Pothiz july-2010

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  • 1. Contents Inaugural Issue ............................................................................ 3 The Soul is a Battery ................................................................... 5 Elegy .......................................................................................... 11 The Matrimonial Clock .............................................................. 12 Goodbye Mrs. Boa .................................................................... 20 Barberic Times .......................................................................... 21 Oops! I made you a Daddy........................................................ 27 Thirteen Hours of Fame ............................................................ 29 Inverting the Pyramid (Jonathan Wilson) ................................. 33 Practical Lessons ....................................................................... 36 God Promise ............................................................................. 41 The Idiot .................................................................................... 44 सना फचऩन ............................................................................... 50 ू City's Seasons ............................................................................ 51 फेटी होने का ददद ........................................................................ 53 Divine Sisterhood ...................................................................... 54
  • 2. From the Publisher’s We received close to a Desk hundred entries and selecting a few for your reading Inaugural Issue pleasure was not an easy by Pothi.com Team task. At Pothi.com, we Dear Readers, particularly respect the fact the each individual has his or It goes without saying that we her own taste in reading and take immense pleasure in writing. So, apart from the presenting to you the entries that made it to the inaugural issue of Pothiz – main issue, we are also going Pothi.com’s online magazine. to put up some of the other We see Pothiz as a natural entries we have received on extension to our efforts of the website. Do read them providing the young and and give your praises or unheard voices a platform constructive feedback to the where they could engage, be authors through comments. heard, get valuable feedback directly from their readers and flourish into wonderful wordsmiths. While Pothi.com remains an open platform for a variety of publishing endeavors, Pothiz is going to be a more curated collection of creative writings. Our hope Coming to the entries is that this collection will included in the issue, the encourage readers to delve Featured entry ‘The Soul is a into and discover the hidden Battery’ delighted us with its gems in the proverbial “long interesting and novel take on tail” of writing. ghost stories. It entertains, it frightens and it leaves you nodding in agreement with
  • 3. the feelings of the characters. 'सना ू फचऩन' (Empty We hope you enjoy it as Childhood, Hindi) touch on much as we did. the various stories, pleasures Amongst other stories, ‘The and pains of our human Matrimonial Clock’ will existence. ‘Oops! I made you resonate particularly well a Daddy’ is a cute, little with the urban career autobiography by a day old oriented professionals. It is a baby (ghost written by his story of how they have to father). cope with the conflicting Finally, as you all battle with needs of matrimony and the fever of Football, do not career. ‘Thirteen Hours of forget to read the review for Fame’, ‘Practical Lessons’ and ‘Inverting the Pyramid’ by ‘The idiot’ are the stories Jonathan Wilson. The book about the opportunism, the provides an interesting hypocrisy, the good and the insight into how the bad in common people – just gameplay has evolved over like you and me. time and how the game is not While ‘Barberic Times’ and just about the magical ‘God Promise’ are there to players! tickle you, ‘Goodbye Mrs. We hope you enjoy the Boa’ is a sweet, but profound collection. Do send your tribute to Boa Sr., the last feedback on the magazine speaker of Bo Language in and also on the individual Andaman islands. She died entries. Entries are also earlier this year. Other poems invited for the next issue of ‘City’s seasons’, ‘Elegy’, the magazine. The deadline is ‘Divine Sisterhood’, ‘फेटी होने July 16, 2010. का ददद’ (The Pain of being a Pothi.com Team Daughter/Girl, Hindi) and
  • 4. Featured Entry elope. They planned to meet The Soul is a Battery one night at the very spot by Vivek Ramakrishnan where today’s campfire was arranged. ‘Do you believe in evil Sheila arrived first. She spirits?’ waited for hours. There was no sign of Arjun. His parents It was Neha. Always the first had apparently discovered one to get scared. It must their plan, and had convinced have been the story, thought him not to go. At around Arjun. three o’clock that night, Sheila realized that Arjun They were sitting around a would not come. She calmly campfire on the banks of the walked into the raging Ganges near Rishikesh. Their Ganges. Her body was never bodies were aching after a found. Arjun was found dead day of rafting and kayaking. It two days later – his body was was one at night. They were floating on the Ganges. all stone drunk. Ramesh, assistant to their rafting Ramesh had noted Neha’s instructor, had concluded his discomfort at this point, but story just ten minutes back. had carried on. He appeared to be enjoying himself. ‘To It was Sheila’s story. Sheila this day, people say Sheila’s had loved a guy, Arjun. Arjun restless spirit roams the area, smiled as he thought of the and looks around for Arjun’, bout of leg-pulling that he he had said. Ramesh had had been subjected to just looked directly into Arjun’s because of the common eyes as he said this, and Arjun name. Sheila and Arjun were felt a chill run down his spine. madly in love, but their parents were opposed to the ‘Arjun! I’m talking to you!’ match. They finally decided to
  • 5. ‘Well, let me think! Don’t you He saw a few drunken heads want a proper answer to nodding. He went on. this?’ ‘Well, if I put a dry cell into a He was lying. He had thought flashlight, and then remove it about this earlier. He had a and insert it in a clock, does very good idea of what he the clock start behaving like was about to say. But he the flashlight? NO! The dry wanted everyone to believe cell can only give life, you see. that he had concocted his It cannot retain or transfer beautiful theory in a matter any properties of its host. A of minutes, i.e. after he was soul too, merely gives life. It asked the question. He may give life to a dog’s body, wanted to impress everyone and then the same soul may with his brilliance. later give life to a human body, but the human will not He put on a very sombre show any characteristics of a expression. dog, just because he has a ‘The soul is like a battery’, he soul that was once in a dog’s declared. body.’ ‘A what?!’He heard many Again, a few nods. voices exclaim. Encouraged, he went on. ‘A battery. Think of a dry cell. ‘That is why I can say that the What does it do? It gives life. only evil spirits that exist are You see, if I put a dry cell in a the ones that we have flashlight, it gives life to the currently consumed! And I’m flashlight, so to speak. If I put not too sure that those are so it in a clock, it gives life to the evil, now that I think about it.’ clock. Now compare this to He winked. ‘You see, for an the soul. What does the soul evil spirit to exist, it would do? It gives life!’ become necessary that the soul retain some knowledge
  • 6. about its prior host, which, as If you remember, Ramesh I have demonstrated, is not also mentioned that hardly possible!’ any instructors were willing to work for the camp’. This A voice shot up. ‘Dude! You was Neha again. have not demonstrated anything! All you have done is ‘Ramesh has had one drink present an idea, which has too many. I really think we never been tested.’ ought to sleep now. It’s 2AM and we are set to go rafting Arjun defended, ‘Well, it fits, over the real rapids early doesn’t it? It explains morning at 7AM – ‘The Wall’ everything so well. The and ‘Return to sender’. We analogy is so perfect, it need the sleep. And Neha, surprises me. And of all the please don’t start believing possible explanations, I such nonsense. I don’t want believe mine is the one that you tossing and turning the makes the most sense.’ whole night, and ending up ‘Besides, the story our dear with no rest tomorrow Ramesh narrated must be morning. We’re going to need some stupid legend that all the energy we can get!’ these ignorant villagers ‘Arjun, don’t mock these blindly believe. Tell me, why legends. Many of them are would these guys even set up true. Besides, it’s you who a camp at the very spot should be worried – it’s Arjun where Sheila is supposed to she’s looking for after all! And have drowned?’ I’ll bet that you are scared ‘Ramesh told us that the too, underneath that façade owner of the camp did not of yours’. really believe in the story. He She looked really annoyed. loved this spot, and insisted Arjun let it go at that. He got on setting up his camp here.
