Tag Archives: Joybrato Dutta

Uncalled for

By Joybrato Dutta

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Have you met people who smile in the most intense situations? Or those who can start singing even in the middle of a conversation? Or come up with the weirdest answers at an awfully wrong time? Aren’t they weird? At times they can look like a complete asshole and make a mockery out of themselves. Invariably their acts are considered condescending or insensitive. Well this is the perspective of one such weird insensitive prick.

Case 1 – Police ki ragging

Since the time I left college I have turned into a really decent guy. I don’t indulge in bar-fights, hardly raise my voice and I don’t tease the cops (not even the traffic police).

But one day my friend and I got really drunk. And then booze oozed up his confidence and he decided to drive.

It was 2AM, the roads were empty and the traffic signals were on stand-by mode. Under these conditions you can hardly go wrong spotting the vehicles on the road. In that peaceful hour my friend saw a hanging red light. He decided to take a 360 degree turn around it. At 90 degrees our car crashed. With a white Qualis. On which the red light was placed.

Next I know there were two cops abusing us. They were speaking gibberish. At least that’s what it seemed. My friend started having a heated argument. They were about to take us to jail. They reminded us of our seniors from college. Any ragging scene would have looked pretty similar. Amidst that one of the cops asked my friend his name and he replied “My name is Sanjay Kumar gaand mara ke”.

There was pin drop silence. The windy atmosphere also adjusted to this melodramatic scene.

Flashback

My friend Sanjay and I were room-mates in college. He was the biggest Don in college and I was the biggest flirt. Together we were noticed by everyone. He introduced me to smoking and smoking-up. I shall always remain thankful to him for that. Well, none of this information is important here.

Let’s get to the point. During first semester ragging was the most interesting social network available. We interacted with a lot of seniors. Both male and female. We gave roses to a lot of female seniors. It was a part of ragging. And to some more female seniors. It was a part of socialising. This was the fun part; let’s get to the funny part.

We had a typical way of bonding. Post dinner we juniors were called near the ‘Boys Amenities Centre’. Where we were asked to demonstrate a few Kamasutra poses. And a few innovative ones. Once we had animatedly fucked our batch-mates we had to shout out our names. The pseudo full names. Where your whole name is your first name and the common last name given was ‘Gaand mara ke’. So names sounded like Rahul Pandey Gaand Mara Ke, Shashank Yadav Gaand Mara Ke, Ankan Banerjee Gaand Mara Ke. We did this for 8 months. Of which in the last 6 months we did it to our school-names and the names of our hometowns as well.

As years passed by, those scenes got blurred. Little did Sanjay know, that 4 years from then he would be confronted by a cop who would look like our senior and bark in a similar voice. But when he did face someone like that he answered like a perfect fresher.

Of course the cops thought we were drunk. In fact they knew it. They were startled. So was Sanjay. His arrogant voice turned apologetic. I couldn’t help but smile. In fact I laughed like crazy. Sanjay could not believe my reaction. But the cops found the scene amusing. I am so glad they had a sense of humour. They let us go. But not before we paid them five hundred rupees. Courtesy – Mr. Sanjay Kumar Gaand Mara Ke.

Case 2 – Ladki ke papa.

 Last weekend I visited Pune to attend a friend’s birthday party. As usual I was late to reach and I made sure two of my friends (Sandy and his girlfriend Neha) also get delayed. Finally we reached at 9 PM. Party had hardly begun because we were carrying the cake as well.

At around 1AM we wrapped up. I left the party with Sandy and Neha. Suddenly Neha remembered that she wasn’t drunk enough and she felt she was being unfair to herself. She persuaded Sandy to buy some alcohol which we can savour sitting in he car. And that’s exactly what happened next.

It was 2:30 AM; we were pissed drunk as we entered Neha’s society’s gates. We spotted her parents standing below the apartment. Even before she stepped out of the car she started apologising. Apparently she had been ignoring their calls since the last 3 hours. Her dad called us out of the car “Who are these boys I want to talk to them right now.” Sandy did not appreciate the invitation but reluctantly stepped out of the car. Poor thing was about to meet Neha’s parents that week to seek permission to get married to Neha. Not the perfect introduction I would say.

For the next twenty minutes we faced the rant of an over-concerned parent. Logical questions like “Do you know what time it is? Don’t you have some respect for the girl? How can you be so careless? Do you think it’s a good habit to go out drinking with a girl so late?” followed.

