Bonky and Pongo's Day Out- II

>> Friday, September 28, 2007

The all-pervading aroma from the door on the right proved to be a unisexual bathroom while the door on the left was stoutly locked, which led to an inevitable choice of the center door. The first room turned out to be a hall which had been converted into a sales counter. The compulsive shopper in me called out to look at the delights at display, books mostly, with cheerful titles like "Governor Generals of India during the British Raj" and "British Trade Policies (1870-1930)" . It was again the more practical Bonky who came to my rescue by reminding me that if we pooled our funds, we would only be able to scrape a few hundred bucks for a book we would end up gifting to our grandparents. Better sense prevailed and we moved onwards.

Actually we did not. The sales counter man doubling up as a security guard asked us to halt and said visitors were supposed to go the rooms to their left, the rest being private quarters. Our conspiratorial minds immediately went haywire, forming theories of a room where skeletons were kept, hung from the overhead chandeliers which where the last governor's wives' corpses after he had consumed them (cannibalism happens to be one of our many interests). However, remembering the fact that even Scary Movie 3 scared me out of my wits, we dutifully went leftwards where the treasures of Metcalfe Hall were laid in front of us in all its splendour and glory.


The query resonated throughout the room. All the room contained was glass cases with bricks laid lovingly and protectively in them. Wondering slightly at the hobby of the last resident of the Hall, we roamed around, trying to fake an interest in stones, if only to please the septuagenarian
looking wonderingly at us from his post at the sales counter. It was then that we discovered a brick derived from the foundation of Bethune College. (A query here. How do people acquire foundation stones? Do they dig the place up? Or do they take it out before the rest of the building is made. If so, then can it be technically called a foundation stone since it never was allowed to remain a part of the foundation?) College loyalists that we are, we made it the mission of the next fifteen minutes to hunt up the foundation stone from our college among the fusillade of bricks collected in the room. Sadly, the stock of the foundation stone of our college had apparently been low and the room lacked severely in any bricks ear marked thus. On a happier note, none other bricks were found from any other college and we left the place, disappointed yet pleased.

Bonky suggests an inventory to be made of the bricks we met there so here it goes:

  • some bricks from a temple
  • many other bricks from some other temple
  • ditto
  • ditto
  • don't remember much else
The next room had a few canvases with pictures of less known temples in West Bengal but a cursory glance was enough for them. What really intrigued us was a couple of spiral stairs at two ends of the room leading to a balcony giving a bird's eye view of the room (not that it needed it). The conversation which ensued between us brilliant and absorbing conversationalists went like this :

P : Stairs.
B : Guk.
P : (in case something had missed Bonky's eagle eyes)Two stairs.
B : Indeed.
P : You take the right and I take the left, I guess?
B : (as always the more practical one) The balcony will fall down under our combined weight.
P : (avoiding looking at the carved structures which were an excuse for supports) Not really. People must come here sometimes and use it.
B : Oh yeah? How many brick lovers have you exactly met during your lifetime?
P : (hazarding a guess) Sweepers do come, right?
B : Oh, lets do it. At any rate, we might be able to avoid looking at our results.

And on this happy note, we comported ourselves on the stairs when we deduced the main reason why the balcony had not needed ample support. The stairs had been made to fit Chinese women in the age when their feet had been bound in yards of bandages owing to the lack of shoes for size ten feet. Holding on to the banister for dear life and almost tip toeing on the stairs (which had hollows, which meant a wrong step could lead to a foot hanging mid air from one of the steps), we finally reached the balcony. The next conversation we had went like this

B: So, sweepers, huh?
P : What I can't fathom is how do birds reach a room where there are no windows?
B : Mysterious indeed. So, do we get down the other end?
P : Hey, descending was never a part of the contract!

For here, a forgotten fear of heights attacks one of the protagonists and she begins to find excuses to remain on the balcony until she loses enough weight to have her knight in shining armour arrive and carry her downstairs. She was wondering at repercussions of the plan when

B : Dude, I believe that is the secret room.
P : (Immediately closing her eyes) Can you see the skeletons? Is there muscle peeling away from the bone. Will I be able to sleep tonight? Oh, THE HUMANITY!!!
B: Yeah well, all I can see is more books. I guess that's the stock room for that sales counter. Who do you think buys these books? (The economist in her perks up) Is that like an inventory investment?
P : (giving a look no one should give a friend and a fellow sufferer in the cause of education) Will you please concentrate on how to get me down from here? In case you don't remember, we have a movie to watch in, like, three hours and neither of us likes the idea of watching a movie alone. Also, the food is in my bag.
B: Oh, come on. The most that can happen is that we break our necks here and die, our dead bodies undiscovered till two more jobless girls come around here. On a brighter side, death can't be that bad. After all, we did give miserable examinations.

The question of dying thus admirably settled, we proceeded on our way down. It was the classic RDB moment. We had faced so much fear in the name of the impending results, that we had actually gone to a point beyond fear. It was more with the hope of death in our hearts that we tried to fit in our big feet in the tiny foot rests.However, as it is during times when you actually want to die, we did not manage to break our necks and came down, with clammy foreheads and hands a mysterious shade of brown as the only memento of our great climb.

