Sunday, 7 July 2013

When you say nothing at all

If my day hadn’t begun with a tea-sipping hiss-hiss sound, a 1950’s C grade song of a F grade movie, a wet floor, tremendous sound of utensils  and finally overhearing world’s most ridiculous gossips , I wouldn’t believe I am alive. No, I’m not talking about my wife. I’m a 33 year old  accountant  and I’m talking about  my 33 year old roommate, Iris. It's a HE.  Do not ponder over his name as there are a lot of other unusual things that deserve more attention.  Unlike most Parsi families, Iris’ family is a huge one. It comprises of 67 people.  

They are much respected in the Parsi community. They had to be, I mean, one of their ancestors must have come to the rescue of the decreasing population. Actually, I owe a lot to that ancestor. If it wasn’t for him , I would have never met Iris and got a chance to attend their wonderful weddings and relish the awesome food. 

Iris was so attractive. He was a 5.3 feet 70 kg human, with most weight concentrated in his stomach and cheek region. Every child is fascinated by him. He would stand out in any crowd, literally. He hated crowded places, which was one of the reasons as to why he didn’t travel by local transport owing to which he was jobless since 3 years. He however used to manage money from somewhere to pay the house rent and survive.  I have never seen him sitting idle though, he was much busier than a working man.

Meet Iris.
He used to get up at 7.30am sharp. He would warm the water in the microwave , transfer it to his cup , insert a tea bag into it and see every particle dissolving into the water very carefully  and then begun hissing i.e sipping.  The hissing sound was so loud that my day,since 3 years commenced from this sound.  I would try to cover my ears with pillows when he would sing ,

“Dil se nikle paathar , daane …kahaan chale gaye koi na jaane.
 Jo dhund laye unhe wohi  insaan kehlaayeeeeee………
Chuhe unhe dhundkaar laaye  yeh koi na mane isliye
unjaise kaale kaale hain yeh rahein ”….  

I never intended learning these lyrics. I came to know that I’d learn’t it when I unknowingly heard a similar tune in my office and began singing this song.
After listening Iris sing this song, I used to forcibly get up only to feel the wet floor. Iris seldom came out of the bathroom and soaked his legs by walking around in house. Iris always used to enter the kitchen with the view of cooking and never end up doing anything apart from making a lot of noise. Then he used to call up someone everyday and gossip about different issues like, “I think the cat in my building is a bisexual”.

I would think I have woken up to discover that I've died if I didn't encounter this daily dose. I had become so used to it.

In this post I’m describing that one day when I’d thought I was dead.

It was the 2nd of March, I had by now become conditional to the time of this hissing sound.  I woke up sharp at 7.53 but there was no hissing sound being heard. I rubbed my ears for a minute but even the god-forsaken song wasn’t being heard. I rested my foot on the floor to get up and the floor too wasn’t wet.  I didn’t take a second to think , Iris is dead.  To reach the hall we had to pass by the kitchen and what I saw in the kitchen skipped a heartbeat… YES, I saw an omelette. I rushed into the hall and what I saw next is noted down in history. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Iris was sitting on the dining table and eating the omelette instead of gossiping. Now, I thought, I was dead. I looked at my refection on the granite edge of our kitchen, it was very much looking like me.

Iris must have sensed my fidget that he turned around . He glared at me silently as I walked towards the dining table.  I had never had such a steady and a long eye contact with anyone ever to an extent that I didn’t realize as to when the stare converted into a ‘who will blink first’ type competition or so it seems.

After a few minutes I realized that Iris could go on the whole day but I have to reach office on time.
Breaking the silence, I said, “Iris, are you fine?’’

Iris simply smiled and nodded his head

I said, “I’m talking to you… hello… why were you staring at me?’’

Iris opened his mouth to say something , that raised my hopes of being in a normal atmosphere which shattered in the next few seconds when he shut his mouth immediately.


Not looking at me Iris said, “I was staring at you because you were staring at me.”

“Iris… look.. aa.. umm… are you fine? Look there’s nothing to worry about , you’ll get a job soon… if you need money or anything else, I’ll help you out.”

This time Iris smiled again and said nothing. 

Reaching the peak of my curiosity I said, “When you say nothing at all is when something goes terribly wrong.”

Iris smiled again. 

I said, “The last time you went silent was when later that evening, a drunk cop was trying to jump off our balcony, singing 'Maar Daala' song and you were clicking his  pictures.”

Iris finally broke his silence and said, “I wasn’t clicking pictures but taping him. You never get your facts straight.”

“If stating the facts wrongly is the only way to break your silence then why not?”

“Relax, I’m practicing for a very important transformation in my life and I’m not disclosing the details.”

"Cool, as far as we don't have an incident on the lines of the previous one, I'm fine".

Iris had finished eating the omelette by the end of our conversation. As I still stared at him he carried all the utensils to the basin and washed them on his own.  Without wasting anymore time I got ready to go to office. When I was tying the lace of my shoes, Iris was sitting in the same place since an hour. This was like those gentle winds which blow before the hurricane. 
I prayed to God to make everything alright by the end and left the house. 

Throughout my train journey, I thought,I had forgotten something . I kept checking my pockets and bag again and again to reassure if I am carrying everything. Yes, I was. On analyzing that  feeling furthermore, I realized, it wasn't the feeling of having forgotten something but missing something. I was missing the song and the gossip session more than anything else. I was restless all the while. I checked Iris' FB and twitter updates to know about what must have led to this sudden change. But there were no leads. All the while I waited to see the clock read 5.30 pm and when it did I ran out of the office the way I did when my mothers best friends wanted to kiss on my cheeks in childhood.

