Livin’ da Virar Local

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Essay, Funny, Short Story | Tags: , , |

“Where are you going?” Aai asked her. She did not reply.

“Tyala bhetayla? (To meet him?)“. Again no reply.

Aai resignedly said, “Will tell the driver to get ready ..”

She said, “Nako (Don’t)! Will take the train..”

Her mom looked as though she was about to say something, but changed her mind at the last minute. She scowled at her mom’s omniscience and shut the door behind her.

Rain was lashing Mumbai. She almost cancelled her plan, but decided against it. She had left things languishing for far too long. She waited on the street for the bus to Dadar station. The bus when it came, was relatively empty. She got in and saw a ladies seat empty. She plopped herself down on it. The window was down because of the rain. Through the dirt smeared plastic, she saw the sea. Haji Ali mosque stood like a lone figure enduring the swell of the enraged waves around it. The skies were grey. She lifted the window and felt the wind on her face. She breathed in lungfuls of it. Despite the unpleasant task lying ahead of her, a small smile played on her lips. Every day of her 28 year old life, she had been filled by joy after glimpsing the sea just outside her window.The bus took a turn. The view of the sea was lost. She became aware that her lap had become damp because of the rain water. She pushed down her window and immediately regretted it. With the monsoon breeze shut out, she felt claustrophobic. The bus trundled on towards Dadar. She felt irritated, the best part of her journey was over and the worst awaited her.


She stood on the platform at Dadar station. The downpour continued. A huge crowd of commuters milled around her.She felt good that she had a first class ticket. She saw the train pull into the station. To her dismay, the first class ladies compartment was overflowing! She barely made it into the train. As she got in, she got the wind knocked out of her by an umbrella. When someone stamped on her toe, her flimsy but fashionable sandals did not offer any protection. She stood awkwardly, in the throng of women getting squelched from all sides, her foot smarting. “This must be hell!” She thought. Stench of sweat made more putrid by being soaked in rain, seemed all pervading. She swore to herself, this was the last time.

Why had she liked him in the first place? Was it the good looks. Maybe. Was it to rebel against her mom? She remembered her mom’s words,

“Had he been living in Andheri, Vile Parle would’ve been acceptable. But he stays in god forsaken Virar!! How are we supposed to go there? You have grown up all your life in the town side and are used to a certain level of sophistication. Do you think you can adjust … there?”

How she hated it, her mom had been proven right. The worst part of the relationship, was the sickening commute. And 3 months ago, he had gone and gotten his foot broken playing gully cricket. (Her mom – “30 yr old man playing gully cricket?! How very LS.”) The last many Saturdays, she had been going through this gut wrenching commute, to spend a few minutes with him. Things had started to go downhill. The last few times, they always had had a fight, since she would always be in a foul temper after the horrendous train ride. Yet she had avoided taking her father’s car and chauffeur lest he feel insecure. Despite her attempts to make it work, she had failed, the relationship was a disaster. Today’s rain soaked journey was the last straw. She had to break up with him.


She jogged to the extent her flimsy shoes and umbrella allowed. She had to make it back by the 6:14 train and she was already late. She was angry.Their meeting had gone just as she had expected. There had been resentful words punctuated by hateful silences. But now she ran to catch the train that would take her away from Virar, for good, forever. Aghast, she saw the train beginning to pull away when she reached the platform. The ladies dabba was far away, she was going to miss the train!! Just then she had a brain wave, she hopped into the gents 1st class bogey. It was the opposite direction so there was little crowd. She stood a little inwards, to avoid the spray of the rain but outside enough to feel the wind in her hair. She was relieved that she had made it and her return had begun. A bespectacled man, stood facing her immersed in his phone humming a dated tune to himself. To her annoyance it sounded like a 90s Ricky Martin track.

Just then her own phone buzzed. Aai calling.

“Where have you been?” her mom began shrilly. “Do you have no sense of time? We have been worried sick. The train service is about to get cancelled! You have always been so irresponsible..”

She barked into the phone – “Aai, mi kukkula baal nahiye. I am not a baby anymore” and hung up.

Angry tears were flowing down her cheeks. The emotion of the day overwhelmed her, and she began sobbing uncontrollably. The more she tried to control the sobs, the harder she cried. The man in front of her looked alarmed. Through her sobs, she waved to him dismissively.

