Monday, 24 October 2011

Crime Unknown

She opened the door and saw Roy standing with a worried look.

“Lakhan has been picked up by the police for reasons only the God can answer.”  Tantra was taken aback.

Lakhan was from Bihar, a man who shifted to Pune to earn a living by ironing clothes. He had a handcart and lived in a makeshift tent on a barren land. He was true to his work. He used to come and collect clothes from Tantra, Roy and Tuffy. Wash them, iron them and deliver the next day. He had no one here. He used to send a major part of his money to his parents back home. Well Tantra had seen the police demanding money from Lakhan many a times. She always intervened. The police had a common answer that he isn’t a registered hand carter.

Roy and Tantra rode to the police station and saw him behind bars all beaten up. When asked, the police replied, “Well let’s just say that all the robbery cases in your area have now been solved.”
“Then where the fuck is all the stuff,” Roy shouted. The policeman protested saying that he cannot raise his voice in the station and to control his anger or even he would be thrown behind bars. Lakhan was too afraid to even speak. He was just crying. Tantra and Roy couldn’t do much. They thought about approaching the NHRC but they knew it would be futile and hence waited at the station, debating.  He was eventually let off.

Roy explained the entire episode to Tuffy and he enquired, “What about my clothes?” That question was worth a tight slap on his face which Tantra promptly did.

It’s a sin that he is homeless in a city like Pune. Such kind of activities thrives throughout India. The largest cases have been reported in Kerala where Tamil migrant workers are picked up by the police and no one exactly knows what happens to them. They are subject to intense torture like their toe nails being pulled out, their legs beaten up with iron rods and the likes.
Lakhan went back to his place and now works in Patna doing the thing he know the best, ironing clothes. Lakhan was lucky enough that he had people who cared about him or else forget about being to Patna, he wouldn’t have seen a world outside the jail. Lakhan wasn’t homeless exactly. Neither was he an orphan. Imagine the problems of an actual homeless or a person with no one who would care about. This practice thrives in all the major cities. There are still a large number of people behind bars still waiting to know the crime they committed.

The handcart was orphaned for sure.

There are a lot of organizations who work for the welfare of such people. Even they ain’t aware about the frequency of such incidents. Who would even come to know when the police whisk away such people from the roads during a late night patrol?

Tuffy did get his clothes back. The three of them had to iron their clothes themselves for about two weeks till a new ‘iron’ man came. They are unaware about his fate but will revolt for sure.

That just saves one person.

What about the others spending a good part of their lives behind bars for a crime they haven’t done. For a crime they never imagined of. For a crime, unknown.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Drops of Joy

She lived a happy, single life. She never let loneliness captivate her. She had the best of friends, the best of hobbies like reading, listening to music and playing her PS3. The one thing which gave her a lot of joy was a smile. Smile from any random person would actually make her day. Tantra actually treasured those little drops of joy.

When she rides her scooter behind a bus and the commuters getting down flash a smile onto her or when a truck driver driving through a waterlogged road, splashes water on her and smiles, she smiles back. She has no time for worries. She wants a life without complaints, without tension and obviously with a lot of joy. She visits orphanages during her off days, distributes chocolates, clothes, knowledge, etc. And in return she is overwhelmed by the happiness on the faces of the kids. That again makes her day. While she is riding across the city she always carries a box of chocolates with her. The only thing she gives to the children begging near the traffic signal is that chocolate. She is normally taken aback when the chocolate gives more joy to them than money.

She lives for herself in the complete form. What would she do with all the money she gets? Browse online and check which bank would give her a better interest rate on her savings. She is least bothered about that. She purchased a car just to make her maid’s autistic kid happy. She drives the car during the weekends with the kid and the joy she receives when he smiles is immense.

Tantra didn’t buy joy. Infact truckloads of joy tracked down her. She kept doing those little things which gave her happiness.

Although this is a short one but joy is never short lived. Money isn’t just about everything, satisfaction also comes in. If you want to do something which you believe will give you lots of happiness, go ahead and do it. Forget about the damn world. Forget about the people who’ll complain. You ain’t stealing. You ain’t faking. You’re just doing the thing you love to do. When a company advertises to live life king size, go live it. And live by not sitting on loads of money, live by ‘living ‘ in a coccon of joy, happiness and awesomeness.

