Sunday, October 16, 2011

Boundaries

To Punjaban. To everything platonic. To Plato. To gin and tonic. To fraud sardarni, Amrita Pritam and Grace Slick. To Jasbir.  

I've moved.

I am no longer a citizen of Chandigarh.

A striking impression I leave with is how the people here are like ostriches. They've dug a giant hole in the ground and stuck their heads into it, conveniently assuming that nobody can see them. Only, the hole is called Chandigarh and their version of the world is not the same as yours or mine.

This is their world.



Punjaban once asked if there was a song or verse that I thought could sum up the people here. I had to wait till boarding my last flight out before I could think of one.

Don't see what I do not want to see,
you don't hear what I don't say.
Won't be what I don't want to be,
I continue in my way. 
- A Song for Jeffrey, Jethro Tull

Surprisingly enough, I would not be completely opposed to the idea of a trip back. 

In a while. 

Give it say, ten years.

P.S. JA - thanks for converting my in-flight art into the sheer brilliance that is the map.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Prostate



I have the most terrible problems with my sex life. It all boils down to the fact that I have no sex life. At least not with another person.” - The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

I have not had sex for 2 months and 77 days. 

When I was a child, I wasn’t allowed to eat chocolates. It was because I suffered from a medical condition called My Mother. At school, all the kids would molest bars of chocolates. Molten chocolate would trickle down the sides of their mouths. Cocoa droplets would gather around at the tip of their chins, coagulate and then nosedive onto their shirts. 

One day, I had visions of being marooned in a field of ├ęclair shaped dogs. Later that day, I was caught sucking on my coffee colored dachshund’s neck. He was taken to the doctor and so was I. It wasn’t of much use. Every ink-blot shown during my sessions looked like a pair of cocoa encrusted lips to me. At any given time, I knew that everyone was devouring chocolate, but me.   

Twenty years on, my involuntary celibacy has me convinced that everyone is having hot, throbbing, casual, committed, dominating, submissive, masochistic, mattress trembling, eagle spreading, bed post unhinging, roof dropping, earth shattering, automobile rocking, neighborhood awakening, multi-orgasmic, vigorous sex. You are, aren’t you? You horny little bitch! While I, on the other hand – and quite literally so, am looking up synonyms for shake and vigor.

Discussing my sexual drought has become material for engrossing dinner table conversation. “What’s that new brand of rubber you’re using? Abstinen-what?” “Oh, leave him alone for God’s sake. The last time the poor fellow had sex, animal horns were still generally acceptable as condoms.” “You realize that traveling abroad on the ‘pretext’ of meeting your ex still qualifies as sex-tourism, right?” “Yo Mamma’s so ugly. Yet, surprisingly, she’s getting it on more than you are!”  

I see wicked people. 

I ran into some boys who’re studying at my alma mater. It’s been quite a while since I left college, but I wasn’t surprised to be recognized. I always knew that my rustic charm, vibrant spirit, stellar personality and raw magnetism are stuff legends are made of. 

I was wrong. 

Apparently they remembered me from a DIY manual I had written and that is still alive on campus – “How to make the perfect Bong”.

When you think me, think narcotics. Deftness with narcotics. 

Isn’t it preposterous that I have no control over my own infamy?

Soon enough I’ll be moving out of this lovely commode, Chandigarhbut I will not be forgotten. I will be remembered as The Virgin or perhaps, The Man Who Grew His Virginity Back.

I have only myself to blame. By the time I’ve composed an astute ‘Can you drink coffee?’ text, the woman is already knocked up with her second child from her third husband. If I was around when Roger Waters was composing Time, he’d probably have written – 

“Tired of stealing peeks up her hemline, you stay at home and wait in vain.
Then you think – “I’m young and life’s long, so what she’s not in bed today!”
And then one day you find, ten others have got behind her.
No one told you she was a nun, you missed a slutty one.”

Took too long. If otherwise, did not last very long anyway.

Monday, July 18, 2011

No soup for you!

A dinner date is always a pressure test for the man. Will I be getting into her pants tonight? It might look like I’m deeply interested in her story about spending a summer teaching Telugu to a bunch of homeless, dyslexic Chinese kids in Guatemala, but all I’m actually doing is wondering if I’ll be getting into her pants. And what heightens the pressure is that only she knows the answer to that question even before the date begins.
    
