Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Patch

The doorbell is one rather bothersome invention humanity could have done without, for its ringing indicates the impending intrusion(of someone unwanted, more often than not), into my personal space, one built upon my insecurities and vulnerabilities. 

You can imagine my displeasure, then, when this irksome device rang out that fine Sunday. I knew who stood on the other side, friends wanting to go for a road trip and rather insistent on my participation in the same. Now, my position on excursions is pretty clear. It's all nice and inspiring to read about or watch in a movie, but I draw the line at myself being part of one; I'm of the vicarious persuasion. My friends however wouldn't have any of my protestations and were fully prepared to dislodge self from residence and deposit in automobile waiting downstairs. I knew civil conversation wouldn't help any, so I stuck two fingers down my throat, opened the door, and let it rip. I'm not an expert at retching, but the result was most satisfactory. 

I waited a while to make sure they won't come back, and then set off in my own car. I lived on the outskirts of a rather crowded, pretentious city, and the only reason I like this place is the fact that driving an hour out takes you through villages, paddy and cotton fields, before you enter the forests, and this is where I was presently headed. 

It was just about daybreak, and this is as good a time as any to visit the woods, warm mellow sun rays coming in in a slant, a velvety green hue outlining the tree tops. It almost felt like the sun was rather skeptical of sharing its asset with our undeserving world, lest we should hold it captive. Let me be clear, I wasn't here just for the optics. See, all I want to be is left alone. And solitude is a fast waning commodity in our times. It is this stark necessity that one day drove me to park my car by the roadside and take a plaintive walk through the trees. This turned out to be a nice decision, for I stumbled upon a clearing surrounded by trees and having just the right lighting. It was perfect. I called it Patch because I thought it needed a name. Patch has been my getaway spot for the better part of an year. 

I parked my car at its usual place and began my customary walk towards Patch, a 5 minute saunter. I may even have been humming a song, I could barely contain my happiness. It had been so long!

Imagine my surprise then, when I stepped out onto the Patch and saw what looked like a bird being roasted over a raging fire, two logs fashioned as benches, and a thatched hut on the far side. 

I had been standing there for all of 2 minutes when I felt a sharp pointed pain on my nape. 

"What the fuck is going on?!" is what I wanted to ask but all I could manage was a cowardly whimper. 

" Stay quiet or I'll stick this through your neck this very moment"

A deep, growling voice, coming from atleast 6 inches over my head; I'm 6'2''. I just stood there.

"Walk"; It ordered. I walked. 

"Now sit down", It said, as we reached one of the logs. My obedience game was on point. 

As It ambled over to the other log, I could finally size up Patch's imposter. Definitely a human, very tall, very muscular, a spear that until a minute ago was tickling the base of my skull in his right hand, and what looked like animal hide over his rather formidable torso. Looked like tiger skin to me, although I was sure there were no tigers in the forest. I had done my research when I chanced upon Patch. Ambient solitude is one thing, getting eviscerated by a man-eater quite another. 

"Who are you?", he inquired.

"What are you?", I shot back.

I saw the grip on his spear tighten and took that as a cue to couch my question in more agreeable language.

"I mean, what are you doing here? Are you a method actor or something?"

A grunt. His idea of laughter, I suppose. I could have run, but all motor functions seemed to have frozen over. Plus, no telling if this guy had like minded friends on the lookout. 

"I live here."

"Ah." Made complete sense. 

"My turn. What are you doing here?"

" I come out here on occasion for a break. I live in the city." I said the second part because city dwellers are inept and useless. 

"Ah. Another imbecile. Convenient pray for the capitalist machinery. You're no threat to me then." See! He read my mind! He kept his spear aside and got up all of a sudden. 

I yelped, fell off the log, and balled myself into a foetal curl. He sniggered, went to his hut, and came back with a pail of water. A coughing fit( mine) ensued thanks to the smoke rising from the fire he had just doused. I sat back up once it had passed. He looked at me with a blank stare. I returned that with one that was a cocktail of fear, bemusement, and intrigue.

