The man in the boxer shorts

I wish I could tell you how happening my mornings are. I went to office in spaceship the other day. What? Didn’t I tell you my office is at moon? Or how I went on that long drive with Eddy (Edward Norton insists that I call him that) last Sunday morning.

But no, my mornings are woebegone faces of the broke industrialists drowned in enormous debts or politicians locked up in jails under the corruption charges that they didn’t really commit. I drag my legs to the bus stop through the dusty road and silently wait for bus like a goat waiting for butcher to get his knife. My legs, tied with so called responsibilities of building my own career and a respectable life and fear of what I might lose if I run away from this routine, find no pleasure in these morning strolls. My mornings are just outright bland like boiled potatoes that don’t even have a pinch of salt sprinkled over them. The only pleasure that I get is when the radio hits a peppy song and if, just if, I am not sleepy or grumpy enough, I might, just might, imagine myself dancing on it and a smile might peek from the back of the wall on my face for a split second. But music eventually fades away and I return to myself. I don’t mind being here – in my company, but when you make your grand entrance without being aware of it I realize how hard I had been missing you. You are the great rescuer! Breaker of chains from this mundane monotonous thing – you don’t know it and you would never but I will give you the credit anyway.

Sir, I don’t know you. It’s been a while since I last saw you and I hope you are doing okay. I am not sure if you have noticed me (though obviously I have) because I can’t really remember if we ever exchanged a smile or even a proper glance. But this is fine by me because you don’t seem like a person who care about these things. So, don’t mind me if you find me stringing along the words of praises for you. Because I cannot resist doing this. You are counted among the brighter parts of my day, one of the interesting elements of my fucked up mornings – Why would I hesitate from appreciating you especially when I know that this message would never reach you? That is how it usually works, right?

I am sure that I am never ever going to come across anyone like you again. Of course, there are people who are far more eccentric than you are but to me, there’s a class in your craziness! When I see you, I kind of brighten up from inside. Your odd sense of dressing is inspiring. Yes, and that was what that mainly drew my attention towards you in the first place. Your abnormality restores my faith in humanity. You, wrapped in a striped black blazer, your pink shirt, your Michael Jackson hat, your boxer shorts (that you are not embarrassed to show off) paired with calf length socks and your polished black formal shoes, are a walking story demanding to be told. No, I am not making fun of you. And I don’t think even if I am you would remotely be offended. You see – you don’t care. You being one of the rare gems who really knows how to do that. That’s amazing. Your consistency and commitment to maintaining your oddity doesn’t seem odd now. Everybody around is used to your misplaced presence; the guy at the tea stall, the sweeper who can’t stop smiling, the old spectacled beggar whose futile efforts to sell me pity are endless and in a way commendable, the lady whose weird way of walking makes me analyze my own in front of the mirror to confirm that I don’t walk like her, the lady who sells milk packets by the char-rasta with woolen scarf tied across her ears and below her chin looking oddly childish even though she must be over fifty, the fellow goats sipping tea and smoking cigarettes at the galla with their ID cards dangling over their necks and finally this borderline anorexic tall girl with a black bag swinging upon one shoulder, white earphones chords swaying with her steps, with her hunchback and messy hair hurriedly tied as a bow, spectacles unsuccessfully trying to cover her dark circles, her small tired face sometimes lost in thoughts and sometimes lost in series of stupid self-conversations, sometimes smiling, sometimes impassive, sometimes trying to mouth the lyrics of her favorite English song which she doesn’t really remember or a Buddhist chant ; none of these people find you odd anymore. If you become what they call “normal” that would be the thing that would be most abnormal.

Every piece of your clothing is a fashion apocalypse. The answer to why you dress this horrible way will always be food for my imagination. But the fact that it doesn’t deter you from flaunting them off is incredible! Every wrinkle on our face is an evidence of how your age might have taken a toll on you. And sometimes I can see sadness in your drooping eyes. Sometimes your impassive face seems like a potential threat of how at any second you are capable of doing anything, even something gravely dangerous. What is your story, sir? Is there any way you can tell me besides the conventional mode of communication?

