Chaos, the chaotic cultural festival in IIMA happened earlier this month and an abnormally large bunch of freshly anointed worker bees from my batch turned up in the campus, including me.
Why the abnormally large numbers? Well, there were several reasons being bandied about in discussions (by us, about us, to us – rather lame, yes), such as –
a) Recession – We all wanted to verify and confirm that all our friends were equally happy and equally miserable in this post-apocalyptic world of trivial bonuses and rare pre-placement offers. There were unsaid conspiracies to isolate studs who had already bought cars (without car-loans) and run them over with their cars. Unfortunately, those select few did not turn up as they were working overtime in their respective offices.
b) Sonuuu Niiigaamm (sp?) – The esteemed singer who had long since elbowed out Udit Narayan as SRK’s voice (that’s obviously his biggest achievement, isn’t it?) was performing at IIMA. So, some people were quite excited at the prospect of listening to him LIVE. Some others were quite excited at checking out his beard. Some wanted to see if he would do that thing with his hands he did in the ‘Phir Mile Sur’ video while on-stage at Chaos (Don’t remember? This one).
c) Demographics – Interestingly, it had come to the attention of the extremely networked chaps of our batch with our fingers on the pulse of the institute (Ok, my ex-neighbour told me) that the new batch of students had an inordinately large number of girls. This perked up most of us and in those fleeting windows of free-time we get in a working day (squeezed in between rescuing poor little ugly ducklings who keep wandering into farms and killing ‘Black Hanky’, the famous Mafia Don), there was a general arrangement made to verify the veracity of a verily verdant verisimilitude. I mean, verily verdant batch.
d) Air Asia – Have you heard of Air Asia? If not, let me enlighten you. They were one of those South-East Asian companies which came up nicely along with the English Premier League boom. As most of Asia became addicted to the super-athletic and completely mindless football being played in the EPL (see the irony? Asians – smart and not athletic), several such companies were set up with the sole intention of sponsoring bits and pieces of it. Air Asia used to sponsor the referees’ shirts I think. Anyway, now they’ve launched these obscenely cheap flights between several sectors in South-East Asia and some of the Indian metropolises like Trichy, Cochin etc.. FreeWilly hopped on one and came to Chaos.
e) Gruesome Murder of an Orange-Seller – As always, this was my motive for going back to campus. Long story short (will write that long story some day – after the murder is done), there was this fellow in our campus who used to park a cart outside the cafeteria and sell oranges, among other things. One fateful afternoon in my first year, as I was skipping back to my room after one of those surprise quizzes which spreads much sweetness and joy in the life of an IIMA student, I saw this fellow. I don’t really know his name, but for the sake of the anecdote, let us call him something simple. Like Dhrishtadyumna.
We, Dhristadyumna and I, stared at each other for a few seconds. I should have noticed his evil glint then. But that surprise quiz had slightly dampened my instincts.
After the staring was done, he offered me 3 oranges. For 10 rupees. And not a penny more. Nor a sheldon more.
“Wooot”, I thought. “This couldn’t be true! This is dirt cheap!”
I immediately worked out with my razor-sharp intellect that I was being offered an orange for less than half the market price. Wait, there had to be something crooked about this! I inspected the oranges that Dhrishtadyumna was holding out and by god, they were the ripest, plumpest, orangest oranges that any man had ever seen! This was indeed, the real deal.
I looked up at Dhrishtadyumna with a happy smile and held out a ten-rupee note.
“Take this, my good fellow, and wrap me these beauties!”
After touching the tenner with his eyes in a gesture of gratitude, the good fellow wrapped up those beauties and bid me farewell.
I resumed my journey and to cut a long story short story shorter, I ate those fruits, found them to be the bitterest of all bitter fruits, cursed Dhrishtadyumna, decided to murder him, hatched several plans, Dhrishtadyumna escaped them all in several cunning ways, and now I’ve decided to just stab him in the back as he watches Sonuuu Nniiggam (sp?) sing, and therefore went back to the campus.
Yes, to murder Dhrishtadyumna, the orange seller.
The moment I stepped into the campus though, I smelled something wrong. People were looking at me strangely. Some talked in hushed tones as I made my way past them. A few were giggling.
Did they know? I wondered. Did they know of my murderous intentions?
“What the! Dude!”
A sharp IIT-KGP accent brought me to a sudden halt, and FreeWilly appeared out of nowhere. But before I could greet him and enquire after his willy-being, he continued..
I whirled around like a whirling dervish and cast several fleeting glances all around me. No, not another soul in sight. Just FreeWilly and Me. Then who was the fat guy!?
“I’m talking to you, man. You’ve become a fat blob!”
Stunned, I gave myself the once over and realized that I was indeed, quite healthier than I used to be 10 months ago in IIMA. Those Aloo Parathas which the company guesthouse cook and later my maid fed me so lovingly had turned me into a fat blob!
Unsympathetically, FreeWilly cackled with evil laughter and left the scene, undoubtedly to spread the tale of my unfortunate state to all and sundry.
“At least it is FreeWilly”, I sighed. The man was so stick-thin that anybody broader than a ruler would appear like Yokozuna to him. He was once famous for being blown into the sea by a strong wind at some random Chennai beach.
Thus, with much resilience, I had some yummy Aloo Parathas from our cafeteria and set out to watch the Nnigum sing. That, at least, had to be good. Especially if he did those things with his hands.
Louis Kahn Plaza, the lawn in the middle of the campus where the concert was to be held, was filled to the brim with IIMA students, ex-students, faculty members, staff, families, friends and one orange-seller. My task was simple – Find that orange-seller and bury my 7-inch Stiletto knife deep into his heart. If the heartless man had a heart. Which I seriously doubted. Kashmalan.
Some sort of charity show was going on, with a bearded distinctly beggarly-looking man crooning on-stage. A prelude before the big concert, I thought. And the man was singing exactly like Sonuu Niigaam (sp?). A wonderful imitation.
“Fortune lies at the bottom of the pyramid and so does singing talent”, I sighed poignantly and walked straight in to Dhrishtadyumna!
He was facing the stage, apparently enjoying the bearded man’s songs, immune to my presence behind him.
This was my chance!
I extracted my knife from the bag, slowly but steadily. I sneaked in behind him, my footsteps drowned in the cacophony from the stage.
It was time for revenge.
But suddenly, the song ended. The music came to a grinding halt. Dhrishtadyumna whirled around humming a line or two and stopped short when faced with me and my raised knife.
And he broke out laughing!
I stared in disbelief as the orange-seller doubled over, not with a stab wound as I had intended, but with sheer hilarity. He started rolling on the floor laughing and this continued for a few minutes. Finally, in between clutching his stomach and rolling on the floor, the man somehow spoke a few words out loud –
“Tu..hahaha..tu….guhahahaha….itna mota ho gaya..buhahahahahaa”
The 7-inch stiletto fell from my outstretched hand as it finally occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, it was time for me to work out at the gym regularly. More about that in the next post.