“Sorry, do not mind me, Just having a bad day, you know commuting to Virar during peak hours.”

He replied, “Aah! Livin’ da Virar local!”


He laughed sheepishly. “Just a forward I got in email. You remember the old Ricky Martin song Livin’ la vida loca? Someone has made a clever little play on it – Livin da Virar local” 

Despite herself, she smiled.


The train came to a grinding halt at Andheri. The rain had abated, however the train service had stopped until the water receded from the tracks.

“Looks like we are stuck in Andheri for a while”The bespectacled man said. “Ithe ek McDonalds aahe. Softie?”

She knew that he had overheard her conversation with her mom and so was talking to her in the same language that she spoke.

She mulled it over, then finally shrugged and said“Ho Chaalel.(Yes, will do)” She hesitated then. “Umm. Aapla naav? (Your name?)”

He smiled and said, “Oh sorry, mi Shrinivasan Mulye.”

“Shrinivasan Mulye??”

“Ho Baba Kobra. Aai Tamil. Matunga (Dad is Kokanastha brahmin, Mom Tamil)”

She laughed at that, and suddenly felt light and relaxed. Funny how a small but genuine laugh can brighten your day!


She enjoyed that evening with Shri. Strangely, she did not realize when she started calling him that. He was smart and funny. She smiled to herself when she thought about what her mom would say about him, probably would not be too happy about his Tamil mom and dark complexion. And Matunga, that was a stone’s throw away from where she lived. A very very convenient commute! She felt amazed at how well the day was about to end. The train service started. They got into the gents first dabba again to continue their conversation.

She asked him, “So are you getting off at Matunga?”

He said, “Oh we no longer stay in Matunga. I am just here visiting a few friends. We moved a long time back. I am getting off at Santa Cruz, to catch a flight back home. Hope its not cancelled in this dreadful weather. Had forgotten how Mumbai rains can be!”

She felt her heart sink. She asked him, her voice shaking, “So where do you stay?”

He replied brightly “In a town called Mysore in Karnataka. You should come visit sometime. There’s a beautiful palace there.”

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Massage and M&Ms – A Crush Story

Posted on June 15, 2010. Filed under: Funny, Short Story |

Note from author: This piece got an honorable mention in blogadda’s competition. Thanks for the encouragement!

My name is Rajesh. Today, I am going to tell you the story of my first crush. You may ask, why?  To know the reason and the story, read on.

Chapter 1: A Massage spoils it all!

So, I was all of 16. I had just passed 10th standard board exams and joined junior college. It was the first day of college. My two friends, Aneesh and Bunty and I, were hanging out in the college canteen.  And then it happened.  The famed thunderbolt!  (what Michael Corleone had experienced when he had met Appolonia in the Godfather).  I saw her.  Kohl lined eyes, straight hair ..

Her name was Chayanika Malhotra, I learnt later.  I could not stop thinking about her.  Thinking is one thing and obsessing is another, and I guess I was doing the latter.  My friends could not help but pity me. At first, they tried to make me see sense,  that a girl like her can never be with a guy like me. When that did not work, Aneesh offered to take a note from me to her.  Off he went striding towards her. I could not bear to look, so I disappeared from the scene.  Aneesh and Bunty reappeared in just a bit.  Aneesh was almost on the verge of crying.  So I asked,

Me: What happened?”

Aneesh was spared the trouble of talking by Bunty relating the entire story.

Bunty: Actually, he went to Chayanika and said, ‘I have a MASSAGE for you!’

I would have burst out laughing had it not been my own Victorian tragedy being written.

Bunty: (continued) … So one of the guys in her group said that, he will treat Aneesh, uhm, to a nice massage and roughed him up a bit (ended sheepishly).

My note asking her out for a coffee had been left in Aneesh’s pocket.  I forgave Aneesh, after all it was just a mispronunciation (that had ruined my life).

Chapter 2: Eminem or M&M?

Soon I got another chance with Chayanika. We met at a bus stop.  I mustered up all the courage I could and started making small talk with her.  She was waiting for some friend to arrive. I feigned that I was waiting for a friend too.  Even now I cannot believe how smooth I was then. I actually asked her whether she would like to have a coffee with me, while we both waited for our respective friends. Unfortunately, her friend Reshmi  arrived just then. But they graciously agreed to accompany me to the coffee shop, while I waited. Overall, I was satisfied with the way things had gone that evening. The 3 of us sat down with our coffees. Angrez rap music was being played. Reshmi chose that moment to say,

Reshmi: Oh I just love Eminem.

