Saturday, December 15, 2012


For more than a month, my new apartment didn’t have curtains. Why? I could have bought one but my uncle told me that he would get me one, for free! I waited. For more than a month. Every day, I woke up grimacing at the Middle East sun that toasted my bed at 6 in the morning. And then came winter, followed suit by my free curtain. What a joke!

The community where I live has some very interesting people. (Some of my facebook friends would immediately remember my neighbors upstairs. No, I am not talking about them) So, I pull the cords and open the window curtain, the lush green meadow rises up to meet your eyes. Nice.

There would always be some people on the grass. Early morning, noon time, evening, at the dead of the night. Some people are plain jobless or sleepless or both. But there are some who stand out. They are as follows...

First, the Pathan who I have never seen standing on his feet. He always squats on the floor as if he is afraid that he would be snatched away by flying raptors or something. You can find him there in the morning and at noon. I swear; every now and then he would shield his eyes against the sky and look around for the unseen danger. And he would pick his teeth, incessantly. There must be a lot stuck in there.

Then you have the boxer woman. She is short, pudgy and is present during early morning with her trainer, a skinny dude who holds the mitts for her. Her boxing skills aren’t much to talk about. But you can’t stop watching her. She swings her thick hands and whacks the trainer guy sometimes in his ribs. Every time he gets hit, he raises one leg out of pure pain and reflex. I once counted 6 leg lifts within 60 seconds. After 9 pm, she would be back in the lawn alone with a mobile phone and a bag of chips.

Now, the couple. They run in circles every morning and evening.  The man would be always talking and laughing. He would slow down to watch their younger fellow runners, as they pass by. Especially the girls in hot pants and shorts. That is when the wife does that trick with her elbow. The man would yelp, laugh and continue to run with her. I have never seen that woman smiling. Can’t blame her.

Finally, the women’s club. Around four to five women always assemble on the lawn with approximately double the number of children, aged between 1 and 12 years. The meeting starts at around 5 in the evening. Language of communication is a mix of English and at least four other Indian languages. Every time a slender woman passes by, they would immediately stop and offer a mass-blank-stare. The banter would continue once the subject has been studied and conclusions are drawn. The kids would get busy playing or beating each other up.  

But all it took was one person, one evening to change the scenario. She came to the lawn dragging a big dog after her. The dog was cute. Well, it looked kinda cute from where I was sitting; my vantage point 8 floors above. Some kids and one or two members of the women’s club gathered around the hound. The dog acknowledged the pats from the kids. He then set his eyes on one of the ladies who lifted a plump leg, pointed her toe at the mongrel and said something. I couldn’t hear clearly from where I was sitting. But it got a reaction from the dog. It quickly hastened itself to the leg offered and proceeded to do what usually a mongrel would do to legs. 

The commotion that followed can’t be adequately expressed in words. While the woman with “the leg” and some kids screamed, others laughed. Some where frozen, not knowing what to do. Including myself. For the first time, I saw the Pathan standing tall on his two legs and watching the scene, mesmerized. The boxer hit the trainer in his nuts I think. He doubled up.Perhaps he was laughing.

It has been a week. The women do not venture beyond the immediate vicinity of our flat. The dog and the owner made another appearance yesterday.The women's club gave a mass-blank-stare from the safe end of the street. The dog looked at them, squatted right in the middle of the lawn and executed an atomic dump. 

Shit happens.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


(pic courtesy:

It rained in Dubai. Big deal. 

Facebook had an overdose of poorly shot photos of the city in rain. The casual facebooker was content that he served the purpose in his life by letting others know that it rained; just in case the others thought the water was just an illusion. 

The asphalt and concrete burdened with petrol/oil/dirt and every other substance over the last two years (time elapsed since the last rain) gave it all away to the water and co-produced the dark slime that send moving cars drifting on to pavements. 

Buildings never meant to stand in rain leaked in a thousand places. It was almost funny watching the Sharaf DG staff at Ibn batuta mall trying to look nonchalant as the shoppers dodged falling drops of water without much success.

