Saturday, November 29, 2008


Sagar Dutta loved his college- Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh, Assam. In fact he loved it so much that he had managed to remain a fifth semester student for the last two years after he had put in hours of dedicated effort. And he still had a second professional MB subject to clear- Microbiology. He was determined to remain that way for at least another year or till he got bored; whichever came later. He loved his college that much.

It was the night before his Microbiology practical and oral exams. He was in his room downing a few pegs and listening to some music. Loud. The boy staying in the adjacent room knocked and came in. he was a few batches sagar’s junior and looked tense.

“Sir”, he addressed Sagar, “there is the Micro viva tomorrow…

“Yeah, yeah, I know”, Sagar cut in, “I should be studying and blah, blah, blah. But I don’t wanna pass”.

“Actually I also am appearing for it”.

“So what should I do about it,eh?”

“Well, I haven’t finished studying and…

“Don’t appear for the exam. Simple”. Sagar said with a genuine smile.

“I was thinking that if you please turn down the volume a little, I could study.”

Sagar frowned, but being a good human being, a compassionate one, he retreated. The junior mumbled his thanks and was halfway out of the room when Sagar called after him.

“Fuck you”, he said. And the junior blushed and scampered out.

The next morning came. All the examinees were lined up in the Micro verandah with looks of livid apprehension and fear on their faces. All but one: Sagar was smiling and whistling to himself. They were soon ushered in for the practicals and as soon as they started on the experiments, the peon started to call them one by one for the viva. The hero of our story was the first person to be called.

“May I come in, Sir”. The examiner looked strict enough and Sagar smiled in surety that he would flunk again.

“Come in”.

“Good morning Sir”.

“Morning, morning”, he said and asked Sagar to sit. He sat down with a thanks.

“Your roll number?”

Sagar smiled in anticipation of what he knew would happen next. “420, Sir”.

The examiner made no comment. Sagar was surprised. The same response had flared up the examiner the last time. Not because his roll number was 420, but because it was 551. This one just glanced at the sheet in front of him and said “ Here it says 551”.

“It is 551. I was just joking”.

“Good joke”, he said and started to laugh. “Name?”

“Sagar Dutta”.

“First attempt, right?”

“Sixth attempt, Sir”, he said proudly.

“Oh, my poor little boy! You will pass this time”.

“No I won’t Sir”.

“Are you challenging me that you won’t pass?”

“Yes Sir. I won’t answer anything correctly”.

“Is it so? I will make you pass if you give me correct answers to any five of my questions. First question: What is Cryptococcus neoformans.?”

“Crypto means hidden, coccus means circular, neo means new, and formans most probably means formed. So it is a newly formed hidden circular organism”, he replied without missing a beat.

“Excellent! Correct answer”.

Sagar was horrified. Was the examiner mad? He himself knew that the answer was absurdly stupid, even though he didn’t know the correct answer.

“So what type of organism is it?”

Sagar didn’t answer.

“Ok, I will give your four choices: (a) bacteria (b) virus (c) fungi (d) none of the above.”


“Wrong, try again”.


“Try again”.


“Absolutely correct”.

Sagar was shocked. He had been trapped.

“What disease does it cause?”

Sagar decided to play safe. “I don’t know”.

“Good. That’s the third correct answer you have given. Of course you don’t know.”

“Trapped again”, Sagar thought with a frown. He decided to stay mum from then on. The examiner shot question after question at him for the better part of half an hour only to be answered with silence. Exasperated, he asked Sagar “What’s your father’s name?”

“Safe question”, he thought. The name was almost out of his mouth when he smelled a rat and said “Mr. Dhiren Dutta”.


“Wrong, Sir. I lied”.

“Am I not the examiner? It’s correct if I say so”.

“But Sir I know my fathers first name is not Dhiren”.

“It is Dhiren”.

“No Sir, it is Biren”, Sagar said in frustration.

“There, I pried out the fourth correct answer”, he said with a satisfied smile. Sagar felt like banging his own head on the wall.

“What was your name once again?”

“Sagar Dutta”.

“You may go now”.

Sagar even forgot to say “Thank you” in elation. He had answered just four questions correctly. He was going to fail again! He lived his happy and carefree life till the day his results were out. He had the shock of his like. He almost had a heart attack-he had passed. Bent, broken, and defeated, the realization struck him. The question about his name was the fifth one he had answered correctly.

blackisms (inspired by nepuisms)

1. Don't walk like you own the road. Walk like you dont give a damn who does.

2. Half a phone number is no phone number at all.

3. A smartass is as a smartass does.

4. Lies beget more lies, and the truth begets a fight!!

5. Love is not blind. Rather it causes temporary blindness.

6(A). You can't keep updating your blog if you dont have access to a net connection. And the money to get one.

