Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Below the belt

If you are fat, you would not be amused by what is written below. You would be offended. If you are skinny, well....not any different. And that‘s not the purpose behind this piece. Just sayin.....

Scene: A mall in Abu Dhabi. A gent’s apparel show room. Evening.

A fat guy in a tee and big bermuda shorts was looking at the jeans displayed on hangers. His fingers travelled up slowly along a pair of denims like a villain stroking a vamps’ thigh in a Bollywood movie. Then they travelled down, even slower. The guy then pulled the fabric closer and smelled it. I got curious. I crept closer.

He must have been 16 something. A plump face with not much facial hair. Two eyes peering hard from a pudding-like face. Those eyes never left the jean; one of those latest designs that would expose your butt-crack, no matter how you sit down. I had students who wore them to college. Some of the guys would also expose a wisp of arse-hair during the process. The skinny ones took it to a whole new level. They would fix it around their waist as low as possible that it defeated logic and physics. I think the trick was in walking with your legs slightly apart so that it kept the jean in the periphery of your waist.

In Abu Dhabi I had seen some trousers with waists stretching up to a phenomenal 44 inches. Sometimes I have taken one of those heavy creations, opened, looked inside and felt I was looking into outer space. I found it difficult to believe that a human’s derrière could burgeon up to fill so much of emptiness. Oh, let me get back to the one in front of me, folks...

So, here he was. May be wondering if he could somehow get into one of those pairs. The fat boy leaned forward to take the largest pair he thought was in front of him. He ended up pushing the cloth stand with his gargantuan belly and it scuttled away on its casters. He looked back and caught me looking at him. I looked away. The boy went back to work. But the cloth hanger seemed to have a mind of its own. I wanted to see him chasing that metal stand on wheels but looked away thinking he would notice me. As I was turning away, I heard a crash and a “plop”.

The boy was on the floor entangled among a few more cloth stands. One seemed to be sticking out from under him at a very odd angle. I cringed. I could not see his face. It was under more cloths.
I wanted to help him but I knew that I was not built for the job. A brief visual of me trying to rescue a beached whale, all alone, flashed inside and I froze. An employee of the shop appeared, took in the scene, looked at me and smiled. He was also of my same build. I could see what he was thinking. The new guy seemed amused and confused. Our fat guy was still on the floor and the poor fellow was panting. His sharp exhales sent the clothes around his face fluttering every alternate second; like a whale breaching. It all looked surreal.

Another employee came looking. A girl. She looked at the heap on the floor, at the male employee and then at me. She then looked at me, a second time. May be she thought I was related to my big cousin who was still clawing the floor. I shook my head before her thoughts found matching words. I turned away checking out the printed skirts on another hanger.

There was another crash behind me. I turned and saw more hangers and more people on the floor.  This time the arrangement was different. The girl and the guy seemed to be trapped under the 16-something giant. There were more clothes on the giant’s face and very less around his waist. The Bermuda had slipped down exposing the biggest male butt I had ever seen in my life. (Oh no..I haven’t seen a lot of them. NO)
 He has this pink undies with yellow “tweety” prints all over it.  I could not take my eyes away. It was definitely the most grotesque sight I could remember since Jurassic park but I seemed to be transfixed by it. Like a horrible accident that leaves you frozen with your eyes wide open.

Soon one more lady appeared on the scene. From her size and her concern I guessed that she was related to the boy on the floor. She spoke aloud in a language I did not understand. She shouted at me and at the shop staff. She was huge. Her black abaya floated around her and reminded me of the Caribbean and the black pearl. She stretched a beefy hand and effortlessly yanked the boy to his feet. He stood up and the bermuda shorts fell. I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned away for the third time and started walking.

I had taken a few steps. There was more shouting from behind. I looked back again.  The lady had grabbed the shop guy’s puny hand and continued to scream. That guy looked at me with pleading eyes. “Not today, brother”, I said quietly, turned and started on a small trot towards the cash counters.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Wind played with the dust and dried leaves and took them for a short spiraling journey. It was afternoon and I was back at home on the verandah, on an easy chair. This summer vacation was mostly spent indoors as the unpredictable rain played outside. At times, the sun would beat down mercilessly and dry up whatever was left behind of the rain. Today, it was dry and sunny outside. I felt lazy.

I was not always the only lazy one on the verandah. A cat who had befriended my mother recently was often there. She would be under the same recliner I was on. She had three hyper active kittens that never left the vicinity of their momma. The only other place they would go was to our  back yard where they would share what my mother used to give them, at least twice a day. While I was watching the wind and dust, the kittens jumped in, chasing the dry leaves. There were only two of them. One was missing.

