I know….I know….another megalomaniacal, seemingly self-pity pumped harangue of elephantine proportions but here’s some food for thought;
- When was the last time your ass caught fire and burnt like Troy because some stupid firecracker blew up hurting no one else but you?
- When was the last time you contracted an eye disease so rare that according to records it was last heard of more than a decade and a half back……..somewhere in Europe!
- When was the last time you were tacitly asked out by a woman and having misheard what she’d said cause it was too noisy, you replied by saying something so bizarre she decided to avoid you like plague thereafter.
- When was the last time you were mistaken as being homosexual and stopped on your way to be asked affectionately where the nearest gay lounge was?
- When was the last time your mouth got so badly singed cause you ate the wrong thing at the wrong place, purchased from THE wrong person at a WRONG price, and for the ensuing week, ate with your head tilted so low to one side that your brains would pour outta your ear?
- When was the last time your mom lovingly reminded you how your little sister used to beat you up cause about a couple of decades back you were smaller than her and loved trying on her dresses?
- When was the last time you stepped out of your house and someone from above spat a warm concoction of saliva and toothpaste on your head, not once but twice??
- When was the last time your sister broke the window pane and you got slapped? cause well, your parents obviously won’t hit a little two year old!
- When was the last time you stuttered so much that by the time you finished telling the cabbie where you wanted to be taken( after an adequate amount of thigh-slapping, foot-stomping and nostril flaring), he’d called you a few filthy names, collected another passenger and made off with a scowl on his face?
- AND when as the last time you hand gestured to a pretty girl to call you and she thought you meant, you’d call her and you both waited for each other to call till she left town?
If you still don’t think I’ve enough justification….feel free to read my other write-ups!!
‘Why….Why me?’ A question, the answer to which I’ve demanded from the Philosopher lounging somewhere beyond the clouds time and again, but absolutely to no avail. He just sits up there, throws his head back and laughs out loud.
It’s known that s**t’ happens but it does in careful moderation. Good experiences are balanced with bad ones, happy times are balanced with unhappy ones, what goes around definitely does come around and all that jazz and to add to things, an over-sensitive Karma, like a disgruntled ex makes damn well sure you pay doubly for all the undue liberties you take. But very often things go out of hand and Karma seems to have gone bananas putting you through circumstances you’d rather die than endure.
But Karma? Is there really any such thing as that?
I believe Lord picks a few among us as ‘subjects’ to secretly play practical jokes on. Of Course, Life’s Lonely Up There And He Needs His Entertainment. Thus, to execute this clownery He very intelligently has employed Karma as his appliance and scapegoat (as Karmas where the buck always ends) and one such supreme mooncalf of a ‘subject’ is yours truly.
In what is to follow I shall recount four of the finest instances from a whole galaxy of them, that least said, are so bizarre it’s hard to think of anything else one would have on his mind if not a “Why….Why me?”
That Diwali evening I shall never forget, I must’ve been nine or ten back then, racing upstairs to our terrace clutching a small bag of firecrackers I called out to all my friends from the adjacent terraces to come join me. So they did, about fifteen boys and girls more or less of the same age as mine. There was already quite a congregation at the terrace, a newly wedded couple, cant recollect their names, old Mr. and Mrs. Maitra, Mehra uncle and his daughter, Mrs. Gomes and her little daughter, they were all there.
Firecracker after firecracker took off, exploded, circled on the ground, hissed and huffed and within a couple of long hours or so the elders started suggesting a wrap up.
A lot of stomping and wailing followed after which we were allowed another half an hour to finish off the last remnants of our ammunition. Suddenly, the new bride in the crowd playfully broke away from her spouse and began demanding a cracker or two from us. One of us handed her one of those round, big, clay ‘flowerpots’. I was always extremely afraid of those things because of their tendency to explode almost always during the closure of their colorful display and hid behind my parents every time one was lit.
Anyhow, throughout that evening not a single one had blown up so I’d almost forgotten about the dangerous possibility.
She stood some ten feet away from me bending low over the large clay ball holding a sparkler over its head. I was busy trying to light a ‘Ground-Chakkar’ when glancing her way, I discovered what she was about to do. I almost choked with fear. Screaming out, I appealed to her to wait a while till I had enough time to run for cover. How was I supposed to know that she was hearing-impaired? As deaf as can be, she stared my way grinning away proudly, still holding the sparkler to the flowerpot. It was now or never. Abandoning the Chakkar I turned around and began sprinting across to one corner of the terrace where old Mr. and Mrs. Maitra stood, intending to go hide behind them when it all happened. It was all over in a split second’s time, before I could dive behind the old couple; with a loud KABLOOOIE! The flowerpot exploded sending razor-sharp shards of hot, glowing clay shooting in every direction.
I knew it was coming and immediately I felt a hard thrash on my left buttock and fell over. Within seconds a scorching, stinging pain erupted from the spot where the clay shrapnel as big as a tennis ball had got me and then, enlightenment! I’d charred my bottoms!!
Standing up, I began bawling my esophagus out! With about two dozen people consisting of boys, girls and elders as spectators I kicked off my trousers forcefully, still screaming, I began running around the terrace yelling like a maniac. According to dad, after circling the entire terrace about twice I scampered off home. The poor bride got a fearful shock of her lifetime and an insignificant little scratch across her chest on seeing which Banerjee uncle began jumping up and down in panicky shouting, “BUST IN BEST….BUST IN BEST!!”(Translation: “Burst in breast…Burst in breast!!!”). Meanwhile, at home I raced past mom, went straight into the bathroom and crashed my smoking bottom inside a bucket full of water and with a prolonged, effervescent hiss the pain subsided……….I shut my eyes.