I had been hoping to impress Chayanika with the depth of my knowledge and the breadth of my interests, but I had no clue who or what Eminem was.  I had a sudden brainwave. Just a couple of weeks back, my uncle had brought some chocolates from USA. And one of them I remembered was named M&Ms. It was an American version of our Indian Gems. A wise man had  once said – ‘Look before you leap’, but I chose to ignore him and burst through.

Me:  Oh yes, I love the M&Ms. Just recently my uncle got them in some peanut butter flavor, which is famous in the USA.  Their shape is also different.

Both the girls looked curiously at me and then I realized with great horror, that I had committed a grave blunder. Reshmi realized my mistake and smirked condescendingly,

Reshmi: Oh I meant the rapper Eminem and not the candy.

Soon after they excused themselves and I heard them snickering about ‘Eminems and M&Ms’.

Chapter 3: The hero saves the day!

Thereafter, I was in the doldrums of depression.  Even after multiple repeated failures, I had not got closure. So I was in class, in my usual place behind Chayanika, observing the play of light on her hair. It was a sultry sort of a day and the stuffiness of the class as well as of our professor’s monotone, soon drove me into a state of torpor. Soon, I was dozing.  Suddenly, I heard a commotion. I opened my eyes and I found the entire class’s eyes in my direction. I was aghast.  I thought that I had been caught red handed napping in class. Not knowing what else to do, I stood up.  The professor angrily remarked,

Professor: So it was you! Please walk out of the class. If you want to attend my class again, please get your father to meet me.

I walked out of the class dejectedly and waited in the canteen corner for my friends to show up.  I heard a timid voice say, “Hi.” I looked up. It was Chayanika. Before I could say anything, she started speaking amidst heart breaking sobs,

Chayanika: (crying)You should not have done it for me. I would have stood up!

I was thoroughly confused then, but soon the story became clearer. Chayanika had been chewing gum and she did not know how, but she had made a startlingly screechy sound.  The professor had taken offence at it and had been asking the culprit to own up. And at that opportune moment I had stood up.

I had become a chivalrous hero in the eyes of Chayanika. Lady Luck and Lady Chayanika had both smiled at me that day. I was literally (ok, figuratively) on top of the world.  The rest, as they say, is history. (Before that an angry sire almost made me a part of ancient history.

together forever The final reveal – Why did I tell you this story?  It is because the writer of this blog is rather mercenary and decided that my story would be a good entry for the blogadda contest sponsored by Pringoo.

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The Battleship Battle

Posted on May 20, 2010. Filed under: Funny | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

When we were young and carefree (sitting in the college canteen having bunked lectures), often we would wonder ‘who amongst us will get married first?’ I would always get picked last. Heck, I myself thought I would be the last. And then a few months ago, I had a Sheldon Cooperesque moment – “Bazinga! I am getting married first!”

I married #win on January 21, 2010. No, I did not marry a hashtag, I wanted a cool alias for my husband and this one makes me a perpetual winner (Tilo weds #win). Since then, my single friends caught in the conundrum of horoscopes and arranged marriages have asked me the question – How do you know he is the one? Well, to illustrate how, let me start by relating to you the tale ‘The Battleship Battle‘.

Once upon a time #win was at work and I was at home and I was bored out of my wits. Therefore, I reverted to my favorite pass-time (timepass) bugging #win. I called him.

#win: Hello?

Tilo: Hey, whats up are you busy?

#win: Yea I am a bit. Meeting with my advisor (Yes #win left his high paying corporate job for drudgery at grad school. All his friends thus think he is #nutlose).

Tilo: Well, I really had a very important thing to tell you.

#win: Ok tell fast fast.

Tilo: Wait a minute forgot! (Had not :D)

#win: QUICKLY (Almost at the end of his tether now)

Tilo: I had 2 important things to tell you – 1 was that your friend #ok was pinging you “Maga, did you see the race last night?” …

#win: And the other important thing .. FAST!

Tilo: And the second thing was (almost choking for trying to stifle laughter) can you get us some paper from office for us to play Name, Place, Animal, Thing or Battleship?

