Monthly Archives: January 2010

Monsters

I live in a crazy city called Mallgaon. It wasn’t always called Mallgaon though.

A long time ago, in a land unfortunately not far far away from me, there lived an old man. This fellow happened to be the head-coach of the Pandava and Kaurava princes, entrusted with the responsibility of grooming them into fine, princely princes. He was called Dronacharya (Drona was his name, Acharya means head-coach. Like how Jose Mourinho is the Acharya of Inter).

After years of education, the Pandavas and the Kauravas became proficient in most curricular (Vedas, Upanishads, Archery etc.) and extra-curricular (Cousin-burning, princess-sharing, demon-killing etc.) activities thanks to Guru Dronacharya. This meant that they could rule the land in peace and fight with each other, without having to worry about more talented people coming along and generally shaming them. Well, it wasn’t that big a deal actually since if some boy did turn up who could shoot better than Arjuna, that boy’s finger can always be cut off.

So as I was saying, the Pandava and Kaurava kids became the most talented archers around and they decided to honour their Acharya for making them so. That was how they gifted him this decent-sized village in Haryana, to do as he pleased.

A chuffed Drona settled down at the village and went on to become quite popular among the natives. Mostly due to his thick, flowing beard, but also for his several neat tricks which he used to regularly display to the crowd assembled outside the village pub. Like there was this one time when he did something nifty with a blade of grass and retrieved the village headman’s daughter’s bangle from the village well.

That was how, faced with substantial pressure from his daughter, the village headman announced the renaming of the village – To Gurugram – in honour of Guru Dronacharya.

And eventually, Gurugram became Gurgaon.

Centuries later, the world changed. Automobiles arrived, Airplanes flew, Computers crashed, Mobiles buzzed – but Gurgaon remained the same. Except for Drona. He was dead of course.

It might advantage us at this point, to take this narrative forward from the perspective of one Mister Jagdip Singh Chaudhary, farmer belonging to Gurgaon. Chaudhary had a son, whom he affectionately called Lalu. Lalu was raised with as much comfort as poor Jagdip could afford to provide, but like every other farmer in Gurgaon, his income was meager and means restricted. Therefore, Lalu could only get a rifle for his 15th birthday, and no AK-47. The poor boy cried for days.

But one fine day, a stranger cloaked in black turned up outside Jagdip’s door.

“Knock! Knock!”

“Who’s there?”

“Singh”

“Singh who?”

“Singur se nikal diya. Isliye Gurgaon aa gaya.”

With these enigmatic words, Mr. Singh, chairman of the largest construction company in the country entered Jagdip Singh Chaudhary’s humble abode. He carried a waft of cheerleaders upon him.

And promised him enough money to last for generations, in return of his farmland, his ass and other assorted assets.

Jagdip Chaudhary cried out of happiness, out of dreamy visions of the life that he would be now be able to provide to dear Lalu. Thus, he accepted Mr. Singh’s offer and immediately oopsed out (Forgive me – IIMA context comment).

Mr. Singh proceeded to do the same to every farmer in the area. Farmlands which belonged to the same family for generations were bought by the construction baron. The methodical purchase of farmlands was so precise and calculated that observers were stunned at Mr. Singh’s acumen. They knew not that several hours of diligently playing Farmville in Facebook had honed Mr. Singh’s farmland-accumulation skills to perfection.

Several minor construction types followed in his wake and bought out any leftover land in Gurgaon. These construction types always attack in flocks. Like vultures.

And once they had all the land they wanted, they started to build. But not houses. Not roads. Not power stations. Hell, not even shelters for poor lonely black sheep which wandered into their farms.

They built Monsters.

Monsters which stood hundred metres tall and eclipsed the Sun. Monsters which stared down at their creators and seemed to smirk in arrogance. The city belonged to the monsters now.

One-horned, long-nosed monster

Most of these monsters were taken over from Mr. Singh and the other builders by Multi-National Corporate behemoths, thereby creating a curious synergy. It was perhaps fitting that the controllers of our modern world did their controlling from inside these monsters, with their strange smiles and lonely horns.

Some monsters became apartments where the worker bees of these MNCs lived. These worker bees were paid well of course, and had a substantial amount of disposable income.

Mr. Singh duly smelled this extra money, rubbed his hands together, winked at his colleagues and started building malls. They didn’t stop at 1 or 2 though. They covered an entire road with malls and very cleverly named it Mall Road. And then they started competing in size.

