Archive for July 25th, 2013


A Few Calculations

growling at the sun by aditya mehta book coverINFINITELY MORE EFFECTIVE than any alarm clock is a barking dog, and having his sleep wrecked by those death-deserving mongrels was the worst start his day could’ve had.  He was a vegan and an animal lover who would fantasize about shooting barking dogs at random and getting someone to break a Pom Pom’s snout. “Barking or not, I would pay a few hundred rupees to hear that ‘snap’,” he once told a friend, who didn’t blink once during his silent stare that lasted 12 seconds before asking what if was like for a vegan to be stoned.

It being a Sunday, there was not much to do. He longed to be at work, and he’d always wait for Mondays, for they meant a week full of fun at work. Cool colleagues, breezy work, the sense of belonging. “I like what you say but not how you say it,” his boss used to keep saying to him.

Eating out was the biggest problem. He’d stuck to Chinese food for almost a year because that’s the only vegetarian food that could be vegan in India. Most other cuisines have milk or ghee or cheese or something in some form. He’d ask the chef at the Chinese restaurant to not add egg and make sure the dish was dairy-free and there’d still be plenty of “food” to eat. He’d had enough Chinese in the one year to sign an endorsement deal with fucking Ajinomoto.

Enough was enough, and the man was hungry.

He cruised through Juhu thinking of where to get lunch. Don Giovanni – Italian … cheese. Gajalee – coastal … seafood. A right from Juhu Circle, a left towards Four Bungalows. Urban Tadka – north Indian … butter, ghee, curd. Seven Bungalows had Legacy Of China.

“I’m sick of this shit!” he exclaimed, grasping the steering wheel even tighter. He realized he wasn’t angry enough. He was looking for a place to bang his fist when the cell phone beeped. It was a text from Tanya, a hot young woman he’d met through common friends at a dinner recently. He’d been drunk and she’d been intrigued by his veganism and they’d exchanged numbers. Neither bothered to get in touch with the other; there was no dearth of women in his life, and Tanya was too hot to show interest in a guy she’d met just once.

He texted back asking for her address and if she’d like to join him for lunch, and later showed up at her house with a crate of beer.

“Not very romantic,” she laughed, “but it’s a good thing because I drink only beer.”

“Finally, a real woman.”

He’d nearly dropped the crate when Tanya opened the door. She was in a bathrobe and he already knew what lay under it because he’d been blown away by her looks even in his drunken state the other night. The stupor had crippled his social skills but not his short-term memory.

They were in the kitchen, and Tanya looked gorgeous and she knew it. Every heterosexual man lusted after her, every inch of her was sexy. He was dumbstruck and knew what he’d been invited over for. He decided against using the charm he’d used successfully to seduce scores of beautiful women; he was in no mood for a challenge and just wanted some porno sex. And he was about to get it.

“What would you like to eat, Mister Fussy?” she smiled sexily, “My husband’s out of town …”

All this was too much to handle. He was over at this hot-faced beauty’s house for lunch; she was in her bathrobe in the kitchen telling him her husband wasn’t in the city. He grabbed her and went straight for the neck. In an unexpected turn, she struggled and fought him off, leaving him completely flustered. This he hadn’t expected and thought she was playing hard to get. “You’re edible,” he leered and grabbed her again. This time she punched him in the face a few times and he started thrashing her in return. He was boiling mad. Why the hell had she called him over for lunch if she didn’t want to fuck him?

She fell to the floor. “You dumb bitch! Why would you be showing off your thighs and telling me your old man isn’t home if you didn’t want to get fucked by me?”

He didn’t want to hit her any more. She had started it.

“I thought you were a nice guy. And you didn’t let me complete … my husband’s coming back in a few hours. He wouldn’t mind you lunching here, but wait till he hears about this.”

A couple of hours later, he was at the beach. He sat on the rocks and decided it had been a super bad day. As if barking dogs and the lack of food choices weren’t giving him enough grief, now he’d gone and wrecked his reputation. To have been rejected by a woman would’ve been fathomable, but he’d tried to molest a stunning beauty. Soon everyone would know, and he’d be known as a creep. Social suicide.

