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Book excerpt: Siddharth Tripathi pens a pursuit of symbols of success and happiness

Blowfish by Siddharth Tripathi is a fast and irreverent take on the overhyped pursuit of passion, in a country where flashy cars and posh bungalows remain the lasting symbols of success and happiness.

books Updated: Sep 09, 2017 12:30 IST
Siddharth Tripathi
Siddharth Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Blowfish,Siddharth Tripathi,Books
Cover of the book Blowfish, which is a fast, funny and irreverent take on the obsession with luxury.

It was my first visit to a police station. I was nervous. Chaddha was unperturbed. That was comforting. He drove into the place as if he was driving into a resort. He even reverse parked his car. ‘They are like dung beetles man, the absolute fucking pits,’ he said when we got out.

‘Who?’ I asked.
‘The police, of course, who else? I’ve been in and out of police stations all my teenage life. Valmiki won’t know the Gita as much as I know about FIRs.’
‘Valmiki didn’t … anyway, how come you know so much about this stuff?’
‘Property case. Some of our rich relatives teamed up with some police fuckers and took over our property. We were evicted from our own house. Can you imagine? These people,’ he pointed at the police station, ‘are the gutter. I know how to deal with them, leave it to me.’
‘Also, if this ever comes to a court case, let me be your lawyer, ok?’
I nodded, ‘You’ve been in court too?’
‘Yeah, several times, I know more about court procedure than Poland knows about invasion. I mean I used to know but I’m sure once I’m in a court it will all come back to me.’
‘Hmmm … interesting Chaddha, you seemed to have lived a full life.’

‘Yeah, when I should have been playing Contra and watching porn, I was doing the rounds of police stations and court-kachehri.’
‘So you didn’t play contra and watch porn when you were a teenager?’
‘Of course I did, at night mostly. I did a little less of it than you would have.’
‘Do you remember the car number?’ he asked just before we entered.
‘Roughly, it was something like HR26BLE or DLE and then 1639 or 1659 or 1539, I’m not sure.’
‘Hmmm. This doesn’t look good. Ask Sampu.’
I called Sampu. He didn’t remember either. We went in. A thickset constable was sitting at a table.
‘Ok, before we talk to him, remember this—be calm and patient, ok? Don’t blow your liI nodded.
‘How can I help you?’ the constable asked.
‘Sir ji, his new laptop got stolen. We are here to lodge an FIR,’ Chaddha said.
‘How did it get stolen?’
‘Some people in an SUV stopped us on Sector 44 road and stole it.’
‘Which SUV?’ ‘An Audi.’
‘Which Audi? Big or small?’
‘It was a big black car.’
‘Q7 model?’
‘I don’t know the model name.’
‘And what car do you have?’
‘A Santro?’
‘Yes, it’s a Santro Xing.’ Chaddha replied patiently.
‘A Santro Xing?’ the constable smiled.
‘Yes.’ said Chaddha.
‘Ok, let’s meet the inspector.’
We followed him into a small room at the end of the corridor. A lady inspector was sitting behind a brown desk, her face was round and bony and her hair had a middle parting with a streak of crimson sindoor.
‘Yes?’ she said. Her name was Rani Devi.
Chaddha told her about the stolen laptop.
‘Sit down,’ she pointed to the two chairs facing her.
We sat down. The constable stood behind us. Chaddha nudged me, leave it to me his eyes said.
‘What time did this happen?’ she asked.
‘Late night. It must have been 2 am,’ Chaddha said.
‘What were you doing that late at night?’
‘We had gone to the mall. We watched a film and were on our way back.’
‘They stopped our car, they pointed a gun at us and slapped us. One of them must have taken the laptop when we were not looking,’ Chaddha said.
‘Whose laptop was it?’
‘It was mine,’ I said, ‘I had bought it yesterday. It was a brand new Apple Mac ma’am.’
‘Oh, so it was new, eh? Hmmm … do you remember the car number?’
‘HR26 BLE 1639 or 1539, one of these, we don’t remember exactly,’ Chaddha said.
‘What is this nonsense? They stopped you, slapped you, stole from you but you can’t remember their car number. Were you drunk?’
‘It was dark ma’am and they had a gun.’
‘Country pistol?’
‘I don’t know ma’am. It was a black gun.’
‘Black car, black gun, too black to see! Were you wearing black glasses? You two must have been drunk.’
‘We were three ma’am,’ Chaddha corrected.
‘Three drunks?’

Excerpted with permission from Bloomsbury India

First Published: Sep 09, 2017 12:30 IST