The GreatBong MixTape For Your Valentine


1. Narangi Latke:

Nothing quiet sets the mood for love than a generous serving of fruit. In “Krantikshetra”, a band of terrorists lay siege to one of India’s premier schools. Now some other educational institutes might have, in the same situation, asked for Hindustan’s fragmentation, but this school, having as its student worthies like Harish (who seems to be stuck in school longer than Kanhaiya Kumar is stuck in universities), decide to engage in a song-and-dance number to distract said dastardly terrorists. Eminent faculty Dr. Shakti Kapoor is chosen for the purpose, along with a comely female student, and he regales the evil men with a song about the secret lives of plants.

Malnthara baag mein, nazook nazook daal pe, narangi laatke

From slender branches hang oranges, ripe for…for what’s the word…plucking. [Trivia: In the movie, they changed the words to “Narangi Lage Re” for some strange reason but the soundtrack has the original]

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The Issue: A Durga Pujo Short Story



[My latest book “Sultan of Delhi” is now available on Kindle outside the Indian sub-continental region]

“Let me go and offer puja”, the wife says pointing to the Durga idol to the right, up on the stage, “You can sit there, see if you know anyone.”

All married couples know this passage of play. It’s when one of the two makes the other do something that that person doesn’t want, and then compensates by backing off for a certain period of time afterwards. My wife knows I am not happy. I did not want to be here. Weekends are for reading books and watching movies, not for wearing kurta-pyjama that don’t really fit me in the way they were originally tailored, driving an hour, taking three exits, and then paying fifty dollars per person at the door for the dubious privilege of lunch, dinner and “cultural program”.

But it’s Pujo. Are we not going anywhere?

Even if that place is a high school rented for the weekend, and we don’t know anyone there.

So here we are.

“Well why don’t you go to Bangali Association meetings?” My wife had said on the drive here, chilly inside the car even though the heat was turned up high, “Then everyone would not be a stranger.”

I had simply gripped the steering wheel harder. I have been married for ten years. I know not to answer such questions.

“But you used to love Durga Pujo.”

I did. Back in Calcutta. When I had friends. When I could walk into a random pandal at any time of the day and most likely meet someone I knew, from school or college or from “coaching”, when the whole city was extended family.

Not now. Not in the US. Not any more.

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RaGa’s Viva


Before entering the exam-hall

Madamji: Beta, remember, don’t get nervous. You have been preparing for this viva a long time. Just don’t make any silly mistakes.

RaGa: (clean smile, hair parted to the side): No Mamma, I am well prepared this time. SaJa-uncle has given me plenty of suggestions and practice tests. I did great in them, did I not SaJa-uncle?

SaJa: Great? You were marvelous, superb, mind-blowing, extra-ordinary.

RaGa (grinning from ear to ear): See Mamma. I have also been having my Maltova and Horlicks, down to the bottom sip, have I not MaTi-uncle?

MaTi: Yes, yes you have been drinking it whole. Very holistic. Like a good little boy. But listen to me, if the examiner asks you a tough question, just raise your hand and say “Number one”. Then come out, and go to the bathroom. We have people standing there in every cubicle, waiting to give you an answer. Remember, cheats are written on the bottom of the pencil-box and your compass has a false bottom, with other cheats scrolled in.

RaGa: Yes, yes I remember

MaTi: Be careful. Last time, you told everyone that the political science chits were in your shirts and pants.

RaGa: I won’t any more. I am an youth leader now am I not Mama?

Madamji: Yes, so you are.

SaJa: You are youth. And that other boy is uncouth.

[Fifty people at same time tweet this exact message—“RaGa is youth. Other one is uncouth”.]

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His Final Moments


Tariq’s surma-rimmed eyes gleamed cold and hollow. He had known Tariq for ten years, enough to know that he was serious. Dead serious. ISI handlers of high value assets usually are. And Tariq, Tariq was one of the best. He had to be. After all he was Tariq’s asset.

On hindsight, he felt he should have seen this coming. It had been a horrible weekend from the very start. On Friday, there was that horrible royal wedding which he had to endure sitting with his youngest wife. She had kept sobbing and ooh-oohing “so cute” throughout, an experience worse than having a camel bite your balls. And he knew what was like, having experienced it many years ago. He had reminded her that she too was married to a prince. But somehow she didn’t seem to be too pleased by that observation. Saturday, the weather had been horrible and the kababs had been over-cooked. But nothing could have prepared him for this shocker on Sunday morning.

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Fathers And Sons


Son: Dad, I need some money.

Dad (not looking up from the newspaper): Why?

Son: You know I did not get through to a merit seat in engineering or medical. I need the money for capitation fees. You know none of this would not have happened if you had only managed to get a fake SC/ST certificate right? Or if our grandads had been like oppressed, depressed and suppressed like centuries ago?

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Rabin Babu


[Introductory remarks: Something a bit different today. My attempt at a short story, based on a legend from our ancestral village. Warning 1: Long post. Warning 2: There is no humor here.]

It was a quiet night. A stiff wind blew in from the west making the heat slightly less oppressive than on other days.

Rabin-babu was on the porch, reclining on an ancient chair. Nights in the village were always quiet. And today it was even quieter. There was a fair going on a few miles away and it seemed that the entire village was away.

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Pariyon Aur Haiwanon


After the rip-roaring success of “Da Vinci Da Gupt Katha” comes the sequel “Pariyon Aur Haiwanon” (English: Angels and Demons), another nail-biting conspiracy thriller from the team of Dhan Brown, Ron Coward and Panty Shah.

In the world’s premier nuclear physics research facility CERN (Chattisgarh Entropy Research Nigam), Dr. Ganga (played by Mandira Bedi) , expert on super-string theory (she calls them noodle straps), has been able to isolate what high energy physicists call the Mamata particle, a sub-atomic “Nano” particle produced by colliding Jyoti Bosons.

The power of the M-particle is so enormous that if it comes in contact with matter, it will create a catastrophic explosion. So catastrophic in fact that there will never be any industry or prosperity within 250 miles of that cataclysm. Ever. Which is why Dr. Ganga keeps the M-particle in an egg-shaped vacuum chamber (called the Charu Sharma container) under high security.

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