Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the last 10,000

so my lovelies, as much as i hate to admit it, this blog is a bit on the decline.

where there was a tsunami of comments on every post (18, or sometimes even 19), nowadays even 1 is a call for a black label, large and with coke. it's only logical, of course, people move on, there is no constant but change, etc etc, fuck, there are so many allusions to the cliche. but it hurts, not in the overwhelming cascade of tears kind of way but more in a my goldfish died kind of way (often sometimes in the rather tragi-comic my larger goldfish ate my smaller goldfish kind of way). and quite frankly, i am a bit of a sucker for inertia. if i had my way, i'd still be 14, staring out of my classroom window trying to evoke the seventeenth century back into being, writing shit verse for the class bully to try and salvage some empathy out of that profane tiffin stealing mass of khaki and athleticism. and then i wouldn't have met so many of you. or, for that matter, started this blog.

which brings me to a side story, think of it as required reading for the greater story (and not as the thinly disguised narcissism in nostalgia that it really is). there were 3 of us back then - the angel, the fat whore and myself. the blog was started out of my closet in lajpat with the sheer intent of becoming mark zuckerberg at the whore's insistence. the 3 of us were fairly thick, and complete conformists to the kind of immortality such a thickness dreams of. the whore got married and buggered off, eager to satisfy the aspirations concealed behind the reading of jim morrison's biography, aldous huxley and other such pretentious crap. the angel, however, persisted. the blog is named after where he was staying at the time. i could walk into the new friends colony community center any time of the night or day and be assured of serendipity guiding me to him. him moving out of there brought the foretellings of doom. the ground shook beneath my feet. the center of my world was lost. his seat at the cafe, now annexed by a sleazy real estate agent who keeps buying me americanos and inviting me for drunken liaisons with his girlfriend and him. i still go and sit there, hoping for a waft of what it was, destroying myself with caffeine, nicotine and shawarmas.

of late, the angel informed me that he was getting married. on the 31st of december, at rampur. now, for the average human being this presents a dilemma. the 31st of december is normally reserved for newyearsdeparty, girlfrand, shiny disco balls and those kinds of things. going to be with your best friend in what's easily the most monumental day of his life obviously must take second priority, given the scheme of things. now there were two important factors that were determinants of the outcome in this game.
a. owing to the usual mismanagement of financial resources i had a paltry 10,000 at my disposal. the entry to the club we were scheduled to go to had this as the entry fee. a night of dancing would yield harsh impoverishment for the consequent 10 days (i get my salary on the 10th of every month).
b. undertaking this journey would cost a trifle comparatively. also, this would fit in with the ideology of the preceding nostalgic rant (that forms a massive chunk in my narrative on life) and establish me as a man of substance with the added benefit of keeping my self respect and dignity intact.
quite obviously, b. was the preferred option. however, an interesting chain of events ensued that changed everything. the girlfrand threw a fit and threatened to go to the party with a random variable EX and other hot boys of european origin. a friend's friend who worked at the club promised to get us free entry. also, my boss mentioned that it would be highly irresponsible of me to flee the district given that an important pitch that would determine the future of our little advertising agency was due. what dawned, at this moment was that we all had, in fact moved on. only logical, i thought, people move on, there is no constant but change, etc etc,

as i write this, i am on a bus to rampur. if all goes well, i might make it for the angel's wedding. the girlfrand, as per our last conversation, is wearing her hot pink dress for her night out. enclosed in my bag is a suit i bought for the wedding on an impulse before leaving. it's still in the store's navy blue paper bag. the price tag, attached to the jacket's collar, buried between black and black, in the wake of a white shirt dark in the absence of light, by the trail of a tie that is actually red, reads 10,000.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

zizi's garden of cruelty

the scene opens on a lovely garden where zizi is guiding an eunuch about the place. both of them are dressed in fancy pre french revolution garb, with the eunuch pretending to be male and zizi, female.

this be my garden, she says, batting her lovely eyelids.

lovely, much like yourself, mentions the eunuch, but what be this monstrosity you seem to have grown.

the camera now focuses on a man, planted in the gound and looming large on account of being taller than required. his nose is massive, his spectacles thick and his name, max (of the black variety).

oh him, she says, her voice now morose and lacking the efferversence of youth, he's a preserved species, can't get him chopped off.

the eunuch, overcome by sadness at her predicament, puts his arm around her.

don't worry, it says, we can cut it up after it dies. it'll make for lovely furniture.

they make mad passionate love then. but she feels something is amiss.