"How long have you been here?". Someone had to break the silence. 

"Around 4-5 months. Should have done this earlier"

"Done what earlier?"

"This." He took his ginger shaped hand and did a 360 degree flourish sort of thing. 

"You're for real?"

"If by real you mean one of your kind, no. Well, a bit, but I'm trying."

Now I was positively perplexed. He was generous enough to read my confusion, and went on.

"I was another optimistic urban young man that came into that monstrosity you called a city. I had ambitions, I aspired to a better life. One with happiness, both material and otherwise. Hah. What a fool I was."

"So you're yet another member of a steadily growing tribe of disillusioned, frustrated individuals that realized that upward mobility and happiness are inversely proportional. Welcome to the club" I was taken aback by my verbosity under duress.

"And you're one that confuses self aware criticism with maturity without doing anything about it."

Too many words."Huh?"

"What did you do with your realization that illusions of a happy life and notions of success are a myth?"

I was positively confused. 

"Nothing, what do you want me to do? Wait, did you run away from your life?!"

"Run away? Imply cowardice once again and your insides will know what steel feels like."

I wanted to tell him he really needed to work on his punchlines, but wiser counsel prevailed and I adapted a more pacifist approach. I wanted to get to the bottom of this. 

"What I meant was, did all this happen because you weren't happy?"

Grunt. "You're so unidirectional."


"I was tired of my world increasingly becoming artificial and vain. There was just too much duplicity and deceit. Primal human instincts, cloaked in nauseating nicety and a flawed notion of civility. You've heard of Maslow's Pyramid? The base is all a human really is. The layers on top of it are just dressing; repress what you are, all the while channeling your basic makeup. You're just your needs, you don't go beyond it. I had had enough. I coudn't put on this charade anymore. If an animal that needs food and shelter is all I am, so be it."

This person was positively deranged and delusional. He continued talking.

"A return to the wild is the only way to shed this pretense. The shit those motivational speaker con artists sell is actually true; embrace your true self. I am a hunter-gatherer now and it's better than what I've ever done with my life."

Was he really senile?

"You should go now. I trust you won't be an asshole and go tell people?"

"Huh? No, no. You're alright."

"OK. Off you go."

I got up, wanting to shake his hands, but realized that would be something he doesn't do anymore.

I turned around, gave my beloved Patch one sweeping glance, and started walking, deep in thought.

I suddenly heard a whoosh, and then felt a sharp searing pain in my lower back. I fell down, face first. I tried to reach for my back, but my hands caught a wooden rod; he had speared me. 

As I faded out, I realized I hadn't asked him if his animal hide was for real. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

What would you do?

She wasn’t herself.

It might have been the new city not agreeing with her, but we had moved far too often for location to affect her profoundly. Plus, she seemed cheerful when we first went around the place. She quit her job. This wasn’t garden variety depression or a passing phase. Something had affected her. What irked me was that she wasn’t opening up. Openness had been an unspoken principle of our relationship, and she had steered well clear of that responsibility.

That something was amiss was not immediately discernible. She acted normal. She kept herself busy; cooking, reading, TV. But then there would be times when she just sat there, lost in thought, biting her lips, playing with her hairband. I’d ask her why she gave up her job, and she would give me a smile, laugh it off. A plastic smile, a hollow laugh. We talked. In the way two people sharing coordinates talked.  Her only acquaintance was our neighbour, a lady with a morbid, forbidding demeanour. The first thing she told us was about the previous occupant of our flat. A young couple. Marital strife. Domestic abuse. Slit wrist. The lady exerted some sort of mysterious pull on my wife. She seemed alive while talking to her. The neighour was a switch that controlled my wife. This scared me.

“Do you want to step out today? Grab dinner?”

“Yeah OK”. No hesitation. Perfectly normal.

