the bum and the thug

2 hours and 55 minutes. 166 km. doorstep to doorstep. fast, even by my standards. If it were simply the highway all the way, I’d have approved. It was rash riding, and I wouldn’t ever condone doing more than 80 on a two wheeler. But what was done was done, and here I am, thankful to be alive.


2 days ago. 2230 hours. SMS conversation:

G: think u wil get home by 11:30 PM?

bum: yes, think I should be home by then. Taking a break now, this will be a long one. My usual spot.

G: cool, where is this?

bum: just outside pondy. I choose a lonely stretch and sit for an hour or so in the silence.

G: silence inspires me.

bum: isn’t all silent today, there are lots of vehicles passing. I’m usually here much later in the night.

G: early huh? Well, for once, your folks would be able to call you a chamattu payyan (roughly translated to ‘well behaved kid’)

bum: haha. Can’t stop laughing to myself, at your quip, and at myself. Think I’ll leave now, take care.

G: ride safe, and btw, it’s a wonderful trait – to be able to laugh at oneself.

I am sitting there, in my usual spot, wondering if ubiquitous cell phone is a boon or a bane. For there it is in my pocket, and my fingers run to it, almost involuntarily. A few smokes and messages down the line, I decide to take in some silence, and switch off the phone. There isn’t much noise, barring the passing vehicles, which like I mentioned, is quite a lot considering the time of the day. I get used to it though, and am just sitting there. A while later, content with the solitude and intent on going home earlier than I normally do, I decide to leave. Not before reaching out for the phone and making that one last phone call. As I am talking, I see this car approach towards me, slowly, and I figure he’s going to pull up. I thought maybe it was a cop, and continue talking, for I wasn’t doing anything illegal anyways.

As the car pulls up along side me and my motorcycle, I figure it isn’t a cop.

X: who are you?

bum (surprised – I can’t see his face): well, am just a traveler I guess.

X: what are you doing here?

bum: oh just stopped off to pee.

X: I notice you’ve been here for an hour now

bum: (wondering how the hell he knew) yeah, I like to sit around and relax you know…

X: where are you from?

(By now his lights come on and I can see his ominous looking face. i also notice he is piss drunk)

bum: Pondy.

X: where in pondy?

bum: Periyar Nagar

X: do you know who your MLA is?

bum: (feeling quite ashamed): er…no…

X: you shouldn’t be hanging around here like this you know. It isn’t safe for you.

bum: oh what would anybody want to do with a bum like me?

X: don’t talk back to me. Do you know who I am?

bum: (he looks like a nobody to me, an evil one though): well, nope.

X: your MLA – his name is Viswanathan. I’m his son-in-law. This isn’t a good place to be sitting around like this.

At this point, there is a feeling of fear that’s beginning to creep in. In India, there are two people to fear – one is the politician, and the other ironically, is the cop. There is a plethora of thoughts racing across my mind, as it is experiencing a mixture of discomposure and indignation. The hand slides into the pocket, and feels the switchblade lying there. The mind wants to pull it out and stab the man in his neck. Here is my opportunity, my long pending desire to kill, presenting itself before me.

‘It’s a stupid idea. You’ll be alright, probably end up in prison. But they’ll find every single contact on your phone, email and what not, and possibly destroy them’. One of my good friends, nay advisors actually, was telling me when I recently approached him with the idea of planning an assassination. it was one of those stupid fantasies – the influence of too many movies i’m sure.

Very soon, the desire to lust to kill, the brief surge of courage, the comforting feeling of being in possession of a switchblade – all these are drowned. Overcome by the fear, that rises like a tide on new moon.

X: what are you looking at me like that? do you know how many murders have taken place around this place in the last couple of months?

bum: but why would anybody want to murder a bum like me?

X: coz u talk too much. Move on, don’t just sit there. This is no place to chill out.

As I ride away, the fear is soon replaced by shame. Of living in a free land, and yet being denied of that very thing they call freedom. Of not being able to speak my mind. Of being scared – of death.

and, I am thinking of one other thing – if the bum finds such adventures, or if they’re destined to find him.


The 3 day break happened to be most beautiful and relaxing, as it was spent at home, trying to be of assistance to the old parents. They seem to be growing younger by the day. No wonder they say old people are like children. When we knew about having 3 days off work, I was contemplating going out someplace – a trek, or even a long ride into the wilderness. I am grateful I didn’t have the money to do that, for I ended up being home, and someone was very happy.