What makes the dinner date even more difficult is if the woman across the table was born with cutlery for arms, someone who can descale, devein and debone hilsa with a butter knife. And you, on the other hand, are the dining equivalent of a monkey trying to type out Macbeth*, someone who finds it difficult to digest any form of dining etiquette. 

Pressure of being deft with cutlery added to the conventional date stress. 

There is too much tension.

If you do not know a salad fork from a pitchfork and are trying hard to get it on with Edwardina Forkhands, you will only end up biting off more (foil) than you can chew. True story.

Really, why do chefs wrap the foot of a Tandoori Chicken in aluminium foil? Are they being humane by wanting to bandage, albeit in shiny foil, the amputated chicken leg? Really, why?

There is too much pretension. 

Last night I was served verbose literature for dinner at Punjab Grill. The level of pomposity and pretension in the menu made the Bible look like a marginally long Aesop fable.


What in God’s name is “Free Range” Chicken? 
“Sir, we set the chickens free to run about in a farm and be merry,” said the server. 
But still, magically, stripped of her freedom, she ends up on my plate, dead. 
“You’re absolutely right, sir!”


The management has clearly taken it upon itself to educate its patrons on trivial snippets of historical and geographical trifle. I’m finicky when I have to decide on an order, but thanks to the Cook Swap Treaty signed immediately after the Treaty of Mangalore I am no longer undecided. For now I have a piece of history on my side (plate?). After all who can resist a meal where one does not even have to so much as chew?


My travel agent once misunderstood my request for a ticket to Chandigarh. I had lazily abbreviated it as CDG and was almost booked on a flight to Paris (Charles de Gaulle). I hope she never dines in this restaurant. I do not want to be flown to Lahore because she learnt that it’s the Paris of the East and not the Abottabad of the South as I had taught her.


Even if I let the onion misspelling pass, I am neither comfortable with the usage of 'kid' in my meal nor with the suggestion that I must consider sharing my meal with a certain 'Ratanjot'

When the main course arrives, I have no idea which dish is which. All the dishes seem to be engaged in a competition of towering verticality. They've been arranged like they’re sections of a ridiculous architecture exhibition diorama. The lamb-chop is delicately balanced on end, ready to take a swan dive into its broth which I’m told originated on a dangerous hunting expedition involving Maharaja Ranjit Singh and some herbs. I am sure. 

My date for the night thinks that perhaps Punjabi Cuisine is moving towards minimalism – which is apparently meant to explain the lone towering structure in an otherwise vacant plate. “Just like the iPhone,” she says, “where less is more. It’s minimal and functional.” Just like your brain. Strange. 

The kitschiness had diseased my dessert as well. The kulfi was suggestively erect, swimming in a pool of corn flour ‘noodles’ and flecked with microscopic dollops of something pink. “Just like a piece of installation art that surprises you by being complex and simple at the same time.”

I have a headache. 

I need to lie down.

So that I can go here, where WYSIWYG.


*

Friday, June 17, 2011

The thing about holes

(I’ve been playing Golf for a while now. For those of you who don’t know a lot about it, here’s Golf for dummies.
What it is – A joke. Not a sport. Not a game. A joke, and a very bad one at that.
What it is not - 500 white people following a black guy take a walk in the park.
Objective – To get a dimpled, white ball from a garden in Scotland, across the Dead Sea, into a hole in Yemen in less than a lifetime. Remember, the hole is always smaller than the ball. Always.
How – By using 14 wood and iron hockey stick shaped hockey sticks called clubs.)

Just so we’re clear - Golf is just wrong.

It just is.

When you play it, you’re like a boy who’s having sex for the first time.

You begin with your tee-off. But when you start, the position of the hole is pretty vague. You’re not sure where exactly it is. If you’re persistent enough you might get close to it, but a hole in one would be nothing short of a miracle. You’re not even sure if you’re using the right tool to get you there. Is your wood really the right choice? What if you land in the rough? Have you practiced your swing enough?

You then get into a position that is most unnatural – surprisingly unlike what you practiced at home. You swing. You miss.

