“उह्…. मुझे यह् computer नही चाहिये … इसका mouse छोटा है !”
The girl sitting next to me in the cyber cafe yelled in disgust and stood up in evident anger, pushing back her chair with such force that it nearly toppled over. I had just settled down at my cubicle and had barely glanced at the day’s developments on my monitor, when this mini tempest ruffled my rather tranquil feathers, and forced me to turn my attention towards her, something I rarely do in a cyber cafe except when besotted by extraordinarily alluring company.
I was tempted to ask “क्या आपको छोटा माउस पसन्द नही ….and can’t you be happy and contented with what you have got? After marriage, would you ask for a new husband when you find out that he too ain’t got a computer with as big a mouse as you had dreamt of”, but I preferred to remain silent as I saw the café owner fast approaching with a startled look on his face.
The girl repeated her demand, this time with a distinct sneer and contempt in her voice.
“देखिये, मुझे ये वाला नही चाहिये . इसका screen dull है और mouse भी बहुत छोटा है . आप मुझे कोई बड़े mouse वाला computer दे रहे हैं या मैं जाऊँ ?”
The café owner’s pride seemed hurt at the threat “अरे madam …mouse की size से क्या फ़र्क पड़ता है ? काम तो इससे भी बढ़िया होता है..” I agreed. For a man, the screen and the mouse are sensitive issues, and no one likes to have his mouse rejected merely because of size! And speaking of bright screens, why do women forget that a dull screen actually spares the eyes from undue strain, and while bright screens may look funky and handsome, they may turn out to be quite unfaithful and associated with divorce diverse complications. Anyway, the girl had her way, and her demands were promptly fulfilled. The sleepy cyber café soon returned to the placid silence of the humming air conditioners, and things were normal again.
I returned my attention to the monitor. But the turbulence in my mind was far from settled. After all, the girl had stirred (girls usually stir a lot of things) a host of queries in my mind which needed answers. Come to think of it, had there been no mouse, would the accomplishments of Bill Gates or of Google’s bosses been half as ‘note’worthy as they are now? Without the mouse, the Sensex wouldn’t really have got a chance to screw us and all of Satyam’s assests would still have been intact. Imagine the impact it would have if Big B wrote in his blog.… “मै और मेरा माउस अक्सर यह् बातें करते हैं….” If I had my way, no girl on this earth would ever have said “मुझे छोटा mouse नही चाहिये”.
I absentmindedly caressed the fêted tool itself. Though it’s quite unassuming to look at, the computer mouse is one of the most important pieces of hardware. Personally, I prefer the old fashioned ones with balls. It’s nice and heavy to hold, and is quite comfortable to work with. Moreover, the one with balls is good at pointing, and seldom wavers from the target, although it needs some spirited cleansing of the ball every now and then to ensure faithful performance with each stroke. The optical ones with fancy LEDs may be sleek and lighter, but they are fearfully notorious on slippery surfaces (like glass, granite and satin) and quite prone to drifting unpredictably with occasionally frightful consequences (some websites which you do not wish to open in the presence of your bosses may inadvertantly open with resultant misconfusions).
And of course there are laptops, where you don’t need the mouse and the ball at all (sigh!); only a few deft caresses of the nimble finger is enough to fire up the flames of digital passion.
Shinde dropped me right in front of Marina Mansion at the junction of S V Patel Marg and Marine drive, close to the staircase leading upto the footbridge. Across the road, on my right, lay Chowpatty, a vivid expanse of golden yellow sand, gloriously bathed in bright arc lights. It was 8.40 pm. I felt a bit of pity for Shinde, who, when I last saw him, was desperately fighting off a stubborn challenge by two stout Parsi ladies insisting on a lift. Poor chap. May his wife allow him to rest in peace (and in one piece) once he reaches home!
Slowly ascending the steps of the footbridge, I marvelled at the resplendent architecture of the buildings lining the Marine Drive. Though Marina Mansion seemed unremarkable in comparison to the other buildings, the rather dull appearance only belied the strategic importance of the three storeyed structure, which, I could bet, allowed one of the best views of the entire Chowpatty beach. I wondered if film and TV crews had already infested the block, premium space being such scarce in Mumbai! Opposite the Marina Mansion, stood Fulchand Niwas, home to a few well known restaurants in the Girgaum – Chowpatty area. I stood for a while on the footbridge, looking up at the imposing western façade of the Gothic structure, and reflected whether the visage bore any resemblance to the bow of the Titanic. Below, the Marine drive was a gush of molten gold, as thousands of vehicles streaked under the footbridge, their headlamps lighting up the promenade and spilling beyond.
