5th dec 1565
The desert seems like an endless carpet of brown sand. One gets to see an occasional trail of camels dotting the empty stretch, a rare blotch of green here and there and somewhere bang in between, like a desert rose, a beautiful green oasis called Kabul catches a passer-by’s eye. Lacing the North West frontier, along the Tawala Tuklak Khan Desert sands, the generally breath-taking place is filled with a smoky white haze. From a distance, it seems like a desert whirlwind. However, from close quarters, what really is happening here is more of a fumigation exercise- special horse hair and pig’s bristles are mixed with sulphur dioxide and released by dwarf imps that go about sweeping clean the infested paradise. Weird little insects are caught in the act, spider webs lose their intricate designs, bugs get squashed, ant lines get broken, rats and rodents are ruined. It’s a messy scene- this yearly cleaning session.
A huge troll says, “Doo doodle dundle doo, my magic ladle stirs the stew.”
Little pixies say, “Eye lie sigh die, you can never resist my apple pie.”
Cute nixies say, “The greatest Nawabs swear by our kebabs.”
The handsome, big Merman says, “I’m half fish, half human; my Biriyani is half hell, half heaven.”
That day, the Biriyani is made half heaven, half hell indeed. A paradise of the tastiest culmination of rice grains and a hell hole of black-green, ugly, two fanged insects that fall in as a result of the fumigation conveniently escape the Merman’s attention.
(Tawala Tuklak Khan is TTK Road for you; Kabul being a restaurant on the TTK Road- the troll, the pixies, the nixies, the merman are cooks of various calibers.
Kabul is a restaurant on the ttk Road, Chennai)
6’Th dec 1565
Get carried away! Literally! – on magic carpets, camels, unicorns, broomsticks..
Princess Aurora wears a deep red and black bedlah and a sweeping, frilled Kalamkari skirt. Her usually windswept mocha hair lies rested, framing a beautiful, heart-shaped face that right about now looks a little more than anxious. Her eyes twinkle with frenzy, well-concealed from her father, the King. He force-feeds down her unwilling throat a mini lunch, because he pities her empty stomach. How is he to know that Princess Aurora and her royal friends plan to feast on a sumptuous lunch at Kabul, the forbidden oasis?
Princess Aurora rushes up to her bed chamber, after a hasty oatmeal porridge mini lunch. The taste remains stuck in her throat and she yearns for some yummy food to drown the puckish feeling. She uses a bronze stick to apply the homemade kohl, and follows it with a special silver dust that Princess Cindy gifted her at the carinosa carnival. She dabs a little of the woody, balmy balanos perfume on her wrists and her delicate neck. She turns her back on her ancient mirror, lowers her Kalamkari skirt to expose just a hint of her name-tattoo that is her name in Japanese script. She shuts her bedroom chamber, goes towards her balcony, mounts her yellow & black magic carpet and commands her dark centaur to fly over the city and take her to Kabul. On the way, she picks up her cousin, Queen Snow White, who is here in India, on a break from her royal duties in a faraway dreamland. The carpet pushes through obstacle clouds, birds in the sky and treetops with great ease- honking, flipping, squeezing, and swearing all the way.
(The yellow & black magic carpet is our very own Indian Auto that moves through Indian traffic on a bullish spree)
Princess belle walks out of the land’s most renowned Madrasa: Al-IIT. Her personal tutor and Mullah had given her a short, yet interesting lecture on how a word called ‘technology’ would turn the world round some day. He had talked about his dream, where two strange men, named Hewlett and Packard from a foreign land would one day dole out various magic spells like ‘tell tell INTEL’, ‘Hare Krishna hare RAM’, ‘rock on PROC’, ‘bees bees make the KEYS’, ‘cows cows catch the MOUSE’, and make a box that would make men’s work easier. She would have to tell her father that. The King would be more than happy to dispose some brainless courtiers in his Kingdom of Nungambakkam,
(Al-IIT Madrasa is IIT, Madras for you, the box is the computer we use today, Hewlett & Packard go on to build one of the biggest hardware companies in the world-HP.
