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The Goabus Adventure

By Judy Das

The O-bus has visited a number of cities in the last few months, but for reasons best known to me (Carlie, you didn’t give me a written invitation!), I didn’t join the gang until they decided to hit Goa. Having exhausted my tear glands over the last few months while singing “I’m Nobody’s Child” huddled in a corner of the bathroom, this time I decided to force myself into the bus, come what may. And force myself I did. Having thus invited myself, I packed a bag and made my way to Opus, from where 15 of us left on the O-bus to Goa. The Goabus!

It was a noisy, bumpy ride interspersed with one pee break too many, thanks to the boys and their pea-sized, alcohol-filled bladders, but on the whole, not a bad ride, really. Towards the end of the journey, however, nausea began to rear its ugly head and restlessness began to creep in, with Carlton very nonchalantly uttering every now and then, “Just about an hour left.” This went on for about 4 hours. We concluded that Carlton’s sense of time is not yet fully developed. And at his age, I’m guessing this is probably as far as it will go.

At last, the O-bus rolled up in front of the lovely bungalow “Tranquille,” and the group disembarked with sighs of relief and exclamations of joy. The first shock came in the form of an old gentleman standing on the front porch, smoking a pipe, welcoming us to Goa and asking, “What took you so long?” Stanley Pinto and his wife Yvonne, who had claimed earlier that they couldn’t make it for the show, flew in early in the morning, ready to greet us when we arrived.

As promised, Gina and Carlton kept “my room” upstairs reserved for me and whoever else wanted to occupy it. I call it the happy room on account of its vibrantly hued curtains and bedspreads, and the large windows that ensure the room is always as bright and airy as can be. I was wondering how so many people were going to fit in the house, big as it was, but I discovered that there were a few rooms way down below, where the couples were banished. I call them the “dungeon rooms.” I’m sure the couples didn’t really mind. Moreover, almost the whole gang ended up sleeping in the living room since that’s the only room with an A/C.  Spoilt children! I refused to leave my room since it was MINE, and I allowed Priya to share the bed with me, generous soul that I am.

Too many things happened over the next four days to be written down in chronological order, so instead, one can put the pieces of the story together by reading the individual profiles I’ve written of each of the “characters” in the group. And that’s what they/we are – characters! Happy reading!

Mallika
Aptly christened “Twinkle Toes” by an unnamed member of the gang (Vivek), Mallika made her presence (and other things) felt during our stay at Goa. Not wanting those endless hours of dance lessons - that she has no doubt been attending for quite some time - to go to waste, TT would begin the day by catching an unsuspecting victim to inflict her killer Latin American moves on. This would start after going into everyone’s rooms all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed saying, “Why aren’t you up? Come on, get up! You have to get up. Look, I’m up. Everyone should be up. It’s Goa! It’s beautiful! I want to dance. Don’t you want to dance? Everyone should want to dance!” Oh, Carlton, why didn’t you bring your tranquilizer gun?

 




Priya
Ah. Priya. We forged a special bond, did Priya and I. Conversations that lasted well into the wee hours of the morning, pillow fights, hair braiding sessions… Don’t deny it, Priya! You don’t remember because you were at the time under the intoxicating influence of a certain, ahem, Mr. Long Island.

We both got an entire bed to ourselves while others were sharing mattresses and sleeping on floors. And why? Because it would appear that I have a knack of cracking jokes that get taken the wrong way and end up hurting feelings. All because Priya left me unattended for a whole 30 seconds. I blame you, Priya! Priya was her entertaining best on our last night in Goa, at a little beachside shack called Joets. Apart from the string of sexual innuendoes and double entendres that poured from her lips, she also decided to give one of the waiters a meaningful talk on the benefits of smiling and happiness, and the joys that a waiter may experience by practicing the art of “service with a smile.” She also insisted on calling him Johnson. I don’t think that was his name. One can’t help but imagine that some of his saliva made its presence felt in a bowl of fish curry or two. Priya’s pièce de résistance, however, came the next day at the beach when she told Mark Swaroop, “You have to fell it and smell it.” Presumably, she meant “feel”. Presumably, she was talking about the cigar that was doing the rounds at the time. But we will never know for certain.

Priya, it was a pleasure sharing a bed with you. Truly.

