Some stalkers are fascinating. Like hunters they notice tiny details before making the chase and killing. And I think I am on my way to becoming a good one. It has become a part of my daily routine now. (I stalk Rannvijay Singh sir every day)
A few crazy boys play cricket on the tin factory bridge, one of my friends uploaded this picture. Sometimes they go to this bridge after midnight to cut cakes and party there. They also dance in front of speeding cars and rush back to the footpath as the vehicles near.
Pushpa makes a Tiktok video by the hour and sends it to me, most of them in Nepali. And even though I don’t understand Nepali, I cannot delete them. Some day, like a peculiar cat she will ask me to send the videos back to her. If lost, the tragic actress in her will awaken; and she will text me with exceptional drama: hmm… time changes people, but even you’ve changed! irli bidu and then my number will be blocked. There are times when we have had conversations through email because that remains the only media to be unblocked.
Everyday has become Shivaratri to me, charger is as important as water to my brother. Atthige always complains – Bari America movies nodthane, TV nodthane, phone use madthane, remote nan kaige barodhe illa… nanige tumba bejaaru.
Coronavirus has modified our lives to a great extent. Amma wakes up before six as usual and goes to work. For the first five hours she works in her school and the next five hours, she works for the BBMP Covid surveillance team. I am busy playing badminton when Amma returns home. Amma, Ajji, and I get to spend time together only after nine in the night. We don’t sleep before twelve. Both of them are great fans of crime patrol.
Last night while we all sat together watching Anup Soni hosting another horrifying case, rats in our stomach started playing Kabaddi. Ajji always keeps some stock of chaklis and kadlepuri; so exactly when it was a quarter to twelve, she prepared some Bhel puri for us. Nights like these come very often nowadays – we eat, talk and laugh. It’s indeed a good life after nine.
I live in a locality where Macha, Maga, Maams are used instead of dude, pal, bro. And because I am always at home now, Amma’s “Yelle idhya, Yavagle barthiya?” seems to have disappeared.
It already feels like a year since I saw junior Yash and Sudeep who always play Lagori after school with a few other boys who only bother to change their uniform’s shirt, not the trouser. Sudeep’s recent dialogue, Oh brahme, is heard from these boys every now and then.
The place where they play is an empty site, which no one has tried to destroy by building another concrete dabba yet. These little boys call each other An-thamma so loud that we are all aware of their existence, but now the entire site looks haunted as if there is Kanchana hidden with her Mangalsutra in there. Nowadays a heavy truck and a ‘van’ just like the one in the movie is always parked there.
Scrolling through my phone is hurts my eyes now. I close my eyes and try listening to some noises from the window. Pakkad maneli ibru idhare, eerulli cut madthidhare ansutte, kannela uri – It is 1.24 AM now when I hear this. I want to go out and see who’s talking but I do not want them to know that I am awake – happy eavesdropping only to me.
And then arrives the mosquito queen to kiss my leg. Amma lit a good night fast card early in the evening. Maybe the scientist squad of mosquito kingdom has invented a mask to survive it. I scratch and scratch and scratch – it’s burning now. I get up and search for the good night fabric roll -on because I don’t have patience to apply Odomos all over my hands and legs at midnight.
Meanwhile my school friend, Akhanda sends me a message about how he makes plans to get drunk. Navu hudugru ma, olle planning irutthe, he says. Yenne jothe masala Kadlekai beeja idhre adhe swarga… I ask him if his love failed recently, he says no. The beard is because of Vijay Devarakonda and yenne party is to have fun.
Amma is dreaming about Dosa and alugadde palya — she is mumbling in her dreams. I remembered she told me it will be prepared for breakfast. Ajji has a sharp hearing skill like the owl, she wakes up for the smallest of sounds. Nenu inka sweet sixteen (I am still sweet sixteen) she always says if I taunt her age.
Ajji likes listening to Ranganath on Public news channel. His show ‘Maneye Mantralaya’ is a show that allows people to call and ask queries. A schoolboy calls to talk about his problem in the lock-down. Apparently, his favorite show and this show are at the same time, so he says “Saar, please nim showna 9 O’Clockge shift madkoli.” Ranganath, Ajji, the audience watching it , and I all burst out laughing — tears in Ajji’ s eyes already!
On some mornings when I am home alone, I go through all the old pictures in my gallery. I am a self-obsessed monkey; I love stalking my pictures. Pictures then become stories, I put in a little effort to write. It hasn’t been that bad, you eat, read your favorite books, play chowka bara or badminton, and write a little.