Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drop Your Pants!

It was a very tense situation. I’d never done this before.

“Drop your Pants!” The security guard yelled at me. This was going to be very very embarrassing.

I dropped the pair held in my hands right away. Whoever thought people would want to wear buff colored pants, let alone get caught stealing them? 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Muse's Farewell

Once upon a time there was a girl. She thought of too many things, dreamed of even more. She believed in a few things, hoped for even fewer. She questioned too much, but answered all by herself. She smiled too much, but never knew if she was happy.

One evening, on a ceasing winter's day, she met her Hero.

She never thought she would meet a Hero. He had wild dreams, and wilder ways. He cared not for things usual, but pursued things that others had no time for. He was her Hero and she cared not for what he was, because she knew only of what he would become. Her thoughts, dreams, beliefs, hopes, questions and answers, smiles were all for the Hero.

He called her his Muse. And she felt special to be his Muse. Was there any greater joy than to be an inspiration? The Muse and the Hero, they marched along that dangerous path of discovery and adventure. There were many ideas to be ensnared and many to be enslaved. He would conquer, she would guide. He would wonder, she would reflect. Life began to run, but time had slowed down. What was time but a construct of science meant to keep mere mortals on their toes? Why think of time when the imagination begged to explore other passions?

One afternoon, on a reluctant rainy day, she saw the first fall.

It was as if she had been knocked down a long flight of stairs and had collided with a solid wind. That solid wind had turned into a sea, that carried her and sank her, then brought her floating up to be charred by the sun and then calmed by the night's tide. She could have left, but she stayed on. She didn't want to be a bad Muse.

The sun rose and sank. Ships left harbors and charged into storms. Buds bloomed and leaves shed. Snow fell and fires burned. Something gave, everyone took. Seasons fled, time dipped into decay. She stayed in a corner, called when needed.  But she didn't know if she was there because she was called or because she was needed. She didn't even know if she was needed at all. She didn't know if she was even wanted at all. Maybe there were others who wanted her.

She saw herself falling. She watched as her Hero fell. She tried to help her Hero rise, while trying to help herself from fading away. The Muse and the Hero stumbled and picked up, fighting and faring along. Sometimes she would watch her Hero, with real people and the real world and try to ascertain where she was. She would see the sun, from under the deep ocean and know not how far from the surface she was.

One morning, on a summer night's end, she began to question. 

Does a Muse choose her Hero and make him a Hero? Or does a Hero find a Muse and give her the status of a Muse? Does anyone care for the Muse when there is a Hero? What does a Muse ever do to leave behind for herself, apart from the shadows of the Hero's footsteps? Can a Muse's only existence be to inspire and not ask for anything more? What does the Muse do after her Hero leaves for another Muse, for another life?
Was that all that was left of her being a Muse- being just a feeble spark on the dim horizon?

Or does every Muse fail when she begins to dream of her Hero turning into Pygmalion? Can a Muse never dream or hope, but only support those of her Hero? Could the Muse leave on her own accord or did she have to hang around till she was forgotten? Was there any greater misery than to be just a Muse?

She realized she knew all the answers, but didn't like them at all. So she kept questioning till she was exhausted of all her answers and knew there was no escaping the questions. She asked till she couldn't fight the answers, till she defeated the questions.

One wintry night, past some springs and monsoons, the Muse decided to cease to be.

She looked out of her window, and knew she cannot look outside anymore. She had to bid farewell to the Muse that had been for a Hero. She had to bid farewell to the caterpillar and the statue. She had to leave the depths of the ocean for the cliffs above. She had to stare at the sun straight in its face.

There were dreams to be chanced upon, thoughts to be given attention to. There were beliefs to be wrestled with, hopes to be given birth to. There were questions to be chased, answers to be discovered. There were seasons to be seen, places to be experienced. There were things to be done. There was time to be reclaimed.

There were swaying fields and dropped arms, cotton clouds and burdened orchard trees, fiery sunrises and unfettered souls, and other such inconsequential sights to smile for without asking why.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Salesman

(This was written on 18th April 2010. I'm finally moving it from drafts to published in the hope that seeing it online will goad me to pick it up and finally complete it.)  

