The non-cute co-founder of YQ. I write long poems, letters & build products.
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To be a creep,
there are five foolproof methods
that have worked for
Facebook romeos as well as juliets to
annoy the hell out of their subjects of interest
time and again.
Method 1, the eww fraandship way.
Irrespective of whether the person
is added to your list or not,
irrespective of if the person replies or not,
do the daily ritual of forwarding
a good morning & a good night message
to them, trying to elicit a reply.
If those greetings are too kitschy,
go for sharing jokes & shayari.
YourQuote could come to your rescue my friend,
just search through #love & #heartbreak.
This won’t get you interest,
but the good thing is it’s so benign,
you won’t ever be blocked.
There’ll always be some hope.
Method 2, the corny cheesy way.
This is the fastest way to get blocked.
Google the corniest pick-up line,
Your ass is so nice that it is a shame
that you have to sit on it.
my grandson wants a grandma like you.
Copy it, paste it on the messenger,
adding a ;) emoji to lessen the damage,
What you have sent is a time bomb
of disgust for you, my friend.
Pray to be blocked
and save yourself from embarrassment,
because if you are not,
you will be in years to come.
Method 3, the trying-to-be-subtle approach.
Drop in a harmless ‘hi’
to the one you want to disgust.
Works especially well
with one you barely know.
When they reply to your hi,
out of curiosity more than interest,
ask them for their Instagram ID.
Who doesn’t like followers on Insta?
They pass their Insta ID,
only to encounter another hi from you,
in its inbox,
followed by ‘R U in a relationship?’
If they are nice, they will ask, ‘sorry?’
Else they will lambast you
and your entire breed with the adjectives
that you deserve.
You follow it up with
the most boring question in the millennium,
‘Have you had lunch?’
That makes you a mom after being a creep.
Nobody likes a creepy mom.
Method 4, the actually-subtle approach.
This one gives you a headstart.
You are a creepy stalker who has read
every post of the ‘harassee’
be it on blog, Facebook or YourQuote.
But you are silent.
Nobody in the world except for you knows
how hungrily you have nibbled their digital leftovers
on the Internet. You don’t disgust the harassee,
until the moment comes close,
when you meet them —
yes, this method lands you a meeting —
and when they share something about their life
you nod with an all-knowing smile.
You casually mention, with a smirk,
yes, I know. I read this. They feel flattered
but deep inside, they are alarmed.
Their conversations become more reserved,
for you make them feel naked
with your knowledge.
They turn inwards, stop talking to you,
driving you towards Method 5.
Not your fault, bro, it’s them.
Method 5, the selfish scoundrel way.
Works best when you know,
and pretend to not know,
that your once-upon-a-time friend
is no more interested in talking to you.
S/he has lost interest, simple,
and you stalk them on every social network,
only to barrage them with questions
over mails and messages:
Are you single?
Why don’t you talk to me anymore?
I miss you…I love you.
You don’t miss them. You don’t love them either.
Truth is you love yourself,
because nobody else will,
because you are a selfish scoundrel
who doesn’t understand consent.
Harassee* — the one going to be harassed,
a word invented for this poem
i think of a poem,
when i don't read
a book in the metro,
and decide to
stare at the faces instead.
those bored, tired faces,
earphones tucked in ears,
shirts crumpled, untucked,
waiting for the long day to end.
those wrinkled, surrendered faces,
characters from a dickens
novel, grime of poverty
staining their collars, partaking
the cheap conditioned air.
those fresh, fragrant faces
- davidoff or dior,
heading out for happy hours,
t.g.i.f, one says.
those gay faces,
couples holding hands
behind their laptop bags,
eyes locked in the windowpane,
dark against the running tunnel.
that schoolgirl ruffling the hip-haircut
of her possible boyfriend,
an insincere ire on his face.
that man with sweaty armpits
broadcasting his password
to his friend on phone.
that girl sitting in the corner
one has taken a fancy to
until she answers
the garish ringtone with
a dilliish 'halo'.
i think of a poem
when i am too tired
to shift, and capitalise.
you casually asked
why don't we have a single picture together.
There are pictures of you, of me,
of your fingers on my typewriter,
of my fingers on your guitar.
Of you sitting on the pillion
as seen from my rear-view mirror.
Of me shoving my clean-shaven face into the phone
at the Azim Shah tomb.
Of you sitting on me,
dimly lit, your eyes sharp as a cat.
Of me lying next to you,
your face hidden under the blanket.
There are photographs,
clicked while together to serve our Instagram handle more than us,
as souvenirs of public life
than one spent in fighting
for half of the pillow in the middle of the night.
Photographs of the Khirki fort
that stands by my balcony,
a different texture every season
as if one of the many Monet's paintings.
Of my neatly decked up library
segregated as classics, contemporary fiction & narrative non-fiction,
half-read, half-purchased, half-stolen.
There's no self-help in my library.
No Robin Sharma, no Stephen Covey.
None of Shiv Khera's recycled wisdom.
I am a cocky sonovabitch,
who believes that the answers
to all life's questions lies in the world of fiction.
Is that why I'm trying to find an answer here
to the question:
Why don't we have a single picture
This was supposed to be the 5th letter in the series #JanuaryLetters, when I was writing letters to my loved ones and you were the fifth in the list after my parents, sister and Ramya. I had even figured the incident I was going to write about. But then January ended, February came and passed by like a breeze, March started and even before the spring could bloom, summer arrived. You visited me right when March was changing clothes, losing the garb of cold and wearing the unbuttoned cotton shirt to let the hot winds rustle through it. You stayed over for three days, and I’m ashamed to admit that I spent more time with my mobile phone than with you, clearly the fifth most loved person in my life.