And I apologize for hitting you in the face with your bag, and almost breaking your nose. As I repeated countless times during this trip, I don’t know my own strength. K

 

Andy
I learned a lot about this G ‘n’ R devotee from Mizoram during our stay in Goa. For one, he can talk. Boy, can he talk! Until we made this trip, I thought he was one of those strong, silent types. Well, I wasn’t sure about the “strong” bit, but silent, definitely. Well, he sure proved me wrong. When he wasn’t talking on his cell phone – which was about 50% of the time – he was regaling us with stories of his childhood, adolescence, siblings, parents, girlfriend, potential girlfriends, etc., and teaching us some impressive come-on lines which largely revolved around ice cream and other dessert-related metaphors.

Andy shares a special relationship with his phone. They go everywhere together. He even took it into the water with him, cooing like a proud mother, “its waterproof.” What he failed to realize at the time, though, was that it wasn’t sand-proof. I walked into the kitchen to find Andy sitting in a chair, his back to me, huge knife in hand; stabbing away frantically at what I could only assume was some helpless creepy-crawly that had had the nerve to roam the kitchen premises freely. On closer inspection, it turned out to be Andy’s phone, undergoing a delicate, complicated sand-removal surgical procedure. It was touch and go for a minute, but the surgery proved successful, as was evident from the beaming faces of both mother and child.

Conclusions made about Andy on this trip are as follows:
1.) If I had a talk-off with him, he would beat me, hands down.
2.) He and his phone are joined at the hip. (Literally; he wears a holster and all)
3.) He’s a cheeky little perv. (I mean that in the fondest way possible, Andy!)
4.) His ice cream brings all the girls to the yard.

 

Tania
On this trip, many of us got to see a different side (a few different sides, actually) to Tania Jones. Put a few drinks in her and she becomes a lean, mean, kissing-squealing-flashing machine! Tania can’t play snooker. Under the influence, she can’t play it even more. She almost destroyed the snooker table, but timely intervention by some of the group members prevented that catastrophe from taking place. Tania kissed me many times on our first day at John’s, the shack that we practically lived in for those four days. Then she kissed Lexi, and after a great deal of persuasion from us, Pri-pri let Tania kiss her too. It was all about spreading the love. Much like Butter Lounge was all about spreading the night. Tania can hit some really high notes. Sometimes she goes ultrasonic, forcing the neighbouring animals to run for cover. Tania pouts when she doesn’t get her way. Tania pouts when she does. She pouts when she’s happy, she pouts when she’s sad. Ah, hell. Tania pouts. That’s her thing. We love your pout, Tania. We didn’t see much of Tania on our last two days in Goa, but what we saw of her on the first two days more than made up for it.

Tania’s cuddly. I like hugging Tania. I try to hug her as often as I can.



Alexis
Sexy Lexi. What can one say about this Mangi from “Dough-ha” International School? For one, she’s worse at catching than Vivek and I put together! She got beaten up by a tennis ball during a harmless game of catch. She’s pretty good at volleyball, though. The boys didn’t stand a chance against her and her two sexy teammates. Lexi loves to sleep. And she loves to eat. Much like Garfield. On our last day at the house, it literally took a plate of Gina’s Nutella-covered pancakes waved in front of Lexi’s nose to get her to wake up. Much like Garfield. While sitting at the shack, suddenly an alarm went off. It was Lexi’s wake-up alarm on her phone. It was 12:30 in the afternoon. Sigh. Kids these days... She was constantly targeted by Carlton for being a Mangi and for having what he called a “Star World accent.” She always had a quick comeback to his jabs, but the most memorable one has to be, “We could’ve been friends, Carlton. It didn’t have to be this way.” Take that, Carlton!



Martin
Martin is the only teetotaler I know who seems drunk a lot of the time. I think it has something to do with that Southern (i.e. South Indian) drawl. Sometimes it seems like he’s slurring. I think it also has to do with the fact that he’s just high on life and love and air, fresh or otherwise. He’s a happy boy, is Martin.