Cats, they say, are not really fond of their human friends but love the pampering. I have often noticed that it took some effort to dislodge the momma cat that was so comfortably splayed on the easy chair. A cat is a lazy creature. And it was missing from the scene. I looked around. There were only two kittens.

I had a vague recollection of my mother telling me about the rogue cat who used to visit the back yard, mostly at night. He was the rejected lover of momma cat and displayed no affection to her kittens. The jealous lover was also guilty of stealing food from the kitchen and attacking momma cat's kittens. I suspected this villain's involvement in the disappearance of the kitten and their mom.

The wind had died down and the kittens had returned to their afternoon siesta. I moved indoors and it seemed like the rain was making a return any moment. There were noisy crows announcing the change in the weather and were flying home. I thought I heard the momma cat's cry in the distance.

Morning came, wet and gloomy. Sun was still behind grey clouds. The whole world seemed to yawn as the faintly lit sky sat brooding above. The kittens were back on the chair and so was their momma. It had wounds on its face and a deep cut on its hind leg. It took turns licking its wounds and its kittens. One small fellow was still missing. I assumed that momma got in to a fight with the villain. Did her kitten pay the price for being there when it happened?

Few details emerged as the days went past.  The villain was seen one day limping around with scars on his face but seemed to have disappeared from the scene. Momma cat was back on the chair with her two kittens. Her wounds were slowly healing. 

And that is when I noticed the new visitor near the verandah. He was younger and bigger than the villain who  had disappeared. His face was already battle-scarred and beady little eyes watched momma cat and her kittens intently. Momma didn't seem to be perturbed. She got off the chair and placed herself between the kittens and the visitor. She looked back at him and growled with that steely resolve only a mother can manage.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Cave man (CM): (Edgy, shy) Who are you, you good looking stranger?
Facebook diva(FD): (Face palm) Oh…finally I get to meet someone who doesn’t know me! Btw, I’m Teena.
CM: What do you mean by “btw”? I am Steve.
FD: (eyes wide open) It means “by the way”. Is this your first day on chat?  LOL
CM: (eyes downcast) No, I have been around for a while but I never spend much time in here. And I didn’t know that I was looking at some one very famous!
FD: You are not really looking at ME now. That is my profile pic, my avatar. But everyone on facebook knows me! LOL
CM: (disappointed) so you don’t look like this beautiful woman in the picture?
FD: well, I am not that ………….tall.
CM: All I can see is a face. Who is talking about being tall!
FD: Err..what I meant is I am shorter, I look a lil different and my hair color is not that. Oh wait; Why am I even telling you all this! LOL
CM: (smiles)
FD: But people say I have the same eyes! LOL
CM: I am sure you do! They must be blue as well! My window opens to the beach and it’s blue everywhere. The sea lies outside like an open blue book. I believe if you look real deep into any one’s eyes, you can read them like an open book.
FD: Is it so? What have you read recently? (looks coy)
CM: I am reading “Cocktail hour under the tree of forgetfulness”, by Alexandra Fuller. Being where I am right now, I don’t get to read many eyes. (chuckles)
FD: Ohh…. Was it about a few guys who get drunk and forget where they are? I think I saw the movie…was late night. Can’t remember the name! LOL
CM: (smiles) No madam, this is about Fuller’s mother living in Africa. Not a movie. What was the last book you read?
FD: (embarrassed smile) well..I don’t really get any time to read books. I have this big book shelf all full of books. But I find it more convenient to read e-books. I am a netizen, you see! LOL
CM: What else do you do netizen?
FD: I do everything, buddy! Ha ha! I am a busy body on the net and off the net. Please don’t ask me to explain..! LOL
CM: To be busy all the time is a blessing.
FD: (embarrassed smile) Okaayyyy…so on which planet are you on to be away from eyes and people?
CM: I am on Easter island.
FD: Sorry, never heard of it! But it must be beautiful there! But how come you sound so lonely? What do you do for a living? Are you a diving instructor or something? LOL
CM: We get very few visitors. I am a fisherman.
FD: Oh ho…
CM: (smiles)
FD: Anyway…was nice talking to you Steve! I wish you all the best.
CM: Why are you leaving so soon, madam?
FD: Like I said, I am quite busy even when I am on the net. I am talking to another dozen people right now. Didn’t you notice the number of communities I manage on facebook?
CM: Then how come you are alone having a frappuccino?
FD: What??? How the hell do you know that?
CM: I am not on Easter island. I am here in the same café looking at you.You are nothing like your profile pic. You have no book shelf. You are not Teena. You are Teresa.Your girl friend is Danielle. She is nice and I am dating her. I and Danielle are going fishing. I am not Steve. I am the good looking stranger across your table. It was fun talking to you, Teresa. I wish you all the best. Btw, I paid for your coffee.
FD:  (face palm)

Red, Yellow and Stinky