The Sidekick

Can the hero become the writer?

No he cannot, brooding boy

For the hero has to play his part. He has to be the hero. He can act and do and go.

The writer is the sidekick – the one who observes, who sits in cars in April nights, waiting for the hero, waiting for him to drive them out of oblivion.

He tells the hero that the bay is clear, that there is no danger, Ameya, and you can walk out, winning the mission, jumping the roof in the ecstasy of your heroic being.

The sidekick is the one who tells the tale, making men gleam in sheer joy in hotel parking lots.

He is the one who cherishes the past, reminiscing stories and incidents that happened, when the hero and the folks wish to reminisce. He is omnipotent. Present everywhere, recording every move, putting his crude equations of right and wrong and good and bad to test.

He evaluates. He understands. He improvises.

He filters the necessary, letting the dark matter of insignificance wash down the drain.

He walks when he is drawn to walk by the irresistible aura of his best friend, the hero.

He smiles and shakes his head and bends down on the coffee table to write what he understands – to justify the hero’s deeds, to justify his absolute, entire being.

‘He sings and is known through centuries with different names – a bard, a poet and a playwright and a writer.

He is questioned for the obscurity of the hero while the hero sits and listens in silence.

He is the absolute proof of what happened there and it is his word that the listener chooses to have.

For he may not be the hero, and may never have the mettle to be one,

But without a sidekick, every hero ever, would be left unsung.

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Why is it that you refuse to look

beyond this field, across the brook?

 

Why does the beauty of this field

satisfy you, when beyond, the world has a spectacular yield?

 

What is so special here

that you would not get there?

 

Why, when there are places full of kicks and fun,

are you looking but only at one?

 

Is it the bonds that you hate to break?

Is it why you put experiencing the vastness at stake?

 

Broaden your vision and for once, see

all that there is, all that you can be.

 

You can chain yourself tomorrow if wish

but look at the creeks today, is that would you want to miss?

 

Why shackle yourself to four walls and one dome,

When there awaits an entire world you can call home?

The Wandering Whore

There once was a whore

he was not an ordinary, nothing they would tell in lore.

 

The whore wasn’t your plastic kind;

and yet, solace he could never find.

 

He wandered from street to street,

looking for that reason to get his heart to beat.

 

He looked in European joints and he looked in the trash

and he looked until it made him want to crash.

 

Years of it, looking at the rouge and red,

and he couldn’t find it until he sank in an ill, drunken bed.

 

And when he then took the pen

it dawned on him, in a moment making him zen.

 

He wanted to find love – a particular sort

one he could fall back on, making it all abort.

 

But alas! He could not seek what he had always sought from the core

And yet, he had lived the coveted life – that of a whore.

Brooding Over Coffee

Here I am at the coffee shop again, sipping my cappuccino, smoking a pack, sitting quietly, writing on tissue papers, observing the huge mound of flesh and mind that surrounds me.

I sit quietly here, listening to the stories of these people. They talk about a thousand generic, boring things, wrapped in glossy words, and I don’t think they realize that. In their attempts to impress each other, they fail to see that their hearts are empty and there is no real weight to what they’re saying; they’re just words. It is like that dancing couple in the small, spherical glass, looking at each other eternally, seemingly in love, but in its truest essence, only glassy, only brittle. And it hurts to see all these beautiful women with their big brown heads feeling content in their talks of gyms and pubs and the patterned urban lifestyle that has slaved them. Slaved them enough to be thinking about it and talking about it always, and the confidence they draw from such things; but isn’t that what we’re fundamentally made of? We’re made of piss and shit and our aim is seeking what saves us. We want to be saved. Saved from what we have done to ourselves and what we are doing to ourselves, and in this quest, we choose to take the path that is the most beaten.

