Tag Archives: HCU

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World War Z Every Morning

Hyderabad has been reeling under a water crisis for a while now. In fact, water has been a recurring problem in Telangana.

Much of the Telangana struggle pertained to water, and not as people in Andhra like to believe, because KCR is an egomaniac, or that his nose is so large, he can smell What the Rock is Cooking.

At one point, it is said that the city had over 3000 lakes, all maintained by the Nizam who had so much swag (and wealth) that he got a Rolls Royce just to sweep the roads of Hyderabad.

But since then, we have had apartment complexes springing up with ‘Lake View’ rooms, which is a polished way of saying ‘We encroached the fuck out of the lake’. The lack of urban planning has resulted in lakes going dry, stale, or senile. And we have begun to feel the pinch of our forefathers’ sins (Well not mine, technically. My forefathers were smoking beedis in Orissa and chilling out. Till the Super Cyclone came, at least!).

But as Hyderabad grapples with the water crisis, there are a few ways that common men like me have to pay the price. Like the Water Regulation rule in our hostel.

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The University of Hyderabad (if I haven’t advertised it enough in my blogs already) is a large, sprawling campus that has three lakes within its boundaries. There are water tanks, reservoirs, and pump houses at such regular intervals that if you zoom out on Google Earth, it looks like a map on Age of Empires.

But this year, the administration decided to take matters into their own hands. Which meant they’d switch off the water in our hostels. December is Holidays’ time, so the kids – Bachelors, Masters students – have left for their homes.

Which leaves us guys – the MPhils and PhDs, the zombies of academia – loitering about the corridors searching for water every morning.

Now, my opinion of bathrooms in government hostels is no secret, really. I have written about it umpteen times, and if Swachh Bhaarat truly needs a place to begin its Phase 2, they need to look at the bathrooms in government hostels.

As it is, they are not in the best shape.

Sometimes, there is a tap running in a bathroom, like a depressed damsel in distress, crying for her lover, as the tap moans painfully, giving an aching friend a shoulder to cry on.

The mirrors are all cracked at least three places, so when you go to shave in the morning, you end up asking yourself existential questions like – ‘Who am I? What is the purpose of life?’

Some bathrooms are so old, you can still see ‘Aurangzeb loves Reshma’ etched on the walls. Some of the hostels have those olden style flushes – a large metal box hanging precariously over your head. The flush is a rusty metal chain that you never pull, for fear of having it the entire apparatus over your head.

Then there are the boilers – relics of Neanderthal man’s conquest over nature – just large, bubbling cylinders that look like props on a Mithun Chakroborty film, ready to explode any minute. There are bathroom doors that have no latches on them. Meaning you have to walk in and trust humanity to suppress its native curiosity. Or hang your towel on the door and sing songs constantly, hoping nobody pushes open the door to ask for your autograph!

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I am an early riser.

I am up by 7 every morning. Then I check Facebook for a bit, go through the news on my phone, and set out to roll the Morning Joint.

I am a strong advocate of the Morning Joint. (Read my blog on it here). It helps you appreciate the beauty of sunrise. While others are struggling to begin their day on the right foot, you get wings to start things off.

But just when I am done, and decide to get on with life’s mundane necessities, I realise how traumatic it can be.

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The authorities did their bit, by putting up a poster on the notice board. Like Venkatpathy Raju in the Indian cricket team, the poster is overshadowed by food delivery brochures, political pamphlets, and a notice by that guy whose jeans are missing.

Which means that at the back of your mind, you know that the water is going to run out. But you don’t smoke the Morning Joint and think about taps and water. You think about the world, and life, and how beautiful the butterfly that’s sitting on your table looks.

So I’m in for a shock every single morning.

And with me, are other co-sufferers.

There’s that one guy humming a tune because he’s stuck in the toilet without water, and he’s given up. There’s that guy with shaving foam all over his face, just banging into things and cursing like Captain Haddock.

The corridors – once bustling with conversations and music – are empty and deserted, save for a few PhD zombies with that glazed 4thYearMeinHoonWattLagRahiHai expression in their eyes.

Standing there with my mug, which has a toothbrush, soap, and shampoo, I am catapulted back to reality. I run back to my room, looking frantically for any traces of water.

Only to realise I had luxuriously poured myself a peg of Hercules Rum. I look around, and find an old Thums Up bottle, half filled with old water. I pick it up, thank Lord Shiva, and rush to the bathrooms again like a madman.

I pour off a few drops on my toothbrush, and brush my teeth slowly and carefully. On the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth, using short back-and-forth strokes. Using as little water as I can, I wash my mouth, and get ready to wash my face (It’s winter, I’m not going to have bath. Fuck off!).

Every morning in the last month has taught me the value of teachings I was taught in school.

Like, Boond boond se saagar banta hai.

I thought that was something Hindi teachers mumbled every few minutes as they were generally senile. But I see the point now.

I close my eyes and spread the soap on my face, rubbing gently from the inside to the outside in a circular motion, as it says in WikiHow. When I am done, I gently pat my face with a towel, and get the fuck out of there.

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May be this is what the future of humanity is going to be.

Running around with a bottle of water, thinking fondly of the days when Sridevi seduced Amitabh Bachchan in a swimming pool. Just two people, and all that water to themselves.

May be this is how the world is going to end.

Just all of us singing Raag Malhaar in a toilet, hoping there will be some water.

I come back to the room and half the joint is still left. I sit down on the bed, and all is well with the world again.

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(Featured Image Source)

Kimbo

Kimbo and Me

If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you’d have come across Kimbo Slice.

Kimbo

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.

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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.

kim

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.