The Town That Was – I

The town was my home. And it will always remain home. In the sense that it will always the same for me. In the sense that it will always remain the same for everyone. In the sense that nothing will ever change there. It’s a town frozen in time.

It’s been 8 years since I left home. And whenever I go back, I never face any of the troubles that one usually has while driving on unfamiliar roads. The pattern of the potholes on the roads has been the same, ever since I’ve been seeing them. I could drive blindfolded on this road. The maneuvers, the twists and turns come naturally to me. They’re a part of me now.

******

It was all in the air. The classrooms where boys adjusted walks and strides and fidgeted with desks to get an optimum ‘view’ of the correct Geography (or Biology, whatever). Where ‘mast’ History (imagined and otherwise) of others’ lives was drooled and smacked over enough to make Akbar turn in his grave with jealousy. Where Life Processes – II was the most interesting chapter ever.

The temple atop a hill in the middle of the town, on the stairs of which every to-be couple could be found in the infancy of their relationships. The more ‘advanced’ couples could be found behind the curtains of the cubicles of the sleazy cyber cafes. The college where boys went (they still go, I’m told) to see and imagine. And where girls went to display their wares within permissible add-on limits and with ‘allowed’ decorations and other visual effects.

The gaolish girls’ hostels which restricted its girls to step out of for only six out of every hundred sixty hours. Out of the fear that they might have sex, if allowed out for longer hours. Ostensibly.

The mobile SIM card shop owners who sold girls’ cellphone numbers at face value of 1o bucks per number. The market rates depended on another kind of face value, though.

******

Every Nikita stepping out of her house was protected and seen over by 5-6 unpaid guards on a voluntary, area-divided basis. From her home to Gandhinagar – Bunty, from Gandhinagar to Gulab Bari – Veeru, from Gulab Bari to Mayo College – Yasin, and so on and so forth. There was perfect understanding of healthy competition between the Buntys and Veerus and Yasins. Any chikna who went to the same ‘tuition’ as Nikita and tried to ‘do’ ‘phrendsip’ was beaten black and blue and thus, effectively eliminated from causing any harm to Nikita’s ‘character’, thus saving her from being ‘set’, in the eyes of the unpaid guards and from being ‘corrupted’ in the eyes of the aunties of the colony.

And yeah, of course, Bunty, Veeru and Yasin, all could claim Nikita as ‘meri wali’. If anyone else was heard making such a claim, well, his claim was settled in a manner described previously. Blood eventually spilled in the lane where Nikita’s scooty turned.

All this could go on for years without Nikita getting a clue about it.

******

In my sixteenth year, I fell for her. Like Ali bhai in ‘Dhoom’ falls over Rimi Sen. I remained in this ‘fallen’ state for a year, after which I talked to her. Her tone and accent were such a turn-off that my crush evaporated. She called me up to ‘clear’ things at which point I told her that she wasn’t worth my attention. She got so pissed that she got her ‘brothers’ to beat me up.

A few years later, I see her at the ice cream shop. Pretend to ignore, but in reality examining her wares. To try to gauge how much is she worth in the market, on the few obvious parameters.  She being a girl is of course one step ahead of me. I know she’s trying to gauge my market value. How, though? Maybe by gauging the subtlety of my gauge.

We both buy our ice cream bricks and go our separate ways. She has grown really, really sexy.

******

There’s a caterer, who has on display some 4 types of ‘sabjis’, 3 types of ‘poodi’ and ‘non’, salad, dahi bade, 2 types of rice, 3 types of ‘sveet’ etc etc. Then there’s the Tawa, which has another 4 types of bharwa-type sabjis. Then there’s the Kadahi, which has dal-fry, one with onion-garlic and one without.

Then there are the ‘stalls’. A Rajasthani with huge moustaches pouring milk in earthen kullads from a huge kadahi. There’re chow-mien, dosa, cheela, ice cream, coffee, paan and what not.

Someone would be excused for thinking that India was a powerhouse nation. Well, it is actually. In the field of digestion.