  • 7. up and went back to his tent. noticed that his hands were The others followed suit. trembling. Why should they? ‘The soul is a battery’, he told **** himself. He had to get up. ‘Arjun! Arjun!’. It was a Neha had put on a good fake whisper at first. He ignored it. accent, he thought. ‘Arjun!’ The voice grew more forceful. Arjun glanced at his watch. It was 3AM. He covered his head with his blanket and tried to sleep. ‘Arjun!’ There was no mistaking it. Someone was definitely calling him. It was a female voice. Something inside him warned him not to get up. But then, he had to find out. ‘It’s Neha’, he thought. It had to be. Though how she managed to chalk up the courage to venture alone ‘Arjun!’ This time it was outside her tent in the pitch followed by the sound of dark was something he could anklets. Just like in the horror not imagine. Neha was trying movies. Neha was really to scare him. He would scare leaving no expense spared. her instead, he thought. Arjun had always wondered ‘Arjun!’ The voice was not at why the characters in horror all like Neha’s. It sounded too movies would invariably confident. It was pleading, follow the sound of anklets, and yet very cold. For some ultimately resulting in their strange reason, it did not untimely death. But he found even seem human. Arjun that he too felt an insatiable
  • 8. curiosity to explore the She was very annoyed today source of the sound. – and she looked like she would go to any extent to His knees were knocking. ‘The teach him a lesson. At any soul is a battery’, he rate, he was too drunk to reminded himself again. He think straight. peered out of his tent. ‘Arjun!’ There she was. A ‘The soul is a battery’, he kept veiled woman. She seemed to chanting as his foot touched be looking directly at him. the cold water. He realized She beckoned, and Arjun felt that the current was compelled to walk towards powerful. She stopped. She her. She laughed a cruel was only slightly ahead of him laugh, and then turned and now. He put his second foot started walking towards the in. Even so close to the bank, river. Those anklets! He had he could feel the force of the to follow her. Neha was going water. She moved slowly too far. He could not let her ahead now, looking back have the satisfaction of often to see that he was spooking him. And yet, a following. voice in his heart warned him that it was not Neha. He touched the water. He scooped up some water and The woman seemed to float. splashed it on his face. The He could not tell for sure of cool water seemed to clear course - her saree was his head. He realized that his sweeping the ground, so that firm conviction in his theory her feet and slippers were had started crumbling. His not exposed. He knew that beautiful theory meant something was just not right, nothing now. How could he but he could not help throw away all that he following. She now waded believed in? Is it just enough into the river. Neha would to preach, to believe, and not never do that! Or would she? to follow? He had always
  • 9. thought of himself as one had managed to reach Neha’s who followed what he tent. preached. But now, he only knew one thing – he had to ‘Neha!’ But the bed was run! The woman seemed to empty. His mouth went dry. He needed to find someone! sense his discomfort, or, as he knew deep in his heart, his Someone human! fear. She looked back to see ‘Arjun!’ He did not dare look that he was indeed following up. A hand was on his her. shoulder. He finally looked up NOW! She had turned ahead. and saw Neha smiling. This was his chance. He ‘What are you doing here so turned around silently. late?’ Making as little noise as ‘I….I just came to check that possible, he started making you were okay. You know, his way back to the bank. He you were so scared…’ was almost at the bank now. She turned. ‘Actually Arjun, you’re the ‘Arjun!’ A savage cry! It was one that looks like he’s just definitely not human. He felt seen a ghost. What’s wrong?’ his blood freeze. She was ‘Nothing yaar. I try to show a rushing towards him. The fury little concern, sensitive being of the river seemed to that I am, and these smart multiply. He ran with all his retorts are what I get in might. He was at the bank return!’ He hoped that it was now. She was making a mad convincing. rush, he was sure, but he dared not look back. She laughed. Why was there a twinkle in her eye? Was it His brain had stopped her, then? Had he really functioning. It had frozen in annoyed Neha so much that fear. His legs somehow she had performed this carried him on. Safety! He
  • 10. elaborate ritual just to get Poetry even? He knew that Neha Elegy could go to great lengths if by Ananya S Guha she was determined to do something… and yet... a poem symmetry But he would never ask. How line, curve could he? If only he had had dash, comma the courage to stick to his ambience beliefs. If only he had trusted his own theory that he had so a poem zealously defended. If only he cemetry had followed the mysterious the moment woman, caught up with her, it is born, and exposed her for the fraud dies... she was. ‘After all, the soul is About the Author a battery’, he smiled bitterly. Ananya S Guha lives in About the Author Shillong and works in the The author believes that he is Indira Gandhi National Open a classic case of the 3 idiots University. His poems in syndrome - Engineer from English have been published Pune University + MBA from in numerous journals, IIML, and now blundering magazines, ezines, websites along in life, Vivek writes for in India and abroad. He can release. He also plays the be contacted at guitar for release, but his nnyguha48@gmail.com neighbours seem to prefer the writing! Image Attribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Oyuki.jpg
  • 11. Story And ready to do more, than The Matrimonial mingle. She had broken up with her long time boyfriend Clock more than eight years ago. by Shweta Ganesh Kumar He had wanted to settle Tara took off her jacket and down and she had not. She hung it on the peg behind the had just started making her main door of the apartment. mark as an assistant producer It was slightly cold this time in a children’s network. Tara of the year in Bangalore. She had barely any time for rubbed her hands together meeting him at dinner those for warmth and took out her days. Edits, props, production wallet. This went into the first schedules, and auditions with drawer of the wooden chest precocious kids - these were of drawers she had in the the only things on her mind sitting room. To the right of back then. She could not that, went the keys to her think of taking time out for a beloved three year old car. wedding. The idea of Next on her agenda was a shopping for a trousseau or shower, dinner and the getting through the very midnight re-run of FRIENDS many ceremonies involved and then she would settle with a wedding filled her with down with her laptop. This dread. She was in love, but last, was the most important she had no time or the activity of the day. It was all inclination to get into about her search for a soul something that would mean mate. making changes in her work life. She had ended up having Tara Narayan, thirty-six, lived a long talk with her boyfriend. in Bangalore and was a He had understood. They had successful TV producer who parted amicably and owned her own apartment remained friends. Over the and a car. And she was single. years, he had gotten married
  • 12. and was now settled in and a hurried shuffling away, Sydney with his family. when they ran into each other at work. After that, Tara had moved on too. She Tara had made a mental note had grown from an assistant to never get involved with her producer to a producer to a colleagues. senior producer and now an She had been happy enough executive producer of two as long as her friends had shows for the Kids Only been around flaunting their Network. She had bought a single status with her. But the mid-sized apartment in sub- number of their tribe had urban Bangalore and fallen dwindled by the time Tara into a comfortable routine of had hit thirty-four. Now all work, life and mostly laid- she got when she called them back weekends. She was for an impromptu dinner or a successful and happy. But drinking session at her house these days she felt lonely. was excuses. ‘Sorry Tara! It wasn’t as if Tara had Rajat is out on a business trip renounced her love life and his mum’s over for a completely after her break- visit’, ‘Oh I wish I could make up. She had gone on the it, but Pinku is teething’. It occasional date, some set up was weird how the years had by friends, one set up by her transformed her friends into brother-in-law egged on by the very people they had her sister and a few with the once vowed they would people she had met at never be. And just like that, industry parties. But she had Tara’s social life had changed always felt the stark lack of from hip and happening to connection. There had even staid and stagnant. Saturday been a fling with an office nights had once been colleague. However, that had synonymous with a night ended in a couple of months round town at Purple Haze or resulting in awkward silences Pecos. Now Saturday nights
  • 13. had become the nights Tara she needed to decide on curled up on her couch, though, was a method. watching a DVD, as she munched on Chinese The traditional methods had takeaway and gulped down a failed her. And she had to admit that she was tired of drink or two. In her words, ‘Pathetic!’ And adding to her asking for a table for one or misery, were her relatives having to order two meals to who seemed worried about hit the minimum home delivery limit. She was also her situation, as if, the future of the world depended on her certainly done with the marital status. They had sent meaningless, random dates that meant she would be across photographs of eligible bachelors, proposals from making fake excuses half way suitable families and even through to escape from arranged the odd, innocuous turning into the sleeping meeting in a coffee shop. beauty at the restaurant. It ‘Just go see him Tara, you will was time to get a digital fairy godmother in her quest for see why he is the one,’ they had said. The meetings, prince charming. That meant though, had been invariably only one thing in India, online stilted and strained. Tara had matrimonial sites. returned home, annoyed at One click and Tara found having been bullied into herself in a parallel universe meeting strangers. ‘That’s it; filled with people like her; we’re doing this my way people who were waiting to now!’ She declared. If she meet their perfect other half. was the one who was putting There were sites for singles, herself out there, then it was divorced men and women, only fair that she would widows and widowers and so screen and select the people on and so forth. The profiles she was going to meet. What on the sites were organized according to caste, age,
  • 14. height, personal preferences ‘Age? Thirty-six. Should I add and so on. There was no and four months? Maybe I’ll dearth of choice. There was just leave it at that. Onto the an ocean of information out next, complexion… what sort there. Reviews, testimonials of a racist question is that? I from happy couple and blogs am not answering that one. from disgruntled users. Next… She went on and on, filling up the blanks in her Tara was hooked. Before she profile. ‘Tall, age above thirty- knew it, she was signing on six, employed in Bangalore www.madeinheaven.com. and…’ Though the title was a tad too cheesy for her, it claimed to be the best site for men and women in her age group. But even as Tara uploaded her profile, the site’s logo worried her. It was a clock titled ‘The Matrimonial clock’. As the page loaded, the clock would start ticking from the first point that was a stick figure The registration process of an unhappy single to the completed, Tara had received last point which had two stick her new identity. F1734. She figures holding hands. And it could now browse through was called a match made in other profiles and send them heaven. enquiries or even chat with Though the corniness made them online. She did not her cringe, she ignored it and want to seem like a desperate continued to key in her vital woman though. She was far statistics. ‘Height? Hmmm, from that, anyway. that ones simple,’ she thought, “5’6” she typed in.
