Sweet Surrender

The aroma of samosas sauntered up his nose as Ranjit turned the corner near the local sweet shop. He smiled. His sister was to visit him and she loved freshly made jalebis. But he was smiling because he knew he could munch on a couple samosas while waiting for a fresh batch of jalebis.

Although he knew what he wanted, there was one going through a decisional crisis, his face tenser than a bomb squad member’s.

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It’s Only Love

“Hi, there,” I greeted with the best smile I could manage.

“What do you want?” The words were intermixed with a sigh. The night outside the cell was intrusive, silent.

“I’m just going around visiting patients for a project, to know about the…their…um.”

“Madness,” he said turning towards me. The springy bed didn’t make any sound as he turned, doing its bit to make the room dingier.

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Tree Hugger

Ranjit has a history of waking up in bizarre places. Most of those instances were from childhood when he used to live in the village. While other kids have tales of falling asleep in school during class or exams, Ranjit can recount tales of waking up on the back of a walking bull, on top of a slowly rotating ceiling fan, and on a bicycle going downhill. For the longest time, he thought he was a somnambulist. It was years later that he learned it was his cousins’ doing.

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Cat and Mouse

Many people are afraid of mice. Ranjit isn’t one of them. So when a mouse came scampering towards him as he parked his motorcycle in his apartment complex, he wasn’t worried. Surprised, but unworried.

Many people detest cats. Ranjit isn’t one of them. But when a cat pounced on him right after the mouse scurried up his leg under his trousers, he was a bit worried. Surprised, and worried.

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Loony Tunes

It was my first day of interviewing patients at the mental institute. The sign outside the door said ‘Bullet for My Valentine’.

“What’s that?”

“A heavy metal band,” said the ward boy accompanying me.

“But why is that written under ‘Artist of the Day’?”

“The patient behind that door can only speak through song lyrics,” came the response in an incredulous voice. The ward boy couldn’t believe the absurdity behind my question. I was amazed that despite having worked in the facility for years he could still be struck by absurdity at all.

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Sweeney 2.0

Winters had overstayed their welcome, and summer, aware that it was late to the party, had rushed on with twice its usual vigour. The sultry air had stripped trees of their leaves. A new covering was due, and Ranjit, in a bid to follow suit, visited his barber for a regular haircut. But routine chores and events hardly ever enfold in a regular fashion for him.

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Drop Dead Beauty

Bhavna watched incredulously as her neighbour produced a snakes and ladders board and placed the two pieces at the starting point. The fact that he was serious about playing board games as opposed to going out on a date made her question how on Earth had she developed romantic feelings for him. But then she saw his eyes lift sheepishly to meet her penetrating gaze, and his cheeks flush and puff. She could never stay mad at that face. Stupid cute baby face, she thought as she smiled.

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Sibling Rivalry

Changez was sitting up in his bed when Ranjit entered. The ward boy handed him his medicine and passed by Ranjit, who took his seat beside the bruised and battered patient.

“Ranjit, what brings you here?” asked Changez. Ranjit rolled his eyes and looked at Aamna. She did the same as she sighed at her brother’s chronic sarcasm.

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Heavy Lifting

As he stood while the metro approached his stop, Ranjit thought how good it would be if he could use public transport for his daily commute. He didn’t mind getting squished among bodies when it got crowded, or standing for long durations. His motorbike travels involved sitting while he drove and standing while he waited in torturous traffic. In that regard, the two weren’t that different, save for a vibrating entity between his legs. But it was the comfortable decibel level inside the metro that he liked best.

It was not late in the evening, but the curiously prolonged winters had drawn the curtains for the day. Ranjit was headed to Lodhi Gardens to meet a friend and had to change lines from Mandi House, but the route was shut for maintenance. It was a short journey and he thought of hiring an auto-rickshaw.

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