I was extremely tempted to answer a few questions but I didn’t want to ruin Sandy’s future. Neha’s dad then said that he knew about what’s cooking between Sandy and his daughter. He actually wanted to call him the following day. But haaye re kismat!!!

I looked at Sandy’s face. His face defined embarrassment. And I laughed. Not subtly but monstrously. Everyone else was shocked. Sandy gave me a look of disgust. Very similar to the stare I gave him 8 years back.

8 years back

 I was in class 12. In those days tuition is where you did the actual learning. My Friends and I were attending the Chemistry tuition conducted by our dear Mr. Pingle. After whom a drink is named. It’s called Pina Colada or Pingle ka lo…. something. Can’t remember.

Half way through his class my room-mate Jai walked into the class. He was perspiring profusely. He whispered something into Mr. Pingle’s ear after which he made an announcement – “Joy, you have to go home. Some CBI guy came looking for you”.

My heart skipped a beat. I swear I was scared. And embarrassed. The entire class was looking at me as if I had raped someone. My friends Bhajji, Pulsar, Firangi, Vandy, Ronky, Sandy and I left the classroom. Mr. Pingle allowed them to come along because even he felt I needed moral support.

We reached home and waited. It was the most painful wait of my life. My friends had distrust in their eyes. They tried to ask me the same questions in various ways. They tried to ask me if I had molested/killed/hit someone. The answer was NO.

After ten thousand years the doorbell rang. With reluctance in my heart I opened the door. “Are you Joy?” a tall bulky looking man asked. His moustache was similar to that of Aamir Khan’s in Mangal Pandey. The moment I said yes he dragged me out of the house.

We were standing at the parking. And then he started his rant. During which I figured that he was the father of my dear friend Jasmine.

Jasmine and I went to the same Maths tuition where we became good friends. Every day I used to drop her home. She stayed in a society infested with over-orthodox inhabitants. These residents probably had a crush on me or were too possessive about Jasmine. So they went up to Jasmine’s father and uttered words spoken by a vamp in Ekta Kapoor soaps. They annoyed him to the extent that he came to my house.

My friends were standing at a distance of ten meters. Even they could not be of much help. After all who would want to mess with a CBI officer?!? Finally his rant ended with a note of forgiveness. Even he fell for my cute expressions. Then I had to make up a story about how there were bad guys standing outside his society to hoot at Jasmine every day. That’s why I accompanied her.

Hearing this Mr. CBI’s eyes filled with remorse. He shook his hands with me and offered me his visiting card. In fact he asked me to call him if I ever needed help.

As he walked away I felt pretty good about the mishap. Now I am carrying the card of a CBI officer. I felt like challenging the world. But thankfully I stopped to read his name on the card. And then I noticed something.

He didn’t work for the CBI. He worked for the SBI bank. I felt like going back to that man and thrash him brutally. The reason why I quietly listened to him, the reason why my friends didn’t intervene was simply because we didn’t want mess with a CBI officer. My anger knew no bounds. I looked at Jai who sensed what was approaching him. His voice shook as he said “Yaar woh itna chilla ke bol raha tha mujhe CBI sunai diya”. And exactly at that moment Sandy burst into laughter. In the most embarrassing moment of my life Sandy laughed the loudest.

I gave him a stare very similar to the one he gave me last weekend.

Pappu Ko Mili Pappi

By Joybrato Dutta

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Aaj katha divas ke paavan avsar par humne socha ek vyatha bhari katha sunaye. Naam se to pata chal hi gaya hoga ki is paatth ke mukhya kirdaar ka naam Pappu hai.

Pappu Chaubey Paandunagar ke sabse raes MLA ke driver ka beta tha. Naam chota tha par chakke lambe maarta tha. Maahi Bhaiyya bulaaye jaane waale iss nagine ko out karne ka nuskha kisi bowler ke paas nahin tha. Chheh saal ki umar mein Tendulkar ke saare records tod chuka tha. Par akela tha bechaara. Itne bade star hone ke bawjood, kisi bhi ladki ka usko dekh nahin banta tha mood.