6(B). There is always more to some.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


You Should Be A Poet

You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.

And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery...

Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.

You're already naturally a poet, even if you've never written a poem.


We travel, me and my quiz partner. We are, what others call “avid quizzers”. In our own humble opinion we are not too good, but no that bad either. We were in another city for the very same reason. We had participated in a quiz a couple of days back, which we incidentally won, though not comprehensively. Glowing in the aftermath of sweet victory, we were about to leave for our not-so-homely (and temporary) hometown, when we heard the news of terrorist violence in that area. A curfew had been declared. We decided to postpone our departure. Better safe than sorry, eh? Well, actually neither of us wanted to die celibate, never did want to. So we were gifted some free time, which we immediately put to good use by starting to have some fun. We went to this Book Fair that this city was hosting. Or is it boasting? Whatever. We bought some books and ogled at some great looking paperbacks- Indian editions. All of a sudden, both of us simultaneously remembered a common friend who lived in the city, one whom we had not met for quite some time. Since his place was very near where we were still checking out the paperbacks, we started to stroll towards our newfound destination- our friend’s house. On the way we came across a cricket stadium. The outfield was lush and the pitch must have been grassy. The swing was beautiful. The steady breeze and overcast conditions also helped. What was surprising, though, was that the new ball was reverse swinging too!! Both of us kept staring at the swing up ahead as we kept walking. Eventually, we had to leave the sight behind as we turned into a by-lane.

We knocked. The door was opened by a beaming Gandhi. That’s what we called him, what all his friends called him. Not because he is as honest as Gandhi was supposed to be, but since he is as bald as his namesake. Upon seeing us his smile broadened. We went up to his room. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, he came right to the point.

“Where’s my treat?” No word of congratulations though!

Yeah, he came to know that we had won some dough in the quiz. No, we did not tell that to him ourselves.

“Fine”, me and my partner said in unison. If you are wondering, we do have ESP. both of us- “The Defenders of Faith”!!

It was quickly decided that we would go to a newly opened Café Coffee Day joint, and that we would be riding his car. Brakes squealed and rubber burned as that maniac drove his thirty-year old car. (He is twenty-four, by the way. So are we). I grasped onto the dashboard and my partner ducked under the backseat. Thankfully it was all over quickly. Tires screeched as the car, still surprisingly in one piece, café to a halt outside the bustling Café. I rolled up the passenger side window and stepped out.

A little boy. A cut little boy wearing a dirty yellow sweater and blue capris. He was barefoot. It was then that I realized that those were not capris. His trousers were a couple of inches too short for him. He looked earnest and there was honesty in his eyes, and pain too, as he said:

“Sir, will you give me a little money to eat?”

“What?” I thought I had not heard correctly.

“I want to buy some rice for home”.

I looked at him for a moment. He looked true. There were many kids who tricked people with similar lines. But I am a pretty good judge of persons, and he struck me as true. I took out my wallet and handed him a ten rupee note. He took it and rushed to the nearby grocery. I kept watching him for a moment. Then the futility of everything struck me, and struck me hard. There is so much pain and hurt in this world, and we manage to ignore it all and live our own secure lives. Are we so uncaring? Are we becoming more dispassionate day by day as a race? Or is it just a self-defense mechanism of our psyche so as sanity could be maintained? I had no answers.

I kept staring at the little boy who lived down the lane trudged towards his home with a small bag of supplies. I wished I had given him some more money. I wished I could have given him a little happiness. I felt bad. I felt sad. My heart pained.

Friday, November 7, 2008


It was a serene Sunday afternoon. Sameer was trying to concentrate at his writing desk. He was a lecturer of Psychology in one of the lesser known colleges in his small town. He would have been just another small-town boy; had he not had big dreams. He wanted to write an essay on the human mind, something that would get the Booker or the Pulitzer. Or maybe the Nobel prize for Literature. He had lots of thoughts and ideas in his mind but he had never quite managed the time to put them on paper. Today he was determined to get some serious work done. "The human mind is really such a wonderous entity", he thought. "One moment you are here and the very next moment...

The doorbell rang. A look of despair passed over his features. He went to the door. His expression underwent a drastic change: he smiled. It was Antara. Maybe she had changed her mind after all. Maybe she had come back to him. Maybe...

"What's wrong Sameer, won't you invite me in?", her voice sounded like soft music.

Harshly pulled out of his musings, he said " Oh, do come in! Sit down. A cup of tea perhaps? So, what brings you here?"