The kids who came out to play in the rain went indoors with their feet smelling funny and clothes stained with soot-oil-rain mix. Their mothers cursed loudly as fathers huddled in front of televisions sipping hot chai. 

Friday morning was dull, wet and messy. How much ever the early-morning-poet in you tried to administer the romantic eye on the proceedings, it was far from being beautiful.

But it was as lazy as it could get. It slowed down the city. Then it made big dirty muddy puddles everywhere. And as customers sunk into couches and ordered more hot coffee, the waiter carried on at a faster frenetic pace.

It would take a lot more than a rain to slow him down.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scenes from a mall: part three

Giving fashion advice is not what I planned to do today but certain endeavors are often the consummation of your reaction to circumstances. Yesterday evening at the mall I saw what is the fad, what is chic and what some people wear under their trousers. After the experience I concluded that fashion was created by the voyeur, for the voyeur, worn by the deficient.

However if you are a fashion-aficionado, I may have something for you. Ladies first!

Ladies, it is not your shoes that we notice first and you know that by now, right? You figured that out when you were 13. However when you are standing on something that looks like Snoopy's pen, we have to lower our eyes and grimace. Then you know that you have our attention.What you do not know is that, that "shoe" was not made by your friend. In fact it was made by someone who had no clue about human anatomy. A girl who is perched on top of that may feel 'sexy' because she may have seen the hot chick in the Gladrags centre-spread, had her legs up in the air wearing one of those. Yes, her feet are "up". She doesn't walk around a mall wearing one of those, because she would trip, fall down and break her freakin' nose. So girl, if God didn't give you height, find a matching guy. Do not stand on stilts. Leave it to the clowns at the circus. They get paid. You don't.

The tighter the fit, the better it is? I had a half-nod on my face when I thought of Kim Kardashian. But I am not Ray J to speak with conviction. And speaking of proper fit, I found a rather bovine girl wearing something she perhaps purchased when she was at prep school. The apparel was the big-red on the right. It took me a double espresso and multiple deep breaths to pacify my palpitating heart. Even the coffee tasted red for the first few sips. It looked like Jerry Springer had come to town and was in the mall.

I maneuvered the corner to the book shop and almost screamed out when I saw this apparition. Her face had more colors than a Picasso. She would have spent a few, highly unproductive hours painting her countenance to create that effect. She can't be married. If she is, then Salvador Hali is still alive and in her bed. Girl, if your face is the window to your soul, you have a rather colorful soul. As colorful as an Indian Holi; and as mad as it. Be warned, it is illegal in some countries to walk around like that after sunset.

Enter, Men. In all sizes and shapes. Some skinny like me, some big, some small. The teenage boys who walked past me seemed to have some serious issues. Their denims were fastened at the tip of their genitals, assuming that is where they had their organs like everyone else. To make sure that the denims stayed there, they walked like cow boys with hernia. Why would you do that, kid? May be they were in the loo and some urgent matter got them leaving the job half way through and they had to rush outside. And suddenly, they forgot what was it for! The last time I did something similar was when I was 3 years old. My evil mind wished for a bomb scare and people stampeding over two guys withe their trousers around their ankles.

The man in the picture had the roving eye and strange hair. He kept looking at the girls who passed by and kept checking his head gently as if to ensure that it was still intact. This stud had hair that beat all odds and physics to remain erect and waved gently in the air conditioned breeze that wafted around us, bearing mixed perfumes. Two kids at the ice-cream shop, stopped crying and gazed at him through wide eyes. Their mother seemed transfixed by this sight. She looked confused. So was I. I wondered how would it look like if it caught fire.I wondered what would happen if it got stuck on a coir carpet. I wondered if he was from Chernobyl. Hey guy, you won't get any girls with that. You will trap a few flies, sure.