I took her to a resto-bar we’d been to on our first day in the city. The Watering Hole. It might have been a seedy bar for all you know, but for the price card.

She drank more than she ate.

“So. How are you?” It had been woefully quiet save for the sound of cutlery, and my intention was not to just eat and go back to status bloody quo.

She laughed. Hearty. “Why, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Just that you seem off-colour of late. Is something bothering you?”

“How’s work? You like this city? I think it’s alright. A bit on the warmer side, but it’s OK.”

This sudden burst of eloquence took me aback.

“Yeah it’s good. Good place.”

“You know Didi was telling me about this place. She said you have good taste.” Didi is our neighbour.

“How did she know?”

“She gazed into her crystal ball. I told her dummy.”

She had left the tipsy station far behind. I was just pulling in.

“Why are you chummy with that lady? She puts me off."

“She’s a doll! She talks to me”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Why do you think my folks named me Ganga?”

I was bristled by her previous remark and was just about to give her a piece of my mind when this sudden whimsical question left me surprised a second time this evening.


“My name. What do you think of it?”

“Ganga is such a majestic name! The mighty river, wild and untamed.”

I raised my glass, but there was no clink. She obviously had some broody, melancholic agenda to this question.

“But that’s not me. I am meek. Cowardly. Submissive. “

I was incensed.

“Is this something that woman fed you? She’s bad for you, stop talking to her! Wait, is this the reason you quit your job?!”

Her head was on the table. She looked at me through the glass.

“The girl who slit  her wrist, she did it as her husband stood watching. What would you do? Would you stand watching?”

I reeled. She had either gone overboard with her alcohol, or…  I chose to go with the former.

“You’ve had a bit too much to drink. Let’s go.”

I walked over to her. She still had her head on the table, but a curious expression occupied her face. That same vacant stare. I tried to help her up by her arms, but she pushed me away. With extraordinary might.

I was furious but all fury and anger gave way to morbid fear and shock when I looked into her eyes.
She had shrivelled up, in a foetal position, as if she was protecting herself. She was shivering violently. Tears were rolling down her cheeks.

“Please don’t kill me please let me live please please don’t hurt me…” She went on in a bleating voice.

Shock and alcohol induced laggardness made me stand motionless, a powerless observer to the scene playing out in front of me.  I shook myself out of my stupefied state, mustered whatever strength I had, and brought down my fist heavily on the table. 

“Shut the fuck up!!”

The effect it had on her was instantaneous, and pushed me further down my abyss of fear.

“What just happened to me? What did I say?”

She sat up straight and tried to arrange her dishevelled hair, looking questioningly at me. She was scared.

A glass rolled over and shattered, delaying the onset of a terrified silence.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Old man

An old man had no right to be optimistic. Men as close to the grave as he should only be thinking of the number of people who would be turning up at his funeral , shedding tears of formality, making their attendance known to all and sundry.

He picks up the cracked mirror and holds it with awe and pride. After all, he had given up all he had for this practitioner of non-pretense and unflattering commentary. The mirror hands him a rose and tells him he is most pretty. It then proceeds to draw his attention to a clearing in his otherwise luxuriant mane. He frowns, and knits his brows in silent disapproval. The patch bereft of hair had the shape of a dog-ear. The final batch of brain cells sends out a proposal which sends the old man into raptures of ecstasy, with an aftertaste of cardiac arrest.

He wakes up in the CCU, twiddles a dial, and tunes into Mann Ki Baat. Make in India reminds him of the idea that put him here in the first place. He yanks clear of all wires filmi style. He goes and incorporates a company and calls it Bald, a hair transplant company for dogs. Its logo is a dog-ear.Business goes through the roof. He is rolling in paper bills featuring a bald, bespectacled man smiling at him. When he is bored of all the rolling, he goes and pats a few dogs. One of the pat recipients takes exception, and registers disapproval with a well-timed bite of the old man’s flesh.

