The Brew

For a long time a few characters, a few episodes and a few conversations have been brewing in my consciousness. Only a few of these have assumed a palpable form, for the most part they have existed as pure thought (which would of course lead us to the open question of whether anything but pure thought has any claim to existence). An attempt to crystallize these random thoughts in the form of a story is most urgently required, so here goes...
The story takes off with Frank and Tipsy drinking to each other’s health in a pub. Where this pub is not important because our characters are so immensely engrossed in their togetherness that the surroundings do not concern them, do not concern the writer and indeed should not concern the readers.
“Jahan kaheen mil baithe hum tum, waheen par ho madhushala,” Frank quotes to Tipsy as the Yankee DJ puts on a track of Rupak Taal after receiving a lot of requests from the motley crowd in the pub.
“I have never met anyone like you,” says Tipsy matter of factly looking at her drink.
“ Do you intend the comment for the drink or for my humble self”?
“ Not for you, my dear, nor for the drink, but for the whole scheme of this situation that we find ourselves in”
“Wasn’t I supposed to say all the brilliant lines, you were just supposed to sit here and act Tipsy?”
“I am Tipsy, and it is difficult to act who you are, at times,” said Tipsy good humouredly and then upon a moment’s reflection added, “ you, male chauvinist pig.”
The manner in which Tipsy hurled the expletive at Frank charmed him beyond measure and aroused in him a desire to hurl a few terms of endearment at the loveliest girl that he had ever seen who was sitting opposite him.
“You are the loveliest girl I have ever seen,” Frank was particularly adept at taking cues from the writer.
“Of course you are lying, Frank darling”
“Don’t bother with false modesty, I have always told you”
“We are meeting for the first time!”
“Which makes it all the more amazing, doesn’t it?”
The Yankee DJ sensed the beginnings of a romance in the corner table where Frank and Tipsy were sitting.
He approached their table. “Sir, would you like to request a song for the lady?”
“Play any love song,” Frank said dismissively.
The DJ’s feelings seemed to have been hurt. He sulked back to his corner and started reflecting on his sick life. He didn’t much understand why life was as it was, why wasn’t it different, life should have been something else but not this. He looked around for love songs, everything looked like a love song, and he finally put on a Guns and Roses number, “I used to love her, but I had to kill her”
There were groans all around; you can’t suddenly play rock to a group of people absorbed in Hindustani Classical Music.
He stopped the track, put on Rupak Taal again and announced pointing at Frank and Tipsy, “This taal is dedicated by the gentlemen in the corned to the lady with him,” thereby giving everybody a license to appreciate the ethereal beauty of Tipsy. Frank was not amused at this, and resolving to curb his libido in all further intercourses with women, quit looking at Tipsy’s breasts.
Remorse, guilt and shame took possession of Frank’s soul. Remorse made him want to say something nice to Tipsy, “You are the most adorable person I have come across,” he said. Guilt made him light up a cigarette and shame made him hang his head.
“O Frank, you idiot, you are going to spoil everything by falling in love with me”
Frank cursed his idiotic self, further he cursed his romantic self and then in a melancholy voice said, “Tipsy, I am thoroughly incapable of curbing the feeling of love and romance which surface in my heart, especially when I am drunk and you sit there laughing merrily.” The image of the laughing Tipsy caused another pang of conscience to seize him and he started crying. The evening had come to an end, Frank and Tipsy departed with a handshake, and a huge collection of emotions to ponder upon and investigate for the night.
Frank reached his house and immediately on entering put on an air of melancholy which seemed to say – “I am a cursed man , forever damned to loneliness”. This loneliness was of his own choosing and he wanted to savor it , enjoy all its nuances which often were merely self-pity but he liked to call them existentialist angst, meaninglessness of existence and contemplation of human suffering.
He prepared a glass of whisky though he didn’t really want any more alcohol, but it was easier to be sad with a whisky glass in hand. He thought of Tipsy, and the overflowing love that he felt for her a few minutes ago, but now was the time for contemplation of his own character, of how he fell in love with alarming frequency, and how he knew it was hardly the kind of love which a girl would have wanted. He had lived and loved enough to realize that he loved nothing but an idea-woman as many girls told him. He put on an expression of being misunderstood whenever he was told that but actually it was a sadness emanating from being understood too completely. He had his own theory of love on the lines of Buddhist theory of ‘dhyana’ . First there was the object of affection , the contemplation and the joy emanating from this, then the contemplation was not needed , the object and the joy remained. Then the joy disappeared, and just the object remained and eventually the object disappeared. In ‘dhyana’ an inner peace and negation of egotism were supposed to be what remains in the last stage, but for him was remained was nothing, and he needed another object to start the cycle once again. This was much like the cycle of rebirth and as long as the lust for love remained he must undergo the pain and the pleasures, the joy and the suffering in what seemed an endless cycle.
Thus caught in ‘dhyana’, love and loneliness Frank entered the realm of the subconscious.
Tipsy reached her house , her housemates had gone to sleep. She stealthily found her bed and decided to think a little before going to sleep. Maybe Frank had some effect on her , he said he liked to think before sleeping, everybody thought , always , and so before sleeping too, so why did Frank put the emphasis. He might as well have said “I like to breathe before I sleep.” She should have told him that, now when she will tell Kris about the meeting with Frank and what they talked off he will say that Frank talked of idiotic things and she will look like a fool for admitting an admiration of what Frank said. There was something about what Frank had said which made sense, made more sense than the banalities she always exchanged with others , but something she couldn’t quite put her finger to. Kris had everything she wanted –stability , love, care, intelligence …And yet she found herself getting attracted to Frank, he seemed to have this ability to make her stop thinking of the mundane which was …intoxicating. Yes , there it was Frank was merely an intoxicant and Kris her diet. She wasn’t romantic enough to choose the intoxicant. Somebody had told her a story of Urdu poet Ghalib. When he received some money as prize for a couplet from a noble he spent all the money on drinks, and when asked he replied –‘God has promised everyone his daily bread , I have bought the drinks; He will take care of the food.’ She liked the story, she laughed when she heard it, she would repeat it to others, but she wouldn’t do this in her life. With Ghalib and Kris in her thoughts she joined Frank in the subconscious.

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