Bulging Belly

No one wants to be fat, no one! But, and this makes me sad to say, I am putting on weight (after looking at me in my present state, my friends, too, have said that to me). My belly is growing bigger. It is not beer which should be held accountable for it. I have stopped drinking beer a long time back (but, let me also inform you, when I say ‘a long time back’ I mean it has been a month). And, no, it is not even the junk food; I avoid all kinds of junk food (burger, vada pav, and what have you, to hell with them!). Lately, on the basis of one of my colleagues’ suggestion, I have started drinking green tea (it works wonders he claimed and I, the fool, believed). All this, no matter what merit they may have, don’t seem to work for me. Hence, like many of my friends, I decided I would join a gym. But after hearing what my parents had to say about me joining a gym, I decided not to join any gym ever.

My mother asked: “Gym? But what is gym?”

I tried to explain what a gym means and what people do in a gym.

My father, being a business-minded person that he is, asked, “Well, then, how much will you get paid for it?”

I told him that it is I who has to pay instead. Hearing this my father heaved a sigh of disappointment. “I grew up doing hard work,” he said in a very serious tone, “but never have I taken the pain of lifting someone else’s load.” He looked at my mother who also seemed to be of the same opinion as him. “And,” my father continued, “if at all I ever did that, I got paid, not that I paid for it!”

Perhaps I can find a better way to be in shape than lifting someone else’s load. I suppose running would help, but I fear what my parents would have to say about that. Would they say: “What are you running from?” or “What/Who are you running after?” And then, I wonder, would they also add: “We never ran from or after anybody or anything.”

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Big Brother Is Watching You!

Do you have an elder brother? What is he like? Conservative and dominating or friendly and humble? If you have an elder brother who is conservative and dominating, I feel pity for you as much as I feel pity for myself. If your brother, on the other hand, is friendly and humble, I will congratulate you, for you have a gem of a brother.

In India, as in the other parts of the world I assume, elder brothers are given great importance. Well, they may not be given as much importance as we give to our father and mother, however in the absence of our parents, the elder brothers (or sisters) play the role of one.

Now, from time to time – that is, on special occasions (which, I must submit, are rare in my case) – I like to indulge in a little drinking. Many people find it difficult to spend their time without imbibing a little on the night of 31st December (the night of the nights). A few days prior to 31st December, friends and neighbours start asking what your plans are for the 31st. When a neighbour asked me the same question, I replied to him saying that I was not doing anything much; I would just sit quietly in my room and have a glass or two of wine and have something to eat with it. My neighbour wanted to say something but he was holding back. At last, when he could hold back no longer, he wished his desire to have a drink with me in my room. That was the 31st of December and I wanted to say goodbye to the year in a high spirit and welcome the coming year with even more enthusiasm. I could have denied my neighbour to have a drink with me by giving some excuses, but then I thought what’s the harm in having a company who will only make the environment livelier while I drink? So, I said that he was welcome. He asked me whether I would mind if he brought in a friend of his. I said I would not. He seemed delighted to hear that. He informed me that he would join me in a few minutes.

After a while, he came to my room. Along with him came his friend and (well, yes, one more person) his brother. I looked at them, they looked at me. I was just about to say, “come, feel at home and make yourself comfortable,” but they did it voluntarily and I saved my words. The neighbour had something in his hand that was wrapped in plastic. When I asked him what it was, he placed it on the table and started unwrapping the plastic and said: “See for yourself, homie.” It was a bottle of Whiskey.

I sat on my chair. The neighbour and his friend sat on two chairs near me, while the neighbour’s brother lay down on the sofa (he didn’t join us). I had prepared salad and made omelette to eat while drinking. The neighbour suddenly had an idea and asked us to wait a few seconds till he returned. The sudden idea of the neighbour was a mystery to me. After about five minutes the neighbour returned and with him he brought a few pieces of fried chicken. “Excellent stuff!” he exclaimed. His friend gave a half smile and his brother seemed sad and occupied with some thoughts.

I had my wine with me. The neighbour and his friend drank Whisky (which I found too strong due to its high alcohol content) and chew on the chicken pieces. The neighbour’s brother looked at us all the while and I thought he wanted to join us. “Come, join us,” I said. But he did not come. I did not know what was stopping him from doing so.

I asked the neighbour: “Doesn’t your brother drink?”

