SPEECHLESS

EPISODE 1-PUBLISHED
EPISODE 2-PUBLISHED
EPISODE 3-PUBLISHED

EPISODE 1

CCD(Cafe Coffee Day) is definitely not my usual place to hang out because:

  1. You need to order something to be eligible to occupy a seat.
  2. You can’t even just sit for a glass of water because you need to pay for that as well.

Still this Friday I was there waiting for a friend whom I had not met for a couple of years. I had ordered the cheapest coffee worth Rs. 22 and was waiting.

That’s when my eyes drifted towards this really beautiful girl sitting in the corner with her friends. And her eyes met mine and they locked for a moment more than what might have been considered coincidental. She obviously broke out of that ‘eye-lock’ first and started talking in an over-excited tone with her friends.

Dude, that’s just an arbitrary event. Nothing to make a meaning out of. Maurya, hurry up or God knows what I might end up thinking? Again as my eyes started to explore the geography of the cafe I don’t know why they got stuck with this girl. This time around I noticed that she was not that fair but she was very gorgeous. I decided this time to purposely avoid looking that side. Who knows if she has noticed me watching, what she might have thought? It was already 6 o. clock. How long did I have to wait in this place like this? I did not even have a uber-cool phone to kill boredom nor the patience to wait longer.

Okay if Maurya does not come in the next five minutes I leave.

Well Maurya did not come. So guess I had to leave. I paid the bill and decided to leave. I guess it would be of no harm to have another look at that girl before leaving. So near the door, I turned around(stylishly I thought) and my eyes browsed the corner for that angel. Hey where’s the girl?

I really wanted to look at her one time more before leaving. But guess fate had decided against it.

Just as I went out, I saw her. She was talking with someone on the phone. As soon as she saw me, she cut short her conversation.

She came up to me and asked ,”You leaving so early. Care for a cup of coffee together.”

That left me speechless.

I managed to mumble a yes before opening the door for her.

EPISODE 2

As I followed her back to the seat I had previously occupied I tried to get in ‘form’. Now ‘form’ for a guy/girl caught in a situation like this is the ability to impress that you are smart and that at one shot. In fact let’s have a score-board for both me and her and let’s see who has got the ‘form’.

DEBI-(GIRL)
0-5

5 bonus points to her for being so beautiful.

So what should I do first then?I went ahead and drew the chair out for her and then came over and took the seat in front.That would be like 5 points for gentleman behaviour.

DEBI-(GIRL)
5-5

I asked,”So what’s your name?”

She said,” Shruti. And yours?”

Shruti. Hmmm…. Nice name then.

“It’s Debi,”I said.

“Isn’t that a little girlish? I don’t mean to hurt but…”

5 marks cut. Now thats rude on her part.

DEBI-SHRUTI
5-0

“Actually thats short for Debidatta as it’s a tongue twister for some people.”

“You are the same guy. ICSE topper-types na. Yeah, you definitely have this padhakhu(studious) aura now that I am beginning to notice.”

Hey how can you do this? At least give me a chance. You can’t cut me out just because I did well in my tenth. That’s injustice to me and the other geeks in this world.

“Well you don’t know me yet do you. I guess you can judge all that later…,” and I thought for a while and added ,” when we know each other better.”

She smiled and that took me off. I was getting a great feeling apart from 5 points for such a timely statement that drew such a beautiful smile from her. Yeah let’s give her 5 points as well for the smile.

DEBI-SHRUTI
10-5

“So what do you do apart from hanging out here?” I asked.
“Nothing much actually. I simply hate studies and love almost everything else that is supposed to take me away from them. As such I am a Commerce student. So you know….,” and I guess she would have told something else if this waiter would not have appeared.”One latte. And what do you want?” I asked her.”I would have a Submarine. And please order at that table in the corner. Thank You.”Hey, what’s a submarine? It sounded huge.

“So where were we then? So what do you do apart from studying, studying and just studying,” she said.

