In fact I am slightly drunk now. And I am lying.
It was one of our birthdays, one of us bought a racing cycle, garishly red, one had a German girlfriend (Hitler was one of the greatest painters of twentieth century). Let us talk about the cycle for some time. The birthday has gone away for another year and it has been six months since. The cycle. Racing. Red. Handles covered by creamy white leather, giving them a look of something edible, quite delicious. It does not have a stand. Once you buy the cycle you have to constantly be on pedal, running away from stuff; the seat is tiny, but that is probably irrelevant. It is not for cows to ride,anyway. Although mildly awe inspiring, the absence of an expected equipment called a stand in this particular mode of transport. It looks rather remote, far from being a thing that you could own, dismantle in your mind and taste its juice. Looks a bit lost in its own charm, like Narcissus, too sexy for his own good, went nuts looking at his own reflection leaving echo echoing around – poor, poor kids. The wheels are delicate, thinner than my arms (which are very thin in the first place) – is not so much an issue apparently. Although generally speaking, all cycles remind me of that excruciatingly sad movie called Shor, where Manoj Kumar (director, story writer, actor, editor, producer – it is a wonder there was anything left for others to do in that one!) goes round and round on his bicycle in piercingly hot sun, for days, pursuing some corny goal, not so relevant here. Point is, cycles have something melancholic in them. The dreary sound of the turning of the wheels. The perpetual listless midday travelers on smoking hot highways. The rust. The tears. The strain (I need to take a leak, NOW).
The rust. Forming under the frothy leather, hidden under the apparently unoxidizable aluminium hinges, like guerrillas, bedbugs. A cycle without rust is not a cycle. It is a cycle, but! O New Cycle, will you not rust even after twenty seven odd years, each sadder than the one before? One of our birthdays. The cycle is crazily expensive. He got it for a lesser price. Lucky. Bastard. Enough of the cycle. I seem to remember having mentioned the movie called Shor. When I was small, I used to cry for fifteen to twenty minutes after watching it. Uncontrollably. At some point I just stopped watching it. Boom. End of story. Cycles can really get you attached. Like dogs. But the movie was not about all that. I think I am mixing things. Look at the man sitting alone, drinking cheap whiskey. There is a huge yellow moon hanging next to the bottle. The sky is cloudy. A ship is heading towards his chair at full speed.
The building sort of thing behind him, is that a part of the seascape or a furniture? Ah it says PEPSI. We are sitting right opposite to this lone tripper. One of us have a digital camera. That was an obvious statement, superfluous, one can almost call it EASILY DERIVABLE. But that is getting ahead of time. The day does not start at seven thirty in the evening. Only sometimes it does. One of us had a blue shoulder, see? Well okay! What can all you see at the end of the day? This day? Can you see Waldo? Can I?
It was a busy day. A birthday cake was on its way. Inside a portable tin drum. Birthdays in one sense are annoying as one starts by feeling sort of important and then embarrassed. Thousands of people are cycling, starving, itching and dying. There is a constant threat of wars looming into forests and toilets. Nuclear bombs, insecticides, guns, obscenities, automobiles… The humiliation level rises as the day moves on with occasional phone calls, not enough to make one feel as important as one would like to feel, not from people one would like to get a call from, continuously generating inexplicable irritation and guilt, making one utter exactly the wrong words of greeting at the wrong moment often to the wrong person. End of the day one feels defeated, constipated, philanthropic, unable to close one’s twitching mouth that stretches from right ear to left and then turns around the head, along the periphery of the scalp, closing at its beginning. Busy day. A dog suffering from amnesia and tics, was supposed to be transported from one POINT of the planet to another (but it is all so POINTless – HAH!). Several meetings were supposed to be held, between a clown and a chairman, an owl and a bat (none can see until dark), a freak scorched white with paranoia wearing a fakely melaninized mustache and a pedophile, a ratkiller and a burping barbiehead. Some of them never took place. We keep moving in different timefrequencies, timezones, timespheres. Time is like water. It flows, and you cannot hold it in your palms.
I was picking nose dirt, occasionally tasting it.
