Archive for Kahani

The problem of empty ink bottle…

Posted in kahania with tags , , , , , , on September 12, 2009 by Naveen Bagalkot

This is short story – about 500 words, mostly inspired from the stories of Manto, that I wrote as an entry for a competition (500 word limit) last year. I just have changed the title…

It was a chilly December morning, when I spotted the young man hurrying across the dew infested pathway. As soon as I saw him, my tired sleepless eyes lit up; could this man help me?! He was hunched up, both with the fear of the physical surroundings and the December chill, and was literarily running to get away to his home as fast as possible. Ignoring this I mustered some strength and glided along the grass, rustling some leaves as I reached him. I held his shoulders and turned him around.  The first thing I noticed was sweat, maybe from his running or maybe from the fear one feels coming across the foggy blurred images that a cemetery creates in an early December morning. The sweat was pouring down his forehead along his brow and almost dropping into his eyes. Yet he made no effort to wipe this off – he stood frozen with his glassy eyes poring deep burrows through mine.

“Relax young man,” I said, “I am here seeking your help. I got to tell you something and it’s very rare that someone comes along this area at this point of time. You see, I never used to sneak unto people and bother them like this before; I had my journal to talk to. Well, its still there with me and also the pen with a golden nib, which my daughter had gifted. I loved to write, you see. I still do, but I can’t anymore! I have run out of ink and the stationary guy doesn’t understand that I need some ink! This is my first problem. The second problem is what has made the first one even more traumatic!  I wanted to write in that journal of mine to get some relief from my predicament and my inability to do so is weighing down upon me heavier than the tombstone! Hence I had to tell this to someone and you are here…”

Even though I noticed him getting more frigid and trying to wrestle out from my grip, I continued, not wanting to lose this chance of lifting that burden. “I am a Parsi and used to live in the Rehman Street. And after the riots last year,” As soon as he heard the word ‘riots’, I could sense a stroke of brilliance shine through his frozen eyes.  Poor chap, must have lost someone in those times, or  rather, as my sinister mind told me, must have killed some. I held him tighter with my bony hands and whispered, “After the riots last year, those stupid fools at the municipality buried me in this Muslim cemetery…”

Kalagacchu kahani- the way of being…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by Naveen Bagalkot

A buffalo always fires up my imagination! The drooping eyelids did me in I guess, or maybe the way the skin shimmers in sunlight just after the bath, I can really never tell. Lying in the cold comfort of the muddy waters under a warm sun, she always looks down upon at the madly hastening world in utter contempt. Contempt that, I suspect, arising from possessing a superior intellect. Slowly munching on the grass, in a way similar to Einstein turning thoughts about relativity in his mind, she must have attained what most of the scholars of the world desperately aim for. The intoxication of her mind from the grass, the cold waters hitting her thick skin and the heat from the sun above, must have made her realize the truths about the universe, which is the only explanation I can come up with the way she looks at her life. In fact it is this way of reflecting is what did me in. Her attitude, none a worry about the nitty-gritties of survival, munching on thoughts and ideas of a much higher calling and deciphering the secret of life itself, what a way of being! She is, for me, the epitome of coolness and of supreme intellect.

So she fires up my imagination, makes me want, not her, but to be like her. I have tried all that I could try as a person of a lower species in the pecking order of intellectual powers. When I was a kid, I used to lie on the grass below the sun, munching on the juicy stalk of the grass and hoping some truth will dawn upon me. To my despair, all that came out of this obsession was split teeth, sun burnt face and itchy legs. And then there is the kalagacchu. Every buffalo in the northern parts of Karnataka at the least, gets to savor on this, what I consider as the ultimate culinary experience. At the end of each day, all the vegetable skins, seeds, roots, the left over food, mostly parts that we humans of a weaker gastronomical tract think can not digest, are mixed up in a bucket of water and fed to the hungry buffalo as a multiple course dinner. As she lapped it all up making the potion touch all her taste buds through her mouth and the two stomachs, I could just imagine with fascination if the gurgling sound is emanating from a deep guttural satisfaction. I always used to think how wrong my papa can be when, in the ignorance that is a trait identifiable only in we humans, he used refer to a bad coffee or tea as kalagacchu. And then here, last week in a South Korean restaurant in Kobenhavn, I realized that not all humans are ignorant of the sublime delicacy of kalagacchu. Not the South Koreans at the least!

