Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chapter ^

6. a

I woke up early in the morning. I like waking up early after a drunk night. It’s a different freshness. A revelatory sort of freshness. Like you are seeing the life in a new light. But if we wake up early once in a blue moon, the light does anyways seem like a new light because we are not used to seeing the early morning light.

Alcohol had relaxed me enough already. So I didn’t feel like lying in the bed. I stood up and went to the basin. Our other drink mates were still lying around drunk. I felt like walking through an ambushed battalion, with my dead soldier friend all around me. Viet war movies filled in the head. I miss a gun in my hand and a helmet. I put an empty bowl on my head and pick up a toothbrush. I shoot Viet guerrillas with it and then put a paste on it, thrusting it in my mouth.

I have an urge to go to the terrace and brush my teeth. Its fun to spit on the road next to the house. Then through the day, the stains remain there. And you can remember your act of valour throughout the day, whenever you pass by the gate.

I walk up the stairs and the series of incidences from last night flicker before me. It’s just been one night, but it seems like days passed by. I entered the terrace door, in a lot relaxed manner than I did last night. I won’t find a clash here today. It wouldn’t belong to two frustrated lovers fighting over a girl. It will all be mine. I will bask in the haze of the morning sun. Listen to the chirping of early riser birds. I will brush my teeth in their rhythm.

I walk across the wall which separates the door from the terrace area. Something catches my eye. I turn around to see what it is. I move back in a mild shock. Piyush lies there with a bottle of Old Monk in his hands. Drunkards crash position. Which clearly means he has been sitting here and drinking all night long.

“Maa chudi!!!” I exclaim and walk to him.

“Piyush….gaandu…uth…wake up…go and sleep on the bed…..chal…” I wake him up.

He mumbles something and turns to his other side.

“Abey gaandu uth….come on….dont sleep here….chal…my bed is empty….chal…” I try again.

“Let me die here….I am a traitor!!” He says clear enough to understand and passes out again.

“Give me this shit later…..stand up first…” I say trying to pick him up.

“Noooo…I want to die here…” He said shaking my hand off and slipping down on the floor.

I was fed up by his senseless attempts to stay smashed. I had to take strong measures to bring him back to his senses. I looked around for options. I saw the Sintex water tank.

I picked him up by his arms and pulled him to the tank. He was out of his senses again by now. I rested him on the edge of the tank. It was almost like puling the carcass of a dead animal.

I pushed him a bit further and brought his face to the mouth of the tank. I opened the lid and assured that there was enough water in it. The assurance inspired me and I dipped his head in the cold water and held it there for a few seconds, till he struggled and withdrew himself from the water and my grip. He fell back pushing me away and lied down coughing. He sat up and rinsed his nose lazily. I went to pick him up again. He pushed me aside. I held him tight next time and dragged him to the tank.

He jumped away. We both fell aside.

“Maar daalega kya gaandu?….want to kill me?” He said heaving heavily.

“You said you want to die…” I said staring at the sky. It felt good to lie down again.

“Yes….kill me!” He said firmly.

I rolled over and grabbed his throat. He held my hand and pushed me away.

“What happened bugger?....die now na…” I asked laughing aloud.

He didn’t reply.

“Nobody accepts death so easily dude…everybody fights against it….not as an intention…but as an impulse… this impulse is life…the fight to be alive….rest all are just words…bekaar ki bakchodi!” I said looking at him.

“No….I have to die…people like me should…” He replied in a tone of grave self pity.

“What has gone into you fucker?....this sad ass shit??!....”

“I am a traitor….”

“No fucker…You are not!!” I shout on him.

“But…” He is about to present a counter argument.

“But what?” I cut it.

“I am a traitor…I shouldn’t live…”

“Fuck you…..You are wrong…stop thinking this shit!!!....nothing’s gonna move if you think this….Chutiya saala!!...If you keep thinking like this, you will have nothing left in your hands….she will go away with someone else….and you will have nothing with you….except this….this shitty thought!!” Perfect threat, perfect thought.

He didn’t turn.

“I think you are scared…” I played my next card. “Fattu saala!!….Don’t be a coward fucker!!...Fattu mat ban Bhenchod!!”