Look at my nose in the picture below. It’s full of dirt.
Morning 8 am to noon – messages and phone calls.
Afternoon 1:30 pm – lunch, phone calls.
Afternoon 2 pm – cake (and dizziness) arrives in a portable fridge, driven by a man from heaven wearing a ponytail and couple of sweaty leathery wings.
Afternoon 3 pm – I am in a bullshit academic discussion which is in fact excruciatingly painful to me so I am inwardly crying and feeling very sleepy at the same time blowing nose occasionally.
Afternoon 4 pm – (daylight is on and the sages can still count the hair on their skinny hands) the brand new above-mentioned racing cycle has arrived. It was supposed to come in parts but it comes as a whole, like some of the surprises in life. No one can pump it, hump it or bump it into a brick wall. Such is life. We eat cake. Tastes good. Few more phone calls. One loses count that one never started keeping in the first place.
Evening 6 pm – somebody accidentally manages to pump the cycle. The highest point of the day. Everyone rejoices, bubbling with excitement (or boredom) – only a selected few are eligible to mount her. Some of us take a short trip to visit the forgetful dog in the veterinary hospital. It jumps and whines around us as if choking with affection. IN FACT it is suffering from a severe attack of tics. Once disillusioned, we lamely put some powder on it. The hospital staff burn dry coconut leaves to chase mosquitoes away. The shelter seems out-of-the-world smokey. Our dog has excessively bright and big eyes. Someone wanted to name him Dobby, like in Harry Potter. Sounds a little corny to me. Most probably it is going to die soon anyway. Its ears are rotting, there are maggots in there, chewing it from inside.
Evening 7:24 pm – We are taking an auto to the pub named Pirates at Adyar Signal. Since we are delayed we pay ten rupees more than the real fare. Paying an auto-driver more than what he deserves is one of things I can never forget – it stays and burns and cuts in a never-to-be-healed bruise in my heart, through which it then bleeds. An auto driver is lovable only when he brings something back that I might had left in his vehicle unknowingly, but then I do not know how that feels; I have never forgotten a single damn thing in an auto; I have lost things only at places where no one would ever bother to look – lost all my possessions including my birthday gifts – precious and hideous. We are already too tired even before the day/evening reaches its peak. What is a peak? We are going to grab our share of chew. And gulp. Like maggots do. Nevertheless.
Evening 7:30 pm – We reach the pub. Which is to say I reach the pub. Now why is it that I reach the pub alone! Ah money. Extracted from a machine that looks like one of those video games that we played for ten rupees an hour in the shady music parlours – in the era of cassettes and summer holidays. One of the truly cool stuff that a machine does among the pointless many – never says no if you are in need of money. It also carries your around if you have no leg which includes the moments of birth and death. And shaves your armpit while you are reading newspaper. Amazing! Machines! Oh machines. But then I run into one of them and it catches fire. The second one makes crazy crackly noise. The third one eats my bank account, but as I gain one more year of age I turn a tiny bit wiser and fight them a bit better than the last year so it goes – Vonnegut would have said). It is a fact that pigs eat a lot. There are many around the place where we stay. People like to throw stones at dogs, generally speaking. I have never seen anyone throwing stones at pigs (Riddle 1: name a chunk of meat that is tasty when it is dead, disgusting when it moves. Answer: a pig. Riddle 2: name a chunk of meat that is tasty when it moves, disgusting when dead. Answer: a women; obscure feminist proverb). Probably that is due to the eyes of dogs being more vulnerable in the following sense: not only they suffer at the physical pain caused by the stone but they also give an incredulous look at the uncalled for cruelty, which probably makes it a more intriguing job to hit them hard. Whereas pigs, they are either too lazy or a badass or just too immersed in their own whirlpool of fat to react to aggression in a satisfactory way, thus giving in to humanly entertainments (though their idleness is more like a con survival trick; at least our neighbourhood-pigs are more often than not uncannily active, specially when they come out in large groups and kill unsuspecting stray puppies and primordial war looms into nooks of our peaceful cupboards).
