‘Hi there… can we talk?’
I looked around and was taken aback to find a fiery grilled chicken piece waving frantically at me.
‘You?’ I asked with incredulity clearly infiltrating my voice, posture, and even expression. This was surely one of those hard-to-believe moments that I had, as yet, only read in novels.
A conversation, a small discussion between a human and a fiery grilled chicken leg piece seems too far-fetched even to a person who regularly dives into imaginary worlds… if true, it did have the power to set everyone’s imagination on fire! This was the reason I first carefully looked around and then even discretely pinched myself before asking: ‘Is this real? Is this actually happening?’
‘Yes, this is as true as the words you’re writing right now on your new Samsung Tab,’ said the chicken piece enthusiastically.
Something told me that this could be the start of a conversation with the potential to either become immortal in all worlds including the world of bloggers or simply send me off into the thick of the twilight zone in the eyes of my friends and acquaintances. But I nevertheless asked apprehensively and more to myself, ‘What is it that anyone would want to discuss with a mere leg piece?’
The question, I said to myself, could have been dismissed without much thought as most would prefer to eat the leg piece instead of sitting and discussing politics and philosophy with it. The thought must’ve been blatantly obvious because this apparently live chicken piece immediately responded, ‘To eat, or not to eat is a question that is going on in your mind right now. Am I wrong?’
‘No,’ I managed to splutter and tried not to appear or sound confused, and then continued, ‘but it doesn’t make sense to keep a nice juicy fiery grilled chicken piece waiting to be picked up to be eaten… almost an insult to the culinary skills of the creative chefs at KFC.’
‘Your answer pleases me and I will love to be ultimately ingested by you,’ answered the chicken piece imperiously and rather snootily, before continuing, ‘But I wish we refrain from this thought for some time and discuss other interesting things that have been happening in the world in the past year!’
‘Sure,’ I replied, ‘what else do you know and want to talk about?’
‘Let’s start with the elephants troubling the election commissioner.’
‘No, I don’t think it is a good idea to talk politics right now. This topic,’ I reminded GC, or grilled chicken, my new friend, ‘can make anyone hungry for more and, therefore, has the potential to activate non-veg greed even in the heart of the most ardent vegetarian in the world. What else interests you?’
GC smiled and replied, ‘Other topics that interest me include words like gluttony, cuisine, spicy, grilled, fried, tasty, food…’
‘Enough,’ I said, ‘enough of this joke, GC. We really need to give this conversation a new turn if it is to become immortal… or you will simply end up entertaining gastric juices in my tummy sooner than you think it is possible.’
GC enacted an elaborate and vigorous tremor that made it seem as if it were some complex move of frenzied salsa and then sighed before replying, ‘OK, let me then tell you what I think of the year that has just gone by.’
‘Now that’s much better. Maybe your list of major events will make it to some international magazine… and you’ll be in the most-famous list yourself. This list might just set everyone’s imagination on fire!‘
The hullaballoo after the India-Pakistan World Cup match
‘You keep writing down somewhere, lest the list is lost because you were more interested in eating me up than listening to me,’ rasped GC and continued without paying attention to my gestures of protest, ‘A new world record in celebrating by bursting crackers, igniting the most elaborate fireworks, and dancing on the streets after the India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup match.’
‘You mean India’s lifting the world cup?’
‘No. I mean the celebration that followed the India-Pakistan match. That was really awesome and the entire nation was ecstatic… and this certainly surpassed the emotional displays anyone saw on the day they won the World Cup! It is this feeling of ecstasy that will be remembered long after the euphoria of lifting the world cup has weaned off.’ GC was correct. The nation does go into a dance-mode the moment their team defeats the team from our neighbouring country… and this celebratory zeal is apparently without limits. It is this display of emotions that surely deserves to be in the most-famous list.
‘Right, and what is the next ecstatic event in your list that shook the nation?’
The hullaballoo and the Gandhi cap
‘That’s simple. MORE sale of the ubiquitous Gandhi cap during Anna’s legendary fast at the Ramlila grounds in Delhi as compared to even the pre-independence protest marches.’
