bedroom. The trigger was the fact that Geet was feeling tired and wanted to have a nap. So I turned Anika into Bilbo. I was Thorin, the Dwarf king and Geet was Smaug who was lying under her comfortable duvet which was actually millions and millions of coins. I commanded Bilbo to go into the mountain and find the Arkenstone which was nothing but Geet’s hairclip. Bilbo quietly slipped into the mountain of coins but she wasn’t very quiet. She woke up Smaug but before the dragon could shoot fire at the hobbit, Bilbo snatched the hairclip and pulled it with all her might. Smaug bellowed and Bilbo and I ran for our life. Thankfully, that was not the day Bilbo fell off the bed but Smaug made us feel sorry that we woke her up.

Dear Diary,

Seven months have gone by and Anika has turned from a sleeping beauty to a roadrunner. It is hard to catch her and make her stay still. As much as Geet and I are scared of the terrible twos, we are also looking forward to having a full night sleep, an act about which we have very faint memories. Recently Anika went through a phase of nightmares and would wake up screaming like the heroine of a Ramsey movie. We had to eat Crocins before going to work during that horrible phase.

We have realized that with a child you never know what the next day holds. And as a wise man once said – The smaller the package, the smaller the problems. I find solace in believing that nightmares followed by screams, diaper rashes and hobbitses falling off beds are smaller problems as compared to what lies ahead.

Money in the blouse and other stories

images from here

images from here

The Toofani Couple

A few days back I had an early morning live implementation. As my cab driver played Need for Speed on the roads of Delhi at 5.30 in the morning, I kept an eye on his nitro consumption which basically means that I was wide awake ensuring that he does not squash me in the rear of a truck. Suddenly, a car overtook us near Hyatt. I noticed that it had two toofani couples in it. Now the couple at the rear seat opened their respective windows, pushed their sorry head and torso outside and planted their butts on the windows. They then went ahead and smoked the same cigarette, passing it to each other from the top of the car.  The eyes of my cab driver went wide while I studied them with mild amusement. I was more worried about my cab ramming into their car and the driver flying out to join them. They smoked the whole cigarette and went inside like the neck of a scared turtle. I narrated the whole incident to my team at office and one of them remarked – What’s so toofani in that? It would have been toofani if they would have exchanged the cigarette from the bottom of the car.

I guess I am getting old.

Another not so lucky Toofani couple

The same week, while returning home enduring my rickety office bus, I saw an accident on the highway. A motorbike was racing in the wrong direction (Yes! On the highway!) and rammed into an Audi. People actually stopped their cars and came out to help (Surprise!). The woman and the bike ended up between the front and rear wheels while the man was dragged to safety. Now they were not able to pull out the women because the Audi went over her. So they tried to get the Audi off the woman by picking it up. I hope she survived but the chances are slim. This happened a day before Diwali.

I wondered if I could show this whole sequence to the Toofani couple in the earlier story, would they still think what they did was cool? Would they care more for their life?

Money in the blouse

Why on earth do people keep their money in their undergarments? The other day, I squeezed myself in a shared auto, which is basically a metal entity used to carry 10-15 people crammed in a space for 6. Sitting in a shared auto will be the closest you would come to understand the feelings of Jews jostling for space in a gas chamber. So, while I shrunk my butt to adjust in the pitiable space provided to me, I saw an elderly aunty ji sitting opposite me, staring in infinity. As the auto traversed the potholed roads, the aunty ji suddenly realised that her stop was near and thrust her hand inside her blouse. After my initial shock subsided, I realized that she was not trying to seduce me but frantically searching for her purse. She fumbled her right breast first but could not place the purse. Then she took out her left  hand and in went the right one to disturb her left asset. While all this was happening, I was obviously not looking at her but I could comprehend what was happening from the corner of my eye. Finally, she was able to find her purse that was hidden in some remote corner and the trauma ended.

I have also seen men putting hands in their underwear to take out money. Please someone tell me what is so irresistible about rubbing cash on your private parts?