Those who have seen the expansive coastlines of peninsular India and have been to the beaches in Goa, Kerala, Chennai, Andhra or Karnataka will agree that Chowpatty is a rather minuscule beach, perhaps a little more than half a kilometre across. But for Mumbai’s 20 million dreams, Chowpatty is an iconic symbol of emancipation, a liberation from the mundane, a deeply coveted indulgence after long and tedious hours of droning existence. It was nearly 9.00 pm, and quite dark beyond the arc lights. Straight ahead, the horizon was a blur in black, punctuated by a few obscure blushes of light coming from freighters docked in the distant sea. On the left, the Queen’s Necklace was like a dazzling apparition. Closer, and to the right, the waves slowly lapped on the sand, their dull white, phosphorescent linings breaking upon Chowpatty in a riot of fluorescent colours as Malabar Hill delicately tossed its extravagant radiance at the sea below.
I stood there, transfixed in awe, as I absorbed the tranquillity in muted silence. Many minutes may have passed, when my reverie was suddenly broken by squeals of little children chasing each other excitedly. I diverted my attention to the people around. There were many couples on the beach, some squatted on the sand and talking animatedly, while a few others taking a quiet, leisurely stroll, arms lovingly held across each other. Then there were entire families, stretched out in various degrees of leisurely recline. The army of vendors, though cropped short on account of it being a weekday, was still formidable enough to attract your undivided attention. They were selling glow-in-the-dark yoyos and parachutes, plastic toys, roasted corn, balloons, and even rides for children atop small beach bikes. I spotted a couple of photographers too. An icecream trolley passed by, selling flavoured ice candies for Rs. 5/- a piece. There was a picture painted on its side, rather a face with the tongue sticking out. After careful appraisal, I could identify that it was Govinda, though he looked pitifully emaciated. The icecreamwallah had finally identified his woes and decided to put him on a much needed diet!
I had to get on. I stood up, dusted the sand off my trousers and set off in search of a plateful of spicy bhelpuri at one of the stalls, humming that evergreen number from Gurudutt’s CID…
“Aye dil, hai mushkil, jeena yahan…zara hatke, zara bachke, ye hai Bombai meri jaan…”
Part III was written much earlier, but I became so numb with Kambakkht Ishq’s hangover, that this blogpost was excessively delayed. You may refresh your memories by reading the prologue here and the pain there.
As I said earlier, Bebo is a wannabe surgeon. She weighs a little over twenty kilos, roughly equal to the added weights of Sabiston’s and Schwartz’ Textbooks of Surgery, lumped together in a bikini towel. Susie and I concluded that in order to get a degree Bebo must have soaped her examiners with front row passes to her swimwear shows, and that she badly needed to practice her skills as a butcher before she could be entrusted with the job of dismembering a stuntman. However, this being a movie, we ignored the minor factual errors and concentrated on the larger picture as a whole. So Bebo cut up Akshay, and ended up leaving her watch inside his tummy. Afterwards, Akshay moved heaven and hell to discover the source of the earth splitting chants of Manglam Manglam, which were in fact coming from inside him only!
It was interval soon, and the dim lights came on. From the corner of my eye, I noticed Faddu and Dimpy quickly move away from each other with naughty half smiles and a coy, come-hither type of look on their faces. A few nasty thoughts rampaged in my mind, but Faddu explained that he was sharing an SMS joke only. I had my doubts, though.
Faddu stood up and trotted off, saying he was going to get some snacks, but I knew he would first go to the loo, and then to the snack bar to buy nachos and coke. It wasn’t a very agreeable thought (even if he washed his hands thoroughly), and I resolved not to touch that plate of nachos defiled with Faddu’s machos. I got up and moved to Faddu’s seat, leaned over Dimpy’s, and took up the profound matter of Bebo’s surgical skills with Dimpy. She seemed greatly interested.
“Bonerji boss…did Akshay have to remove his clothes in the OT!”
“Dimmpal, I told you I am not Bonerji.” I said with a tone of mock offense. ”Clothes? Oh yes! every bit. You never do any surgery with clothes on…I mean, with no clothes on the patient. Very important Dimple, very important…else the patient gets all sorts of infections!”
