Banner by Rituparna Chatterjee, a woman with the potential to make it big. It's not that she can't: she just won't.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some girl!

Bidyunmala Mukherjee, popularly referred to as Rubu by most people, has turned out to be pretty eventful over the last fortnight. Here's why:

***

She needs to hold on to a blanket during those last few moments before she dozes off. I've seen many children use props of various kinds, but she's the only one I know who has actually named them. There is an assortment of blankets used in an unequally distributed rotation policy, the duration depending on their relationship with the washing machine. All of them are called Rahul and are generally distinguished by racist adjectives (Peach Rahul, Yellow Rahul and so on).

The biggest and oldest of them, though, has not been christened Pink Rahul. It's affectionately referred to as King Rahul, and is the most favourite. It's also the default Rahul (when the word Rahul is mentioned, we always know that it's King Rahul, not the subjects).

After seven years of dedicated service, a hole has popped up in the withered surface of one of Rahul's corners. The blanket is now referred to as RaHole.

***

Cautious father: Pandu had two wives, Kunti and Madri. Kunti had three sons, Madri had two. Their names were Yudhishthir, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadev. Kunti... well... had another son before her marriage. He was called Karna (the Bengali father, of course, pronounced Korno).
Ever-vigilant daughter: Corn? He was called Corn?
Father: No. Korno.
Daughter: Hmm. (Pause) WHAT DID YOU SAY, BEFORE MARRIAGE?
Father: (Letting the question go outside the offstump) And Dhritarashtra and Gandhari had hundred.
Daughter: No, you said she had a son before marriage.
Hapless Father: (in a small voice) Yes.
Daughter: (in a seriously demanding tone) HOW?
Helpless Father: They knew magic in those days. Lots of magic. (Voice raised by about 50 decibels) Now, about Dhritarashtra and Gandhari...

Phew!

***

Her second cousin (the one with whom she shares a pair of maternal great-grandparents), aged three, slept over pretty recently. He wasn't doing well, and I stayed awake till early morning. Exhausted, I told my daughter to tell her cousin a story and put him to sleep (well, I have done it to her for about a thousand and one nights, surely she could conjure one of those stories?).

"Rubudidi will tell you a story."

I went to the bathroom and came out about three minutes later. Absolute silence. The boy had almost fallen asleep. I was stunned. It took me at least fifteen minutes to do the same to my daughter (I had crossed the two-hour mark once) being a storyteller.

I got curious. As soon as he fell into deep sleep, I interrogated her: HOW?

"Oh, I didn't tell him a story. I just told him that I've heard today that all babies to fall asleep quickly tonight shall be given a Ben-10 watch."

That one put me to sleep as well.

***

She loves anagrams. Today I gave her a list of words with animal anagrams. One of them was HIRNO or some other anagram of RHINO.

She usually gets them very fast, especially the small ones. For some reason this was an exception. If she doesn't get them she usually comes up and asks for a hint - something like the starting alphabet or some information about the animal. Today was different.

She tiptoed up to me and hesitated for a while: "Baba, can it be the Bengali name of an animal?"

Huh? "Like what?"

"HORIN." (Bengali for deer)

I shudder at what might happen if I give her the full thing (CHOIR SNORE or something) and she comes up with another one. Talk of your confidence being crushed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Poor bird

‎" 'Swallow, swallow, little swallow', said the prince." is possibly the first documented instance of a request for an inter-species fellatio.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

55 in series

Just now I realised that 55 is basically 10 x 11 / 2, which is, again,
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10.

How about a story, then?
The decreasing saga
"Oh Sir, please push harder, deeper, faster, further inside now!"
"Oh Sir, please push harder, deeper, faster, further inside!"
"Oh Sir, please push harder, deeper, faster, further!"
"Oh Sir, please push harder, deeper, faster!"
"Oh Sir, please push harder, deeper!"
"Oh Sir, please push harder!"
"Oh Sir, please push!"
"Oh Sir, please!"
"Oh Sir!"
"Oh!"
...
...


But then, 
55 is also
7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7, isn't it?
So let's create
The bimodal saga
"Oh Sir, please push further inside now!"
"Oh Sir, please push further inside!"
"Oh Sir, please push further!"
"Oh Sir, please push!"
"Oh Sir, please!"
"Oh Sir!"
"Oh!"
"Oh Sir!"
"Oh Sir, please!"
"Oh Sir, please, outside!"
"Oh Sir, please, outside, now!"
"Oh Sir, please, outside, now, otherwise..."
 "Oh Sir, please, outside, now, otherwise... God!"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The 55-mania starts

These days the internet is infested with 55-word stories. The concept is simple: write a story within 55 words. I'm not really a Gaul, but these are occasions when I turn out to be indomitable.

Life
"Write something realistic on LIFE" were the instructions.

He knew he was good at this. Realism, well, was his forte. His pen raced as fast as his mind. He smirked at the confused faces around him as he raced to the penultimate line.

