It has a while now since my last post and I have been rather productive, as my second novel is all set to be launched.
The much awaited (at least I was waiting to finish it) sequel to All the best, baby – I belong to the stage! – will be launched as e-book on Amazon kindle on April 30, 2021.
Have a look at the beautiful book cover.
It was a hot and humid summer’s evening in Kolkata.
Back in 1995 me being only 7 years old my desires were limited. After visiting a relative’s place, on our way back home we stopped at a newly opened restaurant. Since it was a pure veg outlet it was swamped with Marwari’s and Gujrati’s.
“Papa why are people carrying their own plates?” I inquired pulling my dad’s hand.
“This is a self-service outlet son. No waiters here” replied dad looking for a place for us.
“So people place orders and take their food themselves” added my mother.
“Wow, they must be saving a lot of money this way” I replied impressed by the business module.
The restaurant was also running a lucky draw contest whereby anyone whose billing amount was greater than Rs. 500/- was eligible to participate in the contest.
My father placed the order and asked me to join the line where people were standing to take a chance at their luck. My mother joined along saying, “Go son go”.
“See son, there is the list of prizes from one to ten. Remember you will WIN the FIRST prize”
“No I don’t want a gold coin. I want the third prize; I am going to win a bicycle”
Both my parents laughed at my innocence.
Anyway, there were approximately 7 to 8 people, mostly uncles and aunts ahead of me and a person in black suit was helping them with the lucky draw.
I was discreetly praying god to help me win the third prize because I was sure my parents wouldn’t buy me one. The most heard excuse was – “We live on the second floor in a building. There is no place to keep a bicycle dear”.
As my turn came, the nice person in the suit cheered for me and placed a chair. I stepped on it carefully while my dad held my hand and mom whispered best wishes to get the first prize.
It was a big card-board box covered in birthday wrapping paper with a hole big enough even for a fat man to put his arm through. The gentleman asked me nicely to not see inside the box and made sure that only my arm goes inside the box. I was abiding all rules with a single thought in mind – ‘God please give me three’.
Inside the box I swiped my hand around like a broom and tried to pick up the small circular papers which had numbers printed on them. I picked up one and threw it away thinking ‘Oh this doesn’t feel like a three’.
The gentleman asked me to hurry as the ten second limit was approaching. So I picked out the next one which touched my finger. I slowly pulled it out of the box still praying to god. As my arm was completely out of the box and I showed the number to my parents, the gentleman picked me up in his arms and shouted in joy, “He is the first one today to win the gold coin. Everyone clap for the young chap”
My parents happiness knew no bounds as people around congratulated them praising my luck and everyone cheered.
Among the approximately 200 people present in the restaurant, I was the only one disappointed for bringing out ‘1’.
As the gentleman put me down back on the floor while congratulating me and my parents again, I said to my father, “But I wanted three!”
“It’s better than three beta. You will understand it in the future. Happy Birthday my champion”
Gold coin is still there but a bicycle never found its way to my home.
Back then Iron had more value for me than Gold.
After a bit of hustle, I reached the railway station on time with minutes spare to buy a bottle of non-black cold drink. I spotted my coach and headed straight to my side upper seat. Since the journey was yet to start people were moving around to keep their belongings in place and so was the family in the opposite berth. Two middle-aged men were seated on the side lower berth, so placed my bag on the upper seat and casually sat on the diagonally opposite berth. I was plugged in listening to ‘Thunder’.
Couple of seconds later, a teenage girl from the family who was sporting a round neck tee and pajama sat down folding her legs for adjusting the bags underneath the seat while having some conversation with someone who seemed to be her brother.
Let’s name the man sitting on the side lower berth Mr. ASS. So Mr. ASS was sitting with his one leg folded on the seat and another leg twisted under the seat. As he saw the girl bending down to sit, he tried to touch her bums with his toe. However, he failed! With my hands held tight, I kept my eyes locked at him. I did want to act right then and there but kept my calm thinking it could have been a coincidence.
Soon after adjusting the bag, the girl got up but not completely. Mr. ASS then moved his hand forward casually while looking around the compartment. His misfortune, he saw me staring! His hand stopped couple of millimeters before reaching the target. He hoped it was just a coincidence that our eyes met, so he looked away for a second before confirming my glancing angle. Instantly he pulled back his hand but my eyes were still hooked on him. My anger was building up and I was just moments away from smashing his face, although in imagination I already did. A fellow passenger walked by and he sunk back into his seat completely.
In the next couple of seconds, he had a small conversation with the person sitting next to him and they both rushed out of the coach.
I had never encountered such a person before and a sort of panic reaction was going on inside me. Fortunately, the girl was and still is completely unaware of this scenario.
But I wonder, why wasn’t the man accompanying her not careful?
I wonder, how men gather such strength to even think of committing such acts … and so many unanswered questions …
I wonder a lot of things … but encountering this scenario was not even close in my wonderment.
I could barely sleep that night.
Hey pals !
It seems like it a year has passed by since I wrote anything. Quite recently a disturbing incident happened and I was compelled to write about it.
So I was traveling the other night in Delhi metro, sitting comfortably with other fellow passengers while contemplating the time I had left for reaching the railway station. Two passengers seated at the other end started having a quarrel and suddenly almost everyone stopped staring at their smartphones. I could not see their faces but the conversation was audible, loud and clear. Mr. X was asking Mr. Y to stop asking him for monetary help as he clearly mentioned that he wasn’t interested in donating any money. Also he mentioned more than once that Mr. Y cannot pursue this in Delhi metro, coz metro is for travelling and not begging. Mr. Y got offended, obviously, and retaliated with “Who are you to stop me from doing this? Can you give me in writing that this is not allowed ?”
Mr. X – “Stop this nonsense or I will ask the CISF police to fetch you out of the metro at the next stop”.
Mr. Y – “You can’t do that. I am travelling with token and not for free”.
Mr. X – “I am a staff in the Delhi metro and I can do that”.
Mr. Y – “Oh yeah now you are a staff in the Delhi metro. Show me your ID then”.
Mr. X casually pulled out his ID from the front pocket of his backpack and handed over to Mr. Y saying “have it”. He indeed was a staff and now table turned slightly towards Mr. X.
Mr. Y while handing back the ID – “So what you are a metro staff, I am doing nothing illegal here. You don’t wanna give me money then don’t”.
Mr. X – “Yes I won’t and now shut your stupid mouth and sit. I will inform the CISF staff tomorrow to keep an eye on you”.
Mr. Y – “How are you gonna do that? You don’t know from where I board the metro or anything about me”.
Another person in the crowd shouted on Mr. Y – “Hey you shut up now. Just because you are blind doesn’t mean what you are doing is right”.
Mr. X – “Couple of minutes back you told that you live in Rohini and that you have a wife and three kids to take care of”.
Mr. Y now irritatingly replied – “Dude I was just fucking with you. Why will I tell you the truth of my whereabouts? Anyone who falls emotional for my tale I fuck more with him”. (In Delhi language – me to chutiya bana rha tha, sach thode hi bataunga kaha rehta hu. Jo jitna sunta h unko utna jyada chutiya banata hu jyada paiso k liye). Saying this Mr. Y got up with his stick and walked carefree past me with an attitude of ‘I encounter this every week’ and was lost in the crowd within seconds.
His final words made me question every single person I have had given money till date… each one had recited a sad tale.
Well, this wasn’t even close to the actual disturbing incident which happened later in the night.
So how about we discuss it in the next post. Stay tuned !
I have attempted to sing the song “Breathless” by the great Shankar Mahadevan in a single go after many failed attempts spanning over a year. Do comment your views. 🙂