One builder created the biggest mall in India called ‘The Great India Place’ in nearby Noida (a town with a similar history), which immediately led to the retaliatory construction of ‘Ambience Mall’ in Gurgaon. This spurred on Mr. Singh who is currently constructing the BIGGEST mall in India wittily titled ‘Mall of India’. They had paid lakhs to one of the MNCs in the monsters to come up with that name. True Story.

Thus, the city became Mallgaon.

With these insane developments, we seem to have forgotten our Lalu, whom we abandoned so casually while following Mr. Singh’s ambitious trail.

Jagdip Choudhary had used his money to shower Lalu with every available luxury. A fleet of BMW cars, servants who catered to his smallest whims, a cool wardrobe. And of course, that AK-47 which the 15-year Lalu had so badly wanted.

With their fancy guns and in their fancy cars, Lalu and his mates roamed around Mallgaon, from one pub to another. Sometimes they chased rickshaws carrying single girls, overtaking them in their BMWs and flaunting their weaponry.

Lalu even acted in Channel V’s Dare To Date reality show, which featured him and a girl brought up in South Delhi on an ‘incompatible’ date. This can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, some of the occupants of Mallgaon were frustrated at the poor public transportation (cycle rickshaws) and the extremely poor power situation in the city.

“How can you live in this city! There is no power! No Thattukada serving Porotta and Chicken Fry! There are no autorickshaws!”, a visibly agitated S. Unnikrishnan (B.Tech, Software Engineering) shouted and proceeded to dream fondly of the several tuk-tuks back home in Aluva. “And that too, they used to charge only per meter and not a rupee more”, he grumbled, and subsequently broke down in tears.

“Yaar, the malls here are so awesome! Every weekend, I drive my new Chevrolet Spark through the Mall Road and shop till I exhaust my credit cards!”, chortled advertising executive Neha Chopra, as she fondly fondled her bright green Spark. “Credit Card crisis? Arre, the recession is over I tell you. And anyway, we Indians rarely get affected by these crisis-vaisis!”, she drove off in a blast of exhaust fumes.

“There was a time when there used to be trees here”, mumbled 231-year old government employee Mohan Rastogi, out on his morning walk. “They ruined it all! These bloody builders. All I can see now are these stupid malls. Supposed to sell everything, ha! They don’t even have Divya Dant Manjan tooth powder! But my teeth are still strong, you know. We used good products back in my time.” To illustrate his point, Rastogiji grabbed a nearby tree trunk and bit it off with his bare teeth.

Mallgaon seems to be least bothered by the Unnikrishnans and the Mohan Rastogis though. The spirit of the city surges on, hell-bent on its unique top-down development model. Mr. Singh and his minions continue to build monsters and malls, and these entities keep smirking at all that they survey.

One actually seemed to flip me off recently, while I was on my way to my MNC’s office. I took a quick snap and rapidly moved away, content just to be a worker bee in Mallgaon, under the watchful eyes of the Monsters..

Mallgaon is Ours! Guhahaha!

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Terrific Three # 1 – The Mystery of the Missing Ball

What follows is a real account of a real event. Not a word of it is fictional and no character is imaginary. Everything is the truth. The chilling truth.

Some names have been changed to protect identities. Very necessary to avoid legal problems.

Time – Early afternoon, the beginning of the lunch hour (lunch period as a few used to say).
Date – Mid-December in the year 1996.
Place – Tripunithura, a suburb of Cochin city.

Cast of characters

Mridul Madhavan – Big (Fat) boy, has a fascination for balls. Could his dark hands be behind the strange disappearance of the missing ball?

Anto Athirapparambil – Tall, lanky boy, who owns a mickey mouse bag. Could the football be hidden within the confines of the said bag?

Me – Entrepreneur and Visionary at age 11. Founder and Chief Investigator of the Terrific Three. Also known as Tom Jones.

Neil Napoleon – 2nd investigator of the Terrific Three. Also known as Joe Andrews.

Harish N. – 3rd investigator of the Terrific Three. Also known as Jim Watson.

Cosco football, 3 years and 4 months old – Treasured by the boys of VI-B, it provides immense entertainment during the lunch break. Missing. Apparently.