Our journey back from Metcalfe Hall was eventful enough, what with absence of trams, burgers for ten bucks each, visits to haunted churches, trying to find our way to a movie hall in the middle of nowhere, having softies, gazing enviously at young people for their youth and the fact that all of them had boyfriends (at 19, we are aging young), happily gazing at tall guys in blue shirts, green shirts and white shirts and of course, cheering loudly at the women in Chak de India when they beat up the guys at MacD. However, that is a tale for another rainy day and as far as Bonky and Pongo are concerned, the tale of their day out is over.

Next story in line is hopefully the results of using a candid camera at Elliot Park.

p.s. The cartoons are highly amateurish in nature since I have never drawn anything in my entire life and used photoshop even less. Their purpose is nil and will probably be removed someday. They are to be taken in a humorous stride and all evil critics commenting against them will have the curse of the backside itch put on them. If you are a nice critic, may you have a harem of your own :)


Bonky and Pongo's Day Out- I

>> Thursday, September 13, 2007

(This post is dedicated to Bonky, the person who has always inspired me to never follow my own decisions about dieting, but to go and stuff my face if I have the money, and, if possible, lend her some too.Hence, I openly proclaim that I will name my first child after you, regardless of its sex, if your husband murders you before it is born.)
It all started with the usual level of frustration with life for Bonky and me. Looking comprehensively at the fact that we were turning into amoebas, hated our graduating subject and had mistakenly arrived an hour early for our morning class on a warm, gentle Saturday morning, the next obvious step was walking dejectedly towards the college gates, wondering which stagnant waters would we end up being mosquitoes in. One of us opined (at this precise moment, I forget who, but it doesn't matter, both of us still think that) that we were total losers to be hanging around in the college for classes on a Saturday, when other people our age would be
a) sleeping
b) preparing for some date hours later
c) sleeping
d) getting rid of a hangover
e) sleeping
f) staring at the ceiling, blowing air bubbles and wondering what would be there for breakfast.

At this psychological hour, a tram crossed our path. We, pseudo economists and self proclaimed unicellular organisms when it comes to survival, think alike and think different. A tram with an unknown destination was accepted as our calling and we got up on the next one (we had missed our first inspiration while we were busy reading each other's minds).

This wasn't our first ride. We have had many such impromptu escapades from the humdrum menace of classes. Yet, the first foolish questions in a series of foolish questions happened to be, "where does this tram go" to a bemused conductor, possibly unused to absent minded, bespectacled, foolishly blinking young girls with as little clue of their destination as he himself. We got two tickets to the last stop, hoping against hope it would not be beyond traversed paths or recognizable tracts of civilizations. It was while we giggling away to glory at our daring, adventurous spirit (we are young girls who haven't been left alone beyond a fixed diameter around tuitions) that we suddenly found ourselves amidst a glory of British architecture and a bevy of business people amazed at the spectacle of two tripping teenagers staring goggle eyed at everything. The more erudite Bonky recognized the place as Dalhousie, the place which houses banks and churches with equal élan.

Traipsing around like little girls, an eye opened for food shops, it was not long before we saw a supposed minaret at a distance. Close inspection proved it to be the General Post Office. Following Rikki Tikki Tavi's motto, we went and found out all we could about it, which was not much. Though we did find a couple of cute guys we could stare happily at, our lack of post office etiquette rose a few eyebrows. Our girlish exuberance at the sight of the stamp corner and a computerized section was not well received and it was not long before we were looking somewhere else for luck and interest.

More aimless wanderings and a roving eye brought us to a building covered with beggars which proclaimed itself to be Metcalfe Hall on a disused pillar. Having heard the name in one of my rarer non-orkutting browsing of the internet, I dragged a bewildered Bonky to the bird defiled exterior, with its impressive rows of columns and wide staircases one could play hopscotch on (we did try to, as a matter of fact).

The interior was not very impressive at the beginning. A huge notice loomed proclaiming the legend that we needed to get permission of the security guards to look around, not that we saw any scope of doing anything illegal there, except, maybe, practice our cheerleading skills. Perceiving our hesitance, a man, posing as a security guard (oh, come on, why would Metcalfe Hall need security guards?), rushed us off upstairs, the ground floor being cordoned off for the birds, we presumed.
However, things started looking up with our ascent. Our journey was assisted by sweeping, wooden, carpeted stairs while the walls were adorned with pictures of Victoria Memorial in all its splendor (we suspect those pictures had been photo edited a bit, Victoria Memorial never looked like that ever since coloured photo films had been invented). Muffled footsteps accompanied us to a landing with three, yellow, paint-chipped doors.

Which door did we choose? Did the day bring forth further minor adventures? Were there any more philosophical musings? Did we discover a dead body sprawled across the middle of the Metcalfe Hall with an oriental knife sticking through its heart? Find out later in the sequel to Bonky and Pongo's Day Out.

(OK, fine, I am too lazy to complete this.)


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