“Fattu nahi ban raha hoon….arey woh Harshad hai…apna dost….he’s our friend….how can I stand against him at all…It’s better to stay alone than do such a thing man…..This is not about cowardice…this is about the trust he had in me which I broke…” He said pitifully.

“You didn’t break any trust….tell me one thing…..Do you love Shamita?” I asked him the most easiest of question with the most complicated anticipation process.
He stayed silent for some time then answered…


There he was! I got him in the trap.

“You have all your answers here!” I said in a tone of finality.

“Nope…” He blurted out promptly. “I have all my questions staring here…”

“Then I can’t do anything for you my friend….I am sorry” This was the last weapon I had saved for such times.

Piyush was shaken. He leaned on the though that, whatever be his confusion, I would be there to sort it out. And my backing out from this effort was his sure destruction. All his qualms were based on this faith. And I had shaken it from the base.

“No Anay….please don’t say this…please help me!!....please tell me what to do!!”
I turned and looked at the sky silently and began brushing my teeth. I had to brush them in the rhythm of the chirping sounds of late riser birds.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

5. j

“Yes…” I said firmly.

“No man…..I don’t think he would do something like that….” he said naively.

“My part was to warn you…rest is what you want to do” I was a bit harsh. But I felt it was necessary at the moment. In order to convince him that he was living in threat. Which he also was somehow.

But I had faked this tone of detachment while speaking to him. As detached I seemed from my words, the more involved I was in this tiff. I felt I was at the centre of it, and like a lever, I was making it work. I was the peg on which the future of this conflict rested. I was the pivot which turned it the way it should go. And I had started feeling conceited about it.

“Do you have a cigarette?” Piyush asked me. An unexpressed concern flashed on his face.

I checked the pockets of my jacket. I found the packet I had bought for the party. I entrusted the half filled packet to him. He took out a cigarette and lit it with his rusted lighter.

He took a long drag and turned to look at the road.

“What happened re Piyush?” I asked him casually.

“Nothing” He tried hard to dismiss my question. Yet it kept lingering around him with the streaks of smoke from his cigarette.

“You sure ??” I pushed it further.

He didn’t reply. Neither did he turn back. He kept smoking silently with his back at me.

I got off the motorbike and went and stood behind him. He didn’t seem to notice my presence. I placed my hand on his shoulder and called out his name. He shrank and turned back to me. His eyes were moist. A stray thought of street lights glistening in them teased me for a second. I pushed it aside and asked him in a softer tone.

“What happened??”

He broke down all of a sudden sitting on his haunches.

“What happened Piyush?” I asked holding him by his shoulders.

“Bhenchod!!!…..that bastard is my friend!!!”


“And then….?” Asked the old blind king curiously.

“And then the archer prince took a closer look at his enemies….” The televisor said all charged up. He had by now realised where was sitting. And what was occurring was so inspiring for him to tell his master, that his master would stand up and start jumping with happiness, not caring about his inactive eyes and where he was going to land next in their absence.

“And then….?” The old blind king’s eagerness spilled out of his weary wrinkled face.

“And then he said….” The televisor began.

The Archer Prince’ Despodency:

“Damn it brother!…..It’s not working out!....” The Archer prince said.

The flutist turned back to him in surprise. But the archer prince didn’t realise it. He was lost in his own grief. The guilt of betrayal began clouting around him. And he kept on speaking in it’s trance.

“I am nervous…..I am shivering….I can’t even hold the bow and arrow…. Look at them man!....all my people….cousins, uncles, teachers….all those who meet me at family get-togethers….What’s the point in killing them?....I even doubt the fact that they are our enemies…..If I kill them all….what will be of our family get-togethers?.....and what is all the wealth of use if they aren’t gonna be around….who will our wives show off their sarees to?”

Flutist who was acting as a charioteer for the war, turned to look at his face. He had held it high as he stared at the enemy camp. Lost in his own words.

“These are my people dude!” The archer prince continued speaking “My kin….I see no point at all in killing them…these are my brothers….I have played with them as a kid….and I face them like enemies today….balls man!....what so ever is happening!....I would be happier if they come together and kill me…..damn yaar….I give up”

Back to Televisor:

“Saying this he put down his weapons before the flutist…” There was a tone of glee in televisor’s voice. The good news was here. And how could it not please his master. He awaited a smile to form on his master’s face.

