Sunday, August 06, 2006


The Boomerang Theory

A boomerang is a remarkable thing. For those who are hearing the word for the first time, Boomerang, noun is a sort of toy that Australian aborigines play with whenever their tummy gives a warning. They aborigine throws it; it flies, hits some poor dumb animal, curls and comes back to him. The native then gobbles up the creature, belches, farts and continues whatever he was doing. It will now be evident that this is not an ordinary toy and should have a statutory warning – “Only for 15 years and above”. But then we’re talking of aborigines here, the people who wear leaves in the age of Calvin Klein and Ralph Laurent. The lesson which the Boomerang attempts to convey has meaning which can teach a lesson to every generation – “That which goes is bound to come back”. Something happened the other day which made me a member of the Boomerang Cult. Which made me aware of how fast trivial news could spread and how fast it could come back to the cornucopia of the same trivial news. Which made me Public Enemy Number One and forced me to go into hiding from a very good friend of mine, with a heavy fist.

It all started a few months ago at the technical festival of our college. I was carrying on an amicable conversation with a friend of mine. Under social obligations, I mentioned to him that there was Something Cooking between that heavy fisted bud of mine, who I shall call Good Boy for security reasons, and a good girl who I shall call Good Girl for those very reasons. This friend of mine, let us refer to him as Primary Messenger, mentioned this piece of gossip to another fellow – Boyfriend (the etymology shall become clear in the passages to come). Boyfriend had a Girlfriend (but natural) and passed on the news to her. Girlfriend now had a talk with Roomy, who incidentally, was her room-partner, and she got to know about Good Boy and Good Girl as well. Now Roomy talked to a friend of hers, say Final Messenger, and no prizes for guessing what the talk was about. Obeying the principles of the Boomerang Law, Final Messenger called up Good Boy (it’s a small world, they were friends in school) and ragged him no end. And now the Boomerang came back and hit me bang on the head as Good Boy on hanging up, called me names not suitable to be printed or seen by decent eyes.

Smarting under the mental blows I had received, I indulged in a little Soulful Thinking and naturally thought of nothing but the latest application of the Boomerang Theory. The whole incident though, also made me wonder on the kind of conversations carried out by my fellow Homo Sapiens. Let’s start at the beginning. My conversation with Primary Messenger was too trivial to discuss. So next up are Primary Messenger and Boyfriend. The conversation would have been something like this –
Primary Messenger – “Saw that latest Angelina Jolie clip?”
“Oh yeah! That was so hot.”
(Pornographic details follow)
“By the way, old buddy. Did you know Good Boy and Good Girl are an item?”
“Really! God help them!”
Now college jocks have nothing else to talk about. But I still wonder why Boyfriend, who barely knew Good Boy by sight, mentioned the fact to Girlfriend. The only conclusion I can come to is that people who talk for 16 hours a day are desperate for things to talk about. So this conversation would have gone along these lines-
Boyfriend – “Sweetheart.”
Girlfriend – “Darling”
“Have I told you about Good Boy, a fellow at my college?”
“No, but please do. I love the sound of your voice.”
“Well as I was saying, Good Boy is going out with Good Girl.”
“How sweet.”
“Isn’t it?”
“Absolutely. Is Good Girl good-looking”
“Huh! Oh not at all.”
“Really? Why is Good Boy going out with her then?”
“Ok. She’s good-looking but not a patch on you.”
“Really. You mean it.”
“Oh absolutely.”

Ok. So I’ve just thrown up. But now I’m back. And we come to the feminine side. Here the reported conversation is pure speculation as I’m attempting the impossible – trying to understand female psychology. Just imagine – who talks to a room-mate about her boyfriend’s acquaintance’s girlfriend? But then Girlfriend is a girl. So here goes –
Girlfriend - “Roomy. Isn’t this dress to die for?”
Roomy - “Eeeeek. Oh yesssssssss. Where did you get it?”
“The Clothes Shop. The shopkeeper was so cute. (Giggle giggle)”
(Giggle giggle)
“Have you heard the latest?”
“I was talking to Boyfreind today…”
(Giggle giggle)
(Giggle giggle)
“Well anyway, there’s this boy called Good Boy at his college. And you won’t believe this, he’s actually going out with Good Girl, someone else at Boyfriend’s college.”
“No way!”
“Oh yes.”
“How amazing! I think I’ve heard about Good Boy. My friend Final Messenger knows him.”
“Your friend, eh!”
“Er… yes. Come on, Girlfriend, he’s just a friend, honest. I mean he is very cute but…”
“Oh come on!”
(Giggle giggle)
(Giggle giggle)

Well that was the best I could do. Girls, if this is not how a feminine conversation usually takes shape, please let me know and I’ll promise not to become a chick-lit writer.

