Besharam bevakoof badtameeZ

Some words – Honest like a honey bee's, pure like a butterfly's and dumb like an Ogre's when I run out of stupid similes.

The Crimson Memoirs



01/02/2010                                                                                                                                               Monday


Hi Jennie,

I have been writing on you for months. Journal entries were supposed to be beneficial –  rejuvenating, giving mental peace, strength and what not. I do not know dear. I have not been doing any better since I started I am not doing very well lately. It is not your fault of course – you have been listening, keeping my words safe for me to come back and read again. Ponder on them and then try to put me to sleep at night. I have bad dreams, dear. Very bad ones. There’s a lot of blood, and then I hurt myself and then I wake up. Every night. Then I lie in my bed, scared and shivering till the dawn breaks. I am one miserable human being.

I killed a man. I did. There. I have been trying to tell you, but euphemisms don’t cut it anymore. Remember that day? – Check the entry from a couple of months before- when I mentioned that quote from Macbeth? I love those lines, here – “… the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!

I digress. I can’t seem to hold my mind to the thought. That I’m a killer. There seems to be no further road down that end. Is that normal? I do not know any other murderers. This is my debut. I can’t recall a movie where they show the insides of a killer’s mind. It must not be pretty. So Jennie. I killed a man. All I am trying to say is that there is nothing remarkable about this whole situation. When I wrote that sentence out, after it had ricocheted inside my head a million times, I have finished everything that had to be said about this whole situation event. That was the only remarkable thing about the whole thing important part. It has changed me, I know – I can feel it in me. Or why would I give you a name, Jennie, and write on you, as if these entries were letters to my best friend? I’m glad you can’t talk though. That gives me time to think.

It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t kill him. I tried my best. They brought him in, all blood and gore. He was probably a cruel man himself. Might have killed a dozen other kids – with dreams and futures. It doesn’t matter. Please tell me it doesn’t matter?

Why can’t I speak about this? It is maddening. I know this is supposed to work. I need a catharsis.

Trust me, there is nothing else that I want to do than let this out. There has to be a way. To mend the wounds without slashing them. To just let it out, and scream at it to not return, ever.

I shall try that again.

I didn’t kill him.

I am a promising surgeon. I’m just 27. I know my books and my craft. I follow rules, I respect my lessons. I obeyed my mentors, I believe in God. Yet, on my first procedure, a man died. In my arms. I saw his heart pause, permanently. He was shot in the chest, and a bullet, of many, had punctured his left lung. He had lost copious amounts of blood. Cardiac massage, clamping the aorta – I tried everything. I literally held his heart in my hands and rubbed it with all my might, to get the blood flowing into the brain. Does that sound scary? It is, but again, I had signed up for this and believe it or not- I cherished this. I was a man who could do things, impossible things. I know how humans work, like a mechanic who works with the engine turned on, I could mend us. It was all in line with what I knew and practiced. Yet, it happened. The man just died. It wasn’t in his stars to be alive for more than those few minutes with me.

He hardly had opened his eyes the entire evening. I had talked to him a lot. Egging him on – to breathe, to send his fluids back into him than out, in red. Could he hear me? I hope he did. I want him to know that I did my best.

Thank God, I’m an informed one. There were ways of dealing with this. A lot of documentation and studies. Writing has helped, Jennie. You have been wonderful. I think this has done the trick finally. I feel better now. Much better. In fact, I don’t think I need to write anymore though. Except that there is this niggling feeling that bothers me, at times.

I just can’t figure out what is bothering me. They all told me it was fine. “These things happen.” Why did they say ‘these’ things? Did they mean it was an accident, a mishap perhaps? I don’t think they did. They all knew how good I was. How meticulous and professional. It wasn’t an accident. There were others to see. None of them offered any word of advice though, on what to do later. I didn’t even see the kin of the deceased. The hospital staff covers that apparently. It was the procedure.

I will have to just let it be. I have in fact, as I said, I feel much better. I have dealt with this. I don’t need to do anything anymore. No more bothering you. I am sad to let you go though, you were great.

So that’s it. It was immense, it was troubling, but I got through it. On I go. Farewell.






Hi Jennie,

I killed a man, dear





– Sr Ja [18/12/2017]




Last 1000 meters of the 5k run for males. Rolab, the state champion is leading, closely followed by the teen sensation Noku!