Within minutes, the entire gleeful audience from the terrace down to Mrs. Gomes’s little daughter, had deposited themselves in our bedroom where mom had laid me on the bed. I lay on my front, underpants off with ‘Burnol’ smeared all over my cooked buttock. All my friends, male and female bent down low in unison to peek at my colorfully resplendent bottom relishing every minute of the experience, till dad came and shooed everyone away. Later next day I was informed that no one in the terrace last night was hit, but me. About twenty five people stood in the midst of a shrapnel-storm and the only one to get struck was ME, believe it or not. Why….Why me?
Next Diwali, a rocket I lit refused to take off and blew up on my face, never had I seen a rocket blow up on anybody’s face before. Why…Why me?
There was a brief chapter in my early days when I used to be intensely passionate about cricket but could never manage to get good at it in spite of disciplined coaching at a local club. I was especially bad at fielding for which reason I was always assigned a position where the ball was least likely to stray. One day, my coach decided to be a little constructive and pompously announced that he’d assign me the position of a wicketkeeper. I’d never stood behind a wicket ever and was slightly apprehensive when coach advised me to keep my eyes on the ball always and be agile, which was precisely the problem as it was a bright, sunny day and I stood facing the sun. The glare blinded me and it was extremely difficult to look forward. To add to my woes, I could hardly see anything through my helmet as the safety-rims always got in the way. Anyhow, the match proceeded and I kept praying for the spin bowlers to take on, because when they did I’d be able to take my helmet off. After what seemed like an eternity, a few missed catches and cheeky boundaries behind the wicket the first spinner of the day was brought on. I immediately took my helmet off getting ready for a better job, crouching low I fixed my eyes on the bowler, the sun was getting hotter and the glare, torturous and all I could see was a black silhouette of the batsman. But why fear a spinner? I thought. Our spinner ran up and released. The ball emerged from his hand and in a flash disappeared in the bright glare!! The next glimpse I had of the ball when it was about half an inch away from my mouth. A cricket ball smashing against someone’s face is still believable but the same crashing inside someone’s mouth is hard to grasp. I lay flat on the grass, half the ball jutting out of my mouth and tears streaking down my sweaty face, for some reason my glasses had cracked too. The damages: a dangling tooth, another one swallowed, a mouth so excruciating to shut I’d rather gape forever, broken glasses, a throat full of mud, grass and muck and a familiar view of people standing in a circle, looking down at me. Soon, the hopes of improving the dangling tooth were also dashed when, two days after this unfortunate event, a cousin from the US and I wrestled on the bed after viewing a WWF Tag team tournament and a skull-crushing knock on my face sent the tooth rocketing out of the window. For the next few weeks I looked my endearing best with a twisted and cracked pair of spectacles and two front teeth missing.
The teeth did grow back, but for some weird reason I sometimes look in the mirror and see Bugs Bunny. Why…Why me?
PANIC! AT THE DISCO
I’d never ever stepped into a discotheque before joining college. The first time I did it wasn’t pretty cause a certain drink to which the bartender set a little fire burning nearly choked me to death, folks went wild with laughter.
On another evening I stood outside looking for a female partner to enter the disco as a couple, its cheaper that way. I managed to find one and she came along so easily I never suspected that something was seriously wrong there. Before long I was made to realize that the woman I stood with, with my right arm around her waist was the lawfully wedded wife of the proprietor of the discotheque. I ran for my life as that imbecile of a woman stood there grinning.
Yet again, on another occasion I went out with a bunch of my chums to this disc called ‘Screams’. Sporting my best clothes and an obnoxiously expensive yet borrowed cologne I looked pretty nice. At the disc I took off my glasses thinking I’d look really hot, dim-witted that I was. All I could see around were blurred figures and outlines and kept yapping with the middle-aged man seated on my left thinking it was the bartender, when suddenly this girl showed up from nowhere and asked me for a dance. I was still nodding like a zombie when I realized she’d made off for the crowded dance floor.
I followed groping in the darkness, running into people and tripping on feet barely able to see her. Before long her blurred outline merged with the others as she kept moving further inside and that was it, I’d lost her in the dense crowd. Putting my glasses back on, I pushed and shoved my way around the dance floor looking for her but she was gone…..I’d lost the first girl to have ever asked me for a dance!!
MY BALD DATE
There she stood waiting for me, looking like a thorough lady in a pretty dress, sunglasses and a rather huge, frilly hat in place. The hat looked slightly Seventeenth century-ish but that was all excused, she was MY date.
We walked for a while and then we sat ourselves down facing each other at a small restaurant when she took her glasses off. Without warning, the hat came off next and I so wished it never had! My legs gave way and I almost collapsed as she lost that hat, cause instead of a head there sat a scruffy coconut atop a perfectly shaped female neck. She had shaved her head neat. It was the latest fad, the ‘in-thing’, she said.
- When was the last time your physics teacher refused to stop smacking you behind your head stating ‘inertia of motion’ as a reason?!
- When was the last time you were young and naive enough not to realize the consequences of taking your sweet time pouring boiling hot beverage on your sleeping dad’s belly?
- When was the last time while performing a dance at a school function before four hundred teachers and parents your head-band slipped down over your eyes and you danced blind for the next ten minutes, finally concluding the romp with a violent crash, falling off stage on your face sending the audience rolling all over….?
- When was the last time………
Karma is watching boy, and she’s as bananas as ever, so think twice and think thrice before succumbing to that mean lure cause if you happen to be a ‘subject’ you’ve had it!