“He does or he does not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”

“Oh,” I said, “he is a good guy unlike us.”

“He is or he is not,” said the neighbour, “I can’t say for sure.”

As we were drinking, suddenly, once again, the neighbour got an idea and he excused himself and said he will come back soon. Right after he moved out of my room, the neighbour’s friend locked the room in a hurry and then what had to happen, did happen. The neighbour’s brother jumped from the sofa and sat right in the chair where his brother was. He poured a glass full of Whiskey and offered his thanks to some god, dipped his little finger in the glass of Whiskey, sprinkled a few droplets and, without even mixing water, he emptied the glass at one gulp. “The chicken,” he said and he had one piece, thereafter he had many more. His elder brother never came back and, after a while, after thanking me a thousand times, the neighbour’s brother and his friend went tipsy topsy out of my room.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

A Short Conversation Between Two Men In a Washroom

One man: [Enters the washroom].

The other man: It’s been a long time since I saw you here. What happened, don’t you drink enough water? But, anyway, it’s good to see you.

One man: Good to see you, too. It’s winter time, and water is cold. Don’t feel like drinking much.

The other man: Do drink a lot of water no matter it is winter or summer. I am not saying that, like some nutritionists do, for your good health, but I am saying that because that way I will have the opportunity to see you here more often.

One man: I would rather contain the water in me as long as I can than visit the washroom, as often as you do, and waste my time.

The other man: Be careful of such thoughts. Have you not heard of people accumulating stones in their bellies? It is winter, and if you contain the water in you for too long, the water would freeze, and then you would find it difficult to carry yourself with all the weight, plus, of course, you would incur unnecessary cost to remove the stones.

One man: Well… [Makes a move out of the washroom].

The other man: See you again! The sooner the better.

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

On Laziness

I have thought a great deal about a great many things; I want to do all I have planned to do. But thinking, planning, wanting are immaterial if I am not doing it. Oh, yes, this ‘doing’ is important I tell myself a thousand times and something inside me, to confirm the importance of ‘doing’, says ‘aye, aye’.

But again when I am thinking, planning and wanting to ‘do it’ but in reality not doing it, I am not doing it. All this while this is what I have been doing, that is ‘not doing’ what I have been meaning to do. The act of ‘doing’ is easier said than done. How easy it seemed to do when I said I would do a particular thing, but days, unstoppable as they are, went by and I didn’t even realize that I have not done it yet.

So, once again, I promised myself I must do what I must do, and once again the understanding voice inside me said ‘aye, aye’.

This ‘doing’ but ‘not doing’ took the form of a game. Now, at the end of the year, I realize that it is the end of the year. The game is over. And have I done it, you might ask. And I would answer, ‘not yet’. And the voice inside me, to confirm that I have not done it, says, ‘nay, nay.’

Copyright © 2015 RAMU DAS

The Old Man’s Spectacles

Today, just like any other day, while I was travelling, I witnessed a furious commotion in the bus. A guy of about 23 years or thereabouts was standing (for there were no empty seats) in the bus and lost his balance when all of sudden the bus jerked. He did not know where his hands or legs were going; his right hand grabbed an iron bar while his left hand clutched one arm of an old man’s spectacles and the spectacles came undone from the old man and fell where the bus driver sat.

Though the driver’s eyes were on the road ahead but somehow he saw where the old man’s spectacles fell, and while his right hand steered the bus, with his left hand he picked up the spectacles and cried, “Hey, hey! Take this!” The old man, possibly in his mid-sixties, with great effort reached the driver and the driver handed the spectacles to its rightful owner.

While the old man was doing a thorough examination of his spectacles, the young man (the guy of 23 or thereabouts) said sorry to the old man. “Sorry,” repeated the old man, “is that a medicine!”

“Old man,” the young man said, “do not grumble. Said sorry, na.”

“Hutt,” said the old man, “what a world! Throw my spectacles and say sorry!”

“You old man!” the young man shouted, “shut your ugly mouth, or do you want me to help shut it for you.”

The old man’s pride was hurt, but he was scared (perhaps his age was keeping him from fighting back). For a few seconds he did not say anything, but after a few more seconds the old man muttered something under his breath. No one heard what the old man said. Then, dissatisfied, he sighed. “But if it were broken,” the old man began, a little louder so that others could hear; “if it were broken, I would have gotten him to buy me a new one as compensation.”

