Tuesday, 20 August 2013


Suicides are pretty common these days. People in my tutorial class were speaking about a girl who hanged herself from depression. Not an easy death. But then again, suicides are never are.

The first person I've interacted with to commit suicide was Jennifer*, a girl from the basketball set. A loose character, or so people said. I didn't know her well enough to judge her, but I could see that she loved to have fun, maybe a tad too much. She killed herself two summers ago, and I was really shaken up when I heard the news months after all my peers did. 

I later on heard that she was knocked up, but there wasn't much base to that theory and it could have well been just rumors. I wasn't close to her. The only time I'd talked to her was the time when I'd played against her team. After the game, she was sitting with a friend of mine. When I'd come over to talk to my friend, she playfully accused me of tackling her to the ground. I'd smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

Jennifer soon faded away, from people's minds and conversations. No one really missed her, not even in the 'ball circle. If they did talk about her, it was always with scorn, disgust or pity.

I could have been her. It could have been about me those shallow people gossiped shamelessly. I could have been the one who would have, if rumors are to be believed, missed her period, went ahead and bought a couple of pregnancy tests, and have had all of them result in positive (although I would be careful enough about the precautions; I'd say there is nothing worse than a late period when you've been up to mischief). I could have been dumped by my boyfriend upon breaking the news to him. What if it was me in her shoes?

I'd probably have taken the coward's way out, too. To some, it would be preferable than facing the consequences. But when you act, you face the consequences. If you can't deal with the consequence, look for a solution. And when else fails...

I don't miss her. But I do feel for her family. I've heard that she has a little sister. I don't know how their relationship was, but hell, I can't imagine life without my sister (Even though I've had the pleasure of murdering her in fantasies myself). To live on, with the absence of a family member is not easy, especially not if you've known them for a long time. And to cope with the way she left... 

Life is a boon, even though there are times we feel that it is a bane. No matter how broken the thing is, it can be fixed, at least to an extent. Like they say, suicides are permanent solutions to temporary problems. There are no problems that can't be solved, even if the solutions are not pleasant. It would take time and suffering to get the outcome we desire, but then we grow wiser, a lesson learnt from the hard way. 

Rest in peace, Jennifer.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Three Steps Above Heaven

The film starts with Hugo 'H' Olivera voicing his thoughts about the ongoing trial where he's being persecuted for assault on his mother's boyfriend. Let off with a fine of six thousand euros and a warning that further offenses would land him in prison, he walks out of the courtroom, switching his formal coat to a leather jacket and rides off on a Triumph Thruxton 07.

He sees Babi Alcazar for the first time at a traffic intersection, on her way to school. He is immediately attracted to her as she sticks her face out for air and whistles before calling her a 'Dog-Face'. He rides up to her car window and takes her hand. A stunned Babi manages to give him the finger before driving off.

Hugo, preferred to be known as simply H, leads a somewhat lawless life. Involved in street racing (without helmets, no less) and other chest-beating contests, he is clearly somewhat of a leader in the biker clique. Overthrowing Chino, another biker portrayed as his rival, in a contest of chin-ups, H and a few friends decide to crash a 'rich kids' party. There he sees Babi again, and upon approaching her, promptly gets a milk shake thrown on his face. The bikers and the rich kids fight, and in the chaos, H picks Babi up and jumps into the pool. A angry Babi calls him a brute and curses him for ruining her Valentino dress. H winks and tells her to tell Valentino that the dress looks much better wet.

Meanwhile, Babi's best friend, Katina has her weekly allowance of fifty euros stolen by H's bestie, Pollo. Despite requests, Pollo refuses to return her money and offers to buy her lunch when she says she'll go hungry. Upset, she calls him a half-wit and strides off tearfully, leaving him speechless.

The gate crashers leave when they get wind of the cops being informed. However, they follow Babi and her ex, Chico, who was the narc. The bikers thrash his car and spit in his face. They give up when Chico manages to throw one off his bike, but H catches up and beats him up for 'ruining the party for people who know how to have fun'. Babi panics and stops a car for help. When the man, Mr. Santamaria tries to pull H off Chico, he receives a blow that nearly sends his nose into his brain. Both the Santamarias and Chico drive off fearfully, leaving Babi behind with no choice but to get home with H. He rides her home, but they are seen by Babi's mother, who disapproves of H and his motorcycle.

