Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chapter 1

This is the first chapter of an intended novel I started to write in mid-2007. It went nowhere, probably because I did not have a plot. Okay, I had a plot which did not have an ending. Writing chapter after chapter of banter inspired by F.R.I.E.N.D.S. was not going to become a book anyway. 
A recent conversation on Facebook with a friend on why-I-cannot-write-a-novel reminded me of this. 

* * * * * 
“Why would Abhishek Saxena invite me for his birthday?” Gaurav Lahiri asked his roommate as he plonked down on the sofa opposite him at the Carter Road Barista.
“Do you think all these hot babes stay in Bandra?” asked Atul Dandekar – his roommate – in return.
There was a brief pause.
“Yaar, what did I say? And what the fuck did you say?”
“Fuckface, I just hate it when you just intrude on my thoughts. Actually, you just pulled the chain on my train of thoughts.” Atul chuckled happily at his disgusting joke.
As Gaurav brought his cold coffee to the table, Atul asked, “Didn’t Zen’s wife work in your office?”
Zen was the b-school nickname of Abhishek Saxena, for his Zen-ish tranquility in the face of tough exams.
“Yes, yaar. But I avoid her like the bubonic plague.”
“Yaar Gorilla, why do you Bongs use big words for no reason? Have you ever seen a bubonic plague?”
Gorilla, BTW, was the nickname given to Gaurav Lahiri in b-school, derived by abbreviating his name and surname. 
“Bloody hell, everybody knows about the bubonic plague. You get it when a rat bites you.”
“Haan. Then half of India would have got the bubonic plague. Why do you avoid her, but?”
“Because she is a pain in the ass, yaar. She is the not-tonight-darling-my-pubic-hair-will-get-messed-up kind of girl.”
Atul gaped for a second while he assimilated this description.
“Yes, I think I know the types. So, he called you and invited?”
“No, yaar. Sweety invited me. She said…”
“Ab yeh Sweety kaun hain?”
“Sweety is Zen’s wife, yaar. Who else? And why do people not have a more formal name than Sweety?”
“Because only you Bongs have all the time in the world to keep five names for everybody. One for school. One for work. One for the mother’s side of the family. One for the father’s side. All the world has one name only. Oh fuck – isn’t that Deepika Padukone?”
“No, it isn’t”, said Gaurav without even turning around. “Deepika Padukone is shooting for ad films in Phuket. She is not going around Baristas giving darshan to horny Ghatis like you.”
“Eh bhai. Just because Zen’s wife annoys you doesn’t mean you will abuse me… so, she invited you? Why?”
“Because she doesn’t know any of his batchmates. And I am the nearest bakra. And I have a lusty voice to shout SURPRISE. And I am tall enough to switch on the mains when Zen enters the flat in darkness.”
“God, she told you all that?”
“No, idiot. Only the switching on the mains part. I was like totally flummoxed, yaar. She is planning an elaborate surprise party with like Zen entering flat in complete darkness. All guests hiding under the sofa types. Suddenly lights come on and Haaapppy Birthday to youuuu.”
“She so looks like Deepika that it’s not funny.”
“Deepika? She is your chaddi buddy or what?”
“No yaar. But I can pretend, no? Better than having Sweety Saxena as your bosom pal! So practice switching the mains on and off so that you can do it with a flourish! Aisa na ho ki everybody jumps with a scream and it is still darkness because you slipped…”
“Yaar, your juvenile jokes are killing me.”
“Haan haan, if my jokes are juvenile, then your jokes are puerile.” Atul declared almost with a regal air.
“What is the meaning of puerile?”
“How do I know? The guy next to me on the local was reading a GRE prep book. I saw this one – and I knew it was a bad thing – because all the answer choices were like that. And I also learnt phantasmagoria. Though I have no clue about the meaning, I think I will still use it sometime.”
“Look I know for some seven years now, I don’t think you can use phantasmagoria in a sentence without people around you collapsing!”
“Chal chal. Bloody intellectual Bungali. Go and buy party hats for your best friend.”
“Somehow, she felt from the way Zen speaks about me that he is very fond of me.”
“What are you saying? Zen is fond of people other than himself?”
“He apparently said that if I had studied a little bit more, I could have topped the batch.”
“Boss, if all of us had studied more, all of us could have topped the batch. So, what’s the fun? At the end of the day, only Zen topped and now he has a babe wife and we are still bachelors.”
“You think we are bachelors because we flunked OB 3?”
“Not exactly but you know what I mean.”
“BTW, how do you know she is a babe?”
“Easy. Why else would you give a sex metaphor to describe her touch-me-not attitude?”
Gaurav smiled at the guy, who probably knew him better than his own parents.
“Shall we make a move? What has she cooked for dinner?”
Atul stood up, stretched his arms and arched his back enough for his shirt to come untucked. “How do I know?”, he yawned. 
“Achha – what can I give Zen for his birthday?”
“Buy him a tie. Ideal for consultants. In fact, we can go to Shoppers Stop. While you are finding the cheapest and most disgusting tie, I will try out a few perfumes from that Dishika babe.”
“What kind of despo would remember names of salesgirls?”
“I am not despo. You are a fucking frustu. She wrote her number behind that flyer and gave me. That’s why I remember.”
“Yeah right. You badgered her…” Gaurav stopped mid-sentence when he realized that they were both standing and the uncle on the next table was listening quite intently to their conversation.“Let’s make a move”, he said and moved towards the exit.
“Bloody hell. She IS Deepika Padukone. People are taking autographs.”
Now, Gaurav turned around and looked at the leggy lady who was now the center of attention at the coffee shop. One look at the high cheekbones and that hint of a dimple – and he knew he had to catch Om Shanti Om first day. 
“Hey. That Stephen Covey book you got at the sales conference…”
“No, I haven’t written my name on it. You want to give that book to Zen?”
“Yeah.” Gaurav smiled. “It’s so easy to live with you, Dandy. Will you marry me?”
“Chutiya, you had to ask me that question while I am looking at the most beautiful woman in India?”
They walked towards Gaurav’s car parked across the road. 

* * * * * 
Okay, so don't tell me whether you liked it or not. There's nothing to go by. 
Tell me what you think the plot was going to be. What was I thinking? Where were the characters named in this chapter headed? 
Better still, why don't you write the second chapter? Not much, just 1000 words to take the story a little forward. 


shoubhik said...

The second chapter would start with Gorilla standing at the door of Zen's apartment. The door has a nameplate 'Sweety and Aby's nook'. Gorilla barely controls his gag reflex.

Gorilla knocks and Sweety opens the door and screams hi in a manner which immediately makes Gorilla put as much distance from Sweety as is possible. Then she asks- "still or sparkling?", before you can figure out what she means, she continues- " or would you like a glass of Pinot Noir".

There goes my lunch hour. Maybe I will continue tomorrow

Gautam Ghosh said...

Heheh! You actually called a character Gaurav Lahiri? GaLa to Gorilla? Now I have to mail this to Gaurav :p