Friday, December 3, 2010

batman and the gramophone

I have an hour off from work so I go my old place. This is long overdue.

My landlord, busy getting granite tiles in what used to be a beautiful front lawn, says he’ll send someone upstairs to help me get the stuff down.

It’s a long walk to the second floor. The place was an open terrace with two fairly large rooms by the side. We spent winter afternoons there reclining on borrowed bean bags and drinking beer. An impolite old man who used to stand there at his balcony in the distance staring at us libertines was dispatched to his private middle class hell one afternoon when a close friend and I made out to freak him out. He went in and was never seen again (and if so, never staring). There were parties here where girls passed out, infidelities played themselves out and A BANDE APART was projected silently on the terrace wall while Noctuary by Bonobo haunted the fuck out of everyone present. We had adopted squirrels as children here and watched them die helplessly and tried making things easier for each other by mentioning they were playing outside in the sun as they dried, dead, covered by discarded half sleeve sweaters. An acid trip here convinced me that my love was an angel and my angel that I was the devil. Paintings and guitars and unknown Rajasthani violins lined the walls. An old music system was the bookcase. There was a kitchen where we never cooked. Inexplicable, untraceable and exotic underwear would be found on the chairs, in the kitchen and, of course, in the bed. You could find a sex toy or two lying about randomly. Sometimes, you’d realize after it was on your finger, demand an explanation and rush off to the washer (complete with malfunctioning shower and exotic soaps and shampoos and a magazine rack with an old New Yorker, last month’s Rolling Stones and all the Time Outs ever published).

As I enter, I realize the terrace has been covered completely. The floor is marble tiles. What was a lovely view is now a window. My things lie in the middle in a mound of concrete. Out of this stack of love and brick and dust, I salvage a gramophone. A batman poster I stole in my second year in college and had framed is damaged but not destroyed. The music system-cum-bookshelf is destroyed. All the DVDs are in an impenetrable sack. The magazines lie in tatters. The instruments lie about in pieces. A collage I made for my ex and her paintings lie swollen and soaked. A kindly old man in a beard appears. He’s my help. He has a quiet smile that comforts. He helps me carry the things down.

‘Everything else is to be destroyed?’ asks my landlord, still getting the tiles down. ‘Do whatever you want with it’, I whisper under my breath. The man with the beard places the gramophone and the batman poster, all that’s left, in my cab.

The winter sunlight is beautiful. I refrain from putting on my headphones.

Strangely, I feel happy. Maybe even free.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Savile Row, 69

so paul runs to ringo's door and nearabout breaks down.

well hello you feckin cunt, you ruined a near perfect orgasm.

code red, mentions paul and it's off to the yellow submarine for a riveting and physics challenging drive through that golden heart of brittania, london.

i think that's why ol' stew quit, mentions ringo, still grumpy about the ruined foreplay.

no, says paul, they din't send me back from the dead for no reason, you know. it's what we do. it's important.

the wheels of the volkswagen van(given to flight and flotation at random time periods for reasons unknown) hum along the tarmac by beats electronic from a time not yet here.

the beat builds to a crescendo that explodes into the screech of the van outside george's house.

george awaiting the marks on his front porch walks upto the back and gets in.

thank god they called us in time, he says, it's an urgent case.

urgent? screeches paul.

he might die.

the van screeches outside the savile row studio.

john is there.

time machine ready john, asks paul.

vietnamese tantric techno-logy, he says, set your equipment up. i'll get the machine running.

what about you? asked paul.

don't worry, he says, i'll find a cowbell or something.

ringo, still grumpy, says, 'so, we're going through time again?

no, this delivers our song using a psycho-carmic-apple app to the patient.

through time? inquires ringo.

and space, mentions John.

