Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Word of Caution – This write turned out to be way lengthier than expected. So please bear with it. You are most welcome to grab a cup of coffee in case it’s too boring. The expense is sincerely regretted. And yes, in case the vocabulary sounds TOO galactic, don’t bother reading. Spare yourself the torture.

It’s not often that you get to see people, who are closed like clam shells, sharing their most zealously guarded secrets. It’s probably even rarer that they don’t regret doing so. Such moments, whether better or worse, end up being so vital to us that they define the way we perceive life and its nuances. One such lazy summer afternoon, Kekda Man chanced to meet Chirkut Lady. It’s not pertinent how they met and why they did. What followed is of consequence. So let’s digress.

The place was slightly conducive to the chain of thoughts, if not remarkably apt. They had decided to stop by one of the coffee joints that seemed to have sprung up all over the cluster like monsoon potholes. The view from the sheltered patio was refreshingly lazy. The small round tables were evenly spaced out in three concentric circles, respecting the privacy of the patrons. Busy people hurried past the cozy oasis, lost in either telephonic murmurs or ill-suppressed suspicions. They never failed to steal a cursory glance, often mystified, as if uncertain whether their expression should be one of contempt or craving.

The weather was unlike itself. It had rained last night. The monsoons had finally made their presence known, after months of eager anticipation. The earth still smelt of the rain drops. The aroma was ethereal. A gentle breeze caused Chirkut’s skirt to sashay elegantly. Had she dressed for the occasion? Kekda hoped not. He looked his casual self, too informal for anyone’s taste but her. Maybe. The sun, who had been teasing some rag-like clouds for quite some time, had decided to finally surrender to them. It was dusk at dawn. Picture perfect. Well almost. The shadows flitting past the skies had managed to prompt an erratic thought process. Somewhere. God forbid.

Kekda had been doodling on the napkin, trying to give a face to his musings. The sandwich had turned out to be too bland for his taste. He knew he shouldn’t have ordered. Baah. Sometimes, only sometimes, he wished he had listened to her. Meanwhile, Chirkut had been ranting about her publisher. The lack of interest (and attention) had gone unnoticed for sometime. Then comprehension dawns, and silence soon prevails. He smiles in a condescending fashion and sighs as if his life depended on it. She could tell some disaster was afoot. Kekda was not in the mood to disappoint his escort. He starts off by becoming totally oblivious to any humane presence in his vicinity and then proceeds to engage an invisible entity in a dramatic monologue. We say invisible because it did not seem like he was conversing with Chirkut at all. It might as well have been a dog sitting next to him, enjoying its afternoon siesta while pretending to comprehend the rhetoric.

“You know there was a time when I had a major crush on this girl called Lewd Langurni. I even thought I was in love with her. She seemed nothing like me, a class apart I tell you. Lived on a faraway planet in Boomerang, totally inaccessible. I was just starting out as a Gila Fighter, hardly raking in any moolah. I started saving money so that one day I could get to meet her. I might still be able to dig up my collection box. Her boyfriends made me jealous (laughs). It was a very interesting episode in my life. Sometimes I think I might be even ashamed of it. But only in a good way.”

Chirkut looks as if someone had just slapped her for breathing too loudly. Then she opens and closes her mouth a few times. Finally, she manages to utter something weirdly trivial.

“Certainly sounds like one. Do you get to talk to her now?”

“It’s not a question of whether I get to or not. I just grew out of her. It’s a pity she still sends a polite hello sometimes. I just try to wriggle my way out of the awkward situation. Imagine liking someone you’ve not even met. Baah. Not that I regret anything. That time was fun. Although, a wiser person might term it all as immaturity. I remember spending hours talking to her and eagerly looking towards engaging her in some interesting conversation. I often end up smiling, if not laughing, whenever I think about it.”

“Do you think it was just some sort of infatuation that you grew out of or was it something more serious? Eww. This is turning into some kind of an interview. You know you don’t have to answer any of my questions.”

Kekda is not one to be flummoxed by such diplomatic statements. He looks at Chirkut for one long moment, searching for something he had lost long ago. He smiles to himself, as if a cherished memory lost in some forlorn corner of the past had suddenly revealed itself to him. An instant later he is his usual self again, careless, insecure, haughty, and tragic. As ironical as the recollections he kept only to himself.

“I am telling you all this not because YOU are here. But just because I had to. Anyway, I would hate to label it as infatuation or love. It was something that I enjoyed and that should be about it. Why should we seek to categorize it and then dissect its remains with some kind of surgical finesse? It could have been my loneliness, my inability to interact with my environment. It could have been my paranoia. The question is - does it even matter anymore?”

“No it doesn’t. Not now at least. This is really weird coming from you. You DO realize that. Don’t you? I am realizing there is a whole side of you I have no clue about. And yet I thought I knew you. Knew you well enough to like you once.”

“Yeah. But what’s wrong with that? I find it so irritating when people try to confine others to moulds that they have sculpted for them. It’s like they’ll freak out if one does anything which does not confirm to their notions. Life needs to be a bit more unpredictable than that. It should be a game of dice, rather than chess.”

