Monday, October 21, 2013


cover photograph by duyum dulom

Believe it or not, I had nothing to do with it, and I swear to god I’m not lying this time. I wouldn’t do that to Mr. Varza, and you know that. Maybe the first thing that comes to your mind when you look at him is a sweaty serial killer or something even shadier, but that’s only for those of who doesn’t know him. He is the kindest teacher on blue earth, if you asked me. I’d go with ‘Gandhi’; I mean, the first thing that comes to my mind. Perhaps, a little fatter Gandhi… minus the hair, of course, and the walking stick. I mean there’s so much peace radiating from him! I have no idea why everybody hates him so much. They call him Shrek around here. You know what he said the first time he showed up in class? “Hi, I’m Kayzad Varza, and I’m a Parsi.” He’s so innocent; he didn’t know people could make such a big fuss about it.  And that Subodh Banerjee’s folks went all crazy about the communal babble crap at the PTA meeting! They can’t have the whole world on a leash just ‘cause their son looks like a burn victim. By the way, everybody calls him Bhutta. And that clown can’t hear out of one ear. Don’t know what he actually told them. I’m sure he was this illegitimate son that somebody gave them ‘cause they all look so damn different from each other if you looked closer. Mr. Varza didn’t like Bhutta much after that PTA row, but like a good teacher he never showed it on his face, he only started calling him ‘Do-little’ Banerjee afterwards, which only made sense since that dude never, like, never finished his homework.

Most people would disagree, but I guess Mr. Varza is the most stimulating English teacher we ever had, and so much better than that national waste Gureja chap whose soul purpose of being a teacher was to not let you go to the bathroom, like, for five and a half hours or something (he’d want you to burst your bladder and die). Good riddance is all I have to say. I was waiting to congratulate you for showing him the door, and picking Mr. Varza instead. Let me tell you, he is a Godsend. I was sick to death of Gureja’s world-is-gonna-end-soon crap and his dull juvenile homework, I swear to god, like we were some bloody first graders or something! Mr. Varza’s assignments are all killers- to fix a write-up treating ‘life’ and ‘death’ as two people, or to re-imagine the Rime of the Ancient Mariner through the eyes of the albatross till right before it gets shot, or even better, to write a private letter to a dead relative. He never likes to let us dwell in our comfort zones for long, is what he says. That book he wrote, Out of the Dark Blue, is apparently about ghosts and life after death and god knows what all other cool stuff. Kabir’s mother has read it. Did you know these Parsis fed their dead bodies to vultures and everything? It’s there in the book. I think it’s not just Mr. Varza, all Parsi people must be cool. I’ve seen that book once at Pachisiya, with his big head on the cover, noodle hair and everything. To be honest, he looks a tad bit loony in it. You know what, that hairstyle is what makes him look like a serial killer. He could go with the haircut that Rishi Puggal has, total tonsure, and look normal… Puggal is a psycho, not the biggest one, but will certainly come in the top ten at St. Michael’s, that can never be cured. (He’s officially dead to me after he pulled that frog trick in my Levi’s!) If he can score that normal a look, Mr. Varza will pass like a superstar. I’m only afraid he might start looking a bit like Dalai Lama then. But duh! Better than Jack ripper any day!

For Mr. Varza, the world is divided into two- those of who’ve read his book and those of who haven’t yet had the opportunity to. I think that’s incredibly cute and all. The poor man still drives his daddy’s 800. The sight actually makes me cry. That car’s the saddest thing I ever saw my whole lifetime, of course, only after Kooky Randhawa’s dead body. She was halved by Mohankund Express at Haisham Bagh Level crossing last year. You must’ve read it in the newspapers. She used to live in J45 at Bhairav Nagar Colony. Even she had noodle hair! How bizarre! It never occurred to me before. She lived alone and everything. Is Mr. Varza married? I don’t think so.

See, it’s not easy to be a miracle kid at school, especially here at St. Michael’s. It’s a burden if they already knew you started writing your name before you turned two, if you know what I mean. Mr. Varza is the only one who treats me like normal, besides, of course you, sir. Heaven knows he cares. He’s not like that Chandrika Chandavarkar or anything. She, by god, has got this huge messiah complex, and is on a mission to save everybody’s life from this utter hopelessness or something, just because she’s sitting on that stupid student councilor’s chair whenever she’s not on leave with urinary tract infection. She thinks she is a shrink. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but her face reminds me of that sphynx cat from the new Hairlyne shampoo commercial. Unlike her, Mr. Varza is intelligent. He only gives you a heads up. He’s more like; do not get carried away by all the attention Raza, people are just trying to tap on your gifts and revel in its light. Frankly it’s difficult not to, having a sister whose IQ level is below normal. Aaliya’s learning Urdu poetry these days, and it’s intolerable at home. She makes my ears bleed. To piss everybody off is like her special super power. Anyways, Mr. Varza is the only person I could relate to from the entire teaching faculty, besides you, which goes without mentioning. Apparently he was also a gifted child. And you think I’d do something that terrible to this gem of a person? -who is anything but dearest to me? I know the whole school hated him, but it happened outside the campus. So, I’d say this exercise counts more like a waste of time.