Intel chipsets, RAM as in Random Access Memory, Proc as in processor, keys and mouse that are part of the computer)
On seeing her walk out of the grave white Madrasa building, her personal Bedouin sets the tethered camel free. The camel’s eyes open out and shone a soft, almost doe-like expression. It makes a vrrrrrrrrrrrooom noise as it chews the cud between its teeth. The broad, flat leathery pads on its feet spread out on the gritty sand, thereby raising itself from the desert depth and getting ready for a short journey. Belle pats the humps and rumps of her beloved camel as she mounts it, and her Bedouin takes her forth to Kabul.
(The camel is a Maruti swift)
Princess Cindy in the meanwhile is very busy with a specific research- as to how to make and sell her special soft silverware with specific medical benefits- silver wrist trinkets that help in sustaining a healthy pulse, silver vessels that help in retaining essential nutrients, so on and so forth. She needs a break from her ‘ornamental’ life. Food is definitely on her mind. She brushes her curly, untamed hair backwards. However, the curls spring back to life and create that halo effect, very much befitting the status of a princess.
She slips on her silver bangles, throws a pink leather sling bag with silver sequins on her back, adds a silver stoned bindi on her forehead and walks out in a new pink tunic, tight, white leggings and a swishy stole around her neck. Brownstone-sequined glass slippers are a definite addition, as no Cinderella could do without them. Cindy gets on to her flying chariot, driven by her very own strong unicorn. As the chariot flies forward, she passes her time by listening to some jiggy beats by the flying monsters. Of course, riveting romance and repelling fights are equally expected on the journey, what with a strong unicorn and an equally headstrong princess with views of her own.
(Cindy now works for an organization that makes and markets specific image
Software to hospitals.
Flying chariot is Cindy’s boyfriend’s Car, strong unicorn being her boyfriend, and Flying Monsters is actually the pseudo expansion of the acronym FM- Radio)
Princess Jasmine is just rushing out of a meeting with her father’s treasurers.
She’s very involved in making her father’s Kingdom (Mallapore) the best place to be. Her main aim in life right now is to uplift the lifestyle of the people who live in Mallapore, and make this the Ideal Shopping Destination. She talks to people from various other big cities to display and propagate their best garments, robes, capes, tunics, belts, harem pants, handicrafts, utensils, artwork, fragrances, armlets, bracelets, rings, belly buttons, necklaces, gems, stones, eye paints, greasy face paints, Babucha and Roman slippers and so on. She has varied ideas about having huge hand-painted boards of these multi-faceted goods around the city that would be a definite crowd puller. Charging in cash or kind for these displays could rake in good revenue for her Dad- the King’s treasury. Various barters with other big Kingdoms are what she facilitates with felicity.
She is a wicked little sprite with as much a passion for fun as for her work. She moves out of the meeting with only one thing on her mind- her friends. She mounts her magic broomstick, with shifting sticks that regulate velocity, height, inclination and position. Her father specially got approximately 800 features integrated into this broom, knowing that Jasmine always wanted to live the high-flying life. And boy, is she flying high on that magic broom all the way to Kabul, to join her friends.
(Maruti 800 is the geared car that is symbolized by the broom here. Princess Jasmine works as Marketing Executive, Lifestyle- handling space on hire, promotions and loyalty programs and gift voucher sales.)
BANCHETTA- The sumptuous feast:
The five hungry Princesses finally meet at Kabul by a little past noon. They hug each other no end and ultimately decide that the hugging is in no way decreasing their hunger.
Special Centaurs, who are half-men and half-horses, in dishadashas and embroidered kufis usher them to a fine table. They’re served with tomato and mushroom appetizers at first. The princesses light Kabul with their exuberance and energy. Their incessant chatter enlivens the place. Each princess has one thing better to say than the other, and very soon the food and drink seems only incidental- all the banter, gossip and talk is the real reason they decide to meet up every single time. They dig into the Kebabs, mint koftas, paneer, roti, kulcha and much more.
Aurora: Heartaches heartbreaks always in toe
Love is a mess and we all still want more
My Astrologer, My King, My Queen- each now is a foe
Marriage that they want for me now seems like a bore
Let me weave my very own love lore
Weight and flab is a bloody whore
To lose it, I’d spend a crore
In the meantime, let’s forget all this and have a ball, maybe some kingdom like B’lore!
