-or reasons to believe
After enjoying the bondage services of Mama-San Maithreyi’s establishment of ill-repute, ‘The Bluer Lotus’, the plagiarist poet Rajendran stumbled upon one Raja Raja Sekar (a failed body builder) trying to apply a salve to his bruised bottoms. The patches on his ass were reminiscent of a grainy 60s film shot near a decrepit dacha in the Caucasus. Without any warning, the plagiarist stuck a paper onto the sadomasochist Sekar’s skin, and then held it to the light: The Nazca lines! Thus, a long collaboration between the plagiarist and the masochist ensued: Rajendran would first use a wooden ruler to spank Sekar’s bottoms, then a fibre optic cord, sometimes a dried root of a banyan tree from Chottanikara—the temple of exorcism, all leading to an anthology of bondage art, the first of its kind in the subcontinent.
Meanwhile, Suhit, the photojournalist who had switched from lomography A to lomography A+, and whose penchant for leopard underpants hadn’t waned, interviewed Sekar and Rajendran. The Mama-San, hearing about this project, which was rumoured to auction at Sotheby’s, wanted a cut of the royalties. She threatened them with a supari (it was no secret her paramour worked for the Yakuza under the guise of a mathematician poet).
By this time, Selvaraj and Sujit were having a lover’s tiff. It involved an intellectual dispute about the four great uncials, and in particular, the number of the beast. The hapless Sujit was subject to Salman Khan style harassment, though in a more refined but necromantic form. An article in the tabloid, ‘Roshogolla Review’, under the rubric ‘Neck Romance?’ caused quite the stir.
Wedged between the thrill of Sothebys and being assassinated by the Yakuza, Rajendran began plagiarising with more fervour, and soon, he began to claim Nikhil Parekh’s Limca award winning poems were his own creations.
Sanjay Sharma was in the 9th standard for the third year. Though phrenological studies indicated he had an IQ of 200, he misused his splendid brain to plant Nirodh packets into Cleft-Maria, the class teacher’s handbag. After school, he’d approach mazdoor women and tell them in English that they were ‘appealing’, but with the utmost vulgarity.
Now, twenty years later, Sharma was HIV+, a non-matriculate and working on mapping Kalabi Yau particles to Roshogolla UFOs. He even put out a pamphlet combining calculus with pornographic illustrations. It remains a mystery how one landed in the hands of the Welsh Mathematician, but it created a sensation that stirred the very foundations of the Yakuza, Mossad, Black Panthers, RSS, KKK (the Ozarks chapter) and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13).
Suhit, the underground journalist, had just incurred a rash from wearing a damp leopard panty. He was in the process of applying soframycin under his testicles when the Mama-San knocked on his door. ‘And how may I help you, sister?’, he said, resisting the urge to scratch his innards. ‘A glass of Rasna would be nice, for a start’. The journalist, unaware of what he was doing, mixed soframycin into the Rasna. ‘For a Buddhist, you swirl a great drink’, the Nun/Mama-san said, grinning. She gulped the concoction down, then pulled out a series of lomographic prints from her Louis Vutton handbag: it was the anthology birthed by the bondage rituals of plagiarist Rajendran and Raja Raja Sekar.
By this time, unable to bear his itch, the journalist had poured himself the same concoction. Together, the disparate pair began studying the Nazca line patterns on Sekar’s bottoms closely. They had no idea they were stepping into the maws of death.
The French scholar, Nidhi, had just finished her third marathon, when her cell phone beeped. It was an email from ‘The Purple Panda Review’. The editor didn’t mince words about her not doing a fact check, that the originals by Rajendran she had translated, and which were turning the literary circles of Paris upside down, were plagiarised. This email left her more breathless than the marathon. Just then, a street trapeze artist with a UFO tattoo—not the cliched papier-mâché types, but a tear drop like in Cixin’s novel—handed her a note. It just said, ‘regarde le ciel’. Under the clouds, a Cessna sky-wrote ‘Pirate’.
Nidhi rushed home, and without even taking a shower, telegraphed Rajendran. It just said: FUCK. STOP. YOU. Then she showered for three hours with her baby parrot on the basin counter. She was interrupted by a knock on the door—you have a parcel from Dunzo. Who could it be, she wondered? The box felt heavy, and when she opened it on her glass dining table—to the scent of lychees and melon, it took her an eternity to fathom what she was seeing: her mentor, Ganué, his precious head tattooed with a UFO.
The boxer Abhinav had just finished memorising the complete works of Larkin. To celebrate, he shagged thinking of a bonsai tree in his ex’s apartment. Sullen after the quick release, he decided to check his email. It contained twenty three of his poems signed as Rajendran. It was from the editor of ‘The Purple Panda Review’. He punched a hole through the screen and the noise awakened his bootlegged android: ‘Does master wish to spar?’. ‘No you pubic cretin, I want to wring the neck of this bastard who’s been plagiarising my work’. ‘Preparing to spar…’.