As I stared at the menu, realizing that what we thought as a Chinese restaurant was a Korean one,  my pent up aspirations of attaining a buffaloish nirvana, subconsciously forced me to order what was written in Danish as ‘oksekød suppe med ris’. With the ignorance that I have already given credit to the human species, I thought in anticipation that it would some beef curry with rice, with some pickles. As the petite waitress placed the bowl in front of me and as the wafting fragrance of the beef, innumerable vegetables, egg white and rice hit my nasal underlinings, “for what we are about to receive, thank you oh Lord!”, blurted out of my mouth almost 10 years after I passed out from my school! I slurped the heady concoction forcing myself to stop from gurgling in consideration for the person in front of me, which is one of the other trait identifiable only with we human species. As I reached the last of the drops of the boiled delicacy, which highlighted the actual taste of each ingredient by not adulterating it with spices and salt, I again had to stop myself from lifting the bowl and licking it off.

But then the supreme intoxicated form of the knowldege of the buffalo eluded me again! As I biked back to my ‘room with a corner window’, I realised that maybe it was due to the meat of the male version of the buffalo in the soup. Or maybe that the consideration that I showed to my fellow species was, in due consideration, the folly of the highest order. To attain the supreme state of being like her, I guess I will have to be born as her! But till then this naive ignorant human quest continues…

On the way (part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 8, 2009 by Naveen Bagalkot

And it was not exactly fresh air, though treated and warm form the AC, when I was waiting in the lounge overlooking a row of planes under dark clouds sometime later. It didn’t look fresh outside also, with grey clouds hiding the gray buildings which had gray planes lining up in front of them, the gray vehicles going about what they go about when they prepare a plane for takeoff and the tiny worker humans in their grey uniform. Kind of reminded me of that song “I am blue (gray) da da.. and my girlfriend’s so blue (gray)…”

So I thought let me pick on some gray matter off this young researcher who had written a path breaking book in making things bright for the technology in everyday life. With my head bent and immersed in the book, I did feel a hunch, I do get these hunches some times and experience has told me to follow them, to look up and outside. Sun! Bright noon sun in all its glory! And the next thing is see is Lord Ganesh on this dirty cotton bag with “Ganesh Beedi” written over it in Hindi. My eyes trailed up to the owner of that bag who was sitting on the chair in front of me to find a beautiful female reading a book on India and the sunlight glowing her auburn hair and the red FabIndia Kurta. Well a fair girl, interested in India, illuminated by this sudden sunlight was indeed brightening to the eye and I guess gave an impetus to act to my brain, which I seldom do. There was this irresistible urge to talk to that girl and see whether what my dad had whispered before leaving made some sense. But then, more importantly I imagined myself discoursing about the wonders of India leaving the damsel with eyes filled with wonder, delight and anticipation – a sense of adventure.

But something, rather someone was giving a fierce fight in pulling me back from having an apparently wonderful time. The guy whose gray matter I had earlier decided to pick upon didnt like the idea of me leaving him mid course of his supposedly insightful, though boring lecture at all. And as usual he won! All hands down! Such a wonderful opportunity and gone down the drains of the airport of Frankfurt.  If things keep going this way, I will never be able to really put into test what my dad had whispered. But I got to live with it I guess as a PhD researcher… So back to appropriation and Social Computing without any socializing for me.

Foot Note: My dad had found an opportune time when I was alone, and it went some thing like this:

My Dad ( with a vey concerned knit eyebrow look): Navu, be careful over there.

Me: Chill dad, I am not going to get robbed or beaten! (well, looking back I was! Thats another kahani)

Dad: Nah, I am talking about… well… ummhh.. U know its a open society with free sex and all…

My mind (WoW!!!)

Me: Chill dad… I am committed to one person, for the rest of my life…