"I won't stay for tea. I just came by to give you this invitation for my wedding".

The words gave him a physical blow: he staggered back, all hopes shattered. His heart broke into a thousand little pieces all over again.

"Be sure to come Sameer. I got to leave now".

"O-ok", was all he managed.

He saw her to the door, locked it behind her and rushed back to the desk. HIs eyes were burning and there was a lump in his throat. He started to weep. All of a sudden he sat bolt upright and said out aloud: "No, I can not afford to be weak. The Nobel awaits me". He grabbed the pen and started to scribble something. But the tears in his eyes were making it difficult for him to see. And his thoughts kept returning to Antara and the golden days of the past. Of a past that had no future.

He was sitting on the rocks on the beach. The sun was getting ready to turn in for the night. The fading light felt good to his eyes and the soft sound of the waves felt better to his ears. But what felt the best was her head on his shoulders, and his arms around her. That was a different Antara. he breeze was blowing her silky black hair against his face; and he could recognise the faint whiff of her perfume. That was the past without a future- a yesterday with no tommorow. But it had all felt so real and beautiful then- even the sweet nothings she had uttered, every empty promise she had made. she had said she would always come back to him. She had said it so convincingly that he had believed her. That was just a few moments before she had walked away from him- for the alst time. He had stared after her long after she had vanished from view. And that was his last thought as he fell asleep.

The doorbell woke him up in the evening. He checked the watch and did not bother to open the door. He knew it was the evening paper and he did not want to know about anyone else right then. HIs mind returned to the Nobel prize. He faintly remembered having written something. He checked his notebook. He was horrified. He had scribbled "Antara" from the top to the bottom of the page. But the last line intrigued him. It did not look like his handwriting; or was it? It read: "The maze never cease to amaze".


He sat in the rocking chair in the solitude of his room. It was dusk and he was looking at the wall clock, ticking his life away. He was never a loner, never had been one. But he wanted to be alone that day. His friend Ajeenkya had once told him that there was always a beauty in being alone. Eccentric Ajeenkya. Bharat wanted a taste fo the experience. It was one of the few things he had not tried out in the twenty-four years of his existence. Twenty-five after a few hours. This was the first time he had spent a whole day alone. He was loving it too. His thoughts had wandered everywhere. He had re-lived a lifetime in those few hours. But the wall clock had been bothering him all along. He saw it as ticking his life away; and that made him depressed. There were so many things in this world to live for, his parents, his friends, his love, himself...

Bharat reached for his packet of cigarettes and flicked it open. Two more left. He would save one for midnight- his birthday treat. Lighting the other cigarette, he leaned back in to the chair. He closed his eyes. In his mind's eye, he could see music playing. Now he remembered. He had not listened to any music the whole day long. He had not felt the need. He must earnestly be falling in love with solitude. He stood up. The time was near, he wanted to have a shave. He looked at the cigarette in the ash-tray- it had burned out and he had not had one single puff.

It was five minutes to midnight by the time he had shaved. He went back to the chair and to his sojourn with himself. He sat there staring at the clock, cigarette in one hand and the lighter in the other. The moment the clock sturck twelve, he lit up and inhaled deeply. One more year nearer to the end, he thought. His cell rang- it was Ajeenkya.

"Hey Bharat, wish you a very happy birthday, buddy", he said in his haunting voice. "Where do we go tommorow?"

"Thanks", he said, "but I don't wanna go anywhere. I just wanna be alone".

He heard Ajeenkya's hollow, mirthless laughter before he hung up and smashed the handset on the floor. The clock kept on ticking.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I guess I am in love again. Not again actually. But I think I was blind anough not to see the truth. Or maybe loyal enough to ignore it. Hell, maybe stupid enough not to accept it!! "Donot marry someone you love. Marry someone who loves you". Well there could be someone. Someone good. Whom I should have understood a long way back. My bad. Was I being too damn loyal to someone who deserved it in the least? I guess I did the right thing then though. At least no one will call me a cheat and i will not have any guilt trips. My anger trips are more than enough for me to handle! There is always a second chance, right? Second wind. Whatever. I want to be true to myselff. I will be. I am. Because "we are but the choices we make".
Any hey guys donot delve too deep into this trying to make out what made me scribble this. It is jus what the label says. Just words without reson, without a string, with no meaning. They are just rantings...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


“Even superheroes have girlfriend problems,” I remember Chuck Clayton telling Archie Andrews in one of the Archie comics I read as a kid. Now, I have come to the late and sorry realization that it is the supervillains who have boyfriend problems.