“Well that’s an accusation which I face from lots of people. I enjoy whatever I do, nevertheless.”

“Hey, that’s the issue. You do only one thing-studying.”

5 points to her. What shall I attack next with?

“Well don’t you think that makes it all the more difficult to enjoy it. Still I do.”

Thats nice. At least it kept me alive in competition. 3 points for quick response then to me.

DEBI-SHRUTI
13-10

“Okay so you a Kutian?” shot Shruti.

My brain carried out a quick operation.
Search: Kutian.
Results: No results in Debi’s Vocabulary
Nearest results: Kutta,Kuttia.

Bad vocabs, Debi. Minus 5 for that then.

“So what’s a Kutian?” I ventured to ask.

“Guys on Orkut are called Kutians. But guess I need to introduce you…”

“No I do have an account there but I wasn’t aware of this little nomenclature.”

“Nomen–what? I just know Nauman from Roadies. But you toh ….”

Minus two for her as well.

DEBI-SHRUTI
8-8

“Hey, I watch Roadies. And I know Nauman. This is nomenclature- science of naming and classifying things.Leave so you had noticed me looking at you.”

“Well, frankly my whole group had. I don’t know why I sort of — you know—- kind of liked it.”

I did not ask what ‘it’ was and why she liked it. What matters is that she liked ‘it’. Good we were finally coming to the point.

“Well you are so beautiful that I just kept looking.”

And after this for the first time did she look at me directly eye to eye. Just as I was getting myself ready to drown in the depth of her lovely eyes she broke connection. Guys this is bad now. Just imagine you are going to dive in this pool and you have made your jump and someone has drained the water.

Actually her friends had started to leave, so she even had to hurry up.

“So you have to go then, I guess,” I said “What about the submarine?”

I really wanted to see one without ordering.

“That was for my friend. Got to go now,” she said and scribbled something on the napkin and left.

I wanted her to turn once before going but she was too busy giggling with her friends.

On the napkin she had written her phone number!

What an idiot I was ? I had not even asked for her phone number!

She deserved lots of points for that.

DEBI-SHRUTI
8-infinite

(This scoreboard thing is from some movie. I forget which. So don’t accuse me for plagiarizing later)
EPISODE 3Later that night at my house.”It can’t be so simple,”said Maurya. “No girl is so easy. It’s quite filmy and this napkin is not proof enough of her love.”

“You are just pissed off because you came late or else all this might have never happened. It happened dude.I can’t tell …”

“Call her then. Call now,” he said.

“I can’t just call her. I have to prepare myself for that. You know rehearse and get into ‘form’.Or for a change. Let’s just be myself this time. No rehearsal. Whatsay Maurya?”

“Just call. Why do you think so much?”

I called.

“Hey, it’s ringing,” I said.

“Wow. What were you expecting? You would call and the phone would turn into Shruti. It’s ringing. What’s the world coming to?”

I said,”Hello, Shruti?”

Shruti from the other side,” Yeah and you are?”

“Debi. We met today.”

“Yeah. Debi I have to tel you something,” she said.

I love you obviously.

“Tell.”

“Well, my friends had challenged me to spend 10 minutes with a stranger in CCD. So you seemed to have wanted to talk. That’s why I had come to your table. Don’t feel bad. I am really sorry if I have hurt you. But I had hundred bucks at stake. Hey, are you there? Debi…”

I hung up. Shocking. Mind-numbing.I felt a vacuum in my chest and this very odd feeling of desperation.

“Maurya I am going to sleep.” He did not stop me or ask me anything.

When I woke up the next day I got this sms on my phone:
sry for ystrday. but truly u r nice lets meet. today 4pm CCD.
sry again.

This girl always leaves me speechless, always.

So I am going now to meet her. Pray for me brother.

