Archive for the ‘Out of the ordinary’ Category

It’s been a while since I’ve graced my own blog. I finally decided to write something, fighting my most formidable foe, sloth. A lot of brain-wracking and thinking later, I decided to scribble something, lest I should lose the little gaggle of readers that this page invites. I’m already beginning to nurture fears of having lost more than half of them. It was on the eve of Noël that I sat down to write a new post. But then again I stood vanquished by the dreaded enemy, so, I decided to take a raincheck on writing.

Over a month later, a few minutes past midnight, I found myself sitting next to the fireplace in my aunt’s house. It was a cold Florida night only devoid of the hallmark snow. Everyone but myself, the nocturnal beast, was snoring away to a dreamy slumber. Armed with a laptop, I sat down to write a post on some elusive subject. I began to rummage through the mess of ideas that were galloping through my head, when I heard a ruffle from behind the wall almost near the roof. The noise seemed to come from above the fireplace and seemed to slip down the chimney. I grabbed a rod next to the hearth and began prodding it up the chimney.

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” came a deafening scream and something came crashing down. Even the gods would’ve gone deaf. Owing to natural reflexes – I screamed too. But surprisingly, no one else seemed to have heard it. The sudden hellish commotion hurled me to the ground. A haze of dust and ash billowed from the hearth. As it cleared, a large red ball-like figure began to fade into sight and it began to move.

“WHAT THE FU**!!” I howled out of sheer fear.

“You mind your language kid!!” came the reply in a thick English accent.

“Who the hell are you?” I snapped back, my heart still pounding. I was still trying to get my bearings on what was happening.

“Look again” his gruff voice said.

I did. I looked again, and again. I still couldn’t place him. So, I looked again, and again. He was a ripe-old portly man with an impressively long white beard, clothed in blood-red coat, white cuffs, and a large black leather belt. He was wearing a funny looking red cone hat.

“Is he who I think he is?” I thought to myself.

“Yes, Yes!! I am who you think I am!” he said as though he was reading my mind. He struggled to climb out of the fireplace.

This time I looked closer and sure enough, it was him.

“Santa? Is that you?”

“Yes, you bonehead! It is I, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, St. Nic, Kriss Kringle. Now, give the ol’man a hand will ya” he yelled, still trying to pull his meaty self out of the damn fireplace.

Instead of helping him out, I ran to the window to get a peek at his sleigh. There it was, with the nine reindeer.

“I’D BE DAMNED! It is Santa!!” I exclaimed with a childlike excitement.

“You don’t come over here and pull me out’a this fireplace RIGHT NOW, you will be damned! I promise you. I’ll make sure you are!” he cursed.

With a sheepish grin, I helped him drag himself out of the fireplace.

“So, wassup Santa? What are you doing here at this time of the year, Christmas is long gone! And why, O why! Why the chimney, when you know you’re not as acrobatically flexible for it? Can’t you just knock on the door?” I asked him as he dusted himself.

“Well, I just took some time off to see my old friend, K and the chimney….mmm…let’s just say I’m sticking to an old custom.” he smiled.

“hmmm…so you’re here to see me? Wow! I’m touched Santa! But now really, to what do I owe this honor of your visit?”

“O Alright!! I’m here to give you something that’s been festering in my warehouse for a while. It’s not something my elves made. It’s something your chum Max wanted me to give you. I don’t see why you deserve it in any form, but I just had to get it off my chest” he admitted. He pulled this out from his goodie bag.

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“WHAT!! Really? This is for me? Thanks Santa! Thank you so much!”

“O Please! Thank your buddy Max for it, not me. I didn’t think you were worthy of it in the least” he heartlessly admitted.

“But I’ll take it anyway, thank you very much! You can be really mean for a jolly old man, you know!” I remarked with a frown.

“So, why didn’t you come earlier? You sneak to every house with good people on Christmas Eve with all sorts of presents. Was I not a good boy Santa?” I chuckled.

“Don’t even get me started on your bad-boy quotient last year. You have a special mention on Hell’s most-wanted list. The gargoyles have a bounty on your soul. About popping by at this time of the year, well….. I thought, if you really deserved this blog-award then I’ll let you blog first and then give the award away. I waited for you to commit something to paper before I handed it over. But you sinfully indolent bum! You wouldn’t even login to your blog, let alone writing! You’ve been dead for over two months now! Some of your friends even have obituaries prepared for your blog. The prolonged silence even drove away some of your regulars. You’re hopeless!”

