Till Debt Do Us Part: Celestial Conversations - XXV

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
Labels: , , , ,
First: Celestial Conversation
Previous: Sound of Music: Celestial Conversations - XXIV
Me: Hello?
God: Hi
Me: So how have You been? Not hiding anywhere I hope?
God: No, no. I haven't even spoke to Luci in a long time.
Me: Doesn't he hate You calling him that? After all he's the most evil being in the universe, and You call him something that sounds like a little girl's name.
God: Of course he hates it. But that only makes it more fun!
Me: Ah. Never thought of that. But how come You are taking so long to respond to each of my messages?
God: Sorry. Can't type very fast.
Me: Oh? What happened?
God: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Me: What?! How?
God: Oh, I had to write one hundred cheques.
Me: A hundred cheques? To whom? And why?
God: The bank. They wanted four years worth of post-dated-cheques. Two for every month.
Me: That's only ninety-six.
God: They thought hundred was a nice round number.
Me: But why did the bank want so many cheques?
God: For the payments for My home loan.
Me: Home loan? Why would You need to take a home loan?
God: They told Me it would help Me save tax.
Me: Who told You that?
God: Oh, some guy I met near an ATM.
Me: But You don't need to pay tax anyway!
God: I don't?
Me: Of course not! It's not like You have an income!
God: That's a good point. Why didn't you tell Me that before?
Me: I never knew You were taking a home loan!
God: That's another good point.
Me: So You bought a house?
God: House? Who says I bought a house?
Me: But You signed up for a loan, yes?
God: Yes. And?
Me: Why would You need a home loan if You're not buying a house?
God: I told you. For the tax.
Me: But the bank wouldn't give You a loan if you weren't buying a house.
God: You don't need to buy a house to get a loan.
Me: You don't?
God: No. Buying land is enough.
Me: Oh. So You bought land, then?
God: Yes.
Me: How much?
God: One square foot.
Me: What?
God: I couldn't afford any more than that.
Me: Oh.
God: Yes. Real estate is quite expensive.
Me: That's definitely true. Hey, God?
God: Yes?
Me: This is the twenty-fifth episode of me chatting with You. That makes this a silver jubilee episode.
God: Twenty-fifth? I think you have it wrong. Can't have been that many.
Me: But it is. Look at the number above.
God: But in some of these episodes weren't you speaking to other people? Like My secretary, for example.
Me: It's still celestial conversations, even if it was just Your secretary.
God: But what about episodes where you only spoke to the Devil?
Me: God!
God: Yes?
Me: Just be happy for me, won't You?
God: Oh, okay.
Me: I'm waiting.
God: Umm... Congratulations?
Me: Thanks!
God: You're welcome. So how are you going to celebrate this joyous occasion?
Me: Let's not overdo it, okay?
God: Spoilsport.
Me: Hey, it's also Valentine's day!
God: You're not going to ask Me to be your valentine, now, are you?
Me: What?! Of course not!
God: Thank Me.
Me: Bye, then.
God: Bye!

Next: Merry Christmas: Celestial Conversations - XXVI

KGAF FF Contest - My Entry

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
Labels: ,
I got my entry into the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival's Flash Fiction contest late on Saturday night (or early on Sunday morning, depending on your point of view). Since it seems to be permitted by the rules to post my entry on my own blog, I thought I'd do so without further ado. So here it is. The theme/trigger was Black Horse.

"I can have my lawyer draw up the papers," he told her as the horse trotted away with their daughter.

"Whatever," she replied. For months she'd stopped looking at him when she spoke to him. But now she looked him straight in the eye. He looked away.

"Do you think she'll understand?" he asked as he looked at the child. They could hear her laughter tinkle through the air as she rode. "Black Beauty!" she'd called the horse, when she first saw it.

"No," was the reply. He could feel her eyes bore into him as she spoke. "But she'll learn to accept."

"I'll visit her on weekends," he said. He hoped she wouldn't refuse.

"She won't stop being your daughter," his wife said. But in a short while she'd stop being his wife. Would she find someone else? Would she get married again? He felt his knees go weak.

He couldn't bring himself to say anything more. So they stared silently at their daughter who was riding slowly back towards them. She'd stopped laughing and looked more scared than excited.

The joyride was over.
The End

Of Art Festivals

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
Labels: ,
I just found out from the The Unknown Indian's blog that Vasantahabba has been cancelled for the second year in a row. Vasantahabba, is a festival of dance and music that runs from sunset to sunrise on the first weekend of February, on the outskirts of Bangalore. It is usually held at Nrityagram, the dance school founded by the late Protima Bedi. 2005 saw the organizers canceling it to pay respect to the memory of the victims of the December 2004 Tsunami. This year though, the festival was cancelled due to lack of funds.