We walk on what has already been walked on. Newer paths scare us. We are afraid of not ending up anywhere. So we go where our neighbor goes, and in union, mock the one who refuses to join the bandwagon, and when I look at the bloody hundreds of them, colliding me as they walk in this madness towards zeroness, I just feel the lack of a companion, and brood and weep, and then walk on.

Morphed

There is anguish in my heart, and agony too

As I sit here and brood

and see cigarettes after cigarettes after cigarettes burn

In the quest of something crude.

There is agony of what I am doing to myself ;

Blinded by smoke, crying,

and there is agony also of what I seek.

For I put up a facade, a farce

To show them who I am not

To show what I am not.

It hurts me and breaks me for what looks like living is

in its truest essence, nothing but misery – a shallow attempt to feed the sheep what isn’t hay.

To make them believe that there is something better than them that exists,

when reality is sheep and sheep only – their myriad heads flocked and huddled around some men and some women;

and more sheep who are wolves within, who wear the man’s skin – like I do and try to feast on the beliefs of their comrades and die in such beliefs with bald heads and Buddhist shirts and the sheep sing hymns when they die and that is what their life is – endless agony, endless anguish, endless misery – just the kind I bear in my heart.

For I am a wolf, just not the real one.

I am morphed – bits of this and bits of that but whole of none and it hurts me to see what I have collected in these 24 years – twigs and crowns of dried leaves and sad, fallen glory.

But I cannot stop. For like a woman said, it is like a disease. It will take me in its quest, and in which has also risen mine.

And so, even as my hand trembles and my throat hurts, the cigarettes burn.

Does He Die?

Isha asked that. Well practically everyone dies at some point unless you are a jellyfish, you heartless lucky fuck. And since everyone does, the answer to that question should be a yes regardless of whom the pronoun refers to. So I wouldn’t mind, if while walking on the streets, Isha points out random strangers to me and asks me if they’re going to die. I’d confirm their deaths, because death is the ultimate truth.

What I mind, however, is the fact that this question generally comes when we’re watching a movie. Any random motherfucking movie. Last Friday, she tried to make me sit through an animated movie despite knowing well that I hate animated movies. Unless they’re featured on PornHub. But anyway, forty minutes into this movie about a girl and some machinery in her head which was bigger than most industries, it crashed and wouldn’t play an further and I hope Isha takes that as a lesson on what happens when you try to push a movie down someone’s throat when they are really not ‘into it’.

So since she tried showing me her favorite movie, I decided to make her watch Pulp Fiction the next day because it is my favourite. And it is not like Isha ‘wasn’t into it’. She loves crime. At the very opening scene, she was like, “Wow they are so smart, they’re robbing a restaurant”, and went on about it for a couple of minutes but I did not mind that. However, soon as she saw Vince and Jules loading their guns, she had the same question for every new character on the screen: Does he die?

So just to tackle the question and let her enjoy the movie, I told her that Brett doesn’t die. You would think, hey that’s a smart move man, win-win. But nope. When Brett actually died, I had to face the conversation which other boyfriends generally face when they cheat in the relationship and begin seeing someone else and get caught . It began with: “Why did you lie? You could have just told me.” So then, to avoid such further situations, I told her already that Vince would die, on which I got an “Oh no! He seemed nice! Why did they kill him? When is that scene coming?”

At this point I was pretty pissed so I just sort of gave up and asked her to watch the movie on her terms. This resulted in eighty six re-runs of the scene where Vince stabs Mia Wallace’s heart. I even caught Isha enacting the stabbing motion while looking at Vincent Vega do it. So thanks, I am never going to overdose on cocaine in all my fucking life. Once the movie was over, I asked her whose acting she liked the best and I shit you not, she said, “That guy in the shop who chains the big fat man and the Die Hard guy.” Yep, Maynard.  On asking why his acting was the best, she said that she thought his expressions were very real and convincing when he stood looking at the cop anally raping the fat black man.