We didn’t really converse. Rather, I didn’t really sit down with you to listen. I busied myself in all the other things that could have been done half an hour later: the accelerator deal that was happening, booking tickets to Bengaluru, in leaving you by yourself to fiddle with YourQuote (which I made you download!) and in talking about people we both don’t really care about. The only time we conversed, rather I listened, was when you shared about the one you love. It was a beautiful conversation. You painted a stunning picture of lights and darkness, starry nights, meteor showers, holding hands, making art. I urged you to write about it. I could even imagine the background on YourQuote which would suit. The one with the crescent. I went back to work in a while. Whenever I stumbled upon you over the next couple of days, I passed half-meant self-effacing remarks like ‘I’m a mean person’, ‘I’m not a great friend’ in search of sympathy. You kept defending me by saying, ‘At least you’re honest. You don’t pretend.’ You forgave, like you always do. Letting go of my selfishness. Like you have done in the past. Like the last time.
The scene is still clear. Autumn, 2014. Clammy hands, sweaty armpits, murmurs in the air. The line was a kilometer long; boys and girls braved the October heat with handwritten placards and cobalt blue paints smudged on their damp faces. It was our first time outside the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, for the first-ever live cricket match of our lives. Mumbai Indians versus CSK, semi-final, Sachin against Dhoni. Two legends, two of our favourites, whom to favour? The news had said it was Sachin’s last T20 in Delhi. We couldn’t afford to miss it, watching the little master play in front of our eyes for the very last time. There wasn't any doubt who we would be cheering for. We stood in the line for two hours, clenching those prized tickets bought after another three hours of jostling in the queue since morning. You were carrying your bag that had a water bottle & bananas for the three of us — you, Sagar (our batchmate from the fellowship) and I. You had brought it along despite our apprehension, “Would they allow a bag inside the stadium?” It was quite thoughtful of you as both the water and bananas saved us from hunger and weariness of standing in half a mile long queue.
Since you risked carrying your bag, I decided to take along the book I was reading: the hardbound copy of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland (I didn’t like the book!) without its cover lest its edges would fray, hoping I'd read while waiting in the lines. Sagar had brought his headphones along. Throughout our painstaking wait, never once did I open the novel, nor did Sagar plug his headphones on. The atmosphere was too enthralling to pay heed to anything else. We were about to encounter our idols for the first time from the farthest and the cheapest seats in the entire stadium. The line chugged forward, guards ticking entrants like the seconds hand, frisking and allowing the boisterous college students enter the premises, who run to grab the seats nearest to the boundary. Cameras often meandered around there.
Our turn came. The guard saw our belongings. “Bags, headphones, books, water not allowed,” he croaked. “No entry with any samaan.” We looked at each other. A haze of dejection coloured our slimy faces. Sagar disentangled his headphones and passed it to you, saying, “Hey Farakh, since you are anyway carrying a bag, could you keep it in it?” You accepted it without a word in complaint. You drifted your eyes towards me and gaped with reassuring sympathy, a brief moment of understanding of how badly both of us wanted to watch Sachin play and how at least one of us won’t be able to. You said, “Harsh, give your book to me. You guys go ahead. I anyway have this bag that I shouldn’t have brought. You guys don't miss it. I will return to the hostel.”
“Are you sure, Farakh?” I asked. A voice inside me was screaming to not let you return. To accompany but I let my selfishness prevail.
“I have no other choice. I should have listened to you guys to not bring my bag. I don't deserve. Do click pictures of Sachin for me,” you said and departed from the entrance. The guards frisked us and let us in. There are some moments when you so badly wish to rewind the time and change the past. That was the moment for me. I was cursing myself for having entered the stadium without you, when it was a shared dream. I should have returned to the hostel with you. After all, I was also carrying a book that wasn't allowed inside. How could I leave you alone, to go back? Sagar tapped my collar and urged that we go grab a seat before it’s too late. Like other kids on the block, the two of us ran up the four-storied stand, my face turning every now and then to see if you were still there. You were not. Soon, the cheers and the cheerleaders subdued my guilt and we were awestruck seeing Sachin come to bat as Mumbai Indians had won the toss. The Little Master. Our idol. It was the moment we’d come for. I missed you so terribly, Farakh. I took out my mobile to click a photo to send it to you, when I saw there were two missed calls from you. I dreaded an outburst, a how-could-you-leave-me-just-like-that, could you really enjoy the match without me? I called you albeit reluctantly.
“Hello, Farakh? I’m really sor…”
“Harsh … you won’t believe what happened! I got in, I got in! I found a place nearby to leave the bag at 20 rupees per hour. Where are you guys?” You were too thrilled. I didn’t scream for Sachin when he came to bat but I did scream that time, for you.
Two tiny tears of joy trickled down my cheeks as I ran down to get you. We watched the match together, got an unforgettable photograph clicked from my phone with a miniscule Sachin on the faraway field whom I later tagged on FB. Even though the Little Master got out for a mere 4 runs early into the 2nd over, it didn’t matter. Looking back, I didn’t go to see Sachin or Dhoni that day. I went to see you come back.