The Old Couple

The old couple sitting on the solitary bench in the park presented a perfect picture of cuddly cuteness. They sat holding hands, watching a bunch of kids playing cricket. Life was perfect.

The old lady asked her husband, “Did you hear that the Guptas had their window broken yesterday?”

He replied, “These kids are a real menace, naughty and how. This is the fourth house in our street whose window has been broken by their cricket ball. We too used to play cricket back in our days, but we were always careful about where we were hitting the ball.”

She laughed at that, and said, “You please don’t get started on your childhood days now, it’s started getting dark now, we’ll have to sit here the entire night if I start listening to tall tales of your adventures. Kids will be kids, we should just let them be.”

So saying, they both got up, and started walking back slowly towards their home. To their left was the park, and to their right, a row of ostentatious row houses, with their cute, little house right at the end.

Walking slowly towards their home, he said, “It’s dark now.” She put her hand in her handbag, slung on her right shoulder, and asked, “You want it?”

He shook his head, and said, “No, you go ahead, it’s your turn today.”

She took her right hand out of the bag, and without even a moment of hesitation, hurled a cricket ball at the window of Mehra Mansion.

And as the expensive glazed glass disintegrated with a loud noise, she said, “You were right, kids these days have become very naughty. They should hit the ball more responsibly!”

And with that, the old couple continued walking nonchalantly towards their home. Life was perfect.

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I Like To Moo It Moo It Part 2 (The stunning conclusion to an epic search & rescue mission)

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this epic story, please read no further and correct your shortcoming/oversight/mistake/error immediately. I’ll wait till then.

OK, so all caught up with the goings on in our life till the morning of the trek? Should I continue? Good.

It was a simple enough climb, as climbs go, on a fairly gentle gradient. Maybe that was the reason the bull (along with his daughter of course, no offence intended) had not realized how high the hill really was, and grazing merrily, had reached the top without breaking a sweat.

He compensated for that by oozing bucket-fulls of sweat since the evening, which now, akin to Newton’s apple, was taking the fastest path towards flatland, in the form of multiple streams of pale yellow streams. It was then that my wife could take it any more, and asked me, “Since when have you known that you could talk to animals? And when were you planning to tell me? If I had known about your power, I could have used it to get Mrs. Sharma’s dog to go pee on Mrs. Varma’s white clothes hanging outside her home. Bhala uski kameez meri kameez se safed kaise?” (How can her shirt be whiter than mine- Old Jungle Saying).

I indignantly replied, “I swear I came to know about it just last night during my conversation with the cow. Do you think I could even dream of hiding such a huge secret from you? You know I tell you everything darling.”

“That’s a load of bull shit,” she said.

“Of course not sweetheart,” I said, going on the defensive, “I did not tell you about Mark’s bachelor party and the stripper because I just forgot about it. I couldn’t possibly forget about such a big power, could I?”

“No,” she replied, mincing her words menacingly, “I meant that’s a load of bull shit, literally, in the middle of the track, and now, you have stepped right into it, both literally and figuratively. So what was this about the bachelor party and the stripper?”

I realized that I had just walked into a trap (along with a load of bull shit of course) and was now feeling like a lamb being led to the slaughter when suddenly, I heard a jingling of bells, and we both looked up to see a herd of sheep coming our way.

Thanking the Good Lord for this minor miracle, I stopped the head sheep and asked, “Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you seen the bull?” The sheep replied, “Yes Sir, Yes Sir, I saw him by the pull (Bridge in Hindi).” She then continued, “If you walk faster, you will catch him and his daughter, before they are taken by the little boy who lives down the lane.”

And so we ran towards the top of the hill, and suddenly, the stupid gradient of the hill did not seem that gentle, in fact, it was almost vertical now, or at least that is what our burning lungs and throbbing leg muscles would have us believe. And then, we saw them, a bull and his daughter, standing by the bridge, looking quizzically at us.

We approached them with measured steps, and I told the bull, “Sir, your wife sent us to fetch you since she was worried about you.” “That’s good,” replied the bull, “for even I am worried about me.”

“So let’s go,” I said, happy that he was already primed up for the walk downhill, “What are we waiting for?” The bull replied, “There’s only one small problem….I don’t want to go back.”