There is nothing fancy about running. All you have to do is lift your leg. The rest is all done for you. You lift your left leg, then it goes down on its own. Then give it some time to acknowledge that gravity is a bitch. Now the right leg- lift. It goes down. It’s all about fighting this urge to go down, which inevitably wins. Winning is however overrated; there is nothing new about wanting to win. But to keep losing is an art in itself. Again, there’s nothing fancy about losing per se, except when done in succession. Then it has a charm of its own. It always makes sense losing for love. Or revolution. Those losses border on pleasure almost. I digress.

800 meters left in this race. Nothing has changed upfront on the track, Noku shadowing Rolab like a bloodhound on trail!

It is all about man’s inability to fly. As a thin, dark, poor and inevitably malnourished lad of fifteen, running became my lifeline. This was a time when letters meant a lot to people. Handwritten letters filled with words of love. Telegrams were too swift, too short and too troublesome. The post had personality. I was a postman’s son, his assistant and on his untimely death, an unenthusiastic substitute. I hated delivering letters, and it didn’t pay me enough. I hated that I never received one. I was the oyster, whose pearls got stolen. I felt bad, sad. I was young. A sweet summer child. Not anymore.

500 meters left to go. Tiring legs, sweat pouring down as though from pipes. Rolab still leads… Noku playing second fiddle… he looks too comfortable for the last minutes of a long race!

But the pangs of hunger were always very real. Letters alone couldn’t get me food. Not enough anyway. So I started delivering milk in the evenings. It wasn’t tough. The farmers were real sweet darlings. As long as you overlooked the occasional addition of water. It was all sunshine and rainbows, till the Government decided to cut down the staff in the Post Master’s office. Now they needed just one postman, in place of three. And ‘the one’ would get twice the salary. The Government was smart. That’s probably why it became the Government in the first place. But this did put me in a spot of bother. Of the three of us, Haku, the oldest friend of my dad, was almost ready to retire and take his well-earned pension. Misa, the second, though, was a prick. To complicate matters, he sold his wife’s ornaments and bought a cycle. I was really not into marriages, so I didn’t have a wife, and hence no ornaments to sell. Not that I regret it.

This left with me no choice, but to deliver letters faster than Misa, the two wheeled demon. I chose to run. And run I did. All morning I would run and finish off the letters. All evening I would run and deliver the milk. Misa, soon decided to sell his cycle. I loved the bee stung look on his face.

“200 meters more… Rolab seems to be struggling in the heat but, the champion that he is, has found unfathomable strengths to carry on and lead. Noku though seems to be in no hurry…”

All that is history now, rags to riches is such a cliche. I am not rich. Yet. But I am better than before. I wear my country’s colors. I don’t run barefoot anymore. In fact, people want to pay for my footwear. If I let them, they’ll sew their initials in my briefs. Bloody bourgeoisie. But I don’t give a damn. For me it is not about the gold. It is not about the podiums. It’s all about that look on their faces. When a thin, dark, poor and impoverished monkey of a man, beats their icons at their own Meccas. The fancier their names, the shinier their labels: the faster I run past them. That bee stung look. I can feel my lungs burn, gasp, and sputter at times. I know they feel it too. Knives are plunging into my calves, or so it seems. I can’t feel my knees. I can’t feel anything now. But I know they feel it too. But they can’t see in on me. I won’t let them. I make them sell short and wither and die. I am beyond everything.

It’s time to run.

“Rolab is still on the lead folks as we pass into the last 50 meters of… AND NOKU BOLTS OFF. Two strides and … HE’S LEVEL. He is WITH ROLAB now. Did he just… TURN AND SMILE?  The struggle is real, Rolab seems to drift off. Noku is running the race of his life, and has probably mistaken this to be sprint event. He just finishes 20 meters ahead of …”

Rolab has been stung by the bee.


–  Sr Ja [05/11/2017]


Double Double, Toil and Trouble


We paced up and down the room.

Both of us. Same rate, same strides. We were brothers- Aftab’s umbilical cord was cut just a few minutes ahead of mine. That hadn’t stopped him from cracking the classic “I’m so older than thou” jokes. Ammi’s all-time favorite was the one where he claims that he was five minutes elder than me, followed by “You know what I did when I was your age?” Then he would proceed to describe whatever happened five minutes ago in lavish detail. Not “ha-ha” funny, our Aftab- but he had a pleasant voice.

