Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Making

This is my story.

My birth, like much of my entire life, remains a largely forgotten incident. I was born to Anglo-Indian parents - an almost-extinct species in this vast ocean of humanity that Kolkata is.

I've heard that my grandfather's mother used to be a Londoner. Her husband, a Bengali Babu, was a random clerk in the British Raj. Exactly how they had managed to end up together is clouded in mystery, but the fact remains that they did, and went on to produce a lineage of Anglo-Bengali clerks working in random independently and identically distributed ancient, dilapidated buildings with gargantuan, slow ceiling fans and glasses of uber-sweet, muddy-coloured tea, somewhere in the Dalhousie area of the city.

I was no exception. In fact, I was so common an entity from my very early days that you'd probably not remember my existence even though you might have met me four or five times a week. I was not smart enough to secure high marks; not cool enough to seek attention from my classmates; I couldn't play cricket or whistle tunes. In fact, even my parents were so keen to ensure that I wasn't singled out in my school that they never gave me anything to do with beef for lunch.

Not that I minded. I loved being one of the crowd. To be honest I was often petrified at being watched by anyone - let alone girls of my age. I preferred being a middle-bencher, and somehow scraped through every test that I needed to pass. My ancestors, through their strong genes, somehow imbibed into me the realisation that I was born to serve one purpose: to land up in one of those offices in Dalhousie and spend the rest of my life there.

And so it started one day. The "bush-shirts", the oversized trousers, the glasses, the pen, and my father's ancient office bag that he had taken to work for the better part of a career spanning thirty-five years. I had made it. Made it to where my bloodline belonged. Finally. This was it.

***

Years passed by. People around me got promoted. I trundled along in a mindless monotone. Kolkata winters melted into summers, and then soothed back into winters. Promotions happened all around me. I continued with my drone.

And then, something happened. Something utterly unthinkable - something that neither of my father, grandfather or great-grandfather had ever felt. Or even possibly have known the definition of.

I got bored.

It must have been my great-grandmother's adventurous British traits that lay dormant somewhere deep inside me. Without any real warning, they threatened to break through the barrier and push me to do something exciting. Something fun.

I was not born for this. I was not born to lead a life of monotone, my life dwindling gradually in the labyrinthine Government sector of this three-hundred-year-old city. I was born to do something reckless, something different: I was born to defy my stereotyped legacy.

It was a feeling I had never known before. I went home. I went to work. I saw vacant, expressionless faces all around me. Everyday. Devoid of excitement. Threatening to claw at me, to consume my existence, to digest all my remaining years in the serpentine alimentary tracks of their mundane world.

I needed to do something.

And then, one day, I received a phone call. A curt one. There was possibly someone who was trailing me all this while. Someone who had noticed my restlessness somewhere.

I had agreed. Agreed to earn money illegally. Not that I needed all that cash - my job paid me well. But I needed the excitement of doing something illegal, seriously illegal. I hadn't felt like this in ages: a warm flow of blood ran through my veins - a sensation I had not felt in years.

In due time, the package arrived. With all the information that was required. And some advance cash - fifty per cent of the total amount. A hefty sum, but it hardly mattered. I was finally set to defy my genes - and take my first step towards a life of some sort.

Time raced. And then, finally, I reached the scheduled place. At the scheduled time. Would I be able to pull it off? Would I, now, really? My insides churned, and for a moment I freaked out and decided to back out. But I did hold my nerves. I had to do this. This was it.

As I pressed the calling bell, a new panic paralysed me. This was my first time - what was I going to do? What was I going to say? Was I going to stand there, like a mute imbecile?

Rajesh Sen opened the door himself. I knew what he was supposed to look like. It was him. What shall I say? WHAT ON EARTH?


And then, before I knew it, the words blurted out of my mouth - those instinctive words that I had said so often to random strangers, words that had no relation whatsoever to what I was supposed to do within five seconds from that point of time:

"Nomoshkar. Ek minute."

28 comments:

  1. Very well written :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fatafati. oops. 'phataphati'.

    ReplyDelete
  3. your narration was awesome... I was hooked till the end..

    small tit-bits u added in the post made it more fun to read :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. What works as an insurance agent by day and a hired assassin by night, and has a bright yellow square head????? :P

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good one! Just one addition: if "Nomoshkar" and "Ek minute" would come in 2 different lines with one line gap, I think it would be just a bit better!

    I give 8 out of 10.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "My birth, like much of my entire life, remains a largely forgotten incident." Right from this excellent beginning, I was hooked on to the piece. Superbly written!

    ReplyDelete
  7. As always, wonderful.
    However, what about the following storyline: Bob was actually the LIC agent of rajesh Sen..somebody who wants to kill Rajesh knew that and contacted Bob about the assignment...?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very time appropriate :-)
    Which one is more irritating Kolaveri-D or Bob Biswas?
    My 2 cents(paisa) on changing the background color of the page to a lighter one. In general, text reading is easier for the eye when it is dark text on light background.

    ReplyDelete
  9. eto puro psycho analysis kore felechen. shotti bob biswas er pechone erokom ekta 'kahaan' thakteyi pare...ending ta darun.

    ReplyDelete
  10. :'( :s m scared ...you brought the feelings...nevr evr felt bored going thru all this...simply suprafab n NOMOSHKARING

    ReplyDelete
  11. Darun
    দারুন
    দারুন দারুন ...।

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hmm .... sabai to dekhi bhaloi bolchhe! dekh bhebe .. this is high time :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. To be honest, I was kinda expecting something along these lines from you. I am glad to see you didn't disappoint. যদিও, একটা ছোট্ট খুঁত (IMO) নজরে এল, সেটা হল ওই প্রথম হিটের পূর্ববর্তী ঘটনাগুলো আরেকটু বিশ্বাসযোগ্য বা elaborate হতে পারত হয়ত। Suffice it to say, not all restless and bored and inconsequential individuals become বব বিশ্বাস, if you know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  14. unlike tomar onyo beshir bhaag lekha, eta more or less shuru thekei predictable chhilo...so seta aamaar kache ektu disappointing...
    but being frm d finance industry myself, I felt really bad n sad 4 d sales ppl frm d insurance industry...pvt insurance co'r lokjoner emnitei literally "fete" jaay 1ta policy bechte...er por theke their already miserable life wud bcum all d more hellish :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. this post should attain cult status. It should.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Totally awesome post! I don’t know how or why but I guessed it quite early in the story.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Once again an awesome piece of literature... This will also make an awesome movie...

    ReplyDelete
  18. I vote for this one too.Awesome and well created.

    ReplyDelete
  19. byapok 'kahani' .... mindblowing :-D

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ohh wow, it's just awesome..the narration, the grip it had...everything seeped like hell through my nerves ..

    ReplyDelete

Followers