“Ohh Boss!” Dimpy’s jaw dropped. Susie looked quite excited.
“Wouldn’t he feel …uh….ashamed without his clothes?”
“I should think so.” I said gravely. “And with Bebo as the surgeon, all types of uncomfortable accidents are possible!”
“Accidents? What accidents?” Dimple stared at me with wide eyes.
“Things in Akshay would shoot straight up and refuse to come down…you see.”
There was a stunned silence. Susie shifted uneasily in her chair.
“Things that Bebo would really like to hold on to might get out of her hand!”
Dimple gulped. “Things like?” She was breathing heavily.
“Can’t you guess? So simple!”
“No” Dimpy whispered, her cheeks turning as red as a tomato.
“Like? Like the blood pressure! Pulse…..!” I declared casually.
“Oh! BP! Yes….!” The two girls exchanged quick knowing glances and heaved a collective sigh of relief. Why were they getting so worked up on the trifling question of BP and pulse, I wondered.
Faddu arrived with a tub of popcorn. When he saw me occupying his seat, he looked a bit annoyed and grumbled that he had a few more SMS jokes which he wanted to share with Dimpy. I refused to budge, and assured him that I had enough of them myself and would happily share them with Dimpy if she so desired.
The second half brought more pain. Boman Irani (Doctor Deaf) and Javed Jaffrey (Sue-er ka bachcha) compete with each other for the trophy of ‘complete ace-whole’ of the movie. Bebo preserves her virginity and Akshay somehow keeps his BP and pulse under control despite both of them snoozing under the same sheet in their birthday suits. Amrita Arora frequently changes exotic swimwear in the kitchen. Bebo bamboozles Akshay in a bikini, cuts him up once again to retrieve the watch and then dumps him. In the end everyone bashes everyone else, but not before Sylvestor Stallone makes a couple of illogical appearances and gets a peck on the cheek from Bebo for . In the end, Akshay dumps Denise and goes to watch a movie with Bebo.
Sylvestor Stallone’s appearance stirred Susie who sat up in awe and exclaimed happily “Saar…..John Dumbo!”
“John Rambo” I corrected her.
“But whats he doing in the backyard in the afternoon?” asked Dimpy.
“Susu karne aaya thaa…uske ghar ka toilet kharaab hai” mumbled Faddu and finished the popcorn.
Concluded (derived from the words ‘Conclusively’ and ‘Dead’)
8 pm is a time which holds different connotations for different people. For housewives in general, it is the time to finish off kitchen chores and dig in front of the TV for a dose or two of the soaps. For kids, its time to wind up the nonsense, stow away the toys under the bed and settle down with homework. Men, who are lucky enough to reach home early, would find solace in either a cup of tea or a shot of spirit, depending on how their preferences have evolved with their promotions. For lovers, it’s the time to surrender their souls to each other (with an eye on the infinitely more desirable ‘physical’ surrender which would follow in due course!).
For me, that particular August evening, it was time for a touchdown at Chowpatty.
Having dumped the books in a heap on my bed, I showered, changed into casuals, slipped on a pair of sandals and hopped out onto the street, looking for a taxi to take me to Chowpatty. August Kranti Marg was buzzing with the commotion generated by a frenzied scamper of pedestrians returning from work, with cars and taxis honking madly for a right of passage. All my efforts to hail a cab seemed futile, as taxi after taxi dashed past without even caring to look at my gesticulations. Nah, the strategy was not working. I remembered having seen a few taxis standing in front of the August Kranti Park gate in the morning. Now where was that? I had to ask someone. Okay, there was a small cubicle selling toffees and trinkets. I fished out a two rupee coin from my pocket and asked for Mango Bite. Five Mango Bites for two rupees! Great deal. I asked him about the taxi stand. Over there. He gave me elaborate details. I started walking in the direction he gave. Took out a Mango Bite from the pocket, unwrapped the sticky yellow pellet and popped it in my mouth. I love Mango Bite. I may have devoured two thousand Mango Bites in my life already. Awww! This one seemed extraordinarily gooey! Appeared to be more of a mango-chew! Now wait. I had not yet thrown the wrapper away. I peered in the light of the street neon.
It was a Mangoo Bite. Man + goo + bite. Hell. The taste in my mouth changed from sweet to sour to bitter, and finally settled for something which was strongly disagreeable.