Let's go says paul and they sing let it be in savile row.

sitting decades and thousands of miles away in imt ghaziabad, udayan receives the song.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


in the clinic, patient 1/0 sat in overalls. with trousers, he reckoned, he could look like the doctors.

the doctor entered. sat without saying a word across.

funny, thought the patient, normally he wishes me a good morning.

i'm afraid, he mentioned, you have little time left.

this is fantastic, the patient thought to himself, now i'm going to make a bucket list, then do all those wonderful things. wow, i'll probably freeze in the himalayas and be excavated 10,000 years later when they have a cure for this.

how long, he asked interrupting his thoughts, far too eager.

ten minutes, said the doctor.

fuck, he thought.

is there someone you'd like to call, asked the doctor, you can use my phone.

the patient was quiet.

ten minutes, he thought, be quick you,

can i have a pen, he said, and some paper.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Hardest Part

And now we come to the hardest part in a dervish's life.

The djinn finds another dervish to live by. A congenial djinn drops by as witness to the divorce as nature plays out her proceedings

A storm gathers, dark but not powerful, so as not to upset too much. The matter is, after all, personal.

As the djinn commits to her future, the congenial djinn takes his cue. He leaves the dervish. Strange sounds are heard. The wind grows fiercer. There is the mysterious sound of doors you cannot see closing.

The right music finds a way to play itself.

In a gentle suddenness, the dervish finds himself united in a common moment through time and space with others like him. Touching without touching he feels the painful hopelessness, the consequent inebriation and the jaded happiness that flowers there after.

He is left with echoes. Shadows of memories flash by his eyes. He breathes what was, forever and forever.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

(the title comes in the end)

a hulk of a guy brushed past him on his way out.

he stopped for a bit, but only in thought. this was the way the city was. people hurt you and moved on. no apologies. no remorse. nothing.

his second had just broken off with him.

'it's getting too tough', she had said.

'i'll set it right', he had offered, 'just go with me this one time. we'll be okay.'

she said no. he finished his coffee. left the muffin half eaten. paid at the counter. hugged her one final time and left.

he looked back. she was on the phone. her face betrayed no emotion.

he wrapped his jacket closer against the winter chill.

there was no reason to take this badly. this had happened before.

the ecstasy. the agony. the deja vu.

thinking about it, he let out a laugh. a dark little smirk that laughed at everything bad the world had to offer.

he bought a cigarette at a nearby store. just one as opposed to a pack so he wouldn't chain.

an auto passed. he waved a hand but it didn't stop.

he stood around. an auto came round. slowing down by the side. he asked if he'd go by the meter. the driver refused.

he got in, muttering a profanity under his breath.

he got off near his place. bought another smoke. went up. unlocked his place. went to the bathroom. unwrapped a wilkinson double sword razor.

looked in the mirror.

'why so serious?' he asked his face. paused for a bit. the idea seemed nice.

The Secret Origins of the Joker

INT. APARTMENT (ROOM 49) – MORNING (with a minor edit)


THREE YOUNG GUYS, obviously in over their heads, sit at a
table with hamburgers, french fries and soda pops laid out.

One of them flips the LOUD BOLT on the door, opening it to
REVEAL Jules and Vincent in the hallway.

Hey kids.

The two men stroll inside.

The three young caught-off-guard Guys are:

MARVIN, the black young man, who open the door, will, as the
scene progresses, back into the corner.

ROGER, a young blond-haired surfer kid with a "Flock of
Seagulls" haircut, who has yet to say a word, sits at the
table with a big sloppy hamburger in his hand.

BRETT, a white, preppy-looking sort with a blow-dry haircut.

Vincent and Jules take in the place, with their hands in
their pockets. Jules is the one who does the talking.

How you boys doin'?

No answer.

(to Brett)
Am I trippin', or did I just ask you
a question.

We're doin' okay.

As Jules and Brett talk, Vincent moves behind the young Guys.

Do you know who we are?

Brett shakes his head: "No."

We're associates of your business
partner Marsellus Wallace, you
remember your business partner

No answer.

(to Brett)
Now I'm gonna take a wild guess here:
you're Brett, right?

I'm Brett.

I thought so. Well, you remember
your business partner Marsellus
Wallace, dont'ya Brett?

I remember him.

Good for you. Looks like me and
Vincent caught you at breakfast,
sorry 'bout that. What'cha eatin'?


Hamburgers. The cornerstone of any
nutritious breakfast. What kinda


No, I mean where did you get'em?
MacDonald's, Wendy's, Jack-in-the-
Box, where?