I was born dumb. Yes, literally. I am very smart, but I’ll have to write down a few things to convince someone so. “Trauma to the vocal chords- identical twin born mute.” I loved writing imaginary headlines to an imaginary newspaper, which I’m planning to start soon. I’ll name it “The Afsan Chronicles”-after me, of course.

But I digress. Brotherly squabbles were the least of my concerns at the moment. It might not seem important to you, but we were making a huge machine. We were designing a Molecule de-aligner. We ‘are’. If you aren’t interested in scientific mumbo jumbo, it means that we are creating something which could alter the shape of anything. Basically give me clay and I’ll make your face with it. It will be pretty, if you are pretty. Give me a silver coin, I can make a silver screw that would weigh the same. The last time Aftab tried explaining this to a ‘well educated’ mutual friend of ours, he exclaimed “Wow, so does it mean that you can make money?” Aftab had lost his patience then and tried to explain to him the meaning of law of conservation of mass and how a large amount of energy is wasted in re-arranging molecular structure and so forth. The pour soul had just meant to ask if we were bound to become famous with our invention, and earn a lot of money, but my brother had a habit of jumping the gun. Ammi says he had begun speaking for the both of us by the age of three. I think he started way before that.

“Why doesn’t it start Afsu? I hate this! Tell me why!” I looked at him and then at the machine with mild irritation. One thing about us, not-so-gifted humans, is that we are patient. Probably due to the fact that one cannot be angry without making a bit of noise. So like the mature kid that I’ve grown up to become, I took a walk around the clunking old assortment of metal parts and began observing each of the components. Aftab was doing the same thing but he resembled of an express train running late.

“The variables are set to the correct value. The readings are perfectly normal. Temperature is under control. All parts are either in good condition or recently repaired, there seems to be no ….” he was muttering to himself amidst frequent pushes and pulls at random points. He hates it when things do not go according to plan. With folks like us it rarely does. I couldn’t understand what was going wrong either. He was right though. All factors that we could control seemed perfect. Owing to a highly rational state of mind, I am not a staunch believer in God. However after about three hours of tinkering even I began to wonder whether there was an almighty being who did not want us to borrow his powers, even in such small magnitudes.

Exasperated I walked behind the machine and sat down, with my head between my hands.

“Afsu, don’t step on the wires, I don’t want to clean them again. Not that I see the point, with this thing refusing to work. I wonder if we are doing something stupi…”

I opened my eyes in shock. Then it struck. Both of us followed the power cord with our eyes to the plug point. It was switched on. But…

The role of the infinitely small in nature is infinitely great.

We had forgotten to plug it in.


-Sr Ja [17/02/2016]





He climbed up the dirty set of stairs and reached the corridor. The lodge looked dingy from the outside, but the hallways were spacious. There were rooms on both sides of the path, and a verandah on either side after every five rooms. The whole building was rectangular- running much longer than its width. He stared into the pathway- the lights didn’t work, and at night there was just infinite darkness.

266. He had to go to the room on the left, right before the first verandah. That way, if you had entered the building thorough the back door, like he had- nobody could spot you at night. You climb the stairs, walk into one of the ten rooms and slam the door shut. None in the world would know where you were. Precisely why she wanted him to come here. Who knew, he was none the wiser five minutes ago, standing in the street.

He got inside and shut the door. He found the switches near the door. A dull yellow light filled the room. There was no plug point, no fan, no mirror– nothing. There was a short table in the corner, but no chairs. The bed was short but wide, and lower than what he’d have liked. The mattress was new, but there were no pillows or bedcovers. He sat on the bed, and tried to pry open the lone window.

“Don’t bother, it’s locked from the outside”

He turned sharply to see her standing by the door, a bag slung across her bounteous front and a bottle of water in hand.

She walked in. Strong, long, calculated strides to the table and put down the bag.

Do you fall asleep quickly?”

“Me? I’ve had trouble sleepi…”

No. Not that. After you jack?

“Ehm… I guess…”

Alright, would you like a bed sheet?”


“Take it- too many mosquitoes. Here, it’s on the table. Take it after I leave. No stains. And leave them here in the morning. Blucky will make sure that they are otherwise, when you pay.”

She took a mirror out and started putting on lipstick. He lied down on the bed, unsure of what to say or do next.