Presently, I saw a taxi, with a bold ‘Shinde’ in red adorning the hind screen. That cheered me up. It was already 8.15. I approached Mr. Shinde with considerable hope. He was chewing lazily on a mouthful of paan and counting his cash when I interrupted him.
Now that was a serious setback. Here was a taxi in black and yellow. But things were already looking bleak and hollow for me.
“Kyon nahi chaloge?”
Shinde raised an eyebrow. A little bead of red appeared at the corner of his lips. Turning away from me, he shot out a mouthful of spittle, wiped his jaw with the back of his hand and went back to counting his earnings. I stood there expecting an answer.
“Arre toh Chowpatty kaun sa door hai? 10 minute ka rasta hai”, I persisted.
“Bola naa, time up ho gaya. Apun ko ghar jaane ka hai.”
I strongly brushed aside the image of a hapless Dilip Kumar running around here and there and howling “Arre bhai…arre bhai” in the middle of the road searching for a taxi. On the contrary, I was increasingly feeling like Mithun Chakraborty, and even considered screaming once “Aaaaaayyye ssaaala”.
“Toh theek hai. Mereko rasta bata do. Main paidal chala jayega.”
Shinde’s eyes popped out. I was pestering him no end.
“Kya bhaisaab. Doosra taxi le lo na.”
“Idhar doosra teesra kuchh nahi hai.”
Shinde surrendered. Spitting out the remainder of his paan, he turned the meter down and with a shake of his head, jerked the rear door open. I jumped inside.
“Saala apun ko roz late ho jata hai…..bibi kehti hai 9 baje tak ghar waapas aa jana..apun ka ghar Dadar ke paas hai…roz saade dus gyarah bajta hai…..”
Again that rush of salty air. Distinctly cooler though. The assault on Chowpatty was on.
At 6.00 pm I was out on the streets again. This time I took a detour off Kemps Corner from under the Peddar Road flyover towards right and sauntered along the prestigious N S P Marg, a busy thoroughfare in the shadows of the picturesque Padam Hill and gently snaking around its foothills. I was thrilled to find out that the Kemps Corner flyover was the first flyover to be built in Mumbai, that too way back in 1965. It was a humbling feeling to be standing beneath a few hundred tonnes of steel and 330 metres of proud history.
N S Patkar Marg (earlier Hughes Road) probably symbolises whatever there is to a staggeringly opulent lifestyle. Ironically, it might appear to be in utmost conflict to the very principles which a devoted socialist like Nyaymurti Sitaram Patkar probably stood for all his life! Come to think of wealth, sex and fast cars, NSP Marg has everything. It houses the world famous diamond grading and gem testing laboratories of the Gemmological Institute of India and the office of IASECT (Indian Association of Sex Educators, Counsellors and Therapists with the legendary daddy of all sex gurus Dr. Prakash Kothari at its helm). But the hottest of the addresses is probably the neat little bundle of expensive German steel, the Porsche dealership.
At the Porsche India Centre, across a thick sheet of glass, a dazzling Cayenne Turbo worth nearly $200000 rested proudly with a topless sleek red Boxter lying seductively by its side, each one a breathtaking spectacle by itself. I gawked at the sight for a minute or two, gulped a couple of times, picked up my jaw from the road and moved on in search of Mohammad Bhai Mansion, a place more in line with the immediate goals in my life. I was looking for Crossword, the outlet in Kemps Corner being one of the largest bookstores in India. I soon realised that I had overshot my target, so I had to retrace my steps, allowing myself a lustful second look at the obscenely luxuriant oberklassewagens.
It was almost 6.30 when I entered Crossword. What seemed like a decent looking bookstore from the outside turned out to be a huge cavernous vestibule lined by row upon row of books, with only narrow passages in between where you couldn’t pass without substantial rubbing of assorted body parts (with those of others, of course). There were books everywhere; books on the left and books on the right, books in front and books behind, books on the walls and books on the floor, and some even suspended from the ceiling! Then there was an entire floor (the upper one) dedicated to CDs, VCDs, DVDs, gifts and what not, with a nice little eatery tucked away in the corner selling croissants and doughnuts to fat little kids and their dads. It was my impression that the moms, in general, were watching their weight. Women in Mumbai are pretty health conscious (or pretty and health conscious)…aren’t they? Anyway, after taking a quick look around, I settled among the fiction titles and did not notice how the next one hour flew by.