#win: (Hangs up)

At this point I am hysterical with laughter. Tears are streaming through my eyes. After a while, when I had calmed myself, I switched on my laptop. I had a feeling that this time I may have gone a bit too far. So I pinged #win.

Tilo: R u anger? (We dont use grammatically correct English with each other for some bizarre reason)

#win: (Unresponsive for 5 minutes)

Tilo: R u anger?

#win: Yes.

Tilo: How much lil bit or lots?

#win: Why don’t you understand that there is a time for playing the fool and that was not it. (Uh oh! Correct grammar = BAD mood!)

Tilo: (Bristling a bit, no one calls me a fool) Oh come on lighten up, it was not that bad.

#win: It pretty much was. My advisor just walked away, after all I had gotten a hold of him after a month almost. Now I have to wait  another month before I can talk to him.

Tilo: Bla bla bla … talk to my hand

And this continued. #Win got mad and I got mad. Then both of us got madder. And after half an hour the fight ended thus:

Tilo: Ok fine, henceforth I am not going to talk to you.

#win: Great, that is good to know.

In the evening, #win was about to come home. I was dealing with the situation in a very mature way by banging pots and pans in the kitchen. I heard the door open. I tried to feign more disinterest, lack of enthusiasm and anger by banging pots to the accompaniment of ‘Tum to thehre pardesi …‘. I heard #win‘s movements in the other room. I did not bother for a long time and nor did he. I realized that we had come to an impass. I finally went to the other room, in the mood for another battle. And there was #win sitting calmly with pen and paper in hand. Another set of pen and paper was beside him. He already had drawn a grid on his paper. He looked up as I came in and said – “Name place is too childish. Let us play Battleship.”

So girls, look for a man who shares your sense of humor (more or less) and even if he is quick to anger, he should be quick to forgive. That sure is a #winning combination.

If you liked this post, do share it with others for them to have a good laugh. If you want updates from this blog immediately, use one of these handy buttons on the right.

And if you have any stories of similar battles with your spouse or your sibling or anyone really, please let me know. Still looking for guest bloggers 🙂

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Mujhe In Aaropiyon Se Bachaoooo

Posted on May 7, 2010. Filed under: Funny | Tags: , , , |

07 50, 11 10, 1 40, 5 55 – I am not making up some mystical numbers a la Lost. Such numbers are important to each Mumbaikar. Yes, these are train timings. Only Mumbaikars have a special set of friends called train friends. Often I have heard ladies gossiping thus, “Tya 4:37 vaalya Joshi aahet na …” (Translation: “That Mrs. Joshi who travels in the 4:37 train …” I have generously used Hindi in this post, and wherever required provided translations, in italics).

Mumbai local trains have been called iconic, efficient, the lifeline of Mumbai etc. They are the butt of many jokes and were at the receiving end of one of the cities more gruesome terrorist attacks. Every Mumbaikar has travelled by these trains at some point in their lives. Disembarking from a train during peak hours is a sublime mixture of art and science. You need scientific precision and divine intervention to jump off at the right moment. If you jump early you may fall on the platform and break your neck. If you show a moment’s hesitation, off you go to the next station. It is a matter of practice, but definitely not for the faint hearted. My mom has thus given up. She’d rather be called a coward than travel by a train.

But I digress. The local trains are such a melting pot that you are bound to meet some ‘strange’ people if you travel in them daily. So, here is one of the strangest incidents that I witnessed during my train sojourns

It was a sultry afternoon (as most afternoons in Mumbai are) around 9-10 years ago. It was the Ladies 1st class (With college concession, traveling in 1st was quite cheap). A handful of women were present in the compartment. A Christian lady was horizontal on one of the seats and was enjoying a nice siesta.

The train stopped at Bandra station, in came a policeman. He was not alone, he entered with 2 men. Soon, we that that their hands were bound to each other with rope. We all looked at each other aghast, unsure of what to do.

A bit of background here about the protocol regarding gents admissible in the ladies compartment-

  • Son/brother of 1 of the passengers less than 15 years of age (at least who looks like it) – Allowed.
  • A man selling useful trinkets such as earrings, combs, purses – Allowed.
  • Old beggar man above 60 years of age (at least who looks like it) – Allowed.
  • Blind men – Allowed.
  • Police – Allowed.
  • All others – Not Allowed. (Includes men between ages of 15 and 60, maimed, burnt, injured not withstanding)

Coming back to our story, we were all aghast, unsure of what to do. A policeman for protection, allowed. A policeman along with two bound criminals? Apparently, this was a grey area in our protocol. We all kept mum for the time being.