‘Hmmm…,’ I said with some doubt in my voice, ‘that was a protest that went on for years…’
GC didn’t wait for me to complete my sentence and said, ‘And this agitation has MORE people and MORE people in MORE countries… and MORE caps per person were bought as there was MORE designer stuff being created continuously.’
I had actually seen people walking around with the Gandhi caps stuffed in their pockets. There were people changing their caps after each session with the ‘gimme more’ press corps of India. There were caps being given a unique appearance at artist camps, school painting competitions, at home, in the office, while travelling, and even sketched by the ‘mem sahib’ as she was being driven to the nearest rally point!
‘I am wondering how you know about all these events.’
‘Ah! To keep wondering is so human. A few minutes back you were also wondering how a mere chicken piece was talking!’ GC was obviously making fun of me and I was again left wondering if it was my gullibility that was a victim or it was the extra-ordinariness of the situation that had overwhelmed my sensibilities! GC meanwhile was smiling and continued saying, ‘ Stop wondering so much, my human friend and get ready to note the next point in my list now.’
The hullaballoo and the art of shoe-throwing
‘Right.’ I replied and readied myself for the next point in the ‘most-famous’ list of this grilled chicken piece.
‘Excellence in shoe throwing at people who consider themselves celebrities but the world thinks of them as being no better than sulking skunks,’ intoned GC.
‘So what is great about shoe-throwing and why would this qualify as a most-famous event or emotion of the year?’
‘Tell me something,’ asked GC, ‘do you like unnecessary arson, or violence that damages property, or people being forced to accept wrong doings of those in power?’ GC looked at me for a while and finding no resistance from my side, continued, ‘Shoe-throwing is a form of protest that has not just begun in earnest, it is an art that is slowly and surely going to rise to a level of perfection and is going to attract research scholars to debate and write tomes on it.’
‘Wow!’ I remarked, ‘Then even I must hurry up and register for a Ph.D in this subject before it gets too difficult to find guides!!’
‘I’m serious,’ replied GC, ‘and you’ll thank me later for having had the prudence to get this point included in the most-famous list of 2011! You see, shoe-throwing is a subtle art that aims to miss the person physically but makes a bull’s eye hit on the issue at hand. The shoe is always captured in mid-air by the press photographers and the accompanying news discuses the reason for the shoe being thrown.’
‘Ah! I get the point now. A shoe thrown is news that is just read and becomes past… but the issue it raises goes on for days as a hot debate! So the shoe-throwing does get into this dramatic most-famous list of yours!’
The hullaballoo on draping a sari
‘At this rate, your list of famous events is soon going to include the swami who draped himself in a sari to escape arrest!’ This was clearly meant as a joke and I was actually taken aback when GC looked at me and replied, ‘Bulls eye!’
GC then continued by way of explanation, ‘One sees a lot of male actors in Hindi movies who wear the sari and romp away without any inhibitions.’ He paused to compose the next part of his conversation to convince, ‘However, it is not Ramdev who gets to be in my list but the fact that someone could have escaped in a sari in real life that qualifies for this list.’
‘Cross dressers and trans-genders do this all the time,’ I said.
‘They don’t teach yoga to the world. They don’t have ashrams in Ireland. They don’t preach calmness of the subliminal plane of human consciousness. They don’t jump from a dais right into a circle of women and escape in a sari. They don’t have a flowing beard and yet escape attention. They don’t claim to fight corruption and then fear a mere political arrest. And anyway, I’ve already clarified that it isn’t Ramdev who is in the list…’ GC was by now all worked up and waved me to silence when I tried to say something. He then continued, ‘It is not the swami who has just been included in my most-famous list of the year… it is the episode that is there and is actively competing for the top position as well. Though that is something I leave to the discretion of my readers.’
‘One question is troubling me,’ I asked GC.
‘Whose sari did the swami pinch? That person actually deserves to be awarded.’
‘What’s wrong with you humans?’ protested GC, ‘Why can’t you guys simply focus on the essentials only? What is important is the sheer force of an original thought in the modern world. What is important is the way this thought is executed. What is important is the sensual connection of a preacher of sublimity with something as earthy as a sari! And this brings us to the next most-famous event of the year that actually transports us from the sensual to the sexual, from the national to the international.’
I could do nothing else than wait for the revelation.
