Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An Untitled Story

4:15 AM

Somewhere in the middle of Tamil Nadu

Trying the squeeze the sleep off his eyes, he got off the train and on to the dimly-lit station. His bag seemed to follow him to the station floor. He looked around stretching his body and his arms as the dozenth yawn escaped his mouth. He slowly gathered his bag and trudged towards the exit.

After producing his ticket to the ticket checker, he dug into his jeans for his aunt's address. On enquiring with the checker, it seemed his uncle, the new local bank manager, was already popular figure. He was told that the fastest route was to cross the railway track and follow the road for about 2 kilometres. There might be an autorickshaw across the tracks, he was told.

While waiting for the train to leave the station he looked around. It wasn't much of a station but then again it wasn't much of a town itself. Just one among a hundred towns, similar-looking towns. The only difference was that this one now had his aunt and uncle. As the last of his fellow passengers who got off the train made their way past the ticket checker the train started moving.

As the train moved on, he saw this figure hanging out of one of the compartment doors, staring at him. He looked on as this intense-looking character kept staring at him with his dark eyes. Guess, he doesn't like the way I dress, he thought, chuckling to himself. These hick town boys sure had problems figuring a city dude.

Finally the train left the station, calmness descended on the platform and in awhile he realised that he was the only person in the platform. The ticket checker had gone away, probably to catch a snooze before the next train. Gathering his bag, he made his way to the edge of the platform. He really couldn't see the tracks from where he stood but he decided to take a chance and he jumped.

Just immediately after he had landed he could hear squeaking noises and he jumped. He dug out his pen-torch from the side flap of his bag and shined it on the edge of the tracks. He found three or four rats scampering away. They had been eagerly scouting the place looking for any food thrown out of the train. He shuddered involuntarily; rats had that effect on him.

Taking a deep breath he stepped into the darkness, crossing the tracks. In short while he had crossed the tracks and found the path that leads to the road. He relaxed as he took the path. He couldn't believe that a few rats could have such an impact on his day.

As he reached the road which was lit by a solitary tubelight. He looked around for an autorickshaw and immediately spotted one on the direction opposite to his intended path. The sight of the auto wasn't very comforting for it was rather broken down and shabby. He took a few hesitating steps towards the auto, when a head suddenly appeared out of the auto. It was the auto driver. This sudden appearance stopped him in his tracks and he could only stare. Finally he asked if he could be dropped at his aunt's address for which the autodriver shook his head, the auto was very low on fuel so no fares till 8:00 AM, when the petrol bunk down the road opened.

He turned, vaguely relieved that he wouldn't have to travel in that auto. He looked at the dark road ahead and he looked at his watch, 4:26 AM. He debated whether he should hang out at the station till day break or walk the 2 kilometers to his aunt's house. The memory of his aunt's hot filter coffee made the decision for him. Gathering his bag resolutely, he stepped into the darkness. As he walked through the small country road the chill night air enveloped him and he felt fresh and wide awake. He began to like his decision to walk even more.

As he trudged along, he felt darkness engulf him from all sides. A kind of darkness you could never see in a city. It was pitch dark. He could hardly see more than a few feet away. The road was lined with coconut trees which were swaying to the night wind and in the darkness, theyde an eerie combination with the whistling of the wind. Distant rumble of a train too added it's bit to the overall effect. He walked on enjoying everything, he couldn't remember the last time when he had been engulfed in such darkness.

Along with the whistling of the wind, he could hear a sudden rasping sound. He looked around, ofcourse, in the darkness, this was futile. The rasping noise was growing clearer and nearer. He switched on his pen torch and shined around him on the road, only to see a figure moving past him and then stopped.

His breath caught in his throat.

Slowly sense returned to him, it was just a bearded man in a cycle. He was probably on his way to work, in his lightless bicycle. The bearded man stared at him, as if he had done something wrong. Then he thought, maybe he had strayed to the centre of the road but hey how was he to know, after all he could hardly see a few feet only. The bearded man turned and got on his cycle and headed his way.

Looking at him go, he felt vaguely unnerved, something about the whole thing didn't sit so well with him. Damn rats! he thought, what a horrible way to start a day. As he picked up the pace he could see some lights ahead, it was his colony in which his aunt stayed. He let a sigh of relief and walked over there, eventually finding his aunt's house among the lot.

After an hour, as he sat in the porch sipping his aunt's famous filter coffee, the unsettling feeling hadn't left him. Something bothered him about the morning's walk. His brain had clouded over and the pieces didn't fit. Then the haze in his mind slowly cleared, his brow furrowed, a trickle of sweat raced down his face. It couldn't be, he thought. No way! It wasn't possible. His brain refused to accept what his memory told him. The clean shaven man on the train, the mustached auto driver and the bearded cyclist, had the same eyes, the same nose, the same height. It couldn't be. How could they be all the same person? How?

He sat up in his chair, rigid.

To be continued...

(Thanks J for editing this one. I hope you'd take the time to write your version of the story, I'd love to put it up here!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This is why this guy is so good! The waiter rules!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

On the road again...