The following day, Katina tells Babi that Pollo and she are seeing each other, and that he had invited her to see him race. She requests Babi to cover up for her. Babi, though not happy about the 'thug', agrees. However, she has to go the Siamese races herself when Katina's mother calls her up and is not able to get through her. H teases her, and she snaps that he 'wouldn't be so cocky in court'. He merely smiles and replies that 'the day I'm up in the court, this nice girl here do anything to save me because by then she'll be crazy about me'.

Provoked by his remarks and attitude, she decides to ride behind Chino. Borrowing Katina's belt, she buckles up facing backwards. Before the race could end, the police arrive and Babi is nearly arrested, but H intervenes and picks her up and drops her off at a place to hide while he could shake the cops off his tail. The cops, however, get a good shot of them zooming off. When H comes back, Babi comes out of her hiding place and is covered in manure. H asks her to take off her clothes if she wants to get onto the bike and offers her his jacket. Despite warnings not to turn around while she strips, H adjusts his rear-view mirror to enjoy the show. She threatens to cover his face with manure.

Dropping her at her place, H approaches her seductively and whispers in her ear if she would report him. Getting a firm 'yes' in answer, he kisses her cheek softly and teasingly moves onto her lips. Just as she readies herself for a liplock, H draws back and teases her, saying that even though she calls him a pig, bastard, brute, she still wants him to kiss her. Babi slaps him before striding off.

The papers carry their picture under the headlines of illegal street-racing. H makes a poster of the picture and glues it to her ceiling in her absence. Babi receives a picture of H waiting in a nightclub from Katina, with the message 'Look who's waiting for you'. She laughs as her gaze falls onto the poster. 

Babi reaches the nightclub, lets herself loose with a vodka pineapple and gyrates to the music. H joins her, and they exchange 'Dog Face' and 'Brute' before having their first kiss. Babi returns home, exhilarated, and is confronted by her mother about the newspaper picture. When she lies on being asked about drinking, she is slapped. Her mother, regretting hitting her daughter, asks her husband to do something about the situation.

Babi is grounded, but decides to skip school to spend the day with H. They, however, are seen by Babi's teacher. As they ride to the beach, H sees his mother in a car with a boyfriend and seemingly loses control. driving off at an insane speed as Babi screams at him to stop. When he does, he vents out his anger on a pile of trash cans. She asks him about the woman. He replies, she WAS my mother. The story comes spilling out about his mother's infidelity, and H's distance from his parents. Babi manages to calm him down and they spend a magical day at the beach.

Coming back home, she fakes her mother's signature on the absence slip. Her mother introduces her to the new neighbour, Gustavo and asks her to show him around. Babi refuses, lying that she was to go the cinema with her girlfriends. Her mother realizes, but doesn't stop her. Babi and Katina go back to the racing scene, where Babi is confronted by Mara, a girl H was sleeping with previously. She brandishes Babi's scarf and comments on its strength, saying that H used it to tie her to the bed the other day. Babi snatches the scarf from her and a fight ensues. Babi wins, leaving Mara bloody-lipped. 

Struck by guilt, she sobs on H's shoulder, while he consoles her that he would never cheat or hurt her. To celebrate her first war victory, he takes her to a tattoo parlor where she gets an 'H' inked onto her pelvis.

Worried about their daughter getting out of their hand, Claudio, Babi's father meets up with H. H reassures him that his daughter is a good influence him, and puts his mind at ease.

Babi submits the absence slip with the fake signature, and her teacher immediately calls her mother up and threatens her with expulsion. In order to avoid that, her parents donated a lot of money. Her mother tells her to stay away from Katina. Upset, Babi home when H climbs in from her window and takes her to a pool with Katina and Pollo. They discuss sex, and H tells her that he is no hurry. Under the excuse of a sleepover with Katina, she gains permission from her father to go out with H. He blindfolds her and drives her over to the beach house, the one she loved to "own" when she was a kid. They spend the night there, and Babi loses her virginity. H, for the first time, tells her that he loves her, and that he is happier from her to three steps above heaven.

