Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dedicated to Drunkards (D2D)

Little drinking is a dangerous thing, I have grown to admit.

Life’s loved liquid flows through our systems right from levels of anatomy to the ultimate of physiological pleasure. Some love it cold (like the drinking water or the chilled milk), others love it hot – like tea, coffee (from local stuff including that from the joints of Thiruvananthapuram to international ones like Maxwell House, Folgers etc.). But men like us love both the hot and hard – varieties that are available in liquor shops.

Drinking alcohol like crazy is an art, and drinking to hearts content is divine.

The last time when I remember being completely drunk, I was cleaning up puke from an upgraded human variant from my work. He was dead drunk, the kind who barely had the ability to cling on to life, and do nothing else. Ask him about sexy Madonna (the celebrity), and he would simply trip over. So much for male intoxication!

We escorted him to his bedroom, and made him lie down. He was literally on life support.

Awake till late at night, I remember inserting a long iron wire through the clogged wash basin drain in an attempt to flush the dirt. The funny part is, I never smelt the puke.

Guess cleaners should be drunk while cleaning … they won’t feel the stink ever.

Poor guy, after he filled up the basin with that magenta body fluid, he had to sit tight on the toilet floor. With his hands firmly embracing the toilet bowl, he continued the next phase of divine throw-up. Holy clearance, I wondered, since his stomach was detoxified in no time … and soon he was snoring his way to glory.

I returned to join the gang to complete the session … all after cleaning the filth. It’s discourteous to retire being conscious from a booze session. I follow it religiously!

You either retire unconscious … or formally empty the bottle(s) and then leave.

Another friend of mine also happened to be a great drinker … scotch, rum (or the Long Island iced Tea cocktail) … to vodka, champagne and all the fairer variety. His liquid appetite was quite gorgeous … and so was his penchant to stay addicted. His hangover used to remain till the wee hours of night … sometime crossing over to early mornings.

In one such booze party that we had during the weekends, this guy drank a lot. Beyond his usual content, it was our consistent provocation that made him drink so much.

Then he suddenly sprang up from his stupor … ordered all folks around to his bed … and started to explain the concept of ‘Inertia’ … as if from his text book on Physics … and in chaste Bangla.

For a second, he seemed like the young Einstein who was heavily under the influence! And we, offspring of English medium parents, were thoroughly confused to hear unknown terminology … that too in a state of absolute daze.

Booze parties were nasty at times, there were sadistic explosions about men we despised, women we loved to seduce and above all, the entire clientele who let us slog for hours and hours at work. Those were blessed moments of confession … to the Holy Infinity … lest His wrath fell on us.

Reminds me of another colleague who used to stay with us in the office guest house during a short assignment for which we had to go to Chennai. He seldom drank. On that day, this guy had a deadly mix of beer with whisky, and had the premonition of a divine light.

He wished to meditate.

Let me quickly explain his attire. Whenever he was in the guest house, he would wear a loose lungi (the male cloth wrap around the waist). To cap the fun, he never tied the knot to fasten the cloth … and would hold the cloth ends in his hands as he loitered around.

On this day, there wasn’t any difference as he sat to drink.

The problem came soon after. He got drunk consuming that deadly cocktail… and now we were afraid he would suddenly get up and start walking in a trance. In that case, his lungi knot unattended, we were very sure to see him the way he came to this world – stark naked waist down.

But Almighty had other plans … and so the guy suddenly felt a need to meditate. He sat there upright with his eyes tightly closed.

This was a meditation he wanted to do desperately being under the influence of alcohol. He meditated so hard that we could hear him snoring after a point of time. But he managed to stay upright.

We retired to our respective rooms … while this guy was sitting there the whole night.

Luckily he was alive … woke up the next morning … from the same place he started the meditation (I mean the sleep). Good that he remembered to clutch the piece of cloth that wrapped around his waist as he got up … we were saved from some harsh naked stuff.

Looking back, I have sipped enough … and some say my deliriums are hilarious. More of that some other day, may be.

