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Insanely Inane Thoughts

If fate doesn't make you laugh, you just don't get the joke.

A break

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
I'll be away for a few days; till then.

During sex, my girlfriend always wants to talk to me. Just the other night she called me from a hotel.

Its been a rough day. I got up this morning; put on a shirt and a button fell off. I picked up my briefcase and the handle came off. Now I'm afraid to go to the bathroom.

My uncle's dying wish was to have me sitting in his lap; he was in the electric chair.

I'm so ugly, when I was born the doctor slapped my mother!

One day I came home early from work and saw a guy jogging naked. I said to the guy, "Hey buddy, why are you doing that?" He said "Because you came home early."

Tagged

Friday, June 17, 2005
Like Lothario, I had evaded the tags succesfully but I am grateful that it is a book-oriented tag.

Total number of books I own - Let's just stop at a "miniature crosswords".

The last book I bought - It's a book called "Making Love - A Conspiracy of Hearts" by Marius Brill. Don't let the title dissuade you; it's a little gem.

Last book I read - David Baldacci's "Split Second". I read this one after reading the second in the series (Hour Game). It's a good, time-pass book.

Five Books that mean a lot to me -

1. Shantaram - It's a delightful read transporting you to the Bombay of 1980's.

2. A Fine Balance - Another Bombay-based book that speaks about the city during the Emergency. Even though the ending is extremely depressing, it's a very good book.

3. The Kite Runner - About Afghanistan before and after the Soviet incursion; touching and simply outstanding from a debutante.

4. A Corner of a Foreign Field - A book which elucidates cricket through the ages in India; a sport which is very dear to me.

5. Meditations - A book that makes you think; by Marcus Aurelius.

Books that make you cringe -

The Unconsoled - Kazuo Ishiguro. It's a horrible book; left me unconsoled.

An Equal Music - Vikram Seth; maybe it's a book for the musically oriented, but it left me unmoved. It's a pity because I enjoyed "A Suitable Boy" enormously.

And now, I'd be passing it on to-

Rajesh
Satish
Karma

50 words

Thursday, June 16, 2005
Can you write a story in 50 words?

1. Drip

Drip. Drip.

I can't find any sleep, not with this ruckus.

Drip. Drip.

Beep.


Them bloody machines.

Drip. Drip

Beep.


I have to get out.

Drip. Drr…

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeppppppppp
.

Can’t stand this noise.

“Doctor, the patient is flat-lining…”

Not for much longer.

~*~*~*~

Frantic activity.

~*~*~*~

Where am I?

Drip. Drip.

Not again!



2. Shooting Star


“I saw a shooting star today, Ma,” said Vishal, impishly.

“You can’t see them in the afternoon, Vish,” smiled Ma.

Dinner.

“What Nirav did was horrible,” Ma told Pa; the TV rambled on about the local actor’s killing spree.

“Shooting star!” screamed Vish, pointing towards the TV in glee.

Ephemeral

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The smoke rises,
hail of metal,
collapsed quarters,
resurrected spirits.

In this world of hate and anger,
the sun shines like an enraged king,
the wind wails like a grieving mother,
the rain drowns cries for help,
the blood flows thicker than water.

The birds rise before his eyes,
he throws his savaged soul like
an empty bowl,
which echoes with silence,
the beggar who chose to play dumb,
walks down the road of deserted dreams

A little further down,
the street of hope,
where children play games of war,
with little intent but
dangerous consequence.

The sky is still,
the bird flies its course,
carrying its message,
a thousand deaths.

The smoke rises,
hail of metal,
no longer a street of hope,
but the games continue.

A world apart,
the beggar hears,
not seeing,
and
he speaks,
of victory.

Oceans of hate,
rivers of anger,
gurgling somewhere is
a trickle of love.

In a world of starved hearts,
she chose to linger,
not a question of love is where
but are you there?

Another day,
another street,
this could be,
where you dream.