Par iss raat ki subah aayi. Pappu ki gali mein Roshni aayi. Aur apni jeevika mein pehli baar Pappu ke stumps ne dhool chaati. Gend se nazar hati aur durghatna ghati. Bechaara kya karta, saamne se uske babuji Shri Satyaki Chaubey Ji ek khoobsurat dus saal ki hirni laa rahe the. Uff uski chaal. Uff uske gaal. Kya khoob chamak rahi thi uski khaal. Uske dekhte hi khade ho gaye Pappu ke baal.

Balla chod pappu apne babuji ki aur dauda. Yeh dekh Babuji ne shuru kiya khujlana apne maathe ka phoda. Jis bete ne aaj tak unki tarf dekh nahin muskuraya, woh saagar ki Dimple Kapadiya jaise daud ke unke paas aaya?!?. Pahunchte hi Pappu ne haafte huye kaha “babuji hum aaj chauraasi run banaye”. Babuji ne palat ke poocha “Beta ganit mein kitne ank aaye?” Iske jawab mein Pappu bhi utna hi bol paaya jisey sunkar, Chaubey Ji ko Manmohan Singh yaad aaya.

Par dekh ke Pappu ki shakal Roshni ne kiya chuckle.

Dekh ke Roshni ki muskurahat, khadi ho gayi pappu ki khaat.

Pappu roz babuji ke saath MLA saheb ke ghar jaane laga. Pehle to Babuji ko samajh na aaya. Phir laga shayad bete ko kaamchori ke khayal ne sataya.

Teen din ki iss ghisayi ke baad woh shubh ghadi aayi jab Roshni ke nana ne Chaubey Ji Senior se kaha “Arre Chaubey Ji jara Pappu se kaho humri Roshni bitiya ko gaanv ghumaaye. Bambayi se aayi hai, usey zara gaanv ke mahaul se parichaye karaaye”.  Pappu ne maara mauke pe chauka aur woh bann gaya Roshni ka guide.

Taj Mahal ki bhi kisi shayar ne itni tareef na ki hogi jitni apne gaanv ki Pappu ne kari. Uske varnan ke saamne Roshni ko uska Bandra gaanv lagne laga. Jai Kishan Chikitsalay ke saamne Lilavati hospital ki kya aukaat. Majaal hai PVR ki jo Goushala Talkies ki laga sake watt. Bhokali Bhojanalay ne bhi lagayi Barbeque Nation aur Global Fusion ko laat.

Dheere dheere Pappu Roshni ke aur kareeb aata gaya. Pappu ki keechad bhari zindagi mein pyaar ka kamal khillta gaya.

Phir aayi Chaudhah Farvary ki woh shaam. Pappu karne waala tha ek ghmasan elaan.  Doston ne badhaya haunsla aur pappu ne finally bakk daala “Aap humre sang love karengi”. Aise natkhat proposal ko kaun thukra sakta tha bhala. Roshni ne jhat se Pappu ke gaalo par pappi di aur sharma ke chal di. Bas phir kya Pappu ke tote udd gaye aur saath mein ande bhi le gaye. Ekaaek Hindi Cinema ke saare pyaar bhare geet uske mann mein mash up ke bhaanti bajne lage.

Pappu ne apne sabse priye mitr Sanku ko ye baat batayi. Sunte hi Sanku ne Pappu ki khushi par nazar lagai. Woh bola “Humre taau kehte hai ki pappi dene se bachha paida hota hai”. Yeh sun kar Pappu ke laal gaal aur laal ho aye. Saare armaan kahin ojhal ho gaye.

Halaat ne bhi kya mast Pappu ki waatt lagayi. Premika ki chahat thi, bachhe ki amma aa gayi. Par baap banne ke iss khayal ne pappu ko zimmedaar bana diya. Abb usne time pe school jaana, aur mann laga ke padhna shuru kiya. Uske is badlav se sab hairaan the, adhyapak baukhlaya aur sahpaathi pareshan the.

Pappu apne baap banne ke khayal ko aur gambhirta se lene laga aur ek din usne apne babuji se iss bare baat-cheet kar hi daali.

Pappu – babuji, hum paida kaise huye

Babuji – Beta, Bhagwan aaye aur tumhe amma ke god mein rakh diye

Pappu – bachha paida hone se pehle pet kahen phoolta hai

Babuji – kayi baar Bhagwan bachhe ko pet ke andar daal deta hai

Pappu – Achha! To yeh bachha nikalta kahan se hai

Babuji – Bhagwan ki den hai jahan se marzi nikal jaata hai

Pappu – Arre magar kahin se to nikalta hoga.

