Thursday, November 28, 2013


cover photograph by yasha mushtaq mir
None of these bastards have to know, but honestly, having to act while dangling mid-air on the contraption, at the same time delivering dialogues to a lady played by a dude is like a double-deluxe-bonanza pain in the ass, especially when there’s the horror of Rishi Puggal acting the female part! You could be looking at that jerk from North Pole and the beauty on his damn face could still make you barf all over the place. He’s supposed to be playing Virgin Mary and everything, except that the face of this Mary, glowing and ugly as a toad, was buried behind those breasts the size of miniature mount Everests which Sanjay Mangeshkar from the mountaineering club, if ever knew existed, would’ve climbed and conquered and stuck flags at the summit points by now. And, guess what, the crippling size of the breasts is just one half of it. You could easily have balanced a large bowl of soup, without spilling, on that ass which overhung at least a foot out in the air. There was so much steam coming off her, half the time you’re afraid the holy mother of God will break into a cabaret number any moment to surprise you! And it was above this rotten freak-show, staring at the world of ugly, that I, as Angel Gabriel, helplessly oscillated down from the fly space with a killing urge to pee!

Obviously, it’s not like any of us at St. Michael’s felt swell about the fact that we didn’t have any dames around here. But situations such as this made it worse than it already was, and you bloody well felt like giving birth to one. There are only two dames inside the St. Michael’s biosphere; the psychotic Chandrika Chandavarkar, the student councilor, and the music teacher, Shoniketa Bhor, and they’re both cows. So technically there still are none. The damn place has been down on its luck since they invented schools, and it became the most trying when they had to find a new Mary for the annual nativity play every other Christmas! At St. Michael’s it’s like a very big deal to stage the play about Jesus’ birth every year, as the battalion of fathers here are crazy about it, no matter how well they knew every inch of it already. You wake them up at two in the morning and say there’s a nativity play showing in Uganda, they’ll all start running right away to catch it before it got over. That’s how crazy they are about it.

It isn’t very difficult to cast the rest of the characters, as they’re all supposed to be dudes and animals, but finding the right Mary is like the school’s worst nightmare. Father Dogzilla, our principal, unleashes a hunt right from the beginning of each year and eventually ends up with somebody like Rishi Puggal, who has a difficult relationship with reality, ‘cause none of the other dudes, in the right frame of mind, agrees to take up the part of the heroine in the biggest and the most watched event of the year. And if we were to learn from history, Dogzilla couldn’t insist anybody to take up the role, as there’ve been incidents where guys left St. Michael’s when forced to. If you’re dying to know about Puggal, he’s this garden-variety loser who names his pee pee, which he gets totally bored of from time to time and upgrades regularly, and I’m not kidding. These days he’s going with ‘the beast’. Very classy, huh? But true story! He can come up with twenty-five dick-jokes, like, at a per-minute rate that can make the goondas from Barkat Sarai blush, and besides being mentally unstable, he’s also a bully. He has dinged up most guys here, and Kavach Rustagi is not without four teeth from the top row and three from the bottom for nothing. If they had a contest to count the highest number of suspensions one grossed per year, he’d have taken the cake, and the cherry, and perhaps the whole bakery for all we know. Besides he’s flunked, like, fifty times already and is twice as old as any of us here. Trust me, there could be nobody as uncivilized as Rishi Puggal even outside of St. Michael’s, and I’m not saying it since he’s playing Mary, but yet the hard truth is; HE’S STILL PLAYING MARY! Actually my pick for the part was Kartik Byotra, not just ‘cause he shuts tight his eyes to stop bad things from happening, but the guy looks like that lady with bushy eyebrows in Blood Diamond from one side, and he also walks like dames from fashion week, plus he seemed kinda asexual to me anyways. So I did go up to him one day and ask if he gave a shit, especially to stop Puggal from attaining bliss in his secret fantasy mission of dressing up like dames. Bloody joker started crying, can you believe it? Apparently it offended him! I might have said a few things about how he fitted the role and everything, but seriously! You dig into his purse, and I’m sure you’ll find more than just lipstick and eyeliner. And d’ya know, he carries a handkerchief? I mean the last person I knew who ever had one was my grandmother, who died some three hundred years ago. And the pansy wept like Bambi’s girlfriend for being offered a female part! He was just unbelievable.