Prologue

As soon as the school bell rang out signifying lunch break, interrupting a flowing discourse by Sheela Miss on Viscosity, Mridul Madhavan ran out of the classroom. His destination was the bicycle shed, where the football was kept hidden in a shallow ditch behind the bicycles. We were not allowed to keep footballs in the classroom, and we weren’t keen on sharing this ball with the rednecks of VI-A and VI-C, which was why the ball was kept hidden in this spot, known only to the boys of our class.

Mridul’s ear-splitting cry greeted me as I reached the playground along with my friends, Harish and Neil. Soon enough, the boy followed the cry and ran directly into us, blurting out words in a delirious fashion, reminiscent of Sir Charles Baskerville’s reaction upon encountering the hound in the desolate Grimpen Mire.

“The ball…. the football….it is gone!! It is missing!!!”

A Detective Club

The Terrific Three was formed one fateful afternoon a few weeks before the events concerning the missing ball unfolded. It all started as I finished a marathon session of reading 3 Hardy Boys books over the weekend (1 borrowed from the library, 1 being my 11th birthday present and the last borrowed from Ashwathy Chacko in lieu of a samosa and an orange-flavoured Sip-Up* from Kumar Bakers).

*Don’t know what a Sip-Up is? Known in certain parts of the world as an Ice Lolly, this yummy invention of local bakeries was a staple diet of the school-going crowd in our city. Here’s somebody getting all nostalgic about it.

Having finished those books, I felt a strange tingling feeling run through my self. The tingling of having found my life’s calling. For the third time actually. Astronaut and Football Coach were the two former callings, but the lure of a detective’s life called out louder and overshadowed both substantially.

In order to become a Private Eye though, one had to have a good grounding. Joe & Frank Hardy would undoubtedly use their vast experience in solving cases as teenagers to good effect in their adult lives. So would the Famous Five and the Secret Seven.

Thus, I decided to start a detective club in school.

I was determined to recruit the finest minds for this purpose and luckily enough, our school had many. I zeroed in on Neil Napoleon after he successfully found a Famous Five novel which had been filched from my bag. Neil’s ingenuity made him look in other bags, and soon enough he located the book in the red and green backpack of Anto Athirapparambil, which led to much shame and dishonour for this Anto.

There were rumours that Neil had planted the book in Anto’s bag to wreak vengeance upon Anto, who was the captain of one of the two VI-B football teams which played each other during recess. Anto had once refused to pick Neil in his team when Neil was one of the two last men standing after every other boy was picked. Valid cause for vengeance. But I ignored it.

I recruited Harish as the third member of the club because he gave me the best Birthday card for my previous birthday. Nice boy, him.

In our first meeting, three things were primary on the agenda –

1. A name – This was rather easy to come up with since Famous Five and Secret Seven had already given us ample precedence. Neil argued for Terrible Three, but Harish and I pointed out that we weren’t going to steal necklaces or slit throats. Terrific Three was the consensus.

2. More names – The thought of being boy-detectives with our very Indian names was utterly preposterous! We had to go for fancy anglicized names. Out came Tom Jones, Joe Andrews and Jim Watson.

3. What do we do? – Now, this was far trickier than the nomenclatures. We had a beautiful detective club that Enid Blyton would be proud of, but what mystery lurked in the middle of this monotonous town? There were no strange islands nearby, nor a haunted house. There were no top secret airfields where pilots flew around with top secret plans spilling out of their coat pockets. Darn.

It was thus that when Mridul’s cries reached us, we smelled blood like the aforementioned hound on Sir Charles Baskerville’s trail. We love our Sherlock Holmes references.

Strategies

The Terrific Three met in our usual spot in the unused storage room behind the Library. We were solemn and tensed. The nerves were telling. Our first case. Wow.

“Tom, I have a very good idea of who might have taken the ball”, began Neil Napoleon, shifting into his Joe Andrews persona with utmost ease. “It must be that fellow Anto. Do you remember how irritated he was after we whipped his team 4-0 yesterday afternoon? This is definitely his devious plan at work!”

“But Joe, he doesn’t gain anything by hiding the ball. Even he can’t play now!”, Harish aka Jim Watson tried to reason with him.

“He’s a sadist, Jim. He would love to see the others miserable.” Neil was taking his Anto-hate to previously unscaled heights.

“There is no use in speculating like this”, I intervened, ever the mature voice of reason. “We need to find the ball and then nail the culprit.”

“But how do we find the ball?”

“We need a strategy. If you were a Cosco football, where would you hide yourself?”

“In Anto’s bag!”