An unnecessarily guilty glance

I  am waiting outside the juice shop, thirsty and tired, putting an enormous amount of expectation on a tiny glass of sugarcane juice that is yet to be served. My face is smeared  in pink and yellow and some other weird combinations. My arms are still tingling from what could have been a regretful sunburn after a long celebratory drive back to our city, to this shop.Despite the brutal tanning and dehydration, I can’t help but feel elated. And why not? I am drenched in festivity! How I adore this festival of hues! This craziness!

I am at my usual lost-in-thought state when I feel a light tug on my elbow – ‘Behen O Behen! Le Lona’

Annoyed, I turn around. A little girl is trying to sell Gulal to me.

I look at the packets of colours in her hands and I know I shouldn’t buy them. Those are the kinds of colours that should be kept away from your skin at all cost unless you happen to like rashes.I am tempted anyway. It’s Holi after all! Everyone needs to celebrate today! But before I could know it, I have dropped the idea again – Nahi, bacche, nahi chahiye. No child, I don’t want it.

Lelona. Please? – She requests again.

You can call her a beautiful child if you look at her carefully; Her brown eyes, that goes with her brown complexion, her perfectly aligned teeth, her straight thin nose and the innocence in her voice.I have come down to my knees. My fingers are now fondling with colours inside the packet I have. No, I can’t buy the so-called Gulal from her and I won’t. It is against my easily adaptable principles. But I paint both her cheeks green and greet her a happy Holi.

She is surprised. A smile brightens up her face. Suddenly, she forgets why she is even here! I offer her my cheek. She dips her small fingers in my packet and slather the colour over my face. Now, I am heavily dusted in green as well. Her smile has broadened. No one has ever seemed so happy just with these small gestures before.

I am smiling too. I try to feed in the details of her happy face in my head.You,little girl,are such a delightful lovely poem that I can’t even pen you down. Maybe someday when I am worth and capable of putting your beauty in words, I will. But for now, I still can’t buy these packets of pity from you that you still hold in your hands, that you are still going to try to sell to other prospective buyers a few minutes from now. And though you are still smiling at me and you don’t even want my money anymore, I just find myself letting out an inaudible and invisible murmur  – ‘I am sorry’.I know that you are not asking for my apology. You don’t want it. Actually, it’s I who really needs it – as a futile attempt to pacify my own confused conscience. I am sorry because I don’t think you deserve this. I am sorry because I can’t help you escape the circumstances you have been born in. I can’t save you from your parents making you sell these packets. I can’t send you to school and I can’t teach you either. And neither can I ever take responsibility for your better childhood or better future. Not that there is no way for achieving any of this, it’s just that I am lazy and I am running short of efforts to uplift my own life. Looking at you, I raise those never-to-be-answered questions to my fate again. Why you? Why me? They aren’t answered of course. As usual, they turn their backs on me. And then I turn my back on you after one last cheerful, apologetic and perhaps an unnecessarily guilty glance.

The one about the smoker 

​I wouldn’t be surprised if I forget you tomorrow but by continuing to write this I am contradicting the very first statement. Anyway, you know what – I am not a smoker but you might be the reason I might want to turn into one. Of course, you as a reason, aren’t strong enough but in this moment,  I can give you that at least. Not that I am falling in love; I ,  being stereotypical and secretly judgemental as hell as always need a ground breaking, sky falling reason to fall in love with any person and you! Well, you drive trucks for a living so… I am sorry that I am biased and I can’t respect you. I am sorry since you might not even be remotely close to the person I am assuming you to be but I can’t change my mind. Hence  all this – I disrespecting you and be amazed by you at the same time is quite puzzling. 

On a closer inspection though I realize that I don’t even remember your face or even the colour of your shirt ( Was it red?). I am not even curious. However, what preoccupies my head is –  those threads of smoke dancing in the air, carelessly gliding, flowing and bending through the curves of your lips. What preoccupies my head is how into the air they went, out of your mouth; soft mesmerizing disappearing bunch of white directionless trajectories.  You seemed like a sorcerer – blowing fog out of your mouth that incredible way! It was beautiful. Aren’t all dangerous things are? 