Internal Dialogues - III

Saturday, June 11, 2005
*IV- Inner Voice

IV: "Ask her out."
Me: "Wha? Ohh, it's you again."
IV: "Yup, it's me alright. The one with the balls; the one with the answers."
Me: "You are so full of yourself for an IV, you know that?"
IV: "Thanks for the compliment. Ask her out."
Me: "I'm not going to ask her out!"
IV: "C'mon man, look at her-"
Me: "Yeah, she is a nice girl and-"
IV: "Screw that bit; just look at the ass; is that hot or what?"
Me: "What?"
IV: "You have to agree that she is a real looker; and you like her. So, ask her out."
Me: "I'm not going to ask her out because of her ass!"
IV: "Alright then, why will you ask any girl out then?"
Me: "For the personality and-"
IV: "Bullshit. If personality is what girls are going to look for; you can say hello to celibacy."
Me: "You are suggesting that I have little personality?"
IV: "No."
Me: "Then?"
IV: "I'm saying that you have zero personality. I'm telling you again; ask her out."
Me: "If I do; it'd just because she has a great personality and the works."
IV: "If she agrees to go out with you; ask her to cover her face with a paper bag since it's just her personality you are interested in."
Me: "Don't be silly; it's just a co-incidence that she is pretty as well."
IV: "Listen to yourself, man. Did your folks emasculate you after birth? It's natural for a guy to like a girl based on her looks; it's not being shallow; it's about attraction. After all, we are still animals but ony more pretentious."
Me: "Don't lecture me-"
IV: "Look man, I know that your jeans almost burst when you look at her. Listen to your body, for chrissake. If you like a girl, you ask her out. If she says no, too bad. You ask another one out and life moves on. Now if one of the pretty girls you ask out happens to have a great personality too, bingo! It happens far too rarely for you to wait 25 years to ask a girl out, man!"
Me: "While I appreciate your concern, I will ask her out only when the time is right."
IV: "Like maybe on Brother's Day, eh?"
Me: "Sure. Why not?"
IV: "Well, I knew that you were a loser but now I know that you are a wuss too."
Me: "I'm just nice. You are an absolute asshole."
IV: "The world is full of nice guys; that's why it's in such a mess."
Me: "Whatever! Now go away, I'm rather busy..."
IV: "Thinking about her personality; right."

When sleep becomes death

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Manish's face glistened with sweat as he peered over Subodh Chautala's body. His eyes narrowed in trepidation as it met with that of his mentor's. Rakesh's menacing black eyes bored into the confidence of Manish's and with the perceptible nod of his head, he handed Manish the blade. Manish's hand quavered under the enormity of the situation.

"I don't think I can do this," whispered Manish as his eyes darted back towards Subodh, who slept almost serenely.
"You have no choice," said Rakesh coldly as he fiddled with his knife.
"What if I screw up?" asked Manish hoarsely as the cold steel stuck to his sweaty palm like second skin.
"I have trained you well; just follow my cue," said Rakesh as he brought his knife closer towards Subodh's body.

Manish nodded dumbly and drove the knife towards Subodh's body. He was all but there when a strange paranoia gripped his soul by the scruff of its existence. It went against the grain of all the training he had had and yet he spoke out his doubt. The bare room only added to his sense of foreboding.

"What if he wakes up all of a sudden?" asked Manish as his grip over the knife faltered. It slipped through his gloved fingers and dove headfirst towards the cold floor. Rakesh cast an eye at Manish; it was his first but even a fool wouldn't ask such questions. His stare was as cold as the steel that was about to pierce through Subodh's virginal skin.

"Shut the fuck up and do as you are told," barked the coroner as he glared furiously at his apprentice.

Sex secrets

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Even at the young age of over 600+, Dumbledore seems to have maintained his animagistic sexdrive. His secret?

Look down in concentration and chant "Wingardium Leviosa" over and over again.

The last time this was done, it was right up Harry's alley.

Old Wine; New Bottle

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The Employee Handbook 2004 2005

SICK DAYS: We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

SURGERY: Operations are now banned. As long as you are an employee here, you need all your organs. You should not consider removing anything. We hired you intact. To have something removed constitutes a breach of employment contract.

PERSONAL DAYS: Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday.

VACATION DAYS: All employees will take their vacation at the same time every year. The vacation days are as follows: Jan. 1, August 15 & Dec. 25

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE: This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or coworkers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early, provided your share of the work is done.

OUT FROM YOUR OWN DEATH: This will be accepted as an excuse. However, we require at least two weeks notice as it is your duty to train your own replacement.

RESTROOM USE: Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. In the future, we will follow the practice of going in alphabetical order. For instance, all employees whose names begin with 'A' will go from 8:00 to 8:20, employees whose names begin with 'B' will go from 8:20 to 8:40 and so on. If you're unable to go at your allotted time, it will be necessary to wait until the next day when your turn comes again. In extreme emergencies employees may swap their time with a coworker. Both employees' supervisors must approve this exchange in writing. In addition, there is now a strict 3-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, and the stall door will open.

LUNCHBREAK: Skinny people get an hour for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy; normal size people get 30 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast & take a diet pill.

DRESS CODE: It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing $350 Prada shoes & carrying a $600 Gucci bag we assume you are doing well financially and therefore you do not need a raise.

BLOGGING: If you blog about work; then you may as well as work instead of blogging. Any employee found violating this rule will be fired. They can check our blog for further information. Also, please click at the Adsense ads. It would be the last productive thing you do for this company.

USING COMPANY RESOURCES: Using compant resources for persoanl benefit amounts to stealing. You can buy the resources instead or pay for using it; resources include the internet, paper, paper clips, stapler, pencil et al. For details, check page 12-200.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a pleasant employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternations or input should be directed elsewhere. We value your opinion but only if it's a positive one.

Have a nice week,

Management.

Bush: What’s this about the Quran?
Donald: What about it, George?
Bush: I heard that it was desse… dessa… dessi…; well, I heard that it was peed upon.
Donald: Not exactly, George. Some droplets of urine splattered on it from the vent.
Bush: Tell the soldier that the next time he misses it, he’s going to get more than a just a rap on his knuckles. And issue an apology; placate those queer Arabs.
Donald: And what about the photos, George?
Bush: Which ones?
Donald: The ones you took had asked of Saddam; to pretend that you had a ménage a troi with Abdullah and him in bed.
Bush: Have them enlarged. And the next time Tony begs for it, like he usually does; ignore him.