He lived with one mantra- Give each day your best. One day at a time. Fine, two. He woke up with one and went to bed with another. He woke up today thinking positive thoughts as prescribed to him by his spiritual quack. He suspected his quack suffered from some personality disorder or schizophrenia or some other mental mumbo jumbo for he changed ways as often as the weather changes its mind in Springfield. But he deduced that could come from what his quack called "transcending spiritual and metaphysical boundaries" or maybe he was just a big old oaf making much money selling out the inner gods. He stopped himself from thinking too much about it. He had a long day ahead of him and he really needed to get started.

His first customer for the day was a Mrs. Mamona Aergias. She lived alone in a single storied small house on the street behind the supermarket and opposite the theatre. He hoped this time she would listen to him long before dozing off on the table. He rang the bell. There was no answer for a full one minute, he counted. He rang the bell again, two in a row, and was about to complete a set of three when the door opened, and a face hidden behind layers of fat poked itself through the gap.

"Good morning, Madam. I hope today would be a good day. Here, have some coffee." With that he nudged the door open and entered.

Mrs. Aergias eyed the coffee with distaste. She wanted to go back to sleep, but she could never refuse a free offering. She pulled her robe around herself, took the coffee and plonked herself on the couch and switched on the news. He sat himself down across her on another seat and thanked an unknown god that Mrs. Aergias was too lazy to go and get her TV repaired of the sound problem. All they heard was a low droning sound and watched as the reporter showed them a midget with a beard that reached his feet. The midget was apparently trying to set a record for growing hair that was five times his height.

"So, have you thought about it?", he asked.

She shook her head distractedly.

"Well, let me go over it again with you Mrs.Aergias. What I have here is a thing that could solve all of your problems and make you a more complete, wholesome human being. You would do good not just for yourself, but for those around you. Dolorium1618 is the solution to all our problems. Imagine this, you wake up and have this severe pain plaguing your mind and body and soul. What would you do?

"Take a pain-killer"

Exactly. What if there was no pain-killer that killed it?

Mrs.Aergias shot him a look filled fury and dread. Why would the man just not leave her alone?

"I don't know"

"See... There's no real pain killer."

"Ahh.. There's no real pain then either," she chuckled at her own marvellous wit and logical deduction. 

"There's no real pain killer, but there's real pain. There's pain when you can't hear your favourite talk show host bitch about the latest model. There's pain when you have to stand an hour in line to buy your favorite brand of bacon. There's pain when you want to talk but there's no one around. There's pain when you have to wake up every day and wade through life's small, but plenty, futilities.

"The only way to deal with it is to embrace it. Pain will make you stronger by pushing you to act. By pushing you to harness your energies and channelize them in the right direction.  Hence Dolorium1618. Start with 4 pills a day, you will have to do something about the pain. It will wreak havoc inside you. You'd be forced to go out and about and seek help. At the same time, you will learn to accept it, understand it, make it your friend. How's the coffee?"

"Not half as bad as I thought it would be"

"Do you think you want to come on our free trial programme then?", he laid subtle emphasis on the word free, making it come out casually, as if it was part of the deal doled out to all customers.

Again Mrs.Aergias seemed to struggle between two extremes of wanting, and she knew she would succumb. She was a woman who would take death if it told her there was nothing she would have to do to be dead. He almost believed that she would embrace death more enthusiastically if it came her way because there was nothing to do after that, nothing that she knew of yet. And hence, it was even more important that he converted this one before she chose the easier way out.

- To be continued. (hopefully soon enough)

Monday, November 29, 2010


A childhood fantasy
to keep one, to keep many
for once and forever.
But they flew away.

Bubble and burst.
Again and again.
Yours to keep
and then throw away.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

At shut of evening flowers

Florets of sinopia and xanthous,
On a bed of smaragdine.

Stains of solferino and ferruginous,
In a cyaneous sea.

Nankeen feathers on a columbine tail,
Aubergine blooms on lovat floor lie.

An aeneous blaze on a waking star,
Leads the son under a cerulean sky.

Monday, November 15, 2010


She doesn't know why she thinks of that day. She doesn't even remember his name. Not properly at least. She has been thinking of that day a lot lately. She tries to reconstruct the events leading up to it, she remembers most details. But not his name.