Good, that you are not aware that I am staring at you. Good that you would never know my name or be aware of my existence – we don’t need to acknowledge these mundane things after all. And to be brutally honest, I don’t care if you live or die – we are,after all, still strangers. But may I just interject that I think that you were born to smoke? I know it sounds stupid or maybe even offensive but you do it so beautifully! Effortlessly! There’s no performance! There’s no smugness! There’s no compulsion to appear cool. You don’t care if you are being watched at all! And as I watch you pass by, slowly and yet swiftly out of the frames of the window of my seat, I nail your images in the walls of my head shamelessly extolling the beauty of your shameless addiction even though you never asked for any of this. I have no clue why you caught the fancy of my head at all! But I had to capture you somewhere other than my feeble unreliable memory. I don’t get why it’s a necessity but my attention or admiration doesn’t seek any kind of qualifications – just a mild touch of oddity, that’s all. In that way, you are perfectly qualified.

You seem to be entangled in your own trail of thoughts. You are not looking anywhere or at anyone or anything. Your eyes are just pointed towards a direction of indifference.  It’s nothing extraordinary I guess but I am amazed since it makes you a perfect picture. And your mouth is a cryogen! As if a scientist made special arrangements in his lab just to place you there. As if an artist spent months just to paint that white cloud coming out of your mouth beautifully diffusing around your face.

I might never see you again by the way. I am grateful for that. And even if I do I wouldn’t recognize you at all or go speak to you – that being way out of my comfort zone. But then still, these few seconds of catching your glimpse are precious. How do I explain it? I don’t understand it myself. You, the smoke, the cryogenics, the magic, the cloud, the fog – all but a puff of beedi…!!

And there at a distance, a  crazy writer, is sitting in the bus, lauding your possibly  worst habit to incomprehensibly impossible heights. 

How do I explain this? I just know that I can’t deny the sad, remarkable, abnormal beauty of this perfect picture.Of your perfect picture. 

That woman in my office

You might have been unconsciously or deliberately avoiding hence you have never admitted it even to yourself but the truth is that when you look at her, you have to look at her again. You have to look at her again and stop whatever you are thinking and start wondering why exactly she is so attractive. She is not the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. She looks ordinary in a way. She should ideally easily blend into the crowd. But then, she doesn’t. Maybe her hairstyle is different, you guess, her clothes could be, you think but nothing really brings down the air of mystery. You find yourself a little baffled, and then you realize that you are staring at her, you look away immediately, you don’t want to seem rude or look like a pervert after all! But her face is imprinted in your mind and you can’t rid of it.

Chances are you might not even see her again. Good. Even if you were to meet her once more what change would that have brought?  You are certainly not going to go talk to her! And if you do, despite all odds, your conversation will end before it even starts. Hi. Hello. Who is she? Who are you? There’s only so much decency can allow you to say. There’s only so much you can allow yourself to say. It’s a work place after all, not a bar and you are not drunk.

Why is she so attractive you wonder again.She resembles the daydream you often have when you sit at your desk scanning through your mails but not really reading them.She resembles the attractive thought of a faraway vacation that hits you when you look at the ever increasing figure of your privilege leaves. She resembles the content of your resignation letter. She resembles all of your vacillating escape plans. She resembles a life – faraway and far different and far amazing. Uncanny! Now you are utterly perplexed. You need to work. Why are you thinking about her? She is just a temporary face at office! Temporary phase in your head! Come on!

No use complaining, no use telling yourself how utterly stupid all this is. You can’t go back to work. You are too preoccupied now. Hell, what to do. How do you stop it?