Take these”, her outstretched hands-shapely and embroidered with mehndi, had a packet of condoms and- for lack of a better word- a metal piece- strangely shaped like a lock bolt. He pocketed the condom and held the other up in the light.

For the door”, she said taking off her sari.

He hadn’t noticed the door lock- or its lack thereof. There was no latch inside that could be locked. There was a lock for sure, but it had no metal bolt that could lock it shut. He pressed the wooden panes together and bolted it shut.

Four minutes. She stood up and drank some water from the bottle. Then washed the semen off her thighs, in the corner of the room.

Need some?” she asked, pointing the bottle at him.


She poured it down her face, and started pulling on the petticoat.

“Thank you”, he said raspy voiced. Like a love-lost, pimpled teenager.

She nodded, and starting packing her things. “What do you do?”

“I sell fish…” he stopped short, as if ashamed to keep talking.

And…?” she probed.

“I write poems.”

She pulled a face, to show she couldn’t comprehend.

“Poetry. Poems. In a book. I mean, I write poems and I get the book published and then I carry around the books with me.” He explained, sweating now; more than what he was about five minutes ago. “When they come around to buy fish, I offer them to read. If they like, they buy.”

She laughed. A full hearty laugh. The laugh of someone who hasn’t sinned. The laugh of the brave. “You make a lot of money?”

“I made ten last month” he announced, proudly.

She raised an eyebrow in mockery, and headed towards the door.

“Thousand. Ten thousand. In a month”

So that’s why you are here tonight!” she laughed again. The laugh of the truly content.

She stepped out and adjusted her bra. “Pay downstairs before nine tomorrow. Don’t forget the sheet.” Before closing the doors, she peeped in –“Write one about me. I am a vegetarian, but I can read”

“I will”, he said as he closed his eyes.


In your eyes

And the fish’s, I see the sighs.

Looking at them, I whisper

“I can hear your silent whimper.”

The fish and you

Cost me so much, but I never knew

If you or them,

Would rot first; like phlegm.

But if you do not-

When death tightens its knot

Remember that you fought;

But you just forgot,

That life was worth shot.



-Sr Ja [4/1/2016]

Inspired by a poem in a weekend newspaper. For those who can read Malayalam –

The Good, the Bad and the Un-ordinary.


“Tell me a story”, she said lazily, sunrays moving like darts through her lazy bunch of silk hair.

“There aren’t any … more. I told them all!”, I got up chasing all the red ants up the trunk.

“Go find your own tree then. My tree- he needs stories”, she snuggled into the trunk, fitting her petite self perfectly.

“I don’t see why! He’s an ordinary tree”, I said smirking.

“See, that’s why. Tales told under this shade, that’s what makes him… un-ordinary?”

I threw a twig at her confused face. “That’s not even a word! You’re so stupid!”

“Go away. I’ll write him one on my own.”

I may too, I told myself.



-Sr Ja [15/10/2016]


Moving Ahead


I hate running, I hate it!” he stormed into the room around eight thirty. Throwing his backpack into the corner of the room, he ran into his mother’s- my, study.

Ma, did you make something to eat? I am famished!

I knew his anger was targeted towards someone else. Amit hated being told what to do. Be it me, his step mom; be it Raghu his Dad, or worse- people he couldn’t scream back at – like his football coach.

“What did he do today?” I probed gently while serving him mashed potatoes. Had to be clinical here, one wrong word and he would visualize his coach and give me an earful. “He made me run, like a mad man! Mad man!”

“Aren’t you supposed to be running? I thought you played football”, Raghu walked in with his laptop and teased his only son. He loved messing with Amit. Both of us used to wonder where he got his temper from. We were peaceful, gentle souls who never even said a curt word. Amit would go bonkers at the drop of a lid. He didn’t pick it up from somewhere- he was an angry baby, an angry toddler, an angry kid and now he was growing into an angry young man- our own Amitabh Bachchan.

Yeah whatever! If only he would let us play. I ran like ten rounds today“, he said gobbling down a spoon.

“Ten rounds is…” Raghu started and I gave him one of my stern looks, and he tapered off.

“He’s very tired, Raghu you need something to eat?” Translate- Get what you need and leave- if you want to live in peace, that is. I wanted some time alone with my son.

