Thursday, December 29, 2005


Gone are the days of the tape recorder. Like Icarus who really got his wings melted off by daddys pipe, the tape recorder never really took off. By the time auto reverse hit the shelves, computers lasered the crap out of their magnetic 1s and 0s. Wooden floors and high ceilings have also gone out of vogue. What follows might seem offbeat but somewhere in time it was real.

Morning - and the water trucks richtered by on their morning runs shaking every metllic beam in the Esplanade Mansions. Rivets and people hugged themselves bracing themselves for the day, sun and expansion. The resident of number 44 awoke on the second floor. Each floor was the height of two. Mathematicians must have numbered the rooms. Stretching as a yogi might, he reached for the conch nested in his altar, he proceeded towards the open balcony to take in the last breaths of unpolluted sea breeze. He blew hard and long sending all the limpets on the konkan scampering. He also awoke the teak sleepers on the floor of the entire building. Teak tends wake to to the conch rather than the compressions and rarefactions of urban life.

68 was on the third floor directly above. The war had begun. Working till 4 in the morning, the blaring horn of the conch rolled him over from abyssal sleep to half sleep. Being disturbed at 6 was a "rarest of rare case" worthy of the death penalty only. Deat by rudeness, death by mortar and pestle, death by hungry sea slugs, death by Iron Maiden. But he would wait for the first move.

69, next door was of the pre-emptive sort. He reached out one paw and pressed the play button. Rageela. His first and only album. 1 month old - one month new. Nurturing the first and only album is a rewarding exprience. Dismay over the fact that one will have to labour through the catchy, familiar overhummed riffs but hope in finding nuance. The nuke was out of the bag. Next door, the lunatic was on the grass. 68 jumped out of bed hitting one of the many AMSS (automatic music select system) buttons on his swank 2in1. While the music sorted out its momentary crisis of indecision, 44 cranked up his FONY (of D.N. Road fame). - Kausalya supraja rama purva sandhya pravartate - top of the morning charts from somewhere close to 5BC. 69, groggy and frothing fluorine at the mouth, gyrated infinitesmally in the half mirror. 44, sat in brief meditation setting his chutney grinder into action between aasanas. 68 curled into a tighter ball under his blanket.

Wattage and cacophony versus pure cacophony in their best ever match up. Iron maiden joined the attack. "Your soul's gonna burn in a lake of fieyyyyyer" versus "tanhaa tanhaa yahan pe jeena" versus uttishta nara shardula uttishta garudadhwaja." Ad libs joined in. 68 used the pause between song 1 and song 2 to spit out his toothpaste froth. Wretching musically before each spit. 44 turned up the tempo on his chutney maker. 68 groaned aloud in power chords from under the blanket.

By now light, chirping birds and the white noise of civilization had seeped in through the cracks between the wooden flooring. 68 rose from his bug infested grave. Chengez Khan rising above the dune shouting whatever is becoming of Chengez Khan on withdrawal. Pissing hard into the toilet bowl he sighed aloud. He turned on his washing machine that groaned in protest of the smelly socks. He set the wash to "Jeans" and proceeded to begin sweeping list nights cigarette ash. He dragged the chairs with deliberate squeak. Today he would drag the heavy eucalyptus table as well. 44 Gave Suprabhaatam a boost and god was everywhere. 69 responded with a jump in volume "ice cream khaane mein bhi tension". 68 returned the compliment "Only the good die young. Only the evil seem to last forever". 44 had begun bathing. Bathing loudly. Splashing water and making squelcing sounds from rubbing too much soap onto his smooth skin. 68 aimed his washing machine output pipe maliciously onto 44s balcony below. The car on the road below would not get its half wash today.