Friday, 31 July 2015

Excerpt - Electioneering

“The best place to begin,” an old geezer who knew a thing or two about horses once told me, “is at the beginning. Then, one should go on to the middle, and if the end is in sight, make a dash for it.”

He was referring, I believe, to the Grand National in the year that Kais-Kous won it by a nose from Muslintang, but I’ve generally found the approach to work just as well in telling stories. But…I don’t know, one gets restless – it seems to make sense to try something different, even if for no particular reason, and of this urge, I suppose, the following story is born.

It all begins (though this is really the middle, if anything) at the Socialist Club of Upper Mumbai, that hoary bastion of the anti-Capitalist movement, ensconced comfortably between the woods of the National Park and the club’s own golf course. A picturesque post-colonial structure houses the club, which is the meeting ground of the leading members of the Socialist Party and functions, for all intents and purposes, as the Party HQ. It was the last day of the monsoon session of the State Legislature and we had won a significant victory over the ruling capitalist coalition, blocking a new Bill that proposed preventing employees of private flour mills from forming a Union.


The sounds of revelry ringing through the halls of the S.C.U.M were unmistakable. Glasses clinked, uproarious laughter broke out in places, and every five minutes or so came the sound of someone slapping someone else’s back. Wine flowed like water, and I had the distinct feeling that getting the stains of red wine off the carpet might turn out to be rather an ordeal the next day. But that was for the next day; for now we were celebrating a significant political victory, and it was a time to clink glasses, laugh uproariously and slap each other’s backs.

Percy - Ana Chronicles - VIII: Rocky Mountain Hop





"Look at the sky, Ana. Isn't it beautiful!"

"Yes, absolutely gorgeous! I think it's never been so blue."

"And there's still snow on the far mountain tops."

"Not to mention grass in the valleys."

"I love summer!"

"And...listen - is that the sound of a caribou rubbing against a tree?"

"Umm...Percy, that is the sound of the couple in that tent over there going at it."

"You mean having sex?"

"I think that was clear."

"NOW? At ten in the morning?"

"There's no such thing as a wrong time to make love, Percy, when it's with the right person."

~silence~

"Uhh...moving on, wasn't it nice of the lady at the visitor center to give you a Spanish-language audio guided tour?"

"Hmph. I thought it was condescending of her to presume I wouldn't know English well enough. I speak excellent English. I'm listening to that Spanish audio right now and it's not that good."

"Yes, but you curse in Español and you were cursing when you entered the center. She probably thought your first language is Spanish - which it is."

"I hurt my knee against the door. Of course I was cursing. You curse in Hindi yourself."

"Only occassionally, actually. But how is it now? Better?"

"Still hurts bad! See!"

"Umm which knee did you hurt?"

"The right one."

"Ana, there isn't even a bruise."

"You're so insensitive! You should be kissing it to make it better."

"Aww. Come here, you."

"It also hurts here. The door handle struck me too. Here. See. Kiss me here too."

"Ana, I can't kiss you there!"

"Why not?"

"Well, ahem, children hanging around the campsite and all that. It would be so inappropriate."

"Lets go inside the tent then."

"That...yes, that's a good idea."

~later~

"Ana."

"Yes, Percy?"

"Was this a ploy by you to prove yourself right?"

"About what?"

"There never being a wrong time to make love?"


"Look at the sky, Percy. Isn't it beautiful?"

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Percy - Ana Chronicles - VII: Watching Movies



"Hey there, come in, I was just starting a movie."

"Which one?"

"I found this Bollywood movie - Preeti from Apartment 1022 gave it to me."

"Oh. I hope it's a good one...ugh, no!"

"What?"

"Ana, Please tell me it's not 'Happy New Year'!"

"It is Happy New Year, actually. Why what's wrong with it?"

"You'll see."

~Soon after~

"Good Lord! What is that?"

"Uh..that's Shah Rukh Khan, he's kinda a big deal back in India."

"He looks familiar."

"Yeah? Maybe you've seen his poster around, like I said, he's popular. Especially with the non-resident crowd."

"No, I meant he looks like that mummy I once saw in the museum of Natural History in Washington DC."

"Well, don't go saying that too loud, he's got rabid fans."

"I'll be careful."

"He was rather charming and snazzy in his younger days."

"Which would've been when I was in pre-school."

~A little later~

"Ha ha ha, what a joker! This part is pure fiction, right? There isn't actually a place called Parsee Colony in Bombay, right?"

"Err...actually...there is."

"And is it full of desperate housewives?"

"Err...hot in here, let me put on the AC."

"And do the actually talk like that and have overbearing mothers?"

"Dinner? Let's order dinner?"

"Percy...is this character representative of the community?"

"He's an...ahem...exaggeration, of course."

"Gross exaggeration?"