Chirkut smiles fondly, more because she did not know what to say than anything else. Maybe that was why she had liked him. Would she care to ponder over it again? She hoped not. For her own good. For a brief moment she looked inane, like the several bimbettes whom Kekda had come to loathe vehemently. But the very next instant, he realized SHE would never fit THAT mould. Realizing so, he laughed aloud, his laughter ringing out, like a shrill whistle, scaring a few unsuspecting couples who were enjoying close proximity. Chirkut is not perturbed. She just clucks her tongue in disapproval. After all, she had come to expect such behavior from him, and adore him for the very same reasons.

“I did not mean to say that. But you seem to be in a weird mood today. So I won’t take umbrage.”

“Ah, the lady that you are. That word was pathetically British though. Somewhat like preposterous.”


Silence showed signs of filling the space between the unlikely couple. So Kekda engages himself by observing the table to his right. A graceful lady occupied it. She was alone and wore a green dupatta (we still had those weird contraptions in the galaxy) around her head in order to escape the heat. A cup of cappuccino had probably turned cold due to neglect. A maverick curl had wriggled free of the fetters and seemed to be inclined on teasing her. She looked akin to a portrait of wait, eternal wait. Like someone who, by the constant telling of a lie, had begun to believe that it was the truth itself. As if reading his thoughts, she blushed, got up suddenly and left the joint, her perfume lingering on as she passed their table. Kekda gathers his incoherent thoughts once again.

“She was wearing chappals.”

“Yes she was. And it’s not a crime to sport them. Not yet. Maybe you’ll ban them once you’re done with all the Gila Monsters in the galaxy.”

“Hogwash. I remember going to my monster fighting lectures wearing chappals. I knew it was weird but I think I hardly bothered. I guess it had something to do with an image of myself that others had tricked me into believing. But given that, I would love to be as carefree about everything else in my life.”

“My guess is that you think way too much about everything in life. You can probably get philosophical about a door knob twisted the wrong way. You should be trying to have a lot more fun than you do. Why can’t you be a bit more, let’s say, like me?”

“Ah! The bane of vanity. I wish I could though. I agree that my mind is one screwed up place. But its mine all the same. And it’s dear to me.”

“I think you have a sadistic attachment to everything that went wrong in your life. It’s pathetic and amusing at the same time. I am trying to be sarcastic. And witty.”

“Sarcasm and Irony are wasted on me.”

“Ha. We’ll see Keeks. You know I am not one to give up so easy.”

“And I wouldn’t even try. I have decided to stop retaliating. After all, I want to be the tragic hero of my story. They are meant to be these morose, witty, philosophical, pathetic guys. I wonder why they are called heroes anyway. But who cares. Suits me fine. Ha.”

Chirkut gives up arguing with a disgusted humph. She tried speaking. But her words failed her. All imperative alphabets seemed to have been replaced by underscores. What was left behind looked like a brain teaser somebody had tried solving, and failed at gloriously. She shifted her weight from one corner of the chair to another, fidgeting over her charming dress. Kekda seemed startlingly nonchalant to the discomfiture. With a start, he gets up.

“I am leaving.”


“This time for good. I need my tragedy to unfold. The world seems to be waiting. Don’t fret. I won’t forget you. You have helped me evolve in more ways than one. I’ll make sure you have first row seats to the show.”

Kekda smiles one last toothy grin and without as much as a glance back, he leaves. Never turning back. Was it a custom to leave without proper goodbyes? Was it again some reflection of himself he was trying to keep alive? Chirkut stays back for a few minutes, wondering whether their association had been more good than bad. Then she too smiles, recognizing the futility of it all. Being with him had taught her that. At least. They had both somehow unconsciously effected changes in the other. Where they for better or the worse? Would it help if one knew?

We think we saw her walking in the opposite direction. We can’t be too sure. We didn’t think it was important to know. It was the end of the saga of Kekda and Chirkut as we knew it.

So long, and thanks for all the patience.


  1. Daal do sid...itna suspense mat rakho

    Subah se tatti bhi karne nahi gaya...bas page refresh karta rehta hoon, yeh sochka ki confession ab aayega, ab aayega.....

    Meri uljhan door karo...daal do jo likha hai!

  2. hmmmm...
    aya samjh mein aya...
    katu satya hai dost..


    Dress Sense of chirkut and toothy grin of kekda-- Except these two is there any other striking constancy in each meet?

  4. @Fact

    I wouldn't know. You tell me. You are the observer after all. I am just laying down the...well..err..fiction. IS there any consistency?

    Green one will be revealed in subsequent episodes. If there are any. Kekda seems hell bent on giving any more interviews to SleepingTablets :(

  5. Are you not teetering too close to the edge
    As fact and fiction collasce into a phew
    That BIG brain of yours needs a rest
    Its time that you do the due.

    * * *

    Med scratches her cheekat head
    For once a tale makes no sense
    Is it just her jaded self
    Or the galactic distance?

    KEEKS? Owwwowow..Terrible nickname.

  6. With every Chirkut-Kekda post, I can't help wondering how much of it is fact and how much is fiction.

    And I never get too far in my 'wonderings'.

  7. She's clothed in a skirt, his thoughts amusingly mundane,
    A tasteless sandwich, which he'll never try again,
    The changes are subtle, awash with rain
    "It was dusk as dawn" that's a charming claim!

    The more you read of it, the more you like it. That's an interesting quality for a write to have.