Saturday, 8 December 2012

Abhay Chutiya, please come to reception

I never met Abhay Chutiya, though he stayed in the same Student Hostel as me back in the early 80's and I often heard his name being broadcast over the Hostel public address system starting from around 10.30 p.m when last orders were being called at the pub next door.
At that time I was trying to write horror stories in the style of Edgar Allan Poe and it occurred to me that this mysterious Abhay Chutiya, ever in demand yet never manifest, might stand in some secret relationship to my own fractured poetic soul and that, in a sense, he was my doppleganger- to meet him face to face would be to meet Death- but what is Death? Is it not mental distraction- Vikshepa- and is not that which defeats Death- Viveka?
Thus, steeled in the Vivekachudamani and fortified with a tot of Rum, by way of  Srautamani, I gradually developed the habit of running down to Reception every time I heard the call for Abhay Chutiya. In this way, the absentminded drunkards standing at Reception got used to seeing me instead of the elusive Abhay  and so, by a sort of Pavlovian conditioned response, I came to be universally known by his cognomen.
Anyway, all that was long ago.
Just recently, however, various young gentlemen who call up to inquire whether I've suffered an accident or workplace injury have taken to addressing me as 'Abhay Chutiya' even though that is not the name on their records. It seems there is some Akasic force, or quantum entanglement tugging at electrons in the ether, causing even mundane telephone calls to abruptly cross over into a parallel dimension.

Abhay of course means 'fearless'. The Chutiyas, I had learnt in History class, were a dynasty of mixed Bodo-Shan heritage which is why Chooth or Chutiya is still accounted an elite surname in the North East, but how is it that a black and timorous Tamil Brahmin like myself me keeps getting mistaken for a fair skinned aristocrat from that part of India by Hindi speaking people ?

What does it all portend?

I may mention, after I left that hostel, people stopped asking for Abhay Chutiya to come to Reception. This caused many people in the Ladies section to forget their contraception and so, in a sense, I too have done my bit for the propagation of the Race.

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