Sunday, 24 February 2008

The Missing Passport

Picture this.

It is well past midnight and all inmates of our bachelors’ pad in Vile Parle are fast asleep. An alarm goes off, but is quickly smothered after the first ring itself. My friend Moni gets up reluctantly and tiptoes softly to the toilet. Silently he finishes his shave, showers, sprays an expensive deodorant all over his body, gets into a freshly-laundered pair of trousers and puts on a spotless, white shirt. With practiced ease, he loops a tie around his neck and effortlessly fashions a perfect knot that he nudges into place. He selects a blue jacket on a hanger from the wardrobe and hooks it up against the door handle, ready for use.

All preparations thus completed, Moni goes back to his bed, slowly eases himself into a rigid, horizontal position and placing both hands in the middle of his chest as if in prayer, goes to sleep again.

If you were a newcomer to our flat and happened to wake up at that moment and switch on the light, say for a drink of water, and see Moni in that position, believe me, you would have died instantly, screaming in terror.

Moni was a flight steward with Air India. Lying down fully dressed and catching those precious five minutes of extra sleep before the transport arrived, was very important for him.

Thus on a New Year’s Eve, Moni sits with us nursing a watered down whiskey the whole evening, while the rest of us are celebrating. Well into the party, the flat is looking like a war-zone with empty beer bottles, overflowing ashtrays, scattered magazines and comatose men. Ram does a quick cleaning up so that the more embattled souls can be rolled into bed and the others can at least stretch their aching backs.

Lights off. Blissful darkness. Silence . Sleep comes easily to all the alcohol-infused souls.

Around 4 am, there is a major commotion. The normally considerate Moni is frantically waking up a snoring Ram! Apparently, Moni cannot find his passport anywhere and could it be that Ram has kept it safely somewhere when he did his last-minute cleaning operation?

Thinking through the alcoholic haze, Ram manages a moment of clarity. Yes, he says, he distinctly remembers dumping a passport and some other stuff into the waste-paper basket under the kitchen sink!

Moni wordlessly picks up his passport from the kuchra basket and goes out to the waiting transport, softly closing the door behind him.

3 comments:

Dileep said...

Haha. I think I remember this story. So typical of the man. Do you have a new email for him?

Velayudhan said...

When i brought one wine bottle for my brother for the first time, i never dreamt that it will be over within half an hour in moni's company(pardon me for my ignorance).

RM said...

I remember such an incident of loosing my passport at the windsor Hotel in Mumbai in 1990. I just returned from a brief stint in the US with guys waiting to see me - You know why! But in my case we ventured out to have some food in the early morning hours while someone in the hotel thought it might be a good idea to sell a US Visa (Atleast that is the story cops gave me). I can smile now but certainly even single malt whisky could not bring a smile on me then!

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.