Babuji ko aage samajh na aaya to jhat se ek tamacha de maara. Pappu bhi naraaz ho gaya. Woh bola “jawab nahin aata to maar kahe rahe ho”.

Udhar Roshni bhi pareshan thi, Pappu aajkal kuch zyaada ki uski fikar kar raha tha. “Ice cream mat khaao, ulta mat leto, zyaada uchlo kudo mat”, aise prakaar ki rukawate Pappu uske saamne rakh raha tha. Pappu bhi use khul kar nahin bata raha tha. Sanku ne mana jo kara tha. Sanku ka kehna tha ki aisi khush khabri hamesha aurat hi deti hai. Marad bole to ashubh hota hai.

Kuch dino baad Roshni ki chuttiyaan khatam hui aur woh Bambayi wapas jaane lagi. Station mein Pappu ko rota huya dekh woh uski aur bhaagi. Boli “pappu bandh karo rona, mere jaate hi mujhe facebook pe add karna”. Pappu bola “Suno Roshni, na chalegi abb tumri mann-maani, hum jald hi naukri dhundenge, chahe bechna pade humey nimbu-paani”.

Tabhi train ne seeti maari. Sharmeeli Roshni nana ki taraf bhaagi. Aur phhir dekhte he dekhte huwa woh kaand. Bann gaya Pappu aag-baboola saand. Cheekh ke bola “Saali…..

Huwa bas itna ki MLA sahab ne Roshni ko jhappi di. Aur badle mein Roshni ne apne nana ke gaalo par ek pappi di.

Sweating on a Dry Day

By Joybrato Dutta

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My bloody door-bell can even wake a dead man. I struggled my way through the living room, overcoming couches and my half-dead drunken friend. It infuriated me when I saw that the screaming door-bell didn’t wake my room-mate. I opened the door with an annoyed expression.

Waking up after drinking till 5 AM is a work of bravery. Then to walk a whole fucking 15 feet to answer the door bell is an act that deserves the highest recognition for bravery. And then to see that a not-so-important friend standing at your doorstep is murderous. He was wearing a silly grin and then asks me the dumbest question “Bhaai so rahe the kya”. “Aand mat kha, kya chahiye bata”, I retorted.

Not so important friend – Yaar koi theka pata hai jo aaj khula hoga                                          

Me (screaming on top of my voice)  – Chutiya-gaya kya, kahin bhi mil jaayega, itne theke hai.

Not so important friend – Bhaai aaj dry day hai. Sab bandh hai.

The world darkened in front of me and only the words ‘Aaj dry day hai’ gleamed on the dark screen. My voice shook as I asked “Kya?? Kyun?? Not so important friend – Pata nahin, log keh rahe hai, koi Gandhi Saptah hai

That was the first time I heard of a blasphemy like that. I didn’t even know what it meant. Somehow I gathered the strength to bang the door on his face.

I hurried towards my half-dead friend. Somehow I managed to wake him. With a heavy heart I broke the bad news to him. He was shocked. Logical questions like “Gandi saptah kya hai”, “abb kya karein”, “Saturday ko dry day kaise ho sakta hai”, followed.

Cut to 20 minutes later. Faces had been washed. Teeth had been cleaned.

My always confident room-mate Tiwary said “Abbe ghabra mat mil jaayega”. And we started making some frantic calls. From bosses, to colleagues, from the nearest dhaba to the hot acquaintance, we left no page unturned. Alas! None could help us.

And then at quarter to 9, I uttered the most passionate statement that any drunkard can say, “Chalte hai bahar, aur tab tak nahin launtenge jab tak sharab haath na lage. The solemn oath triggered our footsteps, and we stepped out of our house.

We checked the local bars. We begged them to give us a bottle, or at least tell us a place where we could get one. They didn’t tell. They ignored us.

From Andheri West we walked up to Andheri East. We tried every small ‘Bar and Restaurant’ and every ‘Paan Gumtti’ there. But getting booze on a dry day seemed impossible.

We trotted through every narrow lane of Andheri East hoping to find a bar that served alcohol. Till then BBM, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, SMSs and phone calls had failed. There seemed to be no hope. We were cursed with sobriety.