Knowing that she was facing problems with her teacher, H pays the teacher a visit and asks her to treat Babi well. When the teacher refuses to be threatened, H and Pollo kidnap her dog, Pepito. Babi's mother cuts her allowance off and she has to babysit for money. H brings Pollo and Pepito around to take care of the kid while they spend time alone. On the other hand, they are interrupted when Pollo brings more of his friends in and start partying. Babi gets upset and throws everyone out. In order to make up, H cooks up a romantic dinner and calls her up. She reacts angrily, accusing his friends of stealing one of her mother's rings. H, outraged, reaches the biking scene and confronts Chino, beating him senseless before Mara stops him and returns the ring.

H gives her the ring back, and she lies convincingly in the court the next day. Embarrassed and upset, her mother accuses her of humiliating their family when they had promised to help the Santamarias. Babi shakes her off, saying that she doesn't want to live her mother's lousy life before riding off with H. She tells him that she won't lie for him again; if this continues, they would be through. H promises to change for her.

The results come out, and Babi gets through with the best grade, though a bit confused as she was expecting to fail. She decides to thank her teacher when she sees her boxing her stuff, and Pepito. Stunned, she leaves and breaks up with H for threatening her teacher and messing her life up. 

Her mother plans her birthday party, and a unenthusiastic Babi readies herself for the evening with Katina's help, who promises to drop by after racing with Pollo.

H, despite promising to be at the race for Pollo, turns up at the party to reconcile with Babi. Babi welcomes him with open arms and they dance. Gustavo, who is interested in Babi, accidentally spills a drink over her and tries to help even though she protests. H, irritated asks him to stay away, and when he reacts, punches him in the face. Babi gets upset and helps Gustavo up, and H is led away by Claudio. Daniela, Babi's sister, gets a call that Katina and Pollo has had an accident.

Babi and H rush to the site, where Katina is in a state of shock, begging H to find Pollo because 'they wouldn't allow her to see him'. H pushes his way through the crowd and finds Pollo being zipped up in a body-bag and gets hysterical, hitting the bike. Babi tries to comfort him, but ultimately leaves. H runs after her, and she screams at him not to touch her. She accuses him of not caring about anything or anyone, not even himself, and blames him for Pollo's death, saying that he killed him. H, beyond rational thinking, slaps her across the face. Stunned and hurt, Babi walks off, and H doesn't stop her.

Many days later, Babi is shown to have had moved on, dating Gustavo now, and not keeping in touch with Katina. Katina shows up at H's house on Christmas, detached and depressed, and gifts him a framed picture of him and Pollo at a pool. Touched, he thanks her and asks her to stay for dinner. She declines, asking him if he was still in touch with Babi. He shakes his head, and she tells him to forget her as she is with a different crowd now.

H decides to try for the last time, and calls at her house phone from the phone box outside her home. Babi's mother answers and realizes who it is. She asks him to hold on when he asks for her, and purposefully lets him hear that Babi and Gustavo are together and going away for a day. She asks him to take care of her daughter, and he assures her he will. Rafaela hangs up, and H sees Babi and Gustavo coming out in a car. Babi sees him, and is disturbed.

H goes back and sits outside his building, crying. His brother asks him if he is okay, and H breaks down in his arms.

H heals, and takes his brother to the beach where Babi and he spent their first date. He tells him of his plans of going to London for work, an idea his brother agrees as a good one. H recounts his time with Babi, knowing that he would, indeed, never feel as though he were 'Three Steps Above Heaven' again.

I loved the movie because one, Mario Casas is gorgeous. There are bikes, adrenalin and love in the story, and I really liked the acting Casas put up. I really identified with him and his feelings when he saw Babi with Gustavo. And, the fact that he lied and manipulated his way around in the first part of the story made me feel that he, too, is human. Flawed, if you will. And he changes all of that, though does occasionally take the wrong approach to fix things up, when he meets her. Now that's love.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sibling Squabbles

I remember, from about five or six years ago, an argument between two brothers. It was right in the middle of the game of football we were playing.

Older had graduated from high school and enrolled himself in an engineering college someplace north. Younger, born six years later, was still in the sixth grade.

I don't remember what the fight was about, and I certainly don't remember how it started, but I do remember Younger maliciously pointing out that Older 'had not gotten into IIT'. Older was exceptional in his studies, and he'd been aiming for IIT, but he couldn't get through.

Yet, when I met him today, he had passed out from his four-year BTech course and is joining ONGC in November. I inquired about Younger. Very busy, he replied with a hint of pride. I smiled. Determined to make it into IIT, eh?