Why is dad so annoying? He talks like this high school kid

“Looks as handsome too doesn’t he?” I beamed.

Ma, you are hopeless!

I had a good hearty laugh.

The worst part is we have been doing the same thing over and over every day. There is no difference, no change!

“Life is all about change beta! It’s bound to come your way. Don’t worry”

I don’t know anything, I just wish I didn’t have to run like a dog“. He stood up and walked out, seething in anger.


I stood waiting underneath a tube lit corridor, outside an orthopedic ward about nine months away from this conversation. I was anxiously waiting for the specialist to come out. I knew what was coming my way, but being an optimist I never had lost hope.

A white coat walked outside. There was a look of exasperation in his walk and manner. He came over and muttered the inevitable to me, in a low grave voice. I found it anti climatic. Amit wouldn’t walk normally any more. A drunk bastard behind the wheels had made sure that my son would be a cripple for the rest of his life. The fact that he died in the process, was no consolation.

I walked inside; annoyed, angry and consumed by own helplessness.

He was staring out of the window, awkwardly reminding me of an O Henry novel, except that we had no trees in the city; only lifeless cement blocks.

I won’t be able to run again”, he announced. There was no pain, just acceptance.
“You don’t have to…”, there was a steely reserve in my voice, but no conviction.
Things change Ma, I don’t have to. But I want to

I walked out wiping my tears. Things had changed, but not in the way they were intended to.



-Sr Ja [12/03/2016]

A Wine Woman



He climbed out of bed, all drowsy and irritated. The room was a mess. It wasn’t a classic Iranian film shot with sunlight seeping in through a window and the hero lying awake. Deep philosophical thoughts weren’t plunging through his head like a Bombay local.

However, a girl was lying on his side half naked- he could just see half a shapely ass. Not a bad start to a day, except that he didn’t know where her clothes were. Or who she was. Or why he was fully dressed.

He pulled his completely covered self out of bed and walked to his kitchen. No sugar. Lots of milk, but of the sour kind. He boiled some water and added all that was left in a sachet of Nescafe. It tasted horrible, but he was never good at making things. He walked back inside, stirring the cup hoping that it might taste better if it cooled down. The girl had turned to the other side, the ass was now fully visible in all its glory.

Should he wake her up? He wasn’t very sure of that. She could react in a thousand different ways. He might not like all of them. He had an attitude of taking life very seriously. Every moment and every turn had a meaning. So did every word he penned down. He was a small town writer.

He coughed gently and waited for her to respond. Not even a flicker. He gently set the coffee down, stretched his hands, stood up. And whipped the sheet off of her in a swift single movement. A fair maiden rolled out onto the floor like a mythical figure. But she scrambled up too clumsily to be Cleopatra. Nakedness was the minimum he was willing to accept as rent. Beauty was however a welcome bonus.

What is wrong with you?” she asked climbing back into the bed, as if she owned the place.

“Nothing. I’m just taking advantage of you.”

Are you going to rape me?” She hid her face underneath a pillow, still not taking an effort to cover her- he had to admit- flawless body.

“I’ve not dismissed the idea completely. The neighbors are away, and I could just blame it on the drink, and also that you turned up unannounced.”

Can you pass me the bottle?” continued the girl, flicking a thumb down to indicate something under the bed.

He got down on all fours, and rummaged under the bed. The floor was filled with a viscous liquid and he had somehow not noticed the smell until now. Persistence of odour maybe. His fingers wrapped around a thin neck and he pulled out a bottle. Of wine.

Madera. Nashik valley red wine.

I walked in after you yesterday. After I saw you park your bike. Just on top of my scooter, like literally”. She took a swig and passed it back.

“You couldn’t tell me so, then?”

I did. I mean, I tried. I was talking to you, and you were staring through me for a while, like I was invisible. For like minutes. Then you walked away to the bedroom- I mean here. You have a nice place, and I didn’t have one to stay. So I switched off the lights after a while

He took another sip from the wine. It was horrible, but the after-taste made his tongue buds forget the coffee. She looked at him as if the whole conversation was a normal part of her daily humdrum life. He wasn’t the least bothered by her attractiveness either. There was an inexplicable comfort in the silence that wrapped them both. He would hate it if this wouldn’t lead up to a good story. He was a connoisseur of time, though he didn’t earn his living from his writing. He was too smart for that. He wouldn’t delude himself by hoping that his passion would fetch him bread. Art for money was a notion for the rich. To him art was made when he wished. Writer’s block, draught of inspiration were all alien to him. Abstract concepts limited to mediocre individuals who wanted to draw a ‘creator’ image for themselves. He was beyond all that. He was pragmatic, soulless. A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.

