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Tuesday, 29 September, 2009


What is more challenging than recognising a counterfeit amidst the authentic?
Vice versa.

29th September, 2009.

Monday, 21 September, 2009

The Test

The bell rang and the kids scattered all over the hallway now scuttled in all directions fumbling through books and bags. Gathering his belongings hurriedly, Neil urged, "Come ON! Last ten minutes!" Without taking his eyes off the book Viraj nodded and signaled him to go ahead without him.

"In a bit . . .," Viraj said.
"OK!" Neil replied and dashed into the examination hall.

Few moments and Viraj was now walking into the room, all the while reading from the book in his left hand and a bag clutched in his right. He looked up to find his seat among what he expected to be rows of benches sparsely occupied by solemn faces, anxious to get the test over with. What he saw instead, perplexed him. He saw Neil in his Doctor's coat, stethoscope hung loosely around his neck, flipping through some medical files. A busy looking nurse walked around him. Looking up at Viraj rather apologetically, Neil said, "I . . . I'm sorry. . . the test . . . it . . . it came out. . . positive . . . But it's not too late . . . we still have a fighting chance. We can treat this . . . Trust me . . . "

The book and the bag seemed to disappear in the horrible dark pit that had begun to form in Viraj's guts. He tried to step back and breathe, but a grim heaviness arrested him. The bell rang again and suddenly with a violent jerk of his limbs he broke free and the next moment he felt as if his body was dropped on something soft but firm, as he fought the air.

His eyes were wide open with confusion and terror. Gasping for air, he now lay on his bed, thinking of what he had just dreamt. The bell rang again and he winced. He looked at the clock. It told him it was close to ten on a Sunday morning. The bell rang once more, even as he was getting out of bed, and this time it did not stop till he opened the door with a sleepy face cringed in the morning sun.

"What took you so long, Dad?" screamed his nine-year old as he scrambled inside, dropping his cricket bat into a corner.

"Straight to the bathroom!" Viraj yelled, looking at his son's grazed skin covered in dirt, as he was settling down on the couch to play his video game.

"Just one game, Dad!" he pleaded as the system booted.

"NOW!" thundered Viraj, who had hastily followed his son to the video game and was, now, holding his finger on the 'Power' button of the system threatening to switch it off.

Reluctantly pausing the game, which had hardly begun, the kid threw the joystick on the couch with an annoyed grunt and stomped his way to the bathroom. Viraj let a sigh out as he watched him leave.

Looking around the empty house he wondered where Neeta was. Walking towards the phone he saw a little note stuck on its receiver. Ripping it off, he read it -

Off to the temple with the gang – last minute plans, as usual! Didn't wanna wake you up. Will be back by noon. There's cake in the fridge. Oh and btw, Good Morning :)


He smiled warmly as he folded the note and slipped it into his pocket. He picked the phone, dialled a number and waited awkwardly till he heard a voice on the other end.

"Hey . . . ," answered Neil.

"Hey," Viraj said, "were you sleeping?"

"No, no . . . what's up?"

"Mmm. . . nothing much," Viraj paused for a moment before continuing reluctantly, "well, actually. . . I just wanted to make sure, this one last time . . . ,"

"DUDE!", Neil interrupted in a reassuring voice, "Stop worrying! I've told you several times. I have verified the results myself . . . twice!"

"Ya . . . I know . . . I just . . . ,"

"Listen, I do understand what you might be going through. I know it is scary. But TRUST ME, you don't need to be. Not anymore," Neil asserted. "It was a stupid mix-up at the lab. The test is most certainly NEGATIVE. You are perfectly healthy. There's no tumor growing in your head. There never was. I'm telling you as your doctor and your friend – STOP WORRYING about it!"

"OK . . . ok . . . ," sighed Viraj, "I will . . . I will . . . Thank you . . . Really . . . Thank you . . . "

"GOOD. Just relax, OK?"

"Yeah . . . I. . . I'll talk to you later . . . "

"Sure. Take care. Bye"

"You too. Bye."

Viraj closed his eyes as the phone clicked. Drawing in a slow long breath, he opened his eyes as he let the air out with a faint smile. Turning around he opened the fridge as two little wet feet ran across the room hastily towards the abandoned joystick.

"Want some cake?" Viraj said, peering into the fridge.

"Yeah!" came the reply.

Tuesday, 15 September, 2009


Patience, my child,
is the key to sleep.

15th September, 2009.

Monday, 14 September, 2009


The hardest thing to do,
is what you want to.

13th September, 2009.

Sunday, 6 September, 2009


The three of you are eating chaat at a South Indian Cafe in Silicon Valley, US. You all know eighteen Rupees in Mumbai, India fetches much better delectables than the eighteen dollars you spent above, did. Well, you rue.

The geek talk gives way to lewd talk about a girl – an acquaintance of one of the guys. You may not be the gentlest-of-men, but you are not the lecherous kind either.
Well, the two of you are not; the third one acts so. It's his forte. He pines for the girl, you laugh. To extend the joke, you laugh scornfully at the piner and in a threatening tone, remind him of his girlfriend in India.
With a blank glance, he corrects the tense of your reminder – from present to past.

The joke's on you, buddy!

You bite your lip – regret is never enough. You cannot escape but ask, "Why, you guys broke up?" with what you hope is a straight face. What follows is a straight answer.

"She got married," he stirs the food on his plate, you fight your expressions.

"Was married off - against her consent, by her parents as soon as we told them about us."
He looks down at his plate with defeated eyes.

Your heart cries. Were you the General of an army, and the piner – your warrior, you would slay him for meeting defeat and then avenge him by killing the monsters.
Civilisation condemns such ferocity.

Instead, "Oh shit!" is what you utter, and mean.

Brevity reigns. Propriety prompts, you inquire about the necessary details and finally curse the girl's parents, Indian society and fate for ruining a four year old relationship over religious trivialities.
Silence follows, more depressing than awkward, till the piner dismisses the subject with an entreating dejection.
You, the General of an emotionally incapacitated army, sigh.

The lewd talk resumes.

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