Friday, March 14, 2008

Homebird sing

My ringtone: The warden threw a party in a county jail....
da da da dadaadada,, you should've heard those knocked out jailbirds sing lets rock!

My friend: Chup kara yaaaar, band kar isko.

I stop the chicken-neck-enthu-daencing expressions, and return to slurping and teething on mint leaves in my non-alcy iced tea.

Bu-bye jailhouse rocker, bu-bye.

Sriram died.

I met him twice, I think. First, on that Carter road place where the food isn't great but you sit there for the breeeze, and second, well just later that evening. It was his birthday, and he said I must come. Asked me if I was Bong. And just stuck to calling me that: Bong. Thanks for coming bong, nice meeting you, Bong.

Huge burly chap, one of those booming laughs, and perfect Santa Claus candidates. He was my Bombay flatmate's friend. And I think his jeep was called Scarlett. Forgot what he christened his bike, but he would correct everyone who didn't roll their 'r's when addressing that beautiful red flying machine of his -- not like that da, SKAARRR-letttt!

I remember the party. Us three people waiting on his mosquito-y staircase, making small talk for twenty minutes before our gregarious host, Sriram, clambered out of the building elevator -- those old, double gate, criss-cross wrought iron jaali type lifts, lugging bottles of sprite, an amplifier and big chip packets. Lots of friendly apologising by soon to be budday boy.

Party scene was being set. Now there were five of us in the living room. Sriram said he had to go in for quick shower, but please to be making ourselves at home, at ease, and however comfortable. He then winked at the girls, guffawed and disappeared with his towel. You couldn't not laugh.

What I distinctly remember was our struggle with this huge block of ice. It was just lying in one big steel tub, not melting, refusing to be picked at. A hammer had to be brought in. Knife was already around. Movie jokes were cracked, ice stayed stubborn, Sharon Stone was alluded to, and a game was made out of who wants to go next. We were all useless. Sriram had to be brought in to stop the million frozen chips ricocheting about the room. Such slippery chaos. Not to forget the queer shaped ice which finally made it to various drink-glasses.

Bean bags were pluffed up, biryani ordered, whiskey and Smirnoff bottles opened. I had to pour my first drink into the kitchen sink, it was so bad -- vodka and Tank. Too strong, too sweet. I stuck to beer. And cake. Oh the cake! From Ribbons and something, I forget the name, but such delish truffle it was! And his closer coterie had given whacko instructions to the bakery, as to what the icing should read. So when it was 12, and time to sing, instead of just 'Happy Birthday Sri', there was some ointment's name! The story behind it was funny -- because people were choking on truffle cake, but except that it was reallllllly bizarre, I can't recall what.

The music at the party was two acoustic guitars, and a pair of bongos. It was just such a lively affair. Throaty mallu boys making up lyrics on the spot, urging boys and girls to sing along, incorporating what people were doing right then into the song; such high energy, lots of shor, warmth outdoing animation.

Needed to mail flatmate, which is how it came up.

I miss him terribly. And the waiting and living at the hospital was terrible. So I actually feel relief to be back at work..

He always referred to you as the bong and asked for updates...

And the details:

"A flying accident...actually, for him it was his perfect exit... he always said he wouldn't mind if anything happened to him while flying... and he was flying the west wind that he loved the most... he had a beautiful 2-3 hour flight before he got caught in a bad cross wind while landing.
Can't grudge him his dream exit. Can miss him terribly.
in fact, we've begged off some of the ashes from his family. He wanted them to be thrown in the west wind from Harisson's Folly, on the way to Panchgani. Got to love his sense of humour :) "

I'd be howlin' out a song in the back seat
the boys would laugh and tease about my black feet
they'd tell stories that would warm my soul
Motorbikes and chrome
Jimmy could not wait to get home

Homebird sing
fly me high on an angel's wing
Homebird sing
leave out nothing tell me everything


Perakath said...

'Not like that da', name, Mallu boys-- another south Indian pilot, it seems. Nice post.

bluespriite said...

Stuff like this hits so suddenly... makes you slow down and wonder what the fuss is all about..esp when it can so suddenly..