The old man feels ticklish and wet. He picks up the mirror. It hands him a rose yet again. Its redness is accentuated by the frothy red goo dripping from his mouth. A wave of optimism washes over him. But he checks himself in time. An old man as he had no right to be optimistic.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The significant other

Her mischief is in her eyes. She keeps batting her eyelids to shield that epicenter of attraction from her long time suitor. As if that was not enough, she maintains what many would call a respectable distance, probably as far as two ends of a cricket pitch. I prostrate before her, my forehead almost touching the ground, as if to provide a conduit for her electric magnificence to course the separation between us and travel through my body ; light me up with the potent concoction she was the custodian of. That dark formless elixir known to tame humans , ensconce them in its hypnotic allure. I ask her to come close. I beg her. All that she has for me in return is a smile; a smile that would implant in the otherwise calm and serene surface of her cheeks two beautiful dimples. That sort of smile that would make mortals of the highest intellectual order yearn and pine for her with an intensity most extreme. I hear her soft saccharine voice; it tickles my eardrum and makes me sway this way and that. She laughs again. But this time it’s not just laughter. Her voice has taken the shape of words. They seep into my consciousness, and I can hear her saying something.  “I am not playing hard to get, you are just too weak in spirit and desire!” I am stung by her accusation.

At this moment, all that I want is you. All that I want to embrace is you. Embrace such that where I end and where you begin, no one knows. Every microscopic particle of my being is attuned to this need. And there you stand, sticking a dagger through my resolve. What have I done to merit this misery? Why would you not satiate me, as you have innumerable others? Is this not cruel? Do you not have a conscience?

Let’s play a game, she says. Close your eyes. Or don’t. But lie still. Absolutely still.  Let the stillness of your body overwhelm you, let the numbness of your limbs permeate to every cell of your body. Let all activity in your brain cease. Lie thoughtless and motionless, with just your heartbeat reminding you of your existence. For every minute that you do my bidding, I shall come closer to you, until you and I become one.

OK that’s easy. No problem. I do as I am told. I just lie there. And suddenly, thoughts about the absence of thoughts start sprouting. About decay. About the futility of existence.  About perversion and decadence.  About the absence of an exit route. This cocktail of negativity constricts me. I feel short of breath. I wait for her disapproval. Even a clicking of the tongue would be like a drop of water in a parched mouth. But she is not there. She is gone. Her absence feels like a dead-weight tied to my legs, dragging me to the depths of a bottomless abyss. She won’t come back. She is too haughty to be affected by compassion and sympathy. She won’t give a second thought to the plight of this tormented soul, for she has many others to tend to. And I lie there in the deafening silence, twisting and squirming, praying that she blesses me tomorrow; hoping that she takes my hand and leads me through this treacherous night, to a morning of sunshine and possibility. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The audacity of hope

A popular sitcom elegantly described creativity as something possessed by people with glasses who lie. Tell that to a person who was immobilized from the waist down, he thought, a person for whom creativity and imagination was the only escape route from a world that constantly reminded him of his inadequacy and sheer helplessness. A manic rage gripped him every time he rolled into his lecture halls in his wheelchair (sophisticated beyond belief) and students stood up by way of greeting, a nauseating mixture of pity and sympathy oozing out of their being.  Every contact with humanity reinforced his ‘invalid ‘status and exacerbated his despair and agony.  

The only way he could cope with this endless abyss of self -loathing and disillusionment was by involving himself in his work. It was something that he cherished; something he wished to be known by, a visionary scientist who took the concept of Artificial Intelligence and expanded the realm of possibility. His name was associated with some of the seminal developments in the field of robotics. The Android project, which further blurred the distinction between man and machine, was his brainchild. It was an idea that sprang forth from his overall cynical outlook towards mankind; it was his testament to the eroding values and ideals of that ilk.