If little drops of water can fill a mighty ocean, then quite obviously little drops of joy can make your life much more beautiful and worth living for. 

Stop complaining and start living. Living the joy called life.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The 'Missed' Missed Call

                           NOT FOR SALE 2
“Holy Crap!” Roy exclaimed. In rather shock. He had to go and pick up Tantra after the exams. Tantra had called him. He was on his bike. It became a missed call. He missed out checking the missed call. He missed the missed call. Funny.

Tantra had given her Suzuki Access for servicing. The exam got over at 9pm. She called him. He missed it. They were just the best of friends and next door neighbours. Roy saw the missed call at 10pm.

Here’s what Tantra did in that one hour wait. She came out of the exam hall, out of the gate, holding the phone, calling Roy. He didn’t answer. She thought he was on his way. She bid goodbye to her friends. They offered to drop her home. She pleasingly denied. She sat on a bench on the footpath. She saw a lady defecating on the footpath. The lady then came and sat on a newspaper about 10 metres away from the place where she defecated. The lady was right next to Tantra’s right leg. She went to the local store, the only one which was open, bought some biscuits, water and tissues. Pune sleeps very early she thought. She sat on the bench and called out the lady. The lady stank but Tantra didn’t cover her nose. That smell was familiar to her nose as she used to visit the Missionaries of Charity quite often.

The lady woke up. They spoke in Hindi.

“Would you eat something? You look awfully tired.”

Tears rolled out of her eyes.  They spoke.

She was Mukfiya. From Bangladesh. She came from a well to do family. Mukfiya eloped with her self-proclaimed boyfriend in April 2011. She was just 19. She was sold off to a brothel in Budhwar Peth. 2500/- was what the guy got. He left. The brothel owner threw Mukfiya out as they were no takers for her within a week. She was dark complexioned, weak. Mukfiya was stranded. With just no money with her, she walked, she slept on a railway platform until she was buzzed off. She then relocated to the footpath right opposite Kendriya Vidyalaya. Being right outside the school, kids did give her the leftover food in their tiffins.
She got a life in the form of that. The children returned home happily with their tiffins spic and span. She couldn’t bathe as she could barely walk. The stink made the children not go near her. That quota of food gradually stopped. All she lived on was water. Her parents had no idea as to where she was. She had no clue where the guy was.

Today was the 20th of July. Mukfiya was in Pune for almost three months now. Tantra sat on the footpath right next to her. She placed her hand on Mukfiya’s knee. She was just in rags and used to wriggle in newspapers to cover her. Tantra had no clue as to what she would do.  Roy came, parked the bike. He wanted to come holding his ears and apologise for the delay but he rather got invited to a heartbreaking sight. Mukfiya rested her head on Tantra’s shoulders. All Tantra expected from Roy was to provide her with a shelter. He called up Tuffy to bring his car. Tuffy didn’t speak a thing when Mukfiya entered. He couldn’t. Tantra would slaughter him. He did realize the generous thing he was doing.
Mukfiya was firstly taken to the hospital. The police stepped in. in a joint program with the West Bengal Police, her house was tracked down in Bangladesh. Her parents were informed.

Well, Mukfiya died. A cardiac arrest denied her to go back home. Probably she would have lived if Tantra hadn’t met her. Atleast Mukfiya’s parents were informed about their daughter’s existence. That gave a relief to Tantra.

Mukfiya was sold as she was a female. She died. The weakness didn’t allow her to look like one. The police didn’t really care after she passed away. They never cared about Indian girls, forget about a Bangladeshi.

Haven’t we seen people on the roads? They might be victims of child trafficking, a sexual racket or just the deprived. Make an effort. Call the police. Do your bit? You might be reuniting a mother, a father, a sister or probably an entire family. The next time you are somewhere near the Pune RTO, check out the kid near the bus stop. He has been there for some time.

A missed call helped Roy, Tantra and Tuffy to do something. Let your eyes be wide open. It might save a life.

That call was destined to be missed. Mukfiya’s parents atleast didn’t miss their daughter’s last rites.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Riots in the Galli

After a rather tiring week, Tantra woke up to a lazy Saturday morning. She switched on the TV and saw rather depressing news. Riots had broken out. The Ram Sena’s president had been beheaded. She lived in the heart of Pune, MG Road bang opposite to the slums where the ‘victim’ and the culprit lived. Apparently he was beheaded as he gave a speech demeaning the Muslims when he was invited to inaugurate an orphanage.

