If you read the text on the above image carefully, the fifth name from the bottom is MINE. Tehelka ran an excerpt from my forthcoming stoner novel Toke. Click here to read more about the book. Click on the image to read the fourth edition of Tehelka's annual fiction issue. And if you insist that you want to read my story only and not these other cool stuff (an excerpt from what is being regarded as the greatest novel written in Urdu ever, a short story by the writer and associate director of Delhi Belly and a short story by Kalki Koechlin of Dev.D and The Skeleton Woman fame) then you can simply click HERE.
In the kingdom of Work, lived many a hard-working slaves. The kingdom was ruled by the rather tyrannical Morning family. The Mornings were of the warrior class. And they had settled in the land of Work way before people could remember when. And there were no schools. And so there was no history.
Over the years, the Mornings had grown into a large family and as brothers over generations kept splitting into clans. The most powerful clan of which were the Monday Mornings. The only clan, which over generations of progress, had stuck to its warrior ways. In fact, they had only gotten more fundamentalist with every new row that got added to the family tree.
The leaders of the clans took their rounds to look into the matters of their subjects. Also known as slaves because of it being the relevant word for their lifestyle. So basically, imagine a fortress district in Japan. Over generations, the position of the leader had just become a costume. The person inside kept changing.
Monday Mornings were always the healthiest of the clans. Healthy as in if they went shopping in America, they would mostly be allowed only in the Plus stores.
After Sunday Morning had implemented a wake and bake policy for all the subjects, and Sunday Evenings had introduced sluggishness-inducing decadent red velvet cake as a ritual, the Monday Mornings were left fuming.
"People should not be smiling. They should be working." A fuming Monday Morning slammed his fist at the breakfast table. Mrs Monday Morning was upset. Why wouldn't he, for once, eat the goddamn rice cake quietly. Yes, they were also hippies. Can you imagine, a giant hippie named Monday Morning, wearing a robe and a rice hat, carrying two swords, walking briskly on the bridges that ran over the countless fields? Always walking between the farmers and the direction of the sun because his large silhouette and the shadow it cast on the farmers was supposed to be terrifying.
So yes, Mrs Monday Morning and the two little Monday Mornings were shaken at Daddy Monday Morning's breakfast table outburst. Little did Mr Monday Morning know that after he left for his rounds, she would be playing bridge with Mrs Sunday Evening and Mrs Sunday Morning and get baked. And if the weed was good, she'd even let Mr Sunday Evening fondle her bosom.
So it was a little after Mr Monday Morning had left for his rounds. Slaves had begun to gather in the farms after Mrs Sunday Evening's home made red velvet cake. No kidding: she had an oven the size of a fucking castle. As his large body passed across the bridge, like the moon walking across the sun during an eclipse, one heard the racking of a gun.
Mr Monday Morning's pursed lips met at two corners like everybody else's. One of the corners curled into the cheek. His rice hat low, covering his eyes that nobody could see. He did not stop. Just slowed down the pace at which he glided over the bridge. Mr Monday Morning's hand slowly reached his waist, fingers stroked the thick ribbed handle.
Far, far away in a room with red velvet curtains, Mrs Monday Morning was sucking some smoke out of Mrs Sunday Morning's mouth except that their nostrils shot out that same smoke and they continued kissing.
"MONDAY MORNING!" A slave screamed as he pulled a big, fat gun out, "I have come to avenge the death of my father."
Monday Morning did not say a word. His fingers slowly moved over the thick ribbed handle and wrapped around it tight. He continued walking, a voice inside his head droned on, "If I had a slave for every time a slave threatened to kill me... I'd have a lot more slaves. But this one has a gun! They all can get guns. The fort walls have been weakened by my kin..."
Meanwhile, Mrs Monday Morning was being pampered to no limit. Her eyes bloodshot and her robe undone from the front as she was being fed and smothered with red velvet cake by Mrs Sunday Morning and Mrs Sunday Evening.
"He fired! The motherfucking goddamn son of a bitch fired!" Monday Morning thought before yanking out his giant sword and whipping the bullet out of its path. The priest of that little hamlet lost his eye that day. No records of how have been found. And the slave who fired at him... Wait, what slave?
By the power vested in me by the Internet, the freedom of speech and complete and utter futility, I hereby propose a policy change in the building of statues in public places by the government, out of our tax money. But not before I lead you all to the spectacular buildup which led me to my great idea itself. A journey of the mind, if one may call it that.
