Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Short Story Listed in Final List of Grey Oaks Short Story Competition

I can breathe easy now. At last, I made it. The past few days had been
fraught with one tension or the other. The rain looks like it wouldn't
subside. It it does it comes back roaring again (as it has done just
now). And commuting in a city is hell. The sweepers, taxi-and-auto
drivers, the police (the most vital civic services) men go on leave
and leave the city to fend for itself. I heard there were plans to
sweep Bombay thrice every day. However, from the quantity of garbage
everywhere I think they mean they would sweep the city once in three
days, or, four, or, five.... Oh, forget it what's the use.

I forgot what I was going to report to you here. Ah, yes, about the
Grey Oaks Short Story Competition. I made it to the final list and my
short story "PK Koshy's Daily Routine" will be published. Hope it is
soon. It was such a thrilling victory the run up to which was an
experience full of nail-biting moments and anxious emails to the
organisers. I am like that only. Thank you guys at Grey Oaks. The
short list link is That's since I
am posting from a non-html page.

Now that I am perky, having won a competition and all, let me tell you
this. I hate when it rains in Bombay. This is in spite of all the vows
I have made not to rubbish my favourite city with which I have a
more-hate than love relationship. But I don't know if I will survive
anywhere else. Kerala is out of the questions: there are maurauders,
contact killers (quotation gangs), thieves and even relations
ever-ready to rip you off any time. Delhi's cold is too disconcerting,
so Delhi is out. Where else can I live. Bombay is filthy but it is
tolerable in a grit my teeth and bear it sort of way. Yesterday at
V.T. a man carrying a big bundle held in front of him pushed me twice
and when I protested he said he had only pushed me twice. So what? He
added. The insolent ba*tard.

Now the rain is falling and the streets are filthy with mud, plastic
wrappers, dog poop, human poop, pools of water which could hide an
open manhole, sand and aggregate left by road repair teams, fruit
peels, the spirit of Bombay still goes on. Now I will come to the
spirit of Bombay which has been lauded so much by our
page-3-sardonic-smiling-celebrities. Well, I am going to rubbish it
here. The Spirit of Bombay is knowing in your heart that nothing will
improve, so grin and bear it. Look how the celebrity smiles while
saying this. Notice the upward twitch of her upper lip, the
blood-congealing sneer? Look how the businessman who speaks about the
Spirit of Bombay fills the sidewalk with the display of his goods. He
says, after all, that's the spirit of Bombay, dumping his goods on the

Has anyone seen an uncluttered sidewalk in Bombay? I have. It's
outside the Bombay Gymkhana and they use it to park rich people's
cars. Either sidewalks are full of vendors, people living in plastic
shacks, sand and stones abandoned in the road repairing process, or,
covered in so much poop you will want to throw up. They say that's the
Spirit of Bombay. I saw a documentary about Uganda on Fox History and
noticed that sidewalks are utterly uncluttered there. Spirit-of-Bombay
people just think, just think, how can Uganda do it and you can't?
Even the roads are better there.

I suspect something is wrong with people saying "Spirit of Bombay" all
the time. Either they are too naive or they are the sort who can be
termed as myopic, mean-spirited citizens of this great city.

Anyway, all this tumbled out as I am in a good mood. Three cheers!

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