“WHATTTT?” I cried out, “But why?”

He replied, “Well, it’s so peaceful and quiet over here. Plenty of grass to graze, amazing sunrise and sunset, and most importantly, no silly cow to nag me the entire day. So, I decided that I will make myself a nice shed here, and spend the rest of my days raising my daughter alone.”

“But you HAVE to come down with me,” I howled, “Or your wife will kill me.”

The bull replied laconically, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

And it was then that in my desperation, I committed the biggest mistake of my life. I climbed on top of him, and shouted, “I WILL NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. NOW LET’S GO!”

It was the worst thing that I could have done. The bull’s face reddened, and right there, that mild-mannered, docile creature transformed into a raging bull. He raised his two front legs high into the air, becoming almost as vertical as that last stretch of the hill in the process, and SHOOK with righteous anger.

I fell so hard that I broke the gold crown of my third molar, the one which I had got put after misreading the name of the James Bond movie as The Man with the Golden Gum. And Newton’s (and his apple’s) friend took over from there, and I rolled down the steep hill, slowly at first, and then, accelerating sharply, and contrary to the experience of stones, I was gathering a lot of moss on my way down, in addition to copious amounts of bull shit of course.

But in doing this, the bull too committed the biggest mistake of HIS life, for my wife, seeing me being attacked, transformed into Jhansi Ki Rani (legendary Indian warrior queen), and while the bull was still precariously balanced on his two rear legs, she PUSHED him with all her might, so he too started rolling down right behind me.

However, in doing so, my wife too committed the biggest mistake of HER life, for she entirely ignored the bull’s seemingly harmless daughter, not looking at her as a potential threat at all. An oversight which the young rascal then used to PUSH my wife down the hill, so that she too started rolling downhill behind me and the bull.

It was then that the young calf saw the three of us rolling down the hill, and thought, “This seems like a lot of fun.” And with a loud shout of “GERONIMO…..” she jumped behind us, and started rolling merrily down the hill.

And it was thus that our host, the farmer, out grazing the cow at the base of the hill, was greeted with a strange but wondrous sight, which he would not be able to unsee till the time he was alive.

I hit flat ground first, followed by the bull on top of me, followed by my wife on top of him, followed by a cackling calf on top of her. And as we lay entangled there, the farmer walked up to me and asked, “So, how was the sunrise?”

And a few hours latter, when all of us, had been untangled, the farmer asked me to tell him exactly what happened. To this day, he blames my broken golden crown, and hence, bloodied mouth for what happened next, but I think he did it just for kicks.

He wrote down our adventures of this morning in the form of a short poem, and sent it to the local newspaper for publication. And it was just our luck that even in those pre-internet days, the poem went viral like crazy, and we became famous, or rather infamous. The only problem was, the farmer had misheard (or so he claims) a key phrase in my narrative. I kept on sending corrigendums to publications around the world, but it was too late by then.

And so I thought I will use this forum to set the record straight and tell the correct version of the poem, and I trust you good people to share it as widely as possible to make my story mine again. The poem should have been:

Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a bail (Bull in Hindi) and his daughter

Jack fell down and broke his crown

And Jill came tumbling after.





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I Like to Moo It Moo It (Part 1)

It had started off as any routine trek.

We had started our climb before daybreak in order to catch the sunrise from top of the hill. Our host at the farm where we were staying had told us that the sunrise there was so majestic that it would blow us off our feet. But our climb had another objective also, which we could not reveal to our host without revealing my dark secret.

The previous night, just as we were about to call it a day (which does not seem right, since it was night, but as Professor Parimal Tripathi rightly pointed out on more than one occasion, English is a very funny language, so who are we to argue?) we heard a gentle knock on the window. I was surprised, even a little scared, for we were literally in the middle of nowhere, with our host and his family being the only humans (apart from us of course) for a ten-mile radius. And why on earth would our host knock on the window instead of the door? So we did what anyone in a similar position would have done- we closed our eyes and pretended to be asleep.

But the knocking persisted, and it was growing louder and more incessant with every passing second. Finally, I could take it no more, jerked open the window, and said, “Who’s there?” But I almost fainted when I saw that there was nobody there, just a cow grazing peacefully in the pasture outside our room. I immediately shut the window with a bang, and hid under my quilt.