Thus the deserving candidate took the high road and the psycho landed the infamous prime role that nobody wanted. And there I was slowly being lowered by means of pulleys from the fly-space-heaven to appear in front of the Everest breasts and the titanic ass of our mesmerizing Mary who, despite all the training from Dogzilla, couldn’t act for nuts. Before even I’m supposed to “appear” and be visible to the human eye, she restlessly starts to look up, over and over, giving away my dramatic entry. There she killed half of it for me to begin with. Apart from the strap that was tied to my stomach crushing my risky bowels, the fake wings were giving me a terrible itch on my back. But still, controlling all my instincts, I begin to speak, don’t be afraid Mary (like shit was this one afraid). You’ve found favor with God. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus. Then I say the rest of the bit praising Christ and everything, all swell and graceful as hell. All this while Mary who, by the way, was supposed to look frightened, kept blinking up at me with a stupid smile like she had not the slightest clue what this bird-looking bloke on the rope was saying. Either that or she felt swell about getting knocked up by God or something! Then they pull me back up into the fly space, and if you think the ascent was smooth and graceful, you’re crazy! I oscillated like a bloody pendulum as if they were rescuing me from a storm or something. I even rotated once right before vanishing up there, but by that time, I can’t tell u how much my bladder was about to explode. Before even you start judging me, let me tell you for how long I’ve been put up there. The nativity play is the last item of the evening. First they have the stupid prize distribution for the biblical essay competition held earlier that afternoon, then a long- very long- speech by Dogzilla that bored you to tears (and I swear, he gave the same speech every year, word by word), then an even longer speech, sadder than Dogzilla’s, by this big-shot priest from Godly Faith Christian Center of Haisham Bagh, and it took an additional two hours since this big shot priest arrived late, having lost his damn watch or something. Since the nativity play was supposed to start immediately afterward, and since hoisting me with the crane was the most time-consuming part, they had me put there before the whole event started. And like I feared, the program extended way beyond my toilet time. So by the time I’m hauled back up after the Angel’s first appearance, breaking the good news to Mary and everything, I fought like a soldier with my urge to take a leak, perched above the stage not being able to enjoy Mary and Josef’s travel to Bethlehem on the donkey, their interaction with the innkeeper, the birth of Jesus Christ (played by this smart looking doll, that was gifted to Alok Nanda’s sister by his dad from Dubai) and the arrival of the three kings- Nimar Ali, Sajan Mahapatra and that pale dude with a squint from Nimar Ali’s brother’s class. And then it was time for me to reappear for the final blessing. Shoniketa Bhor’s choir, from the right wing of the stage, had already begun Silent Night, Holy Night, and I was slowly lowered to hover above the final tableau by which time, now with the added pressure of the harness and all, I couldn’t take it any longer, and I violently opened my spout! My bad, but I peed like a world champion! In the background the chorus continued …Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia… But with the unstable chord I hung down from swinging like crazy, the rain of pee was sprayed on pretty much everything on stage and the minute it landed on Puggal diva, he lost it! The holy mother of God furiously looked up at Angel Gabriel, took aim, and leapt onto the rope like Mowgli! Then what followed was a mid-air Kushti match that stunned everybody, especially Dogzilla, who was mortified at seeing a portion of his divine play turning into an Evil Dead sequel in front of the big-shot priest from Godly Faith Christian Center of Haisham Bagh. Kabir Waquif, my best friend playing Joseph, in an attempt to break the aerial stunt tries to intervene, without any success. He spins out of control and lands on Sooraj Soni and Ryan Jacob inside the Donkey costume, who in turn collapse on the first cow which was Abhinav Bhatia and Arun Khanna in the outfit, and then more cows fell, and finally the dazed flock of sheep, all tumble down like a row of dominoes. Puggal got me good! We were both still dangling on the contraption and he pummeled on every part of my body, including the wings. I had no other means but to grab on his ‘beast’ and crush it like a walnut. That’s when the loony started to jerk like he was hit by a stun gun and he finally brought down the crane! The machine snapped and collapsed above the stage. Luckily, it stopped right there, and we were all saved from becoming the Christmas mash. By the time the grown-ups moved their ass and rushed up to make peace, it was all over, and Puggal was chained and taken to the psych ward or wherever. Shoniketa Bhor’s clueless choir was still singing Silent Night, although it no longer was.

My wounds are healing very well. You’d know better if you were around. It’s been almost a week since you came to these parts. I still don’t like Nurse Binumol filling in for you. She has halitosis and her hands are awful hairy like cavemen. And she lies, like, all the time. First she said you were unwell, now she says you’ve left the hospital for good. Anyways, I thought you might be interested in what actually happened since you are the only one who asked. So by the time you got back I thought I might as well have it written down. I will be done with this the minute I figure out an opening. I’m not going to give this to Binumol. Even if she felt like passing this to you, she’d read it first. Nurse Shyamala is much better; lesser hair and smells less, and sure bluffs much lesser. So you’re getting this only if she shows up.

Your ever-healing & favorite patient,

P.S. I hear they are planning to dismiss Mary from St. Michael’s. But I think she should be sent to jail first.
Also from the ‘Raza’ series;


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