Some guys are very protective about their girlfriends, even around other women. But not Martin. He encouraged me to have my way with Tania, and when I didn’t, he encouraged her to have her way with me. And what did he do while all this hawe-ing was taking place? He took pictures. And videos too, I suspect. We must all be very wary of Martin. He managed to get all the most candid, revealing, scandalising pictures and videos of this trip. He could use them against us in the future. I’m thinking henceforth I shall be very nice to him at all times.

Martin decided to buy himself a little drum just before we got on the bus for Bangalore. His goal, I believe, was to master the art of beating that drum by the time we reached Bangalore. If he’d spent less time dancing with Vivek, and more time practicing, he might have achieved that goal. But he realized, as we all did, that you can’t have your drum and beat it too. It was hijacked by all and sundry throughout the trip, and Martin, being the nice boy that he is, did not protest. Martin, keep on drumming. And we’ll keep our spare change ready.



Mayura
Mayurriiiiiii… Mayura’s feelings get hurt very easily, so I’m warning you in advance, Miss Fernandes: THIS IS A JOKE. NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

It’s hard to determine which of the two is more high-pitched; Mayura or Tania. I was tempted to suggest holding a “Who Wants to Be a Banshee?” contest between the two, but on second thoughts, decided that such a competition might have resulted in some serious hearing auditory damage to all who witnessed the event. We shall just have to decide for ourselves who deserves the honour of Miss Opus Banshee 2009. At one point Mark S attempted to teach Mayura how to speak at a lower frequency. He failed. And she ended up sounding like a cross between a cow and a fog horn.

Again, Mayura, pliss, this is wonly for loffing parrposes.

One of the things we discovered about Mayura is that underneath that innocent smile and that girlish giggle lies a potty mind! And when I say potty, I don’t mean crazy. I mean dirty. Pervy. Lewd! This side of her was revealed while playing Dumb Charades. When I innocently suggested that Venky enact

“Buns of Navarone,” Mayura suddenly got involved in the game with renewed gusto and concentration. Until then, I was finding it hard to get my all-girl team to guess a word as simple as “a”, even calling them retards at one point. Sorry, girlies. My bad. J From out of the blue, Mayura started suggesting movie titles such as “Yank My Doodle, It’s A Dandy” (which I had the pleasure of enacting), “Sperms of Endearment”, “Good Will Humping”, and many more such PG 13-worthy titles. All I can say is, “Mayura, you bad, bad girl. Would you like a spanking?”

Kinkiness aside, Mayura was one of the more subdued ones in the group, I observed. At no point was she hammered, or running around like a crazy person on the beach (or elsewhere), as most of us were, and she was very generous with her wardrobe too. (She lent her swimsuit and black chaddis to add the final touches to those charming pictures taken of JJ on the bus). Her favorite comment to me during the trip was, “How could you, Judy? You hurt my feelings!” And I will continue to do so. Just as sure as your name is Mayuri. I mean, Mayura. 

 

Priyanka
Pri-pri! Also known as Sri Lanka, this little hottie proved that you can’t judge a book by its size. She managed to whoop Mark S’ ass at pillow fighting, and showed her athletic prowess while playing catch, volleyball, football, snooker and Frisbee. And she did it in style, and in a bikini. Rrrrrr! Pri-pri, many mouths were hanging open (mine included) on the beach those few days, and I’m sure many hearts were beating extra fast. I thought I saw an old man faint on the sight of you in the water. But then again, it could be my overactive imagination. J Pri-pri and I found something to bond over. I said, “Bond”, not “Bend”, Vivek! So, yes, we discovered that both of us have hair that tends to get a little overzealous in humid weather. Pri-pri’s frizz was somewhat endearing, while mine was, well, bordering on Einsteinesque. Pri-pri loved her frizzy locks. Many a time I caught her admiring them in the mirror, thinking no one was watching. But I was watching, Pri-pri. I was watching everyone. At all times. Muhahaha! Pri-pri did some impressive impersonations during this trip. The best one had to be Carlton’s slow-motion stage act during the Three Tenors show. I didn’t attend the show, but her reenactment of the scene made me feel as if I did. Good job, Sri Lanka!

On our way back, we discovered one of Pri-pri’s weaknesses – a loathing for all things watermelony.