So, you think about her. Unabashedly now. You think about her face, her voice, her eyes, her hair, her kajal, the heels of her sandals and think about all of it despite knowing that your thoughts won’t answer the question. You steal glances at her more frequently now. You try to notice even the minor details; shade of her nail paint, her ear rings, border of her dupatta, embroidery of her kurti…

Interesting part is – You are not the only one. Everybody else appears to be engaged doing the same thing. It’s amazing how this woman is unaware of all the attention or maybe she is just very much used to it.

Dreaming and dreaming.Suddenly, the spell breaks. Screen. SAP. Codes. Programmes.Desk. Cubicle. Manager. Phone calls.

Welcome back. Where is that woman now? You search for her all around but she is nowhere to be seen. She is gone. Your thoughts are gone. You are used to being alone but today loneliness leaks through out of nowhere. The walls are damp, pipes have burst somewhere and you are staring at all the Dear Sirs and Dear Ma’ams. Hope has gone out for a lunch at a fancy restaurant and you are left without a single bit of him. Bastard! Such sad mess your life seems to be. Where is that woman? Come back! Maybe you will go and talk to her! Who knows conversation might not meet an awkward end! Who knows it might turn out to be worth it after all.

But where is she? Will she come back? Will she? And if she does, and if you do meet her this time, will she stay?

It’s 11:30 P.M.

It’s 11:30 P.M. And this night is perfect. The wind is just amazing. Moon is at its best and the Street lights! Oh these jewels! Roads are generally not the boasting type but even they can’t help but flaunt them off. Oh what a beautiful night it is! La belle nuit! But you know who’s ruining this  beauty? Not a who actually – A what.

I, I walking alone, I walking alone and I am a woman.

What am I doing here this late? Of course, I shouldn’t be here!  Am I nuts or what?There’s a rule woman! “Men only” – You don’t break it!

And what if I do? What  if I do? What does that make me? A catcalling material? A stalking material? A raping material?

Of course, it does.

It’s 11:30  P.M. I think I have seen you pass by before. I think I marked your presence when you honked at the empty road before. I hold your interest, I see. But is this how you try to impress people? I am sorry to tell you that it doesn’t work that way. I am quite opposite of impressed right now. I am angry. Why are you doing this? Just because I am walking alone at night? Just because I am a woman? Does that not make me a human? Does that just make me a random insignificant creature to insult? Would it have helped if I was dressed in a different way? Maybe saree? Maybe burkha? Maybe the toilet paper rolled over me like a mummy? Would you have just passed by and not done these random acts of kindness then?

It’s 11:30 P.M and I think we need to sit and talk. Don’t be shy, come on! Let me unravel the mysteries of  workings of your brain tonight. What do you want? What do you not?Do you not like us taking a casual stroll in our own locality? Do you not like us minding our own business? Do you not like us feeling safe and secure in our own city? Is it just your right not ours? What do you think, darling? Do you think it is a great act of benevolence to try to scare the shit out of people who have done nothing to bother you?

I like how you disrespect me. I like your high spirits and over confidence. I like how you judge me entirely based on my gender. Come on, man! Speak up! Honking is not a language, you do know that right?

I am resisting not shouting at you. I am resisting ignoring you.  I am resisting not to put up a fight. I don’t know kung fu after all. I don’t have a gun. I don’t know if I can defend myself but I want to speak to you. I want to pour my heart to you.  I won’t though fearing that it will all backfire. If walking is a crime for you, then you might have a hard time adjusting to me talking. What a shame! What a shame I can’t tell you how I feel! What a shame I can’t make you feel as unsafe as you make me feel. What a shame I can’t make your mother worried sick over the fact that you are going to come home late or you are travelling alone. What a shame I can’t make you text dozens of people that you have reached home once you do. What a shame I can’t make you dread this beautiful night! I see that you live here too. I see that this place is your home too. What a shame that I can’t make it a hell for you as well!

All I can do right now is to not speak. Not shout. Not react.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

And pray that I am back at my place safe. Because if I am not, god forbid, if I am not…then how stupid will that be of me. It was 11:30 P.M at night, they will say, what was she doing that late? It was 11:30 P.M. for fuck sake, they will say, she was asking for it. Man! She was asking for it.