But within a few seconds, there it was again. KNOCK KNOCK…KNOCK KNOCK…KNOCK KNOCK…KNOCK…”WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?” I shouted, opening the window again. And this time I saw who had been knocking. It was the cow, raising her front right hoof to do the deed, which I had interrupted mid-knock.

She looked at me with fluttering eyes, and said, “Sorry to disturb you, but I really needed some help.”

“No problem,” I said instinctively, “Happy to help, and for real, not like those Vodafone bots.”

And it was then that it hit me, twice. No no no no, the cow didn’t hit me silly, the realization did, that:

a) The cow could speak, and

b) I could understand her.

My wife too was shocked out of her wits. She was just looking first at the cow, and then at me, then at the cow again, then at me again…and so on. “Relax you guys,” said the cow. That got my goat. “How dare you, ma’am” I cried out, “call us gais. This is typical projection, a gai calling the kettle black….I mean a gai calling a human gai.”

She banged her head against our cabin’s wall in frustration, and shouted, “SHUT UP!” As the wooden walls of the cabin stopped rattling, and our bed along with them, we both shut up. She then continued, “Let me explain clearly to you Dodos. I said ‘guys’ in English, as in ‘people’ or ‘folks’ and not ‘gais’ in Hindi, as in cows.”

“Hmmmmmm…” I said, nodding my head.

“Ohhhhhhh…” sai my wife, nodding her head.

“Moooooooo…” said the cow.

And then she said, “I don’t know why I had to be stuck with you two idiots of all the people, but since you are the only ones to be able to understand me (strange are the ways of God), I will have to share my troubles with you only, and hope that you turn out to be smarter than you look.”

My wife and I looked at each other, and were just going to protest, when the cow came to her point. “My husband and daughter are stuck on the top of the hill that you have come here to climb. They went up this evening to look at the sunset, but upon reaching there, my husband realized that he has a problem with heights. So now, he’s just stuck there, refusing to look down, which he will have to do if he wishes to come down.”

“I fully sympathize with you,” I told her in my best sympathy-laden voice, “but how do you expect us to help you?”

“Well,” she said as if explaining 2+2=4 to a five-year old simpleton, “you have to get them back of course.”

“How do you expect us to do that?” I cried out, “we can’t quite carry them down, can we? And we are no Bull Whisperers by any stretch of imagination. What if he refuses to move his butt, pardon my French?”

The cow’s face started getting red at that point, and kept getting redder and redder till it was redder than the ripest of tomatoes, and then, she shouted, “NO IFFFFF….NO BUTTTTT….ONLY JATT!”

And jatt…I mean just like that, we had promised her that we would get her husband and daughter back in the morrow, or die trying.

All these memories were fresh as snow in my mind as we started our climb in the morning, maybe because all that had occurred just the night before. It was not a difficult climb, but all I could think of was, how are we going to get back with a fully-grown bull and his daughter.

If you too want to find out whether we managed to complete our perilous mission, and if yes, how, if no, did we live to climb another day, pray to your resident Gau Matas (Cow Mothers) to give me the wisdom and the strength to write the second and last installment of this epic Search & Rescue Mission tomorrow, same place, same time. Till then, cow…I mean ciao!

