Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Night Watch

Riyazat happened to stop by a mosque on the way back home. The sun had already set and the time for prayers was already past. But he heard the azaan and walked in. there was another man offering prayers inside, and he quickly went and knelt next to him. While offering his prayers, Riz noticed that the man next to him suddenly seemed a whole lot larger, then suddenly, a whole lot smaller. His hair turned from white to black to red and his eyes turned into holes and his skin turned from light brown to chalk white. Riyazat continued his prayers, despite the horror. When the prayers were done, the man suddenly seemed to be normal again. As he got up to leave, the other held his hand and requested him to be in time for prayers the next time. 'This is our time', he said.

Djinns are known to frequent areas that have fallen i.e. were once populated but are now abandoned. the common insight that empty houses fall to bits faster than those where people live is attributed to djinns playing about the place. They're like children and have an incredibly poor sense of organisation, mostly given to mischief. however, they're still beings of incredible power and posess a remarkable indifference to pain and suffering. For instance, a group of Djinns once came upon some college kids partying in this wooded area called the ridge, close to North Campus. the kids, lush and in the thick of the experience, playfully asked them how they got to be as white as they were. the kids were found the next morning, chalk white and drained dry. It's not that djinns are evil, it's just that they don't give a damn.

Therefore, the need for a night watch. We found one of the night watchmen, Sufi preachers who double up as ghostbusters, on a back route to NFC. We found him in a dark alley blowing a whistle.

'We can't monitor places like the ridge and Peer Gayab. If you go there at the wrong time, you're asking for it', says, Baba Chisti, who roams about NFC at night. He's dressed in black and sports a black Morocco Mole cap on his frazzled grey hair. You can hardly see his lips move behind that thick grey beard.

'This here is my whistle', he says pointing to a piece of bone with a plastic whistle fused into it, 'djinns hate whistles.'

Thursday, March 8, 2007


The Barista

Film opens on a girl sitting alone at a coffee table at the NFC Barista, waiting, as a waiter walks into the frame.

Waiter: can I get you something

Antara: Actually, I’m waiting for someone

Waiter: It’s just that there are people waiting.

Antara: I see no people…

Waiter: Do you believe in indivisibilities of factor inputs

Antara: do I believe in what?!

Waiter: See, it’s a numbers thing, a set of 4 customers who come in won’t divide themselves into sets of two each

Antara: and you’re telling me this because…

Waiter: because I’ve seen at least four such sets walk away…

Antara: I’m expecting someone…

Waiter: well, you could…uhhh…expect him, or (don’t get me wrong) her on that table there too

Antara: I’m expecting two people

Waiter: well, there’s a fantastic table for three there, right by the sunlight.

Antara: listen, I’ve seen absolutely nobody come anywhere close to this place for the last half an hour.

Waiter: and you know why?

Antara: Stop it, will you!! I’ve been sitting on this very table since I was a girl of four…

Waiter: and you clearly haven’t ordered since

Antara: is this what this is about, do you just want me to order something?

Waiter: hmmmmmmm…maybe

Antara: (fuck), ok, get me something, anything…get me a fuckin’ americano


Waiter: sure thing ma’am


Kalyan: you okay, you don’t look okay, that guy looks sort of familiar

Antara: I’m sick of this place, why did we have to meet here, we could’ve just met at the damned airport

Kalyan: or maybe, not at all

Antara: fuck you

Kalyan: anytime

Antara: you do realize that your presence here is entirely accidental

Kalyan: Well yes, subtract a flight from Bombay, a two week old appointment and yes, then its accidental

Antara: Sri just called you because you’re his brother

Kalyan: chances are, yeah, where is he anyways, I thought Sir gallant would be here before me, or maybe he stopped by a slum on the way and started a rehabilitation project

Antara: or maybe, he stopped by the wayside for a fuck with his secretary, oh hold on, he doesn’t have a secretary, you have a secretary

Kalyan: who told you

Antara: your wife, Kalyan, she wailed it out on fucking long distance, Bombay to Paris, ISD, and the way she was going, I’m sure everyone heard….

Kalyan: she called you

Antara: yeah, I’m guessing she trusts me

Kalyan: poor girl

Antara: I don’t know why you came

Kalyan: Sri called me

Antara: and all that brotherly love drove you here

Kalyan: sort of

Antara: so (bullshit),you came here to meet Sri

Kalyan: No Antara, I came here to meet you…

Antara: you know that I’m seeing someone

Kalyan: yeah, but you aren’t married yet

Antara: but you are

Kalyan: oh yes, that’s a real problem. Any more excuses?

