Another Story: From DLW with a Punch



I have full permission to turn obnoxious from the person who appears as the protagonist of this story. No, he is nothing like 1008 or Bruce. First of all, we are not from the same school. Neither is he from what I call Kasi, although the only house I can ever associate him is in the vast compound of Diesel and Locomotive Works (popularly known as DLW), Varanasi. Nor did anyone honour him with a prediction of his turning antisocial. An Aristotle or Shakespeare would not touch him even with gloves on, for he does not have the high traits of a tragic hero, nor is he low enough to be a comic one.

Why do I choose such difficult things to do? I don’t know myself. Probably, I want to test my skills at converting the literary waste into manure. Enough! One must never belittle one’s friends. How does one honour him then? Ah, I have already done so by declaring his protagonist status, but even I, old friends as we are, haven’t the courage required to call him a hero. So, here’s a story whose protagonist is not at all a hero, in the traditional sense. As I can remember having met the protagonist mostly in DLW and only very rarely at any other place in Kasi, he may be called dlw (we change this name on his first objection). I was introduced to two very disturbing persons through another of their type who used to live in my muhalla. Dr. A. P. Singh had become the medium through which I met Rishi and dlw, long before he had started harbouring any injurious doctoral ambitions.



The particulars I don’t remember, but we soon became friends, the reason: our strong propensity for abstract and concrete argumentation (shastrarth). No, it has nothing to do with our caste or city. Or, at least, as a postmodern anti-essentialist, I do have to make the disclaimer. And being me, I have to disprove that too. Now, if it has anything to do with our caste, why don’t I see others of my caste monopolizing argumentation and why do I see many others of the same caste avoiding us, our hypothetical caste marker (shastrarth) and our company like plague. Obnoxious we may be, but that does not explain it all. But then, historically speaking, the caste ear marked for intellectual pursuits must have painted the stereotype itself, and then perpetuated it.  Kasi has gained a reputation for its pandits who love to and pounce at the first opportunity of shastrarth. Gone are those days, but I must admit, the tendency to argument is still strong in Kasi.

If quibble was Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, mine is digression. I know they are boring but I make digressions still, for they come naturally, and I think they should, among friends. The audience is the story teller’s best friend, but even best of friends may get exasperated at excesses sometimes. So, no more digressions for at least one more paragraph. The story is of dlw, and it’s his story that will be told straightaway. Although, I must admit, that digressions may sometimes add flavour to and create atmosphere and tone in a plain story. Oops! The story?

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