Funny. She thought. She lived on the fifth floor. It was 11am. She could clearly see the events happening in the nearby slum from her balcony. The sun was venting out the anger too. A ray of lightning hit her face.  A young guy had taken out a sword. Its shine took Tantra by surprise. The shine was blinding. She really wondered as to what would happen. She realized the fact that her weekend was effectively ruined. She came in and sat in front of the TV again. She quickly made some coffee, sat on her couch, cosying onto her cushions with all eyes on the TV. Someone knocked. She thought it would be the kids who normally come in to play her PS3. 

She opened with a pleasing smile

Tantra saw the chairman standing.

“Please do not open the door. You are a single woman, living all alone here. Riots have broken out in the slums, it would hardly take any time for it to progress into our area. So from now on do not open the door for any reason at all.”

I wouldn’t have opened it if I knew it was you. She thought.

“Sure,” she replied and closed the door.

She didn’t get the newspaper as all the delivery boys lived in the slums and they would have been really busy planning the riots.


She heard a glass shield breakingand rushed to the balcomy. Tantra saw two groups fighting. Swords, fuel containers. Each group chanting out the names of their respective Gods. There were like a dozen vehicles in the galli. All ruined. To make her weekend even bloodier, she witnessed a guy ripping of the head of his ‘opponent.’ She was frozen. She hadn’t seen anything so bloodier after she had seen the charred bodies of her parents who died in the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts. Hence she moved out of Bombay after passing out her B.E. She chose Pune as she thought it to be more peaceful. This was one thing which she never expected to happen.

She suddenly came back into reality and saw about seven dead bodies. All soaked in blood. She called up the police but all the calls were unanswered. Although no one picked up the phone, she could sense the shiver down their spines. Her galli was at the dead end and she could actually count 11 cars and seven scooters right up in flames.

The rioting parties had done all of this for some anti-secular man who thought about speaking against a particular community in front of kids, who don’t even know who their parents are. Religion was a far off thing for them. All of this lasted for about 3 hours until the CRPF was deployed, well better late than never.

After she understood that everything was under control, she ran outside the gate, onto the galli.

“Eh ladki, kya chaalu hai, chalo andar jaao (Lady, what’s wrong, Get inside), orders from the top, we cannot allow anyone here as it’s a sensitive area,” a policeman yelled at her.

“Listen mister, God has sent me down to ask you guys as to where had your battalion gone hitch hiking when people were being killed,” she yelled back.

Well he probably didn’t understand any of that. She ignored and walked towards the middle of the road. She couldn’t stand the smell. She ran upstairs, took a shower and switched on some music. She closed the balcony and sat on her couch. She switched on the TV again. The SENSEX falls below 20000. “Woah, What the fuck?”

Is that the life of a riot or a bomb blast in India?

Some anti-social creature talks some crap, some freak chops of his head and a bunch of so called followers bludgeon each other. Secularism, Security and everything is at stake. Let law takes it course. It will obviously take time but justice happens, well atleast sometimes. The elections are coming. Congress, BJP or some other juvenile parties. Politicians live, their supporters do not. Every political outfit in India has a history of rioting, be it the Congress who mastered one in Punjab or the BJP who did one in Gujarat.

Let democracy live and not the politicians.

Human blood it was. Blood had no religion. Bloods oozing out of the bodies of Hindu and Muslim rioters flowing right through the middle of the road, of the galli . Her blood also had the same smell. Just like an old saying. Chicken costs Rs. 100 per kg, mutton costs 200 and what about a human being.

Priceless or worthless.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Locked Door 1

Disclaimer: This post is not against the working women

It was the last 30 minutes in school for that day and he knew he had to walk back home and face a locked door. He was in his sixth standard and it was a totally different phase for him. His mom was working in a bank and returned home only by 6pm. Nihar reached home by 3pm. As he was the only son he expected his mother to be waiting near the door to see her son come back home from school. He never wanted school to get over. He just wanted to be at school.