While all of us were gorging on the succulent, refreshing fruit, Pri-pri was hysterically spraying the bus with Gina’s lemon-scented Fa, almost asphyxiating us all in the process. On being questioned about it, she claimed that she’s always had an aversion to watermelons, but I think there’s more to it. My theory is that she was attacked by a watermelon when she was a wee lass, OR she witnessed a crime by a group of people dressed up like watermelons, OR she was cheated by a watermelon vendor, OR… the possibilities are endless. The bottom line is: Good luck, Pri-pri, for this Sunday’s “Melony-Lemony” O-Show. Oh, Irony. Cruel, twisted Irony!


Gina
Gina is probably the most maternal “non-mother” I know. And the coolest maternal non-mother I know. What maternal non-mother would be cool with her unruly overgrown kids hitting the bottle at 10 in the morning and continuing to eat and drink and raise hell throughout the day, while she sat peacefully and read her book, blissfully indifferent to the pandemonium that was taking place all around her? When she wasn’t reading her book or tending to the flock, she was slaving over a hot stove, churning out endless helpings of “choriz pav”, eggs prepared in every thinkable way, and let’s not forget those fluffy, scrumptious pancakes topped with whisky-flavored Nutella. Mmm-mmm. (“Look! Mommy put alcohol in our breakfast again! Yeehaw!”) When I suggested that she stop cooking and let everyone fend for themselves, she said, “Believe me, I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t love what I was doing.” So it would appear that Gina loves to feed and take care of hyperactive, ever-ravenous, alcoholic, pillow-fighting, salsa-dancing, watermelon-hating 20-somethings. And Carlton! Well, to each their own, I always say!

Gina was the saneness in the mad; the voice of reason that kept the lunacy in check at all times. She’s the one who cut short the boys’ numerous pee breaks, the one who always made sure there was enough food and alcohol


(what a mommy!) at any time of the day, on and off the bus, the one who didn’t lose control of her senses at any point, and of course, the one who smacked Carlton on the head. That was a scene we all enjoyed watching – Lexi most of all, I’m sure! It was Gina’s Fa that came to Pri-pri’s rescue during the watermelon attack and Gina’s superior skills as a make-up artist that made for some amusing pictures of a very smashed JJ on the bus.

Gina, you’re the rum (or vodka, take your pick) that holds this multi-flavored mojito together; the mojito being a metaphor for us, the whole gang, for those of you who aren’t too quick on the uptake. Thank you for bringing that much-needed element of sanity into the group. Salud!


Venky
Amidst all the bedlam and revelry, one crooner sat pensively in the corner, lost in his thoughts, and his drink, and occasionally his food. I saw Venky at his liveliest when we were playing Dumb Charades. He took particular pleasure in suggesting “2001: A Space Odyssey” for Lexi to enact. Our “special” team didn’t guess it. We blame Lexi. Venky became particularly animated when we moved into the X-rated segment, and enacted “Buns of Navarone” with minimal effort.

The quintessential Venky scenario goes something like this: A group of people sitting around in a quasi-circle, silently, drinks/ciggies in hand, waiting for a guitar-toting Venky to start playing and singing a song of his choice. Seconds go by, minutes pass, while Venky adjusts the tuning, strums a few chords, all the while seemingly talking to his guitar, or himself. After a few more minutes of silence, (that is, apart from the soft twanging of a guitar string every now and then) one restless soul in the group starts singing a song. All of a sudden, like magic, Venky springs into action, singing along and figuring out the chords as he goes along. Haha! Venkeh.


Venky, as always, had women – young and old – swooning at Butter Lounge while he performed on stage, but the biggest shock to me came when he sang a Hindi song on our bus journey back to Bangalore. Even that sounded Sinatraesque! Here’s to silent Venky and that voice of his!

Ravi
Ravi Bhat from Udupi is what you might call an apathetic bystander. While poor Pri-pri was being savagely attacked by Mark S and yelling, “Do something!” Ravi chose to hide under a pillow and feign oblivion to the goings-on. Shame on you, Ravi! Shame, shame. We’ve all heard the expression “throwing caution to the wind.” I decided to mix it up a bit and throw Frisbee to the wind. Ravi got a good workout as long as I was playing Frisbee, since I managed to actually throw it to him a grand total of maybe 5 out of 15 times. Ravi, it was the WIND, okay? Rooney agrees with me.