“What the F***!!!” The old blind king shouted aloud!.

The televisor was shaken. He quickly moved close to him to avoid any damage to the old man.

“What happened Sir?” He asked filled with concern and surprise.

“He is supposed to fight…even if his enemies are my sons….he should fight and he should win….And look what the idiot is doing…..bloody spineless!!” The old blind king vent out his frustration.

“I don’t think so Sir…” interrupted the televisor.

“Then what do you think?” barked the old blind king on him.

“He just loves them all too much!” The televisor said.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

5. i

I was riding the motorbike him back. Piyush sat on the pillion musing about the rapid changes in his life. It was too much to handle for a small town boy like him.

He had lived in a world where each one knew each other. A world which was built on trust and friendship. A world in which others meant a lot more than the self.

The sudden strike from Harshad had devastated him. It wasn’t that he hadn’t had tiffs in his town. But there, the enemies were clearly marked out. And those rules were not applied in these domains. Here, anybody could turn against you. And that too, anytime! This was a fact which Piyush was finding hard to digest. And so would Dilip and Anshul, when he would tell them.

I rode steadily. Allowing Piyush to ride after he is drunk is like riding your death with the reaper holding the accelerator.

I have survived his drunk riding twice. But that did not mean I would the third time.

We came to the open road that joined the two parts of the place. I was about to ride across the grassland into the other part when Piyush suddenly yelped into my ear.

“Can you stop the bike?!”

His pitch indicated an emergency. I guessed that he wanted to puke. That’s a ritual after overdrinking. A grand puking ceremony. When every member pukes one after the another taking inspiration from the earlier. And then they pass out. Some even wake up from sleep and puke to maintain the dignity of the drink.

I stopped the bike. He got down.

“What happened?” I asked him
“Was it true?” he asked gravely. I saw a tint of innocence on his otherwise irritating face.

“What?” I asked unable to derive a reference.

“What you said about Harshad….” He lost the gravity in his voice.

What I said about Harshad:

“Strike back…?” Piyush asked me with a perplexity in his voice.

“Yes….what do you think?....will he sit quiet now??” I said with a tone of assuring obviousness.

“Then??” I could see fret gathering in his voice.

“He will hit back….and he will hit back hard” I said in a serious tone.

“Come on Anay….its Harshad.” He tried to dissuade my thought.

“Yeah…its Harshad….who sends Rahul to follow me….then assaults me at Aunty’s…and then starts a fight with you on a girl… ” I couldn’t let him forgive Harshad. That would mean loss of force for me. But it was somehow a baseless fear. Because, even if he did forgive Harshad, Harshad wouldn’t forgive him.

“But that…”Piyush struggled to deliver a counter logic.

“Give that justification to yourself!!....” I cut his sentence curtly.

There passed a long silent pause between us.

Piyush slowly turned towards me and said, “What do we do now?”

“Defend…..and hit back harder…” I sipped my drink.

“How do we do that?” He asked curiously.

“Let him try first….” I said coldly.

“Why?” He jumped in horror.

“Because we have to know his weapon!” I said staring at the Expressway, taking another sip from the glass.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

5. h (Extension)

“How…?” I asked”

“In a damn bad way…” his voice suddenly opened up. I couldn’t make out whether it was rum or it was outburst. But it had broken the shackles of the baritone.

“What happened up there??” curiosity was raging within me.

I focus on Piyush’s eyes. He looses himself in thought.

Flashback begins : Piyush’s Point of View

When I returned to the terrace, Harshad was lost in a reverie.

“Harshad…” I said going near him. My words shook him out of it.

“Do you believe him?” He asked me.

“Yes” I replied. I had a reason to.

“Maybe he must’ve….you know…spend some time with her there and on moving out…he must’ve seen Rahul and Gaurav…or may be he saw them from the window of the….hotel room…or maybe…”

“So Rahul and Gaurav were there…”

“Yeah…I mean…they happened to run into them…you know…” He was stumbling with his words.

“Did you send them?” I asked him into his face.

“No…they…they…happened to be there… co-incidentally” He answered again with the same stammer.

