How to not be Stupid – For Dummies

It is common experience that distraction and a temporary lack of definite direction are easy to befriend in certain states of the mind.

I just call it plain stupidity. (Of course, the first step to accepting your own stupidity is to not glare when your closest friend taps you on the head and calls you the stupid fellow you are.)

“…the pangs of sequestration in the maddening darkness of a closed prison,” says K Satchidanandan in one of his essays.

I have a habit of sometimes being too naïve. That’s a bad thing, by the way. I say things I may mean as a compliment, being completely oblivious that there is one small facet of what  I said, that turns the whole thing on it’s head. It no longer remains a compliment, having lost all its endearing attributes. It is now a prickly statement of disinterest. You’d have to be supremely detached to not get pissed when I do something like this. Stupid, remember?

Of course, ‘getting pissed’ thereafter brings with it the various stages of “maddening darkness”, giving birth to the aforementioned “pangs of sequestration”.

Satchidanandan knows his shit.

I could quite easily go into vivid details about how these “pangs” are, in totality, quite sucky indeed. Or, instead, I could tell you how I stop feeling stupid (although I’m told I still am stupid), and go down the river of #SentiFeelz.

This is exactly how.

I write.

And then I am rather hastily transported back to a land of no pangs. Here, its suddenly hard to brush off the thought of those flowers. I actually, thoughtfully, bought flowers for the first time ever today. It was a big deal. They looked amazing. Even better in the hands of whom they’re meant for. The rains just make this moment of reminiscing, shining.

I just keep smiling out into the trees, as the drops continue falling in front of me, the wind occasionally spraying some water at my stupid face.


Yes, that is me in the image, photoshopping a bunch of potatoes. Everyday stuff. No biggie.

The Early Break

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“Cameras at the front of the store and those at adjacent streets that he used, got satisfactory photographs of the culprit’s face and the number plate of the car he used”

The whole room was a mess. Papers covered the desk and much of the floor. The cabinets were overflowing. Files were precariously stacked on top of said cabinets. The whole scene indicated utter laxity.

“So, here it is,” said the hefty lieutenant.

“This is my cabin, sir?” the young policeman was apprehensive.

“What is it? Too cramped for your liking? You’ll get used to it, boy!” The lieutenant thumped his fat palm on the youth’s back and waddled off, still laughing at his own joke.

“Sure I will.”

Sarcasm. It was Mayank’s alter ego. Sometimes he used it more often than he knew. It’s probably a mixed bag when you want to be a detective. Useful at times and sometimes sarcastic is probably the last thing you want to be.

Mayank looked at the state of the room, wondering how its previous occupant managed to not choke on the dust. As he recollected, he had in fact choked. Not on the dust, obviously, but at the hands of a drug lord who the said occupant had tracked down. The family pleaded in court but the evidence, thanks to the drug lord’s heavy bribes, had been burnt. That’s just how the criminal law system works nowadays. You either deal with it or it deals with you.

Most of the files were outdated and many more were filled with cases that had been closed. They had to be moved to the archives. Mayank found a cardboard box under the desk and filled it with all the files he could fit in it.

“Hey! New guy! The boss man’s calling you,” said a fellow employee to Mayank just as he was emptying the cardboard box in the archive room.

“Oh. Okay thanks.”

“I’m Jai, by the way. Over at forensics.”

“Hi! I’m Mayank.”

“I know. Everybody knows. You topped the test.”

“Yeah. You’re new too?

“Pretty much. Been here two months.”

“Okay then. See you later!”

“I’ll catch you at lunch if you’re free. Vada pav?”

“Yeah that’s cool”

Mayank felt slightly less tense now that he’d made a friend on the first day. He knocked on the Inspector’s door and went in after a resounding “COME IN” emanated from within.

Continue reading “The Early Break”

The Occupational Hazard

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Image Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com

Jonathan trundled along, leaning into Steve. He pressed the blood – soaked napkin onto his right hand and held it in a sling made from his left hand.

He could already feel the onset of spasms deep in his belly. His occasional groans would echo in his ears for a while and then fade away into the dense undergrowth. He could still see, that speckled band, hissing. Should he not have been dying, Jonathan knew that that image would haunt him for a long, long time.

A sparrow, chirping its lungs out, flew above them with another in pursuit.

The spasms grew exponentially over the next couple of minutes and gave way to delusions. “Why am I so stupid, Steve? Huh?” he would mumble. He would keep mumbling for several minutes and then stop as suddenly as he had begun.

“Just hang on Johnny. We’re getting there. I just need you to hang in there, okay buddy?” Steve held back a tear.