I'm off to Mussoorie (phew! what a frickin tough name) for about 4 days. Yeah, it's the same hill station Kris Colombo discovered during his quest for Missouri (Yuck! 'orrible joke, wot?)

You are ofcourse welcome to wander around my blog (thats not applicable to you Amma!) till I come back with another post.

Mom Alert!

She lurks in the shadows of the internet stalking her prey. She is even rumoured to have finally cracked the code and found the URL for this blog.

So Amma, if you find yourself here (again), welcome to my blog, your presistence has paid off. Now lets have a few rules:

a) My grammar sucks, I know it, so pls stop correcting it coz I'll never learn.
b) What I write here are my thoughts, I shall not be made to feel guilty for them.
c) Try as you may, you will find nothing incriminating here (I've scanned through the whole thing once to just check) :D

I would suggest that you should start writing a blog of your own, this is more fun than project guttenberg. Go to and set up your own blog, it takes about 5 minutes.

Oh one more thing, you can use the comments section to write how much you liked my posts. A bit of maternal pride never hurts hehe.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The quick and the dyed

At the Adyar Park Hotel is this barbershop called Salon 2000, herein works the Wizard of Click. The Wizard's real name is Selvam and he is known as the Wizard because he had in about 25 years of his career made men feel fantastic about their average mane. He was especially good with bald and balding men. They flock to him in droves and to get an appointment with the most famous pair of scissors this side of the vindhyas requires a lot of patience and to the true connoisseur of haircuts it is worth the wait.

What makes him special, you ask. It's the experience, the time spent, the exquisite detailing and the eventual execution of it all transcends this from a mere haircut to be a work of art. With the Wizard hovering around you, his scissors clicking away you become, rather your head becomes a canvas for him to create.

I've noticed that with bald men most of the clickety click with the hair actually produces very little amount of cut hair but it is a soothing experience nevertheless, hair therapy has a lot to do with perception I guess. Now I'm not bald or anything mind you but I do have a tiny piece of real estate that is barren up there. And to me the once a month visit to the Wizard brings not only the comfort that my hair is cut to perfection but also the heavenly experience of a head massage right after the haircut. Trust me there are a few things that words can't describe and one of them is the head massage ( it's in the same league as my Mom's chicken curry or a rerun of Return of the Jedi).

Last week in eager anticipation of the fantastic experience I trickled over to the aforementioned barbershop, having been lucky to have gotten an appointment. The Wizard was still with his previous customer, so I spent the time going through some film magazines, in the absence of any else to do. In thirty minutes I was pretty engrossed on who's going out with whom and who was divorcing whom and finally my turn was up. As I sauntered in the sight of a figure laying back on the barber's chair with his eyes closed sent shock waves through me. I felt like I had just walked into a crime scene.

To the curious onlooker it would have seemed like a man lying with his eyes closed getting his hair dyed. Hey, there's nothing wrong with that, you think. But to me he has been the reason for most of my hair insecurities . For the past 4 years this man, a business associate, every time we meet would find reasons to pick on my few grey strands (figuratively speaking) and tell me that I was actually older than him (he is 53 to my 32). He would thrust his gelled up lush black hair in my face (figuratively speaking) and proudly claim that he lead a 'no tension' life. His tone would reek of condescension and bad breath (not figuratively). You guys don't know how to handle stress, he would say.

As I stood there staring, he opened his eyes as if alerted by instinct and shock spread over his features. In my mind though, two emotions fought with each other, one said I had to be pissed off with the guy and the other said I hadda smirk. So eventually with a smirking pissed off face, I said 'hi'. He smiled, being completely embarrassed, he mumbled "You came here for a haircut?" (No Einstein, I come here to read film magazines). The look in his face said it all, this bunny knew he was caught in a headlight. Or more like a tormenter caught with his pants down. I just nodded and smiled, enjoying his obvious discomfort.

The Wizard was holding a chair waiting for me so I walked over to it and settled down. After a few how do you dos and how's your families the Wizard and I settled down to work at hand. Him being the clicker and me the clickee.

The Wiz noticing the dye job happening and turned my chair around to face that chair. He asked me if I would like to get my hair dyed and told me that I had few more grey hairs than the last time. He had me worried.

The bunny next chair turned his head and looked at me. His eyes narrowed into tiny slits as he stared at me in anticipation of my answer. Much like Darth Vader waiting for Luke to join the ole Dark Side bandwagon.

I looked at him unblinkingly.

Tension filled the air. As I squinted at him, he was waiting for me to say yes but I had to shut him down, I just had to. I told the Wizard that I liked the few whites in my hair just the way it was.

Just as soon as the impasse started, it ended. The bunny had lost, he would never rub that lush (fake) black hair on my nose again (figuratively speaking). The Wizard resumed clicketting and I closed my eyes and wafted slowly into heaven.

(Note : Ok so this post didn't go so well. I reread the piece and found it crappy but hey everything goes, right? :P )