Ravi was one of the lucky few who got to see dolphins at the beach. The impish look on his face as he recounted the incident made me a little skeptical. So I asked Ravi to imitate the dolphins. He was unable to do so. This gave rise to further suspicion and disbelief. Further probing, though, revealed that the group had, in fact, spotted dolphins, which led me to one conclusion: Ravi, don’t make impish faces when narrating an intriguing/potentially unbelievable story. It could mean the difference between “guilty” and “not guilty” at your trial. Your hypothetical trial, that is. J

And for Pete’s (and all our sakes), please try and find out what it is exactly about watermelons that has Pri-pri screaming, “Nahiiiiin! Bachaaaaao!” whenever she is in the vicinity of one of those luscious fruits.

Shonali
For the first time, I saw Shonali just kicking back and relaxing, as opposed to the classic image one has of her running from pillar to post, organising this and arranging that, yelling at this one and rolling eyes at that one. Shones was the most peaceful of the lot, by far. She was impervious to the anarchy that reigned all around her, nose buried in her book as she lay stretched out on the floor, sipping on a cup of tea. When she wanted to eat, she ate, when she wanted to sleep, she slept, and she didn’t wake up even when Swaroop steamrolled everyone on the floor, her included. I guess having spent so much time with these people has hardened her. Literally!

She did have her moments of mommyness too. Along with Gina, she made sure that everyone had their food and drinks on the bus and at the show, she herded everyone into their rooms, showers, etc., whenever we had to get ready to go out, she made sure that everyone’s belongings were safe at all times while we were at Butter Lounge, and together with Gina, made sure that the big baby Carlton took his medicines when he fell ill. Shones had made up her mind not to go into the water, but on the final day, the temptation was too strong to resist, and she finally crossed over to the other side and had FUN!


And then she came back to the shack and went back to her book, making sure that she sat at another table, far, far away from the rest of us. As did Gina. Smart move, laydiss. Smart move. Shones, if Gina is the saneness in the mad, you’re the goodness in the bad. Accuse me of plagiarising if you will, people. I don’t care! This is for private circulation only!

Rooney
Rooney is another illustration of the proverb, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” One look at this Tam-Bram and you think, “IT nerd.” Incidentally, he IS an IT nerd, and in addition, an IIT nerd, but so much more than that. Put him on a stage and he’s quite the entertainer, belting out such intellectual classics as “Can’t Touch This” and “Let’s Get Retarded.”

Apart from being a good mimic, Rooney also comes up with some killer one-liners. His ultimate one-liner from the trip goes like this: He would ask someone if they had applied sunscreen and when he or she replied, “Yes”, he would ask, “You applied aaall-over-aaaaah?” He was, of course, punning on “aloe vera.” While it doesn’t seem that funny now, and wasn’t really that funny at the time either, it was the way he said it that had us in splits. I’ll never look at the word “aloe vera” the same way again. MacaRooney, as he’s so fondly called by some of us – actually, I just made it up now, but it sounded nice, so I had to put it in here – took a particular dislike to a helpless little meow meow that frequented John’s shack. While I, along with some of the cat lovers, tried to play with him (the meow meow) and give him some food, all Rooney could talk about was catching him by the tail and swinging him into the sea. Evil, evil Rooney.


Considering that I’m probably gonna end up like Crazy Cat Lady from The Simpsons when I’m old, I definitely won’t be inviting Rooney home for a cup of tea. Ever.

I inflicted injuries on a few people during this trip. Rooney was one of those people. It was an innocent game of catch. I just threw the ball, as high as I could. He just had to catch it when it came back down towards him. He didn’t. Instead, following in Lexi’s footsteps, he got beaten up by it. Hit in the face, to be precise. Knocked his glasses right off. I shouldn’t be allowed to participate in group activities involving the use of any object, blunt or sharp.

The only time I got to see Rooney’s cheeky side (and no, I don’t mean his derrière) was when, on the bus, in a drunken haze, he asked me if I had brought my bikini, and when I said no, grunted in disapproval and said, “It’s okay, you can always buy one in Goa.” This was followed by an impish grin. Rooney, you’re funny when you’re drunk.