It was something else that I was talking about. The money.I was last to reach the pub since I was taking money out of one of those goddamned electromagnetic machines full of cash. Now when one says pub what picture does come to the mind. The shady lamps, the assorted smell of alcohol and sweat, the cheap music, the tipsy crowd, the silhouetted waiters and the stained sofas decorated with potato chips and nuts leftovers? But this is what I find at reaching our pub – a brightly lit restaurant room with straight-backed chairs (ones that they used as torture machines during the middle ages by making the victim sit on them and die of boredom after a week, doing nothing), a nice square table, a few polite waiters and few bottles of beer. The last thing seems to be the only thing that makes some sense with respect to our original aim. Altogether quite a sickly sight.
We shift asap to the first floor. Like decent drinking citizens. It looks more natural, with soft flakes of stale potato chips decorating the dark sofas. The waiters do not give a flying damn about the customerial summons. An aura of honesty prevails. For some reason I am at the end of my tether. Tether – a beautiful word, sounds like one is chewing one’s own teeth making a blood-curling sound. I must agree that alcohol is an overrated means to prove or disprove one’s existence. There is a wasp that keeps coming to my room in order to make a nest. Till today it has made five nests in five different spots. I know not where it giveth birth to its babies, or eggs, or whatever wasps giveth birth to. It flies inside my room with an aura of confidence with one of those disgusting green fleshy larvae in its mouth and drops them on or around me. Other times it brings in dirt and slowly builds up its holey fort filled with squirming hideous wasplings. I have, or so I think, broken down each nest, poking it with an inkless pen – my handy weapon against this wilderness, picking the infants up with its tip , eventually feeding them to the giant black predator crows waiting outside. The wasp still keeps flying into my room, angrier every time – evicted and tortured. Once I brushed it with a piece of cloth and it fell into my glass of whiskey. Lo and behold, nothing happened. Nothing at all. It flew out of the glass and out of the window – not even looking remotely drunk, as they show in animations. All fake. Nothing ever happens. Alcohol is overly dramatized. I always say so.
GENERAL FACT: When it comes to parties in pubs, broadly speaking there are five categories of people:
One who is invited and wants to participate.
One who is not invited and wants to participate.
One who is invited and does not want to participate.
One who is not invited and does not want to participate.
One who keeps staring at the lamp above the head and plays whoblinksfirst for a really long time (All this happened long before that frog hopped out of the bush and peed icy cold on my slippers. Moreover it was not me who was wearing it even). It is a subtle matter of moral values for one to identify oneself as one of the five, step out to the wild and admit such honest facts to the dogs, wasps, tics, cats and frogs. And toads.
It takes hardly half a glass of beer to get drunk. It takes a lot to feel good though – specially on birthdays. One of us makes us all laugh. Another, makes us all laugh. Yet another makes us roll on the sofa, laughing. One of us has a blue shoulder though it takes a long time to convince myself, now I am sure that it is a trick of the insolent unblinking lights. A red bicycle makes us all laugh. That beef dish over there tastes delicious, looks like maggots – makes us laugh. And drool too. Once drunk I feel depressed, demoted and fourlegged. If I could look into the future I would not. If I could look into the past I would not have grown a year more. It was one of our birthdays. If I could make up a story it could be one of those I heard elsewhere that of an alien who drank with us, was not invited and did not want to come and it drank with us and took us in its U Fucking O to its galaxy – lots of those aliens out there, drinking, making merry and they made us all laugh. They preferred air condition than natural air. Funny shit.
Evening 10:30 pm – I have a headache. But then I might not have had a headache at all. I am drunk and am lying. But I am going back home. All of it is part of a large joke – like that large big picture that everybody always asks you to consider-ing. But months have passed since they last cleaned those maggots out of my ear, bandaged it, and made me promise not to touch. And here I am not comprehending the inside jokes within that large fleshy one that I myself wove thoroughly deep inside.
Pigs never bathe, never sleep, never lose a battle. Legless chunks of fat – they take root in our intestines and plant victorious worms, eventually wriggling out of our scalps and eyes. So do smiles; lies and flies.
A for alcohol. B for birthdays. They just give you piles.
Midnight – I travel to faraway islands and many interesting things happen there.