Defeat never tasted so dry. With reluctance in our heart we got on an auto. We asked him to take us to Chakala. No we weren’t excited about its similarity with the word Chakhla, which mean whorehouse. Another booze-seeker told us that we might get booze there.

But we dint seem to walk the path of luck. Every bar was closed in Chakala. The auto guy seemed more disappointed than us. With a broken heart we asked him to steer his 3-seater cart towards home.

Tiwary and I looked at each other like how Ricky Ponting must have looked at Michel Clarke after losing to India at the World Cup Quarter-finals. Tried everything, yet couldn’t achieve the target.

And then, we got a call from God. In the form of a friend. The voice on the other side spoke the most beautiful words, “Bhaai Oshiwara mein Adarsh bar mein try kar. Suna hai wahan mil raha hai.”

By the way I screamed Tiwary and the auto guy knew I had found the destination. I gave him the directions and in 15 minutes we were in front of Adarsh Bar. I walked up to the closed entrance door. No sooner had I reached the door than 3 filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed louts gathered around me.

Their expressions and shrill muttering made me ask them “Dost beer milega?”  One of them signalled me to get back in my auto. Bewilderment struck!!! Why is he asking me to sit? Sense prevailed and I got back in my auto. Tiwary looked disappointed. “bhaai khali haath kyun aa gaye?”

Before I could answer, one of the filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed louts came and sat inside the auto. He ordered the auto driver to drive towards the RTO

Me – RTO kyun?

Filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed lout – Sir yaahan ek baar chaapa padh chukka hai, phhir padhega

Me – to??? RTO kyun jaana hai?

Filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed lout – Police ne saara maal zabt kar liya hai. Abb jo milna hai wahin milega

Me – RTO mein daru?

Filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed lout – bharosa rakho sir, sham se bahut customers ko dila chukka hun

I looked at Tiwary. We both took a decision and the thirsty passionate booze-seeker won over the matured civilian. The ride till the RTO seemed never ending. Finally after smoking 3 cigarettes we reached the RTO in Four Bungalows.

The filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed lout asked us to stay outside. I gave him a thousand rupee note and asked him to get us 4 bottles of Heineken. He smiled and left.

Cut to 15 minutes later.

He had not returned. Somewhere deep down I had a feeling that all this might be a scam. He might not return. He gave us his number, but he was not answering the call. We waited there. Patiently.

After some time I started taking baby steps towards the RTO. I was scared. Tiwary tried to stop me. He felt we should leave. But I dint listen and surged ahead.

Finally I entered the gates of the RTO. I was looking all around trying to figure out my way to the main office, when I heard voices. I walked discreetly  towards them.  The thrilling Bollywood scenes had taught me how to avoid getting caught. I made sure I didn’t step on any dry leaf, or kick any empty bucket.

And then I saw a scene I shall never forget. In the compound made for confiscated vehicles, sat a bunch of cops on the roof of some really expensive cars, drinking like there would be no tomorrow. If I had 5 seconds more I would have clicked a photo and my FB page would have been thronged with comments. But as soon as this thought dawned upon me a hand held my shoulder.

It was a hawaldar. “Kya chahiye customer ko” he screamed. I could have fainted. Not because of fear but because of his smelly mouth. I stammered. Si……Sir…..a….woh…. Just then the filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed lout came to my rescue. “Sir yeh customer hai, beer maangta isko, vahich lene gaya tha

The smelly mouth hawaldar gave me a stare and walked away. The filthy-looking, shabbily-dressed lout handed me the bottles. I asked for the change. “Sir abhi dry day ko same price mein thodi na milta. Har botal 250 ka hai. To chaar botal ha hajaar hua na” I wasn’t really in a condition to bargain. I checked the bottles and walked out.

An anxious Tiwary with a scared auto-driver had been waiting for me. I ran towards them. The clinking bottles told them that target had been achieved and soon our thirsts shall be quenched. We sat in the auto and rushed home.

As we entered our apartment we held our heads high. We lived up to the solemn oath we had taken. We didn’t return empty handed. And then we filled the beer mugs and raised a toast to the sweatiest dry day of our lives.