Exercise in Patience

I have realized that writing a book is an exercise in patience. When you are doing research, you are impatient to start writing. When you are writing, you are impatiently waiting for the day when it will finish. When you finish, you are impatiently sending it to publishers. Then you wait very very impatiently for the publishers to respond. After a positive response, you patiently twiddle your fingers and wait for the book to hit the market. So, it you are a very impatient person, try not to write a book unless you have some sort of a mental asylum fetish.

By the way, I have started writing my second book. But now there is a kid in the equation, so it will be a while before I finish it. Deep breaths. Patience.

Mars and Traffic signals

There is a very busy traffic intersection on the highway near my home. Since the last two years for which I have been here, I have hardly seen the signal working on this intersection. Although people living in the country of Uttar Pradesh don’t believe in traffic signals and treat them the same way we treat a stray cow and beggars, I still believe that some day we will find people capable enough to mend the said signal. I know that there is some extremely complicated machinery inside it but I am sure that since we have sent a rocket to Mars now, we will be able to find people suitable to handle the neglected signal. Maybe we can consult a few top scientists at ISRO?

I usually do not write random posts but I had to share the ‘money in the blouse’ story and since I do not want to come across as a pervert, I added four intellectual stories to the post.

The assassin who tried to kill my family

assassin

Image from here

I am one of the few blessed people who live in a city away from their relatives. Less noses in my affairs. Less Gyan. Less plastic smiles. More peace of mind.

So when a relative is about to come to our house, it creates a frenzy equalling that of cyclone Phalin. I must admit that the frequency has reduced after the death of my grandparents but there was a time when there were regular visitors. It was one such visitor whom I remember very clearly. He was the guy who tried to kill my family.  The assassin.

This assassin was a cousin of my grandma. He was from the hills. He was rotund, had pink cheeks that were dropping off his face because of old age. His eyes were sharp and always scanning everyone in the vicinity, as if trying to find avenues in case he had to escape. His voice was muffled, as if he was standing behind layers of cotton. He never brought gifts for us children but always hugged us whenever he came, swathing us with smells of trees and his unwashed underarms. He would sit for hours with my grandma talking in their local language, sometimes laughing his terrifying laugh. His laugh always reminded me of a serial killer who while trying a dress made of the skin of his victims realized that the dress fits him perfectly.

Grandma was very fond of him. She had no idea that he tried to kill us every time he visited. Every single time.

I distinctly remember the first time he tried to murder me. I was sleeping and suddenly there was this deafening roar that shook me out of my slumber. For a second I thought that a gang of lions have attacked our apartment. My heart was in my mouth when I heard the roar again. I sat up hurriedly torn between screaming and hiding under my bed. Then a third roar happened. A thin crack appeared in the ceiling. It was as if the house was unable to stand the vibrations. I gathered courage and got off my bed. I reached the adjacent room where the assassin was sleeping. I was at the door when another roar brought a warm gust of wind towards my face, leaving my hair in an upheaval. I almost choked at the moist wind smelling of a mixture of chicken curry and bad breath. The roar happened again and I saw the windowpanes vibrate and the ceiling fan sway. I was terrified that the house will not be able to withstand the strain of such powerful snoring. Soon, I realized that my whole family was up, confused and shocked. My grandfather almost had a heart attack. Our hearts were in our mouth. We were so close to our deaths. Eventually, mother stuffed some cotton in my ears to ease the suffering but I was not able to sleep.

In the morning, the assassin tried to kill me again.

There was just one loo in our house back then. I was desperately in a need to use it but the assassin was taking his own sweet time. Maybe he was skinning a rat alive. Its not that we had rats in our house but he might be carrying one from the hills to play with it before slaughtering it. Finally, the door opened and he came out. I rushed inside and locked the door. What followed was the stuff hell must be made of. Even though the assassin had the good sense to flush, the loo reeked of such unimaginable smells that I choked for a good five minutes before I decided to stop breathing. I opened the window but the smells were not leaving. I eventually pushed my mouth towards the open window and took a lungful of breath because I was in a danger of turning blue and collapsing. It took me a good fifteen minutes to save myself from this lethal attack of the assassin, during which I completely forgot the real reason for which I entered the gas chamber.

It was not just me, every member of my family who had the misfortune of entering the death room after the assassin met the same fate. They came out wide eyed, clutching their throats, panting like a man with a fish bone stuck in his throat.