Hopefully, he emphasized.

Well, chances are more that he won't remember that his brother had insulted him six years ago (My memory is like a sieve; EJ agrees), nevertheless, I've got to admire that there wasn't an iota of resentment at the fact that he didn't get through, and his brother still stood a chance.

Well, that's how siblings are programmed, I suppose. Because no matter how bad the fights are, no matter how many vows of not speaking to him/her, siblings always bounce back. Always.

It's a masochistic relationship, I tell you.

I've had my fair share of fights, too, physical as well as verbal. I was shoved into a bookcase once in a vicious childhood fight. I immediately burst into tears, but despite my sullenness, we had to unite forces to tape the broken glass of the bookcase. Mom discovered it anyway, since we geniuses used tape that was blue in color. I was only happy to be the tattle-tale after a confrontation.

I've hit back, too. I once threw a pair of heavy, metal scissors at my sister's feet that resulted in a puncture in her big toe. She retaliated after a few years by slashing my thigh with a blade.

The physical fights don't hurt as much as the verbal ones do. She, being the older and better at rebuttals than I am, almost always wins. Our fights sometimes end up calling each other names, and not tame ones either. Squabbles rise over the pettiest things.

Her: Feed Sirius.
Me: Do it yourself.
Her: I'm telling you to do it.
Me: Do it yourself. I'm tired/sleepy.
Her: And I'm not, you selfish thing? (only she doesn't say THING. And so it starts)

The fights sometimes escalate pretty bad, and I have to find solace by mentally placing her in all the Saw traps. I vow never to speak to her again, and even manage it for a few days (at most), only speaking when required.

But unfortunately, it's worse than an abusive relationship. Masochistic Me befriends her again.

Sirius The Ball-less Devil

God must have been playing cards with Satan when he created Sirius. The perfect devil-package, Sirius suffers from cryptorchidism, a condition that wouldn't allow us to castrate him so as to manage his ah... attempts of marital relations with my and my sister's legs.

Not that a castration could have cured him. I personally believe that only a lobotomy would work. One that would preferably involved the removal of the whole brain.

When Sirius first stepped into our home in October, 2012, he was barely nine months old. Here's a preview of the first days:

I wake to the sound of him playing (or rather trashing around) with something plastic. Dragging myself out of the bed, an effort, I discover it is my Boroplus. There were teeth-marks all over it, but thanks to the generous Emami manufacturers, no punctures. And that wasn't all. He had also tried attacking my lipbalm as well, but the thick cap didn't even register a scratch from the assault.

Being with Sirius, paying attention to him eats up the whole day. I take him for a walk and bring him back. I release him from the leash, and instead of going into the house, he promptly does a U-turn and escapes from the big hole in the fence, so conveniently made by Dolce. Takes a left, then a right. A little kid is standing outside his house, enjoying the fresh morning air. However, when a huge, and I mean huge, dark, madly-grinning dog goes straight for you, you're bound to rush inside. That's what the kid does. Unfortunately, Sirius follows him.

And then this little girl in a school uniform comes out, screaming 'Oh MAA! Oh MAA!'. Not in a cute way either. In a total top-of-your-lungs, slash-movie style.

Since Sirius decides to follow her this time (So fickle minded :D), I pounce on him and finally putting an end to his flight.

The kids are going into shock. Well, I'm exaggerating, but only a bit. They are really shaken up. I stutter apologies to their mother, to who they are clinging, and she looks angry enough to smite Sirius dead with a lightning bolt. Leading him home by the collar, I stride off really quick like an embarrassed mother whose kid just stole another kid's toys.

Sometimes, I consider changing his name to Blockhead. And this is one of those times.

Feed him three times a day, and walk him immediately afterward or he'd relieve himself in the yard. Then walk him another two times a day right at dawn and in the evening at about 6-7 PM. So that totals five times. Sometimes even more if he's doing the 'take me out' whine. Wash his paw, because he likes waddling and skidding in the drain. And oh yeah, due to his penile mis-alignment, his urine often drenches his front legs. So that up too, if you want to play 'shake-shake' with him. Washing him up seemed to take place at least about fifty times a day and leaves my hands dry and chapped when I lather up.