  • 15. Today, it had been three Bangalore. His name was months and few days to her Vikram Balakrishnan. He had first step in the online liked her profile and wished matchmaking world. Tara to meet her in person. Tara settled down for her nightly took a closer look at his search. ‘So, let’s see what’s profile photograph. He been happening in the looked nice, young looking, heavenly inbox,’ she tall and casually dressed. She muttered to herself as she could see the Eiffel Tower in waited for the mails to load. the background. She had received a number of ‘Expressed interest’ mails so Tara replied to him, fixing an early dinner date at Karavalli, far. This meant that these members had wanted to one of her favourite seafood access her personal restaurants. She switched off information and photographs the computer and went to and possibly even meet her in bed with a faint smile on her person. However, she hadn’t face. Maybe her matrimonial clock had started ticking after yet found anyone interesting enough to take the discussion all. out of the web realm. She Vikram was waiting at the had chatted for a couple of table, when Tara walked in a weeks with one guy, but had couple of minutes after 7 pm. stopped after she figured the She patted her hair down, a guy just seemed to be looking tad self-consciously. She had for an online buddy. picked up a new red kurta for Today, there were three the occasion. Teamed with ‘Expressed interest’ mails. her jeans, she thought she There was also a direct mail. looked pretty good, even if It was from M5892 who was she said so herself. Vikram thirty-eight and was a smiled at her, as she took her software engineer based in seat. ‘Hi, sorry I’m a bit late. Just got stuck in traffic’, Tara
  • 16. smiled, as she started the the middle of his head. She conversation off. preferred a head full of hair, no matter what the texture ‘That’s fine. Bloody Bangalore was. She was fine with infrastructure! I had to leave shaven heads and even from home, some two hours baldheads. The patch in advance to make it on however caught her time. This city really sucks unawares. She was not sure sometimes!’ how she felt about it. For Tara nodded as she listened now, she clamped down on to him. She was also busy the ambivalent feelings and processing the two bits of concentrated on the menu in information that she had not front of her. ‘I’ll have a Vodka gotten from Vikram’s profile. with Coke and lots of ice One, that he had a slightly please. And for starters the high-pitched voice with a prawns salad.’ whiny tone to it. And two, he Vikram gave her a strange didn’t seem to like Bangalore look and ordered a beer with a lot. To Tara, the city was French fries. He asked the home, her security blanket waiter to come back for the and on some days, her only main course order later. companion. She could not think of living elsewhere, ‘So tell me a little about you.’ even for a second. Tara asked pleasantly, mentally hoping she hadn’t Vikram broke into her sounded like a prospective analysis. ‘So what will you employer at the start of an have? Let me call the waiter.’ interview. He half- turned to gesture to the waiter, only to proffer yet ‘You drink?’ Vikram another bit of information to responded. Tara. He had a bald patch the size of a one-rupee coin in
  • 17. ‘Yup. Doesn’t everyone these Tara got angry, as she replied, days?’ Tara replied, “Vikram, it’s right there under wondering what he was habits. Secondly, you are getting at. drinking yourself.’ Vikram had a disapproving He shrugged and said, ‘Ya, look on his face. ‘Hmmm, I but its different for me. I don’t think I read that on mean, you are someone I was your profile’, he said in a tone considering getting married matching his expression. to. This is not something, one expects in a wife, na. It’s bad Tara gave him a disbelieving enough that you’re over look. She shook her head. ‘No thirty-six and that you work in Vikram. It’s right there under the TV industry. I mean that’s habits.’ ok, you can leave your job. He raised his eyebrows and But I guess, the drinking is opened his mouth to say what will have to stop first.’ something but stopped What shocked Tara the most himself, as the waiter was his matter of fact approached the table with delivery. He had spoken as if their drinks. He took a swig of he was talking about the his beer, without waiting for weather. Vikram’s Tara to finish mixing her monologue had left no space drink. for any discussion. As soon as the waiter left, he Tara opened her wallet and picked up from where he had took out a five hundred- stopped, ‘I have gone through rupee note. She laid it on the your profile Tara. I don’t think table and stood up. Vikram I would have set this up, if I looked at her questioningly. knew you drink alcohol. I Tara made a wry face, smiled don’t think its right.’ and said, ‘Sorry Vikram. This is not working. I just realized I
  • 18. like the M5892 better than matrimonial clock started the Vikram Balakrishnan. ticking again. Goodnight and best of luck. This should cover my part of About the Author the bill.’ Vikram nodded and Shweta Ganesh Kumar is a nonchalantly pocketed the writer and a freelance travel money. Tara turned, rolled journalist. She has her eyes upwards in a quick contributed articles for gesture and walked back to ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian her car. Spiritual Soul’ and ‘CBW’s A long relaxing shower later, India’s Top 42 Weekend Tara was back in front of her Getaways’. Her short fiction computer. She had time to has been published in kill before the Chinese food Australian Women online, got delivered. ‘What a Single Solitary Thought, and complete waste of time! the Asia Writes project. She That’s it! I’m going to delete writes a column for The NRI my stupid profile. I cannot magazine. She can be believe I met up with an contacted at imbecile chauvinist pig like shwetaganeshkumar@gmail.c this.’ She logged on and om waited for her profile to load. Image Attribution: As she searched for the http://www.flickr.com/photo delete button, a text box s/aldaron/536362686/ popped up. She had a direct mail from M3321. She read the short message and leaned back. ‘Wouldn’t hurt to check out the guy and then delete my profile, na’, Tara thought. As she leaned forward and clicked on M3321, the
  • 19. Poetry for the last 65,000 years. Goodbye Mrs. Boa Alone. by Nazrul Haque Aren’t you happy, Mrs. Boa? Boa, an eighty-five-year-old In death you are reborn. woman was the last member Just after crossing the bridge, of the Bo tribe and the last You shall meet them all. speaker of the Bo language. Won’t you laugh again? She lived in the Andaman Will you joke about us- Islands. Boa died on January In ‘Bo’? 26, 2010 and in her death she took her tribe and language with her. The old woman was very lonely in the last few years of her life as she was the only surviving member of one of the oldest human cultures on earth which lived in the Andaman Islands for as Goodbye, Mrs. Boa! long as sixty-five thousand Soon years. She had no one to We shall depart too, converse with as she was the Just like you, lone speaker of Bo. Her death Lost and lonely. may go unnoticed but it is a Civilization is a great burden. bleak reminder to all of us. So is being human! Goodbye, Mrs. Boa! About the Author We shall miss you. Nazrul Haque is a Guwahati The last of a tribe, based author. a lost language, Image Attribution: and those memories http://www.flickr.com/photo You carried, s/dsumin/4261244100/
  • 20. Humour see modelling clay in their Barberic Times customers, which is the bad by Abhijeet Deogirikar part. The dentist’s chair has been The first time I faced this famed to be the scariest of all predicament was in the good chairs. Ogden Nash has even city of New York, my first visit written an eloquent poem abroad. about its horrors. Part I: Case of the Spanish I’m pretty sure Ogden Nash barber(ess), New York never went for a haircut. For me, the barber’s chair is right up there with the worst of A haircut is something I must them. If you want a haircut in get every month. Call it good a foreign land, that is. or bad, it has become my habit. To me, a haircut is like Barbers in my hometown are mowing the lawn so short pretty good at their trade. that you don’t have to do it You tell them how you want for another month. your hair cut, and they do the needful. They generally do Not so with the Yankee not try to be consultants (one barbers. They probably view did venture to ask me if I it as a hibiscus hedge that wanted to do away with my needs to be trimmed and moustache. But he quickly shaped, so that people can realized his mistake). All in all, applaud when you win the they generally do not step ‘best kept garden’ trophy. out of line. I had seen the general In contrast, the barbers I representation of punk- came across abroad were a haired individuals in different species altogether. Hollywood movies. And I They see art in their work, knew about the zeal of the which is a good thing. They hair-stylists of New York. As