We were all terrified. We huddled together night after night, morning after morning, trying to survive the attacks. Thankfully, none of my family members died of choking or heart attacks but the assassin left no stone unturned as he tried to wipe us off the planet.

He visited us again and again, year after year. Everytime the news of his arrival was shared by grandma, we all sent a silent prayer towards the almighty. Mom used to run towards the small temple in our house and pray for the survival of our family. His visits dwindled after my grandma passed away and now I haven’t seen him in years.

Even now I shudder when I think of those terrifying days where my family was attacked mercilessly. We survived the odds. The trauma brought us together, binding us in neverending love.

I am proud of that time when all of us held hands together and fought the assassin. The assassin who tried to kill MY FAMILY.

Chronicles of Dearth – Three Gods Two mistakes

long_time_ago

…there lived three Gods named Amar, Akbar and Anthony.

Now this happened much before Dearth was filled with Insanes, when it was called Buxom. The three Gods were great friends and had a blast attending cloud-room dance parties thrown by Gods in the neighbouring star systems. In one such party, The Goddess of 100 hands boasted about the creatures she had created in one of the planets in her star system. Soon, other Gods joined in with similar claims. The whole conversation left Amar, Akbar and Anthony deeply embarrassed. They were like nomads wandering through galaxies and dating young goddesses. They realised that they had a status to maintain if they had to remain in the circle.

The three Gods  (Image from here

The three Gods
(Image from here)

The three of them visited the Market of Planetary System where old Gods who were too old to look after planets sold their share. They met God Dharmendra who was half dead and could hardly lift his finger. God Dharmendra was a legend, one of the most handsome gods ever. But like in all families of Gods, the second son of his first wife – God Bobby, was a notorious black sheep. Anyways, so the story goes that they bought the Klatoon System (similar to our Solar System) from him and then chose a green planet on it called Buxom to populate it with their personal creations. The three Gods decided that each of them would create life without sharing it with the other two.

“It will be like a surprise,” God Amar said.

They had realised that their casanova days were behind them and it was time to settle down and what better way than to create a planet as an ode to their friendship. Well, it was their first mistake. If they would have chosen separate planets things would have been different. They did not realise that the fact that they have been together since childhood affected their creative powers. So God Amar created Manu and Shatrupa, God Akbar created Aadam and Hawwa and God Anthony created Adam and Eve. Even though they had no idea what the other was creating, they created replicas and placed them on different parts of Buxom. The pairs were left to discover sex and reproduction on their own as it was not appropriate for Gods to indulge them.

When God Amar, Akbar and Anthony finally met and exchanged notes, they were shocked to see the similarities between their creations. At first they thought of putting them immediately on different planets but the other 27 planets of the Klatoon System were inhabitable and the Gods were not rich enough to buy more planetary systems.

“Why do we need to separate them? Let them stay on the same planet,” God Amar suggested.

“Yes. They will eventually discover each other and live like brothers,” God Akbar squealed with delight.

“Just like us!” chirruped God Anthony.

Well, that was their big fucking second mistake.

The three pairs eventually undearthed the formula to reproduce and went out of control. Soon Buxom was teeming with their children and grandchildren. It was like a chain reaction. The Gods watched Buxom from the clouds while munching Moon chips and Meteor popcorns. They never interfered but yes, they fondly gave a combined name to all their creations – Insanes (pronounced Insaan). The males were called Hinsanes while the females were named Shinsanes.

Soon, the three kinds learnt to make fire, created wheels and ships and traveled beyond their lands and came across each other. But nothing went as per planned. Each of the race believed in the supremacy of their Gods and thus began the blackest era in the history of Buxom. Insanes killed and tortured each other in the name of their Gods. They wanted to win Buxom over. They wanted only their God to be called bestest. They devised strategies to convert each other, they sent missionaries to pull people to their side, they tried to cleanse the planet by obliterating each other. This went on for hundreds of years. None of them were successful but never understood the futility of it. They created spaceships, nanobots, submarines, supersonic jets, skyscrapers, bullet trains, artificial hearts, robots but never gave up the fight to wipe out each other. The three kinds branched into a few hundred more. Things got murkier and confusing. POLs (Piece of Lands) were created (similar to countries on Earth). Eventually Buxom was renamed Dearth after all its resources were squeezed out.