Steve understood the gravity of the situation. He knew what was going on. He knew what was going on even before it happened.

You know that tingly feeling you have before you do something exciting? That feeling that people call the adrenaline rush? And then when you look back at how awry things went you realise that that feeling was mixed with a tinge of fear, of apprehension. This was the feeling Steve had. This was the feeling he dreaded. This was the feeling we all shrink from.

He saw the mornings events replay in his mind.

Continue reading “The Occupational Hazard”

The Foiled Robbery

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“He was hard to miss, with his neon hoody.”

“I will be back before you know it, Maxie,” I said cajolingly to Maxwell. Maxwell was my dog, and sole companion in my apartment. I could not close the door to leave for the bank because his head stuck out. After a few shoves from my side and a few grunts from his, I managed to shut the door.

I did my routine check of the mailbox and patted a boy who seemed to perpetually be playing in the lobby, every time I passed it. I needed to draw a few thousand rupees from the bank as I was low on cash. I fished around in my pockets for my credit card and found it in my left shirt pocket. Another perpetuity in my life was that the nearest ATM was always out of order and I had to go to the bank to draw cash.

Naturally, there was a long line at the counter. I stood in line behind a tall woman, in and office outfit. She was presumably very well-to-do. She wore a white skirt, a pink shirt and a white jacket over it. She had a light complexion, brown eyes and brown hair to go with them. A beige coloured purse was slung over her right shoulder and she held a large mobile phone in her left hand.

My attention went to a man behind me in the line. He kept taunting the fish in a huge fish-tank that was apparently a new addition to the bank’s interiors. The woman ahead of me drew one lakh rupees and I cursed myself for listening but there was only so much you could do for privacy when the ATM was out of order. I drew five thousand rupees and sat beside the woman, recounting my money.

The woman left before me and I saw her in the distance, walking swiftly. What caught my attention was an incongruous figure walking behind her. He was hard to miss, with his neon hoody. Co – incidentally, the three of us took the same turn on Main Street. He followed her everywhere. I managed to get closer to the man and saw the figure of a gun in his pant pocket pressed against his body. He moved up beside the woman, caught her left arm, and moved her into an alley.

Continue reading “The Foiled Robbery”

Commotion at the Railway Station

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“I sat on a stray bench…”

It was a hot summer day at Nagpur Railway Station. I sat on a stray bench, on a stray platform, beside a stray dog, as I watched the railway tracks glisten in the sun. I was waiting for the Mumbai – bound train to arrive. A thick bead of sweat ran down my cheek, neck and down my shirt. The gradual increase in the rattle of the tracks told me of the arrival of a train. It passed through without stopping and evidently wasn’t the train I was here for. Just as I had seen the last bogey disappear from the station, I thought I heard the shrill cry of a man.

I dismissed the thought as a random mixup of various noises of the train. A few minutes later, however, I saw a crowd gathering at the far end of the station, their murmurs growing louder with each passing minute, till it was no longer ignorable. As I figured I had at least a few more minutes before my train arrived, I decided to head over and see the cause of the commotion.

What I saw, eliminated the thought from my head, that the cry I had heard, earlier was just my imagination. It appeared a man had indeed emitted the cry. He now lay at the centre of the huddle of people that I had seen when I sat on the stray bench, beside the stray dog.

He was very young, probably in his mid – twenties. His entire left side was covered in blood – unfortunately his own – and his hand looked like it had been fastened by the uncoordinated hands of a four – year old. The left side of his face was devoid of most natural features and his sinew and blood vessels were clearly visible. His legs ‘looked’ fine, but an elderly man’s attempt at making him stand up, ruled out that fact very gruesomely, for we heard a loud crack from the man’s knees. His entire appearance gave a very vivid feeling and I began feeling sick in the stomach, the more I looked at the man.

For some time, I stood there watching, in complete disbelief. After a while, the people wanted to move the man to a safer place, probably the ticket – booth, where first aid could be administered. Some people had already rung up the boy’s brother, whose telephone number he had produced. It seemed as if he did not want to disclose his carelessness’s consequences to his parent(s). I helped the younger lot of the crowd to carry the man to the ticket – booth and just as I had finished doing so I saw the train, my train, rumble and grumble into the station. It let out a satisfying hissing sound as it did so.

I sprinted back to the stray bench to find the stray dog circling my bag and baggage as if loyally guarding it. I always kept some dry fruits in my shirt pocket. Smiling, I tossed a few groundnuts at the dog, despite knowing his taste, patted him on the head, picked up my bags and walked to the train door. I looked back at the stray platform, stray bench and the stray dog sniffing the groundnuts, said a small prayer for the injured man and boarded the train.