Most people may argue that why build statues. They are a waste of money. I disagree there. Not exactly disagree but let's say I am only half-convinced. Here's the reason why. The latest overambitious project that a political leader has announced is The Statue of Unity, a statue of Sardar Patel, which will be twice the size of Statue of Liberty and will cost Rs. 1000 crore (approx. US $200 million).
According to a 2005 World Bank estimate, in India, if you are making less than Rs. 21.6 a day in urban areas and Rs. 14.3 a day in rural areas, then you are officially poor. Now let's assume you have decided to give away the 1000 crore as cold hard cash to people. Let's raise the bar from the poverty line and start giving away Rs. 50 a day to a bunch of people. The average lifespan in India is about 60 years. I've done the math and let me assure you, it will support about 90 people throughout their life. Hate me if you wish to but I'd rather have a Rs. 1000 crore statue, please. (Let's not forget the other means of employment that the statue will generate. Those 90 people could be employed for life and the same jobs could then go 90 poorer people when they die. And the state will figure a way out to collect some form of tax from the visitors/tourists at the statue. Income for everyone. And a statue is like a flag for a country's psychosexuality. Only more phallic.)
Not saying that there haven't been delusional for statues. Like take the Shiv Sena proposal to build a statue of Shivaji as tall as the Statue of Liberty in the sea, near the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. This delusional demand was of course sorted in the family as Raj Thackeray (MNS), on live television, said, "You need to be practical. If you build a statue as tall, you have any idea how big and long the horse will be? Where will you get all that material from? How will you transport it to the centre of the sea?" People may hate him but just by the sheer force of logic he won my heart and my non-existential vote, which I am pretty sure is misused (by impersonation) by whichever political party has the stronger foothold in my area.
We hate our politicians and our leaders. They have given us strong reasons to do so. They are our representatives. They are the go-getters among us when it comes to power. I respect that but we must accept that they're not (at) all good looking. Neither are our founding fathers. No disrespect but Gandhi, with his scrawny body and round head, was one ugly motherfucker. Ambedkar, I'm sorry, was fat. Neither would Patel have made it to the People's Sexiest Man Alive, 1947 edition.
Having giant statues of ugliness inspires more ugliness. Haven't you heard that theory about how people start looking like their parents or their dogs or other stuff that they spend a lot of time around? So do we want our future generations to be as ugly as our leaders? I'm not saying we should not read or listen to what they have to say. Their words are important and will help in building a great nation. But their looks will only help in building a great nation filled with ugly people. Why do you think Italians and Greeks are such handsome men? Their forefathers left them with statues of the Gods, naked and handsome and beautiful.
Thus, coming full circle to the change in policy about Statues (dangling modifier alert!) that we so badly need. If we are hellbent on having a statue that is twice the size of the Statue of Liberty, the least that we can do for our future generations is make it pretty. Like, how about a statue of Katrina Kaif instead of Sardar Patel, just as big and on the same location. A statue of Katrina Kaif smiling and looking down at the tourists who have come to picnic around the sprawling lawns around the base of the statue, and polaroid photographers snapping family portraits, and jalebis and gaathiyas and dhoklas and the littering. And the giant lettering across the gate and smaller lettering engraved on the foundation stone will say: 'KATRINA KAIF, Posing As THE STATUE OF UNITY, In Loving Memory Of SARDAR VALLABHAI PATEL. This foundation was laid by Shri Narendra Modi.' OR 'ROBERT DOWNEY JR. (in his Iron Man suit minus helmet), Posing As THE STATUE OF UNITY, In Loving Memory Of The 'IRON MAN' of India: SARDAR VALLABHAI PATEL.'
Now be good boys and girls and fill in your suggestions for statues across the country. Here's the template: '[handsome/beautiful celebrity], Posing As THE STATUE OF [virtue], In Loving Memory Of [political/religious/etc leader who can somewhat fit into the virtue]. This foundation was laid by [political leader who proposed the statue].'
It didn't really happen. A holographic projection of a Michael Bay production was broadcasted to the world. Then they managed to cloak the existing twin towers using latest refractive technology and now the real invisible twin towers are the secret operative base for US military intelligence.
–“The Douchebag Collectives 18, Jugal Mody 0 – I don't know why you even bother to play when there's no chance in hell that you're gonna win.” –“Heyyy! I don't play at all. It's like I'm AFK and stuck in gameworld.” –“But even if you did, not like you're gonna win.” –“But I don't want to play!” –“But even if you did, not like you're gonna win.” –“Truth.”