Big Kahuna Burger.

Big Kahuna Burger. That's that
Hawaiian burger joint. I heard they
got some tasty burgers. I ain't never
had one myself, how are they?

They're good.

Mind if I try one of yours?


Yours is this one, right?


Jules grabs the burger and take a bite of it.

Uuummmm, that's a tasty burger.
(to Vincent)
Vince, you ever try a Big Kahuna


Jules holds out the Big Kahuna.

You wanna bite, they're real good.

I ain't hungry.

Well, if you like hamburgers give
'em a try sometime. Me, I can't
usually eat 'em 'cause my girlfriend's
a vegetarian. Which more or less
makes me a vegetarian, but I sure
love the taste of a good burger.
(to Brett)
You know what they call a Quarter
Pounder with Cheese in France?


Tell 'em, Vincent.

Royale with Cheese.

Royale with Cheese, you know why
they call it that?

Because of the metric system?

Check out the big brain on Brett.
You'a smart motherfucker, that's
right. The metric system.
(he points to a fast
food drink cup)
What's in this?


Sprite, good, mind if I have some of
your tasty beverage to wash this
down with?


Jules grabs the cup and takes a sip.

Uuuuummmm, hit's the spot!
(to Roger)
You, Flock of Seagulls, you know
what we're here for?

Roger nods his head: "Yes."

Then why don't you tell my boy here
Vince, where you got the shit hid.

It's under the be –

– I don't remember askin' you a
goddamn thing.
(to Roger)
You were sayin'?

It's under the bed.

Vincent moves to the bed, reaches underneath it, pulling out
a black snap briefcase.

Got it.

Vincent flips the two locks, opening the case. We can't see
what's inside, but a small glow emits from the case. Vincent
just stares at it, transfixed. Inside, we see two PVR tickets to Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins for the nine thirty show at Select Citywalk Premiere (not Gold). Vincent continues looking at the tickets, still transfixed.

We happy?

No answer from the transfixed Vincent.


Vincent looks up at Jules.

We happy?

Closing the case.

We're happy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

People I Know

How many people do you know? No, don’t go for a number or anything. I’m not looking for a statistic. The way to do it isn’t running a fast rewind of your whole life, setting up a mathematical counter for every humane interaction, etc.

It’s looking for the people who stay with you. Who’re in the room with you as we speak. Who tell you what to do, how to say it and what to think.

Let me tell you about the people I know.

I never really knew his name. My mother might have mentioned it when she told me his story. He lived in Lucknow and loved this girl. She had a retarded sister. Then her parents died and she had to get her sister married to someone who could take care of her.

So she asked this man she loved to marry her sister. He said no but she insisted. He relented. They got married then. She couldn’t live with the fact and killed herself.

Mr. Agnihotri taught me Hindi straight through middle school. He drew accents at forty five degree angles, looked for parables for them in nature and stressed their enunciation as next to godliness. He was born rich but let go of everything, refusing to take part in the bitter legal battle that ensued after his relatives got greedy. He started off as a radio announcer for the BBC but left because it was too much of a journey to the radio station. He started teaching in our school then. He had a profound interest in dogs and kept close to twelve of them with him. He assembled his own radio, motorcycle and car. He even had a Luftwaffe aircraft built to scale which he hung in his drawing room from the ceiling. Also in the drawing room were pictures of African tribals, people he knew and King Edward the seventh (who he used as an example of financial, aesthetic and moral vice). He knew a large number of languages which he could speak fluently which included Sanskrit, French and Russian. His first wife was Russian but she left him and ran away. His second wife, as he once mentioned in public, wanted to poison him. His son remembers the tea parties he organized for which the who’s who of the city would turn up. He would then introduce his dogs and his son(toddling around in this canine density) in no particular order. He taught in our school for over sixty years. Then, one evening, in the annual middle school function, he took to the stage over a minor outrage, called the principal a eunuch, the librarian a whore and left for his house to get his elephant gun to shoot the vice principal. The next morning the principal announced Mr. Agnihotri’s retirement. We heard later that Jagdish Gandhi, who runs the largest school in the world and has Nobel aspirations came personally to his house to offer him a position. His job profile would include visiting various school branches at his leisure and giving suggestions to improve quality. The emoluments offered were jaw dropping. Mr. Agnihotri asked him to fuck off. He died in a hospital ward talking to the founder of our college, a French bounty hunter (who had also died close to a hundred years earlier) asking him why things were so unfair.