You miss again.

Under watchful gaze, missing becomes a habit you cannot shirk off. When you finally do manage a semblance of contact, you’re not even sure if you got it right.

Yet at the end of it, you’re so bloody spent. And you’ve got a sore back because you tried to play in a position that is so out of your league.

Been there. Done that. True Fact!

Golf is just so very wrong. If a man’s sex life was a blob and you flattened it out to two-dimensions, it would look like a golf course.

Even if I miss the first hole, I always have the next one, right? After all there are 18 of them.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

The next hole is always like the slut you dump your girl for. She tantalizes you, draws you in, makes you forget about the last one. You know she means trouble but you can’t keep away from her. Before you know it, you’re hooked but the bitch never lives up to her promise.

And you miss, yet again.

A golfer always lies about his scores to a fellow golfer. Always.

The number of women a man tells you he has slept with, is always somewhere in-between the truth and wishful thinking. Ten means four and four means one and one means none. True Fact!

Ahem… Tiger! Those are my balls on the green.

You never touch another man’s balls – voluntarily, “accidentally” or sub-consciously, on the golf course or off it. I couldn’t care less that you were happy or confused or both. You just don’t.

Have you tried Golf?

Someone asking you to play Golf for the first time is like a woman suggesting, “Let’s be friends, with benefits?” It is masochism in disguise – you think it’s just a walk in the park, but you just end up hitting your foot with an iron stick, repeatedly. You’re in pain but you can’t stop.

Anything that is analogous to a man’s sex life cannot be right.

These are not the only things wrong with Golf.

I hate Koreans. (Actually, I don’t. Maybe Kim Jong Il, not the rest of them. They have the best food in Asia. So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume I do.) So yes, I hate Koreans. At any point of time if you counted the number of Koreans on all the golf courses in the world, it would be more than the population of Korea, both South and North. The biggest killer of Koreans after Lung Cancer and Kimchi Poisoning is Golf Course Lightning Strikes.







There is something about looking at 7 Hyundai cars parked in a line at the parking-lot of a golf course that makes me want to vandalize them with a golf club. Something, I’m not quite sure what though.

The other problem is that I was taught the game by a woman. She claims to be the 63rd best female golfer in India. I don’t think there are more than 6 female golfers in India but that’s beside the point. The problem is the innate inability of a man to follow someone else’s command, let alone that of a woman. It’s impossible for me to follow – “Stand 5 feet behind me and check out my swing” to the dot.

Let me make this absolutely clear – no heterosexual man is capable of standing behind a woman and checking out her 'swing'. Period.


Also, Golf gives women, the section of the human species incapable of deciding, the luxury of choice. Should I go for the 7-Iron or the 6 on this shot? I think it will roll off the green, don’t you think? I think the wind is blowing from the south-west and the north-east, don’t you think so?

The wind CANNOT blow from the south-west AND the north-east you woman! It is scientifically impossible for you to make a choice or the wind to blow in two different directions.

Never go golfing with your girlfriend. Most marriage proposals are bartered in return for a woman to decide on a shot in less than 2 hours.

True Fact!

P.S. A wise man on the course once told me – “You know why they call it Golf? Cos fuck was already taken.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Postcards from Africa





I cannot travel without a plan. I’m not anal about it. It’s just that I need to know what I can and what I cannot do when I go to a new place.

Like you absolutely cannot carry a camera in public in Japan – hypocritical considering how a camera seems to be the natural appendage of any Japanese tourist – but well, you cannot. It’s frowned upon. (Also, if your toilet seat has a number of buttons and you’re too drunk to read any of them, DO NOT PUSH ALL OF THEM AT ONCE. It will only result in involuntary self soiling. True fact!)

Or you cannot call Mao a faggot in China. ‘Where can I find water?’ or ‘Can I pee on THAT side of the great wall?’ carefully enunciated with finger-goes-into-mouth or point-to-crotch-and-trace-pee-trajectory gestures get you no response. But ‘Mao’s a fucking faggot’ apparently means the same in Mandarin as it does in English and has them Chinks seeing red.

Point being, I cannot travel without a plan and I’m not being anal about it.