‘No no you fucktard!’. Before he knew it, Abhinav was lying flat, next to a half-smoked joint. The only thought in his mind was how parents fuck children up.
One of the little known facts is that a librarian at Alliance Francaise de Pune is the grand-daughter of an ex-KGB agent. The truth that she guides students to neo-liberal French literature should be evidence enough, but also, her car has a photoshopped sticker of Gorbachev’s head on a pangolin’s body. Let us, for our personal safety, call this lady Madame Dino-Devi. This femme-fatale was known for her exactitude, her Borgesian attitude to curating the library, and her mastery of the Yo-Yo. Rumours had it that she was a script writer for the subversive film, ‘Mera Naam Joker II’, but they knew. They.
Over tears and several vada-paus, Nidhi confessed to her about her translations of the plagiarist, Rajendran. Unsurprisingly, Madame Dino-Devi consoled her over chai, then handed her a folio titled, ‘Rallumons les Étoiles’.
All night, trapped in her golden cage, Nidhi felt attacked by yo-yos: luminescent, heart-shaped, medieval, aboriginal, singing, suicidal, sweet. Roshogolla sweet.
The nun/Mana-San. The leopard journo. The plagiarist poet. The French scholar. The boxer. The lovers V & S. The Yakuza mathematician. The chaos theorist.
Then we come to the abduction of Tanuj, a first rate cricketer with three balls in his pocket always. As apocrypha went, all these balls grew grass. Tanuj and Rajendran would not have met were it not for the former’s play: a dystopian account of a neon doom where plants replace donuts as the source of diabetes. Within the first few weeks of publication of Donut Dreams, the consumption of donuts increased by 40%.
At this time, Mr.Menon plotted a graph delineating the number of Kalabi Yau particles that can fit into a donut hole.
Rajendran knew it’d be difficult to talk to Tanuj, especially since his plays were sold out. Instead, he recorded the same phallus joke with in 36 variations of tone and content, and left a CD at his doorstep, with his phone number. The telephonic conversation that followed led to the pseudo-artist and the artist despising each other. The pseudo-artist, Rajendran, called the artist, Tanuj, pseudo. But hatred being a form of love, led Tanuj to confess, for the first time ever, about his abduction. And the UFO was not like a donut; more, a Roshogolla.
Francophiles from all over the world came to Nidhi’s to see the decapitated head of Monsieur Génou. Even Banksy graffitied the savant’s head on the wall of the American embassy in Istanbul, with an apple in his mouth. Orhan Pamuk claimed it was Banksy’s greatest creation.
No one cared any more that Nidhi had translated a plagiarist’s poems. No one except the boxer that is. Out of sheer vilification and insomnia, Abhinav sold his body for a month and purchased a blunderbuss. After, he went to take Mama-San Maithreyi’s blessings. The nun anointed him with cow-ghee and a short lesson on General Relativity.
Armed with blessings and 10,300 hrs of Call of Duty, the boxer was ready to steal the head from Nidhi’s. He approached her tree house, completely naked except for the blunderbuss. Surprisingly, even at 2.36 am, the door wasn’t locked. Walking into the house with the blunderbuss between his thighs, his nose led him to the now putrefying head of Monsieur Génou. But he was distracted by a plate of doklas near the head. As he was busy gobbling the Guzzerati delicacy, the head levitated itself and the blunderbuss fired on its own. This is the end, thought the boxer.
Anantapur Rohith, an outstanding doctor who gave up medicine for poetry—as the latter allowed a means of financial sustenance, came across a Wikipedia entry of Sanjay Sharma: an HIV+ man who had written an obscure pamphlet about the UFOs that were oscillating in his nightmares. After much sleuthing, Rohith traced the authorship of the article to one Suhit—google images came up with one photo of a man in leopard underwear wielding a Holga camera.
Unfortunately, much like the best minds before him, Anantapur Rohith could not find a HIV vaccine. But he found a cure. It came to him as a villanelle—after that, it was merely mechanical. During a night of power cut, the medicinal genius began his epistle to Sanjay Sharma.
Dear Mr.Sharma, he began, then thought, no no it won’t do. Dear Brother—No! Dear Sharmaji…he tore up all the letters and went to meditate in his lab. Desultorily, Anantapur Rohith began shifting his eyes from one formaldehyde container to the other: bats, foetuses, centipedes, star fish… until they settled on a certain brain. Using a black marker, he began his invitation to Sharma on the glass housing the only remaining body part of General Dyer, the butcher of Amritsar.