Antara: I’m your sister

Kalyan: that’s not my fault

Antara: not mine either

Kalyan: you didn’t think about it when you started this

Antara: Kalyan, that was 12 years ago

Kalyan: and that changes what

Antara: I can’t believe we’re having this conversation


Antara: you didn’t order any coffee, why has he brought you coffee

Kalyan: we could’ve left together, moved to a new city, nobody would’ve known

Antara: but we didn’t, right

Kalyan: they knew about us, that’s why after it happened they sent you to England and me to Bombay

Antara: it’s been so long, we were different back then, this place was different, and, nobody, nobody could’ve seen it happen

Kalyan: oh, don’t be naïve

Antara: Stop it! Kalyan, it wasn’t a plan, they just wanted us out of here, they were concerned…

Kalyan: And we couldn’t have moved to the same place, we couldn’t have moved together…

Antara: we weren’t adults, Kalyan, and it’s not easy bringing children up, you know, a family has its own. It would’ve been hard bringing us up together

Kalyan: So that’s what they told you….

Antara: so it’s a big conspiracy isn’t it. They probably killed dad too

Kalyan: oh No, you know who did.

Antara: Shut up Kalyan

Kalyan: listen to me, he knew what we had together. He knew that as long as dad was around, nobody could’ve pulled us apart. He called up chachi and Aditya, he planned you going to London and me going to Bombay, then the mad drug crazed bastard killed his own father.

Antara: that’s enough, I shouldn’t have come…

Kalyan: why else do you think he disappeared, right after the murder, this garb of fucking righteousness, after what he did with dad out in the fields, I’m sure it’s the same wherever he is, he hasn’t changed, he can’t change, all of what he’s doing is nothing but a garb, a façade. He’s not right, he’s messed up in the head, he couldn’t see us together, he wanted you….

Antara: You’re sick. He’s my brother Kalyan!

Kalyan: well, so am I

Antara: you know what, this is a bad idea, you shouldn’t have come.

Kalyan: Sri invited me

Antara: it’s him

Kalyan: he’s hugging the waiter, fucking embarrassment


Srinath: (aside) I can’t believe this. It’s old Ramu Kaka’s nephew. When I saw that they’d converted the old coffee house into this, I thought they’d all be gone. (to Kalyan and Antara) So how’s England? How’s Art School?

Antara: I finished last year, I’m in France now, I might be getting engaged

Srinath: that’s beautiful. Kallu how’s family?

Kalyan: Doing fine, Srinath.

Antara: how’s work going?

Srinath: there’s much that needs to be done…

Kalyan: I’m sure there is

Srinath: how’s chachi?

Antara: fine, mostly

Srinath: and how’s adi chacha’s family doing? Yaar, thori coffee…

Kalyan: yeah, the business is doing well…

Srinath: our Kallu, Adi chacha had 2 sons, and he left the business to our Kallu…

Kalyan: it wasn’t much of a choice, really…

Antara: It’s been a long time

Srinath yes, this whole city has changed, this place was just a café and a couple of shops. Look at it now. The coffee house is a Barista and they’ve built a whole marketplace around it…(pause)…so much happened, and so quickly, and so long ago…

Kalyan: funny how we haven’t met, na…

Antara: how’ve you been , Sri?

Srinath: yeah, Kallu got married, what’s this, no card, no invitation..

Kalyan: you didn’t miss much

Antara: how’s work, what’s work?

Srinath: I’m working with an NGO, down in a village near Patna. Can’t speak Bhojpuri for nuts…

Kalyan: so you’re into saving the world and all

Srinath: human rights, and uh…sustainable employment

( )

Srinath: seems like yesterday, the four of us sitting here, having coffee, this place nearly had a forest around it, it seemed so beautiful, so perfect…

Kalyan: Is that why you killed him?

Antara: kalyan, will you shut up…

Kalyan: can we stop pretending for a moment here?


Kalyan: (softly and politely) thank you


Kalyan: I mean, for God’s sake, can we stop pretending this meeting is some sort of family reunion. 12 years ago, someone murdered our father, and then, you, Sri, ran away, and then after that, we haven’t met, the three of us, ever. And suddenly out of the blue, Sri calls up and sets this up. Someone killed our father, and we’re sitting here, having fucking coffee and going hail fellow, well met, like nothing happened and everything’s hunky dory. You know what, I want answers, and I want answers now…
(takes a sip)
(softly and politely) The weather’s better in Bombay

Antara: what just happened?

Srinath: ohmigod…it’s not over, it’s not over yet

Antara: I don’t understand

Srinath: I didn’t call him

Antara: but you told me, over the phone, that you had

Srinath: I didn’t call you either, Antara

Kalyan: I’m sorry, but what are we blabbering about?

Antara: My God, Kalyan called us, he set it up

Srinath: that’s why he doesn’t remember, Antara, doesn’t remember anything about dad, doesn’t remember why mum killed herself, his mind wipes out the bad bits, he still hasn’t healed, I thought it would heal with time…

Kalyan: does somebody speak English here, what’re you guys on about?