The Gods sat in the clouds and watched. At first they were terrified at the turn of events but then a feeling of amusement took over. They mulled interfering but then where was the fun in that?

“I think we must study them so that we make something better later on,” God Amar said once. God Akbar and Anthony agreed.

“I do not understand why Insanes have this concept of divine intervention? That is bloody crazy. Why will the three of us try to control a billion insanes? That’s insane!” God Akbar remarked.

“Oh come on! I think they are wired that way,” God Anthony said.

So, the Gods watched. Centuries passed. Sometimes, there was hope which was then mercilessly squashed by a concentration camp or an atom bomb or a burning train or a plane flying into a building. The thought of destroying Dearth never passed the minds of the Gods. After all, it was the planetary system of God Dharmendra. Also, the mistake of creating Insanes and the events that followed had given them immense popularity amongst other Gods. Never in the history of the Universe had anyone seen something as remotely exciting as this planet. They started inviting other Gods to watch the show. They threw expensive parties in the clouds and had hundreds of Goddesses running after them. From three nondescript, nomadic Gods, they had turned into eternal celebrities. Soon they started war betting between various POLs on Dearth and won more planetary systems.

And so Dearth went around Klatoon year after year, being nothing more that a rich source of entertainment.

This was a brief history of the creation of Dearth and how it reached its current state. To know more read the following chapter – Chronicles of Dearth : The case of missing Yaun-doms

God Dharmendra with God Bobby, God Sunny and God Chewbecca (Image from here)

God Dharmendra with God Bobby, God Sunny and God Chewbecca (Image from here)

Chronicles of Dearth : The case of missing Yaun-doms

long_time_ago

….there was a planet called Dearth. The dominant specie on the planet was called Insane (pronounced In-saan*). The name of the planet had seen better days but Insanes had squeezed out all of the planet’s resources and thus a resolution was passed to change the name of the planet to commemorate the achievement.

An interesting episode happened on POL011 on planet Dearth in the klear 5690*. POL or Piece Of Land is very similar to how we define countries on Earth.

POL011 was the second most populated POL on Dearth and this was a major concern for the King. Now the king did not have any real power other than to be a poster boy or pardoning convicts he found sexy. The real power sat with his Prime Minister who was a part of a governing body. Sadly, the Prime Minister was as helpless as the King. He was deaf and dumb and was puppeted by the governing body run by Madaam Pasta.

Population explosion was such an immense problem on POL011 that the King, PM and Madaam Pasta decided that insanes have to be educated about not producing babies every time a power cut happened. Educating the insanes of POL011 was as difficult as asking the PM to speak two words, so the governing body finally passed a bill to put 11000 yaun-dom* machines throughout the POL. Yaun-dom were special devices very similar to our condoms but with a special chip embedded in them which made them reusable.  They were almost like mini- robots that could lid the desirable places.

One fine Klatoony day (Klatoon was the name of their Sun), a minister came running as Madaam Pasta was pouring  cere-lack in baba’s mouth. Baba was her 40 Klat-years old son.

“Madaam!! They are all gone!” the minister said as he kissed her ring.

“Elaborato,” Madaam said with exasperation.

“Madaam, all the Strawberry flavoured yaun-doms are missing from the machines!” the minister said.

Madaam raised one of her eye brows and looked at baba.

“What? Noooo! Of course not! And that is not even my favourite flavour! Why don’t you ask Zeezaazee?” Baba said throwing his hands in the air.

” Your Zeezaazee is a poor farmer. I don’t think he uses local brands,” Madaam said thoughtfully.  

A few minutes later, an SOS message was sent to the ministers to immediately teleport themselves in the King’s War room. After everyone had arrived, the Prime Minister was the first to speak. He talked in sign language which was interpreted and voiced by a T608BOSS robot standing behind him.

“Did we check with Ass-aram? We might have to raid his ass-rum,” the robot said.

“I don’t think he uses yaun-doms,” the King said trying to hold a giggle which earned a stearn look from Madaam.