So while reading up on Malawi it was of mild discomfort when I read that in I could go to jail for farting in public. This is hands down the most ridiculous thing I have ever come across – criminal public flatulence.

The law - “Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

If this was ever contested in a court, the trial would boil down to bloody kindergarten squabble.

It wasn’t me.

Denial Your Honour! Denial! And we all know that he who denied it, supplied it.

Or circumstantial evidence perhaps?

Beer, fries and baked beans for lunch me lord! We have a sinner!

This did not sound right. Also, when all your travel companions are Caucasians, reports of albinos being mutilated in Zanzibar by witch-doctors did not help either.

Nonetheless, pseudo-undeterred we took off from our respective homes.

From the moment we landed it was clear that Africa is not black. It’s red. Retards at Airtel had taken the bit about ‘painting the town red’ quite literally. So having spent its entire budget on red paint, there clearly wasn’t any left to put up signal towers. (My way of saying - all those calls missed, messages not responded to – not me fault, mostly.)

On the main highway, almost medieval sights (a welding shop with the welder in front over an open fire) mix with signs of our time. A nightclub owner had heard of current events but had maybe not quite understood – his establishment was called the Afghanistan Bar. A barber doubled as a place to charge your phone, which lead to the not entirely trust-inspiring sign ‘Barber – Foni Charges’. A classifieds advert had a young woman named Yammie inviting people to her bridal shower with the warm note ‘Let’s shower’.

If you have ever visited the far east, you will notice that nearly every one has an anglicized or a catholic name so that most of us who are not Asian-Asian don’t choke while saying QingXao. The rationale used when choosing the name is simple – ‘Hi I’m Fat. Because I am Fat’ or ‘Hi I’m Fish. Do you like seafood?’

Fair enough I think. Not very inventive but fair enough.

However, the folks in Africa have decided that it’s most convenient to instead use a literal translation of their names. So Simpiwe Mazibuko calls himself Gift Mazibuko. Consequently, we have Bless Me Nkhata, Been Well Gawa, Wisdom Tasosa and the sisters Wonderful and Graceful Mkina.

Clearly, there was a lot of sense being lost in translation. But the Africans weren’t the only ones at fault.

We ran into quite some trouble with the locals because an enthusiastic Frenchwoman Sev (retro-shades woman in the 4th pic) tried to speak only in the local language, Chichewa, despite clear signs that English would do just fine. Just to make it clear – I’m all for learning the local language before new travels (BB for instance – learning Spanish just so she can be pounded to pulp by tomatoes – what resolve and all etcetra!).

But what a Frenchwoman does not realize is that no matter what she says, how she says, in whichever language she says – it all sounds French. So Chombo (fish) sounded like Chomba (hashish) and Chombe (tea) sounded like Chomba as well. And none of us wanted the waiter to dish out narcotics – especially not in a nation where breaking wind could land you in prison beside Sodomizing Siwombo.

It did not help that her refrain whenever she botched up Chichewa was - ‘This is the best Chihuahua I can do you know’.

Apart from a fortnight of linguistic hurdles, traveling with a bus-driver preoccupied with singing haunting Malawian gospels ensured that we were oftentimes lost in transit as well. And if not for better judgement and border patrol – we might have been lost in Transvaal.

Not that I’m complaining.

Just saying.

Honest.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Williaminder weds Katepreet



If only Lizzie and family were Punjabi

P.S. Please to check out Prince Harry towards the end of the video.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to woo a Punjabi Girl 101

I have called its people and parties retarded, its architecture daft and its drivers mental. But Chandigarh really cannot be as fucked up as I make it out to be. Can it? As I leave this city, I try to find a semblance of normalcy here – in its lyrics.

I was recently gifted a collection of Punjabi poems by Amrita Pritam. In one of her pieces Main Tenu Fir Milaangi (I will meet you yet again) she says

“Main tenu fir milaangi.
Kithey, kis tarah? Pata nai.
Shaayad terey takhayul di chinag ban ke, terey canvas tey utrangi.
Ya khowrey terey canvas dey utey, ik rahasmayi lakeer ban ke,
Khamosh tenu tak di rawaangi”

“I will meet you yet again
Where, how? I know not.
I might become a figment of your imagination and fall on your canvas.
Or perhaps, spreading myself as a mysterious line on your canvas,
In silence, I will keep gazing at you.”