  • 21. such, I had reasons to be I gambled. And I lost. Just my concerned. I might walk in as usual run of luck. myself, and walk out as somebody who I wouldn’t I told the Spanish lady: care to meet in the street. ‘Please make it short.’ The other thing that bothered This galvanized the good lady me was the concept of into zealous animation. What ‘unisex’ parlors. I won’t mince followed were the words that words. I am NOT comfortable I still have nightmares about: with a lady cutting my hair. ‘You want SPIKES, right?’ Don’t get me wrong; it’s just I was told that in the US, if that women have far too you wanted vegetarian food, much on their minds already. don’t ask for just ‘veg’. Ask Due to which the results for for ‘Asian veg’. Nobody told my hair could be potentially me what to say if you wanted unspeakable, albeit a short haircut. The words spectacular. The visionaries ‘short haircut’, apparently, who came up with the idea of were insufficient. This was unisex salons must have been the U.S. of A. true die-hard adventurers. Or bald. Both kinds would fail to In adversity, they say, a man see my point of view. rises to his true potential. I dutifully rose to my true To return to my tale, I diplomatic potential. Slowly entered the only salon which but surely, I explained to the seemed to employ a lady what I wanted. She gentleman. It also employed seemed to understand (I two ladies. It was a gamble, doubted that she fully positioning yourself to be the understood English. And I nth customer, so that the guy knew more about the tribes could attend to your haircut. of the Kalahari than I knew
  • 22. about Spanish. So it was no pointed to the legendary mean feat). chair. I got the haircut I wanted, In a fight, it’s best to land the and she got a big tip. Big by first punch. But hindsight is a my standards, anyway. wonderful thing - it never fails to tell you what you did I was in New York for several wrong. The attack came months. By and by, I learnt without any warning: ‘I’m the trick of getting what I going to give you a new hair- wanted, while still respecting style. Your’s is totally the craftsman’s art. I found a outdated.’ desi barber. In the brief span of a few Part II: Case of the Portugese seconds, three important barber, Vancouver facts were thrown my way: Lightening never strikes the a. This grand-fatherly same place twice; it’s an age- character didn’t like my old adage. I have stopped ‘hairstyle’. Now, as far as I believing age-old adages. was concerned, ‘hairstyle’ The second time lightening is a word reserved for the struck me in Vancouver, in a fairer gender. Gentlemen small salon. The fact that it always had a ‘haircut’. was small was why I had Simple. But this guy decided to walk in. Small, thought differently. Or I hence utilitarian, my was way behind the times. intelligence told me. I should b. He intended to do have left my intelligence at something about my home. haircut. The elderly owner (he was c. He wasn’t asking my evidently an immigrant) permission to do it. He hadn’t articulated a
  • 23. question. Or even a In the midst of this hair- suggestion. It was a splitting, I cast one vile glance statement of fact. ‘I’m at the older man’s crown, in going to give you a new hopes of extracting a hair-style’. Just like that. modicum of revenge. Eye-for- an-eye stuff. A bald pate At times like these, one glimmered back at me. Not wonders if Monalisa really my lucky day, this one. wanted to be painted that way. If Michelangelo’s David At last he paused, expecting was happy to be sculpted in to find total agreement with that form. Or was it just the his expert opinion. ‘I’m going to, and there is damn all you can do about it’ attitude of their creators (God rest their souls)? Admittedly, both turned out to be amongst the greatest masterpieces in the history. But then, some people are luckier than the others. For the next hundred and eighty seconds, I patiently listened to the salon owner’s flattering monologue about ‘I’m not really looking for a how my haircut was grossly change of style. Just make it outdated by at least ten short’. years. How no one parted ‘You sure? I am thinking of their hair on the left side any giving you a cool style. Like more. Or any side, for that George Clooney’s.’ matter. How he could make it better.
  • 24. He was persistent, I grant him away at the back of your neck that. I was terrified. He might in utter silence. Unsettling, not achieve his lofty goal, but isn’t it? So they keep up a he would die trying, leaving steady ramble about one me halfway there! I tried to thing or another. put the disturbing thought out of my mind. It was ‘Where are you from, my impossible, even with the friend ?’ large mirror in front mocking ‘India. A place called Pune.’ me with the nasty possibilities that lay ahead. I ‘Have you been to other was ready to bolt out of places, apart from there, and the hell with the Vancouver?’ eighteen dollars. I could honestly muster the Then the truth sunk in: names of a few places around eighteen dollars! No way! the world that I had been to. Maybe he’s right. Maybe he And a few that I hadn’t been could make me look a bit like to. Clooney. But then again, I got in a quick question of my maybe Santa did exist, after own: ‘Where do you come all. Anyway, it was my hair we from?’ were talking about, and the question wasn’t up for a vote. ‘From the land of Vasco da It would be cut just the way I Gama’, he answered. So he wanted it. was from Portugal. ‘Da Gama discovered India’, came next. ‘Thanks. But I just want it cut short’, I asserted. Grudgingly, The first bristles of hair rose he gave in. on my wrists. I’m particularly sensitive to any affront, real Hair stylists chat a lot while or imagined, to my country’s plying their trade. They have glory, and would have liked to to. Imagine someone snipping
  • 25. point out to him in great some praise for Portugal. (I detail how, unlike Greenland, didn’t recall if my recently India didn’t have to be published list of ‘places ‘discovered’ by anybody. And visited’ included any in that that great civilizations had country). thrived in my land when the early Europeans were just ‘My hometown, Pune, is the graduating past cave best of all.’ Take that, Vasco ! paintings. I had got my pound of flesh. The score was even again. (I But it seemed a rather harsh would have loved to say reaction to a relatively ‘bestest’, but he still had the harmless, though erroneous, scissors). line picked up from history books. Besides, he was the ‘Yeah, home is where the one with the scissors. I’m heart is’, he conceded. And tactful around people with where stylists do what they snipping blades in the vicinity are asked, I could have of my ears. I have rather large added. ears, and would like to keep Not much banter ensued them that way. I decided on after this. Once he felt he had strategic retreat. done his best, he stood back He went on for a while about to review - nay, admire - his the beauty of Vancouver. It’s handiwork. I let him. He put neatness. Serenity. Stuff like away the towel from my that. Then onto Portugal, and shoulders, and put down his its countless virtues. assortment of artists’ tools. I let him. ‘So which city did you like the ‘Howz that, huh?’ You could best, huh ?’ I knew the question was coming. He have heard ‘Voila’ in his expected me to declare, ‘ voice. It was time to deliver Vancouver !’, or maybe even the blow.
  • 26. ‘Make it shorter’, I said curtly. Experimental It was heartless, I know. Even Oops! I made you a Wicked. I enjoyed it Daddy. immensely! I was going to by Techknowbaby make him earn every one of *Blink Blink* those eighteen damned dollars. Hmmm, this uterus is starting to push into me now... I'm He was finished. For another getting cramped. ten minutes, he snipped away Wonder what the date is? dutifully. I got my hair cut Hey Mom! Moooooommm!!! exactly as I wanted it. He got mommyyyyyyy!!! What date his lesson. Fair deal. is today? ‘Thanks, Mister Bruno.’ I said on my way out. I had read the name off the license hanging over the mirror, but he didn’t know that. The old man was somewhat impressed. He wished me a happy new year. I wished him the same. 1st June! Isn't this a little early for you to be imposing Perfect gentlemen. your uterus onto me!! About the Author I'm still enjoying the tasty treats your friends made you Author can be contacted at eat at your baby shower two abhijeetdeogirikar@gmail.co days ago! Stop trying to push m me out will you. Image Attribution: *Soothes the uterus down* http://www.flickr.com/photo There there, I'm not leaving s/invisiblehour/3095269052/ you and going just yet. We'll
  • 27. be friends for some more That's dad! You have got to time, me, my umbilical cord, be kidding me. How could and you! someone looking like that produce something as cute as 2nd June me! Ouch! Mom stop pushing me. Okay, smile for the camera! *Gags* I'm not getting enough air! Help, Help... Gosh, I'm tired now! Enough *Kicks frantically with each for the first day of my life. contraction* I can't take this anymore... I'm too lazy to About the Author fight this *Heart Rate Falls* Techknowbaby is the author's Ohhh everything's going dark. newly born son, who wants to express his feelings to the I'm feeling numb. Hey, wait a minute! Come back here! world (something like Look You, yes you anterior wall of who's talking but better!). His dad writes too but like all the the uterus... What's the big idea letting so much light in! fathers he wants his son to be Arrrrgghh, there's a knife in recognized first. your belly!!! Address: *Bright Lights* *Blink... The Crib Blink... Blink* c/o Dr. Mulchandani 40, Strand House, Oh Crap! I'm out!!! Better Opp. Strand Cinema, start crying before that scary Colaba, Mumbai looking paediatrician whacks my bottoms! *Waaaah Image Attribution: Waaaahh* http://www.flickr.com/photo s/jon_ovington/4281583092/ Ohhh Mommy you're pretty! Who is that monstrosity of a man with a cap and mask!