In the plateau town of Hazaribagh, while getting a fish pedicure in the river, no less than twenty three luminescent objects hovered in the sky. At first, the river’s paramour, Mihir, was in disbelief. But then he remembered, from his visit to the descendant of a British-era lieutenant from Scotland, that such phenomena had been recorded even then. Pulling out his harmonica, the young man began playing a tune and the UFOs danced like bees around a melon. Then, overcome with emotion, Mihir recited a few poems he was teaching for his class, and felt himself levitated. Of course, he had no idea that the ninja waiting to decapitate him, would commit sepuku in the river out of shame. Later, Mihir’s novel in Hindi, Hazaribagh ke Flying Saucers, would be accepted in the syllabus as a treatise on delirium that afflicts academics.
During this grimmest of times for artists, a fatwa was announced by the ISL— the targets were Vivek and Suhit, for co-authoring a poem. But the latter wrote a beautifully calligraphed letter, insisting that he was identifiable by his choice in undergarments, and that the target should be Sujit, who was the co-author and Vivek’s lover. Suhit also let in on the fact that the couple were trying to conceive using the miraculous phials of Anantapur Rohit. The ISL, surprisingly, wrote back to Suhit correcting the name on the fatwa, but warned him about his penchant for leopard undergarments. The poem that led to their lives being put at risk, has, in truth, many versions. This is version 06.24:
The Roshogolla Conspiracy: Season Finale (1)
A team of roshogollas has been assigned
by the WHO to haggle with
the apocalypse by isolating blood specimens
from naxalites, veterinarians, thieves,
neurotic readers, drag-queens,
pornographers, Bagasrawalas, chaos-
theorists and poets who have been tempted
to fit the moon in earthen vessels,
who visit establishments of ill-repute
without cancelling dental appointments
and/or dispatching in-laws petticoats
to the istri-wallah smiling through
Patanjali toothpaste and whose clientele
include Sudeep da, Swami Nityananda
and Goswami, and exclude cosmonauts
born under the sign of Saturn,
and playwrights who’ve used the Poppins
twins(2), Ram and Shyam, in faggoty
tropes, because Ram and Shyam
have always checked the silver-label
for authenticity, come under the Acche-Din
aegis though their taste in boxer-underwear
has been severely disputed
by the Department of Ethical Desserts
and the Sahitya Academy
that only answers letters from roshogallas
whose radii are measured to testicular
precision, are first tested on crows
whose caw-caws are manifested as
CAA-CAA in every document vetted
by cows wearing mangalsutras around
their udders so that the ratio of milk to pee
matches the content of benzodiazepines
in the conscience of the Thomson
and Thompson parodies, Selvaraj/Prasad,
who are immune to Einsteinian physics.
- Not a Netflix Production
- See General Relativity and the Twin Paradox
After the failed attempt to steal Génou’s head from Nidhi’s tree house, the boxer sank into depression. He forgot all the poems he had memorised. To survive his mind, he began making clay figurines of Nefertiti’s titties and the great leader’s man-boobs. The blunderbuss was sold to a Wahhabist who scrapped it to make a periscope to help doctors listen to heartbeats.
After Mihir’s abduction, and the popularity of his saucer book, the commissioning editor at a leading Indian publishing house, Ananya Borgohain, went to meet him in Hazaribagh. While he was giving her a tour of the landscape—neo, meso and Palaeolithic , a leopard wearing leopard underpants attacked them. However, after first sniffing their toes, the animal made off with a copy of ‘Hazaribagh ke Flying Saucers, 1st edition’ in its mouth. Relieved, Ananya ran to the river and dipped her feet. Something soft encircled her knees and she screamed, thinking snake, when Mihir assured her all the snakes in Hazaribagh were on sabbatical. Oh, thank my godmother, she thought, and picked up a coil of what she thought was seaweed. But no seaweed ever smelt so…so seductive. That’s when she noticed the ninja who’d commited sepuku, the body caught in a log of wood. The shock was so intense, she couldn’t let go of the Ninja’s lungs. Then she felt her own body levitating towards the Roshogolla shaped spaceship maddeningly oscillating, dimming our the Jharkhand sun. That’s when she knew she needed to ask for a pay raise at the publishing house. She’d enter the posh office with reprints of paintings by Egon Schiele, Klimt and Mamta Kulkarni, among other stalwarts, and whip her boss on his face with the ninja’s lung.
The bondage anthology by Raja Raja Sekar and Rajendran was featured in the New York Times—as the most despicable but luscious work from India. Enraged, Rajendran protested to his Visceral Realist friend, Juan Garcia Madeiro. Juan, who’s only virtue was loyalty, decided to track down the culprit who had written the article, because it was under a non-de-plume.