Our principal, Elton De’Souza, spoke in a sophisticated manner which was mistaken as homosexual in the city. He had this old car which he used to go to official functions and survey the school estate. He used to work day and night to make sure the choir sang well. He once caned a boy at the assembly because he was smiling too much. He developed a case of blood cancer and chose to stay on as principal instead of going to get himself treated. He was still there the last time I visited (too sick for an audience). The choir, I hear, keeps getting better and better every year.

Amrendra Uncle, balding and ever so helpful, had a girlfriend, let’s call her P, also balding and ever so helpful. They couldn’t get married for some important reason (which skips my mind right now). He never married and stayed alone all his life. He was found dead in his bathroom where he had slipped into cardiac arrest. Apparently, he had called for help but there was no one there.

Sumeet Agarwal never talked in class, read the short stories I wrote for him and, I was sure, never saw porn.

Sean Fox Holmes , also in school with me, mysteriously appeared out of the grey in Class 11. He played the lead guitar with a special metallic claw he had invented for himself. When I was doing a stage adaptation of Pulp Fiction, he magically resurfaced. I got him on as Lance, the drug dealer but he ended up playing Vince Vega, the lead. He had a girlfriend but was in love with Mia Wallace. After the play bombed and everything fell to bits, he disappeared, never to be seen again.

Playing Jules in Pulp Fiction was Riyazat. The first time I saw him, he was being reprimanded by someone inconsequential for wearing anti-anti-wrinkle trousers. He explained that the Presswala’s wife had run away and he was doing his level best to empathise with the poor man. I’ve been in love with him since.

The other person I love is Ankita. She sings me songs and plays the guitar very well. The more time I spend with her, the more beautiful she gets

Patrick Bateman met me when I was reading American Psycho. He was a black hole that sucked in everything you were and replaced it with his bleak nothingness. His diet included whisky, cigarettes and sex. He told me the only way to survive was to do things his way. He can convince you of anything.

He tried to get me to kill a girl I knew once. He’s not very pleasant company and I avoid him whenever I can.

I had a dream this afternoon. I was in this old house I’m in in all my dreams. It has high ceilings, antique furniture and all my books. Elton was around, putting on his dinner jacked and telling me I should go hide somewhere. Amrendra Uncle was walking out in his suit, taking a dog he never had out for a walk to the lawns. It was then that I knew it was a dream – Amrendra Uncle was dead and he couldn’t be walking around with a fictitious dog, much less take the dog out for a walk. It was then that I forced my eyes open to an empty bedroom. They were all there, the people I know.

1st & 2nd

So there was this boy who always came 2nd in class. STRAIGHT THROUGH. All the way from Nursery to Class 12. And not for lack of trying. He put everything he had in it. He read stuff that wasn't in the syllabus. He gave the most expensive gits on Teacher's Day. Fuck, he even tried cheating.

But the guy who always came first just kept coming first. Unabated.

So when he was done with school, this boy went psycho.

He topped his IIT entrance exams. He made new records in all the papers when he was studying there. He made it through the country's best MBA colleges. He decided to study in the best of the lot. He topped all his papers there. He got the best placement in that college's history. He shot up through the ranks setting new standards in the industry. Once he was global head, the company shot to the top of the industry. Once that was done, he quit and started his own thing. The startup established a whole new industry, with his thing ,quite obviously, floating right on top of the game.

then one evening, he was back in his hometown, doing the whole nostalgia thing because he was bored of everything else. He was sitting in this open air cafe enjoying a lovely hot chocolate. When all of a sudden he saw this bum walk by.

He paused for a moment. Put his coffee down. And ran after him.

The bum didn't try and flee. High on his smack trip, everything was a blur to him.

This guy grabbed the bum and pushed him against a wall.

'How could you?', he screamed, 'How could you do this to me. Everything I've done, I've done it for you.' Tears streamed from his eyes as he said this. Wiping them, as he could feel another sob build up around the back of his throat, he said, ' Everything I've ever done is to get over coming second in class. Everything...'

'Funny', said the bum from his pedestal by the dusty, broken column where he had fallen, 'Everything I've ever done is to get over coming first.'