“Shut up, Neil.”

“Joe”

“Sorry. Shut up, Joe.”

“I think we should search the cycle shed first. What if we find a clue?” Harish, the veteran of one too many detective novels, piped up.

“Now, that’s what I call a strategy. A gem of a strategy. A stratagem in fact.”

With these formalities complete, off we went to the bicycle shed.

At the Cycle Shed

We reached the bicycle shed and started digging around the general area where the ball was hidden. A few minutes after Neil unearthed a red earthworm which we mercilessly murdered with a pen, I stumbled onto something.

“Guys, look here. Isn’t that a depression on the ground?”

Neil and Harish gathered around and stared down at the spot where I was pointing. A small trail could be seen in the sand, slightly veering off to the left. A trail which could have been made by a ball being kicked about.

Maintaining our hound act, we followed the trail. It led left, it led right, but finally it stopped at the far corner of the shed, right next to a sleek red bicycle.

Harish was the first to spot the ball – it was wedged in between the handle and the bell of the bicycle.

“We did it! Woohooo – We found the ball!”, Harish let out a war cry quite reminiscent of Superhuman Samurai as he victoriously turned around with the ball, only to meet the stares of two shocked fellow investigators.

The sleek red bicycle. It was Neil’s.

Majority

Back in the playground, a mob was ready to lynch Neil. Led by the the lanky Anto, they were rapidly passing motions against him (Banished from football, No more homework sharing, No boys will sit with him in class – only girls – yuck). Neil looked despondent, protesting his innocence all the while and claiming that he was framed. Unfortunately, the rest of the class weren’t up-to-date on mystery novels and had no idea what framing meant.

Harish and I tried to restore a semblance of peace to the proceedings.

“Guys, what if somebody left the ball in there so that we would blame Neil? You cannot rule that out!”

“Why would someone do that?” Anto shouted back. This dude was insanely pleased to have Neil in the docks after the missing book incident.

It was then that I began to suspect him. I could see that Harish was thinking the same. It could all be part of Anto’s masterplan to get back at poor Neil.

But we had no proof.

Desperate Measures

Harish and I retracted ourselves from the crowd and sat near the library to do some thinking.

“This has to be a setup, Tom! There must be some way we can save Joe..”

“I can’t think of anything. Aaargh, how did those Hardy Boys hit upon those perfect plans just when things were looking bleak?!”

“Tom!”

“The chapter before the last is always called “Trapped” but they inevitably escape the bloody trap!”

“Tom!!”

“What?!”

“I’ve got it! Don’t you see – We have to do exactly what the Hardy Boys would have done now!”

“And what would be that, my dear Jim?”

“They never get their villain by brainstorming. Instead, it’s always a bait. They lead the villain to unmask himself, don’t you see? We should do the same. We should get some kind of a bait. Something that can be stolen. And Anto would steal it again and pin the blame on Neil.”

“Why would he do that again?!”

“Come on, Tom.. You think this missing ball has caused any real harm to Neil? The kids will forget this in a day or two. But a theft would be different. If the teachers get to know of it, Neil would be in serious trouble.”

“Hmmm, that makes sense. So what kind of bait are we looking at?”

“Something valuable…which a boy would like to steal… something not many people have…”

“The Pen-Pencil!! Ramya Nair’s Pen-Pencil!”

“Genius! That’s perfect!”

The Trap

Ramya Nair’s Pen-Pencil, in addition to being a beautiful blue instrument which she used to write her notes with, was the envy of the entire class. Everyone knew that this Nair’s father Nair had sent it to her from the Gulf, where he was doing something cool inside an oil well. The instrument had several tiny leads which could be inserted one after the other from the bottom and it looked exactly like a pen. So, it was naturally called a Pen-Pencil.

Ramya guarded it like a mother dragon would guard her eggs, never letting it out of sight.

Soon enough though, we had convinced Ramya to be a part of our plan (temporary membership of the Terrific Three was held out as a carrot, and Neil was nowhere to be seen anyway. Bawling in the boy’s bathrooms, someone had whispered earlier) and she did exactly what we asked her to do.

As Ramya left the Pen-Pencil nonchalantly on her desk and wandered out of the classroom, Harish and I lurked around in the corridor outside, hoping that our villain would take the bait. It was a gamble and we knew it.