When I came out of crossword, it was 7.30 pm by my watch. I had purchased Chowringhee by Shankar (on which book Aparna Sen based her movie 36, Chowinghee Lane), The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom (a New York Times bestseller for 95 weeks and, according to Wiki, the bestselling first time novel ever written), Prey by Michael Crichton and Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth (which he based on his real life experience, having partially financed an unsuccessful coup d’état against Equatorial Guinea on behalf of the Igbo people of Africa). All these books were meant to be little gifts for a few of my old acquaintances in Mumbai and around. The packets were quite a handful, but they never bothered me. I love books and do not mind carrying them for a while.
Kemps Corner was flooded as if it were day, lit up by the incandescence of a thousand neons along the Peddar Road and the August Kranti Marg. I walked back downhill to my hotel, munching the quintessential vada pao bought for Rs. 7/- from a roadside vendor having a sizeable clientele.
The day was far from over.
Goodness gracious! Look at it his way… I had practically whiled away 35 years of my life, doing nothing except longing wishfully to soak up the gargantuan metropolis into my veins! So when I finally touched down at Santacruz and hailed a taxi to take me to Kemps Corner, I knew my inexorable wait was finally over. As the taxi exited Vile Parle and shot through the arterial Western Express Highway at breakneck speeds, Mumbai’s shimmering spectacle leisurely stretched out before my excited eyes. The unmistakable salty air that rushed in and ruffled whatever was left of my hairline wasn’t any different from that of any other coastal city, only that the towering sun kissed skyline at the horizon played up an aura of a vast, and infinitely imposing habitation of 20 million dreams.
Raju, my cab driver, sensed I was new to Mumbai. How, I couldn’t fathom. Though he didn’t prove himself to be an articulate fellow, he nevertheless made it a point to mention the landmarks he crossed. That was how I came to know that the Race Course, where Mumbai’s glitterati rubbed shoulders with the equally humungous stallions, abutted Mahalaxmi and that Dadar housed the famous Shivaji Park, Tendulkar’s alma mater. I, on my part, marvelled at Raju’s phenomenal driving ability, my perception of which went on wavering between what appeared to be ‘thrilling’ most of the times to downright ‘hair-raising’ on a few occasions. After some breathtaking manoeuvring, which involved squeezing through traffic between BEST buses, skinning a few other taxis on the way and petrifying about three dozen pedestrians and two dozen dogs, he dropped me at my destination in a little over 40 minutes. As I proceeded to pay him, he demanded a tip of twenty rupees over and above the legitimate fare, a demand that I politely declined. He sulked, dumped my luggage in the middle of the road, and drove off in a huff, though this profoundly uncharitable act hardly seemed to affect me. Streets in Kemps Corner are not even 20 feet across!
I had taken enough pains to book a single room in advance, yet, to my dismay, I discovered that the hotel where I had checked in had its hands full, with only a large double room vacant. After some clever, diplomatic and animated dialogue, a settlement was reached which was agreeable to both parties. I checked into the double room (the manager was intent upon calling it a ‘soot’) without having to pay a dime extra. I had threatened to walk out and go to the other hotel across the road!
After a quick shower, and then after an even quicker bite, I ambled off on foot to look for Om Chambers, my destination for the afternoon. As the narrow streets snaked upwards towards Cumballa Hill, I was struck with the magnificence of the place. Everything about Kemps Corner had a touch of natural splendour to it. The dense foliage lining the arched flyover scattered the sunshine into a million sparkling rays that bounced off the surrounding skyscrapers, lending the place an unparalleled radiance. The shops in the alleys were all small, nothing like those enormous showrooms which you would readily and unhesitatingly associate with Mumbai. Yet they were bustling with activity. As I passed a small bakery, a strong aroma of freshly baked cookies knocked me out. The result was an unscheduled halt and an addition of a few hundred careless calories to my corpulent system in the form of a grilled chicken sandwich and chocolate pastry, both of which tasted absolutely divine. Outside, I could see a few pedestrians, lazily crisscrossing the intersections, while a lone traffic constable was keeping an eye on the traffic. I reached my destination before long, and soon lost myself in a maze of endoscopes and other state of the art surgical gadgetry, the principle purpose of my visit to Mumbai.
Before you read further, you’re urged to read the prologue.
