Virginity of soul….

Any resemblance to real incidents / names …is not intended . This is a work of fiction

“ Kamra upar hein “ …the staggering intoxicated man was not amused very much ….

The tall and strikingly good looking lady had a bored expression …..she was wearing a peach colour choli  ….. …the other two in the group who strolled beside the reception had even less interest in what ever was happening around ….

An elderly woman got outside in a black and yellow Premier Padmini taxi, waited on, as her daughter.. alighted. All rebellion personified into one sulking yet pretty face …. that screamed  a hundred curses to the world around that made her leave the cosy comfort of the black and yellow taxi. Raghav’s heart went out to the elderly lady …..Mothers ..who carry ….the child  within for good part of a year ….and its misplaced sense of entitlement for the rest of their lives …

Tenets of procreation …skewed completely in favour of the offsprings !

All the men folk were irresponsibly inebriated , ….he couldn’t but wretch at such unchivalrous dispositions …from respectable males who should be supportive and caringly alert to the tender gender….

“Bahadur …chaabi” ….”Prakash …arreh oh Prakash ….where has this boy vanished into ..? ” the elderly mother …the resonated authority from her every breath startled Raghav…

With the indifference of her daughter still lying about like invisible dust that wind blew into your eyes …

The wealthy family with its bunch of irresponsible menfolk …moved on ..throwing annoyed stares like chewed up beetel around …

Raghav and Franco sighed ….they were negotiating for those last two rooms…at the fag end of a study tour ….money always wins ..and they didn’t have much from the group’s budget left

“Kahan dha thoo ….? …”..a slap exploded like a pistol shot …

“Ouch” …Raghav was not sure if he had winced or Prakash the bell boy did …the scrawny disheveled teenager stood there smiling awkwardly …. rubbing the side of his head …

Sense of entitlement …lack of it…

…A shadow of fear crossed the pretty face that had eventually alighted the black and yellow car… …

Raghav thawed towards her a little

The Mumbai city outside lay spreadegled , lasciviously ….in her tauntingly seductive self …..complete in languorous detachment

Sky that was as empty as those lower middle class pockets looked on in poignant nonchalance ….like a damsel playing hard to get ….

The night crept in silently like an obedient wife , slavishly mopping the beads of sweat off the forehead of the ungainly day ….the fumes and dust ….hopes and hopelessness ….

The rich families …they always moved about in elegance … ….Did they never carry any luggage ?

The elderly mother had not left for the room…. strolling languidly to the ornate flowerpot suspended from the roof hanging at shoulder height ….

Divine tiny blossoms smiled from that chic porcelain dangled dignity and charm ..

She then spat the slimy viscous beetle juice … …. leaving blood marks of abomination on those immaculate white flowers ….

Arrogance …ejaculated in intemperate callousness …

People around timidly looked through the boorishness…as if through a caricatured glass onto the images beyond ….

“ Sab full ho gayee hein …bhai …” receptionist didn’t sound as though those words belonged to his mouth or mind…

Dejected steps …out …back into to the dust … the fumes ,

”….randee ban gayee kya ? ….“

they passed the guffawing cab driver’s ribald monologue , in cursing the self starter refusing to ignite ……You have turned  a whore …? ..he kicked the inanimate black and yellow subjugation again….

Ruthless snatchers and gangsters in larger than life proportions… crawled out from the underbelly of the big dirty town enigmatically .. aloft embellished images .. flitting from a fairy land .as they lay sprawled on Malad west railway platform with the clumsy pieces of luggage , tucked and secured under their persons …

Bombay .. …!

“ Phew ….”

Austin Paulose emerged from some other part of that big nothingness.. sheathed in expletives ….and grime … His sweat drawing  unsavoury attention to zones over his anatomy not worth flaunting from any angle….

“ Da ….the Cochran …is laid to rest ….! “ …the Scottish engineer who invented some boiler was not their tour guide … his name sake …. the hapless prof in thermodynamics …a clueless skimpy young fellow with bulging ugly eyes , was gainfully stashed away into some hovel for the night ….small price for much needed ‘space’ !

“ Huh , the room rate doubled in 30 minutes! “ Austin had missed the anomalous family with a beetle chewing mother lady …

“…. go back to your mother’s knockers ..you milk suckling fuckers ” …..Franco  ‘gonoria’..fell over his sides …

Naivety ….hung like a drooping manhood  …..from uninitiated adolescents …

….” whats wrong with you numskulls ….. they were paid whores ….  ! “

explosions …always   leave a shrilling hum in the ears ….

In the distance , vultures circled in the sky ….they flew lower …scooping on a  white cuddly rabbit with glowing eyes…up and down …up and down …again and again …shreds of fur , flesh , and blood strewn over the dust …the famished eyes fixated in a stupor of bloodlust….. as they lunged …sucked ..with sickening grunts ….