Barely a few minutes remained for the lunch hour to end and I had just about given up when Harish gave an audible gasp and grabbed my arm. I looked inside and yes, a white-shirted figure was approaching Ramya’s desk. Yes, he looked around to see if anyone was watching. Yes, he picked up the blue Pen-Pencil. Yes, he turned around and made his way to Neil’s desk, where Neil’s bag lay open and uncared for.

We burst in like detectives usually do in moments like these and shouted, “Stop it right there!!” Mridul turned in shock and looked around to find the entire VI-B staring at him, caught red-handed with the blue Pen-Pencil in his grasp.

Harish strode up to him and shouted, “Why did you do this, you idiot? What did Neil ever do to you?!!”

Mridul was trembling slightly as he stared directly at the floor. But when he heard Harish, he raised his head and whispered, “What did he do?? How could you… How could you all forget the Cows?”..

Cows

(A few weeks ago)

When Mridul entered the classroom, he saw the raucous gathering in the first couple of benches and tried to steer clear of it. In vain.

“Hey, Mridul – come here! You want to play a game?’

Mridul recognized the voice. It was Neil – the popular boy, always loud, always playing tricks. So different from himself. But hey, a game would be nice.

He made his way to the gathering and sat opposite Neil.

“Imagine a green field”, Neil began, “A green field full of grazing cows. Some yellow, some white, some spotted.”

Mridul imagined. He had a good imagination. He could even imagine the cowherd.

“And the cowherd is from North India”, Neil continued, “Now Mridul, imagine that you are the cowherd. And you love your cows a lot. But cows are rather sensitive creatures, you know. Unless you convey your love to them, they might run away. Go on, tell them..”

“Er.. tell the cows that I love them?”

“Yes. You can refer to them by numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4…”

“OK.. I love Cow 1, I love…”

“Cow? Really? You are a Hindikkaran remember?”

“Hindi for Cow is Gaai.”

“Exactly”

“I love Gaai 1, I love..”

“Wait, wait.. Slow down”, Neil shouted, peeking a glance outside the classroom door. A group of girls were walking towards the room, giggling at life in general.

“OK, start now, Mridul.”

“I love Gaai 1, I love Gaai 2, I love Gaai 3..”

Neil’s timing rarely goes wrong. Gayathri Sriraman abruptly stopped giggling at life in general and looked around in shock. The boys had all gone silent.

Extricating herself from her gang of girls, Gayathri turned to Mridul, who was looking as petrified as he usually does when faced by a member of the feminine sex.

“Did you just say you love me, you little idiot!?”

Mridul did not un-petrify.

“Ugh! Disgusting little creep. I’m going to complain to the class teacher!!”

And with that Gayathri stormed off, rapidly followed by her gang of giggling girls, each curious to see whether Gayathri was going to cry or not.

Peals of laughter broke out around Mridul, as he finally un-petrified himself. Neil was literally rolling on the floor laughing, tears of mirth running down his chubby cheeks. Mridul looked around at the others, and could see no friendly face…

Epilogue

The Terrific Three stood watching as Mridul was led away by the Class Teacher to the Principal’s office. We had nothing to say to each other. There was no whoop of triumph, no joy in solving our first case. Harish suggested Sip-Ups from Kumar’s and we followed him, not talking but staring hard at the dusty playground.

Byomkesh Bakshi & Winter Wonderland (BBWW for the Yashraj fans)

“Motorshuti Diye Phoolkopir Dalna” stared at me from the menu – The name was so awesomely exotic that I made an immediate decision to taste it. Even though the dish was part of the genre which I generally frown upon in disgust. Vegetables.

I had spent the last day of the old year and the first couple of days of the new one in Calcutta – a city I’ve always wanted to visit. Incidentally, this statement had brought about many a raised eyebrow in several circles (“Calcutta?? Are you crazy! It’s crowded and humid!”, “Kall katta? hahahahahaha, More communists than here!”, ‘Kolkata!? Stinky city hain yaar!”

“Screw you all”, I calmly intoned, “I love the city even though I have never been there.”

This love probably started with Byomkesh Bakshi. When that genteel Bengali equivalent of Sherlock Holmes used to feature in DD regularly with Rajit Kapur enacting Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s sleuth, I was one of his biggest fans. The characters, all dressed in starched white (uhmm, my TV was B&W those days – I do hope it was white), the lovely names (I like those funny ‘o’s and ‘b’s in Bengali), the general demeanor of being more intelligent than the layman which everyone in the series projected – Byomkesh was really my hero those days!

