Friday, April 9, 2010

A Likely Story

What rum bottle in what glove compartment, Ma?

It is not my car.

It well may be my car, now that I look at it from this angle, but surely it can’t be my bottle, can it? . Do you think it is one of the servants’?

Yes because don’t you remember: when the usual bottle for the engine coolant was misplaced, I asked you for a spare bottle to keep some water for the engines, and you said there were old bottles in the servant’s area, ones that used to hold kerosene. I must have absent-mindedly gone to the storage room under the stairs and taken out the bottle you use for wine and then put it in the glove compartment thinking it was the kerosene bottle, because I have always loved it’s shape. Haven’t you loved it’s shape as well?

Since you ask, no Ma, I can’t picture you having wine in a Bacardi white rum bottle in a millennium, make that ten millennia, especially that kind of make. Maybe that is one reason we don’t see eye to eye as often as we used to.

However, that doesn’t alter the fact that they were in the storage room under the stairs and I, not bothering to switch on the lamp, mistook it for a kerosene bottle.

How do I know? I expect you put it there yourself, after unwrapping it. I know you have a short memory, but surely you can remember Uncle Bobby getting you a Bacardi white rum bottle last Christmas, among other suitable items? I remember you verbatim. “Thank You very much darling, but I can’t have it in a millennium”, you said. "I’ll take them back to the shop tomorrow and get you something more mellow and suitable, a bottle of red wine maybe?” he replied. Then you must have popped it in the storage room and not given a second’s thought to it from that day to this. How fast time flies doesn’t it. If you remember…..

All right. Joke over. Do you want to know what really happened?

You are not going to like this, I’m warning you.

Because it involves someone, the mention of whose very name you hate.

G, the college practical joker.

Of course, you know he is the college practical joker. That is why you loathe him so much. Surely, I am not to be held responsible for my batch-mate's off-beat sense of humour. I know you hate him because he kept sticking out his yellow tongue at you at the college party that we went to.

Well, he thought that was a practical joke.

So, I can’t prove anything, but I did notice that G, the college practical joker was loitering around the car parking area in the evening, where he had no right to be as he doesn’t drive. You know.

Let me get this straight. You are telling me that if G, the college practical joker, somehow got into the car, somehow forced opened the glove compartment without breaking the lock and placed the Bacardi white rum bottle he happened to have in his pocket and then locked the glove compartment and got out off the car, you are going to call a doctor and test for alcohol in my blood?

Then it’s very lucky indeed that that is not what actually happened. The incident actually centers around S.

S. I don’t think you have met him. He has quite a reputation as the college conjurer. I have seen him do tricks with cards that would astound you. We all tell him he should take it professionally. Listen. I saw him do this legendary thing the other day. Imagine a rocking chair, a bowl of goldfish, a couple of cigarette cases…..

Did I mention glove compartments? Or sleight of hand tricks with Bacardi white rum bottles? Then until I do mention them please be kind to reserve your judgment, Ma.

Where was I?

Good heavens.

You know that sensation that comes, you know it don’t you, that someone sometimes is going to say something? Déjà vu, isn’t it? Well, I just had it then.
It was when I said ‘Where was I’. It brought back sudden memories of sitting in the same car and saying-it wasn’t ‘Where was I’-it was ‘Who am I?’ Must have temporarily lost my memory.

No, I know that is not the same thing as déjà vu, but you know what I mean. Of course you do. Don’t tell me you have never lost your memory temporarily and come around saying ‘Where am I?’ or ‘Who am I?’.

I don’t think I like your tone, Ma. I wouldn’t dream of asking you to believe that I came around to asking ‘Where am I or Who am I or What is Bacardi white rum bottle doing in the glove compartment?’. Had that been the case, I would have mentioned it.
This time I found myself sitting in the car and asking ‘Where am I?’ or ‘Who am I?’ as the case may be. This time I temporarily lost my memory.

Yes, I was about to tell it you, but I forgot about it.

Well, Bacardi white rum bottles don’t come into it anywhere. I just got sidetracked by a moment of déjà vu or whatever it was.
I am getting back to the nitty-gritty. G, the college practical joker, and S, the college conjurer were, how shall I put it, somewhat worse for the wear. Tired and emotional. There was a football match, you see. Pretty important for the college. And we lost because of a last minute controversial penalty kick. So, you see, there was Raj coming in from the right wing and he crosses to the centre…..

You are right upto a point. G, the college practical joker, doesn’t play football, but now he plays like a couple of Peles. The only reason you don’t know that he plays is because you won’t have him in the house anymore. Because you hate his insides.

They were hanging around at the car parking, G, who doesn’t drive but who plays now, and S, who both drives and plays.

They had been celebrating.

Does it really matter for what? Since you must know, they were celebrating A, the college kleptomaniac, being accepted for an exchange program to Germany. So A thought he would instill some happiness into these morose guys for a night. Must have been his good deed for the day.

Didn’t you? Oh yea, the college and staff keeps it hushed up, naturally. We have been asked not to talk about it. Its an illness. He takes pills for it.

Yea, that is perfectly correct. He did get into a German college three months ago. But it was only temporary till recently. He is now a permanent guy for a year over there. A lucky chap he is.

By all means congratulate him, if you know the ISD code.

You may mention Bacardi white rum bottle if you want, but I don’t see why on earth you should in the first place.

Have I accused A, the college kleptomaniac, of stealing Bacardi white rum bottle from some place somewhere and then stuffing it into that glove box?

Very well then.

The only reason A comes into the picture is that he was planning to spend the night at S’ place before returning to Germany by a late flight. S, the college conjurer, was too tired to drive. G, the college practical joker, doesn’t drive. Foolishly, I volunteered to give all of them a lift.

No, I am not going to bother you about how S threw his bunch of keys out into the sewer and swore he could produce it in the glove compartment when we reached home. We all believed him, because he is so damn clever, a member of the magic circle and all, did you know?

Well, we reached S’ place and no keys in the glove compartment. G, the college practical joker has passed out and none of us know where he lives. So, I couldn’t dump them at his place, and I couldn’t bring them back here because you hate G like you hate none other.


I am drifting on the road, wondering what on earth I could do. Should I get a hotel room or what? And then I see my headlights rest on something in a purple dress, waving her arm about, outstretched. One stunning blonde thumbing a lift. Haven’t I told you this story before? I thought I had.

So, the gentleman that I am, stops and she gets in at the front where the glove compartment is.

G, the college practical joker, S, the college conjurer and A, the college kleptomaniac are all sleeping, dead as dodos at the back.

Now, as you know, there is a light in the glove compartment, which was switched on because we had been searching for S’ keys. I was able to get a good look at the hitch-hiker and I thought hello, I have seen you before, dear.

And do you know who it was?

I can see that you are not going to get it. Off all people it was none other than K, the college hottie. Not much of a coincidence, you know. K lives in the same street as S does.

‘Thank God, it’s you four’ says K, ‘because I’m in dead trouble….’

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