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The Joint Custody

I should have known she would come for him.
If I had any sense at all, I would never have taken him. But I obviously didn’t, so I stupidly did. And now, she was looking for me with murder on her mind, while I desperately searched for avenues of escape.
It is not as if she had an exclusive right over him, he was ours, not just hers. But ever since he had come into our lives, she had tried to keep me away from him, trying to hoard his love right from his childhood, so that he would always favor her over me. And this was something I was not willing to concede without a fight.
So I had bided my time, and today, sensing an opportunity, just on the spur of the moment, I grabbed him and ran. I had some vague idea of going into hiding with him, to a place where no one would be able to recognize us, and live happily ever after!
But now, I would be lucky to survive the night.
The door was now opening with a creak, and I was running out of time. So I did what people being hunted have done since times immemorial – I opened the cupboard door and hid inside with him, gently closing the door behind me.
From the darkness of my hiding place, I heard her enter the room on tiptoe. She was sharper than I had thought, and was intent on giving me no opportunity to escape. She looked in the bathroom first, and I thanked God for giving me the wisdom to not choose THAT as my hiding place, or I would have been done for by now. I closed my eyes and started praying silently.
And then, God did really answer my prayers, and I heard her give up the search, open the door, and leave the room, shutting the door behind her with a bang. I silently thanked my guardian angel again, and counted till 100 to ensure that this was not another one of her traps. And when I still heard nothing, I opened the cupboard door slowly, and climbed out.
It was then that she jumped upon me, and grabbed him from me. She was craftier than I could have ever imagined, and had anticipated my every move. “He’s mine, only mine,” she shouted like Urmila in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya, and started showering his face with kisses.
Then, keeping him aside safely, she started advancing towards me in a threatening manner. I knew that I stood no chance now, for nothing could withstand her fury. I cowered before her, ready to get my comeuppance, when suddenly….
Mom and Dad came bursting into the room. Mom immediately understood the situation, picked me up and started admonishing Dad, “I’d told you we should buy two separate Ken dolls for the twins. They’re just five, too young to understand the concept of ‘sharing’, but you just wouldn’t listen to me, would you?”
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The Barbaric Bear Vs. The Holy Cow

My regular readers will remember my close encounter of the bear kind a few months ago (See: Now, I am a self-respecting big-game hunter, and being forced to run to save my life from a mere polar bear had been rankling me ever since that day. I would wake up with a jerk at nights, the polar bear having caught up with me in my dreams. During daytime, I had stopped frequenting my favourite bars, for my erstwhile friends and admirers were now laughing at my abject cowardice. I HAD to do something to redeem my honour, and my self-respect, before it was too late. And so it was, that I decided to take the bear by its horns (which it doesn’t have, I know I know, but you get the picture) and defeat that bear in single combat!

But this time, I intended to be well prepared for the encounter.

I started by hiring The Expendables to join me in the hunt. With their experience, and my expertise, the bear did not stand a chance.

I then acquired the best equipment, clothing and weaponry that I could steal (for I was left with no money after hiring The Expendables), followed by drawing out a foolproof plan for getting the bear.

And so, after three months of preparation, we were ready to go to the airport and hop on to Sylvester Stallone’s plane, all pumped up for our flight to Svalbard. But….there was still one thing left, the most important component of my plan, my trump card, with the help of which I would defeat, demolish, decimate, and destroy the damned polar bear without even breaking a sweat…

MAA KA AASHIRWAAD! (Mother’s blessings)

So just before going to the airport, I took a short detour and took the blessings of Gau Mata (Cow Mother).


But as I stood in front of her, head bowed, eyes closed in silent contemplation, my prayer was suddenly interrupted by a loud, gruff voice, that shouted- “DHAPPA!(GOTCHA!) I jumped with fright, and turned to find a huge brown bear just about to pounce upon me.


I looked reproachfully at Gau Mata, who had been unable to protect me even at her home turf, quickly turned around, and facing the bear, asked, “Who are you, and how dare you interrupt my prayers?”

The bear guffawed loudly, and replied, “I am a cousin of the polar bear you were planning to hunt. Due to your advertisements in the newspapers asking for mercenaries to volunteer for this hunt, my cousin came to know that he was in danger. So he contacted me and asked me to take care of you.”

I knew I had very little time, so I quickly raced my mental horses, and came up with an escape plan. I said, “OK, you can kill me, but first, can I please get a selfie with you so that I can instagram it? This is my last wish, you are honour-bound to grant it.”

The bear thought for a while, and then said, “OK, but just let me comb my hair first.” He got ready, and I took the selfie, but used the primary camera for it, with the flash on!


His eyes shut automatically upon being exposed to the flash, and while he was rubbing them to be able to see, I slipped away like the money in my bank balance, and ran for my life.

With a giant roar, the bear started running after me. He was fast for his size, but I was running for my life, so I somehow managed to keep one step ahead. But this could not go on for too long. I was tiring now, out of breath, barely managing to put one foot ahead of the other. I was sure I was done for now. And just as I was about to lie down in the middle of the street, thinking that getting crushed by a bear would be referable to this fire in my lungs and my leg muscles….

