Thy shall be one

“So you always carry that on you?”
“And that’s not a totem?”
“Do you want another drink?”
“I’m good.”
Damn, she thought. Here was a man, brooding, deep-set eyes, well-chiseled face, and despite all her best efforts she was neither getting him talking nor getting him drunk. The guy across the table in the emo haircut, was appearing lesser gay with every passing second, and it was only a matter of minutes before she abandoned her hopes and jumped ships. Not without a final swing, though.
“Where I come from, they usually have something to go with the dice, you know. Something to play with.”
She edged closer.
“Something to get your hands on.”
She was almost leaning over him. Loud music, that was going to be her defense.
“Have you tucked it somewhere in your pants?”
“Excuse me. I’ll just come.”
He stood up, dodged a waiter pulling off a balancing act, a guy showing off his dancing moves and a girl in the middle of a vanishing act, in one swift yet graceful motion. His reflexes hadn’t slowed down a bit, or was that his omniscience coming back? He would never know for sure. All he knew was that it was time for the roll.


‘Get Lucky’ blared from the speakers as he made his way through the crowd, the kitchen, the door. The alley was narrow but moonlit enough to make out the surroundings. It wasn’t like this always, him relying on external sources to make decisions, but now it was an addiction. He could barely go for an hour without his dose of probability, without a roll of the dice. Leaving fate to spin and luck felt more adventurous than knowing every single incident that is ever going to happen. But it was more than just an adventure.
It was about meeting a constant. Universal, timeless, unaffected by conditions and situations. It was almost like meeting your maker. Almost because he knew it isn’t the maker. He knew who he was.
Removing his shoes he sat on the hard concrete. It felt cold. He placed the dice on the palm of his left hand and raised it to his eyelevel. Six sides. Six numbers. Infinite questions. Always one answer. When the thought had first struck him, he immediately knew he had struck gold, found a worthy successor. The creating bit was fun, but the daily maintenance was taking a toll. And the best part was, that like him, even the cube was an advocator of the larger picture. Things always even out in the longer run, the only thing you need to do is take the leap of faith and run. He clenched his fist loosely around the dice, felt its weight, gave it a shake, and let it loose on the ground.


The dice rotated with the grace of a seasoned ballet dancer. The world stops while it spins. Thoughts come to a halt, background comes to a pause, while you wait. Wait for your verdict, for your answer, for your calling, for your number.
What a good day to feel one again!
With that, he went through the doubts in his head, the staff in the kitchen, the revelers in the club, back to the girl. She wasn’t in the same seat where he had left her, not that he had ever expected that, but he walked to her nevertheless.
“Hey, I thought you’ll never come back.  What took you so long?”
“A game.”
“Who won?”
“And who lost?”



Invitation to a rural odyssey

Come to my village in Uttar Pradesh. It’s a minuscule dot on the map of India when observed under a magnification of 1000X. You can either take a train or catch a flight. Or commute by your own private vehicle. The trains will be always crowded with dacoits who look like politicians, IAS officers who look like politicians and politicians. You would know exactly what they ate for lunch if you are sitting beside them by breathing in the air which originates at the posterior end of their excretory system. The nearest airport is 5 lac politicians away, which is equivalent to 500 kms of under-construction roads since Mayawati.  And if you are coming by your car please make sure that it has insurance, it’s bullet-proof, rampuri-proof, dacoit-proof and comes with Lord Krishna as the charioteer.

Your journey would have been smooth as a guy’s moves in shady pubs. Hope you have carried your Adamantium-Vibranium Hybrid body suits along because trespassers are prosecuted here and that is not the worst part. It is that you never know when you trespass. You would meet countless people vying for your attention. Half of them would be politicians. The other halves would be rickshaw-pullers who look like rickshaw-pullers and they pull rickshaws. The DNA of these people has an accent-neutralising gene. So even if you say Bheydaurey with a heavy tongue they will paraphrase it as Bhidura and will chat with you during the entire journey to Bhidura in fluid Bhojpuri despite you not getting a jackshit of what they say.

Finding my house would be easier than finding the potholes leading to my house. If you are really unlucky, you might be stopped by the Sarpanch, who has a nebula-shaped mole on his face, a milk-dipped moustache and will engage you in a lengthy chatter about Bhoomi and Vidya and your role in the marriages of Bhoomi and Vidya while Bhoomi and Vidya would be giggling, lurking behind the shadows of the doorframe, a perfect Rembrandt picturesque.

My house is big. It would be a welcome relief from the cubby holes in Mumbai which we call houses. And the house next to me is so far away that the other year, an entire IPL like tournament was organised in the space between the two houses. The tournament had only two participating teams, but they still insisted on playing the Group stages or else their parents would have sent them to the fields to be human impersonations of a scarecrow.

A not-so-distant house has a not-so-cool history of naming their kids weirdly. They have a Pudai, a Sankhata, a Badka Bau, a Chotka Bau, a Nappu, a Chappu and even a Gajodhar! Their best offering to the Telephone directory so far has been a Pappu and Pappu is a politician. No. Not the one you are thinking of.

Apart from houses, my house is also surrounded by plants and trees. During nights, they sway and bring sounds from the neighbouring villages though Ma says that’s our granny snoring. While walking around my house, you could stumble across a peacock dancing to a distant Himesh Reshammiya song to impress the peahen. There will always be a Himesh Reshammiya song playing somewhere in the village. Seems like Himesh’s penetration is deeper than the Africans. While you continue to walk you might meet wrinkled skins stapled to frail bones, looking at you wide-eyed. They have an eidetic memory and can recognise a person by just looking at the embryo during the sonography report.

Speaking of the villagers, you will hardly understand the sounds coming from their mouth. At first go, it will sound like a rap battle between Autobots and Decepticons. You might also hear strange noises resembling an animal who we have left far behind in the evolutionary ladder. Speaking of animal noises, did you know that the dinosaur noises in the “Jurassic Park” movie were made from recordings of tortoise sex?  Coming back to the farmers, you will realise that the strange noises is due to a fact that everyone loves to eat paan. And talk. At the same time.

The female contingent are pretty. They would be prettier if they get rid of their let’s-giggle-at-the-drop-of-a-hat habit. This year, half the girls who have crossed puberty have been married off. The other half would be married off in the next year.

If you still want to come to my village, do extend your stay for more than a week to unlearn everything you might have picked here. And if you’re still waiting for some concrete piece of advice from my end, here it is. Marry Vidya, she’s prettier and, the last I checked, free of herpes.