He had been an athlete before he lost control of his feet; a long distance runner. It was a passion in which he invested all available time outside of his professional commitments. He would run for hours on end, as if bodily constraints didn’t apply for him. Looking back, he would chuckle to himself over the perverse cruelty that fate had meted out to him; it was almost like a morbid April Fool’s Day prank gone wrong. But he could not let that phase of his life fade away and die out with him, he wanted to leave some sort of tangible evidence by way of proof that he was once a vivacious, energetic chap. And it was this desire that drove him to build into his creation the ability to run. He set himself to this task and worked like a man possessed, often all by himself, and after 3 years of excruciating effort, he had given his audacious dream a physical manifestation. He called it Twerp, which was the nickname his colleagues had bestowed upon him. Twerp was made to resemble the Scientist at the peak of his youth. Even his sternest critics couldn't help but begrudgingly hail this momentous occasion in Robotics history.

He however had one more wish.  He wanted Twerp to take part in the Boston Marathon. Realizing that the name could possibly trivialize his seriousness and jeopardize his campaign, he dropped the ‘p’. This announcement was however met with ridicule from all quarters, not to mention fierce resistance and outright rejection from the organizers of what they called a stupid idea. “ That ruddy thing is not even human, is he even in his mind?!!”. The Scientist was not to be deterred. He went on a whirlwind opinion mobilization tour, taking his invention along. The tour was an outright success; people were simply overawed by the Android. And slowly, the tides began to turn in his favour. He now had a huge body of passionate supported lobbying for his cause. The organizers however wouldn’t budge. He took legal recourse, and made an impassioned plea in front of the judge, almost moving the courtroom to tears. After his speech, however, the judge said something that had the effect of lifting a veil that had shrouded the whole issue. His rationale was so elegantly simple, that no one could really raise any sort of opposition. “I really don’t understand all this fuzz”, he said. “ Twer is human!!”.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Worse than 6-1

      I am not a football analysis enthusiast. Lets just say that i lack that instinct to analyse sport. You will not find me engaged in a protracted debate dissecting the nuances of that oh so well timed pass that created that god awesome goal. I would rather chalk that down to exquisite artistry borne out of a well oiled machinery that is both elegant and sheer genius at the same time. One such machinery is Manchester United, of whom I have been a supporter for the past decade. I do not intend to wax eloquent on the club's legacy and the wonderful players that have plied their trade in the theatre of dreams en route to becoming footballing success stories. To do so with the limited knowledge at my disposal would be both farcical and a gross excess. 

     But what spurs me to depart from lurid, contrived fictional pieces , as is my wont, is the shocking capitulation to Manchester city in last night's derby. Anyone remotely familiar with United's style of playing would have been stunned with whatever happened in those traumatic 90 minutes. It all began well enough , with Welbeck pouncing on a possible opening just outside the  penalty area within the minute; united's famed spirit and grit on display. But then, things steadily went downhill from that point on. City donned the mantle of well oiled machinery, and before long began creating problems for the united back 4 with wily, deft and often cheeky footwork by Aguero and co. this was not entirely unexpected, but what was worrying was the regularity of such infiltration s in the united area. United looked woefully out of sorts to match up to city's rhythm; they were unsure of themselves and were not able to get the ball for a good part of the first 10 minutes: a sinister combination that portended bad news for the united faithful. And our worst fears were confirmed when Aguero consummated a fluid move to put the hosts ahead. 16 minutes. Of course, the match was still in its infancy, and United were no strangers to such tight , dire situations. Many are the times when the Red Devils have shaken off tardiness and turned tables. And thus the fans consoled themselves. But then, the next five minutes yielded little by way of promise. United continued to be wobbly, laggard and unsure. No menacing runs by Valencia, no darting runs by Rooney down the centre, no pin point passes from Carrick, and no physical domination in midfield by Fellaini. Again, nothing to worry about. Half time was nigh, and sufficient faith had been reposed  in Moyes to tweak something somewhere and get the mean warhorse that is united up and running again. Just like his predecessor. But then came the second goal from a set piece at the stroke of half time, and united fans found their faith ebbing away. United now had to move a boulder, and more,  to head back to Old Trafford with a point. 