The Bet

Sunday, June 05, 2005
Part I

“You can’t get her to sleep with you.”

Kya yaar, you have known be for so long and still you doubt me,” said Aryan, clutching at his chest as if he were mortally wounded. Praful punched his arm playfully as a shock of raven black hair fell across his face.

“I have a feeling that he is right this time around, Aryan,” confirmed Debashish as he studied the two of them with a bookish smile.

“Et tu, Brutus?” Aryan said as he contorted his face into a maelstrom of hurt and pain.

“Enough clowning, Aryan. She has been here for a week and she has talked to the others,” said Praful as he whipped his hair back over his head.

“Others?” asked Aryan as his brows furrowed inquiringly.

“You know, the girls from the office you slept with and then discarded like an ass-wiped tissue,” said Praful with slight distaste.

“The jilted lovers,” smiled Aryan.

“Don’t you think she would have upped her ante by now, Casanova?” asked Debashish, sarcasm dripping in his words like hot chocolate from an ice cream.

“Worry not, comrades. Where there is a girl, there is always a play to be made,” said Aryan, floundering his arms in theatrics.

“You are incorrigible, you know that,” said Debashish as he looked at Praful for support. Praful shrugged his shoulders in vain.

“As much as you are a stud, Debu. Alright, tell me when was the last time you had a girl sleep next to you?” asked Aryan as he winked at Praful. Praful looked a bit disconsolate as it made him seem like an accomplice but he was slightly relieved that Aryan hadn’t posed the question to him.

“Well, it’s surprising you should ask me that. I had the pleasure of sleeping in the company of two gorgeous ladies the other day and-“

“Just like old times, Debu, you cannot count the unfortunate dames who had the misfortune of being seated on either side of you on a plane ride,” said Aryan with a deadpan expression even as his eyes glowed with affection.

“I… never… why… you,” blustered Debashish with self-righteousness.

“Don’t froth like a rabid dog, Debu. Relax; you have to grasp an elementary fact. Just like I would trust you with anything that has to do with numbers and estimations; you have got to trust me when it comes to the ladies,” said Aryan with a disarming smile.

Debashish gave a wry smile, not sure of whether he had just been insulted or complimented.

“So you are saying that you will score with her?” asked Praful with interest.

“I am shocked that you even feel the need to phrase that as a question, Praful,” said Aryan mockingly.

“Are you willing to bet on it, Don Juan?” persisted Praful.

Aryan pretended to contemplate the question even as Debashish ticked off Praful for treating women as a commodity. It’s bad enough to have Aryan do it, he said with disdain.

“How much are you willing to part with, Praful?” asked Aryan as he shook his head at Debashish.

“Five thousand bucks,” said Praful with a smile.

“Be ready with it by Friday, Antonio. Or I will have a pound of thy flesh,” Aryan said with a flourish.

“So it’s a bet then, Shylock?”

“It’s a bet, chump.”

The day was monday.

The Motel

Saturday, June 04, 2005
A Short Story

Rushabh sat down on the rickety chair as tiny rivulets of sweat streamed down his face. The wooden chair groaned and swayed in protest, threatening to dislodge him with artful disdain. He shifted his weight to the side bearing the stronger legs and let out a sigh. The empty pail of paint rattled against the wooden frame.

The chair merely groaned.

He stared at his motel, which so direly needed a coat of fresh paint. The afternoon sun blazed down on the jaded red building seemingly setting it ablaze. A lone crow sat by the ledge and stared down impassively at the architect.

“Sweat and blood has gone into this place,” he mumbled with a smoke dangling from his lip. His eyes blazed with hope as he stared into the letter that fluttered in his hand.

It was a letter seeking to buy out his dream.

“Maybe there is still hope,” he said as his eyes fell on the silent crow. It nodded appropriately.

~*~*~*~

Samar had lost his way thrice before he had taken the right route. The car hobbled over pebble-ridden road and he cursed repetitively. He still couldn’t figure why his boss wanted to buy this godforsaken piece of trash. His boss called it a “future” investment. If only the boss could realize that this place had no future, he thought darkly.

He looked through his windshield as a rustic motel loomed in the horizon.

“Christ, even the motel is blushing in shame,” he exclaimed as the dull red frame filled his line of sight.

He let out a derisive laugh as he passed a board that read: “Welcome to the Red Motel”.

He drove into a beleaguered looking driveway that led to an expansive parking lot. The lot housed an array of cars that belied the motel’s standing. Most of the cars seemed to be serving as a lodge of their own to dust particles and bird shit.

“That’s odd,” said Samar as he got off his car. The motel didn’t seem like The Five Seasons, so to have so many cars parked there took him by surprise.

He was still looking at the cars when he felt someone’s presence behind him. He turned and almost knocked the old man off his feet.

“You nearly startled me,” said Samar to Rushabh. He simply smiled back at Samar.

