Episode 3: PingyMan on TV


Episode 2: PingyMan’s most feared weapon

Twitterbird Pie


It was a small room. Cramped, without windows and with a distinct tinge of mold on the walls. The low ceiling held up a cranky fan which was making an absolute fuss of its job. A look around the room would reveal little, for there was precious little to look at. A pile of clothes, a stack of newspapers, the remains of what might have been a vada pav and a chair that leaned upon the farthest wall. Upon this chair was seated one of the two occupants of the room, who continued staring out at nothing in particular. His fingers fiddled with a box of cigarettes that was now empty. Every now and again he glanced back at the single cot in the room where the other occupant lay sleeping. He didn’t want the kid to wake up; he had his share of peace when he was asleep. From underneath the thin flowered blanket, a thin leg stuck out. Upon the pillow lay a head, half covered by the blanket. Although one couldn’t see his face, one could easily make out the boy was not very old. He might have been seven or at best nine. As he stirred lightly in his sleep and pulled his leg back under the blanket, the man on the chair looked on.

The dim light in the room concealed most of the features of the man on the chair. However, the shabby hair and the unshaven face could be clearly made out. A shirt hung limply upon his frame. It might have been brown, but that could also be the light playing tricks or simply the filth that had attached itself to the fabric. His legs were crossed and stretched out; they slowly rocked the chair on its two hind legs. A loose piece of cloth, or what appeared to be a makeshift handkerchief, dawdled in his left hand.  His eyes were hidden away for they were now lightly shut. He flicked the empty cigarette packet into the corner where it chose to  lay among a host of other assorted rubbish. A lizard scampered out from under a newspaper that the packet disturbed and ran straight into an empty bottle of Desi whiskey. For a moment it stood still, perhaps confused about the obstacle that had presented itself, then it dashed off behind a carton that looked like it had very recently been home to mice.

The rain tried its best to make itself heard, but it was barely audible inside the tiny room. The chair was vacated. Instead, the floor had been considered more comfortable. Lokesh had one arm under his head, the other over his eyes. The floor was cold, but at least it offered room for his aching limbs to stretch out. The boy on the cot mumbled something in his sleep, but it was drowned out by the creaky fan. Lokesh had put up a ear to try and listen to what his son was saying, but then gave up. Sometimes, it is hardest to sleep when you are tired. The body craves for a rest, but it is incredibly hard to convince the mind to a take a break; it spins around the recent happenings, ignoring the worn out legs and the fatigued arms. Lokesh sat up, hoping to find a bottle of water in the room that he had hastily abandoned barely a week ago. But there was none. He could make out it was raining; perhaps it would quench his thirst. He dragged himself off the floor and to his feet. In vain, he picked up the box of cigarettes as if hoping it had magically refilled. He hid the disappointment behind a yawn and stepped out of the room, into the narrow corridor that led to an edgy staircase. Lightly closing the door behind him, he coughed as he breathed in the midnight air. He never fancied a walk through the lanes of the slum, not at this time of the night anyway. But it seemed like the only way to clear his head. The rain was never his trusted companion, but it seemed the only one that offered to wash his hands of spilled blood.

Lokesh winced as the cold drops trickled down his neck. He cast an eye back at the door. He pitied the little boy who slept behind it; it was not easy having a murderer for a father. Especially so when the blood that had flowed was that of his own mother. He tried not to think of it. Maybe the boy would forgive him later. Maybe it was best he didn’t know. He had not killed her; she had died at his hands. He peered up at the unrelenting clouds. They were in no mood for mercy; it was quite clear they blamed him. But there was always the morning to come. There was always hope, that his son would wake up to another, but better, tomorrow.

More at the DCamp

“This is pathetic.” she said, waving the sheaf of printouts she held in her hand. Passers-by jumped out of the way to avoid getting slapped across their faces by the sheets. The Blogger looked over his shoulder, hoping she was talking to someone right behind him. There was no one. Hesitantly, he turned back to face the Editor. Any onlooker could have deduced, she did not look very impressed with the Blogger’s response to her statement. She glared at him with real intent, hoping the Blogger would vanish from her presence in a puff of lavender smoke. Lavender partly because she liked the color, partly because she felt there was more femininity in the Blogger than most people thought. But the Blogger stood there as non-lavender and as non-gaseous as ever. She chose to give it a few more seconds before finally giving up. “Are you always this pathetic?” she asked, mustering up the politest tone she could.

The bespectacled guy in the nearby cubicle could hear paper being torn and the Blogger muttering a reply that barely sounded competent. The Editor was far from impressed. She tried to imagine the Blogger being blown to shreds by a lavender bomb to cheer herself up, but to no avail. In her state of mind, even her imagination had thrown up its imaginary arms, surrendered and retreated meekly into an inaccessible corner of her brain. The blogger winced as she tore the papers one last time before flinging it into the bin under her desk. If the Editor had her way, she would have loved to throw the bits of papyrus at the Blogger’s face, like she had seen in so many movies. But the janitor at the DCamp was as movie insympathetic as they come. The last thing the Editor wanted was a showdown with the janitor after having to face the bloke who sat before her.

Minutes of silence dragged by. The Editor continued to glare at the Blogger. The Blogger kept himself occupied by drawing little circles on the carpet with his toe. “I pity the readers of your blog.” said the Editor, finally running out of patience. “You are annoying as a person and pathetic as a writer. I don’t know what made you think that crap was worthy of our magazine.” The Blogger looked up to hear her speak and to see her type out a furious mail. “I am disappointed that they let you come this far. I’m letting everyone know that if such drab content doesn’t get filtered out in the earlier stages, they’d better prepare themselves for the worst.” said the Editor, answering the Blogger’s unasked question. A few more minutes passed in silence, broken only by the rapid clicks of the keyboard.

The Editor, for all those who are curious, was the most proficient person in the Communication Excellence department at the DCamp and the editor of the official magazine. She was a triple black belt in karate and a a four-time gold medalist in the annual Literary competition held at the DCamp. She was the keeper of credentials and the protector of passwords at the DCamp – the one who could authorize and access absolutely anything. Most people knew her as the only person who  could ask the CEO to come down to her office. She was, in her free time, the official accent trainer for the CEO of the DCamp. There were rumors that she had been nominated for the Booker prize twice in the same year. Her other interests included music, reading and lavender.

The emails were finally sent off to the mailboxes of unfortunate souls. That done, she rounded back at the Blogger, only to find him gazing vacantly at the circles he had formed on the carpet. “Oi!” she snapped, making the Blogger jump in his chair and sit up straight. She loved doing this to people who went against her wishes. She could make the strongest men weep and she knew it. The Blogger was a little more than an appetizer. She hid a grin of satisfaction as she eyed the upright Blogger ready to drink in every word she said. She took a few seconds to conjure up a dramatic way to dismiss the blogger. She thought of flying shoes, brickbats and flung daggers. Although the thoughts were pleasing indeed, she was reminded unpleasantly of the ethics committee by the little placard that lay on her desk. “We bring ethics into action!” said the card gleefully. The editor silently swore at it under her breath and turned her attention back to the Blogger who was shuddering in his shoes. “You know what, Blogger, I’ll talk to you a little later.” she said through her teeth. Quite clearly, it was the indication that the Blogger had been dismissed. The Blogger stumbled out of the chair and tripped out of the office.