   Nothing however could prepare even the most seasoned of United's faithful for the nadir that was reached in the second half. The intent and the sense of urgency that one has come to be expected of United when they have their backs against the wall were conspicuous by their absence. Sure enough, City smelt blood, and before united could even begin to prepare for the worst, fired 2 past a hapless De Gea. The score line was 4-0. Surely even the greatest clubs couldn't have clawed their way back from this god forsaken abyss. But the mark of a great club lies in their ability to fight to the death nevertheless. To play for pride , as they say.  To redeem themselves. And United have always done that. It is in that never say die spirit that United holds sway over the football loving junta. They have always fought viciously for an open ball, they have been sure of themselves, the opponent would have to work to wrest possession, to stop those enticing balls that were threaded through to the front line by an ever enterprising tireless midfield, to stem those lightning fast runs down the flank, to fend off balls lashed in dangerously from the flanks, to defend set pieces. In short, the opponent would normally find it very difficult to stay in the lead. But that was not the case. City dictated terms with amazing ease. It was almost as if the spirit of United had been sucked out on the pitch at the city of Manchester stadium. They had meekly accepted defeat. 

   And that was what stung like a million bees. I am sure there would not have been a single United fan who didn't watch the match with jaw constantly dropping to the floor in dismay and disbelief. There was no manager on the touch line, arms wildly flailing, exhorting his players to a better performance. There were no probing runs, no questioning crosses, players constantly lost the ball cheaply, De Gea spilled easy balls on quite a few occasions, silken touches and deft passes were nil, set pieces were dealt with with surprising  ease, Fellaini's towering physique was overshadowed, players kept running into each other, there was no urgency or motivation, the list is endless. The pallor of defeat was writ large on the united camp. And that is what is most worrying. Resignation to defeat. 

    Two images stuck on a long time after the match. Navas' unchecked run for almost the entire length of the pitch that culminated in a goal, and Evra's accusatory glance at Fellaini after one of the goals. Sure ,United has lost 6-1 to City and 4-1 to Liverpool in the recent past under Sir Alex , but for me, this ranks worse than either of those humiliations. Probably because they played so well against Leverkusen midweek. They gave them a tough time, attacked with intent, and barring a few occasions, defended well. Was van Persie's absence alone responsible for this ignominious defeat? If yes, has united ever been excessively dependent on one player? The answer as far as I can see is no. And that is another remarkable thing about united, it's not about a person, it's the team. Welbeck was grossly disappointing in a game where he could have so convincingly demonstrated his prowess, without the Dutchman's shadow on him. In fact, not one of the players was above blame. All of them seemed like fishes out of water; that grit and passion was missing. City played really well, point taken, but they were not extraordinary; they were made to look extraordinary by a lacklustre  rusted united. One couldn't even bring oneself to be awestruck by Rooney's insane free kick. He himself seemed a shadow of the  Rooney from last week. 