Thursday, February 4, 2010



I’m standing by the lift. It’s the ground floor, about 9 in the morning. I just got to the office.

There’s a beautiful girl standing close to the lift. She’s waiting for it like me. The green neon goes

from 3 to 2 to 1. With a cling the doors opens. We go in. Another man in a white sweater follows

us. He works in my office.

She’s beautiful.

I look at her, look at the man in the white sweater, look at the neon go up from 46 to 47 to 48.

The lift stops and she steps out and is gone.

At lunch, Muktesh is belligerent about a deal his boss messed up. Harmit sits by the corner and

stares out at the grey sky. I’m thinking about the girl. Out for a smoke, I smoke downstairs

hoping for her to walk out. Five minutes down the wait, I open up my communicator and run an

image search. Picking a girl with her hair, I set up an appointment for the night. There are

skyscrapers all around us.

‘Go for Mita’s’, Muktesh says, ‘they’ve got everything. Got a light?’

With a taste for the unusual, Muktesh fucked shemales, children and hamsters. Mita’s supplied

the first two.

I pass him my lighter and we stare at the fierce concrete ahead. The streets are clean here.

There’s no public transport here, everyone’s got their own cars.

After the sex, she asks me if she can use the bathroom. I refuse for health reasons and tell her
about the public toilet at the ground floor. The sun is cold and blue through the tinted glass. I

can see all of Gurgaon behind it. Square, rectangular and triangular skyscrapers cover all of it

and disappear down the horizon.

I speed back to the office. A message appears on my car terminal. It says they’re charging me a

fine for speeding. I select OK and the window disappears. Now that I’ve paid, I have legal

authority to speed to office. Everything’s legal now, subject to payment.

At office, Rana is telling us about his latest acquisition, an arranged wife.

‘Isn’t it too retro?’, the cocky new kid asks.

‘My car’s retro too’, Rana humours him, ‘I like retro. It’s cool. Not everyone can afford P.C.’

Everyone at the table laughs, including the women.

P.C. is short for Permanent Cunt, the going slang for arranged marriage.

For a short duration, I contemplate P.C.

Middle class parents cultivate and auction cunt for pay packages. MNC six figures get you top


I’m thinking about the things I can do with her when it suddenly strikes 2 and I have to get back

to work.

I check out Mita’s hoping to find the girl I saw near the lift. I don’t find her. However, I do locate

a boy who looks like a girl in my class in school. I pick him for the night and pay the fine. He’s


He’s a nice kid, I think as I see him putting his pants back on.

‘You in school?’, I ask smartly from behind a cigarette drag.

‘Company regulations don’t allow me to answer that.’

I choose not to speed on the way to work. Gotta start saving. I plan on building up a corpus to

invest. Buy a house, sometime, plan for my retirement, etc.

They’re serving chocolate truffles with lunch. It’s from the bakery at the Trident. The chef is

French. The truffles taste exquisite. The chocolate melts in your mouth.

The rest of the day is a lot of work. I nod off twice while driving back home. I’m thankful for not

killing myself. I pass out as soon as I hit the bed.

I wake up with the cramps of a man who’s slept with his suit and shoes on. The hot shower feels

better than usual. An old tune comes back to me but I can’t remember the name. I can hum it

though. I hum it to my terminal and it finds it for me. I play it while getting dressed.

‘Believe that today is going to be a beautiful day’, I tell myself as I head to office.

‘Try two’, says Muktesh during a cigarette break, ‘then it’s more about skill.’

‘Didn’t work for me’, I tell him. It was just money wasted.

‘What do you think about marriage?’, I ask him.



He makes a face.

We laugh at Rana.

The next night, I order a special package. She arrives with a small box containing a blindfold,

handcuffs and a riding crop. She’s also wearing boots and black leather underwear.

The box has a small booklet with instructions. It’s too complicated and I keep getting them

wrong. I feel like a fool the next morning.

I hear Muktesh saying Mita’s is passĂ©. He’s right. There’s only so much of that you can take.

Lunch is some Italian shit. Despite the five star tag, it tastes like shit.

I go home early and catch a film. I switch it off and sleep halfway.

