“Good morning, dear sister. Fancy getting a call from you in the morning!”
“You’re alive! It is really you! Oh, I was so worried.”
Ranjit was about to start his motorbike but stopped midway. “Hey, what’s the matter Ananya. Did you have a bad dream?”
“What? No, you doofus. Just go find a newspaper and head over to the obituary section.”
Ranjit is usually lazy in the mornings, but today he ran up the stairs two at a time. He picked up the newspaper from the apartment below his just before the owner opened the door to fetch it.
“Hey, that’s mine!”
“Shush!” said Ranjit, shooing him away and frantically flipping through the pages. “What the hell is this?”
“It’s a sick joke if you ask me. I hope it wasn’t you, Ranjit.”
“You really think I would put my name in the obituaries, Ananya?”
“Yeah, you wouldn’t do that. Anyway, let me know when you find out.” She disconnected the call before Ranjit could vent a bit more. Vipin had heard the commotion and came running downstairs at once. Ranjit handed him the newspaper.
“What the hell is this?” he asked.
“Let’s go find out.”
The blood coursing through his veins spread the anger throughout his body as he sped away towards the local newspaper office. Vipin walked just as energetically and purposefully, although Ranjit had some doubts regarding his intention. The duo made their way through the office and sought out the person dealing with obituary ads.
“Can you tell me about this?” said Ranjit, smashing the newspaper on the table. The employee was a middle-aged man with a balding head. He frowned and looked at it.
“The obituary section. It tells you about people who have died and gives particulars about their last rite ceremonies so that friends and relatives know about it and can go there to offer condolences.”
Ranjit turned towards Vipin with a look of disbelief.
“Don’t try to get clever with us! Don’t you see that the image in the newspaper is my friend’s?”
The employee matched the two faces and smiled. “Oh yeah! They’re ever so similar! Say, was he your twin?”
“I have no twin! This person in the newspaper is me! The name is mine, the face is mine. Don’t you see the problem here?!”
Ranjit’s sudden outburst gave him a start. The balding employee looked at the obituary listing again and turned the matter over in his head.
“Oh, I remember now. You are Samrat ji’s nephew, aren’t you?”
Ranjit exchanged puzzled glances with Vipin. “Yes, I am.”
“Well, he came here yesterday with your picture. He wanted to put an ad for you.”
The two flatmates paced about the room, unsure of what to make of this new development.
“I never thought your uncle would think of something like this. Putting an ad in the obituary section? Just imagine what would have happened if your mother was in town and she had seen it!”
Ranjit could do little but wipe his forehead to wrap his head around the situation.
“No no no. You misunderstand! His uncle did come to put out an ad, but not in the obituary section. I must confess that is a mistake on my part. I also help set up matrimonial profiles. That was the reason why your uncle wanted to put an ad for you, to find a suitable match!”
Vipin couldn’t hold back his laughter as Ranjit’s baby-face became enervated. He picked up the newspaper and got the employee to give him back his picture before storming out the building.
“If you ask me, he put the ad in the right place. Life as you know it will end once you get married,” said Vipin as he took his seat behind Ranjit on the motorbike. Ranjit smacked him on the head with the bundled newspaper.
Been travelling a bit these past few days and had a tussle with the flu. But just as the title, I’m Stayin’ Alive, and so is this blog!