The bell rang. It was 2:45. In another 15 minutes he would reach home. He knocked on the neighbour’s door, took the keys, unloceked and got in. The food was waiting for him. He removed his uniform, sat on a dining table, meant to be for a family, all alone. He switched on the TV and watched SWAT KATS which was his form of entertainment during lunch. He kept the plate in the sink and slid into his room to unpack his school bag. He started getting ready for his tuitions. At 6pm he hands over the keys back to the neighbor and rushes for his classes.

 “Had lunch?” his mom asked when they meet at the gate.

“Yes, I’m late, see you at 9,” he replies hurriedly. He leaves his building whilst his mom enters.

He never really spoke with anyone at his tuition classes. He reaches home at around 9:15. His dad is immersed in the newspaper and his mom is busy cooking. Well he has dinner with his family together but his dad has a tiring look on his face and his mom just goes and sits on the floor under the fan. He really wonders as to why both of his parents have to work when his dad is earning good enough.
Probably he thought a lot. Nihar was just 10. Over the years he completed his schooling in the same locked door  phase. He kept the door of his room always closed. That room was a vault of all his memories. He never wanted any of those to sneak out.

The closed door was his best friend followed by loneliness and SWAT KATS.
He kept distance from his parents. His life evolved just inside his room. It was really tough for him to make friends while in college as well. He actually found it uncomfortable. He had rather built a cocoon for himself. He used to bunk college to come home and watch television. He avoided going out with his parents. He had a bunch of childhood friends. The talks mostly included about sports, films, etc. He didn’t have the courage to open up in front of anyone. He had a couple of friends he could rely on but he never tried to come out of his cocoon.

Well his parents started seeing the ignorance their son had towards him. During the second year of his graduation he was taken to a psychologist. He opened up. He had a lot of one to one sessions with the doctor. He stopped lying to his parents. Nihar improved.

He still hasn’t opened up. But he has managed to break a major part of the cocoon. He earlier didn’t care about the existence of his parents.

Now he somewhat did.

He started speaking with his parents. He started mingling with his graduation friends. He never asked as to why his mother worked because he had won an elocution completion in school during his 10th standard. The topic was ‘The Working Woman.’

Nihar is now into his third year graduation. He has dreams. He now tries to talk.

Well parents work, not knowing the fact that school time is the age when children need them the most. Especially a mother. See them come home. See them remove their shoes. See them throw their socks. See them sit on the sofa and tell how their day was while removing the bags in that childish style. Innocence at its best. Who wants to miss that? If you still want to work then you have no right to complain when your kids have no time for you once they find a job. Newspaper isn’t the only medium of news for the dads. It obviously gives you news from around the world but don’t you want to know as to what happened in your child’s little world. The school. Its way better than the stuff in the newspaper. Go speak with your kids and make them celebrate their childhood and keep showering them with all the love and affection they need.

Nihar now sits with his mom on the floor under the fan for dinner. His dad joins in as well.................

 P.S. To be continued.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Right 'Spirit'

Based on an idea by Tushar Kathuria (Tuffy)

He woke up to a rather serene Monday morning. Perhaps knowing the fact that he has to resign today. He was rather upset with his 9-6 job and wanted to do something he would get satisfaction with. Money never mattered for him. Tuffy Singh had the best of friends and loved spending time with them. That kept him so busy that he never had time for a girlfriend. He never wanted one. Tuffy was an occasional drinker. He used to go out with his friends to a pub probably to vent out his frustration at work. He sat on the lounge sipping his beer and munching the chips.

He had been to ‘The Spirits’ with his office friends yesterday on a chilled Sunday evening. Kinjal was also a part of those friends. He knew she had a crush on him but he never showed any kind of attraction from his side. He just sat on his seat and watch all of them dance. He was a terrible dancer. The only thing he could do was head banging but the pub never played rock. Kinjal came and sat next to Tuffy, totally sloshed and rested her head on his shoulder, he slid towards the end of the couch and in a rather geometric way her head fell onto his slap. “I want go to the washroom,” she said in a sleepy tone.

“I know you are drunk but I am not the security guard of this place hence do not have the keys. It’s open. You may go.”

He had seen a number of girls running towards the washroom with their hands covering their mouths with the sole intention of puking.

“Dude I’m drunk, can’t walk till there without support?”