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THE OPPORTUNIST

Summers in Orissa are marked by erratic cuts in electricity; often disrupting normal life. It sure did disrupt mine this morning when I had to miss out on the repeat telecast of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. which I had missed out on yesterday. That’s like missing the missed.

I was feeling extremely bored and then…….

“How could you do this without asking me?”

That voice seemed to belong to Mr. Misra, a usually cool campaigner, who was now attempting to exercise his vocal chords at maximum amplitude.

Normally I would not have done this but since I was also getting bored to the max I decided to check it out.

The scene in front of Mr. Misra’s house was as follows:

Mr. Misra was balking at two government workers who I presumed belonged to the electricity department because of the loop of thick wire that one of them hung by his arm and pointing again and again to a branch of a tree and a big jack-fruit adorning it. Mr. Misra was quoting from the Gita and the Constitution simultaneously about justice, truth and possession. Any gaps in his little speech were appropriately punctuated by counter-arguments from both the workers. And spectators to this debate were about ten people including Mr. Bhandari ,another aged neighbour, a beggar on a wheelchair and myself. Judging by the noise (and publicity) that was being created more on-lookers were on the cards also.

Mr. Mishra: How can you cut a branch of a tree that grows on my garden without asking me?

Worker 1: You were not there. So we cut it. Anyways you should thank us for not cutting the entire tree down.

Worker 2: Your tree was hindering this wire. Plus the little branch had begun twining about these wires and we were getting regular complaints of short circuiting.

Worker 1: We even cut down other things if people come in between our job and us.

Mr. Misra: Like what? You will cut us down someday!

Worker 2: No just the mains wire that gives you current. That should suffice.

Worker 1: Sir, we can’t bicker with you the whole day now? We have many wirings to examine and you can see it’s not getting any cooler.

Worker 2: Yeah, Shambhu carry this jack-fruit along. It belongs to us now that we have cut it. And also the branch. We will make some fundings out of that branch.

Mr. Misra: No one takes anything away from here. That tree is mine and whatever it bears is mine. You scoundrels had no right to touch it. Now you want to take the fruit away?

Worker 1: Okay then you pay us and keep the branch. But the jack-fruit is definitely ours. You can take a little piece if you want.

Mr. Misra had had enough of this. He did not say anything this time and went into the house. And he came back smiling. He said,”Let’s go inside and settle this out over a cup of tea.”

Wow! Now that was a paradigm shift. What had caused him to undergo this benevolent transformation? Some Gandhigiri trick or what?

The workers went inside after looking slightly disconcerted though. I guess the show was over. It would be impolite for anyone of us to go in just to witness the deal.

Just then Mr. Misra came out and told Mr. Bhandari, “I have called my friend. He is a Senior Officer in Electricity Department. I will strip these scoundrels of their jobs for sure today.”

Having revealed this bit of information he ran inwards.Then Mr. Bhandari and I both started to leave.

“Isn’t that the branch and fruit that these people were quarreling about?” , said Mr. Bhandari.

Near the end of the lane, the lame beggar wheeled on as fast as he could with the branch that held the jack-fruit attached to the support of his chair. And then he turned into another lane and out of our sight. I guess it’s his now.

AN ANTHOLOGY OF MINI-EVENTS

1.THE HIGHWAY
Location:Somewhere near Sagar
Characters: Robin, Satwik, Amit and ******

11 PM

Robin said, “Well, let’s go somewhere, yaar.”

Satwik said, “Let me take you to this really cool place. Me and my friends discovered it last year during our board exams. We got all the confidence with which we gave our exams from this place.”

“Let’s hit the road then. And yeah let’s pick up Amit on the way. He had sms-ed he was getting bored”, said Robin putting on his jacket.

11.30 PM

Robin shouted,”This gave you confidence. It’s giving me the creeps.”

Amit told,”A graveyard should give you the creeps. Why did you bring us here?”

Satwik said, “Well you were getting bored and he wanted to go somewhere. Oh chill man nothing happens the ghosts are dead. If thats what is scaring you Amit then no need to come in .”

