Dire Measures.

“But…but sir, what you’re suggesting is…..”

“Yes.”

“With all due respect, this is madness! Madness, I tell you!”

“No more questions, Gowda. My decision is final. You will follow orders, and you will do as you’re told. Is that understood?!”

“But the risk is too great, and the reward too paltry! Sir, I urge you to reconsider…surely there are better ways…surely, there must be another solution….”

He put down the handheld device, and thundered.

“GOWDA! Must I remind you of the nobility of our profession? Do you need a lesson in the indispensability of our responsibilities? Do you understand, how imperative, how absolutely crucial it is, to ensure delivery of this package? Can you fathom the enormity, the staggering weight of the trust that has been placed upon this mission? Consider, for a moment, what would entail the failure of this task – unrest, chaos, perhaps the very downfall of what we stand for! To that end I say, no action, nay, not even the potential rip we could cause in the fabric of the space-time continuum, is too minute to ensure that we live up to the mission we have set out to achieve!

We have no time to waste, my good man.

Now hand me the parcel, and prep the machine; I must make the quantum leap.

“…….It has been an honour working with you, sir.”

“And you, soldier.”

“Godspeed.”

He checks measurements, sets coordinates, adjusts for error margins and with a final, proud salute, sets the pod to reset time by 24 hours.

*****************************************************************

Years pass.

“Appa…who am I named after?”

He wipes a lone tear.

“The most dedicated man I ever knew, son. The one who laughed at the known laws of physics, when it came to his duties. He was…PAKETTS-Nagaraja.”

 

Capture

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Run-in with Royalty.

Cab guy calls me.

Madam, please swalpa walk and come forward, if not I’ll have to take 2 U-to pick u up…full traffic…20 minutes…

So I trudge along for 500m, lugging laptop and lunch dabba, and reach the car, parked left near a footpath, ahead of a bustling bus stand, horns honking impatiently behind. Skid to the door and try to open it.

That’s when I meet her.

The Lady.

Clearly descended from royalty, judging from the regal indifference to the disheveled vagabond rattling at the car handle. Lost in her own kindle wonderland. Perhaps taking stock of her heirlooms. Not for her, these common courtesies and car doors. Not for her, these piddly notions of shifting to the other side. No sirree. Peasants may brave the traffic- side door, and if they get flattened by an oncoming BMTC, well, that’s just their peasant-ly luck.

The driver fruitlessly reaches over, and tried to open the door. Horns honk. Buses rumble.

She rummages in her bag, perhaps to throw some change at the crazy person who for some reason just won’t leave, and is now banging at her window! Tch tch.

Seconds tick by. Driver manages to open door. I stand there.

Queen Bengaluru’s posterior is firmly still planted on the seat.

“Madam….swalpa adjust?”

After an appropriately aristocratic pause, H.H. Lady Olashare the Third slides to the other side.

I dive in, bag and all, and just sort of…stare at her divine magnificence, as she utters these words.

Issshh….. Eshtu time waste aayithu anna… Almost 5 mins…

Fin.

Epilogue: Just 450 meters later, her ride ends.

Bumpy ride.

The pickup right after me was a lady, who asked us to wait in front of Cambridge school.
And we did.
Then she says 21st cross.
Cab guy is clueless, so I map it out, and off we pop.
Then she says school again.
Loop back.
The timer is ticking. The trip has already started since technically, we’re at the location.
I’m using complex Fourier transforms to calculate how the 15 minute delay will exponentially increase my travel time at the major bottlenecks on the way, in order to to arrive at a reasonable estimate as to how pissed my boss will be today.

Tick tick tick.

Cab guy cursing under his breath.

There she is! Red salwar!

Cab guy dials her. She cuts the call with not a flutter, and continues strolling towards us at snail’s pace, enjoying the crisp January air, content with life and its wondrous beauty.

Jaldi aavo madam!!

She slows down even more.

My calculations just shoot up. From the looks of it, so does cab guy’s BP.

She approaches the car, hallelujah, and there it is, the reason for all this nonchalance.

Baby bump.

She kicks me out of the front seat, sets down her lunch dabba, makes herself comfortable, cab starts moving, we’re all good to go…

AAP METER START KARKE MUJHE CCCHODKE JAANE WAALE THE KYA?!! AAP KITNA RUDE HAI PATA HAI?! SAMAJHTE KYA HAI APNE AAP KO???!? HUMKO PATA HAI AAP SPEED BREAKER PE BHI FAST CHALAOGE!! MERE PAAS GAADI NAHI HAI!!!!!