“What about Imraan Kissme?” a minister asked.

“Checked. He is clean.”

“No one in this fuc*ing POL uses a yaun-dom. That was the fuc*ing point of installing the machines. Do you even realize what will happen if the media gets a whiff of this?” Madaam Pasta screamed, Unable to hold herself anymore.

The robot coughed.

“Get the MIB on it,” Madaam said.

The MIB (Madaam Investigation Bureou) was a coveted organization that was given only those tasks that were supposed to linger on for hundreds of Dearth years. So this decision emancipated nothing but a collective gasp from the ministers and a quick sign from the PM which made the robot gasp an electronic gasp.

The MIB started its investigation but things were about to get worse. Soon, the chocolate flavoured yaun-doms went missing from the machines. And then the news was leaked to the media. And then the banana flavoured ones went missing too.

The media houses did everything from organising panels to discuss the order in which flavours went missing to showing closeups of yaun-dom vending machines for hours as hinsanes (male insanes) cried bitterly holding the machines in their arms. As the king pondered over a proposal of installing hi-tech fly shaped, almost invisible 6755SONAM cameras on all the machines, media houses conducted audience polls to know the favourite flavous of the citizens.  Unsurprisingly, the result came in exactly the order in which the yaun-doms went missing.

pollfinal

[Others including lichi, pomegranate, butter scotch, vanilla etc]

Even after the cameras were installed and MIB worked full time on the case, flavours after flavours vanished from the machines. There was anger in the inhabitants of POL011 as they loved getting things for free and the King seemed simply incapable of providing them the simplest of such free pleasures. There were marches on the street where insanes dressed up as huge yaun-doms and burnt outdated robots dresses up as the King, PM and Madaam. The Po-lice was deployed who stunned the protestors (especially shinsanes (female insanes)) by touching them with their tasers at inappropriate places. The situation went quickly out of hand.

The PM finally addressed the POL. The robot stood behind him and passed on his message as the PM gestured.

Finally, the yaun-dom machines went empty and MIB searched fervently for an excuse for its incompetency. The MIB chief got a personalized slap from Madaam Pasta. The King launched a new scheme called YYHH (yaun-dom yaun-dom Hota Hai) where the citizens were given door to door service of their favourite flavours. A huge amount of currency was transferred from the SOD (Save Our Dearth) fund for this activity.

The flaw in the scheme was stark the very next year when the sale of balloons declined during the festival of la-colourina*. The king realised with horror that the insanes of POL011 wanted to collect free yaun-doms for an entirely different reason but it was too late to make any amendments. To recover the losses, Madaam Pasta gave a brilliant idea to increase the breathing tax.

*  *  *

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring POL92, the notorious gangster The-wood was laughing hysterically in the company of the King of POL92 and his ministers. POL92 was enemies with POL011 over a disputed area called POL011-0191.

“This was a brilliant idea. Who needs killing drones and bombs?” the King said.

“The-wood is a brilliant mastermind. Who would have thought of this,” one of the ministers said.

“Yes, they are already on the brink of a collapse, teaming like nanodrakes*. All we had to do was to give then a nudge. And no one believes in using yaun-doms in that POL. The idiots believe in the more the merrier,” The-wood said.

Later at his home, The-wood went to the store room and took almost half an hour to select a flavour to use that night, chuckling at his idea of using a teleporter on a robotic fly to steal the yaun-doms.

*Insaan – means human in Arabic. It is a commonly used word in Hindi

*yaun – Copulation

*nanodrakes – very similar to ants. They can copulate from both ends and hence indulge in chain-mating.

*la-colourina – A festival similar to Holi but played only with  balloons. In recent years, price of balloons have gone up in POL011, just like the price of petrol in India.

*klear 5690 – Similar to Earth years. On Dearth, a klear consists of 225 days. Each day is 12 hours long. Insanes work only for 3 hours a day.