It was a lonely Sunday morning and Sandy was sitting on his couch. His mind was glued to the blur his unfocused eyes cast on his retina. He admired that blur. He was wearing red checkered boxers and a white vest with three holes in it. It was 10 AM and Sandy had moved only once in the two and a half hours since 7:30. At 7:30, he had parted his thighs a little so that his fingers could scratch his balls. His bored love for his retinal blur was a fortress behind which hid a secret anticipation.
Sandy had not slept a wink in the last forty eight hours because he was waiting for his teleshopping delivery to arrive. The black, sleek and 'lite' edition of the Crap-O-Matic ™. Sandy was filled with warmth just at the thought of the arrival of the Crap-O-Matic ™. Because from that day on he wouldn't have to flush an empty commode everytime he visited the toilet. His ecological guilt would not torture him for wasting all that water.
The Crap-O-Matic ™, as seen on TV, was a ring the shape of the golden throne seat. One had to place it over the seat, where it fit, and then sit on the Crap-O-Matic ™. This is how the TV commercial described the magnificient device to have worked. The more the pooper controlled his or her poo pressure, the harder the Crap-O-Matic ™ manufactured poop. Sensors were planted on the upper surface of the Crap-O-Matic ™. The sensors determined the pooper's poo pressure control by gauging his or her blood pressure, the tightness of his or her ass clench and a variety of other factors which the manufacturers did not reveal because it was a trade secret. The more number of times had Sandy watched the commercial, the more he had desired the technological marvel that the Crap-O-Matic ™ was.
He wanted to own one so bad. He sold his television on ebay and received the payment on his PayPal account. He then proceeded to log on to the website of the teleshopping network to place an order for the device of his dreams, for which he paid from the same PayPal account. After forty eight hours of staying awake, the morning of the promised delivery had finally come.
At 11:30, the doorbell rang. A man wearing brown overalls, that was the uniform of the package delivery service, showed up at Sandy's doorstep. The brown of the delivery man's uniform reminded Sandy of poo. The poo reminded Sandy of the tightness with which his own ass was puckered, which then reminded him of the sound of fresh poo being manufactured that he had heard on TV. He smiled for the first time in the last eleven years as he signed the delivery receipt and shut his door.
It had been eleven years since his pot had felt the texture of roughage. Even his flush tank had been feeling equally worthless recently. The two were facing a severe identity crisis and an inferiority complex the size of a small island in the Pacific. Their self esteems had hit an all time low recently. They felt like the illiterate country bumpkin housewife of a highly educated womanising slash gay city businessman. They were just not sure of themselves. But the truth is that in this metaphor, Sandy was neither a womaniser nor a homosexual. He was plain asexual or at least he chose to be one.
Sandy installed the Crap-O-Matic ™ on his toilet seat and tightened its clamps. He then proceeded to drop his boxers to his ankles and rested his ass. The moment his ass touched the Crap-O-Matic's sensors, they wen™ad. Their input was considered by the processor, which rushed into an overclocked state trying to calculate the amount of poop to be manufactured. In a matter of microseconds, the processor sent its output to the crap generator. The amount of poop that was generated was HUGE. It was the biggest dump ever.
Meanwhile, Sandy's commode exploded into an orgasm as the poo slapped along its surface. The flush tank moaned and jumped with anticipation like a ticklish woman, who hadn't gotten laid in over a decade, was blindfolded and her inner thighs were being pleasured with a feather till she felt release. A giant whoosh of a whirlpool swept away the creation of the Crap-O-Matic ™ and the two bathroom fixtures felt closer to Sandy than they ever had.
The Crap-O-Matic's first dump was so gianormic that Sandy ended up using its entire battery life in one go. He plugged the charger in and while he waited, he walked into his kitchen and made himself some toast, which he smothered with a tablespoonful of butter. Sandy glowed as he continued to devour his toast and butter with immense satisfaction while his eyes kept stealing glances at the charging indicator LEDs of the Crap-O-Matic ™.
Sandy was in love, for the first time ever in his constipated life.
Epilogue: One fine day, after eight years since that happened, Sandy just vanished. Nobody ever saw any of him ever again. When his family finally broke into his house, it stank. They followed the stench and a line of castor oil bottles into the bathroom, which had its door blown off. The insides looked like a damp cave. All the walls were brown like painted with poo and plants were growing out of it. The Crap-O-Matic™, though, was still there, just as shiney and just as new. The commode and flush tank on the other hand had a few brown spatters on them.