Amit said,”You are going in?”

Satwik replied,”Ya IGI: I’m Going In and even Robin is. Aren’t you coming in Robin?”

Robin said,”Well let’s come back tomorrow. Let’s go back home today and muster up all courage we have say good bye to our girl-friends and parents and then come here tomorrow, ok.It’s a promise. I hope that’s ok with you Amit?”

Amit okayed , Satwik grunted and the graveyard plan was discarded.

They came out onto the highway. Satwik went straight to the middle of the road and …… well he laid himself on the road.Robin followed.

Satwik said,”It’s quite warm. Come on Amit feel the heat. Anyways it’s quite cold out here”

“Don’t you think a truck might come and crush all of us if we sleep there,”said Amit .

“Come on don’t be such a cheapo. We can know whether a truck, a bus or a cycle is coming when it is 2 to 3 kms away,” said Satwik

“No leave me alone.Okay let me click photos of you guys to put on orkut,”said Amit

He turned his bike on and lighted the entire road. So there they had a photo-shoot for half an hour or so. They shot photos in almost every pose that each one could offer.

Finally as everyone had had enough of this and were about to leave a jeep came along. No one understood why it stopped: guess it was odd for 3 young guys to hang out at midnight on a public highway.

4 00 AM

Satwik said, “Dad, can you come to the police station now? No i have been arrested for taking drugs. No obviously I did not. Please ……

PS: ****** – POLICE

2. THE ‘LOOTERA’
Location: Dusshera Mela, Kota
Characters:Apu, Rahul, Rudra and myself

We had just reached the Dusshera Grounds and the enormity of the fair this year left us stunned. People seemed to be rushing in from all directions. Everyone around us seemed to have put on their best clothes for this occasion. In fact for the localites this is a huge event something like Christmas: it comes once a year but it surely is the best time. We caught sight of a newly married couple(most probably) who were thinking that they were a part and parcel of the crowd and their public display of affection would go unnoticed, then came along an aunty who seemed to have put on all her gold on herself (for unrestricted public exhibition)that she had accumulated till that day( why do these people think that there would be others who would notice that in all that crowd. I mean who cares?) and then came along this girl who had successfully transformed herself into an albino(How? Talc obviously) : she was having a little difficulty to walk with grace with those stilettos but she managed somehow and so on. I mean everybody there seemed to want attention: well they did catch my eye .

Just at the entrance to the fair, there was this man with a stall: there was a gun and balloons to shoot at. The prospect of using a gun really got some hormones activated but then when I saw the muzzle of the gun was inches away from the balloons I guess whatever feeling had been aroused by those chemicals subsided and I decided not to have a shot. But Rahul, Apu and Rudra were quite excited and started shooting. They shot one bullet, the man opened the barrel filled it up and again they shot. This went on for quite some time and finally they had had enough and even I had had enough of waiting.

Apu asked the man, “So how much did it cost?”

The man replied,”Fifty rupees.”

What the — Fifty rupees for shooting at balloons from a distance less than their diameter. That was too much.

Apu asked,”So how many shots did you both shoot?”

Rudra and Rahul had not counted. Neither had Apu nor had I counted.

Apu concluded,”That guy was a lootera, man.”

So we had no option but to pay fifty bucks and leave. Guys beware of such looteras. For example with the golgappa/gupchup vendors do keep a count or you might be losing out on some free fund.

3.THE HUMAN PROJECTILE
Location: Dusshera Mela, Kota

I hope you all have seen a boat that does a sort of periodic motion in a vertical circle in amusement parks or in local melas. The boat in this mela was overloaded by say 20 to 40 extra people. I say ‘extra’ because these people were not even sitting . They stood on the side-rails and held onto the bars of the boat as it swung to and fro. I find just sitting on that boat a ride my mind and body can just survive but standing on that was out of question.