  • 28. Story someone would take him Thirteen Hours of away. She summoned the family priest next morning. Fame by Jatin Pathak ‘Long, very long’, said Panditji and started calculating Sitting on a chair, spinal cord something on the finger tips. straight as a cricket pitch, the ‘At least seventy-two’, he eyes of Panditji were scrolling added ‘the boy will live at fast on the kundli of nine-year least till seventy-two years. old Manav Sharma. With the You should not worry at all right hand he adjusted his Mrs. Sharma.’ spectacles, giving the impression that he has found This changed the expression something of great on Mrs. Sharma’s face. She importance. Manav’s mother felt relaxed and leaned pulled her chair closer to backward on the chair like Panditji. she had just finished a horror movie with a happy ending. Her face was dull and her eyes were full of worry. And ‘Shanta, bring some milk and why not, she had a genuine biscuits for Panditji’, She reason to worry. Her son had screamed at the maid. fallen from the second floor of the building last night. But ‘One more thing’, said miraculously he did not get Panditji, holding the kundli in even a scratch. The whole his left hand with straight family had spent the night in arm and giving it an eagle eye the civil hospital. Doctors did view. This created suspense a complete check up and again. ‘The boy will do great found no injury. Everyone things, he is born to change was amazed. She kept the the fortune of this family. He boy close to her the entire is the Kuber of your dynasty.’ night, holding him tightly as if
  • 29. He said as Shanta-bai served ‘Mrs. Sharma, Where is milk and biscuits. SharmaJi?’ ‘PanditJi, then what is the “He is sleeping” She replied. reason for yesterday’s accident? ’ ‘Sleeping? Haven’t you read the newspaper this morning?’ ‘Unfavorable planetary He said waving the local conditions. You should offer newspaper Kapurthala Times. red cloth with cow’s milk to a temple today. Also the vastu ‘No, we do not subscribe to it’ of your kitchen is not good. ’Manav’s photo is on the You have to change it to front page’, neighbor said and make sure the food remains started reading the story. pure and safe from evil spirits.’ ‘Miraculous escape for a nine-year old boy. Doctors have said that the boy possesses a lot of mental strength and is genetically capable of enduring more pain than normal human being. They have requested the district deputy collector Suddenly a voice from to provide funds to the neighborhood intercepted hospital so that they can buy them. apparatus to study boy’s gene-structure. They have ‘Sharmaji, Sharmaji, Sharmaji’ also suggested that the boy And a tall lean man, their should choose sports as a neighbor, entered the house career and bring fame and in a white kurta-pajama. glory to the town and the nation. They have called our Manav the Gem of
  • 30. Kapurthala.’ The neighbour TV channel that they wanted finished with a big smile and to interview the boy for an handed over the newspaper episode of “My town, My to Mrs. Sharma. She was Pride”. They would send a proud of her son. reporter in the evening for the recording. This electrified ‘I have already said the boy is the atmosphere. The proud special. He will bring change mother told everyone about to the nation’, Panditji it. Mr. Sharma, the father of jumped into the the boy, was giving tips to conversation, taking away all Manav for the interview. He the credit. coached him to tell the ‘His kundli is similar to Lal reporter that he wanted to Bahadur Shastri’s’, Panditji choose cricket as his career said while picking up his bag and win the world cup for the and turning towards the door country. to leave. He was certainly not At around 5 P.M the reporter aware that the former Prime came with the cameraman. Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri They started setting up their died in his sixties, fifteen apparatus. Tarikha Singh, a years short of his calculation. former wrestler from the Friends and relatives kept town, also came at the same coming, asking for Manav. time and started talking to Shanta-bai got busy serving the reporter. He said that he the guests. Manav received came to convince Manav’s lots of toys as gifts from the parents to let the boy to guests. He became famous in choose wresting as a career. his school and talk of the He believed that one day town. His arch rival in school, Manav can bring the Olympic Diksha also came. In the glory to the town. Tarikha afternoon Mrs. Sharma Singh was happy to come in received a call from the local the news after a long long
  • 31. time. The mother asked The whole town talked Manav to go and take a bath philosophically about the before facing the camera. power of destiny. The doctor While Manav was going to and Punditji did not attend take the bath, his old the cremation ceremony. grandmother came to put a dot of kajal on his face. ‘Kisi ki Next day, Kapurthala Times nazar na lag Jaye’, she said. carried a small column on this But the little boy was in a incident quoting Tarikha Singh that the boy’s death hurry and was very excited about facing the camera. So was a big blow to the he avoided her and went wrestling’s future. The local channel telecasted the story straight to the bathroom. of how the child lived his When Manav did not come thirteen hours of fame before out of the bath for a while, dying. Perhaps he survived his father went to fetch him. earlier only to live these He banged on the door, thirteen hours. ‘Manav, come out soon beta. TV Channel people are About the Author waiting. Manav!’ There was Author can be contacted at no response. Getting a little pathak.jatin@gmail.com annoyed, he forced open the door only to find Manav Image Attribution: sprawled on the bathroom http://www.flickr.com/photo floor. The boy had slipped in s/clexow/3254678299/ the bathroom and had died a quick death. In an instant, the atmosphere changed completely. The mother was inconsolable. She was cursing herself for not offering the milk and cloth in the temple.
  • 32. Book Review Jonathan Wilson tries in this Inverting the Pyramid book to trace the tactical evolution of football from the (Jonathan Wilson) early days to the modern by Sriyansa Das form. Football, Jonathan Wilson writes in the prologue of ‘Inverting the Pyramid’, … is not about players, or at least not just about players; it is about shape and about space, about the intelligent deployment of players, and their movement within that The first basic question is that deployment... in a ‘simple’ game like Yet, no one remembers football, do tactics and football this way; it is always organization matter at all? about the Peles, the Arrigo Sacchi, the former Italy Maradonas, the Rooneys and and A.C. Milan coach, to the Messis and never about a prove the efficacy of team or how eleven players organization, played. The beauty and took 5 players [playing per appeal of the football lies in his rules]…. they [the non the fact that it is both agreeing players] had 10 exceedingly simple in the players … they had fifteen conception, and yet allows minutes to score against for enormous complexity in my five players, the only the game-play. There is thus a rule was that if we won history to be told of this possession or they lost the complex game-play, and ball, they had to start over
  • 33. 10 meters inside their own … one of the founding half … they never scored. fathers of the game felt it Not once. necessary to explain to others that if one of their Organizing a team allows a team-mates were charging team to effectively utilise the head-down at goal, it space on the pitch. Or to get might be a good idea to go one or more of the and help him – although opposition players out of the expecting to receive the game by denying them the ball volitionally seems to time or the space to operate. have been a step too far. As formations evolved, players with time and space Passing the ball to a team- started getting less of it mate sounds very basic and leading to some innovative intuitive part of the game coaches searching for space today. But it has not always in some other part of the been considered so. Even this pitch. The entire tactical concept has evolved as a evolution of football, Wilson technique at some point of demonstrates, can thus be time in the footballing seen as a story of spaces history. So are concepts like found and shut out over the switching positions, pressing pitch. opponents and retaining possession no matter what. However, it isn’t just the Each of these techniques formation that is important. It came up in response to some is also how players play earlier development. In within it. On how the early recent memory, when Inter players operated, Wilson Milan won the semi finals of writes, Champions League against Barcelona, Jose Mourinho talked about how he taught Inter to play without the ball
  • 34. because Barcelona would The single greatest reason to almost never give up read the book is that it allows possession. fans to see the game in a new way. After reading this book, The story of football is as it will be hard to ignore the much of people and places as player who runs across, as it is of how the game is Messi stands over the ball played or the formations facing two defenders; he used. Jimmy Hogan, Herb provides an outlet for a pass Chapman, Bela Guttman, or even better draws away Helenio Herrara, Alf Ramsey, one defender, allowing Messi Rinus Michels, Valery to nutmeg the one remaining Lobanovskyi and many others and score a brilliant goal. It find mention because of their will a little hard to claim that ideas on football. In a rather it was only Messi’s genius at dry book, the author is at his play. dramatic best when he describes these men who Image Attribution: have changed the game. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp Football, the author /product/1409102041/ref=pd demonstrates, has also got a _lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=10 cultural angle. Often a culture 3612307&pf_rd_s=lpo-top- chooses football as its stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i= spokesperson; whether it be 0752889958&pf_rd_m=A3P5 the influence of the ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=0ZMR intellectual cafe culture of DZ3S9WR9TJ17MDPE Vienna on the Austrian Wunderteam in 1930s or the concept of La Nuestra that defines Argentinian football to this day, football and the way it is played has never been just a game.