The hullaballoo that connects Rajasthan, Australia, and the UK
‘Well, this event connects cricket, modeling, Australia, Rajasthan, and UK with the not-so-subtle art of philandering,’ announced GC, ‘I mean I obviously do not want to include any person in my list and, therefore, it is the way in which philandering was elevated to the level of an art-form that makes me include the affair between Shane Warne and Liz Hurley in this list.’
‘Have you noticed how Shane has warn in his name,’ I asked as I wanted to see if GC could turn this innocuous piece of information into something hilarious.
‘And despite his warning, Liz insisted on hurling herself on him!’ GC was undoubtedly unstoppable. I wondered if this was because of all the protein that it was filled with. GC was silent for a few moments and then said, ‘Philandering reached a new height in the year, crossed boundaries, jumped ethnicities, and gyrated on the social ramp toying with balls!’
I smiled at all the innuendoes and without uttering a word signaled GC to let us all have the next from its most-famous list.
The hullaballoo that rings in millions of pockets
‘What is the first thing you hear when you reach office?’ asked GC.
I thought hard for a while and then hesitatingly answered, ‘Not my bosses voice obviously.’
‘Which means you aren’t observant at all,’ said GC pointedly and continued, ‘the first thing that you hear in the office is also what you keep hearing while you commute to work or are strolling in the park or are in a party or are having food in some restaurant… now can you hazard a guess?’
‘No.’ I said without even attempting to think as I knew GC would have an answer that was sure to be far away from whatever I may have in my thoughts.
‘The ring of a mobile! This has been steadily climbing the charts, so to say, and has reached the final list in the year as now you find almost everyone perpetually fumbling to take out a screaming mobile from his pocket or from her bag or purse,’ said a smiling GC and continued, ‘you hear the most sublime to the utterly silly ring tones today.’
‘Yes, indeed, GC,’ I said and I was now beginning to have a lot of confidence in this really off-beat list made by this chicken piece. ‘There are ring tones selling everything from art to education, promoting everything from sports to politics, hinting at everything from population control to social harmony…’
‘Yes,’ added GC, ‘ring tones are nothing but a way to permeate ideas into the human mind. It is ring tones that are actually used for idea inception by not just the crassly commercial inclinations of the corporate but also by the unscrupulous politicians of the world. Therefore, be very wary of ring tones as they aren’t mere simpletons entering my most-famous list of the year but are the potential carriers of the future of society that the coming generations will have to endure.’
The conversation was suddenly taking a rather sinister turn and was becoming more like a doomsday prediction listing for humanity… and it was because of this that I was hesitant to ask if there was any other inclusion left.
The hullaballoo of hunger pangs
GC spoke up even as I was vacillating between an urge to seek more and putting an end to the torture of building a sinister list. He said, ‘Steve Jobs asked us to stay hungry and this has become the most misunderstood phrase of the year.’
‘Yes, look at the babus, the netas, the doctors, the engineers, the administrators, the bureaucrats, the students, the teachers, the philosophers, the technicians… in fact, everyone seems to be succumbing to their hunger pangs,’ said GC and then with a visibly saddened tone, added, ‘these aren’t hunger pangs for more knowledge and wisdom but for material gains. Now do you understand why I have included hunger pangs in my most-famous list of the year?’
‘Yes,’ I answered, ‘and it does make a lot of sense too. Hunger for favours and hunger for bribes has overtaken what Steve Jobs meant when he said – Stay hungry, stay foolish’
Pick me up. Eat me
The conversation between a human and a fiery grilled chicken piece had all the symptoms of a block-buster movie in it and I knew I was going to mull on all the thoughts that GC had given me in such a short while. I also wondered aloud if I could ever eat my friend now.
‘Oh yes, you can and you must,’ shouted GC, ‘and I can assure you that every time you pick any of my other brothers out there in the world, you will think of this conversation and maybe work for a better world.’
Thus the wonderful conversation did end with the energy and zest and gusto that normally accompanies the chomp-chomping of a grilled chicken piece… and I can assure you that I loved every moment of the conversation. I also know that even in future there will be many such fiery conversations with many grilled chicken pieces…
This post is written for a blog contest on indiblogger.
12 January 2012