The Breadwinner’s Throne

By Joybrato Dutta

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It takes time for a man to build a foundation for himself. Especially, if the man isn’t born with a silver spoon, purkho ki jaydad, or a gigantic haveli. He battles against odds, overcomes each hurdle and inch by inch nears his destination. Every impediment makes him stronger, every failure makes him wiser and every betrayal makes him a believer. He becomes what life teaches him.

Then a day comes when he gets married, starts a family and starts teaching what he has learnt. By the age of 60 he commands every move; he makes every decision and protects the family from every misfortune. His family obeys him, respects him and loves him more than the God they believe in.

And then he retires. By then he has fulfilled most of his responsibilities. His daughter is married. His son is well settled. He has bought a house and a couple of cars. His wife has a small business. He is a satisfied man.

But is he willing to accept a change? No. Is he willing to accept a shift of power? Is he willing to accept a change of rules? A man who has ruled for 40 years has a big ego, at times bigger than the love for his son.

His son, by then earns a lot, can run the family and has ideals of his own. His ideals differ from his dad. Generation Gap. The son’s battles were different, hence his lessons were different. He is more aware of the problems and has a better solution. The breadwinner has an experience more than the son’s age but now that the battleground has changed completely will that experience count? Will he let his 25 year old son teach him how to live? It’s not fair.

Problem is, in modern times life has become more frenetic. People have stopped believing in second chances. Thanks to too many options people have become less attached to a particular thing. People move on easily. Whereas in older times people cared for what they loved. People respected their own efforts. The self-made bread winner still has the cycle he bought from his first salary. Whereas his son has sold the bike he was gifted.

The breadwinner is not used to these frenetic times. His approach still isn’t as materialistic. But, a king will never stop sharing his opinions. He tries to participate in the modern lifestyle war but is disappointed each time his solutions are disregarded.

But that’s how things have to be. His son is more aware of situations. His son knows the modern world. But there are situations that are best solved the old school way. These situations give him the confidence that he can still win. Each time his son seeks advice from him, his chest fills with pride. Each time he solves his son’s problems he believes that even in the changing world certain rules will always linger. That is when he understands that to win any war experience and knowledge both are required. He has the experience. His son has the modern knowledge. Together they can run a family perfectly.

In that way it’s not really a shift of power, it’s simply sharing it.

The Awakening

By Joybrato Dutta

Her closed eyes revealed my deceit. Her sealed lips gave testimony to my crime. Her still body made my heart pound faster. As she lay motionless on the upper berth opposite to mine in a 2-tier coach of a super-fast train.

Duronto express, probably the most well-maintained train in the country. Healthy food, sanitised toilets, insect-free seats are some of its forte. But most importantly, it’s faster than its counterparts for the simple reason that it does not have any halts in between. Most people know that which is why they prefer Duronto to other trains. But most people don’t know that it has a couple of technical halts where a person cannot board the train but he/she can de-board it.

One such halt the Mumbai Howrah Duronto express has is Tatanagar. The station where I’ll de-board.

For the above mentioned reason the one question that proves to be a conversation starter between unknown co-passengers “So, where are you going (dada kothaye jachhen/ kahan jaa rahe hai aap)” is eliminated. Precisely the reason she assumed that I must be going to Kolkata. Her assumption turned into conviction the moment she knew I was a Bengali. And every Bengali is from Kolkata, at least that’s what most non-Bengalis think. But I was a ProbashiBangali (a Bengali born and brought up anywhere but Bengal).

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Arunima Roy, that’s what her name was. One of those Bengalis who genuinely belonged to Kolkata. Intellectual, by face, wealthy by attire and Brand Manager by profession. She said she was travelling to Kolkata for her sister’s wedding. In any Indian wedding the bride’s sister is the luckiest. The beautifully designed sarees, the expensive jewellery, the undivided attention, all this minus the mental hassles. She had every reason to be the excited. And I had every reason to make her my victim. Not of murder, nor rape but cold blooded robbery.

My reason? I wish I could say I had an ailing mother, a hospitalised father and a couple of dowries to pay. But no. These weren’t the case. It was the most cunning mirage of life – EMIs. I had a car loan to pay off, my credit card bill was almost as much as my CTC and to add to all this I was also paying off an education loan my dad had taken, of course for me. I am an eccentric by nature but not over ambitious. I could have paid all these bills myself as I was doing for the last 3 years had I not been subjected to what most employers love to say ‘recession’. A week back I had received an A4 sheet with my company’s logo on it. It said they appreciated my efforts but couldn’t afford it.