'Peaceful Sleep' is something from another planet now. You hit your head against the bed, and he places his snout on it, too, and goes whine-whine-whine. Then you get up and spend another fifteen minutes trying to figure out his demand this time. Is he hungry, or does he need to pee? Of course, ignoring him costs. If you do so and doze off, by the time you've woken up you're likely to find something in tatters. Most probably, they'll be your slippers (my original pair was white-white, then was replaced by white-black. Now only my white right survives), but I wouldn't rule out the others, too. So far, he's chewed up my sandals (various pairs), socks, white PT shoes, my copies of Hollywood Kids and The Rockstar by Jackie Collins (seems like he's got a fondness for her books), November Reader's Digest, my sister's old phone,  hair-clutches and rubber bands (lost count), lipbalm, Crocs, a bite to the laptop, and my pendrive. He's even run away with my sister's bra once. He looked hilarious with the purple garment hanging from his jowls. And yes, I wouldn't rule out the various products on the dresser. The problem with Sirius is, you never know what to insure. Nothing is safe from him.

Speaking of dresser, he seems quite fond of ours. Ever since he discovered the mirror (and the fact that the dog in the mirror is indeed him and not anyone else), he visits it frequently. Likes preening in it.

Despite been driven crazy by his demands, up to the point where I consider cooking him in the pressure cooker, one look of those big, round, puppy eyes and I melt. It's just impossible not to. :/

Friday, 16 August 2013

3rd Period Hindi - Of Mother tongue and Scratchers

No one really liked the Hindi teacher. While hate would have been too strong a word, no one was exactly falling heads over heels to attend those classes.

For one, he was bloody annoying. And I mean ANNOYING! His voice was as high-pitched as some of our female primary teachers. He bore an uncanny resemblance to a toad, with his protruding gut, affinity to wear his trousers where his man-boobs ended, and slanting eyes that gave him the comic look of a squinting cartoon-toad, right before it shoots its tongue out to catch a fly. Incidentally, that was the look he wore most of the time in front of us. Well, I suppose we earned it.

Few of us chose to skip his period, by not showing up. But he soon fixed that by marching up to our morning assembly line and memorizing every face that was present that day. If we decided to do a no-show after that, we could count on him to send for the attendance register and scratch out the 'P' with a red 'A' adjacent to our names.

Of course, that slowed us down, even if not really put a stop. We would file out of the classroom at the slightest excuse. While I was more tolerant, some of my gal pals would leave at the slightest insult or cutting remark he passed. Me? I merely nodded and tried to suppress my laughter, all the while thinking of his resemblance to a Bufo bufo

He loved insulting us by dragging our parents names into our faults. "Maa Baap ne kuch nahi sikhaya? Yahi sab sikhaya hai? Yeh sab badmaashi karna, halla karna?"

We retaliated (Silently, of course) by whispering "Tereko aise chillana tera Maa Baap ne sikhaya hai?"

That was the first year we got him. By the second year, the mutual tolerance increased, but our mischievousness didn't. The first year we, the Science Students, were separated, but this year, we tied up with the Commerce Students.

The Commerce Students, though not as notorious as the Humanities ones, still made his life a great deal tougher than we Scientists could have ever managed by ourselves.

Let me present a typical day:

We Scientists usually reach the Commerce classroom at least ten minutes late. Reason? "Sir Chemistry ka class le rahe thei, ab hum thode na unke muh ke samne se nikal aa sakte hain?" (The Chemistry Teacher was still inside, we could have hardly left the classroom before him)

"Sirf Chemistry ka class hi important hai, hamara nahi?" (Is only Chemistry important? My subject isn't? Important pronounced like YIMPORTANT)

Class starts. The regular ones drop their heads down within minutes of his lecture. I occasionally make eye-contact, nod as required and day-dream about who's bringing what for lunch.

The floor starts to tremble, and for an instant, he's startled, alarmed even. Earthquake!

It doesn't take him long to figure out that it's the Commerce guys, stamping the floor artfully with their feet. Even I am fooled for a moment, they're that good at it. Though they do it for another couple of times, it gets old, even for Bufo bufo. 