“I know, I know! Now please don’t rub it in. I admit I was inconciderate to my readers, but you know how it’s been in the past couple of months. I was travelling and then I fell sick. So, cut me some slack!”

“O yes, of course, the illness. What’s it called again? Shingle bells, Lingle bells or some hogwash like that. You know your friends were joking about it” he joked as he burst into his signature guffaw “HO, HO, HO, HO……You know, your friends have a brilliant sense of humor, I love those guys!..….HO, HO, HO, HO…..Damn!! This is killing me!!” he cracked up as his cauldron-like belly wobbled to the rhythm of his laughter.

“You know, for a man who’s ever-fussy about children being virtuous, you are a foul-mouth, Santa!! And please….it’s called ‘Shingles’, not Shingle bells. You’re just obsessed with those carols. Christmas is gone, remember? Grow up, ol’man!” I commented with scorn.

“Right!! Whatever! I find it amusing!” he shrugged and “O, and one more thing! Max tagged you”

“Tagged me? With what?”

“Well, the rules of the tag are” he pulled out a scroll and read “Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like). Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better. Nice tag, ain’ it?”

“Yeah! Nice one! So, I have to link some of my old posts eh?”

“Yes, and then write new ones, don’t just stop with this. This tag isn’t an epilogue, you know” he mocked.

I pretended to ignore that comment.

“hmmm….so, family eh? Let’s see. Well, I don’t have posts exclusively written about my family, may be this will qualify. It mentions my mom and her peeves.”

“How about this? It shows what an angel you mother is” Santa suggested.

“O Yes!! Of Course! Thanks Santa!” I said “mmmm….I really need to come up with more posts on my family.”

“Yes, momma’s boy, you must!” he joked.

“Well, now for my friends. They eat a large portion of this cake. There’s this and this for a start. Interesting episodes! Then there’s this with pictures! And then this post briefly mentions another best friend of mine who had a little rendezvous with some very different people” I said with a naughty smirk.

“Ho, Ho, Ho! Yes, that one had me in splits!” he agreed.

“Yeah! And now, for myself. Well, what better way to introduce myself than with this, watsay Santa?”

“Yes, there’s no better way! And coup de grâce! This one! Sums you up in one word!”

“What word?”

“Weirdo!!” he burst into another fit of laughter.

“Okay, now! The next category, love. Aaah!! My most successful post to date!! This one invited so many comments with questions and interjections, I had never imagined! Some even said that it couldn’t have been written by me. There’s nothing else and nothing better in this category!” I grinned.

“No, seriously, did you really write that post? And did it really happen?” he asked, trying to force things out of me.

“Don’t you know?” I retorted “Now, for the final category anything I like. Well, I like all of ’em!” I said grinning again “This and this would take the cake. My favorites!! The former being thought-provoking and the latter, just hilarious. Don’t you think?”

“Yes, but then how about this one, Mr. Ghalib!! hmmm?” he winked.

“Sure, if you like it!” I smiled “Well, there we have it! But I already seem to have broken the rules of the tag! It asked for five links, this is as long as a toilet-paper roll!”

“That’s alright, my friend, as long as you take up the tag! Now, tag five other people” he reminded me.

“O I completely forgot! Yes, I’ll tag and award my childhood friend and fellow brilliant blogger Vidya, and other excellent bloggers, the confounded-lady, Nandini (whenever she’s back from her sabbatical!), rads and Prashanthi. Go all taggy guys…err…girls!!”

“Well, good job son!! You’re back on track!”

“Yes, I’m back on track! All, thanks to you and Max!”

“Alright! If my job here’s done, I shall take your leave. My reindeer must be dehydrated from all the perspiration! Is it even winter over here in Florida?”

“Perspiration? It’s freezing out there!”

“Son, do you even know where I come from! It’s called the ‘NORTH POLE’! You think this so-called ‘freeze’ beats the ‘close-to-absolute-zero’ temperatures?”

“Absolute zero, Santa?”

“Alright, that was an exaggeration, but I wager, you have not the slightest idea how cold it can get out there!”

“O okay, okay! I understand, I come from a winter-oven and you from a summer-deep-freeze. Happy?”