“Anybody staying at the motel?” asked Samar.

“Not really,” said Rushabh, his smoke still dangling from his lower lip. He had a strange smell permeating from him and that hit Samar hard. His face was covered with crinkles and stubble roamed on the vast expanse that was his face. His hair was unkempt and nearly white. His eyes took cover behind a pair of optics that seemed as old as the man himself.

“Are these cars yours then?” asked a surprised Samar.

“You could say so,” said Rushabh, enigmatically. He was staring hard at Samar and he made no bones about it. Samar felt a little queasy and then the crow cawed.

Rushabh’s eyes tore away from Samar’s as he looked for the crow. It was nowhere to be seen.

“You lookin’ for a room?” asked Rushabh as he scanned the outback for the crow. A listless breeze ruffled the dead leaves but the trees stood resolute.

“Not exactly. I’m from Soli and Soli,” explained Samar. The old man stared blankly at Samar.

“You know, the firm that is interested in buying your motel,” said Samar as he waved his arm towards the motel.

“Ahhh yess, that firm.”

“Do you mind if I take a look around?” asked Samar almost wishing that the old man would say yes.

“No no; go ahead. Be my guest,” said Rushabh as a smile took over his face. It revealed a few busted teeth and a gold tooth that glinted almost malignantly in the blinding heat.

Samar took the lead and walked towards the motel. Rushabh walked slowly behind him, studying Samar. Samar was the typical 20-something yuppie that dominated the city scene these days. He wore a smooth blazer and may have had been wearing a tie earlier in the day. His hair was styled in the spike cut fashion that was so much in demand amongst the youth and an earpiece adorned his ear, quintessential in the day and age of instant communication. Glares hung snugly from the breast pocket of the blazer and Rushabh thought that he could detect a slight waft of cologne. He smiled, knowing how terrible he must have smelt to Samar. But he had more pressing issues than smelling good.

Like reviving the motel.

~*~*~*~

Samar walked up towards the entrance but something else caught his attention. He stopped mid-way and headed off towards one of the motel face. He looked at the wall and then touched it. A flake of paint fell off the wall revealing a patch of concrete.

“It needs a touch of paint,” old Rushabh remarked from behind.

It needs more than paint. It needs burial, thought Samar.

“You are right. It does seem like a coat of paint would spruce up the place. Also, the shade of red is kind of dark. We should go in for a brighter shade,” said Samar.

“I’m not too sure of that, young man.”

“Listen Mr.Rushabh. Since our firm is going to take over your motel, I don’t think that what you are not so sure of would be entertained,” said Samar, a little too brusquely.

“I never said that I’m going to sell this place,” said Rushabh, his gold tooth glinting in the sun.

“What?” asked a thunderstruck Samar.

“I’m still thinking about it,” said Rushabh, his smile widening at the brash young man’s reaction.

“Look. The very fact that someone is willing to buy this, if you will excuse me, dump should be reason enough for you to sell it. Tell me one thing, in the last three months, how many customers have you had?”

“None,” said Rushabh, his smile still in place. Samar eyes wandered perversely towards the gold tooth, bringing out unwarranted revulsion from his part.

“How many customers have you had in the past one year?” continued Samar, trying to go for the jugular.

“Five,” said Rushabh, his eyes going back to the motel. The crow still wasn’t there.

“Don’t you think that having five customers over a period of twelve months should be reason enough to sell?”

“You don’t seem to understand, Mr. Samar.”

“Then help me understand,” said Samar.

“This is all I have left of my dream. Sweat and blood has gone into this motel, Mr. Samar,” said Rushabh passionately.

“For which you will be soundly compensated for, Mr. Rushabh.”

“It isn’t always about money.”

“The money makes the world go around, Mr. Rushabh. Besides, have you heard what we are quoting for this place? It’s insanely high for this place –“

“I know, Mr.Samar but-“

“And I think the boss might be willing to hike the price by a little,” said Samar, trying to lure in Rushabh with the prospect of more money.

“Mr.Samar, do you think that a man who has so many cars would really be in need of money?”

“Look, Mr. Rushabh. All we are trying to do is popularize this place. The location isn’t so bad, what with the expressway being half an hour away. Once we get hold of this place, we can get the roads done and voila, your dream motel will be making thousands happy. The only difference being, we will be running it,” said Samar, trying to be as persuasive as he could.

Rushabh’s eyes narrowed behind the soda glass; a tiny bead of sweat ran over it. The smile was yet to vacate his face. Samar couldn’t help but hate this old man who was in need of a dental check-up.

And maybe a bath, he thought as his nose quavered under the stench.

“If we go in, we might be able to avoid the storm,” said Rushabh as the air stilled around them.

Samar looked at Rushabh; it seems like the heat has taken its toll.

“I don’t think it will rain here; ever,” said Samar as the sun scorched the parched land.

“I have been here long enough to know, son. If you don’t think it will rain, then the least we can do is go in for a nice, cool drink. Does that sound good enough to you?”

He didn’t wait for Samar’s answer and proceeded to hobble towards the motel. Samar looked at the lobby; it looked prohibitively dark and unwelcoming.