The weekend passes quickly. I meet a girl. Things really don’t get going. We get drunk and are

still unable to get a conversation started. We apologise to each other for the boredom and go

home. I drink more at home. When I wake the next day, it’s already evening. I have a horrid

hangover. I think about Mita’s but don’t feel upto it.

There’s nothing on on T.V. either. Briefly, I consider suicide. I take more alcohol and I sleep. I

wake up late and have to speed to work. Bad news for savings.

The lift door opens with a cling. There’s no one in the lift today. I travel to my floor alone.


Muktesh is checking out some equipment on the internet.

He notices me notice and beckons me over.

‘Check this out.’

It’s a steel dildo which he can strap on to the top of his penis.

‘Interesting.’, I say.

‘Hold on’, he says, ‘see what happens when I twist this.’

He clicks on a section on the middle of the thing. And the top of the thing snaps open, turning

into a huge and hard metallic claw.

‘That can kill’, I say.

I realize he’s looking at me, his mouth drawn to a manic smile.

Muktesh’s house is like a giant device built to the sole end of a fuck. His bedroom closet opens

up into a small room with red walls, hooks on the ceiling, a chair with straps, a love seat the

shape of a horizontal s, an operation table, a wall with a variety of interesting dildos, gags,

masks, pipes, chains, belts and the customary handcuffs, a large plasma screen and a naked

Ukranian woman in a cage by the side.

‘Nice mask’, I say, pointing to her face.

‘Yeah’, he says, ‘keeps her mouth open all the time. So she can’t shut it even when she’s


The girl seems to be in her twenties. She’s blonde and malnourished, lying listless by the side.

Her hair is matted and she stinks. He doesn’t let her out to use the loo.

‘Isn’t she dirty?’

His jaw arches backwards, stretching the botoxed face over his skull like a plastic balloon. The

eyes remain as wide as ever. It’s the same smile he gave me in office that day.

He was checking out equipment on the internet when I happened to be passing by. The metallic

dildo was one of them. He showed me more and invited me over to his place on the coming


Muktesh is into snuff. For the unacquainted, it means killing the person you’re having sex with

before, in the midst of or after intercourse. It includes slitting his/her stomach before

intercourse, strangling him/her while you’re at it, hanging him/her on top of your bathtub and

slitting him/her like a halal and, of course, using devices like the one he was purchasing over the


This is the Friday and I’m happy I came.

Upstairs, the guests have started to arrive. Men and women dressed in suits in Audis and BMWs

and S Classes. Some bring bottles of wine, some bring their beautiful young wives.

‘You should have asked me to dress up’, I whisper to Muktesh as he goes around, receiving his

guests, ‘this is like a black tie affair.’

‘Wait till they get to the hall’, he whispers, ‘they’re like animals.’

A small boy in a mini tuxedo walks in with a couple. The gentleman is wearing a traditional India

silk kurta with pajamas and a shawl. His wife, thin, tan and chiseled is wearing a revealing saree.

‘They’ve brought their son?’ I ask Muktesh.

‘That’s not their son.’

And then there’s that smile again.


Two months later, I’m done with Muktesh.

He does it all to see the expression on your face. If he was into it for the experience, he’d be as

bored as I am.

I had a chat with Prince Anwar, one of his other guests, and he was as bored as me.

‘It’s more of a social get together’, he said, ‘nobody gives a fuck about the fuck.’

Prince Anwar is graduating from Columbia and therefore discourses on the polemics of the


Apparently, I had noticed one of the older gentlemen do something gruesome with the boy and

had said, ‘how did we get like this?’

Prince Anwar informs me it had started with the youporn revolution. Sometime around 2007,

amateurs around the world had started putting their videos on the internet. The literati, led

mostly by the libertarians, had celebrated what they thought a milestone in the freedom of

expression. The revolution would herald the collapse of the porn industry and a new age of

greater social freedom.

The industry, however, had protected itself. Pornstars got themselves forked tongues, bipenes,
rectal implants and a dozen other biological upgrades, becoming living, breathing sex toys for

money. Pornstars were the new rockstars.

As a corollary, prostitution had been legalized. The sex industry was now out in the open.

Instead of reforming itself, as the legislators had said it would, it reformed society.

Free market capitalism went well with the new social dynamic. Tele-marketing was now the

worst crime and a fine the worst punishment.

