Sunday, February 05, 2006

Main aa gaya hoon Teja

"It's not fair. It's just not fair, yaar." I fumed and raged and ranted on and on about the unfairness of the situation.

Aashit seemed to just ignore me. "Chhod na yaar, jaane de. It's just a stupid contest. Prize wize bhi nahin tha. Just 3000 bucks." He chewed contently on the two boomers he seamlessly merged into a coheSive mass of bubblegum, by the persuasive combination of saliva, his upper and lower jaws. "Agli baar dekh lenge. Study karke aana.", he concluded, as if to denote the conversation was over.

We were walking along Flora Fountain, after the stupid Black Horse festival. Ofcourse a few hours earlier it hadn't seemed so stupid. Surprising, how not winning at a fiction contest can make everything seem so trivial suddenly.

"You know, I can appeal against this in a court of law. A consumer court even. I can take them to court!!! I will take them to high court! to Supreme Court! I will khatkhatao the doors of parliament!" Now, I was in my element as a courtroom barrister, fighting imaginary courtroom duels, with robe and all. I was eloquent, and smart, and scoring points. I was getting confessions 'bhari adalat mein', and I was dancing like Akshay Kumar and singing like Kishore Kumar as we walked past the Sessions Court.

"Bas bas, ab band kar. Ghadi ghadi drama karta rehta hai. Stop acting like Utpal dutt in Golmaal."

"Ek ek ko chun chun ke maaroonga! chun chun ke !!!"

Well ok, I know I was acting a little hyper about the whole thing, but being disqualified rankled. OFcourse, and the morbid atmosphere around Cama hospital didnt help either.

"You know, I knew they had it out for me. I knew it when I saw that writer judge hobnobbing with that ex-RJ I used to hang out with. I know he always hated me. On the other hand, it could have been that cute judge I hit on about a year and a half ago.. Wonder why she still has a problem with me. But kya karega, must be my cute irresistable charm. Can't switch it off once I've turned it on!", I mused.

"But yaar, tu toh, you don't understand at all!! It's not about the money! Remember woh kya kehte the Esmero Sir? It's not whether you won or lost but how the game was played. And this was absolute cheating yaar!!", I said.

"And remember what Sangram Singh told him when he said that? Winning is not everything, it is the Only thing."

Strong Xavierite teachings still hold good after 7 years. They never wear off. The man can wear off but the teachings won't.

Aashit was trying hard not to control his own laughter. As he looked at me with derision, and tried to make sense enough to string an entire sentence together, I continued:

"Ofcourse, the entire thing could have been rigged and the finalists and winners pre-decided. Bloody networkers! bottom feeders! Saala, Angrezi ka A bhi nahin aata hai! I could teach them a thing or two about racy prose! What was wrong with my story? What was it? Poora within the limits tha! In English, with a trigger and everything. Even a black horse for good measure. I even added a villain and kept it within 300 words!"

Aashit narrowly missed stepping into a grate covered with old and smelly cabbage leaves, and we wound our way between parked trucks outside Crawford Market. "Yea, yea. Your story was good. In fact it was great. There was suspense, drama, trauma, humanity, truck drivers and school children, there was a hero and a villain. Even a couple of songs. Hmm, I wonder why they trashed it." As he spoke, he jauntily stepped into an old basket kept there. His foot went through the basket, disturbing the little home there. Squawking and screaming, 2 extremely irate chickens retreated rapidly into the shadows of the vegetable market.

"Unka bhi time aayega", I thought. "Chickens are brought to Crawford Market to be eaten. Bachke kahaan jaayenge?"

And I went on, " This is a gross injustice to the scriptwriting youth of our country!! Maybe I should have asked the co-ordinator out. Perhaps that would have helped?"

Aashit laughed and snorted nastily, "She wouldn't even look at you in your wildest dreams!"

"What about that cute chick writing earnestly in the front row? Maybe she didn't win also, did she?"

"You would have known if you'd waited till the end. You shouldn't have tossed the chair aside and left in dramatic fashion!"

"Haan, yaar. But that was so filmy, na? Ekdum Angry young man types."

"Ofcourse, ofcourse. Everyone was so happy to see you leave without breaking any more "props". Producer paise dega na." He said, pointing towards himself.

"So what yaar. Izzat is more important than some 100-200 bucks. And I was going to return the money I owe you. Just that I didn't win this stupid contest na...", I trailed off.

As we entered Badshah, I headed straight for the AC section. "Saab, Dus baje ke baad AC seksun band hai. Idhar baithna padenga." The miyan at the counter yelled.

After we ordered our faloodas, I returned to the topic of the day - Story No.1 by Pranay Srinivasan.

"Kaise fail hua? Now I know how Sanjay Kapoor feels every Friday when he goes out to see his new release. Flop.Flop.FLOP."

Aashit chewed noisily as he took out another Boomer. "Yea, boss. Next time karna. Ekdum fielding karke, reading vagaira karke write a nice story."

"But this was the No.1 story yaar! After this all will be No.2 or downwards. What to do yaar, I can't write anymore. This is too tough!"

Aashit said, "chal I'll talk to Peter on the phone. Abhi tak he must be on the train home." He took out his phone and dialled Peter Griffin. When he got through, he got up and walked out. I got up to accompany him, but he motioned me to wait. Cupping the receiver, he said "Idhar hi ruk. Aata hoon."

The faloodas arrived - predictably superb. I slurped mine down and looked at Aashit's temptingly. I took his glass and thought, "If I were to mix his falooda, that wouldnt be so bad would it? Otherwise it would settle to the bottom. Bechaara, he's trying to talk for me, I can do this much for him." So I mixed the vermicelli, the icecream, the rose, the milk and the subja into the falooda.

After a while and still no sign of Aashit. I thought to myself, "The top portion is getting warm. I should mix it a bit more". So I mixed it and whilst doing so, I saw some melting icecream down the side of the glass. "Must keep it clean", and I licked off the icecream. "Now see what you've done!". "no, no", Another voice said. "Take the top off and pour out the top 1/3rd into your glass. That way it'll stay at the bottom and stay cold." So I poured out the top half and the icecream. "Abhi toh it has become jhoota. Might as well drink it up." So I drank it up.

It was turning 12 and still no Aashit. So I thought, "It’s nearing 12’o’clock. These guys are gonna throw us out anyways. Might as well finish his falooda off. I'd be doing him a favour." So 15 seconds later, I was licking my lips and wiping my mouth with some cheap paper tissues.

As I was getting up to leave, Aashit came in. "Abey kidhar tha tu??" I asked him. "What did Peter say?"

"Peter? Nothing yaar. We finished in 15 seconds. Then my girlfriend called and I was talking to her. Yaar, she's not well. She went out and actually just sneezed. It's pretty serious. I offered to go over to her place, but she said she'll be OK."

"Ya, ya ok. What about the story???" I was impatient. Here I was waiting for him in this sadela Badshah Coldrink House, and he was talking to his GF. Asshole. Prick. Stunted Humanoid.

"Oh, that? Peter said that Zanjeer was already written before by Salim-Javed, and that Zanjeer had a white horse, not a black one. He said, tell Pranay to read the rules."

Aashit was looking around him.

"Wasn't there a falooda here when I left?"

The End.

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