Frustrated at his attempts, he stepped into an Indian restaurant in Ciudad Juarez, recommended by his friend, V. Narayanan. Settling down with a pint of Kajuraho beer, he opened his iPad and began watching Kamal Hasan songs. The food arrived: Butter chicken with a dollop of honeyed armadillo shit. After a sumptuous fare, the visceral realist began stalking Rajendran’s friendliest. It didn’t take him long to fall in love with one Harini, and immediately he penned a paen to her and google translated it into Tamil:
Nan oru saani.
He msged it to her in her inbox and spent 23 days, 2 hours, and 41 seconds before she replied.
‘Do you love me more or Kamal?’
‘You, Harini! I don’t much care for Camel!’.
‘I didn’t ask if you ate fucking camels, Juan Garcia Madeiro, but about a Kamal Hasan’
‘Are you jealous my love?’
Harini didn’t reply to this for a week. Then she asked him one question, that chilled him to his bones.
‘Have you ever eaten a roshogolla?’
It was the most sultry, most perverted monsoon of the century when Narendra Modi and Bolsoñaro shared the Nobel for peace.
But Génous’s head still levitated above Nidhi’s dining table. Suhit was still into leopard underwear, but lined with Johnson’s baby powder. Vivek and Sujit were more in love than ever. The boxer Abhinav had taken to breeding eels to calm his temper. And Anantapur Rohit’s cure for HIV was stolen by the RSS. Yes, things were at at a standstill, life was grim. Rajendran and Raja Raja Sekar began a new project that involved urinating into uninhabited coffins. Such foreboding.
Tanuj, the playwright, was fed copious amounts of Roshogolla by his Venutian fly-eater, Bubbly. From his holiday cottage in Ooty, he began gaining weight and became paranoid about getting hernia. Obsessed, he began to google images of Zulu tribesmen with balls as big as politicians’ egos. Sometimes, when Bubbly wasn’t looking, he’d lick these testicular images on his monitor. When that wasn’t enough, he’d write semen-ic plays—which involves writing on parchments artificially aged to resemble the Dead Sea Scrolls, and insert them into his pocket before playing the flaneur. Once, when Rajendran tried to sex-chat with him, he gave in and responded with such thirst that the plagiarist poet decided to marry Daisy Duck.
To claim that Sanjay Sharma, cured of HIV by Anantapur Rohith, felt optimistic, is an understatement. Sharma sent his papers on Kalabi Yau Particles and their influence on Roshogolla UFOs to Mr.Menon, but received an inland post letter with two words: Keep Trying. Incensed, Sharma wrote his first email ever to TISS, which was as coherent as a lizard in a Boeing:
I myself am 9th std pass from Salvation High School and was molested sexually by Br.Noel, Br.Tomtom, Br.Porruki and Sr.Nivedita. Jumbo Circus is my favourite. I will ask for your sister to be my sister in great respect only to be told : subah mein sister, raat mein bistar. My investigation into Kalabi Yau has made Mr.Menon famous. Mean Menon. But now I have got scholarship at CERN institute for my paper on Nirodh as immunity for R-UFOs. Moo mein le Alpha-Beta chud.’
The Goethe Institute and Alliançe Francaise have always had an incestuous yet sour relationship. While there is a descendant of the KGB at the AFP library, there is also a descendant of the Kriegsmarine at the Max Mueller Bhavan.
Irtika, a Sufi poet who did her C2 levels at the institute mentioned above, wrote a three thousand word essay in German about the ugliness of a Bodhrolok’s moustache: the man ran a publishing house and was turned on by Pink Panther. After that, everyone called her Irtika Crazy.
But the plagiarist Rajendran knew otherwise: he recorded her spoken-word poems on a Sony Somarajan Walkman and had a muezzin read them aloud. The immediate result was an orgy between the Goethe Institute and AFP—bratwurst sodomising ratatouille. The long term consequences though were more susceptible. All the cats at Alliançe Francaise, for instance, began to Sieg Heil. And all the dogs outside the Goethe institute, howled La Marseillaise.
Just when she thought nothing could go wrong, Irtika, who invited 232 gluttons for a feast, couldn’t figure how all the chicken became roshogollas.
A fisherman in the Outer Hebrides saw an object spinning above his catch—all the fish suddenly started singing in Gaelic. Sivakami, who was traveling there to represent India in a haiku contest, was on this boat. She taught some of the fish to sing old Tamil songs like: unnai naan, sandithen, nee 1000thil oruvan…’.
At the contest, she clinched the first prize and celebrated with goli soda with a drop of scotch. On her return flight to India, she saw a flying fish trailing next to her window, and this made the gentle poet smile inside.
M. Génou’s head now began traveling everywhere with Nidhi. Most grocers were accustomed to this sight and would sometimes feed the head carrots and dragon-fruit peels. Meanwhile, the plagiarist Rajendran began to sleep in coffins. Not satisfied with pilfering from the live, he wanted to steal from souls too. Also, the coffins reminded him of his school days and gave him masochistic pleasure.