  • 35. Story wearing his school uniform. Practical Lessons On seeing a scooter stop, he by Sree had approached the rider eagerly. However once the ‘Want a condom?’ he asked. helmet came off, the rider had turned out to be a ‘Excuse me?’ beautiful, short-haired girl in ‘I mean to say do you need her late twenties. Her male condoms?’ rock-star costume, complete with the heavy metallic ‘No thanks! And why are you chains and steel bracelets had asking me?’ she became fooled him and now he was irritated. caught in an embarrassing situation. ‘Because ... errr ... we are running an AIDS awareness campaign as part of our CAS activity and so we are distributing condoms to spread awareness about the importance of practicing ... ‘CAS is Creativity, Action and err ... safe sex’, He blurted Service and it is a part of our out his practiced answer, curriculum in New Era barely looking up to meet her International School. We eyes. undertake a social service ‘Where do you study and project each month and this what exactly is this CAS?’ She month happened to be the asked twisting the scooter AIDS awareness month’, He key around her manicured explained awkwardly. fingers. ‘So you are advocating safe He was distributing condoms sex, eh? Do you even know at the gates of a discotheque
  • 36. what sex is like in the first can’t let such an opportunity place?’ She asked. pass. Have you ever been to a happening place like this He dug his shoe-tips into the before? You are not even ground and tried to think of eighteen, I guess. So I'll an appropriate response. sponsor all the booze and Suddenly she grabbed his arm smoke for you. You just hang and started dragging him on to my arms and see the towards the discotheque magic unfold. I am bored of gate. my regular escorts anyway. Let us dance away this night ‘Come; first enjoy the life together’, she smiled young fella! Then you can go suggestively, playfully lisping wage a war against AIDS! her words while running her What do you say?’ she said sharp nails against his playfully. forearm. Come, be my escort for the He tried to hide his flustered night and I will help you pass look behind an idiotic smile. through those bloody This was a golden chance and guarded gates. Are you he couldn't let it pass. He game?’ She queried. loosened up his tie, gave a nervous smile and nodded his ‘I am sorry but I am not head. dressed for the occasion’, he offered a lame excuse. They proceeded towards the gates. As they were about to ‘Oh, don't ya worry about step in, two strong arms your damn prep school stopped them and they faced uniform. I'll cook up some the raised eyebrows of one of story about a fancy dress the hulks at the gate. theme we are having amongst us friends for the ‘Okay, okay, take it easy,’ She night. Awww... come on, you backed off. Then she turned
  • 37. to him and smiled a was standing against the wall. wonderfully smug smile like a On the opposite side was a school-girl caught in her act. single comfortable sofa in ‘We'll find something else to blazing red colour with a few do. I tell ya, let's go to my virgin white cushions. The small hide-out. We’ll watch a walls of the room were movie on the DVD and we can painted in a pleasant lemon dance a little too. I've a good yellow. A single large painting music system. You wanna adorned its wall, overhanging come?’ She asked. the sofa; a painting of red roses in a black vase against a He looked at her disarming window sill. She closed the smile and said yes. door behind them and locked As he rode pillion on the it. scooter, her fragrance tickled As he settled down on the his senses and sent a tingling sofa, she fetched a bottle of sensation down his spine. He wine and two glasses from had never been this close to a the kitchen and began to female body. Myriad pour the red bubbly liquid. thoughts raced across his She offered one glass to him virile mind. He wondered which he took with shaking what story he will have by the and sweaty hands. She went end of the evening to tell his back to the showcase and friends the next day. His heart selected a DVD to play on the thumped with excitement. music system. As the soft The evening was pregnant song started playing, she gave with alluring possibilities. him an inviting look and They reached her small flat in gestured him to come and the suburbs of the city. As he dance with her. He rose to entered he noticed the well- her command and joined her, kept room. A show-case filled swaying slowly to the rhythm with books, DVDs and CDs of the music while his pulse
  • 38. raced and his heart thumped now echoed in his ears as he with excitement. Being close felt the warmth of her skin to her he realized that through the thick clothes. She underneath those loose took his hand and started fitting hip hop clothes she stroking her cheeks with it. had a petite and thin body Then she spoke in a quiet that he could easily cocoon in tone. his athletic arms. ‘Can I share a secret with ya?’ They danced for a while, taking breaks in between to ‘Sure!’ sip the wine. No words were ‘I am suffering from AIDS?’ exchanged. The silence stoked the fire of excitement He froze as if bitten by a in his mind with each passing snake. His hand twitched as minute. Then she abruptly his mind tried to assimilate stopped the music, inserted a the significance of the disc into the video system information she had shared and sank down on the sofa with him. The warm romantic gesturing him to join her at feelings gave way to cold her side. He settled down fear. His body withdrew from beside her, their bodies any contact with hers. He almost touching each other. wanted to get up and bolt through the door but he was As the movie played, the stuck to his chair. wine, the romantic dance and the physical closeness began ‘Are you serious?’ He said half to make him restless. expecting this to be a bad Gathering his courage, he joke. slowly placed his trembling ‘Yes, I am an HIV positive hand on her thigh. She turned person’ she said in a sad tone. to him and smiled sweetly. He ‘You probably want to leave felt encouraged by her right away, eh? I know you response. His heart-beats
  • 39. are already running away attitude people have towards from me in your mind.’ She HIV positive people? Maybe stood up and started pacing you can start with yourself! the room. ‘Look, I had no You did not even thank me intentions of tempting you for the evening or mention a into some foolhardy act sweet goodbye. Anyway, tonight. I just wanted to show Good night and sweet you the real danger of AIDS dreams!’ that exists in our society, the careless attitude that people About the Author in general have about its The author is a general dangers. I am sorry for giving practitioner of medicine by you such a rude shock but I profession and a writer by hope this is a practical lesson compulsion of the muse that for you and you will use all invades her being on and off. the precautions for your own She is married with two kids self when the need arises. and has an easy, comfortable Whatever you learn in life. She dreams of chaos, classrooms is all very good though. but becoming sensitive towards these issues in real Image Attribution: life is what matters. I hope http://www.flickr.com/photo you understand that it is not s/foundphotoslj/466713478/ about distributing free condoms, but about being responsible and being aware. Take care!’ She held the door open for him to leave. And as he hurriedly left the house, she called out from behind, ‘Hey, can you also do something about the rotten
  • 40. Humour God: Let’s do it, Yammy. God Promise Narad? by Vibha Batra Narad muni: I’m on sick leave God: Earthlings lie way too starting tomorrow. much, tch tch! I want to make Yamaraj: Looks like it’s just an example of a liar so that the two of us. people are scared to lie. God: One minute, what do Yamaraj: Why don’t we kill we go as? them all? Yamaraj: Let’s see, we are Chitragupta: Then there will used to luxury. So it makes be no one left on earth. sense to go as film stars or Narad muni: Yeah, it’s that bureaucrats or industrialists bad! or… Yamaraj: Why don’t we take God: Or politicians? human form and try drilling Chitragupta: They lie for a sense into their heads? living, sir. Chitragupta: What an idea, God: Won’t that be sirji! interesting? We will test Yamaraj: So you are coming ourselves. We will stay on as along? long as we speak the truth. The moment we lie, we will Chitragupta (shifts be transported back to uncomfortably on his throne): heaven. Umm, err, I have some important business to attend Yamaraj: Where do they have here. Why don’t you guys go? the worst politicians on I will hold fort. earth?
  • 41. Chitragupta (scratching his He speaks into the mike: head): They are the same Main, Y.A.M., shapath leta everywhere. In some hoon ki main… countries though, if they make money, they do some His speech is rudely interrupted by a mike that work too. comes flying on his face. Narad muni: Lord, go to India. Close on its heels are some Their politicians take the murderous looking manoos. cake. They pounce on him, rough him up and send him Yamaraj: Deal! sprawling to God. God: Tathastu! God: Kai zhala? Kai zhala? Whirlpool engulfs them. Yamaraj: (groaning) You knew we were supposed to speak only in Marathi? God shuffles uncomfortably. Suddenly, there’s an announcement in Marathi: Now, Shri G.O. Darshan will read the party manifesto. Next second, God and Yama God puts on His glasses, are standing inside Mumbai’s walks to the podium and Legislative Assembly. speaks in Marathi. Swearing in ceremony is in progress. God: Mahan Neta Sena will make Mumbai look like Yama is in disguise. His Shanghai, MNS will provide assumed name Y.A.M. is power, roads, infrastructure called out. to every village… The words have barely been
  • 42. uttered by God when the magazines (Dignity Dialogue, whirlpool engulfs Him and He Muse India, Clockwise Cat, is transported back to the Long Story Short, Kritya, Asia heaven. Writes, Jaalmag) and anthologies (Vanilla Desires Yamaraj: (left alone and by Unisun and Just Plain Bad scared in the Assembly) Luck by Prakash Books India). Devaa… She is an avid blogger on About the Author Sulekha and is currently working on her next book, a Chennai based Vibha Batra novel. has a Masters in Communication from the Image Attribution: University of Madras. A http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ copywriter by profession, she File:Yama%27s_Court_and_H has worked in some of the ell.jpg leading advertising agencies in the country. Her first book Ishaavaasya Upanishad, a translation of her grandfather’s, (the late scholar Vishnu Kant Shastri) book, was published by Rupa and Co in 2007. Her poetry collection titled Tongue-in- cheek was published by Writers Workshop in 2008. Her collection of short stories 'A Twist of Lime' was published last year by Think Big Publishers. Her short stories and poems have appeared on various literary
  • 43. Story number was issued by the The Idiot R&D team. It was a MINOR by Abhishek Sahaya change according to their project lead — a change that ‘What the hell! Why do they would call for further MINOR always do this?’ It would be changes in the holding an understatement if I say fixture, making its cost go up Mr. OLD BALLS was furious. by not less than three lakhs. Yes, Mr. OLD BALLS is the Mr. OLD BALLS immediately name I have given to my asked me to check on the HOD. He is not aware ordering status. Another bad obviously for otherwise it news — the PO was released wouldn’t have taken him long three weeks back and we to chop my head off. I don’t were half way through the really blame him for his state DAP. This is why I always try of mind. Handling new not to meet any deadline. manufacturing projects is a Had we delayed on the tough job and it can easily ordering, we could have bring out the evil inside you. saved at least one lakh He has been working in this rupees. But a MISTAKE once department for more than done is done — there is little twenty-five years — that’s my point regretting later. age. I joined this hell three years back, something I was Anyway, this is everyday dying to do during my college business for our team and it final year. So what they said hardly affects me now. What in the college is true — does affect me, however, is mechanical engineering my cell phone ringing on my students reach hell after desk while I am standing in dying. Mr. OLD BALLS’ cabin. I The news for the day was literally ran out to take the that another design change call. It was HER.
