Monday, 21 September 2009

Dear Mr Halwai

The Proprieter
Jagannath Sweets
31/5 Church Road


Even as you’re thinking hard about the identity of the strange, derelict fellow with a wispy beard who dropped off this letter at your esteemed sweetshop, dare I suggest you drop the idea immediately? Because the very fact that you’re reading this letter means you’re not going to see my face ever again. Don’t be mistaken. This is not a complaint, nor is it a letter of accusation. I’m simply going to apprise you of the sticky situation I found myself in, after having consumed a bowl of your famous, piping hot gulabjamuns. No pun intended here. Now I’m a big fan of gulabjamuns and consider it one of the best remedies for a certain condition, which we in the circle call “munchies”. And when beset with the said condition, it is not possible to follow social convention while having the jamuns, or anything sweet for that matter.
So there I was, stuffing my mouth with the jamuns at a rate faster than I could swallow, mouth dripping with the sugary syrup and mind completely oblivious to a million stares. Now despite the desperation on my part at wolfing down the jamuns, I realized a little later that I was not provided with tissue papers. And then, owing to the enhanced state I was in, it occurred to me that there’s never been a time at your sweetshop that I’ve received tissues with the gulabjamuns; or for that matter with any other food item that requires a ceremonial wipe of the hand.
After pondering over the situation awhile, I was forced to bring the matter to the man behind the counter. On being asked for tissues, the man simply pointed my nose to the corner of the shop where they wash the utensils, probably signaling me to wash my hands there. But to my utter horror, I saw utensils in all shapes and sizes, including those similar to the one I’d freshly had my gulabjamuns from, swimming in water the colour (and consistency) of sewerage. Such visual assault was too much for me. After gathering my bearings, and in a bid to save my olfactory senses from a similar assault, I quickly ran out. But in the process, I forgot that my fingers were still stained and sticky with the syrup from the gulabjamuns.
So far so good. All I had to do was go back to my place and wipe my hands clean. But imagine my plight, of all times, I bump into an extremely attractive acquaintance of mine from my neighbourhood at this hour.
Now not wanting to waste your time, allow me to fast forward to the situation that brought me the immeasurable agony. Little knowing that my sticky hands had gathered a lot of dirt and grime while on our way back to my room, I was horrified to find it all imprinted on her lovely white shirt while I was trying to take it off. Plus, by now I also noticed some dead flies, or what remained of them, sticking to my palms. All of this happened so suddenly and it was yet to sink in, when the damsel whose dress I’d just desecrated got up abruptly and gave me an earful about hygiene – she really shuddered to think about the sanitary plight of my privates if such was the condition of my hands. My protests, excuses and pleading fell on deaf ears, and quite validly so, for which distinguished-looking lady would entrust herself to someone who couldn’t maintain the most basic decorum of cleanliness?

Needless to say, I was left shame-faced and with an extremely disturbed psychology; not to mention deprived of some steaming hot “action”. Which is also why this letter has made its way into your hands.
Now I don’t need to stress more on the fact that your gulabjamuns and my plight do share a causal connection, as that much is more than evident. Sure, it was a chain of events that led to the disaster, but one can trace the root cause of all this trouble to a lack of tissues at your sweetshop. Therefore, I felt the need to alert you to this glaring slip-up and urge you to take appropriate steps in ensuring an abundant supply of tissues for all your valuable patrons. God forbid anyone should meet the ill-fate I’d befallen.

Yours persistently


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