Tuffy accompanied her till the washroom and waited outside. She didn’t come out for 15 minutes. He called out for her.

“Dude you may come in, there’s no one here.”
Tuffy was taken aback. He said he’ll wait and requested her to speed up the process.
She came outside. Put her hands around his neck and they walked towards the couch.

“I like you, Tuffy.”
“Thank You,” he replied. Totally understanding the fact of what kind of a likeness was that.

Monday blues striked back. He just thought about yesterday’s non-sensical party. Tuffy always wanted to open an NGO. He was associated with CRY for a really long time. He always believed in the fact that sponsoring a child is way better than purchasing make up for one’s girlfriend.
Tuffy mailed his resignation. After an hour long discussion with his manager and the HR to retain him, he still quit. Achieving his dreams was of prime importance for him than melting down to the pleas of his manager. He started volunteering for CRY. He wasn’t paid much but his efforts were recognized. He started to analyse the functioning of an NGO.

After 2 years time he opened an NGO. He was just 27 and invested a lot of money and time into it. It started showing results. He never thought of expanding it. He never accepted help from the government but did accept the same from well wishers and people who were genuinely interested. His NGO just catered to orphans, destitute, the kids of commercial sex workers, etc. He also opened up an alcohol and drug de-addiction centre. With the kind of financial support he got, he hired the best doctors in town. Kinjal was one of the patients who got admitted at his centre for alcohol de-addiction.

While all his friends were partying, Tuffy enjoyed the company of the kids. He quit his job and kept his life aside for the welfare of the kids.

The only reason why we donate is probably to get a tax exemption with the 80G form. No other intention. No one has to keep their life aside for someone else but donate with a positive mentality with the right spirit. Think about the children out in the streets wearing clothes which you do not even use as rags at your home. Think about the food you waste daily which isn’t a week of their consumption. Think.

When u want an 80G exemption, a child out their doesn’t know to count or to start an A to reach a G.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Gangster Philosophy

                                                     Co-Written with Ameya Dusane

If anyone decided to script a movie on my life I am sure it would be one of 
 those typical Bollywood movies. Love, broken dreams, betrayal, murder, gun chases with a lot of melodrama. My life story is no Bollywood movie. I was being interviewed by a journalist. Some questions start haunting me for example when he asked me as to what would I do after I am set free from the jail? It’s almost been a decade I have spent in jail away from guns, away from fights, away from the world of hide and seek, and more importantly away from the world of death. I just reply “Haven’t decided yet”. The journalist moves on to the next question and a question many of my friends and people close to me have asked, “How does it feel to be constantly followed by the shadow of death?”

I answer the question in a very monotonous tone, “I am not afraid of death and never will be.”

The interview lasts for 25 minutes and then the journalist takes off. I go back to my cell where people are curious to know about my interview.

It’s past 3am with my eyes still wide open for some reason. Am I not afraid of death? The question keeps haunting me and also brings back old memories when I had seven mouths to feed without a job. Education was just an unfulfilled dream. No one was ready to employ me until a man asked me to appear for the interview for the post of a peon in a local bank. That was a good day. I cleared the interview and the pay was descent. However that is when I learnt life’s biggest lesson that either you screw things for others or you get screwed up. He was my first victim. His name was Roy. Why did I kill him? Roy had bribed the branch manager to get the job that belonged to me. I was told by a very reliable source. My hands were as stable as it could have been. I was a mere 2 feet away from Roy. That is when I pressed the trigger and shot two bullets blowing into his head. From then on I was on the run. I was hiding from the police who were keeping a close watch on me. I have no regrets for killing that bastard and never will have. That brings me back to the same old question. Am I not scared of death?

I’m not scared of death. When I look around I see death everywhere. I see death in each and every individual who is alive. Others are all dying and they don’t even realize that they are dying and even if they do they don’t think about living. If you see from my eye, death is a daily ritual of our lives. I died many years ago when my job was taken away.

Confused? When here I am speaking of death am not implying to our physical death. However when I refer to death I am talking about when young souls kill their dreams, when they stop believing in words like miracles, when we stop fighting with the world for what we thought belonged to us .When we think our dreams are too childish and don’t hold any significance in one’s life. When exactly the opposite is true. When we keep looking for happiness and take trips to exotic destinations, eat delicious food, shop every weekend, read books on philosophy but yet we are not able to seek true happiness. We ask many questions we doubt many things, when the answer we look for is rooted deep in our hearts, yet we ignore it.  Then slowly our dead dreams start killing us from within. With the burden of our killed dreams it becomes laborious to live with peace in our heart.

