If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you’d have come across Kimbo Slice.
Dog extraordinaire, Alpha Male of the biggest Food Court on the University of Hyderabad campus. Friend of friends, possessive as Simi Garewal in Karz, and hater of buffaloes. A dog who never wagged his tail and asked for food. Who hung out with you as a friend, content to lick his balls while you smoked a joint, transcending millions of years of evolution between Man and Friend.
When we first met, the two of us were at our peak.
Kimbo was cool Cool was Kimbo. He only ate chicken, and threw you a frosty glare if you dared feed him anything vegetarian. Tiger biscuits was his preference, sniffing and rejecting anything else. If you befriended him, he walked with you from the Food Court, to your hostel five kilometres away, ensured you were safe, and then ran all the way back. He ran his ‘hood’ of reverential street dogs – his bark caused a riot, his whimper started an orgy. Kimbo was the ruler of the land.
And me. After years of trying to find a calling in life, and having dealt with only missed calls so far, I was finally at a place I felt comfortable. A place where I could engage, debate, discuss, prove my point, win an argument, play God.
In a way, we were both unlikely heroes. Kimbo isn’t the biggest dog around. In fact, in a world determined by size, Kimbo is relatively puny. One of his eyes doesn’t work, he walks with a limp, and his cough reminds you of Rajesh Khanna in Anand.
And yet, he ruled Gops with an iron paw.
And me. On a scale of One to Ten, I am Uday Chopra with a hangover and a hairstyle from Tirupati. And yet, I pursued women way out of my league. I sat with them at Gops, Kimbo at my side, talking to them, painting blurry memories with colour and gifting it to them. Wonderful women who drank, smoked, spoke, held hands, and took walks, Kimbo guarding us against imaginary ghosts and disrespectful buffaloes.
We were both punching above our weight. Kimbo running his pack of dogs, a motley crew of scared, whimpering, lost souls who transformed into Jedi warriors when they heard his bark. Who sprang to life and ran behind the buffalo, who obviously, didn’t give a fuck. Because, buffaloes.
He ran his hood, and I dated women I would never have a chance with in everyday life. And how did I do it?
Kimbo was my Wingman.
We shared a Jackie Shroff – Moti equation. Everytime I whistled, Kimbo would drop everything and come running towards me. Something about this impressed women no end. And every woman I dated, I made sure Kimbo met them too.
In my absence, Kimbo would run up to them, say a Hi, and hang out, ensuring other stray dogs didn’t bother them. He was my Wingman.
Back in those days, me and Kimbo ruled Gops.
In the four years that have passed, things have changed.
Not drastically, like a Farah Khan movie. But in a slow, excruciating manner. When small details add up over a large period of time to signify that things are not the same.
Kimbo is old now.
He has given up his hood, and taken refuge near the Small Gate. He spends his days wagging his tail at the security guards, who throw him a biscuit every now and then. His eyes have given up on him, as have his nose and ears. Blind, deaf and weak, he has taken old age in his stride.
And me. I have grown tired. Disillusioned, drifting about pointlessly.
Kimbo is at the twilight of his life, and me at the fag end of my Twenties.
When I ride past him and scream ‘Kimbo’, the name barely registers. He turns, tries to place me, and then sneezes and goes back to swatting flies near his balls.
I ride past him everyday, call out his name, and he continues to sleep, his jagged breaths interrupted by flies. Everyday, I wonder if it’s the last time I’m going to see him. And yet, lying down like that, without shame or remorse, Kimbo knows.
We both need to leave this place. Soon.