What is left to sip may be limited to some version of the holy 'shivambu' (urine therapy), the country liquor 'chullu' or the ultimate KCN … yeah potassium cyanide.

May be some other day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Aroma of the raindrops

Param took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air from his surroundings.

The parched soil outside his apartment had just got the first showers of the season. He looked beyond the balcony, raindrops falling on the narrow driveway overlooking his apartment. He could smell the fresh scent of the wet soil.

Nothing smells as soothing as the soil when it rains after a dry summer spell.

Manju would have arrived by now. But this sudden shower, she may have been caught in the traffic. She carries a scent of the misty perfume whenever she visits his house. And the fragrance, he could sense it right when Manju sets her feet on the entrance.

Smell of his love, he closed his eyes … and took a deep breath again. The aroma from the soil seemed pure romance.

All things don’t need to be seen … to feel is heavenly too!

On that day he had taken the day off, just to spend some time with Manju. She was in the city on a work trip, extending it to cover the weekend with her lover.

A bottle of Bordeaux lay on his glass table top. He wanted to uncork it, but preferred to wait. Manju loved the sound of the cork popping out, followed by the fresh flavour of the red wine. May be she could open it.

There are days when flavours mingle, and today could be such a day, Param wandered.

The doorbell rung, he felt the odour of misty perfume. She gave a naughty wink as she entered, rubbing her shoes on the door mat. Manju was partly wet, at least her soft hairs were dripping, and so were the sleeves of her petite looking pink shirt.

But the rain had done her what the perfume could not. Her misty flavour was now merged with a humid essence. Param could sense an effect, it was electrifying.

A few drops of rainwater from her untied hair fell on the floor. By then, he had embraced her in a tight hug. Her entire body had an odour – a mix of her perfume, the humid air from the rains … and the collective spurt of her excited hormones.

Param rubbed his nose with hers, his hands slip under her shirt in an effort to touch her fragrant body contours. She was breathing heavily. As she uttered a faint moan, he could sense her exhaled air smell that much raw in passion.

He was in a mood to breathe today! And he left no areas of her body that he could not lay his nose into. The scent of raw passion, he felt, could leave one’s nose so full.

Soon they were joined … in pursuit of the flavour of bodily love. Much later, as he lay alone with his eyes closed, he could romance the fragrance around.

And then he sensed the sound of the cork popping out of the Bordeaux bottle. He got up from the couch. A pronounced whiff of the red wine, he couldn’t have missed. Manju had two glasses in her hand, her dishevelled shirt barely masking a cosy foreplay they had gotten into a few minutes back.

‘Raindrops seem golden when passions run high, as goblets add a fragrance of life’, whispered Param as he raised his drink to that of Manju’s.

‘You smell like the night we first touched each other’, Manju muttered as she led her hands into his hair. He was almost sitting on her lap, in his attempt to cuddle her more.

The two kept talking, as if they had been united for decades. It was just three months that Manju had relocated, and Param was already feeling lonely. The rains had stopped for the moment, and a westerly breeze blew through the living room.

Ah, Param felt, nature couldn’t have been more soothing. The first showers, and then a cool breeze, he sipped the wine as if it was nectar from the heavenly cellar.

That was a year back, and a fresh monsoon has arrived all over again.

Soft breeze transmits the fragrance of nature faster than anything else. It breathes new life into an old flame.

Param went back to his state of hibernation. That night the pillow covers had given out the essence of musk. He breathed her … the perfume, the humid climate and the hormones … and those drops of sweat between her nostrils and the lips. She had herself breathing the way she felt Param when they had first touched each other … their palms lay entwined in an expression of conjoined copulation.

Manju is relocating again … this time to Buffalo, New York.

He kept thinking of the distance … sitting on his chair, he felt a fresh bout of breeze suddenly transcend into his balcony. It as like a fresh flow of free air from seas may be.

She wants to take him with her … to pursue a life of love away from his home.

‘Does it rain on dried soil in New York?’ ‘Does breeze blow with the nature’s aroma?’