Carlton
Carlton, also known as CB, Corrlten, Carlie, and so on, was, and is, the baby of the group. And I don’t mean that in an affectionate way. I mean he had to be called for meals, coerced into having a shower and getting ready in time, force-fed his medicines when he fell sick, sung to sleep, and tucked in too. Oh, and when one is cooking an egg for him, one has to get the “frill” just right or he won’t eat it. Gina, props to you for your infinite patience!

CB is a troublemaker, without a doubt. Throughout the trip, he tried to provoke each of us (especially me) to say things – on camera and off – that could be potentially harmful to us if disclosed to the wrong people. Once again, I shall repeat these pearls of wisdom: He and Martin both are to be treated nicely and handled with care. I, of course, am doomed, being the one writing this profile on him. CB, please take into consideration that I’m actually being very kind to you in this little write-up. J
Carlton is happiest when he has a mic in front of him, and even happier when there’s a karaoke screen in front of him prompting him with lyrics he would never be able to remember otherwise. I don’t know if it’s because he’s not good at memorising lyrics or because being in the karaoke business for so long has spoilt him rotten! Methinks it is the latter.

For some time now, a war of words has been raging between Lexi and “Corrlten.” The attack was of course initiated by CB against Lexi, for the simple reason that she’s a Mangi and thus a so-called enemy of CB’s tribe, i.e. the Goans. Add to this Lexi’s “Dough-ha” International School / Star World (according to CB) accent and you get what is now known as the “Man-Go Uprising.” I just made it up now, but let’s just go with it. Right now it’s anyone’s guess as to who will emerge the winner, if one does emerge at all. CB has age on his side, but Lexi can be pretty sassy when she wants. Oh, Corrlten. Why can’t you and Lexi just be friends?

CB is one of those people like Martin, who seem perpetually high on something. Loud, slurry, flamboyant, insolent, and downright offensive at times, these qualities get magnified after a few drinks. But for all those who know CB well enough, we wouldn’t have it any other way. And these qualities sure help to liven up a show when an audience seems dangerously close to losing interest. Cheers to Thunder Throat CB and his flashy personality!

Mark Swaroop
We all met at Opus and left for Goa from there on the bus. Although we were told to be there by 7, some sauntered in as late as 8, 8.30. Mark and Rooney not only moseyed in at around 8, but moseyed in a wee bit hammered. They figured they’d start partying early. One look at the goofy smile on Mark’s face instantly told us that Mr. Inebriation had paid him a visit. And that is how he started out on his Goabus adventure.

Also known as KK, Huggie Bear, and a multitude of other nick names, Markie is the Angry Man of the group. He has a rather short fuse, (I’m talking about his temper, boys. Tchah!) and he’s very competitive, as I discovered on this trip, especially when it comes to sports. Not to mention he’s a girl hater! He wouldn’t let me play hand tennis with him and the boys, but I imposed myself on them (as I’m so adept at doing), and after one game (and I wasn’t bad at all), he decided to quit. Hmph! He even taunted Lexi and me when we said we wanted to play snooker with him and his cronies. We both have been emotionally scarred. For life.


At certain points during the hand tennis game, it seemed like Mark was ready to beat up Vivek. In between the grunts and the curses and the profanities uttered by Mark, we would hear Vivek, seemingly on the verge of tears, desperately pleading, “Don’t shout at me!” This became his standard greeting for Mark, and sometimes JJ, over the next few days.

Mark is a ladies’ man. This is ironic, since he’s also a WOMAN HATER.  K But yes, the ladies items love him. And he loves the attention, in whatever shape, size, and level of crazy it comes. Right, Markie? (Snigger) Carlton, Vivek, and a few others make fun of Mark’s coloring. Just because he’s a few shades darker than them. Markie, Vivek wanted me to tell you to “lighten up. Literally.” I’m quoting him word for word. You can deal with him later. Well, Markie, at least you’re not insipidly wheatish or deathly pale. (I think I just invented some new shades of foundation!) You could actually call yourself Dark Chocolate and get away with it. And of course, the ladies items will probably love you even more for it.  Even though you’re a girl/woman hater. I’m just kidding around, okay, Markie? Don’t shout at me!