“Alright! I should now hit the clouds! It’s late and my elves must be getting out of control, they only need a reason to engage in mindless frivolity and with me here, the warehouse must be a complete mess! Anyway, you be good and you HAD BETTER KEEP WRITING or I’ll run you over with my sleigh! You understand?”

“Whoa! Is that a death threat? I’ll call the angels have you arrested and frozen in the North Pole for all eternity!” I joked.

“We’ll see! If it can get you to blog regularly, then it is worth all that pain. Anyway, you keep writing and be good, okay?”

“Aye, Aye Sir!” I gave him military style salute.

“At ease! Now get to bed, it’s past two. Good Night and very happy belated greetings to you for Christmas, New Year, Pongal and Republic Day!”

“Thanks Santa, and wish you the same! And Good Night!”

“RUDOLF!! Let’s go!!” he called out to the reindeer. He hopped onto his sledge and away he flew. What a jolly old man!!

The next moment I found myself sitting on the same couch next to the fireplace with the laptop. Everything around me seemed untouched, including the fireplace, as if nothing had happened. And the time was a few minutes past midnight, the time I sat down to write. I looked into the monitor and there it was, this post! All written and concluded!

Was it all a dream? I wondered.

Some questions are better left unanswered!

Let me assure you that the not-so-subtly suggestive title will slowly begin to make sense as you read on. The subject matter of this post is not particularly objectionable but may seem marginally racy to some. But what the hell! This is my page and I’ll write whatever I damn well please! So, here I go!

As someone who has lived in India for 22 years, I can, with unquestionable certainty, establish that every one of us has, at some point in time, encountered a group of eunuchs or hijras. It could be on the train, in a busy market, at bus stops, near temples, at a North Indian function – it could be anywhere, but seen them, you must have. Don’t deny it! I know it. (They are called kojjas in Telugu, which sounds more ethnically-cool. So, I will be using its abbreviation ‘KJ’ throughout this post to address them.) KJs attack you with a formidable weapon – a discordant ensemble of claps and cochlea-rupturing voices (no offence to them, but when they sing, they are sure to cause an ear-haemorrhage!) demanding money for their unearthly ‘choir performance’. They are almost always in groups waiting to ambush their prey. They catch you in the unguarded moment and come clapping and singing. They shower all sorts of blessings on you and go “Aeyi Rajaa! Chal dena. Mera Rajaa!” as the clapping persists, sometimes adding lewd gestures (read ‘threats’) to frighten you. You would be better advised to turn in the first big note your hand chances upon in your pockets as you grope. If you deny them the privilege, then be prepared to be violated, for the ‘gestures’ will no longer be just ‘gestures’, if you know what I mean! I believe, lessons are better taught with anecdotes. So, I shall take that route to elucidate.

I was traveling to Chennai from Hyderabad by the ‘Chennai Express’ which never started or reached the destination on time. In keeping with its own tradition, it was late that day too. Certain towns on its route are notorious for their exacting cabals of Super-KJs. Nellore is one such town which is supposed to pass at around 3 am, but never did. You could sleep in peace if it did. KJs aren’t nocturnal train attackers, apparently. Anyway, that day, the train arrived at Nellore at around 7 am and, as you might expect, an army of KJs boarded the train. With their inveterate clapping, singing and blessing, they combed every coach and every cabin pursing all the money they could from their helpless audience. As I heard their melodious voices from the other end of the compartment, I crammed all the 100s and 500s into my suitcase and pulled out a 10 as a token of my generosity for the promotion of the timeless art they were inevitably going to perform. I prepared myself for the ensuing concert by plugging my ears. The guy sitting on the opposite berth was unaffected by the preparations everyone around was making. He gave me a cocky look with a smirk that said ‘You silly! I can’t believe you’re afraid of them. Look at me, I’m a superhero, the invincible Shun-KJ-man’. I threw him an even cockier look clubbed with pity, that said ‘We’ll see who survives, you or Super-KJ’. And the troupe arrived, gave a memorable performance, gave themselves an applause and then it was collection time! Everyone chipped in their share of the mandatory donations. Our Shun-KJ-man’s cocky indifference irked Super-KJ and his(er) troupe.

The conversation: Super-KJ had a thick Nellore accent in Telugu.