“No. We didn’t have sex. I just couldn’t find the A/C remote. And it was too warm, even for underwear”. She stood up and started gathering her clothes. She walked out of the room after a few minutes. He gently closed his eyes.

When he woke up again in the afternoon, he couldn’t recall her face. There were three- hundred rupee notes left beneath the wine bottle near his bed side. She was real.

He could have asked for her name, that ass could not have been a figment of his imagination.


-Sr Ja [14/02/2016]

The Chapel


I walk along the sturdy benches – neatly arranged, equally spaced, straight and equivalent in every geometric sense. The chapel had a strong sense of symmetry bound to it. The crucified son of God was dead center on the wall, with blood dripping right onto the middle of the floor. The altar, pedestal, candlesticks, books – everything seemed to follow the rule of thirds, perfect – as if they were just waiting to be framed by a skilled photographer. “It is picturesque”, I tell her. “Precise and in place. Look at those benches. So straight, it hurts my eye.” I chuckle, and rub my eyes in feigned pain.

She gazes at them for a while, nods as if to agree. But she hasn’t. Her disagreements aren’t always vehement, but I have learnt to see it in her eyes. I remain silent, arms folded. She leans in to me, sensing my withdrawal. Turns and kisses me on her tiptoes. “They are all nailed to the floor, dear- with iron. They aren’t free to be moved, and so is everything between these walls. Even…”

I don’t let her finish, kissing her deep to a pause. She looks at me, sad but calm. I take her hand. “Let’s … move, out.”



-Sr Ja (26/07/2016)

Nothing New


“We always have boring New Year’s. We never do anything new. Mumma, it’s so sad. Just so sad.”
Hrithik was up and on again. Kids have incredible levels of patience. He has been making the same point for the last one hour, framing it in semantically different forms. He would claim his right to have a fun filled New Year’s eve, realize that I would not respond and quieten down- to repeat the cycle again after a while. He knew I hated talking while driving. I hated that part about myself. That and the constant worrying.

“Why couldn’t you just turn here? We could have gone and sat in the park. The least we could do. It’s not like I am asking you for gifts or anything”.

I meandered to the left of the road, switching on the indicator and turned slowly, eyes both on the rear view mirror and the vehicles ahead. I loved driving, especially two wheelers. It gave me this feeling of power; of control. I was a sucker for rules of course- never over speeding, never raising leftwards while overtaking- the usual stuff that isn’t usually followed. My father had taught me to drive, I swear he is watching me from up above- I will never disappoint him.

“You know what, I want gifts for the New Year. I’ve been a good kid. I know you are lying about Santa. Of course there is Santa. He can’t just not appear this year, can he? Why don’t you just give me the gifts?”
Deep breaths. Key to surviving an Indian middle class life. Petrol prices are going up. I have to do the math again. The scooter was bought after a meticulous session with a calculator, pencil and paper. My rationale behind buying a vehicle was based on sound economic principles. Considering the time I’d save from the bus rides, and the fuel prices at that time- it was worth it. And the perverts in the bus- their disturbing antics had a definite negative costs associated with it.

“… Mumma! Are you even listening to me? I said, we needn’t get new notebooks for me. I’ll just remember whatever ma’am says in class. I don’t like writing anyway. With that money, I can get a totally cool gift. Mumma!”

I stopped right in front of the zebra lines, and breathed a sigh of frustration. The kid was getting on my nerves. To be honest his demands for a great gift were rational. After all, the human mind is designed to seek immediate gratification in place of future benefaction. Sex, adventure sports, fast cars- all designed for that dopamine rush.

“Can I at least get extra cookies for dinner? Mumma! Why don’t you talk? I hate you!”
The traffic light had just turned green, when the honking began. Couldn’t wait for a second more, these bastards! What’s all the hurry? I wondered. The quicker you leave this light the faster you reach the next one, there to wait again for another eternity? Maybe the honking gave them an illusion of doing something.

