It was one of those sultry afternoons when I found myself at the end of my tether waiting for the electricity to come back, the inverter having given its last gasp with that peculiar hoot as if the whole damn building was on fire. I ran around trying to switch off all the electrical points which were under its control. To no avail, for the last hoot ended the way it started. Now it was dead and I would have to wait for the power to come back and recharge it back to its reincarnation. Oh yes! I thought that if an inverter could be back brought back to life by having the battery recharged then why not we reincarnate by having electrodes shoved up or placed at certain strategic places on our body. Random thoughts, that’s what happens when you are beyond boredom; like I said, at the end of your tether. You may wonder why I used the word ‘tether’ twice (this time included thrice actually). Well I liked that word; I had picked it up from a friend (actually not really a friend) of mine who had used it to describe his existence after thirty five years of married life. Don’t get me wrong I am not ascribing it to my state of existence. In all fairness I have been given a long rope and would never find myself ‘at the end of my tether’, to wander about unrestricted within the many walls of my domain. Like I told you I liked the word and liked it even better when I looked up the dictionary for the meaning – ‘tie (an animal) with a rope or chain so as to restrict its movement like a "the horse had been tethered to a post". What appealed to me was the word in the brackets though I felt more like the poorer cousin of the animal within the quotes.
By now you may be wondering why I sound so incoherent. That’s what happens in the height of a Chennai summer. You get all heated up, bark like a dog and sweat like a pig. Though I have heard a dog bark, I have never seen a pig sweat. May be sweat like a hippo and stink like a pig. That’s possible though if you ask me whether I have seen a hippo sweat, well no, but it does sound nice. Stink like a pig, well yes.
This afternoon I was a hippo as well as a pig, but I couldn’t bark for I was simmering inside. I was in for a heat stroke. That was when there was a knock on the door (remember the electricity was having its day out) and when I opened it there was this guy who I had met a couple of times, enough for him to call me his friend though I did not nurture the slightest inclination to include him in my list. The couple of times I had met him were enough to convince me that he had been let loose on the streets like the strays (though the strays may have a strong objection to my reference). I stood at the door not having fully opened it to prevent his unwanted (unwarranted) entry into my already oven hot apartment, he would only add to the already excruciating existence in which I found myself.
He said “Hello, thought I would look you up. It’s been some time since we met and today being a holiday, I thought of dropping in to find out how you are doing” and squeezed himself through. I had no option but let him in.
“Doing what?” I asked, exasperation seeping over and above the perspiration that ran down my bald pate.
“Nothing; just like that. I can see there is a power shutdown in this area. Don’t you have an inverter?” He asked.
“I have, but it is dead now” I said.
“Sorry, that’s sad” he said, puzzled. “How did it happen?” he continued, not really knowing whether to offer his condolences or offer his shoulders for me to cry.
“Just like that, like it happens to all inverters when they run dry.” I replied.
“That’s tough I know, what with all this heat you must be feeling like a pig” he said.
I could have murdered him that instant.
“Well old chap you should get over your procrastinations and get on with what’s to be done” he said
“Pray, what must that be? I asked.
“For a change, are you aware of what’s happening around you?”
“Why should I? I have enough problems feeling like a pig, mind you those are your words” I replied.
“Exactly that’s why you should know what is happening around you” he replied.
“Well, you tell me what’s happening?” I asked.
“Fogg is happening” he said nonchalantly.
“You must be mad; the heat has got on to you. Whoever heard of fog happening in the middle of all this heat! If it has it must be in your mind. I can see you are suffering from delusions, a definite sign of a heat stroke on its way. Why don’t you see a doctor? Ha, ha, a fog is it?” I laughed.
For a moment he was perturbed and then said “No, no, it is not fog, it is Fogg.”
“Why do you keep repeating the same words? Better go right now” I said, getting up from my chair, finding at last an opportunity to push him out. The heat and sweat were bad enough, but this guy was the pits.
He didn’t get up and continued staring at me as if I was the one who had lost it.
“You got me all wrong, it is F-O-G-G and not F-O-G” he said spelling out the words.
“Oh no! If it is Fogg as you say how can he still be happening? The only Fogg I know is a guy called Phileas Fogg who was supposed to have gone around the world in eighty days. Well he must be dead and gone now, a hundred years ago at least. Don’t tell me he has reincarnated?” I said; hope building up and curious to know if he had any electrodes inserted.
Now he was at the edge of his seat and I knew he was reaching the end of his ‘tether’.
“You can’t understand you dumb ass. Don’t you ever watch the television? It is all over the news; it even prevented a skirmish on our border with Pakistan, all because Fogg is happening. Such an important event and you are still not aware of it you ignoramus. If you had known you would not have been stinking like a pig” he said and stormed out of the apartment.
Though I had succeeded in getting him out of my apartment, I was left flummoxed. Was this a secret weapon that somehow left the Pakis scrambling for cover? I couldn’t even switch on the television as I was still powerless.
But now at least I knew that something called Fogg was happening.
In case you are also still wondering what Fogg is, please switch on the television. I did it when the power came on and now I am enlightened man.