It's not a new trick - putting your hand in your pocket and sneaking a scratch. When Bufo shoved his hand into his pockets for the first time, it was perfectly innocuous, as though he were feeling for something, perhaps something like keys. But seven times consecutively? Every time after the first he jammed his hand into the pocket, we burst into fits of giggles. I, in particular, was having a hard time controlling my tremor in my stomach that demanded to be let loose, especially the memory of my viva from last year came up. That made me even more giggly.

It was the final straw when one of the Scientists called out, "Oi sambhal kay, chill jayega!" (Careful, it's going to peel)

He didn't say it loud. He didn't have to; he was sitting only two or three rows away from the perpetrator. That did it for me. I banged my head against my desk in my haste to hide my laughter. I was unsuccessful, mostly. My whole body was shaking uncontrollably. I sneaked a look at him. Though he pretended to have to not heard, his cheeks had a red tinge to them. 

Which was pretty impressive, considering he was as tanned as the benches we were sitting on. 

Sorry. No racist angle meant. :P

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Everyone Has A Conscience

I am not your usual Good Samaritan. I don't spare change to the beggars on the road, I don't leave tips for waiters (especially if the service is rotten), and I certainly don't have much regard for traffic rules (then again, who does?). It's probably a good thing that I am under eighteen and don't have a vehicle of my own.

The day ended in the typical fashion- exhaustion. It was nearly seven in the evening and I was itching to get back home so that I could take a bath and hit the bed. 

The pavement was as crowded as the road beside it. Armed with many 'Excuse Me's and an overtaking skill that would have put the stunt drivers of the Fast and Furious franchise to shame, I strode to the bus stop. The pavement was filled with people from all walks of life. Students, housewives, oldies, office workers. On top of that, illegal vendors also made their territory on the concrete. A fruit seller was unloading his wares onto a tall platform from a box. As he did, a few of his pears fell down and rolled to the side.

I was irritated, naturally. The pears were a potential tripping hazard. Or rather, a rolling hazard. A harmless fruit as that could cause a human pile-up. Okay, maybe nothing as drastic as that, nevertheless, being a fruit-lover, I didn't want to see them getting squashed under the feet of pedestrians.

Conscience kicking in, I stooped down and picked up the pears, one-by-one, and tossed them back into the basket. The vendor protested at first, not in a bad way, though. He thanked me profusely. I gave him a tight smile, thinking all the while that he could have shown his appreciation by offering a free pear or two.

I got up on a bus. There were no seats available, of course, and the bus was filled with people, making it a semi-sauna. I grabbed the handrail above my head with both the hands and listening to music, praying the traffic would be merciful. Well, it wasn't.

Something hit my foot. Squinting in the dim, I saw it was a folded-up, crispy fifty-rupee note. Ah. While it wasn't exactly a princely sum, it could still fetch me two plates of Momos. Or five packets of potato chips. Or a really nice bar of chocolate. No one had seen it, yet; all I had to do was place my foot quietly over it and haul it towards me. And when I would pick it up, anyone who'd see me would assume it belonged to me.

I looked around for its owner. She was teenager like me, a college student probably. She was wiping the perspiration off her face with a handkerchief. The note probably fell out when she pulled the 'kerchief from her pocket. I sighed inwardly. On one hand, the temptation of hot, steaming dumplings was doing the dance of the devil in my mind. On the other hand, seeing as she was a student like me, it was possible that she, too, had to spend days being cautious about spending. Fifty wasn't a very big amount. But I very well knew the despair of losing money myself.

Before anyone else could spot it, I picked it up. She still hadn't noticed me. I tapped her arm with the note. She turned to look at me and I held it up. Her eyes went wide as she patted her pocket. "Thanks," she took it. The look on her face made me feel good. 

Feeling like a smug Mahatma Gandhi, I made the rest of the way home quite uneventfully.
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Friday, 9 August 2013

The Farewell (Faction)

The first thing that caught my eye about that group was the sheer amount of luggage. A trunk, a carton, a tote, two duffels and a backpack, The assortment implied that only one of them was boarding the bus to... wherever. Yet there were four guys and two girls in the gathering. I wondered which of them was leaving.

I did a run-over on each of them. The two girls were out. One of them was wearing a skirt and the other a pair of shorts. Both had slippers on their feet. Then I eliminated three of the guys. I decided on the guy in the green tee-shirt. He was dressed appropriately for a journey, complete with white shoes. Though what kind of a douche choose a pair of WHITE sneakers for a journey? I shrugged mentally. His feet, not mine.