  • 44. ‘Where are you?’ A normal Italy had defeated France in employed person like me will FIFA World Cup Final two be working in office on a days back. working day at 12:42 in the afternoon, but girls just can’t ‘Not that stupid. Sanket isn’t picking up his phone.’ see the obvious. ‘Office!!’ I replied, trying not Now this was something that to sound irritated. didn’t do any good to my ‘I am in the bus’, she said. She mood. She met Sanket at the weekend MBA classes some was on her way to office. She would take a bus to Dadar 4-5 months back. They have and then a local to Andheri been ‘just friends’ since then. That’s what she always told every day. One more thing she would do every day is to me. My friends used to tell call me when getting bored me that I felt insecure waiting for the bus or train. because of that guy. I would My friends often told me that go mad at them for even I am nothing more than a thinking like this. There was no way I could be jealous of time pass for her. But there was one small problem – I an IDIOT. Yes this is what I used to call him – Her IDIOT. loved being her time pass!! She didn’t know about this of ‘I am in a very bad mood course. I never felt that this today’ she said. For a IDIOT had any credentials to moment, I got a weird be my competitor. thought — am I talking to Mr. There was nothing special OLD BALLS? I immediately checked my cell phone. It about him. He didn’t have flashed her name on display. parents – lost them when he God! Everyone is in a bad was in 11th standard. He had mood today. ‘What been staying with his happened? I thought you maternal uncle since then. were supporting Italy!’ She once told me while having dinner at a restaurant,
  • 45. ‘You know, his uncle charges she found a cameraman’s job him for staying with them. more exciting than a project Such a Bastard!!’ She engineer’s. wouldn’t use foul language normally. ‘How did he pay during his school days?’ I asked. ‘Used to work for the local cable guy. Part time. He was always good at videography. He would shoot at various Anyways, this was how things birthdays and marriages to fill had been going for last few up his uncle’s pocket. Rascal!’ months. She would spend all She was getting better with her time talking about that swearing. IDIOT of hers. And did I feel ‘Oh!! That’s why he is jealous of him — of course working as a cameraman for not, what rubbish! that News channel. Must be finding it very easy at work ‘I don’t know where he is.’ I with all his experience.’ I came back from my thought I wasn’t being flashback-cum-IDIOT sarcastic. introduction dream. ‘But it’s really exciting, isn’t ‘Actually I forgot to wish him it? Covering all the news. He last night.’ It was his birthday even gets to meet some —11 July. ‘He must be going celebrities. You know, when mad at me!!’ he went to cover the I wished he actually got mad premiere of Fanaa he met and went away from her. Aamir Khan there.’ ‘I think I should buy him some I can never forget how she special gift. That would bunked school thrice to see probably fix it up. But what MELA — such a diehard shall I buy him? He likes Aamir Khan fan!! No wonder sunglasses a lot. He is also
  • 46. very fond of wrist watches. Mr. OLD BALLS was shouting But I guess he bought a Fast at everyone for the late Track last week. What about design changes. He was a Tie? It would look very nice worried about was the on him.’ increase in the fixture cost. I Whenever she started would have bought that reciting her IDIOT-Chalisa I fixture with my own money always turned myself into a and spent the rest of my life mute listener. paying EMIs, if he could make ‘Rahul, will you please help her forget that IDIOT and me buy a gift for him?’ If direct those feelings to me! there was one thing next to In another half an hour the impossible, it was me saying NO to her. So it was decided. meeting got over and I We were to meet after my started towards the canteen. office at a mall near her office I got another SMS — ‘Its to buy something for that confirmed, dinner at 8:30. Venue we’ll decide together. IDIOT of hers. Are you out of your meeting? It was 15 minutes to six. At What time you coming?’ I my office, we had spent last didn’t feel like replying. My three hours shouting at each mind was completely other in a CFT CONCERNS screwed up. I reached the RESOLUTION meeting. In that canteen. Everything felt period I kept getting an SMS gloomy. Empty places all from her every ten minutes. ‘I around. think a photo-frame will be a But wait! That was strange. I good option!’ ‘How about a looked around in the wallet?’ ‘I already bought a canteen. There was an greeting card, will show you unusual silence in the hall. No when you are here!’ ‘How one in the queue, no one about a surprise dinner having snacks. Then I realized party? Just the three of us!’ that people were all gathered
  • 47. around the TV set kept in the that IDIOT, his birthday gift, corner. No one was saying surprise dinner party. Just anything beyond a hush. I then I got another SMS – ‘Hey spotted Sujit standing there. I booked a table at The ‘What’s happening?’ I asked, Appetizers. Couldn’t resist. keeping my voice as low as Dying to meet you both. possible. Come soon.’ ‘Where were you?? There have been several bomb I knew she wasn’t dying to meet me. My eyes went back blasts in Mumbai.’ It took me some time to to the TV screen. Perhaps I digest that. My eyes froze on was imagining, but I saw Harshita looking at me. She the TV set. They were flashing Breaking News – 3 Blasts in had a strange smile on her Mumbai Local Trains. Within face as if she was mocking next 5-6 minutes the count me. Perhaps everyone except went up to 6. Everyone in the me had realized that I was hall was shocked. Were we nothing but a time-pass for HER. She only cared about under an attack or something? I noticed the her IDIOT. All her feelings reporter on the TV screen. I were for him. And that IDIOT had seen her somewhere was right in front of me, before. I had actually met carrying his idiotic camera, her. She was Harshita Seth – focusing on a local reaching Borivali. Suddenly I felt a IDIOT’s colleague. We were watching the News channel surge of mixed emotions – of that IDIOT worked for. That anger, of grim, of betrayal, of meant the cameraman who rejection, of REVENGE. I was taking the shots being prayed that the IDIOT should shown was none other than die in those blasts. Mr. IDIOT. For a moment I BOOM!!!!! forgot about the bomb blasts. I was again thinking of her,
  • 48. There was an earthquake dissolute. People who wished kind of scene on the screen as to kill those who had done the camera moved them no harm, who hardly haphazardly. For a moment knew them, who were busy we couldn’t see anything. fighting their own lives for Everything was covered in survival! Both represented dust and smoke. Then slowly the most inhuman aspect of everything went quiet and the human nature. still. We could see the dead The IDIOT was gone forever. I bodies lying around. There had been a blast in the train – always wished for this day the 7th blast of the day for but when it finally came, I didn’t have courage to face the records. It took a while for the situation to sink in, to the reality. My mobile rang accept what we had just and I picked it up, my eyes witnessed. still stuck on the TV screen. And then I found my entire ‘Where are you? I sent you so body shaking and an entirely many messages. I am with new feeling overwhelming Sanket right now and we are me – feeling of GUILT. waiting for you near my I was not responsible for office. He took a day off from what had happened. My not work today. Make it fast and praying for his death would (in hushed voice) do bring a not have prevented the blast cake; I forgot.’ She giggled. from happening. But I did pray – out of anger, out of There was nothing I could jealousy, out of rage. I had say. I felt tears rolling down degraded myself. I could see my cheeks. I was smiling at no difference in people who the same time. It was the planted the bombs and best feeling I have had in my people like me. Both were entire life. I would go and self-centred, malevolent, celebrate tonight. The blasts greedy, covetous and