The erstwhile dozing Christian lady had by then assumed an upright position, having been awoken by these new entrants. She started speaking:

Lady: Inspector saab, aap in aaropiyon ko leke utar jaao (Inspector, please get off with these ‘accused’).

I realized that this lady had recently watched one of those 70s-80s Hindi movies, in which the judge will proclaim a sentence on the villain in the last scene – “Sabhi gawahon aur sabooton ko madde nazar rakhte hue, adaalat aaropi ko saza-e-maut dene ka hukm karti hai . He shall be hanged until deathhhhh!” (Translation: In the light of the witnesses and the evidence, the accused shall be given the punishment of death) One more reason why I suspect so, is that she directly called the cop an inspector.

Then Inspector saab, began to talk:

Inspector: Madam, baaki dabbon mein jaam gardi hai, main aaropi ko udhar leke jaaunga to yeh bhaag jaayenge. (Other compartments are crowded, if I take the accused there, they may flee)

I do not know, if the Inspector had himself seen the same genre of movies or was merely trying to use the same terminology as her.

Lady: Arre aise kaise? Aaropi bhaag jaayega is dabbe se aur humko gun dikhayega to? Humko yeh sab tension nahin mangta hai. (What if the ‘accused’ decides to flee here and holds us hostage with a gun? We do not want these hassles).

Inspector: Arre Madam, Inke paas nahin hai bandook. Aap chaahiye to inke jeb check karo. Kuch tension nahin hai! (They don’t have a gun, if you want check their pockets)

Lady: Arre aise kaise check karo?!! I will not touch them, I only touch my husband.

At this I had to burst out laughing. What more, even the aaropis started smiling to each other.
Some other concerned ladies started supporting the original lady, the instigator of the argument. Murmurs of “Haan barobar hai, Kaayko tension” started echoing in the compartment. The final straw came when the lady said,

Lady: Yeh ladkiyon ka compartment hai, aaropi ladki nahin hai! Ladies aaropi hota to hum log allow karte. (The accused are not girls. Had they been, we would have allowed them).

The inspector was flummoxed at this rhetoric and decided to wave the white flag. He got off at the next station (Dadar) with aaropis in tow. I also got off at the same station and saw him ushering the two in the ever crowded gents 1st.

I shall stop myself here, because I want to desist from making any politically charged comments about women or cops. This is a long enough post already.

Do you have a funny story that happened to you or someone else in the train or elsewhere? Do share it with me, I would love to have guest bloggers here. Also, if you like this post do consider sharing it with others using this handy link Bookmark/share a post or other gadgets in the sidebar.

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A Tale of 1.2 Reviews

Posted on March 8, 2010. Filed under: Entertainment, Funny | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I had promised myself, that I will never do movie reviews in this space. But after many months of  laziness induced by my wedding and consequent binge-eating, the tide of creative juices is at an ebb. So the easiest thing to do was to write the reviews of 2 movies, which I saw in the recent times. I will not be writing anything that has not been written before but at least I can be mercenary and include buzz words, that will show up in the search engines that crawl Blogosphere.

Here they are 1 big and 2 mini reviews:

1. My name is U-Know-What.

1 word review: P-A-K-A-U

At the end of this viewing, I felt like I had contracted Asperger’s syndrome. I had all the symptoms:

  • Could not meet anyone’s gaze (because I am a self confessed SRK fan, and this movie was so pakau, that I was ashamed SRK was a part of it)
  • Irritation because of loud, shrill sounds – (“You suck, you suck, you suck … Liar!Liar!Liar!” and Kajol’s outburst “Jaoooo Khaaan Jaoooo” and of course, “My name is hhh(rr)hkkkhhaaann (from epiglottis) and I am not a terrorist”).
  • A splitting headache because of the ennui and the torpor that had set in (don’t know if the last one is a symptom).