`It was confirmed by the fact that he was holding one of the girls' hands, the tall, slim one. She could very well have been the girlfriend, given the tension between them. The other one with stout legs sat on the steel trunk, knees drawn close and chin cupped in her hands. She looked... miserable. Or was she just simply bored? She looked out of place with the much older-looking group. She could have been the girlfriend of one of them. Or a sister. I scratched out the girlfriend possibility; she would've been sitting with her guy otherwise.

I looked back at the couple, who had their fingers intertwined. The girl had her eyes locked on her boyfriend, while he sporadically broke away to check the incoming buses.

Speaking of buses, I checked my ticket. The bus had left the main station at nine. I sighed. It was only nine ten, and there was no sign of it.

A bike screeched to at stop in front of them. A tall, lanky guy alighted. On a second, longer look, I realized he wasn't a bad looker. He was cute, in a boyish way.

They kept craning their necks to read the names of the buses. One of them asked the Green Guy about the bus number. 9999, he replied.

9999. So he was headed where I was.

The guy in the blue tee got up and wished the guy luck before leaving. He was shortly followed by Mr. Cute Biker, but not before they burst into a chorus an atrocious version of 'O Laagaa Sunaari Mein Daag, Mitauuu Kese'.

I was glad I was veiled by the dark, so that they could not see me smile. Not that they were paying any attention to me, anyway.

If that was not enough, they started speaking in reinvented Hindi, and even sang a verse of 'Zinda
 in the same spate, one that would have reduced Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to tears.

Cute Biker rode off, and returned with a 'Japi' and 'Gamocha'. As I watched in quiet amusement, they went ahead with the coronation. The others burst into applause as one performed the act.

I smiled again. This was clearly a guy who was loved, if not by all, sincerely by the ones who did.

Then Green Guy crouched down near the other girl, the one in shorts and a black tee shirt. They started talking, or rather, he did. She nodded occasionally to whatever he said. Then, with an impish grin, she pointed to the carton. The grin got wider after a few more words.

It was nearly nine-thirty when the guys exclaimed. Here comes Shivaji The Boss! 

I looked up and found what I was looking for. Bus 9999. I hoisted my backpack higher and fingered the straps absently while I waited for it to pull over.

Each one in the group picked something or the other up, so the luggage load was distributed evenly among them. Two of them split up the weight of the trunk and all of them formed a long line, loading the stuff one-by-one. I waited patiently for them to move on. A slightly amazed conductor asked if all of them were traveling together. He was even more amazed when they replied only one of them was.

Cute Biker asked Black Girl if she was going to put the box in. She shook her head. This is going with me.

I dumped my wheeled-suitcase in the boot, right on top of the steel trunk. The conductor shut and locked the boot and the group gave way for the passengers, namely Me and Green Guy and the conductor to pass through and onto the bus.

Green Guy went ahead. I hung back. The stink of the bus made me nauseous. I preferred to board it right before it started moving.

Green Guy hugged his girlfriend and kissed her forehead. He shook hands with his pals and hugged the close ones before patting Black Girl on the head and adding, Stay nicely.

Settling in his seat, he stuck his hand out and caught his girlfriend's. It reminded me of all the war movies I'd seen till date. The golden scene where the guy has boarded the train and still holds the hand of the girl, breaking away when the train starts moving, leaving the girl looking at him until he disappears from sight. She even had tears, which made it even more real. Classic.

Green Guy slipped his hand out when the bus started moving slowly. He slapped the  outstretched hands of his pals, as a rock star would do to his fans. He waved at Black Girl, and she promptly gave him a two-fingered salute in return, balancing the carton on her hip.

I made a running-start and jumped onto the bus with the agility of a monkey, followed by the conductor. The bus picked up speed and soon the group was just shadows in the dim road.

I looked at my ticket for my seat number. I craned my neck, checking the seat numbers on each of them. I spotted mine in the left side, the row of single seats.

With a small smile, I slipped into the seat behind the person who kept me occupied for the better part of the otherwise mind-numbing wait.

Friday, 2 August 2013

F***ed Up Fridays

Here's why batches after batches of students fail to deliver more than average Board results.

4 AM - Wake up for jogging (This is strictly optional as most of the time I can't drag myself out of the bed. If I open my eyes and it's later than 4 AM, I go right back to sleep).