Antara: listen, listen to me, do you know what father did to us

Srinath: Antara, no…

Antara: he needs to know, Sri, do you remember Kalyan do you remember?

Kalyan: Listen bitch, I’m through with your games.

Antara: ever wondered why you were daddy’s boy, daddy’s special little boy…

Srinath: Antara…no…

Antara: Daddy was a big building contractor, and the business came with workers and daddy was bad to the workers, and daddy lost his mind being bad, and one day brought his madness home with him….

Kalyan: stop it, bitch, stop it now

Antara: and when mommy saw what daddy had done to his little children she cut herself up and left this stupid fucked up world

Kalyan: stop, stop…now

Antara: and that’s why, Sri did what he did

Srinath: Antara

Antara: so that daddy’s boy would have to stop sucking his own damned father out every night…

Srinath: Antara

Antara: he needs to know, Sri

Srinath: Antara, I didn’t do it

Antara: what?

Srinath: I didn’t kill him

Antara: so why did you run…

Srinath: because, I was frightened

Antara: of what, Sri…

Srinath: of you, because you killed him and I knew and I didn’t want to turn you in

Antara: what?

Srinath: he was younger, and going mad, and you loved him, I thought you killed dad to protect him

Kalyan: Now, the airport would’ve been a better place to meet

Antara: I didn’t, I swear I didn’t, I didn’t…

Kalyan: did I miss something

Srinath: then, who killed him

Kalyan: finally! We’re discussing it, aren’t we, well Adi chacha had ideas

Srinath: Adi chacha?

Antara: he arrived after you left, with chachi to take us away

Kalyan: theory one, dad killed himself, baseless why would he do that? Theory two his eldest son did, too inconvenient, out the window, Theory three, his daughter, maybe, let’s send her abroad before the cops come poking about, or theory four, the little retard, who the hell would suspect him, let’s just keep him in Bombay, therefore, given a dead body, adi chacha made up theory five, Ramu kaka, who’d poisoned dad to avenge the monstrosities he levied upon the working classes

Antara: he dragged Ramu kaka out in the open, beat him until he couldn’t move, and then shot him, in full view of the colony…

Srinath: And nobody complained, nobody went to the cops

Antara: don’t be ridiculous Sri, the man had murdered his master

Kalyan: yes, how convenient, and Sri was gone, maybe the mad old man had killed him too, so let’s blame it all on the butler…

Antara: OK, something about this doesn’t make sense…

Kalyan: Antara needs some more coffee. Now Sri, are you finally going to tell us why the fuck you poisoned our father…

(fade to black)

We see all three of them lying dead on the table. The waiter comes, gathers the coffee cups and leaves.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007



for scoring, five minutes on an auto take you to an abandoned sufi shrine, surrounded by a sprawling wasteland. You take a walk down a path and end up in what used to be a portico. By the side, you see a beautiful girl in a tattered white wedding dress and a scraggy looking pirate having an earnest argument. They look like they've been here for ages, purchasing eternal youth for eternal redundancy. A gurkha motions you to go towards the bushes in the north. you take one of the paths that snake into them, following it into the thorn and the thistle. But JOY! the pain's only temporary as you notice the bush's only denser towards the outside. Inside, the path, despite a few pricks, is clear, you follow the path and are momentarily stunned as you notice a plush red sofa in the middle of the wilderness and a bookcase next to it with a complete but weathered set of the encyclopedia brittanica. but, as voices from the distance tell you, you're supposed to walk on further. Soon, the bushes clear and you meet a blank concrete wall, flanked by a raised concrete platform and you meet a small man with a small set of scales, dealing out grams of hash. You look to either side, and you notice the raised platform go on forever, and in the distance,both to your left and your right, you notice similar small men sitting in the distance. This platform is a wormhole that connects all such dealers in the city, and if you take a circuit, you're sure to meet all of them.

Shawarmas/ Biscuits of Death

There's nothing quite as good or bad as the shawarmas you get at Al Bake. An ectoplasmy glob of oil and bread wrapped around minced meat, served out with death threats and abuses makes fantastic fodder for the evil and the discontented. And it's damned cheap too.


The New Friends Colony Community Centre is about fifteen minutes from the agency and two from hell.

When India hit independence, Nehru had them chase out all the djinns and the tantrics, outlaw magic and seal up all the manholes, public bathrooms and tunnels that led to hell. Needless to say, they missed a few. The one at the New Friends Colony Community Centre is unique, in the sense that it has actually sprouted a commercial complex about it, peopled by struggling artists, advertising executives, and personal and public demons.

This blog is dedicated to the Delhi netherworld and its malcontents.