The tale of trousers didn't end. The obvious reason for impotency presented itself in front of us all. The young man wore something that took a tailor some strategic snipping and stitching. What got me thinking was how he got into one of those. Oh wait! the hell is he going to get out of it? That was just the beginning of a series of concerns that crossed my mind. Is he color blind? Does it pain? What is the maximum speed that can be attained while wearing this and walking? Can he sit without seriously damaging his family jewels? He didn't seem concerned. I looked around. There were more sights around than a pair of eyes could take in.

More on that...later. I need another espresso.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Four is a crowd.

Luther and I were rappelling down Bob’s sweaty, hairy , broad back after a hearty meal of cholesterol enriched blood. Oh…before you start to wonder what that means, allow me to clarify: we are two adult male bed bugs living on and off our host/friend/house Bob. I don’t think his real name is Bob. Well..we bugs don’t  really need a name for the body that feeds us. But it is convenient when you have to differentiate between two hosts. Luther was of the opinion that H1 and H2 were quite confusing. I still don’t get it. We never had a permanent H2. I mean a second host/friend/house. Until now.

Living on the stinky mattress in Bob’s house had its perils but that is an occupational hazard we got used to. Bugs all over the world may have similar stories to tell, if they lived long enough to do so. A bug is always one bite away from sudden death. I have seen all the other members of our tiny community meeting bloody instant endings. Some times treated to hot molten wax. Sometimes picked up by nimble fingers and squashed against the floor or wall. Helen, that lovely girl with whom I had planned a family still lives on our wall in the form of a comet shaped dark stain. I remember good ol’ Jonathan who went through 5 agonizing minutes after he was sprayed with some horrible stuff, something Bob’s friend gave him. It curdled my blood watching him die slowly.(Well..technically, not my blood. It was Bob’s) The autopsy report said something else. It said he died inhaling a column of stale air that was trapped for the last 30 years somewhere on Bob’s body. Jonathan was an adventurous bug. May be it was true.

Finally, it came to just two of us. We knew that our family tree would end with us. Two adult male bugs. We both overcame our traumatic insemination instincts long back and have survived until now. But matters  worsened. Since last Sunday, to be precise.

Bob was an ideal host. He was slow, single and sweet. We knew where to bite and where to avoid. We knew him like the palm of our mandibles. And then, without warning, he started to change. First he started to change his bed sheets. Then he started washing his clothes. Bathing times were longer and he smelled weird to us with all that scented soap and deos he bought from some cheap grocery store. He even painted over my Helen’s memory on the wall. The biggest shock came when he brought in the first female version of a human to our abode. Insanity!

May be it was pure jealousy. Luther and I had just us to ourselves. Bob was in some way a part of our life. Another lone male in this strange triangle of love, blood and brotherhood. Three lonely men in the same bed with the warmth of their bodies comforting each other is not your typical scene of love but we lived it every day and night. We were inseparable in spite of Bob’s frantic scratching and turning. And there walks in a girl. Bob’s girl. Tragedy!

It has been a week since she came into his life. It has been seven long days since we had a good meal. We could never venture out fearlessly like before. That girl had big eyes and a matching eye sight. She would spot us from far.But tonight we just couldn't suffer the pangs. The hunger burned through. We went up to Bob's bed.

 And there we looked death in its face. It was supposed to be a quick drink but we bit the wrong thigh. I remember Luther mumbling something about “where has all the hair gone!”. Too late! Bob’s girl’s scream pierced the night and she shot up from the bed scratching her naked thigh. Bob was not where he was supposed to be. He appeared to look down from some where above that girl. He got up as we rappelled down his sweaty back as fast as we could and down into our hide out. We knew that within a few seconds, Bob would become a monster. He would pick up that spray and we would join Jonathan in his heavenly abode. Scared to death, Luther and I hid under the bed and listened to the deadly hiss of poison from that steel can, above us. We heard Bob’s girl screaming; “Bugs!”  Luther’s eyes met mine. As if he read my thoughts, Luther countered in a whisper; “Women!”

Red, Yellow and Stinky