Well, what the hell; thought Samar as he followed the old man. I’d have check out the interiors anyway. And if it were any better than the exterior, at the very least, one wouldn’t feel to preserve the motel just for the sake of gross incompetence.

~*~*~*~

Sweat and blood, thought Rushabh as he entered the motel. His motel.

And guests weren’t welcome.

~*~*~*~

The first thing that struck Samar as he entered the motel was how red everything was. The walls were red; it didn’t look like it had been wallpapered but hand painted. Again, it was the dull red that had emanated so mournfully from the walls on the outside. The furniture had the same somber look but then again, they were sparsely spread about the sprawling lobby. The front desk had a register, which was again red.

A red telephone.

A calendar with all the dates marked in red with whites peeking out of the corner.

My eyes hurt, he thought as his eyes adjusted to the carnival of rouge. He then felt Rushabh thrust a glass into his hand. It felt cold and inviting. He took a sip and savored its taste.

It was a glass of watermelon juice.

~*~*~*~

The lobby was surprising clean. It was almost an antithesis to what lay outside. But it did seem to lack a certain something.

People.

There seemed to be no attendants, bellboys or waiters. And yet, everything seemed neat and orderly.

“Are there no hired hands in this motel?” asked Samar as he sat down delicately on the red couch.

“No, son. There had been some people helping me out before but now, there is no one,” said Rushabh as he sat down opposite to Samar. The cane chair swayed under his weight but he steadied it. The smoke still hung loosely from his lip and then Samar noticed it.

The smoke wasn’t lit.

“They quit?”

“Well, let’s just say that couldn’t help me more than they have already have.”

An uneasy quiet descended on the motel as the breeze picked up on the outside. It ran through the windows howling and the wind chimes beat out melodious tunes.

“The storm’s comin’.”

The heavens thundered in consent.

“You sure seem to know this place,” said Samar with grudging respect. The old man merely sipped on his juice.

“So, how do you manage this place all by yourself?”

“It’s not hard, son. With not many people to worry about, all I can worry about is this place.”

“So why haven’t you sold this place yet? Having an income that’s next to nothing must have made you think about selling this place,” concluded Samar as he looked keenly at Rushabh.

“You don’t sell your soul because it holds no meaning to you, son. This place is my soul.”

“I understand, sir. But one cannot survive in this world on soul alone. You know, to look after the body in which the soul resides, and for that you need money,” said Samar gently. “Everything boils down to money, sir.”

“Maybe for you. I already have more than what I need,” said Rushabh curtly.

“But what about your kids and wife, sir?”

“They are no longer alive, Mr.Samar. So they wouldn’t really need the money.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, sir.”

“They gave all that I had asked of them for this motel, Mr.Samar. I’m not sorry but proud. Besides, that happened a long time back,” said the old man without bating an eyelid.

It seems like he wasn’t too fond of them, thought Samar, a little surprised. From what it seemed, the old man lived alone and felt no need to change that situation. The door banged with the wind and Samar looked towards the door, startled.

It had started raining. Samar hadn’t noticed the drizzle and by now, the sky was laden with tears that ran down its cheek like a raging river.

“Christ! How will I be able to get back home in this weather?” Samar exclaimed aloud.

“You are quite welcome to stay back till the rain lets up, son. The motel would be more than happy to have you here,” said Rushabh with twinkling eyes.

“I better call up home and let them know that I’d be late,” said Samar as he punched out a number on his cell phone. He listened to his phone and got no response.

“Don’t you get network here?’ asked Samar angrily. How the hell will anyone set up a lodge without having a mobile network range in that place, thought Samar. He would have to try and dissuade his boss again.

“You can try the phone, son.”

Samar walked up to the phone and picked up the receiver. There was no dial tone. Shit!

“There is no dial tone, sir,” said Samar tersely.

“Let me check, son.” Rushabh looked over the telephone and repeatedly banged at the telephone. “Seems like the phone lines are dead. It must be the storm.”

“This motel is a wonderful place, sir. Are you still certain that you are not willing to take the ball and run when you have a chance to do that?” asked Samar trying to drive home his point.

“Sorry, son. A lot of hard work has gone into this place, you know sweat and –“

“Blood. I know, I know,” said Samar, exasperated. The old man smiled benignly at him although he thought he detected a crazy glint in his eyes. But he didn’t think too much of it as the gold tooth stared at him again.

I need to get away from this dump, said Samar morosely as he looked outside the window. The rain only worsened.

He looked back at the old man who had hobbled away to what seemed to be the pantry. The red door slammed behind him but it didn't bother him anymore.

If the old man says sweat and blood one more time, I may just have to kill. Even then, the gold tooth will still look up to me, fixed in a morbid smile, thought Samar.

He took out his pack from the blazer and lit his smoke. He looked at the pack and smiled. He was smoking a Marlboro Red.

~*~*~*~

“How’s your meal?” asked the old man as he served another piece of roti to Samar.

“It’s delicious,” said Samar as he enjoyed a hot meal while the sky continued to cry outside. The room would have been chilly if not for the old-fashioned fireplace that burned with a sense of loyalty. The red glow went very well with the motel.