…that Gau Mata came to my rescue!

My reproachful look had hurt her to the core, and she knew that she had to do something to redeem herself in my eyes, otherwise no one would pray to her any longer. So, she sent her most powerful weapon to my rescue- her Nonna!


Nonna came bearing gifts, something that no bear in the world could resist- a stack of home-made ice cream! The bear saw the cones in my hand, and stopped suddenly in his tracks. “I want” he said in a child-like voice. “OK,” I said magnanimously, “but you will first have to tell me where to find your cousin, that wily polar bear.”

The bear acquiesced without protest, so great was his lust for Nonna’s ice-cream. So I handed over all the cones to him, and jauntily walked away towards the airport. But on my way, I again took a short detour, this time to thank Gau Mata for saving my skin.



And then I was off again, towards the airfield, where The Expendables were waiting for me in their plane. I had some good news for them now, I knew where to take the plane!


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My Best Friend’s Murder

Aryan and I had been born on the same day, almost at the same hour, in the same chawl (rough equivalent of The Projects), to parents who were the thickest of friends. We played with the same toys as we grew up, went to the same school, attended the same classes, sat on the same bench, made fun of the same teachers, and got punished at the same time. And though I was too cool to be caught dead admitting it, Aryan was my best friend….and now, they wanted me to kill him!

I still blame myself for what happened that day. Aryan was hungry, and wanted to get some cake from my employer’s bakery. The only thing was, he had no money to buy it. So, he decided to steal it. What could be the harm in stealing a tiny piece of cake, he thought. If I could look into the future, I would reply- Well, it could lead to a bounty on your head! But I can’t, so I didn’t.

He asked me to come along of course. We did everything together. But I found the idea of stealing from my own employers a bit distasteful, and so, I let him go alone. I should have gone with him. Maybe things might have turned out differently then.

Aryan slipped into the bakery in the middle of the night. It was pitch dark, but this was his home turf, he could reach the cake counter with his eyes shut. Which he promptly proceeded to do.

All would have turned out fine if my employer’s five year old daughter Hemal had not woken up hungry at the same time, and decided to get some cake for herself. You can probably guess what happened next. Hemal bumped into Aryan, screamed, switched on the light, saw Aryan, screamed even louder, at which Aryan too got terrified and ran, but in his panic, bumped into her again, which initiated a fresh burst of even louder screams…Finally, after much panic, Aryan managed to escape. But not for long.

For Hemal’s shouting and screaming had brought her family down to the bakery from their home upstairs. They understood the situation from a visibly hysterical Hemal, and started discussing the next steps heatedly among themselves. It was at that moment that I came rushing in, worried about my friend’s safety.

“There you are,” said Hemal’s dad caustically, “Isn’t it your job to ensure the security of this shop? But I’m sure you were busy taking a cat-nap somewhere while my daughter was being attacked!” I listened to his tirade silently, my head bowed down, my cheeks reddening with shame. And it was then that he said those fateful words, “I want him dead…tonight!”

I was shocked beyond words. I had never even imagined that a minor mischief could lead to such catastrophic circumstances. Maybe I should have tried to reason with my boss, but I knew it was useless. He would never budge from his stance now that he had stated something publicly. His motto in life had always been- “Moochh nahin toh kuchh nahin” (Loosely translated: Respect/Image above all!) and in this case, he had given his word to his daughter. I had no choice- I had to murder my best friend!

Telling Aryan to run would be of no use, my boss’s arms were even longer than those of kaanoon (Law) and he would spend money like the water that he adulterated his milk with till Aryan was dead. But killing my best friend was also not an option, I would rather die than raise a hand on someone who was dearer to me than my own flesh and blood. It was then that I had the IDEA!

I quickly rushed to Aryan’s home and called him out. As soon as he came out, I told him everything. He started shaking with fear then, for he knew how dangerous my employers were. Tears were streaking down his eyes, and all he could say was, “I don’t want to die.”

I caught hold of his shoulders, physically stopping his shaking, and said, “No one is dying tonight, not on my watch!” Then I said, “Do you trust me?” He replied, “More than I trust myself.” I smiled grimly, and then proceeded to explain my plan to him in great detail. He appeared sceptical at first, but I told him, “I know these people, don’t worry, you just do exactly as I tell you.”

