The Turbocharged Masala Chai

The hills are alive with the sound of gas escaping!

Vroom, vroom! The sight of men on a noisy motorbike, the pillion rider tightly holding on to the waist of the guy in front, was somehow disconcerting. Dad had once explained that they needed to do so for reasons of safety, lest the guy behind gets thrown off while the rider is negotiating those bumpy tracks. While that may be the ostensible reason, the lingering thought about the range of emotions experienced by both men when that hand slipped a little below, inadvertently perhaps, was always unexplainably exciting.

Oh hell! Reality always brought one down to earth during these mental interludes of fancy. How could one ignore for long that guy with the strange headgear, irritatedly scratching his crotch at times, in between bouts of picking his teeth, hollering all the while for cutting masala chai and fafda. Dad had made it clear to him, more than once, that customers must be served promptly and on the few occasions that he had failed to do so, immersed as he happened to be in one of his lingering daydreams, a couple of hard spanks, administered on his somewhat misshapen keister, had quickly brought him back to reality.

Years later, after he had put his misadventures behind him and had settled down to a life of regurgitating the text that they put in front of him from time to time and made him memorize, he decided to put the fleeting thoughts of his early years to the test. He was pillion riding on Lijet’s new Vespa scooter and when Lijet took a sharp turn, he sensed that this was his moment and let his hand slip down a little lower. Strangely, Lijet didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, he appeared to be in a trance for sometime afterwards till he stopped in front of a public lavatory, muttered that he was going to be awhile coming back and virtually ran inside. When he finally emerged, after what appeared to be an interminably long time, he had a glazed look in his eyes and a little smile playing on his lips. Soon afterwards, he muttered something about being faithful and loyal always. While what exactly he had in mind wasn’t fully clear then, it became rather evident that day that letting the hand stray a little lower, while hugging from the back or front, helped trigger feelings of loyalty.

Lets fast forward a few years down the line to the time when that dynamic leader, Komod, took him under his wings. His many duties, Komod explained, included serving tea, coffee and what Komod referred to as ‘refreshments’, to Komod’s distinguished guests. Once, after Komod had managed to strike a deal he was very keen on, amidst sips of his turbocharged masala chai, he detected that strange look in Komod’s eyes. Later that evening, when he was alone with Komod, he suddenly got a tight hug from him, a pat on the cheeks, a suggestion that he should let his facial hair grow and felt Komod’s hands slowly, deliberately, straying south. They eventually came to rest between his legs and strangely, his mind conjured up visions of Karna ‘doing’ Duryodhana during the Mahabharat era. Afterwards, he went and swore undying loyalty to Komod since that seemed to be the done thing, though as has been the case since his childhood years, he never quite meant what he said and never ever intended to keep a promise. He also decided that day that come what may, he will do whatever it takes to get to the top job one day.

Some years later, after Komod had departed this earth under rather gruesome circumstances and his own career plans were humming along nicely, he tried all that Komod had done to him and more on Rasik, who had served him well for some years. Rasik said he was immensely uplifted by the experience and beseeched him to repeat the exercise as often as he wished to. As he had expected, Rasik promptly swore to be faithful and loyal to him for the rest of his life and he decided, that very day, that if he ever made it to the top job, Lijet & Rasik were going to be his A-team. He had no need to look any further afield.

Some years later, when he had succeeded in eliminating much of the opposition within and appeared to be within striking distance of his goal, he was referred to this high priced international consultant who, he was told, had turned one-time mendicants into princes, globally. While they charged him an arm and a leg, they did give him some valuable tips. Some of the key ones were:

a) Physical attributes were important and many international unisex bars forbade people, whose chest did not measure at least 120 cm., from even entering. He decided to play it safe and be at least 10 cm. above that defined threshold.

b) Clothes maketh the man and the more the clothes the bigger the man was perceived to be. Again, he decided to take no chances and proceeded to build up a wardrobe which, in terms of quantity, would have made many a viscount blanch with envy. Since this burgeoning wardrobe wasn’t meant to remain in the jumbo-sized closet that he had custom built, he took to changing his clothes at least thrice daily and displaying as many of them publicly as he could, regularly. He did hear whispers about some folks referring to him as a clotheshorse but since horses had always given him that warm feeling down below, he was happy to conclude that he was on the right track.

c) His international consultants advised him that it was important to latch onto some buzzwords and make them his very own. These buzzwords were then to be strung up and displayed widely and were to appear in virtually every nook and corner of his territory till the person-in-the-street thought of him whenever they glimpsed these buzzwords and vice versa. Apparently, in marketing parlance, this was known as top-of-the-mind recall. After sleeping on various sets of buzzwords and consulting his mentor, who was known popularly as ‘The Walrus’, he settled on the words ‘focus’ and ‘hocus’ initially. ‘Hocus’ had to be replaced soon though because ‘The Walrus’ severely disapproved of it and even chided him for his choice. After much deliberation and consultation the word ‘shaft’ was chosen instead.  Lejit was enthusiastic about this and assured him, given the several nuances of the word, that his choice was a brilliant one.

Thus began his exciting journey to the top. More about that, some other time though.


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