I was in Shillong for an interview for the post of Junior Resident Doctor. I had met a girl there, Sunidhi, who was already working there as a Resident Doctor at an ad hoc basis. Hence, she too had to appear for the interview to regularize her post. We started talking as we waited to be called in by the panel and became perfectly comfortable soon. We got along famously, if that be said about two hitherto strangers. By the time the process was over, I knew she was on duty that night. And we had a dinner date. I went back to my friend’s hostel room, who also happened to work in the same hospital, showered, changed and went shopping.

By the time it was 8 p.m., the time for the date, I was pleasantly high on potato juice fermented the Russian way. Well, I am no Casanova but I have sense enough not to stink on the first date. So I showered again, brushed my teeth, and sprayed some Spraymint into my mouth before I went to meet her. Yeah, and clothed too, if your perverted mind is getting any vibes.

So, we were there having some quality food. And me, being the glutton I am, did not say anything other than a mumbled “Yes” here and a “Hmm” there. After we were done she invited me over to her room. Now do not get any naughty ideas. It was not for coffee, but just some chitchat

There we were in her room. She on the bed and me on the couch we talked about music, books, cricket, the stuff. Laughing most of the time. But I must have looked like Suhel Seth to her- the “agony uncle” columnist-though I have always maintained I look far better than that old fart. Anyways she said: “Well, there is this one thing that I have always wanted to spill but I did not know whom to tell. My parents would kill me if I told them, and my brother would skin me alive.”

I knew instantly what this was all about. But I am nothing if not a good listener. So I leaned back on the couch and crossed my legs. Basically got myself into a better position to enjoy the story, and did not interrupt her. Hey let the lady take her own sweet time, eh? It was not that I had a plane to catch or something!

She drew in a long breath. “I had quiet a few boyfriends,” she said and paused. “I would not want you to judge me from what I say. Would you?”

I just shook my head

“This is about my first boyfriend. His name was Gautam.”

The way the word “was” had been used struck me immediately, but, the great listener I am, I said nothing.

“We had a pretty good relationship going for a better part of two years starting when both of us were in class XI. I will not bore you with what happened between us. It was pretty much the same that happens in most of the relationships. It was good while it lasted. Then I had to leave for Bangalore for my M. B. B. S. degree. Those were not the days of mobile phones and we could not stay in touch as much as we wanted to. A little by little I started to think of him less and less.”

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

“So next time I was in Guwahati on vacation I told him we needed to break up because the thing we had would not work out, us being of different castes. He could not bring himself to believe it. Its like, he is the perfect husband-material type, but I wanted it to end. And the caste thing was not the only thing either. Let me tell you this- I am kind of selfish. I want a man to be settled in life before I go out with him.”

“You should have thought about it before you snared this poor guy,” I thought chauvinistically. I said nothing though.

“Anyways he started kind of following me around while I was in Guwahati. He would come to our house at midnight and call me from outside our gate. It was puja season and at the puja pandal he just sat there and stared at me more close to two hours. I was freaked. He was turning into a psychopath for all I knew.”

“All thanks to you,” I blurted out. Go to hell Mr. Good Listener.

She looked at me with her mouth wide open in a big O. “I hate you”. She paused for a moment. “I mean I told him things can not work, right? I asked him to move on- he goes his way I go mine”.

But sometimes moving on is not too easy. Especially if you are standing near a Fevicol hoarding.

“That was pretty much it. I went back to college. Then all of a sudden he calls up. He was babbling- must have been high on something when he did it”.

“Did what?”

“Killed himself. Everyone thought it was an accident. He rammed his bike into a standing truck. But I know better. I got his suicide note by mail a couple of days later. I still remember he started it with “I love you” and ended it with “Sorry”. The rest of it was, well, the rest of it. I burned it and cried the whole day”.

“Wow, that was such a sacrifice. You crying I mean,” I snapped
“I hate you”

“Fine. I gather you have a boyfriend now. Is he of your caste?”


“Then why did you do this to the poor guy? You must know in your heart of hearts that you killed him. It was no suicide. It was fucking murder of the worst kind”.

“You are so bad. I hate you”.

“Fine, did I not tell you?”

“You must be thinking I am a big bitch. But I always feel guilty ab…

“Cut the crap. Guilty my ass. And I think you are a big bitch. Period”.

There was an uncomfortable silence. I stood up and said, “I guess I should be leaving”.

“Yes”. She was looking scared.

I walked back to my friend’s room in the darkest of nights. Alone. Lonely. Sad.
I prayed for Gautam’s soul. End of story.

See what I meant now? Supervillains have boyfriend problems.