“Buy you a new one, my foot!” said the rowdy young man. “Keep your spectacles at home if you are so concerned about it,” he added. It seemed the old man used the conditional statement keeping no one in mind in particular and keeping everyone in mind in general. But the young man felt, and was certain, that the old man was challenging him, and only him. “No,” continued the young man, “even if it had been broken, you would not have received any compensation, at least not from me, though I do not know about all the other cowards here.”

In his excitement and bravado, the young man had made a big mistake. He called everyone coward. It was a golden opportunity for the old man to get his lost pride back. “Brothers and sisters, sons and daughters,” the old man raised his voice, “are you all cowards? Is that so?”

“Hey you!” said a well-built man, pointing finger at the young man, “I am not a coward.” Then many voices were heard. Unanimously everyone claimed that they were not cowards. Everyone attacked the old man to prove they were not cowards.

Copyright © 2015 RAMU DAS

Doing It

Rainfall in Mumbai is always late. Once, however, it starts raining here, the downpour is massive and incessant, so much so that most of the activities of the city comes to a standstill. Mumbaikers are used to such show of the weather, and we accept what we can’t change.

The moment I got in the train and sat down by the window seat (which when vacant I greedily capture), waiting for the train to move, it started raining. In a few seconds, the water gushed forth from the roof of the train station. With displeasure I made a snap decision and rose from the seat and began moving to the other side of the seat where the rain water could not touch me, could do me no harm. I almost sat on the other side of the seat when I saw what a person – who sat opposite the window seat where I was sitting – was trying to do, and changed my mind instead. I realized my mistake.

The man was trying to pull the windowpane down, and he was having some trouble doing it because he was a feeble man and the window, rarely being lubricated or pulled down, was jammed. I lent him a helping hand and together we pulled the pane down, thus saving our good selves and the seats from getting watered. The drops were heavy; one could distinctly make out the thud-thud-thud sound that the falling rain drops made.

This is but a minor experience I am narrating, but then, I do believe, major things start from minor things; there are many other instances (minor and major) where we can do it. The choice is always yours. You can either do it or you can, like many others, back off.

P.S.: It seems like the lifeline of Mumbai (the trains) have now taken the form of ships; be it by water or land or air, we will continue going to office nevertheless. While some of the vehicles are freely and naturally washed, some of them are washed away. Would you care to join us in the largest theme park ever? It’s free! It’s free!

Copyright © 2015 RAMU DAS

The Day I killed a Sparrow

I smell some fish somewhere. Where? That I need to find out, of course, and how carefully and intelligently I find that out will astonish you my friend, astonish you. Okay, I don’t want to waste my time telling you all about my plans. But, on a serious note what I am going to talk about now will horripilate you my friend, horripilate you.

This happened yesterday as my benefactor lazed on a chair the whole afternoon, quite ill at ease, how suddenly then with the flutter of its wings a sparrow perched upon the railings of my window, my window, mind you!

It noticed me. At first I did not mean to do anything, no harm intended really. So I stood where I was, licking my body and making my skin shiny and silky and then scraping my benefactor’s boots with my strong and sharp claws, making my claws even sharper and stronger. The sparrow did not move an inch farther. “Is it not intimidated looking at my good self?” I thought. Perhaps not, I realized. “How I scared the hell out of that crow the other day, and this tiny creature here would not move an inch.”

So I straightened and puffed up my body to seem bigger and stronger than I really was. The bird shrugged its body, and then let its droppings fall on my benefactor’s cloths. “How dare you!” said I as loud as I could, “this means war!”

The fool of a bird nodded its head. “Hell and damnation!” cried I, my bloodshot eyes were now fully fixed on the bird and I growled and hissed. Just then did the bird tremble with fear and began flying away, but with utmost dexterity and agility I leaped high up in the air and caught the bird by its neck, killed it, and ate it.

But with great sadness I have to tell you that just as the deed was done, my benefactor grabbed my tail and reprimanded me and went on to slap me hard in the face. “What on earth have you done?” cried he. Then, looking at my bloody mouth and the feathers of the bird scattered beside me, he answered his own question: “Killed a bird, oh, a sparrow!”

He preached at great length the advantages of living together in peace and harmony and made me promise never to kill any living being on earth, not even a mouse.

Copyright © 2014 RAMU DAS