Rajit Kapoor > Robert Downey Jnr.

And then the attraction grew with Satyajit Ray, with Sharat Chandra’s Parineeta, with the romanticism of the Anglican influence, with visuals of the Howrah Bridge, with Rabindranath…

Later in my life, I fell in love with several other cities from afar. One of them was Florence in Italy where was borne the cultural Renaissance of the 15th century. Those were heady days in Florence, when you could not take a stroll along the piazza in the middle of the town without bumping into a couple of geniuses. Da Vinci, Botticelli, Bernini – you name the genius and Florence had it.

Someone actually quoted once that if you take the entry for ‘M’ alone in Florence’s Almanac of distinguished citizens, you would begin with Machiavelli, Medici and Michelangelo. Similarly, at the peak of Calcutta’s cultural revolution, the entry for ‘M’ alone would have probably turned up Mukherjee, Mukherjee and yet another Mukherjee. Not bad.

So off to Kolkata went I, with my hair in a braid and a song on my lips.

And the vacation was just lovely. In addition to all the cultural and social awesomeness, we also enjoyed the sumptuous Bong food. Before leaving home, I had made a detailed schedule of restaurants to patronize each day – for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. And that was how, during dinner on the 2nd day, I stumbled onto “Motorshuti Diye Phoolkopir Dalna”

The dish sounded like something straight out of a Haruki Murakami novel – I love the Japanese original titles of his books, which goes like “Nejimaki-dori Kuronikuru” (The wind-up bird chronicle), “Sekai no owari to hado-boirudo wandarando” (Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world). Try saying that out loud in a Japanese accent – it is hauntingly beautiful, those rolling letters. And so very similar to our Motorshuti Diye Phoolkopir Dalna.

Soon enough, the waiter brought in a steaming dish of Motorshuti. And as I rubbed my hands together, licked my lips in anticipation and just stopped short of whispering ‘My Preciousss’, he lifted the lid, revealing the exotic Murakamic dish inside.

Green Peas.

And Cauliflower.

Khallas.

Oh well, in retrospect I should have been more alert. A second glance should have been enough to establish the connection between “Motor” and plain old “Matar” and between “Phoolkopir” and the less exotic “Phoolgobi”.

Darn it. And I blame none other than Haruki Murakami for this fiasco.

****

Delhi greeted us with dense fog and a visibility of about 10.5 metres on arrival. The flight back was quite adventurous in fact, with every other carrier but ours deciding not to risk landing in the unfavourable conditions. Such things could not deter our pilot of course.

This gentleman was a certain Yashowardhan Singh, a true blue Punjabi who stood 6 1/2 feet tall and ate Aloo Parathas for breakfast every day. I think.

Soon as we all settled down in the plane, Yashowardhan Singh grabbed the PA system and bellowed, “Dear passengers, Delhi is covered with heavy fog at the moment. Visibility is less than the minimum 150 metres required to land an aircraft. So we are not sure whether we would be allowed to land. But let us take a chance and see what happens. Have a nice flight. All izz well.” And on cue, the stewardess distributed sweets and wet wipes. True Story. Not a bit of embellishment.

But there was something strangely magnificent about the man Yashowardhan that we all knew deep within that he would take us to our destination safe and sound. He was the kind of man whom the Indian service industry prided itself on.

Later in Delhi, we learnt that ours was the only flight which landed during that period of heavy fog. Yashowardhan Singh had indeed flown like a true maverick. He must have sat in his seat as cool as a cucumber while performing the dreaded no-visibility landing, executing it single-handedly. Or with just a finger. In fact, he probably landed the plane telepathically while performing a cross-step waltz with the stewardess inside the cockpit. And contemplating calling her a pstewartossz so that it would be an anagram of cross-step waltz. Well, almost.

I love the way Delhi looks now though. It is spooky at night, with the fog hanging like a shroud over the city, creating shapes that resemble monsters. Or sometimes ghosts.

As I was on my way to drop my girlfriend (who was leaving after her vacation) to the airport yesterday, I waxed eloquent staring out of cab window –

“Look yonder – you can only see the top portion of that construction crane. The rest is lost in the fog. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Like straight out of an alien landscape. An alien winter wonderland. Foggy and dreamy..”

“Dude, I’m leaving. Could you focus on me for a moment?”

“Fog is on what?”

Upon which she gave up and left me alone with the fogments of my alienist imagination.