I attended Vasantahabba on a visit to Bangalore in 2001 and have been aching to go back ever since. It was definitely one of the best experiences I've had, ever. To find out how to make sure there is a Vasantahabba 2007, check this post.

I'm in Bombay for the weekend on some personal work and have been seeing huge billboards all over the place advertising the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. From coverage at the official blog it seems to be an event that no art lover in Bombay should miss. Now I don't consider myself to be one of those artsy/intellectual types, but I'm still not happy that I'm probably not going to be able to take advantage of my trip to Bombay to see some of the events, like for example "Prayog" - An experiment in Bharatnatyam at Rampart Row.

But if you can, do check out the schedule and take advantage of this once-a-year amalgam of art. There's an HTML-only version of the schedule here if you have any trouble with the PDF link.

Update: Do check out the contests hosted at Caferati as part of the fest. The deadline for the Flash Fiction contest is gone (unless there's another extension) but the SMS Poetry contest is still on. So get your entries in quick!

Baby Talk: The BlogLand Chronicles - 4

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
Labels: , , ,
First: Beginning: The BlogLand Chronicles - 1
Previous: Republic Day: The BlogLand Chronicles - 3
Anil and I were discussing the different love songs King Kong could have sung had he only bothered to learn Hindi, when Prakash walked into BlogLand.

"Hey, Prakash!" I said. "How's the baby coming along?" Prakash's wife had given birth to their first child a couple of weeks before. Ever since then, that was the only thing he could talk about.

"Oh, don't even ask," he replied as he sat down at our table, holding his head in his hands.

"Why, what happened?" I asked, concerned. Until the last conversation, which was only a few days ago, talking about the baby was what made him happiest.

"She sleeps all day, and stays awake all night."

"Sounds like my kind of kid," I said.

But he ignored me and continued. "I've hardly slept the whole of last week! Half the night she's up and crying for no apparent reason. Then other times, she needs to be fed, or changed. We've decided to share the chores, and since Sarita does the feeding, I'm stuck with changing the diapers. Have you ever changed a baby's diapers?"

"No way!" said Anil. "And thank goodness for that!"

"Me neither," I said. "It's bad, is it?"

"Trust me," he replied, "you don't know what shit loads of something means, until you've seen the inside of a baby's nappy."

Both of us roared with laughter, and even Prakash grinned. "That was a good one, wasn't it?"

"Priceless!" said Anil, still laughing.

"Why doesn't she bottle up the milk so you can share both the chores?" I asked.

"Oh, you think I didn't try suggesting that? You see, changing diapers is one of the ways I compensate for not being able to share the pain of child birth."

"I can see that being married is a lot of fun," grinned Anil. "Shit loads of fun, to be precise!" And he started laughing again.

"So," I smiled, "the wife and kid are coming along fine, I take it?"

"Oh, wonderfully. If it hadn't been for the lack of sleep, I'd almost say this was the most fun I've ever had!"

"Can't be more fun than your honeymoon," Anil pointed out.

"True," said Prakash. "But that was a different sort of fun. And the joy of looking at that little bundle of flesh knowing she'll call you Daddy one day, is unbelievable. It's even worth changing diapers for that. Just wait till you have one of your own."

"I'm in no hurry!" Anil looked horrified.

"You're definitely a long way from even worrying about that, if you ask me," I teased. "By the way, how's your girlfriend?"

"Friend who's a girl. Not girlfriend. She's fine. We might watch a play next week. You've finally decided to stop bugging me about meeting her on the internet, have you?"

"Let's just say I'm tired of preaching to a deaf ear."

"Why can't you accept that you were being unnecessarily paranoid?"

"Being paranoid keeps you safe."

"And single!"

And he started laughing again. "Hey Mike!" he shouted at the man sitting a few tables away. "Read anything funny lately?"

Mike looked up from his book and said, "As a matter of fact, I just started Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men, which is quite funny. After all, it's Pratchett. But I can't say the same about the last three books I read."

"Which ones?" I asked.

"Philip Pullman's first two His Dark Materials books, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter."

"Are they any good?"

"Oh, they're fantastic, all three of them. I'm aching to read the last in Pullman's trilogy. He's got one fantastic imagination. But the bookstore was out of stock when I last checked. And Hawthorne takes you back to the 1600s, and compares the life in the US then, with life in 1850. You get a trip to two different time frames, in the same book."

"So the English used in the Scarlet Letter isn't giving you any trouble?" I asked. Mike had complained about that when he read The Pickwick Papers.

"Well, for one, The Scarlet Letter is much shorter. And I guess it's a little easier once you get used to it. Just like reading Shakespeare." With that he returned to his book.

"What's so difficult about reading Shakespeare?" asked Anil.

"I don't think he was referring to the condensed shorter versions you read in school when you were ten," I pointed out.

"You mean those weren't the originals?"

And we all laughed.