Sunday, August 28, 2011

Launda Shahar Mein - Bachelor in the City

It’s almost a month in blackberry town. It wasn’t a rush, time didn’t fly by. I didn’t have as much fun as I would have hoped for, but I didn’t completely lose out on the jollies either. Here’s the journey so far.

Part 1: The Papa leg

I sat alone on my airplane seat from Delhi to Bangalore. That’s about the loneliest papa let’s me be. He sat in the middle seat in the front row, turning frequently to make sure my part of the plane hadn’t crashed. No, he’s not paranoid. Only concerned, protective, safeguarding my interests, he says. He believes in euphemisms. I don’t blame the generation who sired us. They’re not honest. Not their fault. It’s OK. And it’s sweet.

It was a comfy time spent in cosy sarkari guesthouses and meeting papa’s college batchmates. The Jain parivaar trying to make sure that I feel right at home. Auntie insisted on feeding me like a heifer (a bachda in desi) and uncle to teach me to get around Bangalore without my GPS. This is Marathahalli OK? That place over there is Whitefield. What’s that? That’s a road beta, not a parking lot. Bangalore traffic is a little...ahem...bad. Not a worry if you leave for office before 5 AM. And that over there is where you’ll work.

I nodded. What I had learnt effectively by the end of the day was how to get lost.

GPS it is, then. Satellites shall watch over me. Amen.

Papa left on Sunday, 7th August. I was sad. I was alone and I was thrilled.

From L to R: Avuncular umbrella, Mr.Gupta, Mr.Mukherjee and Mr.Jain. And Papa.

Part 2: The Arpit Leg

Try boiling a potato this way. Put it in a small bowl of water and microwave for 40 minutes. The water evaporates and the potato bursts into pieces. The pieces are burnt to a crisp and glow like coal. It’s delightful fun.

I tried this for the first time when I was seventeen. Seventeen mind you, not seven. I grew backwards.

As a child I was fiercely independent. Mr. Size 4, chota chaddhi leader, bade bhaiya. I childified as I grew. Bacchi calls me un-adult-rated.

Arpit is a co-joinee from IITR. Thrifty and aggressive, he’s fiercely adult. We roamed the streets looking for flats together. 2BHKs for under 15k. He did most of the talking. Very few were interested in dealing with us. Once they realized we were bachelors (did we ever look like a couple), it was no saaar, sarry. Aap daaru piyega, waal par thookega, music bajayega, neighbour ka kaan fat jayega, uski ladki bhaag jayegi, mere bhi bacche hai. Main kya karega saaar. OK, Ok, Mr. Srinivas Naidu. We’ll get back to you when we’ll marry.

I eventually moved into a 3BHK, deciding to share a room. Sorry Arpit. I was settled.

Part 3: Naresh And Tara

Every college has its lingo. There are generic words – bakar, bakchodi, GPL, ghissai. Then there is IITspeak, every IIT’s own creation and legacy in a lingual nutshell. It morphs, it changes, it adapts. But it always makes you laugh, so ridiculous it is sometimes.

I met Naresh over the internet. No we were not stalking eachother. Naresh and I were unofficial single point contacts between IIT Bombay and IIT Roorkee respectively for OFSS recruits.

I chatted with Naresh over GTalk a lot during the period between recruitment and induction. Here’s what a usual conversation looked like.

Why aren’t our offer letters coming? I’m getting a little worried. I think I’ll sue


How’re things at IITB. Aren’t you guys worried? I think you guys are blissfully ignorant about this problem

LOLmax :-D

I met Naresh in the flesh on 8th August at the OFSS HQ in Bangalore. Our first conversation went like this:

Me: Is that you, Naresh.

Naresh: Yes. Piyush?

Me: Yes. Nice to meet you. I can’t believe they called us at eight AM and didn’t turn up themselves.

Naresh: LOL

Me: I think I’ll sue.

Naresh: LOL max

He didn’t speak, he GTalked! I was laughing so hard inside. Don’t you ever log out Naresh?

Skip to 4 hours later. The new bosses wanted intros. Nothing special. Nobody sparkled. Until, it was the turn of a prodigy. A dark, stubbled, softspoken boy rose. “My name is Tarakant.” Silence. Nobody moved. “That’s it,” he added. Epic! It was pure awesomeness. A few girls fainted. Tara revived them. A few boys did too. Tara forced me to revive them. I know I had to, had to hang around this God. Rest of the day was a blur. I just stared at him.

From L to R: Arpit, Me, Tara and Naresh

Part 4: The Training Leg

We all have certain restrictions at home. An inherited and instructed set of morals to abide by. What to do and what not to do. They slowly form what we come to know as our conscience. The pangs of guilt that we get chewing on a besan coated legpiece at KFC, chanting sorry mummy with each bite or the way the first ever gulp of beer is so damn hard to swallow, with fear of divine retribution constricting our throats.

Within a few weeks of joining Oracle, I felt guilty. There was a nagging guilt over doing something that was admonished at home. I had been sitting in front of a computer for six straight hours every day. Worse, I was beginning to enjoy coding. At my place, the poor computer carries a stigma. It being a bundle of all the things I was forbidden from indulging too much in: video games, TV and internet. Papa severely dislikes its ability to reduce men to just their brains, eyes and fingers.

“Let go of your laptop for a while,” he would say. “Watch TV for a change.”

Well, now that I am a software developer, my body will definitely atrophy. Friends say I should join a gym to stay in shape. Sure. Only if they have free WiFi.

A month in Bangalore. Coping without family and familiarity.

A bachelor in the city. Learning to walk.


  1. Very nicely written :)
    Poet and now a Writer
    Continue the Good work :)

  2. Loved the haddu-English talk. Though I thought Bangalore would be more open to bachelors, given that there are so many who go there every year. Even globalization can't change everything, I suppose.

  3. @Sushobhan : Yes, it is open to bachelors, those who have a lot of money.

    @Piyush : I can just say this - Please keep writing. Reading your blogs helps us(I'm sure all of us) realize what we feel. The familiarity.... :)

  4. Nice man!

    Feels like going through the pages of my personal diary which I forgot to write down last year :)

  5. Good one mate!
    Keep going with it... The introduction of that dude was funny!

  6. One of your best .. would love to see it as series 1,2 3,...

  7. good narration...part 2 is best..

  8. nice.. i still don't see u getting any closer to liking this city though :P

  9. how can u write so good man ....!!!
    ur words sound much more interesting than the situation .... :D

  10. Very well written Piyush. I certainly enjoyed reading this. Excellent narration! You should try writing novels!!

  11. the dude is seriously funny.. nice post btw

  12. You are really moving ahead of your Kshitij days. the writing has an awesome mix of Rushdie and Adiga, not that I am comparing the three of you but then two Booker winners and a third one might just be in the pipeline. I liked the part about the older generation being not honest and how people denied you an apartment. Maybe throw in a drug trafficking or a underground terrorist plot or a entrepreneurial venture and walla you get a Booker.

    Hope you have a nice walk in the park in Bangalore.

    ----The Wise Bespectacled Owl.

  13. Nicely written buddy .. blend of so many varied emotions, anxiety, guilt, frustration or excitement ... i could totally relate to how it feels being trapped in a new world .. hope this hapless soul of yours find peace there soon .. :D :D ..

    P.S: I loved "the Fear of Divine Retribution" while drinking .. haha .. dude .. just savour the moment and enjoy .. :D

  14. very well written piyush...can relate to d feeling so easily...just keep on writing..:)