The news that inspired this post – 10,000 condom machines missing, CAG finds

Four legs good

I like pigs. I really do. The place where I lived earlier used to be lush and green with wide spaces some twenty five years back. Then because of our brilliant government policies, more and more people from small cities and villages started pouring in pigs and monkeysDelhi and some very interesting unregulated and illegal colonies sprouted like wild mushrooms all around my home. It did not take long for the place to turn into a ghetto where you could not drive without your car bumping into a buffalo. And then there were the pigs. Their sudden appearance gave a new dimension to the colony in addition to naked children rolling on the roads and men bathing in full public view. Monsoons made the pigs delirious with joy and they sang duets with frogs. What a joy it was to hear the two species go oink-oink and trrrr-trrrr in quick succession while one swathed in rain water (Thanks to the eternally clogged drainage system in Delhi) and the other jumped over them. I felt close to nature.

And did I mention how much I like cows and buffaloes? I find them very well behaved in Delhi. They NEVER sit in the middle of the roads and promptly move away from your car the moment you honk. The cows in Chennai or for that matter in Haryana are a bit rustic and very fearless. They sit right in the middle of the roads even if there are huge trucks rumbling towards them. Also, the city cows make me feel proud of our nation. I have seen foreigners going ooooh and aaaah the moment they spot a cow and then frantically fumble their bags for the camera. I once saw a caucasian woman set up her tripod stand on one side of a busy road to take pictures of two cows lolling while they chew their personal cuds. My chest swells with pride every time I think about the incident. And did I tell you about a foolish, old man whose corpse was taken off a cow’s horn in my locality? I am sure he must have been harassing her for free milk.

india-roads-cowsThen there are the dogs. Not the pet ones, but the ones who play with kids on the street and bite anyone they fancy. I like them too. Every day before going to office, I religiously put chapattis dabbed in milk at the foot of a lamp-post near my house for the dogs of my street. I like the way my wife jumps and runs when 7-8 dogs try to appreciate her new saree by circling her as she catwalks. I cannot imagine my life without stray dogs. They are such an integral part of every Indian city.

Monkeys hanging from trees around my house always turn me philosophical and make me wonder why nature mutated us from them. Was it a joke? There is a society near my house that has humans and monkeys living in harmony. If you visit that society, you will find one monkey sitting on each car. The people living there have finally bought a few langurs to keep the monkeys at bay. Can you imagine how fortunate the children living in that society are to live in such proximity to their ancestors?

And what should I say about the horses, camels and elephants? I still remember (very fondly) an incident which happened while travelling in my office bus. I was deeply immersed in a novel when I suddenly sensed a giant eye peering through the window to see what I was reading. It was an elephant who was standing next to the bus, waiting patiently for the traffic signal to turn green. That day I almost tasted my heart. Sitting on a camel for a ride and straining my spinal cord always remind me how fragile my life is. And I like their extra long eyelashes and the way their jaw moves when they chew. They remind me of Tinu Anand.

22240-tinu-anand.jpg

Pigeons are another set of fascinating creatures found in abundance in Delhi. Whenever I go to my mum-in-law’s house, I am greeted by mounds of pigeon shit in her balcony. Her AC cannot be operated because it is filled with straws as numerous pigeons have tried to make their nest on top of it. If you leave any of the doors open by mistake, don’t be surprised by the flapping of wings in your bedroom. And the moaning sounds they make in the morning never fails to turn me on. It is the sexiest alarm anyone can dream of.

Living amongst all these amazing species is an experience which you can only enjoy in India. They are mostly harmless if you enjoy them from a distance. But there is another specie that is deadly and extremely dangerous to live with. Humans. In a dark street, you might have more faith in a gang of five dogs but not in a gang of five men. You might allow your child to feed the pigeons but cannot leave him with a portly, old uncle in the park. You might allow your child to take an elephant ride but can you be sure about the driver who takes the child to school?

Yes, I like pigs. Even if they swathe in mud, are dirty, carry germs and litter the road, I know that they are just animals. Trustworthy. Innocent. Living their life without poking their nose in anyone’s business. No ego hassles. They do not know how to use guns or how to throw acid. They do not understand the meaning of countries, terrorists and caste.

Funny how not being intelligent can be such a boon. I wish we were still animals. Life would have been so much simpler.

p.s. I haven’t mentioned cats, squirrels, cockroaches, lizards, sparrows, crows, donkeys, goats, politicians and so many other animals because this post was getting extra long.

[images from 1,2,3,4]