Param could not recline on his chair … this time he had to get up and complete his files. His last day at work is tomorrow … he must rush.

The misty perfume beckoned him. Her soft palms and the area between her nostrils and lips … so raw.

He wanted to smell her breath again, across the seas … in a new land.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Eclipse

There isn’t a better fun than observing celestial happenings right in front of our eyes.

I have been a person who has the least idea about astronomy (or astrology). But my appetite for watching celestial dispositions is enormous. Many nights I looked upwards watching constellations, meteor showers … and comets.

It all started with a visit to planetarium as a schoolboy, as a huge kingdom lay unveiled before my eyes. By the time I completed watching the Hale Bopp comet from my living room window, in US, it had quietly developed into a passion. And then, my eyes tried to identify an unidentified object in the night sky (turned out to be the glowing Mars) around two years back and now the solar eclipse, it has been a fabulous journey.

A full eclipse, which made the early morning of the twenty second day of July this year, was definitely exciting. Not that I ‘revel’ in the sun being covered (or eaten up) by the shadow of the moon, the entire phenomenon of a smaller sphere entirely covering up the bigger one baffles me.

This couldn’t have been any more interesting.

From the time of the Rig Veda and the imaginary Rahu eating up the goblet of fire, this astronomical fact has ‘demoralized’ more than surprising humans. The Chinese Shang dynasty also assumed a huge monster, devouring the sun.

Greeks, I feel, were less spontaneous in acknowledging it as an omen. Zeus, the father of Olympics, is ‘credited’ to have hidden the sun in mid-day and making night.

Another story speaks of the war of Peloponessiam where Agathodes and his men experienced the eclipse as they escaped from their defeat. What a way to run away from the battlefield than to merge in the darkness due to sun’s hiding! Thy name is human … else how can he use the eclipse as a camouflage!!

Egyptian pharaohs circled around the temple, thinking this act of theirs will maintain the balance of the earth. I presume, as representatives of the Sun God, they had some responsibility towards the planet they inhabited.

Honestly speaking, I am yet to understand this enormous puzzle – how does the shadow of moon, much smaller, be exactly the same size to engulf the entire view of the sun?

Coincidental, they say … but then, quite mind-boggling for me. This may be due to my poor grasp of the planetary actions. Though I am quite aware about eclipses where moon’s shadow appears smaller, referred to as annular eclipses in astronomy.

Mankind be blessed, yet this act of hide-and-seek indeed glorifies the dichotomy of the darker and the brighter aspects of life.

Getting up in the morning, on the day of the eclipse, I felt the urge to stand around the narrow corridor along the moon’s penumbra that goes through the middle of Southeast Asia. Simply put, this means my roof in the city of Kolkata!

What does the eclipse tell me? Why is it that I consider the eclipse with such hype?

This may have to be with a feeling of a superpower appearing vulnerable. Seems that the monarch of the solar system seem a shade faded out because of an ‘apparent annihilation’. Or is it that we seem to be intrigued by the idea of a superior power succumbing to the might of a much inferior satellite of a mediocre planet?

Like, may be, the great Brutus rendered a bit weak by Caesar’s less-known detractors in Shakespeares’ play. A weakness that may have snatched the heroic life of Caesar!

At the centre of a democratic co-existence, the moon gets to raise its head and show its prominence in shadowing the mighty sun. Smaller citizens, I feel, should get a fair chance of proving their class once in a while in front of masters …

What do you say? Does that really make any sense?

From Vadodara, and Varanasi to Surat and Siliguri, this eclipse gave a fascinating view. To even imagine the next one is around a hundred years away suddenly gives one jitters, about the incredible fallibility of life.

And when it was all over, it was a routine day. Kids got ready for school, while their parents rushed to their breakfast table in preparation for their day of hard work.

The sun, undeterred at the humanly confusion, seemed to shine bright as ever. It was, as if there was nothing called ‘an eclipse’.

* Photos are clicked by me! Click photograph for bigger view.