“Can I ask you a question, if you don’t mind?” asked Samar as he gulped down the hot stew.

“Go ahead, son.”

“Why is everything in the motel so red?”

The old man smiled but thankfully, the gold tooth was smothered under the masticated food. Samar thought he knew what the old man was going to say so he said it before him.

“Sweat and blood?” asked Samar; the red stew ran down his chin.

The old man’s eyes crinkled up and he sipped on his red wine. He looks positively senile, thought Samar.

“Sir, in case the sale doesn’t come through, I thought I should let you know that you have to paint your motel again if you want to attract more customers. This place will pick up business in a few years time but you need to bring in some changes now.”

“I know, son. I know. In fact, I will be giving the wall a fresh coat of paint soon enough,” said the old man. He smiled again but Samar looked away.

He knew that the gold tooth was looking at him.
He excused himself and went away to wash his hands. He washed his hand in the red handwash and then wiped his hands dry on the red towel. The basin, however, was white.

Will miracles never cease, he asked himself as he fidgeted with his hair while looking into the mirror. He checked his cell phone again for network. There was none.

Samar walked upto to the window and peered outside into the darkness. The rain hadn’t let up. He sighed at the prospect of spending a night in the motel. He returned back to the lobby and found soft music floating through the air.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” he muttered as soothing strains of Lady in red hit his ears. This guy is a nut, he concluded.

“Nice song,” he said with a laugh as he searched for Rushabh.

The blow came from directly behind him, cracking his skull and staggering Samar. He clutched his head and in the same moment, turned around to face the attacker. Although blood was flowing profusely from his skull, he could make out the man with the gold tooth coming at him with a shovel in his hand. In the few moments he had before the fatal blow, he noticed that the shovel was red.

He didn’t know if it was red with paint or his blood.

“No one can take this place away from me. No one,” hissed Rushabh as he savaged Samar’s limp body with ferocious blows. He continued to pound on the body; the sky stopped sobbing.

~*~*~*~

The sun beat down mercilessly on Rushabh as he squatted by the wall. Sweat poured off his back like tiny glaciers sliding off a mountain. He wiped the sweat off his brow and dipped the brush into the pail of paint.

Samar’s eye looked on towards the old man before the crow plucked it out; just as it had on the other eye. It gobbled up the eye in one swift motion and cawed appreciatively.

The old man looked towards the crow and smiled. “There is always hope, young friend,” he said as he continued to paint the wall.

He looked at Samar’s lifeless head for one, last time and smiled. The sweat rolled into his mouth and glistened over his gold tooth.

“Sweat and blood, Samar. Sweat and blood,” he said as he applied another coat of red paint over the crumbling façade. Samar's body had held enough to pain the front wing, he noted happily.

Just like his wife.

~*~*~*~

Samar’s car began to lodge dust and bird droppings; just as the other cars did in the parking lot.

Needful Things

Thursday, June 02, 2005
Another archived post; have fun.

"It wouldn't take me more than a few minutes," I tell Dan as I head towards the restroom.

"Better make it quick, Nancy. You know how the boss feels about slackers," he yells out before I can make it into the restroom.

I know how the boss feels about slackers ; but he would have to wait for now.I had to fix certain needs of mine before the meeting started.

~*~*~*~

I stare with dumbstruck fascination as the beauty of your curves sinks into me.

But I am in no mood for foreplay. It's a quickie I want and it's a quickie I'll get.

You seem as wet as one can be ; ready for the taking.

My eyes widen in anticipation as I guide you gently into me. I close my eyes as a sense of refreshing fullness takes over.

But somewhere, something has gone wrong.A feeling of unease spreads over me ; you have started to hurt me a bit. My eyes begin to water as I pull you out hastily.

The only form of protest that you offer to me is silence. A deafening one, at that.

"Let's try again," I whisper to myself as I guide you in once more.Again,a re-assuring fullness takes over. Eyes closed, mouth partially open ; I let the moment sink in.

"It's much better now," I speak out. You feel good inside

I let out a startled gasp as the cell phone jumps into life.

It's Dan.The meeting starts in a minute's time. I better hurry, he tells me. I'll be out in a minute, I tell him. He hangs up with his customary grunt.

I better hurry up the second time around.I cannot be bothered with slight twinges of unease, I tell myself as I guide you in once more.

I feel complete ; ready to take on the world.

Lucy enters the restroom as I am washing up.

"Dan told me that I would find you in here.What's taking you so long?"

"I had a bitch of a time putting in those awful lenses of mine....," I reply as we leave the restroom.

She

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I saw her for the first time on this train. She was by the gangway, looking as cute as she was apprehensive. Her dainty feet took tentative steps, which brought her closer to where I was while her eyes sought out for familiarity. I could sense that this was her first time so I beckoned her over. Her lips, which had been twitching with nervousness a second back, burst into a radiant smile that enveloped her face.

The train was chugging along slowly trying to fight off the weariness that was inherent for a late night run. The air was still and the city even stiller. The few people that were in the train lay sprawled across the wooden seats, enjoying few moments of relative calm that was so hard to come by during the day.

