Monday, August 6, 2007

Barbershop (and other things)

Well, yeah. So much has changed over these last few months - for instance, I grew a beard over one entire month, only to have it hedged off in three minutes flat, alongwith my hair (which I didn't want to have hedged off, by the way). The saloon visit was quite a riot: The barbers of "Modern Hair Saloon" seem to despise me because I'm a "dallyite". They huddle together and whisper conspiratorially, and I'm like "You're barbers, for fuck's sake"! Well I don't actually say that, because I'm meek, but I wish I could say that. So I sit, looking tremendously idiotic, in that chair-contraption-thingie, a cheap orange sheet draped around me, while they decide who should have a go at my formidable beard (quite the hedge, I must concede). After a few minutes, wherein I'd counted precisely the number of blackheads on my nose, one of them approaches me apprehensively. I have the sudden urge to growl, but I don't do that either. All in all, I must have looked like a very hairy, very orange, mannequin.

"Sadhu-bhai," he says, "Hum sirf daadhi nahin kaatenge...baal bhi kaatne padhenge."

Sadhu-bhai? Now I wish to behave like Victorian novelty, turn into an elderly lady and exclaim, "Well I never!" But I don't do that either. I look around myself and realize that I'm vastly outnumbered. Sigh.

I just smile at him and tell him, "Haan, theek hai. Kaat lo jo kaatna hai." Wait, that didn't come off right. He's goggling at me and my disastrous Hindi, his lips mouthing a very meaningful, "Saala chootiya."

Anyway, he takes it all off with a mix of precision, cruelty and utter devotion, and I become a new person. I feel light, unburdened...


But then, about a week ago, I contracted a miserable flu that worsens in proportion to the medication I consume. There are four specific stages to this monstrosity of a cold:

Stage I - My nose runs quicker than the Nile on a slope, and I'm reaching out for handkerchiefs (always in short supply) like a kerchief-obsessed stick-insect;

Stage II - I refuse all medication with bravado and vociferousness, and prefer to restrict myself to various forms of alcohol and cigarettes (I can't have the medicines because they'll react with the alcohol...*sigh*);

Stage III - My brother (he must have left his brains behind during birth) provides me with his "home-remedy" ( a cigarette soaked in Vicks Vaporub, which I must smoke quickly for it may fizzle and die) and I feel as though I may fizzle and die. I slide smoothly from Stage II to Stage IV, with only a few puffs and a few hundred earth-shattering coughs;

Stage IV - I suddenly realize the reasons for medicine manufacture, and saunter off to a chemist. I stock up Vicks Inhalers, Vaporubs (this one, for my brother), Amoxicillin, and B-Complex "Fortified with Vitamin C". I attack these with fervour and a heretofore unseen sense of responsibility. I feel confident that I shall make it through (this is today, by the way).


Then again, check out Diamonds and Rust for a more complete (and hilariously subjective) account of the "things" that have come to pass. Note how the first female President competes with new Pune club rules for blog space. Kudos!

I, personally, am infatuated with a mouse:

I turn around, and she is there again,
Why does she watch me so?
She does not sleep, or eat, or drink, or smoke,
But is quite so fascinating all the same.
Her eye is queer; it is hollow and cold,
And I know she does not approve;
I drink my wine the way it is drunk,
So why does she watch me so?
I run in vain, for she is quick, this one;
And I wail in silence, for she listens;
And I wail even more, for she does not speak,
And I wail and I wail and I wail.
I would pray to the Lord, but I know she would laugh,
And mock me for my insincerity;
She does not pray herself, this one, and
Indeed, holds my God captive and forlorn!
I find the darkest corner, sit myself down,
Think how it is insufferably, cheerfully bright;
I wish to make it darker, I do!
But she always holds the light.

Do forgive me for excessive brackets, for breaking all known "Tense Rules" (improperly defined as rules that are - uh - tense), and for actually daring to write mouse-oriented poetry. Mice can't read, can they?


Tarun said...

LMAO! Sadhu Bhai! But i guess you should just be happy that he didn't say "Emran Hashmi bhai". :P

And well alcohol doen't seem to be the answer to everything after all, does it now?

I don't even know what to say to that ode to a mouse except poor mouse. Waise i hope the cat in your house doesn't make dinner out of it.

Amiya said...

Sadhu bhai! One of the tragedies of being a Dallyite in Pune, I guess.

And an Ode to a Mouse, "well I never!"
It's okay, even if mice can read (and we don't know they can't, do we?), I'm sure this one will be pleased. I mean, everyone likes having an ode written to them. I know I'd be pretty chuffed in my heart of hearts if someone calls me a tartar in their ode, but dedicates the ode to me.

Hope the cold is better. Or if it isn't, you can keep giving updates on it, right here. If it's anything as fun as this post was, I know I'd like to read it :)

Amiya said...

*funny, not fun

life_as_a_box said...

Tarun: I'll keep the cat away from the mouse. Are you happy now?? ;p..Gee! It's not actually about a mouse, y'know...I thought of it as a man v/s his conscience thing, but I guess it doesn't come off! :(

Amiya: I'm glad that my cold is at least amusing, if nothing else! :)...And yes, it's much better, thanks! I think I'll write about the recovery...hmm...*profound thought*.

Cheers! And thanks for reading. :)

Kama said...


well-done! good piece of prose!

wont comment on the poem though.

Amiya said...

Ohhhh god oh, the mouse was mentioned so much that I read the poem at a completely literal level. And now that I read it as the "man vs conscience" thing, it makes a LOT of sense and I think it's excellent. Especially love the last two lines -
"I wish to make it darker, I do!
But she always holds the light."

That's fantastic, simply awesome.

life_as_a_box said...

Kama: Glad you liked the prose, and glad you didn't like the poem!! :)...I'm a little "Uh...hmmm..." about it myself!

Amiya: Poof! I'm so relieved it makes some sense!! ;p...Thank you so much for actually reading it again!

LostLittleGirl said...

The Vick Inhaler has got me hooked right now, and I can place the 'ode to the mouse' at an extremely fitting perspective owing to my current heightened sense of well.. putting things in perspective. Okay. Okay. I'm stoned.

OMG!! You actually wrote about my blog on your blog? .*sniff sniff*...I think I love you..

And I'm waiting for Gokarna pictures now..

life_as_a_box said...

lostlittlegirrl: Chalo I'm glad it's possible to put The Mouse into perspective. Seriously. It's shitty, no?

My blog admires your blog very much, so it is but necessary to be co-ordinate, sort of. :)

And the Gokarna pictures shall come! Have patience, stoned one.

bleflet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bleflet said...

better mouse than ferret!!

polecats don't usually trot around chattushringi... But yeah, mice make better 'objects' than partition gore or daisies, come to think of it.

life_as_a_box said...

Bleflet: *Sigh*, that's some nice words there. Since I'm seeing the frame of reference from within here, I must say I'm flattered.

Thunks. Thunks very much!! :)