It had happened when she was seven or eight, almost fifteen years back. She can't believe so many years have gone by and she recalls it only now.

It was second period- History, in 3rd E2.

The teacher, Mrs.Gulati was considered to be strict. She didn't hesitate before doling out punishment and called lions "loins".

She was her usual talkative self, he was sitting quietly. She never bothered to ask if he ever listened, at all. She's not even sure if they talked, if they were friends, or just partners waiting to be assigned to a new companion any day. It was his birthday. But he wasn't wearing the customary new, casual dress. Every kid loved the opportunity to not dress in regular uniform. Not him though, he seemed his usual calm and composed self. There used to be some rotation, ensuring every pair got their chance to sit in the front rows. They were in the fifth or sixth row. She isn't very sure, but she remembers wherever they were sitting, it gave him enough time.

"Take out your textbooks now," Mrs.Gulati calls the class to attention.

She reaches into her bag and starts looking for the pink writing on the pages that had been treated as blinds, common method employed by most students to help identify books. It was taking her too long to find that book, he was already sitting straight, with his book in front of him. She abandons her search and begins to prepare herself for the ultimate humiliation. She has forgotten to pack the book back, now she will suffer.

"Those who don't have the textbook, go sit on the floor." Mrs. Gulati was walking between the rows, inspecting, ready to unleash the first round of punishments. She was walking two aisles away, slowly heading their way. Three students had already made their way to the floor.

He looks at her, as if studying her, his options. Silently he moves his textbook to her side. She accepts it quietly, like a mouse. Her chatter and chirping gone, mute. She doesn't even question the fairness or unfairness of it all. She just doesn't want to be sitting on that floor.

He stands up just as Mrs. Gulati approaches their desk. She looks at him, realizes it's his birthday by the big pack of toffees sitting on their desk. She wishes him, takes a toffee, but no one is spared from punishment. Not even birthday boy. She walks towards the back, inspecting. He knows what's to be done. He picks up his notebook and goes and joins the other students sitting on the floor.

She's still keeping quiet, still accepting his kindness with a shameful silence. She looks at him, wondering how angry or humiliated he must feel. He looks straight ahead, his spectacles perched on his nose, looking up at the board. Where she was earlier dreading being sent to the floor, now she's dreading the end of the class. She couldn't face him. She has no idea about the lesson, only remembers reading the text blindly, twisting her fingers and looking at him from time to time.

But the class finally comes to an end. They are given some homework and reminders to bring the required books. She forces herself to remember for tomorrow, to avoid another today. He returns to their desk, dusts off his pants and sits. She passes the book back to him.

She doesn't remember if she had thanked him or not. She doesn't remember if that bothered her then or not. She doesn't remember how rest of the day, the week, the remainder of the year had had gone. But it's been bothering her lately. She has realized only very recently how big an act of kindness it was on his part for her, at that time. He had left the school at end of that year.

His name may have been Shepherd. Or Stefford. Or neither. She feels infuriated at herself, how she remembers so many other names from school, some of whom she hadn't even talked to ever, but has forgotten his name.

So many people from your past now stalk you. She has tried looking for him. But she doesn't remember his name, has no idea how he may look now. She doesn't know if she will ever find him and will finally get to thank him. Maybe he would have changed by now, maybe he would seek her out to reclaim the gratitude owed. Maybe someone will read this, ask a friend who's known by this name if he remembers being the nicest guy for a talkative, annoying girl. She knows this is plain day-dreaming.

But she still holds some hope. To find the birthday boy and utter a very delayed "Thank you".

Monday, November 01, 2010


When I'd gone to sleep, one of the lights was still on. The music was still playing. There were people in the other room talking.

I don't know how I woke up. It was the toffee wrappers and those shiny gift wrapping papers that crumpled and crinkled and made noises, like sharp nails clawing at your walls. Sleep still weighed heavy on my eyelids. But my ears refused to resort to selective hearing.

The room seemed too well lit for my liking. There's no way to find out the time of the day by looking out of the window. The only light bulb in the room was working furiously. Even with all that light, it took me some time to realize someone else was there in the room. And he was sitting there on my bed.