..those glowing eyes … looked on … from an immaculately pristine face …the only part of the body not smeared in blood …a stare that had lost its soul long back ….

The eyes that didn’t reciprocate to those long beaks ..and scary talons ..

….. the wads of notes …the tufts of fur … fell like confetti from air …

The scared girl who emerged out from the black and yellow taxi … had she met his eyes ?

The birds cleaned their beaks …and flexed those shiny talons ….they could eat more ….

The red blood dripped …

..from the protruding teeth …

Beetel stained  teeth … dripping in red … as she had looked on gloatingly ….the red juices oozing on into the ornate flower pot ….

…. plucking one more fattened  chicken from the cage … for whoever could pay for the pretty bones … sweaty skins reeking of hooch …and shuddering flesh ….and cavernous grunts …pulverising the pristine dark eyelashes ….

Translucent tender psychedelic pieces  , all pink …. Like pearls out of a severed string …

A heart was broken …

The pretty face ….peach colour sari and the matching choli ….the few strands of hair that lay lose across the non chalant ..poignant face that accentuated the .. pain that moored permanently amidst those heavenly lashes ….

Students of engineering … pining for elusive perspectives more evolved than any technology …gleaning the wonderlands..between tall skyscrapers , the mad rush of traffic and the impossibly fashionable girls … for secrets unfurling like water lilies in murky ponds …

… days of grind and grime washed down …. flakes of naivete  peeled off

……to be wrapped inside the filmsy assurance of terrene garments ..pressed and kept by mothers or elder sisters into the clumsy back packs…

New land , unfamiliar customs ..and unbeknown dialects of a known language

“ Raghav ..help negotiate man ! “ …

“ Arre yaar ! Kum karo …theen pieces le rehein hein …Panthrah ….” ….T shirts had cross stripes that resembled a toy tiger …

..Amitabh Bachan ….Waheedaa Rehman … those colour and light fragments that flew to dilapidated cinema halls thousand miles away …amidst the serene paddy fields and a quietly streaming brook ….….the scrumbs of those dreams about an unattainable wonderland..so far removed from the touched and felt realities …left them starry eyed even as they now eventually stood right on it

….he spoke a little more Hindi than the rest in the group…

The two girls they met in Delhi ..when was that …two days ago ? Three ?

…wore white shirts ….straightened hair … short length….that made him swoon every time ..

Ensconced like dolls with life , ones with machine finish ….. No smudges or rough edges…!

….Everything ..even the names had a swagger around them … ‘Nirula’s’ …

….Franco hoarded the only interpretor in the group ….no one spoke much Hindi …hot skills always paid well …. Raghav relished the Kwality ice cream …. grudgingly paid for …and the proximity to those hopelessly hot chicks …

“ Aap kha chuke hein ? “ …. Printable with subject ..predicate ..the tenses and the gender in sequence from copybook , after much thought and careful consideration of word meanings and grammatical compatibility…

The girl in the white cardigan stopped her spoon in mid air … amusement  lit her pale face golden … …no …this was not proving easy …

The vanilla ice cream melted in his mouth … he grew wary of things spilling from his mouth including shoddily coined sentences in an unfamiliar language too…

Dreams …leave you in sweat when they go away  …He looked in the direction of the wash area like a nursery kid at the school’s gate frantic for a late parent….Franco had vanished into the loo , god knows to do what … and for how long

Neatly paved asphalt and the manicured side walks lay invitingly ….. …as the city rolled back to the shell …

Parched souls ….every single hooch shop with neon signs had unwelcome corrugated shutters ….that had rolled down , inconsiderate to the calls of the flesh ..that knew no time

The cold grass at the beautifully manicured park ,embraced the bottoms in dewy sensuous grasp … Twenty yards away …beer bottles kissed each other loudly..

“ Chuthiya ye ! ….Woh ladki sala isko ithar uthar daba rahi theein …” the capital city..and its raucous denizens

“ Yeh sala waise sharma raha tha jaise yeh koi dulhan hein , suhaag raath pe !! “ …

….three pictures of well heeled hubris..spalyed on the grass ….a  fourth seated inside the Maruti Omni …with feet clad in deep brown Kolhapuri sandals…

The object of that repartee…a lanky handsome man … looked however far removed from any innocence !… Sprawled on the grass ..with a hand propping a face that held a laconic smile across ..

Strange friends in a strange land ….!

…. Handshakes   ….clinkering ..glassy cheers ….. dusted away the bits of unfamiliarity ….beneath the different fur …nuances of hue ….minds …hearts beat to the same rhythm …

“ ten guys nude and fucking one girl …..it is all part of this big city ….” Sherif … the not so innocent …lanky one could have been talking about five different types of algae in botany class !