But if you still wanna know who I believe could’ve done it, I think there’re a few contenders from class alone. Bhutta doesn’t have the balls to do something like that although he’d love to. So he’s out, but it very well could be his folks, for all we know. It could be Vivek Kochukuttan. He once said, how much he wished Mr. Varza dead. He flunked in English, like, all the time. And after the incident he was like; he deserved to die actually. I hope you know his folks are bloody loaded. He’s got a Jacuzzi at home. Don’t tell anybody I told you this, but he still flicks a thing or two from the departmental store for kicks. It could also be Jason Abraham. He hates Mr. Varza  ‘cause he sweats a lot. He was always like; sitting in Mr. Varza’s class is torture and his sweat glands make my nose burst- yeah right! - And not ‘cause his grammar sucked! I can read it on his face that he wanted Mr. Varza dead. And you know what, that jerk doesn’t consider long jump to be a proper athletic event! He says it doesn’t deserve to be an Olympic medal competition. He thinks he can say something like that just ‘cause he’s the only one in class with a girlfriend and all, not that anybody has seen her or anything. Now, that’d happen only if she existed! Precious Varrier! Back in the real world, we’d know that’s not even an actual name. So full of shit! If it were up to me I’d stuff him and hang him in the living room.

Kabir says it could be Navin Tyagi, and it probably makes more sense ‘cause he’s from the chemistry department. I’ve heard about this tiff between the two of them. Apparently he told the kids that Mr, Varza is the kind that harbors so much hatred for you, and not show it ever on his face that he’ll come and haunt you in your afterlife. Whatever does that mean? I think that was a sick joke. You know why he loathed Mr, Varza so much? Ever since Mr. Varza joined, Tyagi lost his parking spot near the entrance ‘cause he arrived only much later, which is what’s friggin hilarious. Besides, Tyagi is one bloody minefield of a lunatic. You gotta stick that red ‘DANGER’ sign on him ‘cause you can’t tell what can piss him off. If you bottled him up, you could use it for making bombs and everything. There was this time he made that whiny Avishek Sharma cry for sneezing in the lab. I mean, come on! He should go shove that head into some refrigerator before he bites somebody else’s off. Maybe he should divorce his wife and go marry that Chandrika Chandavarkar, if she’s already not taken by her urologist, that is. I’m sure they’ll have a blast, and they also deserve each other. Anyways, the fact of the matter is, he has access to the acid and it doesn’t take a genius to fill it in a bulb. So my vote actually goes for him, if you were dying to know.

Sulfuric acid, was it? It’s kinda sick, somebody from school should even think of doing it. But did you go meet him in the hospital? I hear, his face is pretty messed up, like, he’s gonna have that scar for eternity and all. But I think, looking on the brighter side, he can totally look like a badass now, like a super villain or something. I’m actually picturing him as Hush from Batman; face all bandaged and everything. People of the likes of Tyagi wouldn’t dream of going near his 800, if by then he’s already not in jail, that is.

I don’t know, this might sound awfully corny but in the last few days Mr. Varza has come in my dreams a few times as that albatross in The Ancient Mariner. I know! But it’s true. Like, he was showing us our way out of darkness and some jerk shoots him down before the ride is over. If you tell this to anyone, I swear I will kill myself. By the way, Mr, Varza’s coming back, is he not? I just hope you don’t get that Gureja guy back again. Oh, guess what, it could be Gureja! I mean to get his job back and everything. What d’ya think?

Also from the ‘Raza’ series;



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  1. The series is turning out to be pretty interesting. Although the first one was very funny, this one is a shade paler. However the essence continues with well defined characters. But both shared a similar problem. Like M. Night Shyamalan movies, the suspense is built up in the most amazing way but the story ends in a little dampening way!
    I was almost lost by the time I reached mid-way, forgetting the premise of the story. I had to jog my memory to recall the beginning (almost scrolled back to re-read it). Like I said, it was pretty interesting but the end almost killed it. It was rushed and very succinct. I hope you can work on that.

  2. What works here apart from the humor is; half the time you are trying to figure out if the guy is actually telling you the truth or not...good job...keep it coming

  3. well as i collect my thoughts to write a brutally honest review, would like to point, u better be continuing this. fact - the previous one was side splitting funny. fact - this one - not so much ... but the end more than made up for it ... and when i say the end i dont quite mean the last para but the last 2 lines ...what appealed to me - the part where i am in my head constantly imagining who raza is narrating the story to, so sure i wud find out at the end and then i dont ... the part where i have finally managed to put the ogre into the gud guy category and at the end find out he isn't (or maybe he is .. *wink*) and most of all the part where i could take back a different ending at least the first few times i re-read it was awesome ... although one could argue that a tad bit funnier wouldn't harm any of us but then in a series of stories this one turns out to be different in not so different a way i think is far more appealing ...
    don't u luv when i am brutally honest ... !!


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