I thought he had left. I didn't want to tell him how happy or angry I was. I didn't know which one it was. I didn't want to look at him and I certainly didn't want to talk. All I wanted to do was return.

"You have to wake up", he said.

I remained silent. The smoke was making me nauseous. I didn't know where it was coming from.

"You won't understand till you wake up and see. There's light now, you can see"

I had no idea what he was talking about. I was up and awake, staring at him with all the hatred I could muster.

"I won't let you go that easily. You have to wake up and fight."

He seemed to be talking on and on. I was losing my patience. But I still didn't want to talk. I stared around the room. The walls had aged, with scars and breaks. The wine stains on the floor had gone from red to being a murky grey. People outside in the other rooms were not talking any more. They were shouting and screaming.

"You shouldn't have done it. It was my fault. No, it was all your fault too."

That crackling sound was beginning to irritate me. I wanted to smother all the voices. The noise increased. There were birds chirping, cars reversing with their annoying tunes and children yelling out to each other. I wished the windows were shut, the light was hurting my eyes. The burning in my eyes reached a peak. It might have appeared as if I was crying.

I closed my eyes. It felt as if a cold blanket had been laid upon them. I was fully clothed and yet it felt as if I was lying naked on bitter hard ice. The cold reached my bones and made them ache in protest.

The door opened and a chilling draft made its way in. And someone else came in too. This was the last thing I wanted to see. I never ever wanted to see her. No matter what. Not here, not in my own house. Everything here was mine, yet these estranged invaders refused to accept that and leave me alone. She was going to take him away. I was partly relieved, partly sad.

"We have to go", she said.

He nodded. He looked at me, but I had turned my face away. There was nothing to be said. At this point, it didn't matter what I wanted. I had to do what my mind commanded. To return.

"Will you wait?" he asked before he got up to leave.

I was bewildered at that question. What for I wondered. I wanted to ask him if he would. But before I could speak, there was a sharp jab on my arm. The frigid metal point pierced my skin,diving into my blood. Machines around me started whirring. There was a strange fear about them. I began to cry. I didn't want to return, I wanted this to stop. The pain was paralyzing me. They all fell silent around me, as if in mourning. I broke into a sweat. There was winter without and yet my nerves were on fire within.

I could see everything inside my head. All those times, all those places and people. Lights and corners, chatter and talk, smoke and clouds, smells and shivers, traffic and colors, rain showers and breezes, puddles and pools, shoes and watches. There was a jumble in my head. They rushed in and out, as if in a big hurry to escape. I realized I must be in a dream. Reality can be distorted to such an extent only in dreams.

But no one was waking me up from this dream. They all seemed to have left me alone, finally.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Rainy Evening..

The sun suffered a massive a stage fright,
And excused itself from our sight.

Shy fire, confused gray and a schizophrenic blue,
Cotton clouds, heavy and too full of hue.

Lightning threw a tantrum, thunder a fit,
Torrents after torrents, obligingly followed it.

Headlights blinked, traffic lights blinded,
Horns, yells and screeches, went unheeded.

The windows stared back, bleak and tired.
And back to their blinking screens, the ants returned.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Sleep came over her with a vengeance.

The Clouds couldn't hold any longer, they had to let it rain. And because the wind had not let them when they wanted to, now they were going to be merciless. They brought those two fiends, Thunder and Lightning along. And a jolly loud party they had. So there's that.

But she, she just wanted to sleep. She had to. How else would she dream?

The Neem outside her window began to wail. A whiny plea for relief. What had she done now? She knew she would break with the storm. But that didn't make it any easier. An insurmountable bitterness rose through her. She shook with the wind, with anger. If only she could uproot herself and lie down on the soft pliant earth and become one again.

She heard the low patter of feet, a hush paddling towards her. Someone in the next room started clawing at the walls.

No, that was Neem. Her branches flailed at the window. She would have entered the room, had it not been for that high-quality mosquito netting. Lightning. She glowed blue in the violet night.

Someone flicked a switch on in another room. She prayed it was morning and someone had woken up. She chanced a look at the window. She could hear that clawing again. This time accompanied by sound of cracking twigs.

