Saturday, June 26, 2010


I dont believe in ghost stories, I honestly dont.

I am the guy you see laughing @ a good ghost story when everyone around is squirming with fear. So, it came as no surprise to my friends when I told them that I was taking the Aarey road when going home after a late night party.

Aarey road is long and winding, covered with greenery. Legend says that this place was a robbers paradise where lonely travellers were robbed and murdered. Stories of murder victims being dumped in this remote area are well known. It is believed that these spirits still continue to haunt this area. Infact, this stretch of road in Mumbai is believed to be so haunted that no one is allowed to take it after 11 in the night to upto 5 in the morning. But, bribing the guard works and you do get a few people who come here looking for adventure, hoping to get spooked. I, on the other hand, prefer taking this route because it cuts my travel time by nearly 40 mins.

So there I was, cruising away on my bike when I notice an elderly man on an antique scooter phut phutting away in front of me. In no time, I zipped ahead of him. A few minutes later, I saw the man and his scooter again, riding ahead of me as if I had never overtaken him. Surprised, I zipped ahead again, but this time I managed to take in the make of the scooter and what the man was wearing. A few minutes later, when I saw him ahead of me again, I knew something was wrong. I hadn't seen him overtake me (there was no way his old Bajaj could have overtaken me anyways) and there are no shortcuts as the road is flanked by a lake on both sides. Intrigued, I overtook him and turned to take a quick look at his face. What happened next, I do not remember, but I woke up at home the next morning with no memory at all of how I got there.

I had to go back. I had to. I couldn't let a weirdo with an antique scooter knock me unconscious. Plus, I couldn't stand all the jokes my friends were now cracking at my expense.

Gathering a few friends, I decided to go back the next night. No, I wasn't scared. I just didn't want to take a chance. I mean there could be robbers and stuff and I didn't want to get mugged now, did I?

We took our bikes and parked right in the middle of the road where I had seen the weirdo the previous night. It was a clear night with the half moon throwing pleasant light. The crickets chirped and a light breeze carried with it, the sounds of the night. Flanked by the lake, the road looked breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful. As we waited for the weirdo to materialise, we indulged in friendly banter.

Suddenly, we heard a rustling sound coming from the lake. The hair on the back of my neck started tingling and there was a sudden chill in the air. Turning back, we saw what seemed like a figure running towards us at top speed. Running on water!!

Screaming as loudly as our lungs let us, we got on to our bikes and got the hell out of there. Atleast the rest did.
My bike refused to start. It was almost as if some weird force was keeping it glued to the spot. I felt someone something breathing down my neck. And then the inevitable happened.

I fainted.

Nothing untoward hasn't happened after that apart from the unexplained knocks I hear on my door at times. Or the weird voices and languages that my room mate says I speak in. Or the way Browny whines at times. I am in perfect shape but avoid taking the Aarey road. No, I am not scared. The roads have become too slippery in the rains and its too foggy in winters. I still enjoy a good ghost story but haven't really attended any late night parties in a while now. Work commitments.

And ya, I still don’t believe in ghost stories.

This is a true story. I tried telling it in third person par maaza nahi aa raha tha...thght the 1st person account did justice. So ya, this story isnt abt me..its abt a guy I know :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One Good turn......

Bachpan se we have been taught "Achai ka phal humesha acha hota hai" (One good turn begets another) but I am not really sure this saying holds true anymore......

  • A couple of days ago, M (a pleasantly plump friend) and I were travelling to Chembur by BEST. While I blabbered on, M decided to eat the motichur ka ladoos her mom had packed for her. That day was one of those rare occasions when I wasn't in the mood for Motichur ka ladoos. So while M munched happily, I kept her entertained with my bakwaas. Spotting an elderly man in the next row staring at her, she asked me if she should offer him a ladoo. "Uncle bhuke lag rahe hain" she said. As I nodded my approval, she reached out and offered him a ladoo. The guy refused and in his booming voice said "Nahi nahi, agar main yeah ladoo khaunga toh main bhi tumhare tarah mota ho jaaunga...Apna size dekho aur apni friend se kuch seekho..thoda patla hone ki koshish karo" Stunned, M didn't know how to respond. We got down a couple of stops later, but not before I had given the guy a piece of my mind.

  • Travelling to Vashi by bus, I was standing for nearly an hour. When I finally got a seat, I gratefully gave my poor tired legs some rest. A couple of minutes later, a lady got in with an infant in her arms and a toddler by her side. Trying to balance herself and the child, she tried removing the bus fare from her purse. I looked around. There were people who were sitting for the last one hour but not one moved a muscle. No one offered her a seat. My tired legs complained. "You dont need to give up your seat" they told me and I succumbed. (High heels in a BEST bus - bad combination). Suddenly the bus gave a jerk and the lady lost her balance. She crashed against a rod but managed to save the child from getting hurt. And yet no one moved. Ignoring my feet, I got up and offered her my seat. She sat down gratefully and the infant and the toddler found a cozy place to sit - their mom's lap. I did not get another seat for the next 1 hour and I reached Vashi with sore feet.

  • On a train ride to Dadar, I saw a pair of twins barely 3-4 years old, jostling for place in the crowded compartment. The babies couldn't stand for a minute without being stamped on by someone. I got up and offered them my seat. Out of nowhere, their mom came scrambling by, asked the kids to get up and sat down. The kids were left jostling for space again.

If they say, a good turn begets another..I have yet to see that happen. These 3 incidents in the last one week have left me questioning my beliefs. And this is not just about offering food to strangers or giving up my seat in crowded public transport.

I often wonder if there is any point being nice and kind to anyone especially when you dont seem to get any kindness from anyone around you. If good karma attracts good things into your life, shouldn't bad karma attract bad things? If yes, how come some of the meanest and nastiest people I know, are also the most successful and happy people I have seen? If there are no shortcuts to success, how come there are people who have taken shortcuts and are still successful. Why does life seem so freaking unfair at times that it threatens to destroy every iota of goodness in you?

I know everything turns out fine in the end, but what if the end comes too late? What if by the time things turn fine, I no longer care?

Fullon Frustrations on Fullon Bakwaas!!