So now Roomy informs Final Messenger of this latest development. In other words the boomerang has turned. And it begins its homebound journey as Final Messenger calls up Good Boy-
“Hey As*****! How’re you doing?”
“Great, you piece of s***! What about you?”
“Forget me! You dog. Why didn’t you tell me about you and Good Girl.”
“Good Girl? Well, uh, you see…”
“Cut the crap. *#$@ *&#@#.... (and so on and so forth).”
You don’t know how great it feels to be back on home soil!

That’s almost all there is to say, except that the Boomerang boomed me out when Good Boy came within shouting distance of me.

I guess the whole episode shows the power of human expression.

That’s all, folks!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


How I did NOT get my license... I'm just licensed to imagine

In the good old days of vaudeville, the simplest thing in the world was to get a driving license. You went to the local transport office, had a chat and a cup of char with the concerned officer, tinkered a bit with the only set of wheels that were available (the ones that doubled as taxis and state vehicle and had to be cajoled to starting when they were stalled, which was quite often) and lo, you got a stamped card bearing your name with a cute little photo of yours attached (or maybe not, I’m not sure if they had a camera then) and you could drive that exclusive car.

Things became slightly more complex in the 70s and 80s, but simple enough so that a person could be declared a nitwit if he or she took too long to get a license. No question of failing – the concept didn’t exist then. Gen X began to feel the winds of change and by the time they’d done their thing and brought about Gen Y, the process of getting a license was as easy as a clandestine military operation aimed to save or destroy the world, depending on whether or not you were under a Doctor Doom person.

So I decided that it was not exactly going to be a walk in the park for me when I set out to get my precious license in order to emulate my friends who had already performed the impossible and were now reaping the seeds of their valour by drawing admiring glances from PYTs. And the minute I saw the form I knew that my fears were not unfounded. I would place its origin to the Gupta era, if not to the time when Alexander came to visit. It was a miracle that it didn’t fade away on being exposed to the 21st century. The calligraphy seemed to be of an unknown script and I was getting ready to visit the British Museum to present my discovery when a chance examination under the microscope revealed that it was actually Hindi, albeit with words I had never heard of. Not being one to buckle under challenges, I duly filled the form and went to the hell house to submit it. I was told that ‘Shiksharthi Anugyati’ meant learner’s license and was not one of Aurangzeb’s 23 wives as I had initially interpreted. Needless to say I had to get another relic of the medieval age from the counter and this time I filled it with the expert assistance of the man behind the same. The Good Samaritan informed me that I would have to come the following week to take my test which would consist of a written exam and a practical. He also advised me to make sure I was up to date with road signs.

I accordingly did as told and returned to the battle front a week later armed with the best knowledge of road signs Google could provide. The test was also a piece of cake and I confidently submitted my paper to the examinee. It was then that another soul sharing the same hapless fate as me expressed in no uncertain terms that he thought that I was the greatest fool that ever had a misfortune to walk on the planet. He opined that I had studied the left hand driving system not knowing that we followed the right hand drive in India. My mouth which had opened in indignation now shut like a goldfish’s – the way Mr. Goon’s did. Incoherent sounds were still being emitted from my throat when the examinee came and congratulated me on having made it through my theory paper and asked me to follow him for the practical. Now it was my colleague’s turn to look like Mr. Goon. I guess he had not counted on the fact that the checker could be a half-blind octogenarian.

So now it was the last lap of my mission and as the proverb goes, it turned out to be the least. Satan’s emissaries were so sick of seeing the same ugly faces again and again that they had decided to turn into fairy Godmothers and grant wishes to every Tom, Dick and Harry who had the misfortune to walk through their doors. My name wasn’t Tom, Dick or Harry on the application form but they made a rare exception and dispatched me with my trophy in my hands. Mission accomplished!

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