The whole fucking problem

Note: PUN IS INTENDED.

I was walking across the street the other day and I met an interesting fellow. The young man couldn’t resist himself from making derogatory remarks at me. I wasn’t wearing lingerie, nor was I in a swimsuit, I was just walking to my home in casual jeans and t- shirt and yet this fellow couldn’t take his eyes off of me. Boy! Was I on cloud number nine! But then to my dismay, he rode off. But just when I had begun lamenting over the end of this lovely encounter, he came back.

I enjoyed our little chit chat where he kept commenting and I kept ignoring. When our brief encounters kept happening again and again, I wanted to take my shoes off and throw them at his handsome face to express my love. But then I just thought that that would be too much display of my affection. I guess I am right in assuming that the nice fellow I had just met was so much worthy of my attention that ignoring turned out to be my best move. I didn’t want to fall head over heels for a guy I just met. Did I?

Why do I have to tolerate these fellows making nasty comments at me? I don’t roam around the streets in my pathetic rickety bike and make disgusting comments at any guy I come across. I don’t stare at them from head to toe for eternity. I don’t stop my fucking car and drive close to them honking repeatedly scaring the shit out of them. But of course, I can’t do all this but they can. It’s perfectly alright.
I spend a lot of time wondering whether what I am wearing is appropriate enough to go out in the street. I always make it a point that I don’t stay out of house too late at night. In spite of all these I happen to meet these gentlemen quite often and I make sure that I ignore them all every time. I have to do all this but they don’t and it’s perfectly alright.

Some of my rights are being violated. So what? That’s okay. Some of my freedom has been snatched. So what? That’s okay. Some of my respect and integrity had been compromised with. So what? That’s okay.
No really. That’s okay and the fact that I feel this is the saddest thing that could happen to me.
I have grown to believe that being a girl I just have to neglect some of the things. I have to learn to live with it. I have to tell myself that there is no other choice.
I have to bear it. Don’t I?
I have to be the victim of society. Don’t I?

No actually, you don’t have to do it. There’s someone inside me who is saying this on top of her voice.

I want to believe her. I want to stand by her. But what can I say? Old habits die hard.
I have spent too many years mastering the art of tolerance. It appears so normal that all those violations seem nothing.

Why do you bother girl? You know you are okay; safe and sound! Everything is alright!
So, I have to wait until I am not safe and sound? My rights can be played with and I am not going to give a single fuck?
What is wrong with me?

No, no there is nothing wrong with me. And that is the whole fucking problem. Like every normal person, I have a large limit of tolerance. And that is the fucking problem. Like every other normal person, I feel secretly stupid on not being able to do anything about my own self and yet I don’t do anything. That is the fucking problem. I avoid disrupting my imaginary peaceful life. And that is the fucking problem. I pour a glass of cold water over the burning rage inside me. And that is the fucking problem.
I know that I don’t have to live like this and to be honest no one is even stopping me.
No one except me.
And that…

Is the fucking problem.

 

What is it with Fawad Khan?

Warning; Fangirl  Alert. Kindly proceed ahead only if you really want to.

What is it with Fawad Khan?

What is it with that beautiful, beautiful man!

I will tell you…I will tell you what exactly it is with Fawad Khan. But before that please allow me to drag you into the dark vicious pit of my fandom – Scary it might seem (And it honestly is) but it will help you understand a lot about my mental state or most of the other fangirl’s/fanboy’s.

Okay, so here begins the story. There is a positive side to not knowing what to do. And that is – you would do anything to find out what you want to do. It might seem that I am talking about dreams and inspiration and other similar stuff and partly I am but this has got more to do with something deeper and darker-Fandom.

Have you ever been through those horrible hours when you are sitting there at your bed or couch and you don’t want to sleep, you don’t want to watch any movie or read or study or cook or become an astronaut or be wonder woman or save the world in any possible minuscule way? There’s no escape from such kind of periodic irrelevance crisis. I was going through something similar and with deep reluctance I made myself sit in front of the television and surf through the channels. I was getting nothing out of it. If anything, my boredom was only getting intensified. But well, if you have a lot of time in your hands suddenly you forget all those things, all those productive and creative things, you had once imagined yourself doing and got excited about it while you were really busy doing something important.