I am very dense when it comes to poetry or for that matter love as well. They both have a time tested methodology involved, yet almost contradictorily they’re supposed to express spontaneity (God forbid if you don’t – the bitch will skin you alive).

Both poetry and love have their lines.

There is always a line.

One that you absolutely should not cross - the iambic (short for iambecomingsick) pentameter. Or a line that you’re measured against, aptly called (?), the sexameter.

It’s not like the ‘modern’, free-er version of love or poetry is something that I can understand either.

What in God’s bloody name is free verse?

Have you heard of the ‘modern poet’ e.e. cummings? If you’ve not, let me tell you – he is a turd. Anyone who deliberately writes his name in lowercase is a bloody retard. Sample this. His “poem” titled ‘!blac…’. DO NOT adjust your browser. It is the title of his poem – ‘Exclamation point-b-l-a-c-Ellipsis’. Fancy the rest of it? Again, do not adjust your browser or your eyes -

“!blac
k
agains
t

(whi)

te sky
?t
rees whic
h fr

om droppe

d
,”

This is not free fucking verse. This is not fucking poetry. It is a deranged man with a botched up typewriter and in all likelihood he’s suffering from acute Parkinson’s.

One must never date someone who writes poems to live (not for a living; to live). You will be told that in today’s world, Love is like free verse. I never got it, I still don’t.

No rules. No boundaries. And what about line breaks? As you please.

I am told, one is supposed to feel the verse.

Not.

You just end up feeling worse.

!the re is;

ju st

to o-mu
ch

t(s)ex(t)ual
¿tension
;
¡

So I was saying, I do not get poetry.

But when Amrita Pritam wants to take the form of a line spreading across a canvas just so that she can gaze at her lover – I cannot help but think that this is where the Punjabis, and in essence Chandigarh, might have got something right – their lyrical expression of love.

Not.

For the last nine months I have never been to a club or party without cringing at the utter inanity of Punjabi song lyrics.

Take for instance the pop number Amplifier (Translation - Amplifier).

The song has the basic boy-trying-to-ask-girl-out theme. It has the usual ‘heartbeat-stoppage upon damsel sighting’ references in measured dosage; followed by boy trying to up the lyrical ante when he does not get a favorable response. And how he does!

Does he call her his moon? Nah – too mundane. How about his rose? Nope, very B-grade Bollywood. How about woofer? Perfect.

“Darling, you are my woofer and I,
am your amplifier.”

Why bother with bringing the girl massive lunar objects when audio equipment metaphors will do the job just fine.

In one of the break-up monologues I sat through in college, I was called an unromantic twerp. If she only knew my true feelings for her - I was her Dolby and she was me Bose.

While the Amplifier craze phased out, it gave way to an equally inane movie track – Dil Waali Kothi (Translation - The heart’s bungalow).

The song revolves around a man begging a woman to appoint him as the watchman of the bungalow that her heart is. Why the protection? He fears that the poor damsel, being fair-skinned and possessing precisely 40 whims and 84 fancies, might have her heart stolen.

This Punjabi obsession with numbers can even be found in the current ‘chartbuster’ and the most preposterous wooing song in recent times – Lakk 28 Kudi Da (Translation – The Girl’s Waist is 28 inches).


The song is written as an ode to the girl whose waist is 28 inches and weight is 47 kilos. It even has a refrain to that effect – “Waist is 28, and 47 weight”. We are given to believe that this muse is a ‘modern’ Punjabi girl for she sports a Lady Gaga tattoo on her white chest, wears ‘fit-dresses’ (versus two sizes too big?) and has a white i-Phone with a ringtone from LA on it. If you’re wondering how the said muse is so bloody white and is in general very ‘milky-milky’ and ‘silky-silky’ - the secret’s in copious amounts of body butter cream.

And lest we forget, we’re reminded in all 14 times that her waist is twenty eight and forty seven weight.

The Jehadis are promised 72 nubile virgins in paradise as a reward for martyrdom. According to the Quran, the virgins would have eyes like pearls and ‘large, round breasts that are not inclined to sag’. They would be eternally young, transparent to the marrow of their bones, sans unwanted-hair and have no bowel movements whatsoever. They would be chaste, albeit perennially nude, and restrain their glances. In general – they’d be splendid, pure and child free.