I rang the bell almost 25 times but Iris did not open the door. I thought this time a cop must have definitely jumped off along with Iris. I opened the door with my house keys only to see blood stains on the foor. It was as if someone stained in blood was dragged towards the bedroom. I pictured Iris' dead body with his green favourite Ganji and gathered guts to move towards the bedroom. It was then that I realized that someone was dragged out of the house and not the other way round.

More than being scared I was confused. I didn't know if Iris had dragged someone out or he was dragged by someone. I immediately called up the police. Their team reached in half an hour. They looked around at the mess in the house and said, "It seems a lot of struggle has happened here before whatever must happened".

I said, "Sir, the house is usually worse than this, today it is a bit better because my roomie was in a a..aa... aa.. vaguely better mood. Two bachelor's sir..."

"So where is your roomie?"

"I don't know Sir. His phone is switched off and he is usually home at this time, in fact I have come home much earlier today."

"Anyway, we've informed his family members as we need to know where he is, said the policeman.

While taking the blood samples into the test tube lookalike one of their officers said, "this doesn't look like blood... this is something else I think."

I spontaneously said, "Then it definitely is my roommates' ", only to realize later that I shouldn't have said that.

I hadn't finished cursing myself  when I received a call from a local landline number. I picked up the call and heard a shivering voice trying to say something that couldn't be heard due to network issues.

I stepped in the balcony for better receptivity and the shivering voice said,"Hello Subu, this is...

I said, "Iris.... Iris you are alive... where are you?"

Iris cut my sentence and said, "Subu I'm in a terrible uncalled for mess... I'm at Oshivara police station."

"Police station? huh? Did they catch you with the body?"

"What body? Just come here Subu"

On reaching the police station I saw a giant red stuffed potato on a wooden bench. As I went closer to that giant potato  I noticed some human features, beginning from body hair, face etc. At a one feet distance a chill went down my spine as I screamt, " IRIS....... Who did this to you?"

He looked up at me, dropped his jaw and said, "I".

I took a minute pause and thought of what I should think and said, "WHY?"

"The children's street festival event organizers needed a 'laughing buddha' and were ready to pay a good sum of Rs 10000 for 1 day which I go,t but I don't have them with me anymore."

On hearing that I could just think of one word, "Why?"

"When I was counting the money in a creepy lane and thief snatched all the money and ran away. The thief broke out into a housing society however none of the society members paid attention to catch him instead kept looking at me. The thief then got into a house and jumped off its window and I was hardly 15 steps away from him when ..."

 " A lady who got all scared of his fancy red appearance when he barged into her house ,jumped off her balcony and hurt herself and an old man." countered the policeman.

" For God's sake ,she stayed on the ground floor and just before she jumped off her balcony,a rat was nearing her foot. You can't blame me without confirming from the obese lady if it was the rat or me?", protested Iris

To know the correct chronology of the events I asked ,"So Iris was 15 steps away from the balcony and had just entered the obese lady's home when she and an old man jumped off together. Right?''

Iris said, "No, the obese lady jumped off and crumbled upon an old uncle who was passing by her window. Moreover, how can she be scared of me? She was double my size, she would've easily taken me."

I asked the policeman, "Well in that case, is the old man alive?"

"The old man is in his last moments according to the doctor and the lady is still unconscious. If the man dies off , I'm afraid, Mr. Iris will be charged of...."

Iris interrupted,"No! I did not kill anybody... I can't kill anybody.... I'm telling you it was the rat, please speak to the lady. I can't believe this has happened to me.... firstly my Rs.10000 are stolen, if it wasn't for this lady I too would've jumped off the window behind the thief and got my money. Gosh.. I hate rats!"

The lady came back to her senses at 2.00 am. The police reached her place in half an hour to ask her if it was Iris or the rat. Without thinking for a single moment she said,"That obese man clashed against my flower pot, which broke down and a rat which I was trying to trace since months ran out of the pot towards my leg ...and.. a.. a. I got scared and jumped off the window. I fainted when the rat too jumped off through a small hole in my balcony and slid through my curvaceous body to reach the ground."

In a couple of hours after this statement was noted an unexpected news came along. The policeman said, "The old uncle is out of danger... he is absolutely fine."

No sooner did the 'what a relief' feeling sank in than a strange voice with a familiar pitch  was heard saying, "Iris... ohh my son.... Iris...your alive.... I was so worried. What are you doing here."

"Mom it is a long story."

Iris whispered in my ear saying, "Why is she asking me if I'm alive?"

I said, "It is a long story."

His mom looked at him from head to toe and said, "You told me you are working as a nurse in a renowned hospital.... why are you in this get up then?"

Iris looked at me with- 'a shut your mouth now' type expression and said, "We had a fancy dress competition in our hospital today, I was the Laughing Buddha. Lets go home now, I'm very tired".

We reached home at around 5 am and decided to take a quick nap.

This time when I woke up at 7.53, yes it was a conditional action but this time I heard the hissing sound and the song ofcourse. It was double its original audibility, the floor was 2 times more wet than it usually used to be. Had to be, as Iris' mother too was present this morning.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda


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