Mark Lazaro
Mark L likes to talk. And after a few beers, that fondness for talking gets replaced by an urge to dance – usually if there’s music playing; otherwise, he just keeps talking. The problem is he’s not exactly experienced in this art form known as dancing. So, inspired by the alcohol that is flowing through his veins, and enthused by the “pumpy” music playing in the background, he catches the first female victim who happens to come his way, and subjects her to a few minutes of uncoordinated, foot-stomping, slippery-fingered pseudo-jiving – all the while declaring proudly that he doesn’t know how to dance – until he realises that the exercise is actually more tiring for him than for his partner. He then heads back to his drink. And his discourse. That is drunken/slightly happy Mark.

Sober Mark is more or less the same minus the dancing. Oh, and plus the jokes which never quite reach fruition. Usually because he’s interrupted himself midway to make sure he’s telling it correctly or because he’s forgotten the exact line or the joke has reminded him of something funny that once happened to him long ago. Brings to mind the title of one of Extreme’s albums: Waiting for the Punch Line. Yes. Waiting in vain.




Jude
Mark’s brother Jude, on the other hand, always finishes his jokes. He’d better, since his jokes are usually just one or two words long. Yes, he’s one of those: a PJ cracker. He likes to call it “word play” or “punning”, but sometimes we like to call it “torture.” Please don’t be offended, Judas, this is all in good fun. To add to it, he dons a goofy grin once he’s let one loose (pun, that is) and looks at his victims expectantly, hoping to elicit some reaction from them, whether it’s admiration, revulsion, disbelief or just plain indifference. I usually resort to the last reaction. But that’s because I’m immune to them now. He does come up with some killer ones, though. Every now and then.

I didn’t see much of Jude since he, Lynn and Mark arrived a day later than we did and then went straight to the beach and then the next day went off with Martin and Tania to the other side of Goa to do couple-like things. So I don’t really have any interesting/amusing Jude-related anecdotes to recount. He did wear sunscreen. Probably the only one among the boys who was diligent about it. And one of the few boys who didn’t come back from the water with torture written all over their faces. That’ll teach you to wear sun screen next time, jaants!




Lynn
Lynn was the unofficial hairstylist for some of the singers at Butter Lounge. While she stood there styling Jude’s and other people’s hair, Jude conveniently forgot to introduce her to everyone, so it was taken for granted by many that she was, indeed, just the hairstylist. Until she finally started introducing herself. Some of us already knew her. Some didn’t. Lynn used practically half a bottle of hair product on my head to help combat the frizz. The frizz prevailed. But your efforts are commendable, Lynn. You put up a brave fight.

Ah, Lynn. The picture of virtue and propriety. One look at this petite lass and one thinks butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. One thinks wrong. She’s an aggressive one. Don’t be fooled by the girlish giggles and the charming smile. On one hand, she’s scared of/repulsed by something as mundane as Mark S’ armpits. On the other hand, she’s not afraid to lay the smackdown on those who provoke her. I’ve learned not to crack jokes in her presence without first publishing a disclaimer: “Attention: This is a joke. Not to be taken seriously.” Especially since she’s a lawyer.

Lynn, please don’t sue me. I’m unemployed.




JJ
Also known as J, Day-Day, and most commonly, Jesus, JJ was the Energizer Bunny of the group. And what battery was he running on? The Devil’s Juice! The drinking started the moment we got on the bus in Bangalore, and continued till the moment he passed out on the bus on our way back to Bangalore.

At any point of the day, Jesus was always raring to go, be it for a dip in the water, a game of football, snooker, volleyball, catch, Frisbee… you name it, and he wanted to play it/do it/eat it/drink it/smoke it/wear it. Even his partner in crime Vivek caught up on his sleep every now and then, but not J. I think he was afraid that if he slept, he would lose his buzz and his momentum.

Jesus and Vivek bonded like never before on this trip. It doesn’t matter that all they said to each other the entire time was “Hawe it!” or “It’s wery heat.” What matters is the feeling with which these phrases were uttered. In spite of the many vodka-lime juices ingested by Jesus, he managed to stay above water, so to speak, the whole time. I think it’s because in Goa it’s so hot and humid that the alcohol just gets sweated out of your system.