… impressionable  adolescent minds twirled on fingertips levitated with the cigarette smoke that he let out stylishly , from the corner of his twirled lips …in a compact pyramidal whiff … to those gardens that held forbidden pleasures … Franco’s eyes twinkled  ….

“ We all know that , and we all do it “ …Chris …the one with the Kolhapuris …

“ Dost , aap hamare mehman hein “ ….Sherif the host floated on unsteady feet …

..you were this big …when you lay across my hands … …no that was not the words of the stylish city bred Sherif…

His elder sister …thousand miles ago …the little girl.. that was the elder of the two children on whom dancing shadows from the flames of a pyre had cast indelible marks ..whispered

.. … the voice of the one who took over the soul of his mother who burnt and crackled ….within those flames

The only mother he had ever known …

Raghav struggled for the word …. those two steps …that could lead towards what he was groomed to forgo…remained resolutely static under his tentative self ….which blurted incoherently..

“ Humein ‘interest ‘ nahin hein ….’

Anil helped him little later on the way back to Yatri Nivas …“ Da …the word in Hindi is “dilchsupi” ..” …..it did not matter ..

As the Maruti omni screeched to a halt …. One more beer bottle lost its neck

There was always room for more …

Franco ran ahead of his timid counterparts ….up the shiny flight of stairs ….

“ …arrggh …bastard …let me sleep …”

The salacious Kumar ..the one with a famed manhood  that was ‘longer than the man’ ….

Souls vanished down the shiny stairs ..into the night awash in the silvery linings on nebulous friendships ….

Different stage …different cities …same play …same story …

An hour and half after the scared teenaged girl alighted the black and yellow cab …a local train had screeched and yawned at Malad for its stipulated few seconds halt … people rushed past, like vermins from a rotten mango kernel …

They would get probably a paying guest facility at Madh beach …but that was still farther somewhere

And that would now be feasible only the next day …..next morning …

The tracks that ran parallel to the broken cement platform tapered at both ends running into Bombay and away from it …. the subliminal thin line  sustaining the seamless coexistence of the haves with have nots .. and , being the lifeline for the millions of those dreamy souls in taking a crack at squaring at least one of the two meals for the day …

The platform beckoned ….. like an unctuous pimp …wiping the rough edges away from an unfriendly end to a tiring day …

All pimps chewed beetel ?

Eleven young boys dazed at the cusp of an uncertain future of the country and their own …. collapsed gratefully onto the reassuring predictability of the cold platform floor …. turns taken in watching over luggage … amidst loud trains …squeaking rats , wailing beggars …and snoring friends ….everyone slept …everyone stayed awake …..lives lived in turns .

Raghav wrinkled his nose to the wretch that the wind brought …the withering putrefying bygones of an overwhelmed metropolis gleaned from the filthy tracks ..

“ Are bhai , yeh kis ki hein ?? “

A squarish bag made from resin …with small squares black and white …diagonally embroidered ….that stood tall on its haunches desolately on the platform floor… pining like a kid ..freshly orphaned ….the irresponsible guardian was enjoying a pee on the tracks with the early morning breeze caressing his wiry pubic hair greased with three days of sweat , urine and grime …

“ Rajendran ……don’t leave your bag like this idiot” …

…. he scrambled back ….with all dangling …dripping ..… leaving splotches on his brown trousers ….

Night crawled out like a back broken serpent …when the sun presented itself like a victory plaque from between the platform pillars that held high tin roofs ….

“ I don’t speak good English ? “ …

….the dusky caretaker lady spoke excellently on the contrary .. . and was impossibly attractive ..even as she was at least a decade older in age.

She handled the Math beach …bed and bath place …and the influence her charm had on the adolescent boys with as much elan as she did in wielding the spatula to flip rotis on the red hot tandoor ….and serving them with the heavenly potato dish hot ….

“ Aunty we will be back by seven in the evening …..” …

They explored local trains ….ogled at city lasses in bold habiliments …..drank beer and ate from filthy cheap joints ..and negotiated ineffectually with auto wallahs … smatterings of Marathi thrown in by those shrewd touts kept rattling them more…..

The evening unfurled in green light of passion … the bylanes that  held treasure troves for the town’s insatiable desires…

The gleaming neon sights on the Bycula bylanes kept zipping past…the garrulous auto wallah ….who was a pimp by night … was on a talking spree..he too chewed pan

The shimmer from a forty volter diffidently perched behind the second storey parapet marked the end of an evening journey …..the light created some cracks in the thicker part of the night away from the rusted gate ..