There were many dumb things in this movie. But the most face-palmest according to me are:

  • 2 newbie reporters who are Google Earth personified“Arre Wilhelmina, Woh toh Georgia mein hai na?” According to Mr. hhhh(rr)khan (from epiglottis) himself, Wilhelmina is a town of 250 people and 800 cattle. And these reporters did not even require a second to quote the state, given a town. I hope I get a chance to ask them, “Can you tell me in which state the town Salem is?” (This is a trick question. Almost every other state in US has a town named Salem. However full marks and kudos to them if they answer Tamil Nadu.)
  • Racist overtones – This movie tries its best to convince us that all Muslims are not terrorists. But ignores the fact that all blacks do not live in shanties and do not have funny hair and are not fat. But since Mr. hhh(rr)khan (from epiglottis), suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, he can get away with racist comments like “Mama Jenny moti hain aur unke baal thode ajeeb hain.” Thank god he stopped at that and did not continue to say “Mama Jenny, thodi kaali bhains ki tarah dikhti hain.” If only Bhajji had suffered from Aspergers, then he would not have had to change his story from “Monkey” to “Maa ki”.
  • The dialog between the newbie reporters and the Sikh news anchor

Guy newbie reporter (aka pretty boy struggler from Luck by Chance): Sir, you removed your pagdi after 9/11? You are a bad Sikh!
Sikh Reporter (aka Parveen Dabaas): Shameful silence.
Guy newbie reporter : (thinking to himself)  Dumb$@%* KjO, by mouthing such silly dialogues, I will remain a struggling actor all my life, stuck with this stupid female whose claim to fame was being Genelia’s agony aunt. Dude, atleast you could have made Dabaas lose the hariyali on his chin. Daadhi without pagdi – still seems like a jehadi to me).

1.1 Ishqiya

1 word review: Timepass, paisa vasool.

There were many good things about this movie.  But the best thing I liked about it was the fresh perspective.  It is a black comic caper set in the hinterlands of India. Most movies that are set in the cow-belt of India are rather grim and depressing. The few examples that come to my mind are Prakash Jha’s umpteen movies, Shool, Hazaron Khwahishein Aisi, Bandit Queen. But in Ishqiya, the issues of casteism, misogynism, kidnappings, violence are laughed at, but in a self-deprecatory way, as illustrated in “Apne yahan to shia-sunni the, idhar to yadav aur pandey ne apni fauj bana ke rakhi hai!”

All in all, an awesomely timepass movie, though I wish things had not become so crazy in the denouement.

1.2 All the Best.

1 word review – Inane but hilarious.

I had zero expectations from this movie and that is why I enjoyed it. This movie promises to be inane and is exactly that. Of course, the biggest laugh provider was RGV(Sanjay Mishra) .  You pity him, because he is beaten up by Sanjay Dutt all the time, but manages to be calm with his “Just chill” mantra. In the end, he pretends to muster up courage by saying – “I care a Bhakra Nangal Dam(n) be!”, but I am sad to say, is again beaten up.

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‘State’ of ‘No-bhook Hartal’

Posted on December 12, 2009. Filed under: Entertainment, Funny, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

My friend Mythili (name changed for safeguarding Sonali’s identity) has been married for about 5 years now with Rajesh (name unchanged, but you don’t know who he is anyways). As all other couples, many ups and downs (more downs than ups) do happen during the course of their marriage.  And whenever Myth is stuck in the downs, she calls one of her friends, relates to them the woes of marital life and thus heals herself. Don’t know what Rajesh does for his healing process. Personally, I think Rajesh is more in need of the heal, because he often gets the heel from Myth (figuratively, don’t think that she is a husband beater now). Myth can be quite a ‘formidable’ opponent.

So today it was my turn to play agony aunt to Myth.

Myth: I am sick of marriage, da!

Me: <uncomfortable yet knowing fake laugh> Hehe .. What happened now?

Myth: This Rajesh, da! He is bugging the heck outta me.

Me: What did he do now?

Myth: See no, he is demanding a state now.

Me:  <slightly confused> State?

Myth: Yea man, S-T-A-T-E.

Me: S-T-A-T-E???

Myth: Aeiyyoo … like New Jersey, California .. like that, ma!

Me: What do you mean, demanding a state? How can you demand a state?

Myth: See, no .. that’s what I told him. What he thinks of himself making such demands?

Me: Huh??

Myth: Arre, since yesterday he has started ‘No-bhook hartal’, unless I recognize the living room as his state.

Me: <Totally confused now> Mujhe samjha nahin … what is it you are talking about? Why is Rajesh doing hartal dude?