Have a dream. Go achieve it. We are normal human beings, when dreams are snatched away from us we do not take anyone at gun point. Death is around you. You shouldn’t be around death.
Dream, live and keep living until you stop dreaming. To stop dreaming is impossible so keep living till God books a spot for you in heaven.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Bloody Tasty

The Ancestral Damage 2

Youth for Equality-Say NO To Reservations
Panic galored throughout the neighborhood when Tantra cut her wrist after she missed out on getting a seat in one of the IIM’s by a whisker. Blood flowing out. She lived with her room mates and was rather in a silent mode after the results were declared. Roy being her next door neighbor and one of her best friends rushed her to the hospital. He wasn’t sad but rather disturbed with Tantra’s sudden move. He knew the way she toiled to pass out of the IIT, Powai with flying colours. All close to her believed that Tantra getting into the IIM was a rather easy task. She didn’t. 

Her friends were in more of a shock than her when the results were declared. Merit got blasted once again. Thanks to the great Arjun Singh who had done the damage before he relocated to hell. Tantra had to sacrifice her seat for people who scored less than half of what she did.  Tantra belonged to the not much hyped about Open Category. She hasn’t even heard about her ancestors making the backward class suffer. Out of the money her dad sends her every month from Kerala, she saved some to sponsor a child without interested in knowing the caste of the kid. She isn’t interested in that because she belongs to that youth brigade who wants nothing but secularism in India.

The wait was over for Roy and Tantra’s roommates. Tantra was fine. She opened her eyes to have a sneak peak of how heaven looked like. She realized the fact that she’ll live to give the next CAT and make it to the IIM. A knife was no one to decide her fate. She lived and got through the IIM. She dreams of setting up an NGO for the deprived. Caste is something which never creeps into her mind. 

Once she came back from the hospital she did the most stupid thing. She downloaded an HD wallpaper of Arjun Singh, scanned it and framed it. Came out of the building and burnt it. That gave her a lot of relief. The kind of relief which brought a smile on everyone’s face. “That bastard just died again, that bastard who deprived me of a seat, that bastard who thought caste based education is more important than merit based. Rot in hell you bastard,” Tantra yelled.

“Let’s go for a bite guys. Bloody hungry,” Tantra was over it. She gave her fitting reply to the dead old man. She promised would never commit suicide again. Roy told, "the next time u feel like cutting yourself, cut a portion of your flesh. Let the blood ooze out and then drink it."

Because blood is bloody tasty.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

D(r)ug His Own Grave

                                  Based on a true Story

“Woah,” Tuffy yelled out after drinking his wine. He had added 3 drops of LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) into his red wine which Roy gifted him while he came back from Goa. Tuffy was 26 years old. He started smoking when he was 18. He learnt it from his neighbor who used to smoke bidis. The complex he had in him forced him to smoke cigarettes.

He literally felt heaven on earth when he made smoking a habit and that went on for 2 years till he met his Ganja smoking friend whilst working in a software giant. He hated the smell but he said it gave him a feeling of a naked headless chicken free from all the tensions of the world. Roy was taken aback by witnessing the confessions of his drugaholic friend. All this came out after Tuffy uttered the WOAH word post the LSD effect.

He never tried to quit. He cut all relations with his parents, never had a girlfriend, never had money problems. Roy thought. Cigarette smoking was still fine because that doesn’t take a toll on the human brain. Tuffy started smoking up ganja for fun but in like two months he was caught smoking up in the company premises and got himself terminated. He was addicted. The seller had a scapegoat in the form of Tuffy. He was charged 700/- for 50 gms as against the market price of 300/-. He was rendered helpless. Roy tried his level best to get Tuffy out of this but to no avail. He used to smoke up 7 ganja filled cigarettes a day. He was aware of the stink hence made sure to take a bath whenever he had to sneak out.

He was never impressed by nicotine or cocaine. Tuffy also lost the company of Roy. Tuffy became a loner. He never cared of giving an interview. He had the savings. He had the drugs.