Cab guy: “arey….jhagda mat karo aap *mumble grumble*”

“CHUP!!! CHUP!!!!!!!

Sigh.

#sorryboss #latetoday #ohwhyyouask? #hormones

Smooth operator

My cab guy gets booking after booking.

He picks up the phone and cheerfully goes,
Gaadi puncture aagidhe, cancel maadkolli.

Next booking:
Tumba Traffic jam ithe sir, 30 mins aaguthe. Okay na? O, not ok??! Cancel maadkolli.

Next booking :
Police problem saar. Gaadi move aagalla. Cancel maadkolli.

Next booking :
Dinner time saar. Cancel maadkolli.
.
.
.
.
So on and so forth, all in 1 minute.

He turns around with a conspiratorial smile at my horrified expression, as the memories of every cab guy who refused my desperate booking flash through my mind.

Quota ho gaya madam.”

#olashare #thosepoorpeople

Demon-etization.

Just a few of the things my driver has waxed eloquent about today.

Eh humra Lalu Prajadji bol raha hai… Ee Modi na, bilkul pagla hua hai.
Gaunv me humri maa jo hai, woh doodh nai le paa rahi, sabzi nahi le paa rahi, kuch nai

Kya khayegi woh?
Woh modi aakar khilayega kya?!
Insaaniyat naam ka cheej hi nai hai inka.

All of this delivered in a thunderous voice like a Bihari Big B.

#olashare #bitterpill #aamaadmiproblems

Non-apologist

Co-passenger in cab makes polite small talk.

Picks up phone, unlocks screen.

Hardcore porn begins to play, at full volume.

After ten seconds that felt like an eternity, fellow manages to switch it off.

Very human mistake only, but now I’d rather just listen to my music and be silent.

But braveheart that he is, dudebro initiates small talk, the fact that his cab passenger know about his what tickles his innermost fancies in five minutes be damned.

Tries to ask me how to spell my name so he can find me on FB.
Tell him I don’t add strangers, sorry.
Asks me for number so we can “hangout in HSR”.
Told him I’m a nomad who doesn’t believe in homes and I crash on people’s couches and today I just happened to be in HSR.

He looks confused, paavam.

Co-habitation.

A good friend pings.

“How is…marriage like?”

“Hello to you to too.”

“Hehe. So what changed?”

The work day has ended, I’m waiting for the samosa guy to come. I can do this. I can hash together a summary.

“Settle down kiddo, we have a long day ahead.” *lights a cigar*.

 

It’s….Effing. Frustrating.

There will be times when you look at the other person and lovingly scream, “IT WAS YOUR TURN TO DO THE DISHES YOU HALF-WITTED OAF!”

But the next moment you’re discussing whether to eat leftover Aloogobi or fuck it, let’s Swiggy and re-run Game of Thrones. There’s no Nextflix and chill anymore, because marriage has no chill.

You know what’s worse? If you’re marrying someone who you’ve known long. No, seriously.

When you’re in an arranged setup, the first few months are all about glorious discovery. “Oooh, he has a funny sneeze.” “Wow, weird toenails.” Small differences are brushed aside, no argument will start with you-were-never-like-this.

When you’ve known each other far too long, there is nothing left to discover but the worst bits – the bits that come with cohabitation. The perfect human being you wanted to sign your life over to, burps too loud. Watches cricket like a brain-dead zombie. Takes one hour to poop. Puts wet towels on the bed. Your mom likes him more.

And then, maybe around the 3rd month, and the 6th edition of “I WILL ANNUL THIS MARRIAGE SO HELP ME GOD”, you sort of ….sink in to routine.
It starts to feels weird to not have them around. And that makes you feel even more weird. You know your favorite shirt – the one you reach for without thinking? You tend to speak less, and start to sync thoughts. Maybe that’s why married couples are perceived as boring. In public, you might not hear them talk a lot – because everything is sort of..understood. Somewhere behind the silent faces of a couple you see at the McD, I now see a whirlwind of shopping lists, laundry lists, you-used-to-kiss-me-everyday-in-college rants, sudden hugs, burnt dishes, silent solidarity at random relative meets, pointless arguments, and late-night chocolate binges.

It’s routine.

I was talking to two happily single friends yesterday who summed up that Marriage is Ugh, like buying a coffee machine and grinding beans every day instead of walking down to a CCD. I couldn’t agree more, truth be told. Anyone who tells you they don’t miss their khulla saand-ness, is a big fat liar.

But sometimes, sometimes it’s relaxing to know that coffee, just the way I like it, is RIGHT there when I want it.

And all I need to do, is lean over.