   It's early days in the campaign , and to write off United as being pushovers this season would be an exercise in foolishness. As an ardent supporter of the grand old team that has won 20 premier league titles , I firmly believe that we have the wherewithal to rise from yesterday's debacle , sort out chinks in the armour and restore that fighting spirit that we have all come to love, adore and worship. In United we trust. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Ok, so I buy this insanely expensive, bleed your pockets out type expensive smart phone. You can call it peer pressure if you will. Personally, I was pretty happy with those unassuming little phones that happily let you call or text anyone without any fuss and without any charade to dazzle you to the point of tech worship. But then when you live with people who swear by these insanely rich pieces of circuit boards, one relents, you know. You then seek recourse in firebrand hypocrisy by buying the device one fine day. So anyway, I have a smart phone, is the point. I am goofing around and checking out all functionality and I get this watsapp thingy everyone is going gaga over. Again, Rome, Romans, you see. So I sync this thingummy with my contacts from my phone, and about 2 hours later this phone beeps. It’s a message. Watsapp. I first think its some stupid promo nonsense but then it aint that. It said “hi..”. From some female whose name brought some vague recollection. Like those tingling sensations you get when your brain tries to desperately tell you that you have come across that thing/person/sound/taste/smell/whatthef**kever it is once before. But its too vain to tell you what. So here I am with a message from a femme who I have no clue of but for a stupid tingling sensation. Well that normally happens. You see, my contacts is this roll call sort of thing that would give those guys who study people (anthropologists?) a hard on. I have the contact details of every single person I have ever met. And I never delete. I talk to a guy in the bus about how Obama’s financial ministrations are driving us off the fiscal cliff, I get his number. I help a female with her shopping baggage, I get hers. Sounds total psycho, but then people say I have great people skills. Again, not my point. Without thinking much, I “Hi..” back. And then she says “Remember me?”. The male ego doesn’t bow out just like that. I say ”of course!! How r u?”. And she says “You don’t do you? Want to meet up tomorrow and refresh that memory of yours??”. Now  I am completely curious. Wary, yes, but then, its a femme for godssakes. I might get me a nice time. And I say, “sure. Where n when?”. Looking back, I would kill myself twice over for saying that.
Counselling is bullsh**.  My Post- traumatic stress disorder, or whatever they call it is my Post- traumatic stress disorder.  No shrink through any degree of soft passionate conversation and hypnotherapy and CBT or any of those things can do anything to help me. Heck, he cannot understand me, let alone breaking into soliloquies on how to cope with it. That hurts. Feigning conviction and telling me in that sickening murmur that he understands completely. That day was another of those days when I walked into that fraud place and pretended to have cottonplugs on while he proceeded with his customary drivel. I had just left the place when I got this watsapp notification saying that someone had added me. That was when all the latent hatred and revenge I had forgotten somewhere rose again. And that was how it all began.
This female should have been really rich. This place she had chosen for our little rendezvous was crème-de-la-f**king-crème. So anyway, I see her and now that tingling sensation has become like a 1000 spiders crawling all over me. But I still can’t resolve the long standing issue of just who she is. We greet each other like long lost twins and give each other a bone crushing bear hug. Her dress left nothing to the imagination, by the way. This suit clad fellow gets us a table in one corner, set slightly apart from the rest of the pack and lights this big ass candle bang in the middle of the  table. “You still drink don’t you?” she asks, and I nod promptly, feeling slightly fishy about this whole business. She orders sparkling wine, and he excuses himself with a servile bow. “So tell me about what you are upto these days man, its been so long!”. She has one of the most sinfully disarming smiles I have ever seen. A perfect blend of coyness and mischief. The perfect seductress. My point is, even if I wanted to desperately man up and tell her I don’t for f**k’s sake know her, I was in it way too deep to tell her. Too far along. That’s how the male brain rationalizes. So I get on with it and chew the cud liberally, again, like long lost friends. Apart from being the seductress, she is also quite the talker. And before you know it, we are like a house on fire. Alcohol has progressed from wine to vodka,neat. And we are still talking, speech is beginning to slur and I am seeing double, but I keep going. The last thing I remember, to this date, is looking at her cleavage, in the light thrown by that candle, which was close to burning out ,by the way.