I remember moving forward on to the clear road. No vehicles from either side, thanks to the rule obeying public. A microsecond after had I crossed the center, I heard a crash and a heart stopping wail of pain. Turning around I saw a bus that had jumped the stop signal, crushing its weight on top of a middle aged woman with its massive front wheel. Blood flowed, re-coloring the tar in detail. A boy of my son’s age was riding pillion in the scooter, had fallen head first onto the road.

“Mumma! Let’s… let’s go home”, his horror stricken eyes were moist.

I rode on without looking back. Guilt was eating away at my selfishness for not having stopped to help. It was all washed out when my dear son quipped later that night, “I don’t want anything new this New Year’s Mumma, but you just promise to be around for the next one, okay?”

Children are so ridiculously blunt.


-Sr Ja [13/01/2016]

*Inspired by a real life incident.



The train compartment was crowded as usual. Mr Clement climbed up on to the train bearing his huge suitcase and his not so huge frame. He had missed his Eighty-Thirty local like a lot of other people and was running late for work. A stable family life meant helping out your spouse in the kitchen, whether you like it or not. Punctuality at work naturally suffers when you don’t have the determination to push through your morning chores at break neck speed. Mr Clement was a calm and composed man. He was old as he was wise. He was of the opinion that a lovely night in bed was worth more than a professional advancement. Even if you lick all those asses that sat on top of you, and wiped them clean later; there was no surety that one would get acknowledged. The late Clement Sr had a few things to say about work-“Turning up on time, Doing good work, Getting people to like you- if you can do at least two of the above three gracefully you are a sure shot success”. Wise words from a wise man.

Mr Clement tried to adjust his suitcase so as to hurt as few people as possible. No mean feat this, in a train that crowded. You barely had to hold onto any straps to support yourself. Simple physics principles were at work here. Every action had an opposite and (nearly) equal reaction. All internal forces in a free body cancels out. You lean against a fat man, the fat man leans against a fatter man. The chain continues until you reach the gate, which probably supported the fattest of them all. All one had to do was to make sure that he or she doesn’t get crushed under too much weight. And the door- you can’t be too careful while being near the door. At times you wouldn’t even know where the train had reached, and presto manifesto- the door would slide open. A bunch of people who suddenly realized that their station had arrived would jump out in a jiffy, and another unruly bunch would jump right in. You had to have a lot of physical dexterity to survive all this.

Slowly and steadily the people in the train started thinning out. To the extent that Mr Clement could turn around and observe his fellow travelers. There was a slight commotion at the other end. He tried ignoring it initially. But the sound levels grew too loud and started breaking into his thoughts before he decided to pay some attention-

My Julie needs her space, don’t you point your finger at her that way. Uncouth philistines. What do you think of yourselves?”

A lady dressed in brilliant red was throwing words at random individuals around her as loud as she could. The clothes showed that she had copious amount of money but the choice phrases and that grimace meant she had recently acquired wealth. Married rich probably. She was accompanied by a poor excuse for a dog- a strange poodle with all its fur plucked out and a sad look on its face. The animal was the reason behind the arguments flaring inside.

“Why do you have to keep the dog on the seat? Can’t you see? This tired old woman has been standing for so long. It’s illegal to carry pets-“- a gentleman, middle aged; was trying to put across his point rather timidly.

Shut up! Don’t teach me the law. I know how the law works here. Why don’t you get up if you are so very concerned?” She just spat him off like gum.

“But can’t you keep it down. It’s just a do-”Another petite woman was giving her best try.

How dare you? Filthy bitch. Seat my poor child on the floor? Unclean rags!”

“Keep it on your lap then?” An intelligent looking teen gave words to what Mr Clement thought was the easiest solution to the whole problem.

What did you say? Do you even have any idea how much this costs? It is worth more than your house, for all you know.” The lady had gone too far.

Mr Clement, the devout Catholic that he was; drew a cross across his chest, prayed to the Lord and stepped forward. Four long strides and he reached the scene of action. Picking up the dog in one hand, he smoothly opened the window with the other. With the use of little force he threw the dog out and calmly closed the window.


The tired old woman who had wanted to sit for so long, stared at him for a while and then said-“You threw the wrong bitch out.”

With a cheerful smile Mr Clement replied, “I have done what I could”


-Sr Ja [19/02/2016]

*punchline courtesy of a lecture I attended when I was a kid-name and occasion have been forgotten. Apologies.