He met LSD. The most lethal one. He befriended Roy again and persuaded him to get wines from Goa. Tuffy had apparently learned from a friend that the effect of LSD knew no bounds when mixed with wine. Roy was helpless. Tuffy turned into a psycho. His savings came down to a mere 3500/- He used to purchase 10 ml for an amount he never disclosed to Roy, gulp it down with wine and hit the hay. Food was secondary for him. He claimed it gave him a God like feeling. The more he wanted to have the God like feeling, the more close he was to dying a dog’s death. Although he owned the house, he had started selling the electronic items and furniture to have his quota of LCD laced wine. Tuffy was running out of money.

He was admitted to a mental hospital. Roy called up Tuffy’s parents. Probably that was the best he could do for his friend. Tuffy died. All of 26 years. He lived up to the expectations of his death as well because he was reduced to the width of a cigarette butt. For being such a horrible friend Roy should have rolled up Tuffy with ganja and smoke him up.

His parents had a rather mild reaction probably because their son had dug his own grave.

Tuffy started it just for fun. From cigarettes to ganja to LSD and finally till a dog’s death.

Drugs might make you feel like God. But that’s the negative side of God. Well probably you are God because you choose your own death. Die like a normal human being.

Let God choose how you should die and not drugs.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The City which Lives-Mumbai

                                           Based on a travel by Ajith Aravind

Haven’t we seen a number of books which have depicted Mumbai in a beautiful way? Maximum City by Suketu Mehta, Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games and probably the best amongst the lot being Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram. The similarities to all these books were its links to the underworld.

These books forced Roy to visit Mumbai-The City of Dreams. He visited in September 2011.

‘Crowded’ that’s what came to his mind when he reached. Surprisingly Roy didn’t find any beauty at all in Mumbai or probably because he didn’t care enough to notice it.
He found hope on the face of every Mumbaikar as this city has much to offer. How true is it? He isn’t sure. Roy found it rather tough to cope up with the congestion. He was totally in awe of the crowds in the buses, trains, malls and the footpath. The one thing he realized was that the transport system in Mumbai is way better than the other metropolitans.

 The humidity was taking a toll on him. With the amount he perspired he felt like a person tarring the roads with the sun shining right above his head. Travel to Mumbai would have been incomplete if he hadn’t taken the train. The local train. He took a rickshaw, got down at Andheri station, paid the meter fare and was rather taken aback by the long queue on a Wednesday afternoon at the ticket counter. He got his tickets. With just 7 minutes in his hand he had to push through the flowing crowd but missed the train. He couldn’t gather enough courage to catch a running train, had it been a bus, he would have done it with ease.

In like 15 minutes time the next train arrived. Roy boarded it. It was a huge compartment. The train got full within 5 seconds. The compartment was filthy. He got a mixture of smells. With the sun burning at 45 degrees, the stink of sweat hit his nostrils hard. He rather sensed the smell of people chewing gutkha much more better. Roy rather felt like puking when he saw people sitting on the floor and leaning on the gutkha stained walls.

And after like 8 stations, the mother of all stations arrived. Dadar. Roy had to get down. He was right in the middle. He was obviously far from the gutkha painted walls but a bit too far from the exit as well. The train halted for 10 seconds. Roy missed his station. He had no other option but to get down at the other station. Roy had to go through the entire ticket procedure again. He reached Dadar with an aweful amount of time wasted. He had to return to Pune in the evening. His main intention was to visit Dharavi and have a look at the famed Kamathipura but he was in no mood for that just because of the humidity.
He sat on one of the benches and kept looking at the vigour the Mumbaikars had. He was blown away by their determination. Eunuchs, urchins, dabbawallas all of them had an optimistic look on their face.

He realized that no matter who bombs or attacks Mumbai, it has the courage to break away all its shackles and emerge unscathed again.
The City of Dreams lives.
It moves. It sweats. It’s bombed. It still lives.

Roy’s handkerchief couldn’t survive Mumbai. He bid the kerchief off in a dustbin at the Dadar Railway Station. With that he bid off the sweat, the stink and probably a dream or two and boarded the train back to his hometown, Pune.
It’s waiting. Mumbai is waiting rather living to fulfill his dreams. All of our dreams.