We were allotted seats from D3 to D6 and there was considerable discussion as to how we should accommodate ourselves without ruffling each others feathers. Since Faddu and myself hardly had any (feathers, I mean, and we were ready to remove our shirts and show it), we were gleefully open to all possible combinations wherein each of us would have the pleasure of sitting with a pretty lady by our side. But, in an act of extreme unkindness and with total disregard for sentiments, Dimpy selected D5 for herself and D6 for Susie. Naturally, the question now arose as to who would have the privilege of sitting on D4. Soon Faddu and I developed quite a handful of feathers, and had a heated arguement for sometime which lead us nowhere, not even the staircase.
The issue was still unresolved when we entered the dark hall holding each other by the tail. Since I was leading the pack, I had no tail to hold on to (that IS a problem with leaders everywhere). Consequentially, I hobbled along blindly like Paresh Rawal in black goggles. Also, I had no idea who was holding mine (tail, that is), but whosoever it was, he or she appeared to be holding it with a firm resolve to yank it off. We waded through murmurs of disquiet and at least three loud hoots before we finally reached the D row and tumbled over the chairs. There was no other way but to surrender to the law of natural selection of seats as ordained by Darwin hundreds of years ago! The seating problem seemed to resolve by itself in a most amicable manner.
It took us a few minutes to catch our brea breaths. The screen lit up with Akshay Kumar’s muscular presence against a backdrop of Hollywood’s Universal Studios. A farcical marriage was being solemnised. Aftab Shivdasani and Amrita Arora were trying to steal a smooch when suddenly Kareena entered the scene.
“Bobo!” Susie exclaimed loudly and happily.
“Sshhh!” I nudged her.
“But saar, I really like Bobo…”
“Suseee….she’s Bebo…not Bobo! B-E-B-O. Bebo. Do you get my point? Bobo is altogether different…” I whispered. Susie’s knowledge of Mallu heroines was enviable. But whereas she would remember such exotic names as Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Samvrutha Sunil immaculately, she screwed up on Bebo. What a disgrace! I tried to concentrate on the movie.
Akshay Kumar, as Dimpy and Susie found out, happens to be a rich, hot and lonely stuntman who lives in a large condom condomium by the seaside and regularly seeks solace in the arms of Hollywood’s naked beaches. He seems to have a pathological aversion to any kind of commitment and regards women as omens of downfall. He has a cute kid brother, Aftab Shivdasani, who looks as if he missed his puberty by a mile and grew straight into a lump of bloated flesh and sinew minus the balls. Akshay Kumar’s job is to rescue people from sliding trucks and burning trains on the sets, which he does in a matter of fact way, earning the accolades of poorly paid hollywood actors like Brandon Routh, Holly Valance and Denise Richards in the process. Denise lives in the swimming pool and wants to play with Akshay’s wraps herself around Akshay at every available opportunity. She also wants to have golden Punjabi babies with him, something which Akshay eyes with deep skepticism. Like all other Indians, Akshay Kumar grew up eating tonnes of Golden Bread, and knows that after all, it is made up of brown wheat only. But he doesn’t say this to Denise as he fears Denise might hand him the golden mitten.
Bebo, on the other leg hand, is a trainee surgeon. Aaaa-hahahahaha…. HAHAHAHAHAHA Lol! Lol! Lol! har har har har!! O hohohohohohohoho!!
Oops…got carried away….
Well, as I said, Bebo is a trainee surgeon. She models for international lingeries, travels only business class, drives a Volkswagan Beetle and gambols around in stillettoes and in the most revealing of micro minis. She wears a bracelet (gifted to her by her NRI aunty Kiron Kher) with a queer looking watch that emits earth shaking chants of ‘Manglam-Manglam’ loud enough to waggle the foundations of the Empire State Building. She cannot tolerate men and equates them with dog poop.
Akshay gets conked at a freak accident and lands up on the operation table. Bebo gets her first surgery. A simple case of intestinal perforation.
Susie nudged me sharply below the ribcage.
“Intestinal perforation saar? Easy case saar?”
Susie’s eyes were popping out in disbslief. “Saar…she is paying no attention to OT manners saar! She is touching her face with the sterile gloves…and she has not removed her bracelet ….is she a surgeon or a joke saar ?”
“Susie….the whole thing is a joke” I told her. “Now keep quiet”
Susie adjusted her big pair of specs and sank back into her seat. Amrita Arora threw one more piece of bodice into the air.