Under the milk-white lighting across the huge marriage-lawn, there are girls. Girls trying to impress potential suitors and their parents, and girls going red and green with jealousy of other, better endowed girls. There are uncles, the ‘modern’ ones, who prefer to greet such girls by hugging them. There are aunties cocking a snook at such uncles.

Introductions are done, and even relations built. Among the mature people. Like uncles, aunties and girls. Boys are too sloshed in the bevvy of lehengas and zari and sari and skin-hugging jeans and the occasional short skirt competing for their attention. They have attained Nirvana. They desire nothing more.

In a remote corner, the bride and bride groom are sitting on thrones. One of the gatecrashers from the nearby Medical College is slipping a gift-wrapped packet of condoms to the groom. ‘Happy marriage boss…’

******

Related Posts:

The Town that was – II http://wp.me/p1jJo-ee

The Town that was – III: http://wp.me/p1jJo-eR

Categories: Memoirs | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “The Town That Was – I

  1. sameer

    Duse….can i ask why the name NIKITA was mentioned here???? any co incidences????? or is it based on true story man????

    • Nothing is true, nothing is false. I’ve used the term “Nikita” as a metaphor.

      For the record, I don’t know of any female called “Nikita” from Ajmer😉

      • vrikmace

        Were you inspired by Elton John’s song, ‘Nikita’?😀

  2. Interesting.

  3. Anumeha

    awesome tha ..well written , made mne nostalgic .. though the part about Nikita a little crude, I guess the marriage lawn part was the best for me, it has so many memories of medical college time conveniently buried somewhere which flashed back…
    “senti”

  4. sunanda

    Phoda hai bhai iss baar toh totally! Maze se aa gaye😀

    • Thanks yaar, I’m glad you liked it🙂
      Vaise bhi in bhaavnaon ko tere se behtar aur kaun hi samajh sakta hai…

  5. awesome baap. In the sense that I just loved it. In the sense that everybody will love it. The second story reminds of those adolescent days when nobody would miss the Life Processes II class. None. Some enthusiasts would even draw the reproductive system diagrams on the board.

    Truly prolific!

    • Thanks man. We come from similar towns. Why don’t you put down some of your experiences some time on your blog?

  6. The ‘Nikita’ episode is so true. There would be umpteen fights for the girl, and the girl would have no clue at all that blood was spilled fighting for her.

    A really good read. And good to see that this is just the part-I🙂

    • Thank you thank you🙂

      I will write further parts, as and when the inspiration hits me. Right now, everything went into this one post😦🙂

  7. Sundeep

    entertaining aniket. back to form, i guess. i feel like writing a blog now😛. keep it coming.

  8. Super post. Helps me get into one of my moods🙂

  9. good descriptive stuff …🙂

    In fact the way the post began … it was very much similar tot eh opening lines of stephen king’s “Salem’s Lot”. Of course, it went on to become a horror story, but thats a different topic🙂

  10. Sanrag

    Really well written….🙂

  11. Vipul

    Tooo good🙂 brought back soooo many memories😀

  12. Himanshu

    Loved each one, and felt connected to every one of them . Really great work . Waiting for part-2

  13. Wao.. That was really well-written.. I have become a fan of ur writings now!

  14. Rajinikanth ra

    I don’t find anything very interesting in the post..it is the general description when we were innocent growing up with incentive and curiosity to know opposite sex…
    nothing new in this ….However the way it is described is a little obscure and sleazy.

  15. Ahsan

    Very nicely written .. Missing my home more after reading this ..

  16. nice read.
    …Geography and Biology, sab awesome tha is post ka.

  17. Rishi

    Good one Aniket🙂
    Cheers !!!

  18. Shikha

    woww!! job well done! I like!

    And for the off-records, I think I know one Nikita whom you might too know .. bansals?😉

    • Honestly, I cannot recall any. My God, it’s been almost 7 years now…

      Thanks for breaking your comments-vrat, btw🙂

  19. Dude well written…..

    waiting for your new posts🙂

  20. Kavish Chhatwani

    bhai hail (Y)

    I wish unn ‘guards’ k b asli naam mentioned hote😉 ….proper gandhinagar ka flavor aa gaya yaar …..awesumm one😀

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