Super-KJ: Aeyi, Saaruk Kaan, teeyi dabbulu. (Aeyi, Shahrukh Khan, out with the money!) *clap, clap*

Shun-KJ: Chillara ledamma. (I don’t have any change.) *contemptuous look*

Super-KJ: Oyabboo! Yeme, Vijaya. Vintiva? Sillara ledanta Sakti Kapooru daggara. Igo abbaya! rendu, aidu chillara teeste, muddu pedata emanukunnavo! Notelu teeyi! (What? Vijaya, you heard him? He has no change. Look Shakti Kapoor, if you show me measly change of two or five, I’ll give you a kiss. Gimme bills!) *playfully caresses Shun-KJ’s cheek*

Me (thinking): Shakti Kapoor? *trying hard to repress a guffaw* (This was the time when Shakti Kapoor made news for all the wrong reasons, hence, was known even in the south.)

Shun-KJ-man’s cockiness and superhero-ish machismo flash-evaporated at the threat of a kiss. His face suddenly wore a flushed look of morbid terror as his hands frantically groped for money. He pulled the first note in his shirt pocket and handed it over without even looking at it. I noticed that it was a 50. Super-KJ and the troupe gladly accepted their reward. In return, Super-KJ tenderly brushed his(er) palm against Shun-KJ’s cheek, gave it a caress and winked at him before they left.

I was still trying really hard to suppress my laughter that was waiting to burst. I decided to play the meanie for a bit. I noticed Super-KJ and the troupe in the next cabin engrossed in their performance routine. I patted Shun-KJ on the shoulder and said “Sir. Pilustunnaru!” (Sir. They’re calling you!) as I pointed to the troupe and guess what happened! The guy turned around and one of the Super-KJs happened to notice him. (S)He winked at him blowing him a kiss! Shun-KJ simpered and donned an I’ve-seen-enough-of-this-cruel-world-I-no-longer-have-the-will-to-live kinda look. I ran to the bathroom, laughed till my guts hurt and returned to my seat. And every time I’d look at the guy, the name ‘Shakti Kapoor’ would start ringing in my head and I would stifle another fit of laughter. This went on until I reached Chennai. The moment I got off the train, I burst into a laughter frenzy.

The following incident also occured on the same train but at a different time. Nine of us were headed to IIT-Madras to represent our college at “Saarang ’04”, their annual cultural fest. The train halted at Guntur, a major junction which arrives at around 9 pm (not too late for KJ revelries, as it turned out!). A battalion of Super-KJs had already begun their ‘Operation Clap-dance’. Three of the guys from our group were at the door of the compartment smoking, while the remaining six of us gathered into one cabin cracking raunchy jokes on each other. As the bettalion drew close, five of us prepared for the imminent third-degree torture. The sixth guy, who happens to be one of my best friends, sat there like another Shun-KJ-man. The KJ Regiment arrived, did their little gig and came to each of us showering blessings, stuffing our money into their saris. When it was my friend’s turn, he brusquely replied, “Ledu, pomma” (I don’t have anything. Just go!)

Super-KJ: Aeyi, Ritik Row-sun! Enti? Leva? Naa chiknaa, teeyi, untayi choodu. (Aeyi Hritik Roshan! What? Don’t tell me you don’t have anything. Look closely, you’ll find something, my cutie-pie!) *clap, clap*

My friend: Ekkadinunchi vastaru raa babu! (Where do these people come from man!) *indignantly, turning to the guy next to him*

In a display of annoyance, displeasure at my friends remark, one of the Super-KJ’s did something unthinkable.

(S)he said “Ekkadinuncha? Ikkadinunchi.” (From where? From here!) *Lifts up the sari upto the waist, as (s)he faces my friend*

The jolt he got from that little ‘flash’ of anatomy, seems to have snapped a few of his neural synapses. I think he still suffers from that slight loss of sanity sometimes! Poor guy! The kind of things he brought himself to see! He was obviously the butt of all the jokes for the entire trip that followed. I still pull his leg over it!

So there, people! Lessons from KJland! Next time you come across KJs, don’t disrespect them. They may not be very receptive of it. They have weapons against which even the most powerful nuke would disarm itself! Don’t try to act snooty with them, they know how to pull you down. Act wise and save your eyes (from having to watch something ghastly!). Let the ‘lewd gestures’ remain gestures!

Here’s a song that teaches you the lessons you need even more lucidly (Please excuse the obscenity in the video)! Yenjaai and learn! 😀

PS: No hate mails/comments will be tolerated. This post was inspired by this one.