“Hey, how’re you?”
It was Gina.
“Heyyy! How have you been?” The bored-late-sunday-afternoon voice is reserved only for friends who, without any provocation, send one-line mails telling me - and some other friends - that we are all schmucks. Gina, however, is nice. “I’m good, oh, and this is Gina here.”
I assured her that I had not mistaken her voice for Anurag’s.
“So,” she went on, “we’re in Narayangaon, and we’re in the middle of a discussion, and wanted your opinion on something.”
I sat up. It’s not every day that people ask me for my opinion, and even if they do, they usually have an ulterior motive, like proving to friends and family that I have no idea what the hell the “India shining” project is. Sorry, was. A little wary, I assured her that she had my complete attention.
“Let’s say you’re stranded on an island with no food, along with me, Anurag, Arjun, Shrik, KP, and Sush. All of us die, and you alone survive. Who would you eat first?”
A year ago, I would have been a little shocked at Gina’s ‘ice-breaking questions’, as we now call them, and I’d have said, “Eh?” but one eventually gets used to these things. This time, I didn’t miss a beat.
“Let me see. That would be the person with the most amount of available flesh, so that I keep the number of people being eaten to a minimum, at least in the beginning”, I replied, proud of my logical, noncommittal answer.
“Come on! You have to come up with a name! Anurag seems to be the favourite here, according to all these guys. And Shrik says that you’d choose Anurag, too, because he would provide you with the maximum amount of protein.”
I explained that since I’d not seen any of them for about a month, it would be difficult for me to come up with an answer just like that. I also added that health food was good, but under such circumstances, one chose the well being of one’s sanity over a high protein intake.
“Okay, the most meat, eh?" she said. "That would be me.”
Now on an aside, before you people get the wrong impression, and before I get tied to a barbed-wire fence and get beaten up, let me add that Gina happens to be a very tall lady. Taller than me, I think, and it’s not every day I admit that, and I happen to be more than an inch taller than the average Indian male. And she has a normal sort of aspect ratio, so she may have a point there.
However, this put me in an awkward position, as any of you, who while talking on the phone with someone ended up telling him/her that there was a slight chance you might be eating him/her, would know. So I decided to make amends.
“Ah, but because I’m a chivalrous sort, I think I’ll bury you with your dignity intact and cross you off my list of choices.”
Laughter on the other end.
“Why, thank you, Senthil, very gallant of you.”
I graciously replied that she should be thanking my mother because she was the one who taught me manners and chivalry, including the commandment thou shalt not eat women.
We then went down the ladder in fleshiness, and found that the next rung was occupied by Anurag. This, I realized, was payback time. Schmuck, eh? Yep, I’d start gnawing on him for starters. Only under unmitigated circumstances, though - cannibalism does not lend itself naturally to me. We then concluded that Shrik was right after all, albeit for the wrong reasons.
“All right, see you when you get back. We’ll all go to Narayangaon again.” She then rang off.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is yet another proof of how weird my friends are. Haridwar, I am beginning to realize, is not that bad a place after all.P.S. I have also been Tagged by Shruti and Vaish, and the tags require some thought, so ladies, I am working on them, please don’t hate me.