Today I lie here on the upper berth of a train, waiting for the perfect moment to execute my plans. The absence of passengers in the lower berths made it perfect. And I was sure Arunima will not wake up before Kolkata. My neighbourhood chemist could vouch for it.

And then the moment came. Lights were shut, no kids crying. Pantry guys were fast asleep. Stealthily I rose to descend from the upper berth.

Like a true blue train passenger Arunima had her bags locked and chained to an iron hook under the lower berth. But I was a good observer. I knew the keys were under her head, in her purse. In an ideal scenario it would have been the perfect place to conceal the keys. But the drugs in her food made this scenario ideal for me.

Quietly I slipped out her purse from beneath her head. She was carrying five grand. I didn’t want that. Five thousand wouldn’t solve my problem. I took out the keys. Unlocked her bags. And there, I had it, the temporary answers to my problems. Trinkets of gold bangles, diamond necklaces, and some more ornaments. I don’t know how much they were worth but from the looks of it I could surely sustain myself for a very long time.

Honestly she had more jewellery than I had space in my bag. So I had to borrow one of her smaller bags. And then I waited for Tatanagar to arrive. My family would be waiting. They didn’t know I had lost my job. They didn’t know they had raised such a weak son.

Our train was minutes away from Tatanagar. I sat on the lower berth trying to justify my actions to myself. I knew it was wrong. Unforgivable. May be she’ll remember my face. May be we will meet soon. I looked at her innocent face apologetically. I even whispered the words “I am sorry”.

My station arrived. I took hold of the luggage and de-boarded the train. Suddenly the pantry guy blocked my way. Amidst this inner chaos I had forgotten to clear the bills. I paid him and got off the train. My dad was there waiting. He has always been there to receive me at the station. I hugged him tight. In his arms I experience peace. In his arms the world seems like a paradise. In his arms I sleep serenely. And then I woke up.

I could see the white ceiling a few feet away. My head was aching. It seemed someone hit my head real hard. I somehow managed to get up from my bed. My vision was hazy. I tried to get off my bed to wash my face when I almost fell off it. My vision cleared. I was in the train. On the upper berth. In front of Arunima Roy. She looked at me and with a smile said “You sleep like Kumbakaran”. I was shocked not at her sense of humour but at the ludicrous state I was in. How did she wake up before me? “Where have we reached” I asked. “We are entering the Howrah station” she said as she took the keys out of her purse to unchain her bags from the hook under the lower berth.

I was so numb I could not move. I sat on the upper berth staring at her. Trying to decipher what happened. I remember drugging her food. Her dal to be specific. Which she had with rice. Then what went wrong?!? Was it the chemist? Did he fool me? I closed my eyes and swore vengeance against the chemist. I got off my berth and sat on the lower one. The pantry guy came and asked me to clear the dues. I paid him. This time for real.

As she was getting ready to de-board. She apologetically looked at me and said “I am sorry I exchanged my dal with yours.” “What” I asked shockingly. She was a bit taken aback by my response. She somehow got a hold of herself and continued “Actually a small cockroach fell in mine. Although I threw it out of the train I couldn’t really drink it. I asked the pantry guys to get it changed but they said there wasn’t any left. I had no other choice but to exchange mine with yours. I am really sorry. I am ashamed of what I have done.” She apologised and left.

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I was there, stunned. Disbelief overshadowed every other emotion. One cockroach ruined my plans. It ruined me. That too in a train that harps on being the tidiest.

AC 2 tier coach, the best place to steal. Especially, when there are no passengers on the lower berths. Especially, when you had the perfect plan. And yet I failed. Probably life’s way of saying I wasn’t meant to be weak. Probably God gave my strength a second chance. At least that’s what I said to myself.

New Year Resolution

By Joybrato Dutta

By the time Aarav reached Ronnie’s house he had smoked three cigarettes. The task of choosing the right gift for Shreya was as cumbersome as reaching Bandra from Mahim.

As he entered the elevator, he chanced upon a huge mirror. He ruffled his hair with his fingers and had a good look at himself. In spite of his alluring personality, Shreya never went out with him. But tonight that was about to change.