“Very rare co-incidence” I taunted.

“Why do you trust him so much?” Harshad snapped at me.

“Because he cares…” I replied.

“Cares my arse….he just wants to fuck Shamita…or maybe…”

“Okay stop…” I said cutting his sentence.

“Why stop?…”

“Don’t say anything about Shamita…she is not that kind of girl…” I said politely.

“Excuse me…why are you being so touchy about her?” He asked me angrily. As if he owned her.

“Why not…she is a good girl…”

“One sec…..stay away from her okay…I’ve already told you….I saw you staring at her that day….keep your mind clear…” He warned me.

“Actually Harshad….” His warning has provoked me more, “….I wanted to talk to you about her…”

“About her??...what about her?” He asked me irritated.

“It is that….”

“What?” Wrinkles appeared on his forehead.

“It is that I have a liking for her…” I said in a low voice.

“Come again…” He said in way that irritated me.

“I have a liking for Shamita…” I said again, louder this time.

He looked at me angrily. I looked at him straight into his eye.

“Its better if you keep it just a liking…” he warned me.

“I am sorry” I said.

“What?” He asked me in a threatening tone.

“I am sorry” I said firmly.

“Madarchod!!!…”He emitted a strong tremor. And before I could know, I felt his palm crashing on my skull. It shook me hard, breaking me away from the world around me for a moment. He held me by my collar and pulling me close to him.

“You bastards…son of bitches….Bhenchod…you call me here for a party….and then throw this shit at me…First is that motherfucker….and next are you…you bastards are bent on screwing up my life…bloody Bhadvas…” he went on uttering such shit.

Finally, I couldn’t take it at all. I pushed him away and threw a punch at his face out of impulse. He fell back. Before he could get up, I placed a kick in his belly. He got up and pounced on me.

“Bhenchod….you outsider….you come to our city….take away our admissions…our jobs…and now you are taking away our girls…Bhosdika…go back to where you come from…Madarchod…go back to your state…study there…why do you have to come here to snatch away our happiness…go bhenchod…go back… ” He was in a weird state of fury.

I pushed him away and slapped him hard on his face. He still kept on blabbering.

Finnally I threw him on the ground and shouted “Shut Up!” loudly on his face.

I haunched besides him holding his collar and said “One more word….just one more word from you…and I will throw you down from here…”.

He pushed me away and walked down hurriedly.

Flashback ends. (So does Piyush’s Point of View)

“What the fuck?!” I mumbled my exclamation.

“Yes…” Piyush replied grievously.

“Shit!” I sipped the rum from my glass.

With a shadow of gloom, Piyush turned to me.

“He will strike back” I said staring at the Expressway.

Piyush looked at me befuddled.

“He will strike back…be prepared…” I said without turning towards him.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

5. h

From the place where I sat sipping my Rum in cola, I could see the passage that went up to the stairs that connected the individuality of each floor. I had just filled up my glass. I was about to take a sip and I saw Harshad rushing down furiously. Before I could get up from my place and stop him, he was gone.

I stood up and rushed towards the passage with the glass still in my hands. I saw Piyush alighting the stairs walking heftily.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Let’ go to the tower…” He said in a baritone of a murderer.

“Now?...What happened?...Are you okay?” I was zapped by the sudden change in him.

“Yeah I am okay…get a bottle and two glasses…let’s drink there” He continued in the same baritone.

I slyly entered the drunk zone, grabbed a bottle of rum and a Thums up, picked up two plastic glasses and smoothly escaped from the drunk hounds.

Piyush had started his motorbike by then. I sat carefully balancing all the goods in my hand and we were off.

Tower was a dilapidated factory near the expressway. Someone had a vivid plan of building it near the expressway. But luck didn’t favour him. And neither did the government. So the half complete structure stood there for long years. And then, one fine day, it began dilapidating. After a long wait, it gave away its being to fate.

And its rapidly degenerating form became a hide out for many. Including us. It was one of the places where you had a loft all to yourself, wherein you could sit and enjoy your drink looking at the cars passing by. The place was also used by bongers and bangers. But each one had a solitude in their space. And it rarely happened that two beneficiaries landed up at the place at the same time.