Prince Anwar rounds up his monologue by asking me to consider saving for a fuck with a


‘It’s something else’, he said.

That was my last afternoon at Muktesh’s place.

Realizing that sexual excesses weren’t helping I went to 32/4 Sector C, Patparganj, New Delhi to

meet Nalini’s parents.

Nalini’s profile had been put up on a marriage website.

To get to it, I had to choose between fair, not fair, had to put in my preferences for height,

ethnicity, caste, age, education and had to put in my salary package. I got 209,000,000

responses. She was the third. Her picture looked good.

Her profile had said

Fair, good looking, tall, English speaking, M.A. educated girl, 23, looking for well to do Hindu

boy, working in MNC, executive position with high salary, benefits.

The parents, an old man in a white kurta pyjama and heavy plastic frames and his wife, as old,

saree clad, with a smile pasted on her face, asked me to sit in the living room. There was a

wooden sculpture of Krishna playing the flute in a corner. On the wall were some framed

certificates. In another corner, in a vase, were some plastic flowers that kept changing colour

from blue to green to red. There was a wooden table between us which had a scale model of the

Cutty Sark (‘My nephew, in U.K.’, she had explained). There was a sofa in the room, at different

ends of which the couple sat. There were two other chairs (of the same make as the sofa set),

one of which I sat on.

I had talked to them earlier, setting up this appointment.

Here, I repeated what I had said on the phone, quoting my salary, my age and lying about my

family background.

They asked me to repeat my salary.

They laughed after for no apparent reason.

‘Nalini’, they called out then.

Nalini appeared, carrying a tray with tea and expensive biscuits. She was non descript and

pretty. She didn’t make eye contact. I could discern a smile on her face.

On the wedding night, I pulled out a bottle of scotch and asked her if she wanted some.

She said no.

I held by her hair and forced her to drink it. Then I hit her until she started crying.

I pulled a chair and watched her cry. As soon as she stopped, I hit her again. I kept taking shots,

neat, while I was at it. I don’t know when I passed out. She was still there in the morning.

It’s been two years since we’ve been married.

Over time, her crying has grown quieter.

She doesn’t resist when I rape her. Often, I think she’s been bred for submission.

I feel nothing for her.

Her parents haven’t been in touch since we got married.

One evening, I pay four men to burgle my flat, gang rape my wife and kill her.

I watch it in slo-mo on my security tapes.

It does nothing for me.

Her parents come for her cremation. They offer me their condolences.


In Babylon, Celia smoked on the balcony. A pot bellied Belgian businessman lay, cock subsided,

on her hotel bed. He had come thrice last night. At his age, that was a miracle. She’d get her five

star rating. The surgery had worked.

Her phone bleeped to life. The reminder would always come on, even if you switched your

phone off. She was required to be gone. The client had paid for a wet dream. Girls from these

dreams aren’t smoking on your balcony when you wake up.

Her Alfa Romeo, parked downstairs, took her and its chauffeur down the cobbled streets to

what she called home.

Stopping out at the canal, where an old man walked his dog after a night of pissing down a 12

year old’s throat and slitting it later, she made her way to the second floor where the security

system would scan her retina and let her in.

‘What if someone took my eye and passed it through’, she thought, past her living room and

panties as she made her way through the living room.

Later, as her shower breathed medicated steam, not water (after the implant water was

dangerous) her answering machine read messages to her.

Murli said, ‘Celia, later in the afternoon you have to fuck him. The formalities are done. He’s

paid up. He’s from home and stuff.’

In the steam she cursed Murli for the tight schedules. But she’d been doing that for thirty years

and she had known him longer than anyone. And she knew that. A couple of more jobs, and

they could pack funding for her latest film.

Later in the afternoon, after the medics had said that her blood was still clean. She made her

way through the town square to the basement at the Café Voltaire. The staff was there. They

stripped her and strapped her onto the wheel, leaving as they always did in a cold professional


Around fifteen extremely long minutes later the door creaked.

He was alone.

He got around to it, using her on the wheel then letting her loose and taking her to the


Finally, when he was done, he lit a cigarette.

She could see tears streaming down his face.

‘You know’, she said, ignoring the black irony that was the blood and semen on the bed, ‘I’m

from India too.’

‘I know’, he said, ‘mother.’