To be continued
Susie had been hovering around me for the past few minutes doing all sorts of unnecessary things. Surely she had something in her mind. She had dusted the books on the table five times and washed the same tea cups thrice in the last ten minutes. When she looked like approaching the wash basin again, I could take it no longer.
“Yes Soosie? Is there something that you wished to ask me?”
“Any doubt….come out!” I quipped, trying hard to avert my gaze as Susie stood on her toes and stretched herself in the most seductive manner to replace the cups on the topmost shelf of the cupboard. It was 2.30 in the afternoon and we were nearly through with the day’s OPD.
“Saar…I mean…can I yask something?”
“Hmm…hmm. Yes. Go ahead….”
“Saar, are you going to see a fillum today?”
“Who told you so?” I sat up bolt upright.
“No saar. I overheard you and Phadnis saar…..” Susie flashed her 32. (Thirty two teeth, I mean. Moreover, that isn’t 32, that’s probably 34 or 36. Whatever.)
“Uh…yes, Faddu and I are going to see Kambakkht Ishq today. So?” I deliberately hid the fact from her that we had roped in Dimpy Minochha as well, and that the tickets had already been booked on phone. Faddu and I had planned to make the most of the afternoon by having Dimpy Minochha sit between the two of us in the cinema hall. We were banking on the assumption that Dimpy would fall asleep sometime in the second half and eventually roll over to one side, resting her head on one of the two gallant shoulders. I knew Faddu badly wanted to win, though I too was not exactly averse to the idea of shouldering Miss Dimpy’s little siesta.
“Saar…” My reverie was broken as Susie dropped all pretense and came straight to the point, “can I also go saar? I promise I will sit quietly next to Dimple docsaab. “
WHAT? She knew about Dimpy too?! I suddenly felt like a fly which had fallen into a bowl of sweet corn soup. Plenty of sweet and corn, but still a soup nevertheless. I brushed aside an unpleasant image of Dimpy’s head resting on Susie’s shoulders and Faddu’s oily head dumped on mine. Susie was eyeing me expectantly with the gaze of a benevolent cow (there, in the pic) that had just been shown a sackful of delicious fodder. There was no choice but to relent.
“Hrrrmph!” I grunted, and reached for the phone. ”Let me see if we still have any tickets left!”
Nothing much happened between then and 3.30 pm when the four of us reached Fun Cinema for the afternoon screening of Kambakkht Ishq. Faddu had grumbled quite a lot on hearing about Susie’s inclusion in the party. Dimpy seemed exceedingly pleased. I struck her name off the samosa list for her misdemeanour.
And Susie exclaimed once, “Saar…I am watching the maternity show after a really long time…” Poor confused girl. Didn’t know the difference between matinee and maternity.
To be continued.
What the WTF! I had heard about Hokkaido cheese, Thimpu Cream, Waikiki Wafers and assorted other exotic products from far and really wide, but this? Every vernacular daily you turn in the morning, and there’s an ad of Japani Oil jumping out, claiming to turn on your taps of verve and vitality, promising to catapult your (God know which) performance to celestial levels. Wasn’t this something the sales guys at Citi needed the most? The Japs, I knew, were good at churning out pricey little 4 wheeled gizmos that darted about on oil, but this new grease from the techies of Tokyo was definitely an interesting piece of lump! Life, from now on, was pretty meaningless, unless I found out the truth!
So I elbowed my way to the local drug store, hailed the salesman and asked for a bottle of Japani Oil at the top of my voice. The other customers, as if they had seen a snake, almost jumped away from me, with a ‘arre yeh Japani oil bhi nahi jaanta’ kind of a look. I don’t know why, but a couple of ladies made a hurried exit from the store without even bothering to collect the change. Holy shrimp! It appeared as if I was the only one specimen around who wasn’t aware of the barmy oil story. Never mind. I was here for pure research, and was determined not to be distracted by anything.
I proceeded to examine the bottle in minute detail. No, there was no clue as to what this bally product aimed to achieve in life. It did have a picture of a man and a woman lying in bed, looking pretty dumb and exhausted, which I assumed to be the result of doing the routine laundry stuff and all that. The man, well, didn’t have his shirt on, and the woman too was quite …. er, modestly dressed. Okay, they had tossed their garb in the semi-automatic and were snoozing a little. One more possibility was there, but it was an uncomfortable thought and I brushed it off quickly. What if they were home loan defaulters, and the collection guys had bolted with their clothing! Oh God!