Had Neem really freed herself from the concrete and gone on a rampage? She was not too old, and certainly strong enough. But the Clouds were still there, lashing away at her skin and bones. And then came a deafening roar. Was it her or Thunder?

She clapped her hands over her ears and yawned widely. Exhaustion ran though her veins, the iron in her blood heavy and pulling her down. All she wanted was to sleep. But the noises never ceased. In her head and without.

The gentle drip on her window annoyed her. That tinny tip tip tip, of drops jumping from leaves and eaves into their own hasty graves, melting into mud after the fall. Torrents or drizzles, they all fell down. Descending from the clouds, sucked up by the earth. Maybe that's what kept her calm. Wish she would keep Neem still.

Neem was now sobbing uncontrollably. You could hear her heaving gasps and piercing screams. She was no longer angry, just defeated. Her breakdown seemed to have stirred them. The Clouds started showing off, wringing and emptying themselves of everything that had made them for months.

She heard it then. Someone turned on a tap. Yes, someone had woken up and was going for a bath. It must be morning. Why wouldn't the sky lighten? Does it have to play accomplice to the Clouds?? But her patience was running out. She was agitated and nervous. Some people overshoot on caffeine, she had overshot on lack of sleep. She didn't care any more. She would go to sleep.

And she dreamed. Of brides in red and white on green plains. Of clear summer days seen from under old ruins. Of goats and violins. And bells. Bells rang. They clanged against each other in merry abandon. They shined golden and tinkled. They came to her from a distance, from another far away Milky Way. The sounds pulsed inside her, blinding her million neurons. The muffled rings echoed, fell and rose again, reverberating with her bones.

She felt breathless. Water flooded her. The alarm rang somewhere within the deep ocean in which she was floating, perhaps sinking. She didn't know how to swim. She had forgotten how to. She kicked furiously at the entangled bed covers. But she couldn't see anything beyond green. Rain and Neem were drowning her.

Swiping and swinging her arms blindly, she caught hold of steel. The cold numbed her fingers, the soft breeze biting her skin. With a huge push and rush, she came up to her window. With an effort that almost crippled her, she slid the horrible grimy net away.

And there she was. Neem. Lying on the cold gray street. Broken down, bruised. Stripped naked of her shame, beaten by million sharp needles, shoved and jostled by haughty currents. Her roots were still deep inside. Seemed like she had not been able to make up her mind. Was that why she had suffered this? Was she dead now? Worse, she had fallen. Between a restless sleep and uncertain awakening. 

There was no sign of the Clouds. They had moved on. Emptying and collecting themselves on the way.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


On a wooden park bench, brown,
they sat since the sun fell and fled.
Of Euripides and Aristophanes,
He spoke and she laughed.

Languages rolled on a heavy tongue.
Strangers from across three seas,
strolled under a coy sky. Between
fallen stars and shooting leaves.

Blackbirds and woodpeckers,
cold-blooded crickets and cicadas
Encore, one after another heard.
Music memorized, like math.

Blades of grass tickled the feet,
knuckles wrapped into a tackle.
Silences recalled, into a vacuum.
The lonely metal lamp shivered.

On a wooden park bench, brown,
they slept till the sun rose and bled.
Moons travelled into outer space.
He snored, and she sighed.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


He was standing outside in the cold. She came and stood next to him, uttered an unnecessary greeting in a voice that would be the result of five ice cubes being shoved down your throat. He turned his head, gave a reluctant smile and proceeded to study the huge statue of Venus in front of him.

She took out a pack of smokes from her pocket, lit the only one. After two drags, she offered it to him. He shook his head. She kept her hand extended in front of him, a dogged, shy lover standing in front of her crush to give him a red, wet, blooming rose. Tendrils of blue vapor escaped from the base of the red burning mountain, fogging his view of Aphrodite.

He took it, put it on his chapped dry lips, took a puff, and blew away smoke, like an emperor would shrug off sycophantic ministers. He handed it to her, a rejection slip. She took it. Walked away and inhaled deeply. She breathed in the taste with a desperate longing. Between her lips, perched millimeters away from her small, chattering teeth, her tongue exploring surface underneath which were fibers bound together by glue, the chemical additives improving the taste and speeding up the rate at which nicotine hit her brain.