So, it all began with those sad lazy ungodly hours at noon. I had nothing to do. I was flipping through the channels on the idiot box with my legs dangling across the arms of the couch and with my spine making an uncanny curvature pressed against the cushions. As I continued to press the buttons at a considerable high frequency, my eyes desperately searched for something enchanting, something, anything pleasant that could drive the boredom away…

And that’s when it happened. Sometimes at most unexpected times your wishes are granted. I wish at that time I had wished for something less stupid like- 100 Crore rupees? A live and real prince charming whom I could talk to and touch? Some brain? More IQ? But noooooo! I just wanted something “pleasant”, something anti-boredom and there he was. The frequency of my fingers immediately ‘impulsed’ down to zero. My legs jerked to the floor in surprise (where my jaws were already lying). And there he was. When? What? What was I watching? More importantly whom was I watching! Who was this perfect creation of god?

Apparently there was (there is) this new channel I hadn’t ever tuned to before and it was called Zindagi. When did this channel come to existence? I have no idea. But I had no time to contemplate about that. I had no reason to contemplate about anything because right before my eyes, stood a beautiful beautiful face and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

It wasn’t just the beauty or that perfectly handsome face (Okay, mostly it was) but a little bit credit goes to my curiosity as well. The serial that I was having my first glance at was Zindagi Gulzar hai.

But a handsome face is not good enough for me to get glued to any serial. (There I said it! But the other person in my head is laughing hysterically saying – Oh! Really?)A decent storyline is also a must. (The other person; Who are you kidding dear?) I was not going to watch all the episodes of this serial in a single night.(To the other person – It is true and you know it!). In fact I wasn’t going to do anything about this new celebrity crush of mine at all.But something made me do something about this…

And that something would be, again, curiosity.

What made me curious? An approval from an unexpected fangirl.

I am not the only one whose life has been turned upside down by a serial with a weird name. There are thousands, lakhs of girls like me and many of them DON’T watch serials on a regular basis. And I realized this when this fangirl ( who also happened to be my neighbor) confessed to me that she was watching this serial and she was in love with the lead actor and she was finding the story pretty good as well. This surprised me because she has a very busy life and she is really not much into TV soaps at all and even then there she was with a staggering confession that just made me do what I was about to do.

Nothing could stop me now. I wasn’t the only victim so screw it!

And nothing stopped me. I watched the entire series in a single night. After I had finished watching it, I was experiencing an alien feeling of pure unadulterated admiration and that is when my fandom shot to next level.

Next thing I knew was – I was watching more of Fawad Khan’s serials. I was reading about him. I was watching his interviews. I was drowning and sinking deeper & deeper.

Just to catch few more glimpses of Fawad khan I was ready to watch a Sonam Kapoor’s movie in theater too! (And I did. Fandom and the things that fandom could make you do. DO NOT EVER UNDERESTIMATE THEM.)

So, I guess we can now come back to the original question – What it is with Fawad Khan?

Well…

The fact is he is very handsome.

The fact is his voice is really seductive.

The fact is the way he speaks Urdu is agonizingly beautiful.

The fact is he is an amazing actor.

The fact is he has a beautiful smile.

The fact is it is impossible not to adore him.

The crazy thing about fandom is that nobody understands it unless she/he herself/himself is a fan. So, I am not going to share any photos. I am not going to share any videos. I am not going to suggest you to watch any serials. (Though you could totally watch some scenes of Zindagi Gulzar Hai on YouTube. You should) < Maybe I just did.

But you are not obligated to do what I am suggesting you to do. However, the sad part is unless you do it, you would never have the answer for- What is it with Fawad khan?

Go home random non-fan, go home. This ain’t no place for you. This ain’t no place.

Author’s note;

Sometimes you have to let your fandom out. It’s an essential survival technique.