You got lucky, I told her as she scurried towards me. If you had been thinking of taking this train at the next stop, it would have next to impossible.

Why is that, she asked as she plopped herself next to me. A drunkard, who still had some of his poison on his lips and dimmed dreams in his eyes, was staring at us malevolently. He stomped his foot in disgust and let out a stream of uninhibited chatter. I looked him in the eye, unimpressed and unafraid.

Don’t worry, I told her as she shifted nervously. This happens often in the train but it only gets worse when we let things get out of hand. If we stay nice and quiet without bothering these barbarians too much, they do nothing more than stomp around the train in animated babble.

You still haven’t told me why I got lucky, she said.

Wait and watch, I told her as the train screeched at the grating brakes.

The iron behemoth grumbled to a halt at the station. A war cry filled the air and broke the orchestra of silence. People, who had been sprawling all over the seats like kings at their harem, straightened up and sat as they were meant to.

The mob of weary commuters invaded the small compartment and hurled themselves at the empty seats. They chatted energetically amongst themselves even as their body cried out painfully against the hard seats. A few who weren’t fortunate enough to cherish the seats, shuffled along the aisle vying for a spot under the creaking fan.

The sight of so many people had frightened her slightly. It still felt a bit unnerving for me and it was safe to say that I was a regular.

The drunkard, who had been looking at us with dangerous intent in his eyes, was squashed into a corner. This was the seat that ran along width of the compartment. It was made with the intent of seating eight or so people on it but almost eleven managed to squeeze in. Many rested themselves squarely on the strength of their buttocks while others were forced to sit erect, which can get very painful if you aren’t used to it.

It so happened that he was pushed in further to accommodate a friend of one of the buttock grabbers. Being in the state that he was in, he started protesting. Voices were raised and everybody swore at each other with linguistic expertise. Soon, the battle of words almost denigrated into a battle of blows. The drunkard came to his senses when he realized that they were eleven while he was all by himself. He softened his tone and smiled weakly at the others. He tried to placate them by offering to vacate his seat so that they could sit comfortably. They scoffed at his suggestion and told him to keep quiet and sit tight. He whimpered into submission as the breeze through the window slapped against his face.

That wasn’t very nice, she told me. It gets worse on some nights, I told her. I had seen many a scuffle and not all of them ended amicably. I nibbled at the biscuit and looked at her. You can have some, I told her indicating towards the biscuit. She looked at me long and hard, as if trying to make up her mind about me.

Meanwhile, the train stumbled along through the city as the men inside her broke out into a song. Many of them came prepared for this; some took out their musical instruments while others doled out cotton buds to those who were interested. Most of the songs that were sung were devotional in nature but they lacked a certain something that could have made it a song: music. Nonetheless, after spending a day doing thankless jobs that paid very little, these men seemed to enjoy wallowing in their noise.

Their revelry hid our chatter as we continued to nibble on the biscuit. Her ears had perked up when she heard them sing for the first time while her eyes cringed with pain.

You will get used to it, I told her as the train made another halt. More men got into the train while a few got off it. The new entrants called out to their friends and exchanged pleasantries. Others joined in and started straining their voice till it became hoarse with disgruntlement.

A passing shower had managed to catch us unawares and it had soaked most of the people who had been sitting by the window or standing by the door. Many stopped singing to latch the window shut while others wondered if this is what people referred to as divine intervention.

We managed to evade the rain but we got wet nonetheless. Water droplets launched themselves from the corrugated ceiling and hit us with the precision of a bunker buster. The droplets fell all around us and soon there was a big puddle of water by our feet. The rain continued to splatter benignly against the train as she rode into the night washed with the colors of the hidden moon.

The smell of fresh earth played with our senses and filled the people with renewed hope. The singing continued and the rain danced against the windows.

The train continued to make her stops and people made their way home. They would have a few hours of sleep before they got back into the train and headed off to work. The train began to wear a deserted look and a shrill silence descended upon us. She slackened her pace as she rolled into the station; her last one for the night.

The drunkard was still there when we peered out at the remaining people. They had returned to their sprawling position and they wouldn’t be disturbed for the night, unless my friends had other ideas. They enjoyed tormenting these people in the shadow of darkness; some got yelled at while other unfortunate ones were kicked at.

The drunkard caught us peering at him and he cursed at us one last time before sleep got the better of him. For him, the day began in the train and ended in the train.

I know some very nice places where we can find food, I told her as we sneaked past the drunkard and hit the drenched platform.

I am quite new to this place, she told me. Well, I guess that put the onus on me to show her a good time in my backyard.

Her hair was still wet from the rain and she looked as pretty as a rose basking in the tenderness of the morning dew. I wasn’t so bad looking myself. I was relatively handsome and had a very proud moustache that added to the oomph appeal. I was quite strong and had a sense of adventure about myself; I was a runner and running was my life.

Everybody runs from something and I ran to stay alive.