And just half an hour later, my employer and his family were sitting in the bakery, still discussing the security breach when suddenly, Hemal screamed! They all turned towards her, and saw that she was trembling all over. “What happened?” cried out her father. Frozen with fear and revulsion, Hemal couldn’t say anything. She just raised her arm and pointed towards the door….from where I had just entered, dragging Aryan’s blood-soaked body behind me!

“EWWWWWWWWW!!!!!” cried out the pure vegetarian family in one voice, utter disgust apparent on their faces. “GET THAT OUT OF HERE!” shouted Hemal’s father. I looked at him nonchalantly, and blood still dripping from Aryan’s still body, went out the same way that I had entered, leaving behind a trail of blood, and a hysterical family!

And when we were at a safe distance away, Aryan squeaked, “Can I open my eyes now?” I smiled and said, “OK, we’re safe now, but please do not go near the bakery ever again, or we’ll both be in big trouble.” Aryan replied, “I promise, I have learnt my lesson. But I’m still famished, so can I please eat this tomato ketchup at least?” So saying, he started licking up the tomato ketchup from his body, and unable to resist, I joined in!

And back at the bakery, the still shaken owner was telling his wife, “Please call Panditji (Priest) first thing tomorrow morning for a shuddhikaran havan (Purification ritual). That damn cat deserves to be beaten black and blue for bringing that dead rat into our pure vegetarian bakery!”


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The Battle Royale

I took the blade in my right hand and attacked.

But my enemy was resilient….and faster than a speeding bullet, side-stepped gracefully, flowing like the wind, and I could not score even a scratch.

I tried different tactics then, switching my weapon to my left hand. That should stump the bastard, I thought to myself.

A vicious swipe from an unexpected direction….but unfortunately, with the same result. Well, almost. For I did manage to sneak in a cut, which led to a tiny spray of blood erupting like water from a pricked balloon at Holi.

I shouted with excitement, and, all pumped up, took up ANOTHER blade in my right hand, and with both the hands, now started attacking with a vengeance. But all I could manage was a bounty of cuts. Maybe death by a thousand cuts was going to be the ultimate result of this Battle Royale.

I had started to weaken now, my vision blurring, my hands and arms tired beyond belief, but I had come too far to give up now. If I lost today, I would never be able to live down the sheer ignominy. That thought gave me second wind, for I knew that if losing was removed as an option, the only possible result was a win.

So, I stopped….took a deep breath, focused on my opponent, and with deliberate precision, almost in slow-motion, brought my blade to remove the enemy’s head from the body. I was drained out, but I had never felt this good before. Having come out tops in this battle gave me the confidence that I could achieve anything in life, reach the moon, invent time travel, eat non-veg on a Tuesday without it turning into kidney stones….anything. I was going to rule the world one day…soon!

I came out of the arena, bowing my head repeatedly, in acknowledgment of the accolades that I was sure were going to be thrown at me, when suddenly, a towel hit me in the face. I looked up to see my father standing in front of the bathroom, glaring at me. “Wipe your face with this,” he growled, “It’s full of cuts from your razor. If it took you one hour for your first shave, God only knows what you will do with your life!”

And in my head, I visualized chopping down that last, solitary strand of hair on my chin that had troubled me for so long, and with my face hidden behind the towel, smiled with a glint in my eyes. One day…soon!


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The Punctual Pilot

I woke up dazed, dizzy, and disoriented (or disorientated, if you prefer, which, by the way, IS a real word used in Britain for more than 400 years now. It is also used in Harry Potter, so cannot be wrong obviously!). So anyways, where was I? See, I am still dazed, dizzy, and disoriented (or disorientated, if you prefer, which, by the way, IS a real word used in Britain for more than 400 years now. It is also used in Harry Potter, so cannot be wrong obviously!)

So as I was saying….OK OK, you don’t have to hit me THAT hard. I’ll stop.

I had crossed multiple time zones over the last two days, spanning three continents, and was obviously drained out. It was not just the physical fatigue, it was the body trying to keep up with the time, all the time.