He took out his penknife. He had to make the end realistic.

The Universe
He was the most powerful man on Earth. All other nations had bowed to his army. All Earth was tied under one supreme force now, and this was a new high in terms of economy, culture and technology.

"New Hi-Score" said the supercomputer. The alien yelled in ecstasy. He couldn't wait till they launched Earth-2.


Everything
She knelt on the beach. He didn't even bother to look at her mouth. Just another whore, he thought.

There was not a soul around when the vampire sucked everything, even the last drop of blood, ending the shriek.

She wiped her mouth and walked back. She loved the ocean breeze with her stomach full.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The ant

The ant paused for a while.

Was it really what he thought?

It wasn't just any random grain. It was The Grain. The one that they, ants, had all grown up to respect as The Precious (they say the name The Precious was nicked from a book, but then, they say a lot of things).

Not any ant came across it. In fact, The Elders used to say that only one in a billion ants was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of The Precious. And that too didn't happen naturally - it had to happen when there was an eclipse, a drought and a war in the same year (or something equally improbable - so improbable that no one really cared to remember).

All that possibly meant that the ant was possibly the first, and also the last in the history of antkind to come across The Precious.

He looked around himself. No, there really wasn't anyone watching him. Could this possibly mean that he could take away, and hence own The Precious forever?

He tiptoed towards The Precious. Was he doing anything wrong? Was he actually not supposed to take it? He tried to browse through the various courses he had undertaken as a student of the Inf Ant Inf Ant Ry. No, he couldn't remember a single word against it. Whatever was preached, it was towards how priceless the thing was - not the taboo on it.

He actually turned back.

In vain.

He was drawn, hypnotically, as if tied by an invisible mysterious thread. He walked towards it, helpless in front of the magical aura of the sheer presence of The Precious. He placed one of his front legs on it, and completed the grip with another.

It was his.

Er, it was really his.

The Precious held securely between its front limbs, it scurried back to its anthill.

No, not the anthill.

Too many eyes there. Too many eyes per ant, in fact. And too many eyes per ant times too many ants meant the product of two very high numbers, which invariably meant a reasonably high number. It was difficult enough hiding it from a single eye, let alone that many.

Then, there were the grasshoppers as well.

No, this was not the story of The Perseverant Ant and The Lazy Yet Sporting Grasshopper, as narrated by Mr Aesop. The grasshopper there accepted its winter starvation.

This was also not the story of The Innumerable Ants and The Few Grasshoppers, as narrated by Messrs. Pixar. The grasshoppers there were outnumbered, and made to flee.

This was the story of The Solitary Ant and the Innumerable Grasshoppers. Whenever our ant was in possession of something better than the husk of half a grain, this band of grasshoppers always seemed to appear out of nowhere, and made a dash for it. The ant was always left robbed. Funnily, despite the overhyped bonding that one usually associates with ant, not a single arthropod ever came out of the anthill to its rescue.

So basically, it had to protect itself, and more importantly, hide The Precious, from his own species as well as the mighty 'hoppers. He knew that if anyone ever caught a glimpse of The Precious, it shall be taken away for good: he didn't stand a chance in front of the others. More importantly, even if The Precious did have special powers of its own, why would it actually want to stay with someone so incompetent, so commonplace?

It needed a hiding place for The Precious. It was his. HIS. HIS. He simply would not share it with, let alone lose it to a single other entity. He knew that his entire philosophy towards life was a simple, happy-go-lucky one: generally unmotivated, seldom driven by desire or any equivalent emotion.

The Precious had changed everything. He was now a protective, a supremely possessive ant, unlike his previous self. He didn't miss that previous self, though: he now knew that his aimless life now had a meaning, a goal to look forward to.

He tried to hide it everywhere: beds of drying rivers; hollows of barren trees; skeletons of withering carcasses; holes behind rejected cupboards. But everything seemed to be a giveaway. Everything. Where could he reach, that was unreachable to his fellow ants, or for that matter, those tyrannical green demons?

There must be a place to hide The Precious, but WHERE?

***

And then he knew.

It had to be within himself. As deep as he could. There had to be somewhere happier than his happiest memories, brighter than his brightest dreams, clearer than his clearest thoughts. He tried to ransack his insides, tried to lay them out by strata, but couldn't: it was, after all, an ant's brain, and offered only so much.

There was only one way left, then.

Mustering all the effort he could, he stood up on his hind limbs: using the other four pincers, he ripped his thorax apart, and with a weak grip, clasped The Precious and stuffed it inside himself. Then he salivated on the wound with as much vigour as as he could, and as his dying moments approached, he could feel himself curling around The Precious in a grip that could never be separated.

***

The sweeper noticed the oversize, swollen, grotesque ant next morning, but didn't care. He simply threw it away, took out his packed lunch and carried on in a drone to the person who sat next to him.

The Precious was lost to the world. Forever this time.

Followers