Documenting how thoughts run in the editorial

Fuck man, it’s such a boring day.

Ya man. Why is it so boring today?

Is it because the weather is so great outside and we’re stuck inside?

Ya man, it’s so great outside.

Who do I have to sleep with to have this weather every day of my life in Bombay?

Zeus!

Zeus? Why Zeus? Doesn’t he wield a thunderbolt?

Ya, but you should sleep with Zeus man.

Zeus sleeps with everybody.

Ya, but you should sleep with him and get a child and then he’ll be like a demi-god and everything.

And he’ll have an epic written about him?

Ya!

I can be in a play? They’ll be a play written about me?

So you have to sleep with Zeus to get a role? That’s the original casting couch?

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Take the train

At Kurla, the Second Class Gents compartment is packed like Rakhi Sawant’s blouse. A fight breaks out between two strap hangers, and the amalgamated crowd rocks back and forth. People shout.

“Bas kar maadarchoddo, koi gir jayega”
“Aee! Aee! Band karo!”
“Akal nai hai kya tum logo ko?!”
“Shhh! Shhh! Hurr! Hurr!”
“Maar, Amitabh Bachchan, maar”

Bappi, we love you

YP was present at a ceremony felicitating Asha Bhonsle in 1997. This is his story.

Somebody gave Bappi Lahiri the mike and asked him to say a few words about Ashaji.

Bappida [in a thick Bengali accent]: Ashaji ke baare mein kya kehena. Ashaji ke gaan mein jo awaaz hai, woh kissike gaan mein nahin. Sab director apna gaan leke Ashaji ke paas jaate hai. Ami bhi unke gaan ke saath bahut kuch kiye. Humne inke gaan ke saath fusion kiya! Usme guitar dala! Tabla dala…

Ashaji [whispering]: Gappa kara hya maansaalaa…

The story of our lives

9.30 pm. Crime reporter N sits on the couch outside our office, stressing as always. Enter night watchman (W).

W: Madam, aapko bahut pareshaani hai na? (Madam, you seem troubled)
N: smiles
W: Thoda padh likh jaate toh dactar-engineer bannte. Yeh nahin karna padta. Mereko dekho. Main bhi nahin padha. Yehi pe hu.
(If you’d studies a bit, you could have become a doctor or an engineer. You wouldn’t have to do this. Look at me. I didn’t study. That’s why I’m here too)

Highlights of my stay in Ba’ram

1. The old man with four dogs and umbrella with doggie pictures asks me, “India?”. “Yes.” “Eechak dana, eechak dana. Indian, no?”

2. When I leave work every day, my boss says, “Thank you girls. Thank you for everything.” Sometimes, she gives us chocolate or cake.

3. My extremely aggressive and controlled room-mate gets wasted. The others wake me up to take care of her because they’re too drunk to handle her. She keeps asking for the English Girl, saying she’s her room-mate and stumbles into her corridor. The English girl runs into her room and locks the door. She then starts puking violently into the lawn, while the Nice Swedish Guy says soothingly, “Don’t worry, Sunny-D is here.” The red-haired Swedish girl is trying to calm her claustrophobia by instructing her to breathe in, breathe out. The Colombian Couple are calling out from the staircase, “That’s right L**! Throw the devil out.”

4. My shy South Korean roommate asks: Do you make frat in front of friends? D made frat in front of me. I think it’s very rude.

5. Things L says. For example: She looks like she can’t count till 10.

6. The Columbian Twins have a Bitchy High School Girls thing going on. One of them, M, has been thrown out of every job on the kibbutz for a. Being lazy b. Licking her boyfriend and distracting others c. Being bossy. Unfortunately for her, she tries to tell L how to do her job of pasting stickers on apple boxes. L: “I am not your fucking child. You don’t fucking tell me how to do the job. I am not fucking working for you. You are slowly and surely getting on my nerves.” M says something in Spanish to other Columbian volunteers and gives out a high pitched laugh. L, thrusting her palm in M’s face: You see this? I will fucking smack you right here.” Work halts and the managers pull L away. M’s Swedish boyfriend walks by, giving L hard looks. L yells at him, “IS THERE A FUCKING PROBLEM?” We make L tell the story again and again for the rest of the day.

7. The Member’s club behind Dinning that has comfortable seats, soft lights, magazines, 12 flavours of herbal tea, many types of coffee and cakes and cookies. It opens three times a week and I sit there sipping my tea, watching the members playing with their grandchildren on Shabbath, wearing their best. Some of the founder members still dress like it’s an evening in Europe — coiffed hair, silver barrettes, polished shoes and scarves.

8. The flowers. Made more awe-inspiring by the knowledge that the orchards and forests in this hills were hand-planted by kibbutzims, 60 years ago. The garden in Ba’ram, in particular, is looked after by a lady who has done this job since she was 17. She looks like she’s in her mid 60s and drives around in a modded golf cart with a stuffed doggie splayed across the steering wheel.

9. Pancake Wednesdays. Olives. Cottage cheese with olive oil on toast and tomatoes.

10. Things that happen in the bomb-shelter — poker nights, PlayStation wars, Hebrew classes, Karate classes and hormonal hook-ups.

Day 25: Divine plan

M: Look at this cathedral. You’re supposed to contemplate on certain questions at certain questions. There’s a map!
J: I can do that here.
M: But you’ll find answers there. Like what God wants you to do.
J: I know what god wants me to do. He wants me to have babies. Lots of fat babies.
M: That’s your divine purpose?
J: That’s right. He said go forth and multiple. And he didn’t mean maths.
M: What if he did mean maths?

*** Bonus***

W: We thought you didn’t want to come out for a smoke.
K: I didn’t know how to start the next para.

Does your mother know?

He is a thin, slight man with a delicate nose and constitution. Always in the company of a combative, protective woman. His shadow is dense with murmurs of his femininity.
He gets married, and everyone giggles. They meet his wife — a stocky, moustachioed woman with a buzz cut — and the mirth deepens.
An arrangement evident.
He draws a colleague aside one day to express concern about a fellow worker.
“He’s overly friendly with the girls,” he says, “His jokes are off-colour. I’m afraid they will be offended and complain. Should I talk to him?”
“The girls see him as one of them,” says his friend.
“Oh,” he says, “You mean he’s a gay?”