Myth: Aeiyyo .. don’t ask ma! It’s a long story ..

Me: <Another one of those long stories> Sigh!

Myth: Arre last month we had gone to India no, I had a fight with Rajesh’s mom. <Starts relating conversation with her MIL>

MIL: What ma, how come Rajesh has got beer belly? Do you both go to what they call pubs? See what you were doing before marriage, is not my business. We are not what you call ‘forward’ a! All this you should not do after marriage and all.  You should behave in a way befitting a daughter in law of this family. We are not as liberated as your parents ..hmmph.

Myth: <Indignant> Amma, we have to drink sometime no with our colleagues and all. But Rajesh hasn’t got his gut because of that. It’s because he is a lazy bum and does not take an effort to be fit.

MIL: What are you saying ma? He used to daily go and play badminton with his friends. In fact, I was always telling him to gain weight. You should not put like that oil in your food, ma. Your parents place also too much oily food. That’s why he has put on so much. In fact, you can also start losing weight…

Myth: <The rest of the conversation was lost on Myth, as her MIL had heaped on her the ultimate insult. Myth follows all latest diets to remain fit ..>

Me: Then?

Myth: Then what, I put Rajesh on strict diet. I make him eat only oats, cereals, raw vegetables, spinach juice <rattles off list of healthy sounding foods> … in fact, Milk also we buy Silk now. Silk is soy milk ma. I stopped allowing him to eat curd rice and ghee also. White starch and saturated fats. Yuck!

Me: Well, it’s a bit much, to be frank. But what is this state business about?

Myth; He is accusing me of discriminating against him because of his gut. He is also accusing me of denying him the right to watch his favorite TV show.

Me:  Why dude?

Myth: Arre, that day na, Project Runway finale was there. Rajesh wanted to watch that dumb disgusting comedy about the dancing piece of shit, that South Park. So I forcibly sent Rajesh out for a jog. Rajesh was following his fitness regime properly until then. But a jog in -5 deg C was the last straw for him and when he came back and saw me watching Lifetime, something snapped inside him.

Me: <you go Rajesh!>

Myth: He told me that, the living room is his state and I cannot enter it unless he lets me <starts relating the fight>.

Myth: Get lost man, this is my house. I will do as I please.

Rajesh: OK FINE! If you don’t listen to me no, then …

Myth: What will you do? Give me a shove with that gut of yours?

Rajesh: No, I will go on “NO-BHOOK HARTAL

Myth: Whatever are you saying?

Rajesh: It means, 24 * 7, I am going to eat until you say yes to my demands. Everything bad and dangerous and gross. I don’t want anything that even contains 1% percent fiber. I want only 100% sat fats  and trans fats, based on a 20000 calorie daily diet. Now you just see …

Me: Oh gosh!

Myth: It is the 2nd day of his hartal, and he hasn’t stopped eating.

Me: How is it possible? Technically, kitchen is not in his state no?

Myth: Yes, ma. But he is ordering pizza and soda from living room. He ate all the veggie pizzas that Pizza Hut had. He has given me ultimatum now. If in 1 hour I do not agree, then he is going to order non veg beef pizza and eat that <breaks into uncontrollable sobs> … What am I to do? He will soon die of type 2 diabetes, maa <sobbing again..>

Me: Well, your diet and exercise regime was an exaggeration, Myth. He is not competing in ‘The Biggest Loser’. You are denying him several rights such as the right to a decent meal and right to enjoy TV after a hard day’s work…

Myth: <sniffing, pondering the weight of my words..>

Me: And you know what, it is his mom’s fault. She is so possessive about Rajesh that  she couldn’t see him enjoying his married life. A bit of a gut, never did any one harm. In fact, it is the sign of marital bliss.

Myth: <Indignant and elated that her mom in law is at fault> Yes, ma! You are abzolutely right.

Me: Don’t let your MIL destroy your marriage, ma. Go take care of your husband and concede to his demands. Let him have that occasional dessert and that occasional Family Guy viewing. What’s in it for you?

Myth: Yes, dear. You are right. I will go and talk to Rajesh ma. Thanks a lot dear.

Well, that was that! Myth and Rajesh are back on their up, having tided over another one of their downs. Rajesh has given up his demand to create another state. Moral of the story, It is better to blame it on external forces, rather than fight internally.

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