Before the sun went down, he was at Alfredo’s in Juhu. He looked tired and wondered if he’d made a mistake by calling for a pitcher of draught. “Can I sit here?” a calm voice fell upon his ears. Still munching on salted peanuts, he looked up and saw a sexy face and a slim body accompanying it.

“Sure, if you’re buying the drinks.”

The woman pulled a chair, sat down and smiled. “Whatever happened to chivalry?”

“It’s dead, like my lunch date.” She was breathtakingly beautiful. “Let’s call for another pitcher. Killing dehydrates me.”

“And what if you get drunk?”

He saw it in her eyes, and knew he’d rather put the afternoon behind him and continue living instead of turning himself in like he’d planned on the way to what was to be his last chance to drink. Tanya was dead, and he hadn’t left any evidence behind. The kitchen knife had been thrown in the sea and the crate of beer was back in his car. He’d sent a text message to Tanya’s phone saying he was busy elsewhere and would catch up with her another day. Then he flung Tanya’s cell phone into the sea. Jail was for other people.

“Then you get to take me home,” he said, leaning back and looking directly into her eyes.

Written by Aditya Mehta in 2009

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growling at the sun by aditya mehta book coverINSIDE AZAD LANE, there is a barber shop called Once Again. Next to it is a vegetable/general store owned and run by Pattu Raja, a heavy-set, dark-skinned south Indian man. There is also a tailor who sits on the pavement, and his motorcycle led a stupid thief to his fate. Almost everyone in the lane noticed at around the same time that a man was unsuccessfully trying to control an old motorcycle which wasn’t moving. He appeared to be drunk, and since he didn’t have the keys to the bike he decided he’d take it anyway. He was on it and trying to move it forward, but was swaying his head off and anyone looking at him would’ve known he was very drunk. Five or six people moved towards him from different positions and I too wanted to be a part of whatever was about to happen. The tallest man put his hand on the drunk guy’s shoulder, asked him what he was trying to do, and pulled him off the bike and threw him on the footpath right next to it.

At that point, the tailor got up and realized it was his bike the guy was trying to take off with. More people gathered, and this time the curiosity was higher and the pace faster. Everyone likes a tamasha. I was one of the four people standing next to the drunk thief (he was sitting on the ground, still reeling from being pulled off the bike and flung away). The tall man slapped the thief when he revealed his name. “Behenchod, it’s people like you who spoil the name of our community.” The thief received slaps from two other people before the tall Muslim man spoke again. “I was going home after imbibing and you had to come along and spoil the fun! Mood banaya tha, saale tune vaat laga di.” In the next minute the rogue received kicks and punches from all around.

The thief first claimed it was his brother’s bike, then couldn’t remember his brother’s name, and then got fed up and admitted he was a thief who got drunk silly and messed up. “I know I’m fucked,” he said. This was mistaken for drunk arrogance and he got punched a few times by Pattu Raja, who had joined in as he was done for the day and not wanting to waste a chance to clobber someone. It turned out this scoundrel had nicked a vegetable cart and left it on the side of the road upon spotting the motorcycle. The thief had thought selling the bike would fetch him more money than a cart full of vegetables. There was a huge commotion near the cart and by this time a police van showed up, and the drunk idiot looked on as he was lifted up and put inside.

A crowd had gathered around the building where billionaires dwell, where the cart had been stranded. People had stepped out of their homes and vehicles to find out what was happening. And they were picking whatever they wanted off the vegetable cart. I walked up and saw the cart also had fruits. Carrots, cauliflower, ladyfinger, gherkins…it was all flying off. A senior police officer pondered over things as he bit into a tomato while a fat lady tossed a brinjal into her bag. The tailor’s bike was safe, the thief had been whisked away to a place where a hangover would really bother him the next day as he tried to recollect scenes from the night before. The vendor the cart rightfully belonged to was never to get back the fruits and vegetables or the cart. He’d correctly blame either stupidity or mistiming for his loss till it made him richer and wiser. I picked up a bunch of green grapes, the most attractive thing on the fruit and vegetable cart.

Written by Aditya Mehta in 2009

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