Her heart was beating rapidly, as if it was making an uphill climb and was scared that once it reaches the top of the hill, it will slip and fall and roll down to a crashing death. Her hands and feet felt cold, deprived of any sunshine, any hope of warmth. She walked back to his side, her steps uncertain, with her feet finding their way on their own.Her mind played games with her heart. Reminding her of the insult, pleading her to let it go unnoticed, persuading her to hold up, inciting her to drop her inhibitions and tell him, warning her of expected disappointment, provoking her to be reckless.

Exhausted, she stood there, her hands on her side, hanging limp from her shoulders, the train of ashes teetering at the edge, clouding the upended orange peak. His hand wandered next to hers, distractedly. Their fingers brushed very slightly, close. He took the cigarette from her, his thumb grazing the damp end. His reverie broken, he pulled and was pushed back into his fantasy. He let out his demons in a haze of dreams, handed it back to her and gave the most luminous smile she had seen under a starlit sky. She savored the moist smoke, imagined how he smelled when he woke up in the morning, how his breathing fell and rose, rumblings of a beast caged within.

He turned back to go inside, offering a courteous expression of gratitude. She let the last breath burn her lips and crushed the smoldering stub under her feet.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Patchwork of Evening Fancies

Straws glued together green,
brushing against cracked soles.
Slithering steps winding along
jungles of ants and rats.

Dried blossoms a few amongst
a field of yellow daffodils.
The scent spreads across excess
of flesh desired, and allowed.

Sixteen pale stars across a red sky,
Silver fern rising from beryl earth,
dancing violently on tender wrists,
pausing to sleep at the neck of a ring.

Lights changed colors, predictably.
Relief and rush mingled and crashed.
She blushed, glowed and sighed
and an eight rolled down with a click.

He chanced a hasty glance at the mirror,
catching an elusive whiff of tobacco.
Streets crossed, lanes changed by turn,
the coin given away by his time.

Scaling a dusty hundred and five steps,
crossed the bridge of no streetlamps.
A minute late and fifteen strides away, only.
But the books had already gone to sleep.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


This is just to say,
that we may now do away
with the trouble of niceties.
Incapacity and a lessened
share of fancy shall suffice.

This is also to remind,
that we may now do away
with bothering about time.
Age and a book full of faces
shall let it pass unseen.

This is now to conclude,
that we have fully done away
with reality without the eye.
Hope and a few old spirits
shall keep us from bellyache.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Thursday Night's

Dream? No I'd not say that. Let's say Arthur Dent was my wingman that night.

And he went, "Have you met Slartibartfast?"

Recap. That would make him Slartibartfast's wingman, not mine, right? Never mind, cut to the conversation.

So there we were, me, good ol' Slartibartfast (Henceforth I'm going to call him as Slarti, Bart (Not to be confused with Homer's son), Fast and my old man) and Arthur. Slarti seemed kinda dazed and sickeningly smug about something at the same time.

So yeah, Arthur went, " Have you met Slartibartfast?"

"Why, of course she has" "Why, of course I have" We both said it together. Slarti said the first part and I said the second part, but we both said our individual lines together, at the same instant, same point of time. Ok, I get it, you get it.

"Oh, well.. fine then. I guess I'll just stand and skank about", he said. That was Arthur. Slarti would have never said anything like that.But then Slartibartfast is never like anything. I know he's older to me, and I dare not ask how old he actually is.

"So how have you been?" I asked. You have to be really really smart to make small talk around these two men.

"Don't you know already? You've seen it all. Where have you been woman?" asked Dent. If I had been really really smart, I'd have paid attention to address my question properly.

I was about to rephrase and ask again, when clanked in Marvin.

"Why do you ask? What is the point when you know that you can ask this question every second and the answer following will be swept under by the same question being asked the same instant? Why pursue this path when there is no meaning to life?"

"Hey, that's not true!" exclaimed Arthur & Bart together.

"Well, not entirely not true", added Slarti as an afterthought. "We do know the meaning or rather the answer to the original question as to what is the meaning of life, universe and everything."

"But 42 is too absolute an answer. It doesn't take all the improbability factors and it was computed by only the second best. Why, if I'd asked for the meaning of life, universe and everything else would the answer turn to 43?" said Arthur.