(The ball is what we call a party in our days; the king and queen are aurora’s parents)
Belle: Everything I do is split two ways
Life seems like a perfect maze
Cute men turn out to be frigging gay(s)
So I’m content being a potato couch and freaking out on Fritto Lays
But I have you girls for the rest of my days
So I don’t mind running the rat race.
(Perfect Gemini- always split two ways; two men, two artificial teeth, two big b*#$# and two gutsy balls to admit all tat)
Cindy: I love my unicorn, silver stardust and fairies
I love writing and drawing in diaries
I love chocolates, ice creams, milkshakes and berries
Life, in spite of tough parents is full of beautiful ferries
Whichever dimwit each of us marries
Let’s always eat well, dress well, and make merries
(Sorry! Sorry! SORRY PEOPLE!! Cindy got carried away with Om shanty Om’s HAPPPPPIES ending..
Cindy’s response to the above- So rude!!! Hmppph)
Jasmine: Whatever your worries
Enjoy Fried rice and French Fries
After all, the land of Mallapore gives you clothes of every size
Even if it doesn’t, be content with its caramel popcorn, Inox and cute guys
At least Inox isn’t like Albert scaring you away with its gory cockroaches n mice
At the end of the day, everyone anyway lies, cries and dies
So why not live life with your very own jhatkas, jives and pataka spice?
(The land of Mallapore is our very own Lifestyle, at least triesss dishing out all sizes)
Snow White: Girls, I’ve been there and done that
Follow your heart and be a spoilt brat
The older you grow, the more you want to live
Tons of stuff to receive and tons more to give
Love is about trust, sharing and most importantly foreplay
Accept that simple truth and marriage would no longer be a role-play
And Aurora, don’t spend a crore and get all hypo (er)
Jus zip up and get a lipo!
You girls spend so much money
I find that funny
Aurora let’s talk about brothers and sisters (the serial)
And no, not about Prince Pebble- he’s a kid and not yet got noticeable whiskers
Now am I talking too much?
I think I must shut up, who Am I? - The Rani of Katchh??
Alright, I’m a self confessed Attention-deficit hyperactive freak
But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a conversation with an auto-driving-geek….
And sooooo on…..
(Aurora and Isabel are the babbling sisters- self confessed Attention-deficit hyperactive freaks; they need to punch in those extra lines)
Finally, they get to eat the Kabul special- Biriyani. Everyone decides to be a vegetarian for the day- Cindy and Aurora are on a religious non-veg fast (Aurora is more on a diet really), Isabel is veg in India (only eats such food in her foreign land), Jasmine is vegetarian for life and Bella has no choice but to become veggie for the day.
The Biriyani tastes out of the world. Everyone digs into it with a savage resolve to fill up their stomachs with the best food in the world.
A sharp shriek silences all the hustle and bustle. The princesses look around to find out the real source of the scream. Snow White looks paler than the time when the evil
Witch gave her the poisonous apple that sent her into the glass coffin. She’s speechless now. The shriek seems to have caught up in her throat. Her eyes are fixed on her plate. They are filled with fear and disgust.
The princesses follow her eye to see one of the grossest insects, bang in the middle of her plate of Biriyani. A huge insect, with two fangs lies meshed with the Biriyani.
Royal blood boils. The food gets stuck in everyone’s throat. The Princesses beckon the head Merman and give him a ripping rant. Snow White threatens to have him beheaded, as they do in her country. Her country, for some reason threatens to behead people for every small, big or no reason.
(In our times, the ‘threatening to behead’ in the faraway land of dreams is more synonymous with suing people left, right and centre in the US.)
In the end, the Princesses pay Kabul for all its other exquisite frills and for having given them the leeway to cackle as loud as pregnant hens in an otherwise silent paradise. They mount their respective modes of transport and move to a special shopping haven called SpendSirs, situated in the Kingdom of ‘ManyMoreEggs’.
(That’s Spencors for you, in Egmore, Chennai)
No one can be exclusively vegetarian in life. Not even a princess can live in an exclusive paradise on earth. Life is a mix of the good vegetables, the bad chicken and the ugly insects- one’s got to take that with a pinch of salt/sugar/pepper. We all need that little dirt to make life worth living.
Kabhi kabhi, Kabul mein bhi cheenee kum hota hai!