How bloody prissily precise.

And all we Punjabis could come up with is milky - silky - 28” - 47 kgs?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to fuck up a city 101

For those who have not been here before (and you lurking Americans, Canadians and Herzegovinians), I have been living, rather trying hard not to commit suicide, in Chandigarh for the last five months. This and the last few blogposts are my way of asking this city to go fuck itself, royally.

Chandigarh, I’ve been told on more than one occasion, is a planned city. Will someone with even one-eighth of a brain please tell me HOW?

For starters, it is in the middle of nowhere. This is the proverbial No Man’s Land; at least not an intelligent man’s. We have the amiable Pakistanians a couple of hundred kilometers to the west and to the east we have Mr. Mao trying to pry open his eye-slits with chopsticks. So every time an Al-Qaeda junkie gets his panties in a bunch, I could be the first to die. How bloody convenient!

The airport’s not that great either.

I’ve traveled quite a bit to realize that a city’s essence can be gauged from its airport. Bombay – crowded, cosmopolitan, synchronized chaos. Singapore – organized, soulless sellout. Madras – functional. Abu Dhabi – concrete, kitschy, tailor made, man made.

How about Chandigarh?

Let’s see.

The airport in Chandigarh is only slightly smaller than the average Bihari cowshed (in case you were wondering, the flatulent, rotund policemen are rightful bovine replacements). The runway, all 200 centimeters of it, was once a cricket pitch for midgets. The last time I saw the conveyor belt operational, there were two moderately ginormous Punjabi women treating it like a personal treadmill. Agitated that their bags seemed lost, they were making their way to the hole in the wall that the baggage usually comes from. After all, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammed, then Mrs. Samarjeet Bhatia must go to her Samsonite, no?

A map of the city looks like this –


A Chessboard looks like this –


The retard, Le Corbusier, who was commissioned to ‘plan’ the city, looks like this –


Dear Mr. Le Corbusier,

Did you drop out of Architecture School after Lesson 1: Lines? Are you not aware of the existence of curves, arcs, bends, circles or loops? If we wanted you to draw a square, we would have asked you to draw a fucking square.

Also, Corbusier Uncle - if you are cocky enough to prefix a Le before your own name, why choose to be sedate when naming localities in the city? Numbered Sectors was the best you could come up with for naming neighborhoods; really? Sector 1, Sector 2 and so on.

And what is with the Mathematics you bastard? How does it help to know that you numbered the Sectors in a way that the sum of two adjoining Sectors is divisible by 13?

It’s Saturday night and I am monumentally sloshed. I’m on my way home and I cannot make out left from right because smartie pants Corbusier here decided to plan a city without landmarks, identity and character. I am lost somewhere between Sector 23 and 35 and I am majorly fucked. But lo and behold! All I need is the power of Math. In my state of alcohol induced incapacitation, I just have to figure out if 23+35 is divisible by 13 and I’m home. Right?

Why no imagination? Is it because you were Swiss and all you ever did was eat cheese and be intimate with cattle that you confused with your women?

And pray tell me what is this ‘monument’ that you have designed?


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It is a hand? Is it something sticking out like a sore thumb?

You are lucky to be dead. For if you were alive, I would first kill you. I would then proceed to cut you up into teeny-tiny little numbered squares. And then I would feed you to 13 hungry, hand shaped birds.

Honest.

Regards,
Notgogol

P.S. I had specifically asked for stripes, not checks.

P.P.S. O wise one! Do not confuse this Chandigarh with the other hypothetical one existing in a parallel universe.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recluse Driving

I don’t know if there are people like me around but I don’t like to drive. The thing is I do not enjoy any sort of multitasking.

I think I’m just not capable of driving. It involves just too many things all at once - looking at the road, flipping radio stations (which, by the way, Chandigarh has aplenty – TWO, that play only the latest Punjabi music of Harbhajan Mann, Babbu Mann, Gurdas Mann, Whatte Mann – surprising, no?), or honking at who are inevitably women drivers (for reasons which involve both lacking common sense and merely asking the good-lookin, wats-cookin?).