  • 49. had killed the IDIOT within ऩारता, me!!! क्मा होता है दे खने िे लरए.....ऩौधों भे शैंऩू िा ऩानी About the Author डारता। Author is a mechanical २ औय २ िो जोड ना ऩता, engineer, currently working नई कपल्भो ि ग़रत गाने गाता। े for Mahindra & Mahindra. ऩय उसने ऐसा िछ नही किमा, ़ु Image Attribution: ....शामद दसये अनाथो िी तयह वो ू http://www.flickr.com/photo s/uggboy/4719633193/ बी फचऩन भे फडा हो गमा। Poetry (Hindi) About the Author सना फचऩन ू The author is pursuing Post by Mohit Sharma Graduation from Lucknow University. Published articles, वो किसी िी गोद भे चढ़ता, poems and stories in regional अऩनों ि िऩडे गंदे ियता, े magazines and newspapers. ऩहरे सहाये से.... औय किय एि ददन Published ideas and scripts in ख़ुद चरता। Raj Comics. रडखडाती चार से चीज़ें बफगाडता, किय ततराती जफां से भदद िो ़ु ़ु ऩ़ुिायता, फडे बाई - फदहन ऩय गस्सा ़ु उतायता। स्िर ना जाने िी जजद ियता, ू िार्ून्स दे खने ि लरए रड े भयता। छऩिय डब्फे भे िीडे - भिोडे ़ु
  • 50. Poetry ground, City's Seasons portholes of windows let in by Babitha Marina Justin the chill of an unfamiliar blizzard that marriages are like migrations grew to colder as the day progressed cities, the unfamiliarity and the task of getting used to city crept on me by inches, them; wrapped the chill, the my weathered feathers in discourse of familiarity was new city, not combating heat and cold hateful but comforting, it's when the first summer roads climbed intersecting at cross-roads, the greens stems to dry its circles and traffic, grew on succulence to twigs, a snap in degrees till I learned its of the finger,the tension maps clumsily like my veins, of the thumb and index its finger, arterial alleys waited to be it cracks no matter who wins. venipunctured, winter, with its creeping tread on, chill, froze every frill explored, at home, hardened knuckles trundled by refused to move, seasoning feet and dust, life's their whispers spices well, warm inside abrasions, covers, cold when the day when heels click broke, and kiss room heaters sustained the the ground dull I learned how to love hate gray city clouds that let not a the lost cities of the self, speckle of sun ray filter to the nostrils echoed my
  • 51. breath like tunnels, language in various parts of my tongue tasted the India, like the Northeastern forbidden Hill University, Meghalaya in the visceral depths of and Indian Institute floating of Space Science and hunger that worsened day by Technology, Trivandrum. day, my eyes were the alert Her poems have appeared in sensors an anthology of travel poems called “Journeys” edited by to my mind's needs, the red lights Graham Vivian Lancaster flashed to say I have to stop FPMI and Dr. Shaleen Kumar Singh published by Trayberry and proceed at green, Press / Alexander House, I touched the muck of the city Johannesburg, South Africa, and loved it too, there I saw a Taj Mahal Review: An piece of my sky mirrored International Journal Devoted in its murky brown... To Arts, Literature, Poetry And Culture, Kritya, Creative About the Author Sapilins, Journal of Post Born in Kerala, South India, Colonial Literature, Babitha Marina Justin had her www.postcolonial.org and PhD in travel writing and also in various literary gender studies from the journals across the India. Her University of Hyderabad and short stories are also being an M. Phil in anthologized. Her research Art History and Aesthetics papers on travel writing, from the School of identity studies and fine arts Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru and cultural studies are University, New Delhi. periodically published in journals and as book Since then she has been chapters. teaching literature and
  • 52. She has performed poetry वहीॊ , readings in many national धयती की सख्त जभीन ऩय and international poetry परी, ै festivals in India, has been ढे यो उजास the featured poet in English भझे उकसाती है कक ़ु at the BBC and DC books भैं बी sponsored Poet's Meet in Trivandrum and she is also an तीखी धूऩ से फेखफय, अरभस्त हो avid blogger, her blog site is आकाश भ़ें उडती http://marinasravings.blogsp नन्ही सी चचडडमा की तयह ot.com चोंच खोर कय अऩने ऩये ऩॊख परा कय ू ै At present she lives in her hometown in Kerala and आॉख लभचौरी का खेर खेरॉ ू dedicates her time between हवा क तेज झकोयों से झभता े ू teaching, researching, ऩेड parenting and poetry. भ़ुझे औय बी उकसाता है Poetry (Hindi) झभने को ू फेटी होने का ददद भैं तत्ऩय होती हूॉ by प्रिमॊका ग़ुप्ता तो भाॉ की कपक्रभन्द आॉख़ें अक्सय भेया यास्ता योक रेती हैं भैं जानती हूॉ कक अऩने घय की छत ऩय उनकी किक्रभन्द आॉखों के खडी हो कय जफ नीरे चॊदोफे से तने बीतय आकाश की ओय दे खती हूॉ एक लसहयन बयी है तो- जो चाहने क फावजूद े सूयज की आॉच से प्रऩघरता आसभान भझ तक नहीॊ ऩह़ुॉचती ़ु जहाॉ भेये बीतय आकाश औय धयती क फीच े एक प्रऩघरन सी बय दे ता है टॉ गा
  • 53. उनका बिशॊक बम ़ु Poetry नन्ही चचडडमा नहीॊ जानती Divine Sisterhood जानना बी नहीॊ चाहती by Sonia Sarkar कक अनन्त आकाश के I. इस छोय से उस छोय तक वह अकरी नहीॊ.... े At October’s full moon ऩॊख परा कय उडते ै Her effigy rises like jagged आदभखोय चगद्ध cliffs Gulps lesser gods whole हय ऩर लशकाय की तराश भ़ें हैं। The city she saved paints her About the Author a killer रगबग सात-आठ वषद की उम्र से Ruby red demon-slayer, लरखना शरू कयने वारी प्रिमॊका के stained savior ़ु Rage like a drought-ravaged अफ तक कई ऩि-ऩबिकाओॊ भ़ें tigress कहाननमाॉ, कप्रवताएॊ, रघ़ुकथाएॊ आदद छऩ चक ़ु े हैं। इनकी चाय ऩस्तक ़ु ़ें Eight arms make for िकालशत हो चकी हैं जजनभ़ें से दो ़ु treacherous dancing ऩ़ुयस्कृत हैं। इसक अरावा इन्होंने े And as many worthy weapons of destruction: कादजबफनी सादहत्म भहोत्सव भ़ें श्री An octopodic death machine भोतीरार वोहया के हाथों कहानी- िनतमोचगता भ़ें अऩुशॊसा ऩ़ुयस्काय बी That men’s armies could only िाप्त ककमा है । dream of She is Elphaba to Athena’s Galinda Dark-skinned queen of queens, Branded to one billion lambs of sacrifice Though she returns home to a husband who
  • 54. Prefers his snake, his Makes Indra’s court catch bombastic trident their slender breath In pastel-shaded cartoons white-boned shutters corset they assign her soft closed sinusoidals, suspicion s l i d e s its way While she tosses thunder through the heavens like from abstract prehistoric eyes golden thread And although she too has You hold your own, draw launched a thousand ships them down with your owl No one will call her by name, eyes (Parvati, Kali, Durga?) Flutter stories, sarcasm, and sass As they devour the fruits of her labor With your card games, with As they dress her in fancy your slow song flora Quick before he overshadows II. you, Descends down to the earth Lakshmi: nobody’s consort ten rescues over Maiden in waiting Escape with your Careful now explanations, coming fast and Pull that shimmer sari closer thick your penchant for the A snake charmer’s basket: cerulean gaze, your thrill for Your hidden compartments the well-defined jaw He should fear your milky is it any coincidence that your oceans lotus flower draws gods? He should worship you *A twinkling Diana laugh*
  • 55. III. Created, sung into being, skeeballed true, by you Apocalypse comes simple Vacation has bitten to a close In myriad languages and too soon, again religions Flip a switch, turn a donkey Happens like this: wheel Amidst the elation, rabble Churn the seas. turns rabid It pains you to disturb the life The cherry blossoming is aquatic lovely In that way Pleasingly, humankind preens poetic *** But once an era, Announcements The attention is overwhelming Entries are invited for the The deities have drunk one next issue of Pothiz. Details too many are available on Pothi.com’s Stumble into court website. Deadline for imperiously smashed submission to the next issue is July 16, 2010. redemption --- So, blue-woman: muster your golden arrows, This issue can also be Spin your chakra, controlled accessed online at weave http://pothi.com/pothi/maga zine/issue/july-2010/ Cross the border Into worlds free of stretchmarks