However, it finally hit him on our last day there, and after getting on the bus and taking the seat next to him, I regretted my decision. I wanted to whack J over the head with a blunt object, while he resolutely removed my shoes (while I was still standing) and threw them in different corners of the bus. Pri-pri was also a victim of J’s “enthusiasm.” I couldn’t see what he was doing to annoy her so, but at one point I heard her threaten, “J, I kicked Swaroop’s ass, I’ll kick yours too!” Girl power!

While Vivek (also very “happy” by then) was still entertaining everyone, JJ promptly passed out in his seat, and that’s when evil payback plans began to be hatched. Shortly after, with the help of Priya’s colourful makeup, Mayura’s swimwear and undies, and Gina’s artistry, Jesus underwent some cosmetic enhancements that were captured on camera and dutifully put up on Facebook. Hell hath no fury like a woman pissed off, eh? What made it funnier was that when J woke up, face burning and all, the first thing he did was turn to Vivek and start accusing him and cursing him while Vivek, in his sleepy/half-drunken state, could do nothing but stare helplessly, wide-mouthed and say, “Ufghrghh?” Oh, you two. You’re like an old married couple.



Vivek
Ah, Vivek. I saved him for the end because I just didn’t know where to begin. Jesus was the coiner of the catchphrase “Hawe it!” (which became a mantra for the entire group during and even after the trip), but Vivek played an instrumental role in popularising the term. Viveka was the unpaid entertainment. He was the self-appointed stripper, and the scapegoat for the entire group. Every time some minor misdemeanour was committed, Vivek was the prime suspect. A classic example would be when some of the girls sketched on JJ’s face on the bus journey back to Bangalore. The moment JJ woke up, he instantly turned to Vivek and started hurling abuses and threats at him. A very sleepy and half-drunk Vivek was powerless to defend himself, merely grunting incoherently, until I finally came to his rescue and told JJ that Vivek was blameless in the incident. Vivek, you owe me one.

Vivek likes to be topless when it’s hot. He likes to be topless when it’s cold. Vivek just likes being topless, regardless of the weather, the situation or his surroundings. He has no qualms about randomly dropping his pants either. One night on the terrace, I was sitting on the ground and Vivek was standing just near me.


I playfully tugged ever so lightly on his shorts, just a way of saying hello, you could say, after which he promptly decided to drop them for me. Only problem is, he tugged a little too hard on them, causing his boxers to drop too. Thanks to my lightning quick reflexes, I was able to avert my eyes from the traumatising display, thus very probably saving my eyesight. Sorry, Viveka. Don’t be offended, okay?!

Viveka and J practically survived on a diet of vodka-limejuice the whole time, with a few sausage naans thrown in here and there, but it didn’t really hit either of them until the last day, and when it hit, boy, did it hit! JJ became very loud, while Viveka started stripping much earlier and faster than usual. This took place on the bus, thankfully. We all got a good view of his very lowely boxers that read “Kick the Butt.” Some of the boys complied.

He reached his entertaining peak at a little bus stop we had to take break at just 20 minutes after leaving. He and Jesus delivered their rendition of the classic hit “Jhik di Jhik di Japaan Japaan” accompanied by J on the drum (the one that Martin got conned into buying) and a dancing laydiss item, i.e. Tania. In retrospect, we could’ve made a lot of money in the 20-30 minutes we were there. A few more laydiss items, a few PR people on the main road, and we could’ve made enough to buy some more liquor. Next time, Vivek. Maybe you and J could meet and practice a little routine. It’s something to think about.

On the bus, Vivek decided to read out something from one of Tania’s magazines. I think it was Cosmo. So he turned to a page titled “Embarrassing Confessions” or something along those lines, read out a passage about a girl who had found out her boyfriend was cheating on her and then took her revenge on him, and at the end of it, he goes, “But where’s the ANSWER??” Haha. It was a CONFESSIONS page, Viveka. Not one of those Agony Aunt-type columns. What is the moral of the story? There are no answers in this world. Only questions.

While playing Dumb Charades, we decided to start making up movie names. So Vivek came up with “The Revenge of the Mosaic. Part 7.” I’m not playing Dumb Charades with this group anymore. Ever! Vivek, you make the most mundane activity interesting, turn the purest comments, ideas and actions into something dirty, and your belly that jiggles without any provocation is an enigma! The O-bus would be incomplete without you. It would only be right to end by saying, “HAWE IT!”

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