The clothes were intentional. Decency was a thing I had given up on since what happened, but this was filthy even by those standards. This was moral degradation spawned by an overwhelming desire for masochism for the soul, flagellating it in a fervent attempt to exorcise the past. And I was almost there. Revenge is a dish best served cold, some fellow said. And mine had reached frigid levels. He was this close to passing out. All he needed was a prod in the right direction, and that came via a vial that I emptied into his 6th peg. It was with some difficulty that I wrapped his hands around my shoulder and dragged him out to my car. No questions asked. My breasts were showing all the while, but who cares?
I wake up to a searing pain all over my body like I am laid on a 100 burning stoves. I am totally out, ok? Totally disoriented, and i try to raise my hand and rub my eyes, which seem to be gummed together, my eyes, I mean, but I can’t move my hands, let alone raise them. And then someone splashed water on my face and I open my eyes and find the same female sitting cross legged, smoking. “ you can’t move because you have been glued to the bathtub. You are burning because I cut you a 100 times all over, superficially of course, else you would bleed out, and I bathed all those wounds with Chardonnay.”
How many glue tubes did it take? A lot. And I enjoyed every moment of it. The alcohol was an inspired touch. I read somewhere that it does something to your burn receptors which lowers its threshold, in short, he suffers more. I was still surprised that he didn’t show any signs of recognition. That stung more than those wounds would be stinging him. After all, he had conquered me that day. I was his prized trophy in that pub. Admitting defeat, I asked him, “ Don’t you remember 31st December 2011? The Watering Hole?”
And then it all comes back to me, through all the pain. I had passed out in the pub that night. And it was the next day when I came to that my friend says that I did some serious nonsense bullsh** to this girl we met at the pub. Did I? He says that he ain’t playing me and that I should get in touch with her immediately. I said I would and go back the next day and tell him that we had met and that we had talked and we had made peace. He didn’t buy it, but then I always had great people skills. Well, I believe in Karma now.
He is a smooth talker, that b*****d.  look how he plays it down. Sonofa***ch. There was this drinking game that night, and we were playing darts. Round of 3’s. guy v/s girl. Person making lesser points on a throw drinks a shot of vodka, neat, and should the girl lose, the guy gets to kiss her. I lose, and he comes over to kiss me. Sportingly, I oblige, and before I know it, he is kissing me awkwardly, aggressively, sloppily. I try to push him away at first, but then the alcohol gets the better of me, and I give in. Everyone is egging him on, and before I realize whats happening, he has turned me over, pulled down my pants, and begun thrusting. I am in pain, but my weak protestations are drowned out by the loud techno music. Its all over in a matter of 5 minutes. The last thing I remember is some girl coming over and asking me whether I am alright.
Such things happen all the time in pubs. I didn’t know she was hurting.
Purists might argue that this isn’t rape per se. I would gladly do this same thing to all of them.
I should probably add that all this while, my mouth was neatly covered with masking tape, which she had peeled off when we were talking. In that time, she jacked up the stereo system volume somewhere in the next room. To drown out my screaming, I guess . All of a sudden, she puts this tape back on and starts emptying bottles of alcohol into the bath tub like crazy. The pain’s back on at full blast, and there I am, unable to writhe or move or do anything that could lessen the pain. She had thought this through. And through all this noise I hear her say “you will have to go now”. She lights a match and throws it into the tub. With a whoosh, all the alcohol fuels the flame and I have one inferno playing all over me, numbing me with pain. To hell and back would have been easier. That is when everything blacked out. I probably died, I don’t know.
No matter what happens in your life, nothing prepares you for watching another human being burn to his death. You simply cannot sit back and watch. I had not reached that stage of malevolence. I knew this would happen and had kept an extinguisher handy. Without thinking twice, I opened it on him. I put out the flame in under half a minute. He was still breathing. Badly burnt, but still breathing. That is when I called for an ambulance, and fled.
That’s love. That’s true love if you ask me. Nothing else can make a person intent on murder do a 180. Its pure,intense love. That is the only conclusion I can make, 2nd degree burn injuries and multiple skin graft surgeries later.
I don’t know what it was that made me do it. I am too busy trying to make good my escape to be thinking of it.

PS: The rape incident is based on a first person account I read somewhere. Don’t remember where. Its unnerving, to think that such things happen. Also,everything else is fiction.