Also, a couple of days later, I asked if she wanted to watch The Truman Show and told her the plot beforehand. She watched the whole movie quietly sure, but when it was over, she said, “I would have enjoyed it more had you not told me everything already.” Sigh.

umathurman

Because I love her. Uma Thurman, I mean. Also, Isha. Of course. This is getting confusing.

“Marathi People Are Racists.”

No, I didn’t say that. And I wouldn’t, ever.

When I was a kid, I used to visit my grandmother with my mom and pretend playing with an imaginary white car while both of them talked. My agenda was always the same – listening to what they talk about. Pretty much like the narrator from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. So once, when my maternal uncle wanted to know what his sister and mother, that is my mother and grandmother, respectively, talk about him, he summoned me. I believe he was largely interested in this specific conversation because he was worried that granny wouldn’t leave him anything and give everything to my mother, but the joke’s on him because he got all and my mom received an old alarm clock and a book on learning Russian. It was probably my grandmother’s way of saying “Use your time wisely. You still have plenty of it to go to Russia and become peasants.” Or I think so. So anyway, he asked me what they talked about him and I swear, had I demanded a fucking yatch in exchange of the information, he would have delivered. But being the cheap fuck that I am, I asked for five Boomers. For five Boomers, I enacted how my grandmother made faces while talking about him and to make it sound more interesting, threw in a few imaginary dialogues as well. Then I also told him how I thought both of them were bad. This led to a shit-storm in the family and my mother went all Mike Tyson on me for a week, so much that my cheeks swell and other kids at the school thought I had grown unusually fat.

The reason I told you this story is, it was my first and final lesson about how to not bad-mouth your home, family or community, ever. Especially when they tolerate your imaginary car games. I would, therefore, never say anything bad about Marathi people, even if it is true. That being said, it brings us to the basic question – Who said it? Manoj did. I don’t blame you if you don’t know Manoj because you did not choose to live in a house with two flatmates, two cats of Schrodinger (they are and they aren’t ) and a dead body. I did, and Manoj shares these premises with me. So yesterday, our electricity was cut off, thanks to the wise decision of the previous residents to not pay the bills for four months thinking that the state electricity board would just not notice.

So while I was planning to sleazily take advantage of the dark and masturbate, Manoj called me to go with him to the electricity office. It’s not nice to hear a guy’s voice halfway through the process, but since electricity was also important, I zipped up and went with him. Of course, after washing my hands. The journey was partially nice because it involved me asking Manoj all kinds of questions like whose bike is this, how is it with you, why did you come home early today and should we find a new maid. Once at the electricity office, we met a guy who was half as intrusive as me because he asked us why we were there and also asserted that the office was now closed. We spoke in Hindi. On understanding our problem, he said, “I am sorry, but the staff has gone home. I don’t think it would be possible to reconnect your electricity tonight.” I heard it pretty clearly, but Manoj heard something that could, for the sake of convenience, be translated to, “You’re going to burn to a crisp on this summer night and I am just going to sit here with chips and a salsa dip and enjoy your slow death because you are a North Indian staying in Pune who doesn’t know shit about Marathi, which apart from being our language, also happens to be our basic criteria to decide if we should reconnect someone’s electricity or not. Fuck you, sir.”

So after much persuasion from Manoj to bribe that guy with my ‘ethnicity’, I proceeded to talk to him in Marathi. When he learnt that I was from Kolhapur, he got off his bike and while I was preparing to run because of the forthcoming assault, he said, “I will come and fix it right away.” Then, he personally walked to our place and reconnected the electricity. In Goa, such a candid confession about my hometown would have led to the electrocution of both Manoj and me, but I guess things work differently in Pune.

So anyway, we thanked him, and when he asked Manoj about his hometown, instead of Delhi, Manoj said, “Rajasthan”, because according to him, Marathi people hate Delhi blokes the most. So then, after the electricity guy had left, Manoj said, “Marathi people are racists.” But that’s not true because as a Marathi, I don’t hate anyone except Sindhis. But then, who doesn’t?