Ronnie was the son of a well known Bollywood producer. Money, Page 3 parties, women, cars, and arrogance were part of his legacy. Not many can boast of a pool on their terrace but Ronnie was one of them. And his best friends, Aarav and Shreya were enthralled to welcome 2013 at such an exotic location.

It was 9:30 PM and Aarav had lost his patience by then. Since the last two hours he had been trying to tell Shreya something but his friends always came up with hindrances he could never overcome. Finally he summed up all the courage he had and pulled Shreya aside. Intimidated by his courage she walked with him to the bar. Aarav poured her a drink. Gin with tonic water, her favourite poison. Alcohol truly makes a person brave. The otherwise hesitant and over-cautious Shreya dragged Aarav to the dance floor. There’s nothing more elegant than a woman on high heels dominating the dance floor. Aarav knew his moment had arrived. He whispered something into Shreya’s ears. She chuckled and followed him.

They quietly sneaked into one of Ronnie’s bedrooms. There Aarav made her another drink. She emptied her glass and with all her passion, she kissed him. And then, she experienced the most painful pleasure. Her sigh never screamed so loud. Her body never felt so satisfied. The princess in her never felt like a queen, ever before. She wanted to prolong this. She could forfeit everything she possessed just to live this moment, all her life. She was finally out of her shell.

At 11:30 PM Aarav kissed a naked Shreya and whispered “Happy New Year” in her ears. She didn’t respond, she lay like a corpse. Aarav wore his clothes. Something fell off his pocket. He picked the pack of Roofies and slipped it back in his jacket’s pocket. As he was about to leave the room he looked at a camera placed on the left corner of the ceiling and winked. He exited the room and entered the adjacent one.

Ronnie greeted him with a smile. He said “I am probably the only man who knows how good you are in bed. But tomorrow the world will know”. He gave Aarav a cheque. The words “Rupees One lakh only” had never looked so beautiful. Aarav thanked him and left his house. As he sat in a cab, he took out a small diary and struck out the words “My new year resolution is to earn one lakh rupees by the end of the year”.

roofies

What the Luck!!!

A light-hearted story by Joybrato Dutta

She called off our engagement. She simply hung up, denying me a chance to apologise. Seven years of friendship, five years of love, ended with a mere phone call. What a parallel cinema way to end a candy floss love story!

swearing1Year 2012 could have been the best year of my life. It was going perfect. I had met her parents in February. They loved me. My family loved her. All that was left, was to finalise a date, which could only be decided by their most trusted astrologer. A sixty year old scum bag whose wife and son had disowned him, after which he swore to ruin every other life. The moment he saw me he spoke in a manner that could make politicians sound poetic. Apparently, our horoscopes didn’t match. Apparently I would have divorced her in a year. All of a sudden his fake philosophies started dominating my real emotions. The worst part, her father’s expressions clearly stated that he was about to reject me. Patience was a virtue I never possessed and in a fit of rage I asked him to fuck off. Using the exact words.

Uttering cuss words in front of a rural Brahmin family wasn’t a great idea. Her astrologer found new points to defend his accusations against me. She fought hard. From my educational qualifications to my salary, from my family history to my career prospects, she quoted everything that could have convinced even the harshest people. Alas! People blinded by superstitions can never see the real picture. They in turn tried to convince her to stay away from me. And on a warm afternoon of March 2012 she succumbed.

That was the day I made a New Year resolution to never utter blasphemous words. One might say that March is a bit too late for a resolution, but for me, that day marked the beginning of a new year. Or should I say a new life!

The following nine months posed the toughest challenge of my life. Simply because I couldn’t even slander her family or that scum bag to feel better.

cuss_balloonSo, here I am on the last day of 2012, attending a dear friend’s wedding. She was invited too. That was the only reason I had decided to step out of my cocoon. But she didn’t come. Probably to avoid me. This infuriated me. I had sacrificed an integral part of my vocabulary for her family and they won’t even give me a second chance. Just then a friend of mine walked up to me to console me. Sympathy was something I hated more than the astrologer. The nine month long drought was about to end. I looked at her and said, “I don’t need your fucking advice. She, her family and that fucking astrologer can rot in hell”.

Wow! That felt nice. Oh dear slang, I missed you! With a lighter heart I turned to leave. And there they were, my ex fiancée standing with her parents, flabbergasted at my outburst.  I smiled as the tears of sorrow rolled down. And all I could say was, “What the”.