43 thoughts on “the bum and the thug

  1. Bugger, very refreshing. atleast I get to experience the trip thru your narration (just as it always has been). Itching to get back n go on a trip. Hope u stil consider me qualified :)-shek

  2. being home is always nice.. its soothing sometimes to those wounds that we forget we have..and yeah its sad that the very men we should be fearless in approaching, scare us when they approach us…maybe it was in his attitude which didnt get reflected in the entry but maybe the guy did mean well?

  3. A good read, but what’s new in that, eh!?!Well, well, well, these sorta adventures do seem to find you, no?!? All the more better for us, I say! You come up with these engaging posts as a result of those very experiences!

  4. As I ride away, the fear is soon replaced by shame. Of living in a free land, and yet being denied of that very thing they call freedom. Of not being able to speak my mind. Of being scared – of death.yes, I agree … It is indeed a shame!Good that you did not take the switchblade out and kill him, you saved your hands from getting dirty ;)GBUArti

  5. Two people to be scared of .. Politicians and cops! You nailed it Dharma. Just the way I feel. Also, its surprising you feel the urge to kill the chief minister? I would’ve thought that you’d rather just leave them alone. I mean, the bum I know, doesn’t care if these people lived or died, or did he? Oh and its a good thing you didn’t have the money to go elsewhere 🙂 and DON’T DON’T ride so fast. We need your posts coming in remember 😉

  6. Once a cop, on a highway, told me that he’s a nice guy unlike the highway patrol cops after making me unpack all the tied-up luggage. His reasoning for the niceness was that if the highway patrol had found me with the knife I had in my pocket, they would have charged me as a highway robber and put me behind the bars! Assume, you were on the ECR. That’s for sure a place to be scared at night. Of cops, of course.

  7. Dude,Just the kind of thoughts and the things I do. It’s thrilling to be able to relate what you were going through.I’v done this ‘sitting in silence by the road in the dark with a distant street lamp totally relishing the late night chill and quite’ many many times. Lighting up smokes and lost in thought. Oh, I just so totally loved it…and I’v had a similar experience with a cop. (maybe i’ll blog about it too, but that was way too long back and I guess I was too foolish then)But, that kinda riding on the highway is a no-gooder. Like miss iyer said, we want more posts coming dude 😉


  9. Ok now I figgered out how to post a comment on your blog bypassing the secure non secure bit :PFirst I choose to open the comments in a new window.Then, I say no to non-secure and it just goes away, not to reappear while Im on this page.Then, I wonder what I wanted to say on the comments page, huhn?!?:-o

  10. That was scary !Somehow I think people that hold the power seem to have something that isn’t right about them. It’s like we expect them to use the power to serve their purposes and not the general purposes. What’s an MLA, Bum? 🙂

  11. These are days of terrorism…there is no free land anywhere; we need to accept that. One piece of advice: don’t talk of killing/assassination ever, on the internet, in public, or anywhere. You are a sensitive human being, but remember thugs and goondas or the law don’t understand finer aspects of life…

  12. I like sitting in an unknown place too..Its dangerous but i likeI like looking at nothing and thinking about nothing tooGoing to a place that you are familiar with is an awesome feeling. I remember i went to mangalore (My native) after a 3 yrs hiatus and i sat by a bridge just outside the village doing nothing thinking nothing just glaring at the green and the traffic :)It was blissful..

  13. Very interesting, all parts of that post. The solitude and cell phone, the potential danger from a poiltician’s son-in-law (!), the parents – everything!