Now, there was one statement which caught my eye. Japani Oil was ‘ONLY FOR MEN’. Bingo! This had to be a dead giveaway. So this 15 ml of Japani juice was indeed a product designed for the human male species. as far as I could count, there were no less than thirteen areas of the human body where you could think of applying Japani Oil for healthy gains. Scalp, face, ear, nose, hands, feet, teeth, chest, back, belly…and at least three different unmentionables. Theoretically, you could even drink it straight from the bottle, or pour a few drops carefully in a bottle of beer. But wait. Wasn’t I getting entangled into a rather royal knot? If the Japani Oil wasn’t an after shave or something, what on earth was it? Wasn’t the whole universe conspiring to hold back the truth from me?
Overnight, I had gained deep insights into the medicinal properties of Japani Oil. It seemed this concoction had definitely something to do with restoring the electrical charges of battered male batteries. Maybe the man and the woman in the picture weren’t afterall exhausted from doing the laundry. It was an exciting discovery of course, which needed independent verification. I contacted the Japan Information Centre of the Embassy of Japan, for help. Here’s the email I wrote to them (I’m not kidding. I actually wrote a mail to the embassy!)
Please direct this email to appropriate authorities from the scientific community
I am extremely pleased to draw your kind attention to a famous product from the Land of Japan with the glorious name of ‘JAPANI OIL’. This truly magnificent gift from the highly intelligent Japs is reported to be available world wide. It is believed to possess magical medicinal properties, particularly related to the quick and effective cure of all those shameful and unmentionable problems which many human males silently face before the important and private moment of family reproduction. I wish to thank the scientific community of the Land of Japan profusely for formulating this product, thereby rescuing the worldwide human male population from gross humiliation and shame before and after legal marriage. Not only does this glorious product promise to re-infuse the petroleum of passion into exhausted human male life engines, this also will go a long way in applying the liniment of healing in broken up marriages, and restoring the faith in happy and healthy family life.
I am so impressed by this product that I want to know about the wonderful Japani Oil in detail. I sincerely request you to find me an authority to whom I may address the following questions and quench my thirst for scientific knowledge. My general questions are as stated under.
- Who was the great scientist who first invented Japani Oil?
- Is it an ancient formula? If yes, where was it buried?
- What is Japani Oil made of?
- Is it vegetarian or nonvegetarian? Is it like Cod Oil which is made of Cod liver?
- How does Japani Oil benefit the human male body parts?
- Was Japani Oil tested on any other animal before human use? What happened to that animal?
- Can Japani Oil be used for cooking?
- Can Japani Oil be applied to the head for stimulating gorgeous growth of human male hair?
- Can other noisy machines (table fans, old scooters etc) be lubricated with Japani Oil?
- Does Japani Oil catch fire during friction?
- Can Japani Oil be frozen or made into a candle?
- Is it true that some foreign scientists are trying to copy the formula and make ‘Chini Oil?
- How to remove Japani Oil stain from shirt?
- Is accidental or intentional ingestion of Japani Oil harmful?
- Can Japani Oil be used as purgative (like castor oil)?
- Are there any clinical trials going on in the Land of Japan on Japani Oil?
- Can Japani Oil be poured in ear to cure earache, or applied to tooth for curing toothache?
- Can Japani Oil cure piles?
- Can Bengali men rub Japani Oil on their bodies before taking a bath?
- Do Somali pirates look for tankers carrying Japani Oil?
My very sincere thanks. I hope you shall be very kind to reply.
Day 3 came as a minor setback for my brave efforts. The Japanese Embassy guys, probably shaken by the illicit discovery of an inflammable oil, and further stirred by my questionnaire, proceeded to disqualify my genuine request as spam. I always suspected the Japs of having a bad habit of dusting away uncomfortable things under the rug. This was proof!
But hey! My efforts are indefatiguable, my appetite for knowledge, insatiable, and above all, my spirit, indomitable. I may not have gained much by means of erudition, but the wisdom gained is worth its weight in Japani oil.
In one of my next posts, I shall endeavour to find appropriate answers to the questions posted above. As of now I conclude with the resolve to bring the naked truth behind Japani Oil out in the open soon