"Of course not. It's not as simple. And what do you mean by everything else?"

"What would you mean by meaning of life, universe and everything then?", interrupted Marvin.


"Yes, I know you all erred. Now don't burden me with the obligation to accept your apologies and do something about it. I have enough to do as it is."

I never thought I'd wish for Marvin to disappear with as much intensity as the atmosphere allowed there as this time.

"So, what have you been upto Slartibartfast?. SHUT UP Marvin and Arthur"

"Same ol'. Same old. Getting ready to design the new Earth. Though I don't know if I can repeat my award-winning design of creating fjords in Norway around Africa this time around!! For Chrisssake, it would still keep Amazon and Nile running for being the longest and widest rivers on planet earth. Boy this sleepover party was loooong!!..."

Fast could talk and talk fast while he would walk and poke around and fix things all at once. I realized I had missed him. No, I had in fact forgottten all about him. Till this night. And it all came back in a sudden rush. About how delighted and amazed and awed and completely bonkers I had gone when I had first met him. I used to think of Ford and Zaphod once in a while because they were..well, funny, crazy and they were cousins. And Marvin used to keep me OD-ing on LOL with his depression, but tonight, somehow, it's all different. I can't find anything but the heart of gold to blame for all of this. And no, I have nothing to say of Arthur.

And I was glad he was still trying to make headway in an argument with Marvin about feelings. It wasn't clear how one with too much feeling and one who felt but didn't realize it often enough could argue about such a thing as that.

"But why are we making earth all over again?", asked Arthur putting on the airs of one who thinks he has asked the Utimate Question ever. (That would have kept the mice happy, if nothing else.)

"Why, to sell it, of course. That's what the mice intend I assume. After they get the Ultimate Question", said Slarti, " And this is what would make one of your earthmen write a song about the mice who sold the world in the somewhat near future. "

"But if the mice would be selling the world, there won't be any earthmen left to write the song.", pointed out Arthur.

"Do ya think they will only sell property??? It's not mere real estate. It's exchange of refugee camps, if you may have it that way!!!!You only pray that you don't listen to Vogon's reciting poetry about their throat infection while your throats are being slit!!!" Slartibartfast started shouting as he said this.

Arthur cowered behind the aircar's seat while Marvin gave another resigned-to-depression sigh and his shoulders sagged while his eyes drooped.

"Well, now am going to drop you folks off at Frankie and Benjy's office and you can decide how you plan to go on about it. I have to create fossils and scatter them around Africa. And yes, a tip- Be nice to the mice. And another tip- if you need to escape, remember, just close your eyes, concentrate really hard and get the hell out of this dimension, squeeze into another, shift back, set your time zone and land. And don't press any red buttons unless you feel you're gonna crash."

I had one last thing to say. One last question to ask. " I've missed you Slartibartfast. Have you?" I realized I won't get a good answer to this one, so I asked another last question, " So where will I see you see next?"

Slarti gave me an enigmatic smile and then said " I know you know that I know what's gonna happen in the future, but will you puh-lease not make it so obvious? Well, to answer your question, I guess I'll see ya people on Krikkit. Or maybe not. Or I don't know. As for your previous question, I don't think I can. You see me missing you would be like Puck missing Shakespeare, not that you are Shakespeare nor am I a knavish sprite in a midsummer night's dream. Though, that would be an awfully good break from this tedium. Maybe I should go catch a show some time.. But the travelling kills me..Ok let's see, another example... yes, it could be like Adam missing the bloke who wrote the Bible and we all know what that was all about.. well, let's not go there.. See, I think you get my point. Now, be a good lassie and take these men off my hands."

"Ok. I will see you soon then...?"

"All right, I will. Here's looking at you, kid." With that he was off. Gone. I didn't know why he quoted Bogart then. He must have had his reasons.

I only wish I had pressed the red button in time. The mosquitoes I killed during my crash landing would have been glad.

Disclaimer: All the characters, with perhaps the possible exception of the character I, are fictional and have been picked up from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy written by dear Mr. Douglas Adams. I hope he doesn't turn in his grave after coming to know of this dream.