My friends were a queer bunch. They took pleasure in tormenting people and picking up fights with each other. Many wore bruises like a trophy and it showed to the girls that they were survivors. In the rat race of survival, we had done very well.

She still wasn’t very comfortable with me; I could say so by the way she moved around me. There was a guarded intensity about her that told me that she was a no-nonsense kind-of a gal. She knew how to look after herself and I liked her for that.

We have to be a bit careful, I told her.

Of what, she asked me.

Dogs.

Dogs?

Yeah, there are some crazy ones here. They look harmless by the day but as night falls, they get real vicious. Just the other day, a pack of dogs nearly mauled my friend dead. He managed to escape but he hasn’t been the same after that.

You sure know how to make a girl feel comfortable, she said with a playful tone.
Where do you want to go first, I asked her as we exited the station. The air was chill but pleasant. The night was quite here save for the occasional barking and the chirping crickets.

What options do I have, she asked.

We could meet my friends first and then head out to eat, I said.

Would I like you friends?

Sure, if you like guys who are willing to bite each other’s head off. The girls are more docile; they only scratch at each other.

I think the dogs would make for better friends, she said with a smile.

And also, my friends will try to impress you a lot. And by impress, I mean nudging at you and making snide comments. Play along with them and you will live to see another day.

I really think I’d prefer the dogs now, she said with comedic solemnity.

Shhh, I said with my ears perked up. I thought I could hear some dogs coming; I wasn’t sure if they were headed our way or not. Not willing to take any chances with her with me, I told her to follow me as we scurried across to a incongruous bylane.

Sure enough, a pack of hungry dogs passed by the road we had been in. Their paws sloshed in the muddy water and they growled at each other with timorous ferocity. They sniffed their way out of our sight, probably looking for some food.

It had been a tense minute because one can never be sure of dogs. I was more worried for her than I was for me; I had been evading these dogs for sometime now but she looked as out of place as vegan in a butcher’s shop.

It’s alright, I told her as we made our way towards my place. We waded in as quietly as the street would permit.

I think I’d like to have a bite first, she told me earnestly. The incident had shaken her up and besides, I was hungry too.

Okay, I know just the right place.

We walked side-by-side in a desolate street. It seemed as if the world were abandoned and we were the only ones alive. The streetlights adorned the road with amorous intensity and the path seemed to be laid in gold. The rain had only made it more beautiful and I was quite happy that I was spending this moment with her.

Where is that place, she asked me after a few minutes.

Just round the bend, I told her. If there had bee a slight breeze, the perfumed air from the ambrosial kiosk would have made its presence felt.

Although it was quite late in the night, it was still early for the kiosk. It was patronized by people who liked to indulge themselves with a late night snack after a bustling night at the local pub.

As we neared the kiosk, I noticed that a few of my friends were already munching on their food. It surprised me because they usually waited for me before making their move to the kiosk. But I was a little conscious because I had made it to the kiosk without letting them know.

Brutus spotted me first and he alerted the others. They chattered noisily amongst themselves as we made our way towards them.

Howdy, Brutus said with a mouthful of chicken. The others were busy gorging themselves silly to say anything of note to me.

I nodded at him as she huddled closer towards me.

Who is she, he asked after he caught sight of her.

Someone I met at the train, I told him.

She’s new here?; he asked.

Yep, and she doesn’t have many friends here either. So you boys better behave yourselves with her. And where are the girls? She might feel more comfortable around them.

Well, the girls are out scouting for guys; he said wryly.

Including Nina?; I asked incredulously.

Including Nina, he said wistfully. He sighed and then explained to me that the boys had had a little tiff with the girls and they decided to get back at the guys by going out with others.

By now, others had gathered around us. Everybody wanted to know who she was.

Her name is Rita and I met her on the train. You guys will like her; she is very much like the rest of the girls and she has a super sense of humor, I told them.

She seemed unaffected by the praise I was showering at her and took matters into her own hands. She introduced herself to the others and spoke to each one of them at length. Brutus offered her a share of his food and she had a little of it. I stood by the side and observed her talk in her lilting voice, the way she carried herself with the others and the ease at which she put the others.

So, what do you guys do; she asked them later as we ploughed through our morsels of food.

We are more of the party animals, Brutus said. The others burst into laughter as Brutus started gyrating to an imaginary song.

She looked at me with an expression that seemed to say; some weird friends you have. I shrugged at her and continued to eat.

Nina and the others had made their entry by now and they took an immediate liking to Rita. Rita scurried over towards them as Brutus joined me.

He caught me looking at her and nudged at me; you really like her, don’t you.

Don’t be silly, man. I have just met her.

Then you wouldn’t mind me taking a chance with her, would you; he asked friskily.

I laughed at him though it had a tinge of anxiety to it.

She does have a nice behind, you know; he said suggestively. I laughed again; although it was more of a squeak than a laugh.

You know how much of a sucker I am when it comes to long tails, right?

I swished my tail at Brutus as he scurried away towards Rita with a bounce in his steps. I followed him with a laugh in my voice.

Brutus knew that I was far more of a sucker when it came to the behinds. After all, a rat can only resist so much when it comes to the tails.

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