When we reached the tower, it was supposedly empty. We went to the topmost loft and set up our session there. I made a drink for Piyush first and then poured one for myself. We settled down with our glasses on the cement sacks, which had by now hardened into stone and served purely as seats. Some artist had also arranged it to seem like a sofa and had a pile of similar sacks before it which served like a table.

We sipped the beverages from our glasses and lit our cigarettes. I reclined on the hard back rest like elevation near my back.

“Tell me now…what happened…” I asked taking a sip from my glass.

“He failed….” Piyush said gravely. “…badly!” He added.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

5. g

“Yes…Rahul!” There was a cold edge to my voice. An edge of brutality that goes tearing the soul apart. “Isn’t it Harshad?...Rahul told you na?”

Standing stuck to the wall, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to strike. I wasn’t supposed to enter the ring. I wasn’t supposed to break the chain of words between them. I just had to stand there, for Piyush to know that I was there. But venom. Venom made me break the rules. It was spreading. I had to cut it. If it spread, it wouldn’t just spoil the mechanism of the things going around me. It would destroy the newly developed affiliation between me and Piyush. Even if it was not true. Because every lie holds a possibility of being true. And people believe in this possibility more than they believe in the truth. I had to knock it off before it settled itself in Piyush’s mind. I couldn’t stand there and let him do it. No! I had to stop it. I had to barge in.

Harshad looked at me with a surprise. Piyush had a betrayed look on him. He looked at me as if I had torn his world apart. This was the look I was scared of. And If didn’t wipe it off from his face now, I would have to live with it all my life.
“Why should he tell me?” Harshad’s words stumbled out uncomfortably.

“Because you had sent him to follow me….” I made another assault.

“Me??...No way!...Why would I send them?”
“Then how can you say this??” I nailed it. “Tell me!”

He was speechless. I turned to Piyush.

“He sent Rahul and Gaurav to follow me and Shamita….”I said pointing a finger at Harshad.

Piyush was quizzed. He looked at me and Harshad turn-by-turn. Unable to take a side. Unable to decide.

“….Because he thought….that I was taking Shamita to the hill-station and sleeping with her….rather than taking her to meet her brother….” I continued. “And his spies…they saw your motorbike at the stand and reported that I was banging Shamita in a roadside motel….” I stopped. The idea they had was quite an exciting one. But I would have enjoyed the tag if I had actually utilised the motel in that sense.
I turned to Harshad. I glared into his eyes.

“I saw them Harshad…I saw your spies…unfortunately they left before I finished my Medu Wada….with an assumption!...I am so sorry to disappoint you…you Fucker!!”

“That means you did go to a motel...” Harshad said staring at me. “…what is the guarantee that you only had a Medu Wada!!...”

I could see Piyush falling for his words. His eyes reflected an agreement to every question that Harshad raised. They stared at me intently at Harshad’s every doubt. And I could feel them burning on my face.

“Piyush do you remember the calls I made you from home??....just open the log and show this bastard!!” I commanded Piyush. He quickly began fiddling with his mobile phone. He needed to find an answer for himself. He was struggling to prove me right. Not because he trusted me so much. But because he wanted to check the facts. Proving me right was his only way of ensuring Shamita’s sanctity. And he would give his right arm for it. This was just scrolling through a list with the same hand.

He came to me. He showed me his mobile. Fortunately, the entries existed.

“See this Harshad….every call is from my home….every call in these four days….” I held out the mobile before him. He saw into it and looked at me worriedly.

“What do you say??” I asked him.

He stood still for some time.

“You can also compare the time travelled and the difference between the leaving time and reaching time…” I took it further.

After another brief moment of quietness he said in an almost inaudible decibel, “I am sorry!”

“How could you even think Harshad….?” I said with a pretentious disappointment.

“Come Piyush…let’s go” I said giving the mobile phone back to Piyush. I walked out of the terrace in a fake rage. Piyush followed me. I was happy to have rescued him from Harshad’s venom.

I stopped in my steps. I turned back facing him.

“Why are you following me??” I asked him.

He stands shell shocked.

“Go and tell him you love Shamita…It’s time for the test now!...he failed mine…now it’s your turn.” I tell him patting on his arm.