The silhouette of a building ..that had a sliding grill up the flight of stairways leading into each floor …Entrance from the ground  was guarded by two heavy set green uniforms…. a cheap joint passed between them … the acrid smell of the inexpensive inebriation , created grey waves into the night …

The autowallah was more garrulous  now , being in his own element …

“ ouch …” the girl in black tunic tripped over a grill frame fixed at the floor level …

The Sheikh in robes complete with the black ringed head fittings steadied her …his left arm showed veins , as it tightly gripped the girl’s left breast ….she wore an abaya over her face …

The hallway was dimly lit…the green rays ricocheting from the dancing globules hung from the low false ceiling swam from one end to the other

…beyond the glass walls ….

Past those hefty goons smoking  smelly marijuana….past the water … past the funeral green light …. That drowned out the last vestige of any soul …

“ Please be seated ….” …the man smoked a cigar and spoke chaste Hindi unhurriedly…..Clad in a slik kurta he seemed to relish his authority that held sway over the bordello ….green light went inside his nostrils as he luxuriously inhaled the gawdy soullessness that swam in the room ….

Thoughts …words ..retracted inwardly ….Franco …Kumar  …Ajith ..all sank into the greenness well behind the foreground ..

Melodious Hindusthani crooning  by Lata Mangeshkar kept falling like flower petals onto the green ocean around ….from the luxurious National Panasonic sterio player …

The player was ensconced on a wooden stand supported by elbow girders from walls ….Bombay , everything else money could buy …pleasure , power  …there was just one commodity no body had enough in this big long city that never sleeps …space !

For what it probably was the first ever time in his entire life ….Raghav felt to be in complete charge …. A fleeting sense of authority …his legs crossed in a sublime conveyance of self assurance …the rest of his friends were sitting on live mines

…there wasn’t any one else who spoke smattering of Hindi from his group..!

“ Humara budget ….” And then there was the hand that held the cigar … his right hand dropped to the side , never reaching his left ankle that he had wanted to rest that on ….

“ Ladkiyon ko bulao …” sweat rolled down a throbbing forehead….god , why is this fear so familiar ?

Auto wallah … invested all his energy in making himself as inconspicuous as he could ….no sound or movement betrayed his presence

Garment sounds … do they have genders ? … the swish of fabric was unmistakeably feminine …. much before the sound of the bangles .. …

“ What would you prefer sir …a chunk from the ribs ..leg …or neck ! “ the flesh …and the feathers …..and the red lifeless eyes ….over a chopping block …under a raised machete …  asked locking its eyes …Raghav winced  ..

….the words from the national Panasonic made him wretch …

….all of them wore churidhar except the two who had sarees on with glittering stars ….

“ Bolo …tum bata rahein thein ….thumhara budget …” a luxurious drag at the cigar ….

…the meat was getting weighed … juicy chunks …. Franco and Kumar …and Ajith ….crossed and uncrossed legs ….

“ Mujhe seena pasand hein ….give me the cut from the ribs ….” ..

…skirts …sarees ….jeans ….the morsels came in all shapes and sizes …

Before the cleaver …..all eyes looked just the same ….

The watering mouths ….” Hey this pan is sagging …add a small chunk …that piece ..put it over here …” was it the chest …the thigh …. Or the shanks ?

Did it matter … did she have a name ? creed ….caste ….

….the throbbing fire that ate souls from within… didn’t have eyes ..didnt have hands …only  a blind dripping tongue

the moment of assurance had left him……this place turned strange to him …he  wanted to hide

“ Inko jaane do …hum bat karenge …” ..he grew conscious of the girls who smirked wryly …

“ Dekho …tumko baahar le jana hein to …theen sauw rupaiya ……theen khanda “ …

the round leaves that held meat chunks back in his village market…. that would hold hewn pieces and the drained blood without leaking ….take out parcels …

For consumption at own convenience ….Within the comfort of one’s own whims …fantasies …sprawled across a couch … squeezed into a corner in a dark corner in a movie hall … against a rock hearing the waves crash against rocks in Bandstand ….

…the cattle markets in Kavalam …. the white spotted brown bovines never looked into your eye spiting or pitying

Accommodating jabs …and squeezes , measuring the pounds that could be carved out of those bones ..

“ Humara budget je upar hein saab …” ….he was not sure if he managed to stammer ….

He ran …..away from the man in silk kurta and those faces in glistening make up….. and the pimps who chewed pan…

Did some one scream and holler from behind ….Franco …Salim ?

“ Come back ……come back …pay for the meat”

…. the fish in the fairly large aquarium right under the green light that bathed the room constantly banged the glass wall , trying to break free …

No …it was not alone

– Binno M Joseph

3 Comments

  1. Well written Binno. I think a bit more work, this could be made into a short film. The sketches you draw are quite powerful and deep. I like the mix of both languages ,analogy and reality. Fiction or half truth , you have a style of your own. Keep writing. 🙂

    Like

    1. Yes I agree. That could be the next evolution of Throwback online – short films. Go right ahead. We will be there before we realize. Just break the inertia!

      Like

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