It was November. Shorts were fading rapidly out of the streets. Many girls queued to the ATM machines near my home in night clothes around midnight, their t-shirts knotted at their waist. Aren’t their parents home? I don’t read newspapers, and I don’t watch TV. The bright fellows I follow on Twitter and Facebook don’t like news either. So, I didn’t know what was coming. I slept for many hours without knowing that those clever girls were trying to get cash before the news got through to everybody.
There are always enough such girls to go around in Noida. My landlady’s niece is one of them. When I first met her, she was sitting on the bed, pouting and sulking, complaining about some ridiculous thing. My landlady and her mother tried to calm her down, but that didn’t have any effect on her. I, the scholar and gentleman, was at my desk, poring over tomes on economics of culture. It was not that I did not see her, but my mind wasn’t there. When her mother said that it was time for them to go, she snapped straight and scratched her back, raising her top. She then turned around and smiled at me, her eyes twinkling. I raised my eyebrows, glanced at her and smiled. “Bye”. Continue Reading
Be careful. Be careful when you fall in love, because the world is changing. Tread carefully, think twice before you kiss. And five times before you make passionate love to her. Dear sons of the world, be wary of women. Be wary of a certain kind of woman, the sneaking, the shrewd, the conniving kind. The kind that loves you, moves into your house, goes to bed with you, and then slaps an FIR on you saying you raped her.
Be cautious sons, because the law is on their side. And even though the sex was consensual, and even though there was no talk of marriage, and even though no roles in Bollywood movies were promised, in the eyes of the law, you are to blame.
“Do you like coffee?” she asked me. When I said, “Yes”, she said, “I’ll make some coffee for you.” When I waited for her to make coffee for me, she asked, “But, we are in school now. How do I make coffee for you, here?” I turned silent, without knowing what to tell her. I did not know that I was being conned by her. I have always taken words literally. I was ten. She was 13. Once she laid her palms on the table and asked our mathematics teacher why she was supposed to study geometry when she will probably never use in her life. The teacher said that she was rationalizing, but I knew that she knew something that others did not. When she often stood near the door of our classroom, bending her right leg, I stared at her calf.
After she left the school, I once saw her in a temple with my mother-in-law. She was praying with her eyes closed, wearing a long skirt which was not too unlike the one you can see in old Malayalam movies. I looked at her folded palms and bare feet. While I stood there watching her through my eyes that were half-open, my mother held me by my arm and said that it was time for us to go. I felt vaguely uncomfortable. She did not see me. Continue Reading
I was not sarcastic as a child. I was too innocent to understand the art of insinuation. When I was in second standard, one day, as usual, the children in my class wanted to go out and play instead of learning Math. Our Mathematics teacher was ingenious. She was a clever lady. She found a way to put an end to this nuisance by saying that the kids who prefer games to her class should line up in front of the classroom. I sprung up from my chair and cheerfully walked out of the classroom. After waiting for a while for the other kids to follow, I walked down the stairs.
Walking down the stairs, I ended up staring at my 1st standard class teacher who stood far away. I was still not over my deep crush over her. I used to be deeply depressed in those days. I had believed that she had left the school, and the job. I wondered whether, as usual, my suffering was unnecessary. There was of course, a reason why I fell for her. The law of causality tells us that nothing happens without a reason. In a parents teachers meeting, she had hugged me saying that I was such a quiet child. With a smug smile on my face, I thought how naive I was to believe that she was unaware of my existence. Continue Reading