5.30 AM - Get back, take a shower and perform other morning ablutions. 

Reach school by 7.15 AM.

Witness useless drama that goes by the name of 'The Morning Assembly'. There goes another half hour.

8 AM - Struggle to stay awake during Biology.

8.40 AM - Struggle to stay awake during Chemistry.

9.10 AM - Sleep during Hindi.

9.50 AM - Fresh for Physics.

10 to 10.30 AM - Spend time looting others' lunch boxes and spend time sitting on ledge debating on the latest subject we disagree on with EJ.

Spend the second half from 11 AM to 1.40 PM either sleeping or day-dreaming.

1.50 to 3 PM - Extra Classes. Justified, as I failed in every major test this month.

3.30 PM - Reach home, take shower, dig for food. If unappetizing, skip and count money for a fix of junk food.

4 PM - Set the alarm for 4.30 PM and try to doze off for a few minutes.

4.30 PM - Drag myself out of the bed just when I was about to doze off. Damn you, Highway Song!

5 to 6.15 PM - Manage to keep the eyelids peeled from my eyes as I try to make sense out of the page of the Physics book in front of me.

6.15 to 6.30 PM - Plug in ears with headphones and speed-walk to Chemistry Tuition about half a kilometer away. Walk is pleasant if I have money to chomp on a bar of chocolate on the way.

6.30 to 8 PM - Try to make sense out of Organic Reactions drawn on the board. Sporadically insult my mates from school (it's mutual).

Reach home by 8.20 PM. Check if the computer is not being hogged by anyone else. If not, immediately make my claim over it.

9.30 PM - Switch the computer off to watch the only soap I do watch - Saraswatichandra (Everyone loves Gautam Rode; I, too, am no exception).

10 PM - Force down the whatever dinner Mom serves.

10.30 PM - Cook Sirius's food for the following day and brush my teeth and fill four bottles (320 ml each).

11 PM - Try to sit down at the study table and open the Biology textbook and force myself to run my eyes over the words.

11.10 PM - Give up and retire to bed. As sleep does not come instantly, distract myself with a novel.

Continue reading till 1 AM. And then finally fall asleep. 

No wonder I'm in all those extra classes.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Tragic Tattoos

3. F*** (I'm sure it's simple enough to interpret)

All those four lettered words are inked into the knuckles of four different guys in my school, using fabric paints, blades or geometry compasses, undertaking a number of risks - infections, septicemia and maybe even cancer. What's even funnier is the fact that they can easily scratch the letters out using a blade. Ain't that masochistic.

Moreover, these words sound like catch-phrases of cheap sports brands. DARE YOU. PLAY YOU. F*** YOU. I HURL. Might as well have had PUKE tattooed on instead.

Homemade tattoos are infinitely cheaper than the professional ones, and infinitely riskier. 

Other homemade designs include random tribal designs and Chinese letters no one seems to understand (including the one sporting it). Sym, one of the inked clique in my school, has a rose tacked to his name on the left forearm, something incomprehensible on his knuckles, and the star attraction, a portrait of his mother on his upper arm. While I've never really seen his mother, the portrait is impressively lifelike (even though Mom doesn't have ears in it). However, I'm missing the whole purpose of undergoing an expensive, under-the-needle procedure for someone he doesn't even really respect. Maybe, if he has siblings, it might prove useful someday in a property dispute. 'Mere paas Maa hai'.

Two of my female friends have been under the needle too, for all the wrong reasons. They both got their (ex) boyfriends' names tattooed on their backs. Then they broke up. One's got Sunny in blue ink, while the other's got Nepal. Mistake, horrible mistake. I can't trust anyone to stay monogamous long enough to ink in their names. Their tattoos cost around 4000 (average), and if they have to remove them by laser treatment, it'll cost them at least around six times the initial price. So they're stuck with two persons they'll have a hard time forgetting. Even though they might choose not to look at their backs in the mirror (highly unlikely), anyone spending time over there will ask them, Who's Sunny? and Why do you like Nepal so much?

My sister got the name of our late, great Labrador retriever, Dolce onto the side of her wrist. This, I concede, wasn't such a bad idea seeing as Dolce never dumped anyone, was faithful to us until his last breath, and was done in a professional, aseptic environment.