Just as I was thinking how scary a ride it was being for these people one brave-heart let go of his bar, stretched his hands , got carried away with the cacophonous music and did a Titanic( i mean he just spread his arms) and this time when the boat was going down the man did not go down. He went up: thrown tangentially out into nothingness. And just like a ball thrown he flew out and then BANG. He was lucky enough to just miss the ride that was beside it. He was not bleeding but he was obviously in pain.

Now in such places there is usually no first aid available. A young boy came running from God knows where and started slapping the person into his senses. Well, that was the only first aid he got. Few men came and took him away to a tent nearby.No one else on the boat noticed his absence. The show must go on and it did.

Next time you go to a mela just be careful.

A HYPERNATIONALISTIC INDIAN – Part 1

As I was zapping through the channels on my TV set the other day, I came across a weird piece of ‘news’ on a channel called Ind**TV. A very dramatic and excited voice narrated the following:

“Why?Exactly why do you think these two batsman Herschelle Gibbs and J P Duminy are playing well? People I plead you to think what might be the reason.Notice these two photos closely. I think you can tell why they are playing so well. Yes, my viewers its exactly what you think. They play so well because they are both… because they are both …….. bald.”

Wow! Could never have figured that out myself. Then that guy who calls himself a journalist went on to tell about what ingredients might have been mixed in the ‘prasad’ given by Priety Zinta to the Kings XI and what might be the reason why Kevin Peterson was the only person from the opponents side to have eaten that prasad. That person went onto narrate various theories regarding it. I don’t know about news but when it comes to expanding your imagination and widening your thought process about the weirdest possibilities this channel surely helps.

Among the other stuff broadcast by this channel are :
1.When is the world coming to an end?
2.Who is the left-handed magician that is bringing the world to his feet?(Answer: Barrack Obama)
3.Who brought the left-handed magician to his feet?(Answer: His helicopter when the US Prez got struck with the door of the helicopter)
4.Why is ******** Baba not leaving his house anymore?
and lots more…

From where does this channel get such audacity to show all this on national tv for hours and hours together? (Nowadays everyone is getting more and more daring. For instance, the question setters of maths in CBSE XII exam. I still now can’t digest the fact that these guys asked us the HCF of two numbers directly. It felt like a slap on my face. Questioning a class XII student about class III stuff.)The crew at that channel are doing the obvious. Going by the fact that most of India is superstitious, ill-educated (still) and cannot take too much substance at one time, they are broadcasting such weird ideas. What they need is TRP so they target religion in India. Well who does not? From the politicians to the conservative parents everyone has religion that they can use as a weapon. That is somehow a really big weakness in our integrity. We attach so much passion with it that we forget how some people are taking advantage of it.(We here does not imply me or you its for the general people. I don’t have that much a connection with religion. My friends obviously had other divine purposes why they visit temples regularly: to praise the ‘divine’ beauty.)

Everything needs to be dramatized in the Indian media to sell.(Well this is an accepted fact in India. Thats why Om Shanti Om,Heyy Baby,Singh is King got better box office results than Aamir,Mumbai Meri Jaan,Firaaq and even Slumdog Millionaire). Somehow the general public in India does not want substance. We would prefer a hero that beats up gangs of gangsters alone(Ghajini) rather than a realistic hero who dies due to a bomb attack. We must somehow ensure that no one takes advantage of the way we are.Thats not definitely what these news guys must be thinking. Everytime I zap through this channel I am reminded of a ill-directed theatrical performance. Why can’t they just tell the news after all there are other channels on air that serve the purpose they are trying to?( Sometimes you can catch repeat telecasts of your favourite soaps right here in news channels.) I would prefer to watch a regional news channel than this national channel;at least I would get news.Barring a couple of channels that are still virgin to all these tactics and still give pure news ,all the others in some proportion or the other sell dramatised news. Guess its only when we change will these news channels change.

We have tried the iPod and the iPhone , for once lets try this new gadget: iChange.