"Cough...marginal...cough."

"Muy comico!"**

"Farah Khan, you have much to answer for!"

~slightly later~

"Uf! Que es este feo?"***

"That's Abhishek Bachhan, my dear. He's the second lead in this movie."

"Seriously? He looks like the homeless fellows who hang around Boulder creek at night."

"His father is kind of a Very Big Cheese. Think Marlon Brando - meets - Dwayne - Johnson."

~Much later~

"DIos mio! Belleza!"

"Uh yes, that's Deepika Padukone."

"Wow!"

"Yes, I know."

"Indian women are so beautiful!"

"Ana, looking at Deepika and saying 'Indian women are so beautiful' is a rather incorrect generalisation. It would be like concluding Colombian women are beautiful basis you and Sofia Vergara."

"But we are."

"Uh anyway, let's just get through this, shall we?"

~Much, much later~

"It was hilarious. Terrible, but hilarious."

"Mostly just terrible."

"And that woman - wow! Do women in India walk around dressed like that?"

"Nope, not really."

"And she can move! But those dresses! You should get me one. Or two. What's it called, a saree?"

"Not every Indian dress is a saree, Ana. Most of the time what you saw her wearing in this was a lehenga - choli."

"I'd look good in one."

"The dress hasn't been invented you wouldn't look good in."

"Aww, Percy. You say the nicest things. Is this a good Bollywood pose for my Instagram followers? Do I manage the Deepika whatshername look?"

"It's provocative, shows cleavage and if you were any less beautiful, would look crass."

"So you mean yes?"

"Sigh...yes, I mean yes."

"Now get here, I want to make you say YESSSSS!"

X-X-X-X



*Oh my God!
** Very funny

*** Ugh, what is this ugliness?

Percy - Ana Chronicles - VI: What makes Indian food hot.

This be mackerel


"What is this!"

"Bluefish curry. I was hoping to find mackerel, but there weren't any. This looked somewhat similar. Hasn't turned out too bad, has it?"

"It's astounding! Fabulous! Amazing!"

"Thanks, I wasn't sure how it would turn out!"

"Is all Indian food this spicy?"

"I'd say not all of it. This is a coastal dish, Malwani, it's called. But there are other sorts that are less brutal on the palate."

"Yes, variety is key. My mother she told me the same thing about Colombian cooking."

"Was she a good cook?"

"Terrible."

"Really?"

"My father did the cooking at home. When mom cooked we suddenly remembered we were on a diet. My father always told me, 'Ana, your mother is a wonderful woman but you're lucky your father knows how to cook'."

"My mother is a brilliant cook. She makes Parsee stuff, Maharashtrian food, Goan, Italian...why are you taking off your t-shirt?"

"Because I'm sweating! This is HOT FOOD."

"Actually, if this curry makes you take off your t-shirt, I think I just discovered an entirely new level of meaning for the word HOT FOOD."

"I should instagram a photo of me right now with the caption 'Bluefish curry and me' "

"Right, of course...you know, a friend just suggested I compile my Facebook posts with our conversations into a book."

"I love the idea! Wait a minute. Check this out - there you go; use this photo!"

"I can't use THIS photo. Mine is a family-friendly feed!"

"Is that why you don't give me your Facebook password? Worried I'll post inappropriate photos?"

"Not so much worried as pretty certain."

"Maybe you would prefer it if I shut down my Instagram too then?"

"Miss S, I would never dream of censoring YOU. But it's MY Facebook feed. You see, where you come from, and the people you know, are very different from the where I come from, and the people I know. I don't even use your full name on here, because, after all, as Shakespeare said...."

"Agua!"

"What?"

"Agua! Water!"

"Yes, I know, but where does water come into it? Shakespeare wrote in English, not Spanish. Maybe you're thinking of Marquez."

"I swallowed a hot pepper, you priceless ass! Give me water!"

"Oh. There you go."

"Am I a hot pepper too?"

"A Red Savina Habanero."

"New caption for new photo!!"

"Sigh! I'm getting back to lunch."

"You never pay me any attention."

"That's so unfair!"

"Here I am, in a state of partial undress, and you're still eating! Fish, I mean."

"Here you are, in a state of partial undress, and you're still eating, too."

"This is so good, though."

"So good."

"We will need ice-cream after."

"We don't have ice-cream, Ana."

"Crap. Yogurt?"

"Nope."

"So what DO we have?"

"Water."

"Blegh. So we will have to go out then?"

"Seems inevitable."

"I hate wearing clothes when I've removed them for a purpose."

"You generally hate wearing clothes."

"That's....like...so...agua. Dame agua!"

"Let's concentrate on the food and talk less, yes? That way maybe you'll eat more fish and less chilli"


"Yes, Percy."


This be Frozen Yogurt