  14. ZEUS,good, yes. and i suggest u do it too.SHEK,still? but u never were concerned qualified. shall be prepared to make a concession now though.STARRY,it is, is it not? thanks, long time. how have u been?ADITI,the wounds that we forget we have – so true, aditi. but sometimes, wounds are best forgotten. time, they say, is the greatest cure.about the guy – well, not sure about his attitude – i’d have to read his mind. from the look of him, and the way he spoke, i’m quite sure i read him correctly – and i don’t think he meant any good – unless i am a total zero in reading people :)GAIZABONTS,thanks for the reminder. need to break the cycle, and badly so.SUPER,:) thank you – am smiling as i write this.yes, they do seem to find me, and it shall be a pleasure writing about them.ARTI,not sure if it was good or bad – yet. for after all, SOMEONE has to do the dirty work, no?what is gbu?JOLVIN,u said it, brother.MISS IYER,er…about the cm thingie – my dad called me, requested me to remove it from my post, and i obliged :)the bum mostly doesn’t care. the bum also gets very angry sometimes. something that the bum needs to work gonna listen to your advice u know. thanks ever so much, my dear friend.JUBIN,yes, ECR is infested with cops, but usually towards madras. and one can’t complain – coz there are too many drunken revellers. which is alright, as long as they are not driving.NANDITHA,thank you.ANON,what CM? who CM? :PMUSH,thank you. it was a mini escapade indeed, and i loved every bit of good,, hope things are alright with all of u. lots of love to all of you.

  15. IWOBM,it is thrilling to know u cud relate to it all so write about it – specially since u say u don’t have subjects to write about. reflecting on our so called foolishness is a good thing, u know.oh, and abt riding – the point is well taken, thank you :)GAZAL,thank you so much!AKKA,can’t stop laughing – thats soooooo typical of you. this is what too much studying does to people. get out, get some fresh air, check out the hunks, will you? ;)DEVIL,it certainly was scary :)yes, people in power are mostly misuing it. sad.Member of Legislative Assembly it is.ANON,yes, i do understand what u r saying. the law doesn’t understand finer aspects – thats something to ponder this pa? ;)ME,good to see u here after a while. how have u been?mangalore is beautiful – lucky u…must visit again sometime.MADDIE,awwww…thank you. warmest hugs for u.SMITA,yep, good boy, for a change :)D,thank you SO much – your comments mean a lot.KESHI,why that frown? smile, please 🙂 and on’t worry – things wil be fine.

  16. ADITI,i like devil’s advocates – they do bring us to think of other possibilities. thank you – my dear friend. and looks like we’re online at the same time. what fun!

  17. first part, can’t drive that fast. don’t remeber to apply brakes in crunch situations.second part, i’m ashamed to say, i wud have done the same too.third part, was the most beautiful. take care of ur parents and do convey my greetings, when u visit

  18. It must be very interesting living where you live when you get hassled for just sitting on the side of the road or whereever you were actually sitting. I’ve had it happen too (here in the United States) but under kind of different circumstances (lying down on the grass crying) – they wound up insisting on driving me home and I got the impression it would be either that or taking me to a hospital and locking me up or something. It’s a sorry world when we can’t just sit and feel the feelings we have eh?Peace today.~ RS ~

  19. Dharma, It is a shame indeed, that one can’t enjoy a moment of peace in a public place. I thought this curse only affects women, but apparently sometimes even men aren’t left alone :(Such adventures seek you out, eh? Try telling that to a woman – they seek her and seek her and seek her until all her adventurous spirit dies a premature death.Priya.P.S: Posted a blog – finally :). Thanks for your encouragement.

  20. …and as i leave these words, there is another set forming quickly in my head, set to tune a long, long time ago.freedom’s just another word, with nothing left to lose.nothing wrong yet, dharma. yet.

  21. ah… sad.. they say with great powers comes greater responsibility(spiderman2)..bu with indian poltician with gr8 power comes greater corruption..not limited to person himself..but ngulf his family..frnds..n every thing

  22. ARTI,thank you. and gbu too :)BG,thank you!ADI,its probably a good thing u can’t do it – why risk it. as they say, ignorance is bliss :)oh, and thank you – shall definitely convey the regards from the poet!TK,of course i want one, and have mailed u.NAVEEN,now that is something i’d never have thought of, but a good idea that.RS,good to see u here 🙂 yes, it is a sad world. but, if i had seen u sitting in the grass and crying, i’d probably have done the same thing too – drive u home.APPA,ok. sounded like u.PRIYA,i guess its a different ball game for women. i know how it works, and sometimes, am thankful to be male :)glad to hear u finally posted :)ASH,absolutely, nothing like it.PHISH,nothing wrong, yeah, guess i will have to agree with that.ABHISHEK,thank you, my dear friend. i just wrote it – and if u say its arty, well then it has to be :)HDWK,RD? and thanks!KESHI,:)PRITIKA,yes, its not just in india though – thats how the world is today.

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