At times I’m left wondering about profound vehicular/motoring issues (in which century would a Bond movie need to be made for the Maruti-800 to be considered Bond-car material or was the designer thinking of a box or a garbage bin when drawing up the Wagon-R?) or trying to remember what my father, uncle, cousin, driver, teacher#1 and teacher#2 hollered into my head about the A-B-Cs of driving (A-B-C Accelerator-Brake-Clutch, right to left; no, left to right; no, right to left?).

If none of these, then I’m constantly reminding myself that it is not okay to run over cows that refuse to budge (what are these stupid creatures looking for on the roads – greener grass on the other side of the human-cow divide and why don’t they ever move? Observe the bastards, they never ever move. I could give you bovine facilitated directions to my house – drive past the Sector 33 signal, turn left at the fourth black buffalo, yank the tail of the third brown calf and run over the holy white cow blocking my house’s gate. People, we need to eat more steak in this country!)

So I don’t think I can multitask and, apparently, a ‘sure-shot’ way to tell if you are a good ‘multitasker’ is to see if you can rub your belly with one hand and pat your head with the other – at the same time. I’m not so sure about multitasking, but you’ll most certainly look like a bloody idiot if you did that.

So I was saying – yes, driving. I hate it and avoid it.

But there is the slight problem of roads. They stand between me and work, me and good food, me and my beer – which is a problem. Which is why I have someone to bridge the gap – Jasbir, my driver.

Jasbir, as it turns out, is mental.

His singular focus, objective, motto and aim in life is – ‘To reach fifth gear’. Period. Jasbir, slow down - there’s traffic ahead. I don’t care, fifth gear. Jasbir, there’s a guy dead on the road, right ahead. Like I care, oops… speed bump, fifth gear. Whoa, look at the fog Jasbir. Don’t drive above forty. Screw the fog. Look at me you fool. Look at my face. Do I look like someone who is bothered about some fucking fog coming between me and my fifth fucking gear? Fog it seems.

Jasbir, as it turns out, is tone deaf.

His taste in music (exhaustively) includes ‘Unheard of Bhangra Folk Music’ and ‘Unmelodic high-pitch rapid howling sounds’. He is clearly responsible for feeding over a hundred endangered rural artists in Punjab’s hinterland for he is the sole buyer of their music.

The only civilized song I’ve ever heard him play is a recent Bollywood pseudo-Punjabi number ‘Challa’. The problem is, as mentioned in a previous post, my understanding of Punjabi is akin to my understanding of what happens inside a woman’s mind, abysmal. However, the other day when the song and its seven different remixed versions were played in loop over and over again, I realized that it’s a song about living the Punjabi dream –


Punjabi boy wanted to be white collar
Said, ‘Fuck it! Let me just earn my dollar’
In Amrika I will drive taxi
Sleep with stripper girl Maxi
Blimey! If I am ever gonna call her!

Jasbir, as it turns out, has a brother.

His brother doubles up as the back-up driver and tags along with Jasbir when I need to travel for work to a remote nondescript town or village in the middle of Punjab’s nowhere (How very exciting! Don’t I just love my job). Problem is the both of them don’t get along very much and spend most of the time abusing one another. Their colorful insults include carnal intentions with one another’s slutty sister and forced fornication with the other’s mother. What they never seem to realize is that they share the same mother and the aforementioned lecherous sister; and acts that they ascribed to one another would most certainly amount to incest in most countries. (Before you get Dr. Skeptic on me, I’ve checked – they aren’t cousins. They are indeed brothas from the same motha!)

I have had a fair share of being driven around by loons but darling Jasbir is in a whole different league. Have you ever had a hangover two days after the binge? Not ‘FOR two days’ after the binge; binge – sleep – wakeupinthemorning – normalday – sleep –wakeupinthemorning – hangover! Have you ever run over a wild boar in a tribal area, made friends with the tribals and then gone on to cook it with them? Are you capable of driving a car looking just out of the passenger window?

Well, as it turns out, you’re no Jasbir.

P.S. (Bad date? Who better to help you with 'repairing' a bad date or petting a loved one than your local Maruti mechanic.)