So I woke up with the alarm on my clock, and immediately started getting ready. I had been informed late at night that I would be flying today at 0500 hours. An unearthly hour at the best of times, but after two days of almost nonstop intercontinental travel, you don’t care anymore.

But I had a reputation for punctuality, and I would not let anything impact it now. So I got ready in a rush, and left the hangar right on time. The Night Shift mechanic tried to tell me something, but I had no time for his nonsense.

I taxied to my parking spot, waited for the exact time as per the schedule, and then closed the doors. If people are late, I’m not supposed to wait for them. Rules are rules.

I pushed back, and started moving towards the runway. The Air Traffic Controller was shouting something in a panicked voice, but it was all Spanish to me (which was not surprising, considering we were in Madrid).

I reached the runway, saw an empty slot, and slid right in. No one takes MY takeoff slot. It is not for nothing that I have a reputation for 100% on time performance.

I revved up the engines, taxied up the runway…..and up…up…and away….I was off. My on-time performance record was intact!

And in the ATC command center, Xavier Alonso was frantically telling his boss on the phone, “Sir I do not know what was wrong with the pilot. I think he forgot that Daylight Saving ended today, so the clocks have been pulled back by one hour. So he took off one hour early…with no passengers or crew!”

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The Maiden Flight

The flight was not very long or tough, as flights go, but it was certainly a very important one, since the passengers were extremely important, and were flying for the first time.
They climbed aboard and were all agog with excitement, shouting, screeching, screaming, filled with curiosity about every little thing.  They wanted to take off as soon as possible.
But Ryan’s vast experience of flying told him that haste almost always makes waste. So he checked and double checked everything, and then checked once again. And it was then that he found the anomaly.
He checked minutely again, almost in slow motion. Yes, he was right, there was a minor, but distinct list in his left wing. He now remembered the pigeon who had appeared out of nowhere last evening and crashed into his wing. It was so small that he had forgotten to clean it up.
“Sorry folks,” he announced in a grave tone, for he knew how huge a disappointment this was going to be, “But we won’t be able to fly right now.” Expectedly, the news was met with groans so loud that people for mikes around had to cover their ears.
“But why?” shouted the passengers. “It’s too technical,” he replied, but they kept on pestering him till he told them the real reason.
But no sooner had he finished telling them the gory details that he saw a strange sight. All of them rushed to his left wing, and ATE UP the remnants of the bird kill, licking off every last bit so that no remnant of the accident existed anymore, as if it was never there.
“Well, that’s taken care of, so can we please fly now?” exclaimed the passengers.
Ryan’s face was filled with wonder… and pride, and he said, “Roger that!”
And it was thus that Ryan the dragon managed to carry his five kids on his back for a picnic to Lonavala. They were very excited, it was their first flight after all!
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Dangerous Distractions

One moment I was standing peacefully, gazing at the gentle groves and placid waters of the village pond, and the very next moment, I was involved in a mad chase. They were after me, and only my racing skills could save me now.
My legs took some time getting into the groove, I had never really needed to run this hard before, as village life is usually slow-paced. I walked down to the station and back occasionally, but that was the extent of my exercise. Not nearly enough, as I was realizing very clearly now.
I had a headstart on them, but only a small one. And that too was being shortened by the second. I was definitely done for now.
They had an unfair advantage over me of course. Their legs were used to climbing steep, rocky hills day in and day out. And more importantly, they had lesser weight on them to carry.
But I was a solo female, and they were males, maddened by lust. If I allowed them to catch me, God only knows what they would do to me. So I ran, like I had never ran before, to save myself from those brutes.
And in the middle of this deep crisis, my owner’s ‘chaabuk'(riding whip) hit me again and again and she kept on shouting into my ears, “Bhaag Dhanno, aaj teri Basanti ki izzat ka sawaal hai!”
Lady, you’re only worried about YOUR izzat, what about mine? I’m trying to focus on saving myself from those wild, desperate horses here, and you start hitting me and distracting me with your shouts. She really got my goat at times with her self-centered nonsense. I had to get rid of her if I had to have any chance of survival.
And as I shrugged violently to dislocate her from my back, and fell myself too in the process, all I could think was, “Jai was right, yeh Basanti sach mein pyaari nahin bahut saari baatein karti hai!”
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