Pornography in the Park
Large corporate companies with their equally large hearts have sponsored free Wi-Fi in some public areas. Unlike the Wi-Fi in your parents’ basement, this shit has no firewalls or parental controls, so whatever you want, you access. It doesn’t take long for pornography to make it to the top of the list. And when free pornography infiltrates a sexually depraved society, it becomes the new norm.
Parthiban had barely been interested in the third standard, so he felt it was best he didn’t attend school and find something more meaningful to do - make money. When he was younger he’d make tea runs that made him five to ten rupees a day, or help the old butcher run errands, or just kick rocks to pass the time. He is 18 now. Things have gotten more advanced in 10 years; he sometimes has to drive a truck for the old butcher. Other times he works at construction sites moving sand, bricks, concrete; things 100 times heavier than tea.
He always worked with his friends, Karthik and Mani. They were always there. Recently, in the evening or when they didn’t have work they sat at Kaanchan park because there was free Wi-Fi. All of them had smart phones because the last elected chief minister had offered them phones with his face on it, in return for a tick in the right box.
“That man has a big heart” Mani always said, even if they were talking about something else. Every time he gripped his phone, he’d say it. Karthik and Parthiban would always agree.
“For one tick in a box, he gives so many people smart phones” he’d continue “and the latest models too”.
“Even Gandhi wouldn’t have got my vote” Karthik would follow. It was the same every time.
“Yea if Gandhi was alive, he wouldn’t have got my vote” Parthiban would emphasize.
They also had free sim cards and free data for six months because a new network company wanted to expand and advertise. For long periods of time they would sit with their heads bowed, devoted to the latest trending videos, and their spam filled e-mail accounts that made promises of prizes, larger erections, new TVs, and anything that was bigger, stronger, faster, newer.
“I’m telling you, I’m learning so much from the net. Have you seen the latest video of a man from Patna who squished a rat with his motorcycle?” Mani asked.
Karthik and Parthiban quickly looked up puzzled nodding no.
He pulls them in as he cups both his hands around the device.
“Apparently he was riding at night and he squished a rat, just wait….you can see it….. see?”
All their faces quickly twisted into a wince “this happened last week it seems, and the man got very sick and had to be taken to a hospital, you know why?” Mani continued.
“Hospital? I thought only the rat got squished!” Parthiban asked.
“That’s what everyone thought, but that chutiya had a big cut on his leg, and some of the rat’s blood somehow got into that cut and it got fully bad, I think he died now.” Mani paused for a second to take a drag from his beedi “You know how many rats I’ve killed in my own house? I only know now that I shouldn’t touch those chuths. We can all die.”
“Too many” Parthiban said “Your house is run by rats, I’m surprised you don’t pay rent to a rat” he laughed uncontrollably with Karthik. Mani was not so amused.
“Chuths, at least now I know that I shouldn’t touch them” he repeated under his breath.
They left for the night, they had work early in the morning at a new construction site, and then they would all meet here again around 2pm.
Parthiban and Karthik sat on a boulder at the construction site sipping their morning tea. It was 5 am, Mani was late. The mud from all the construction the day before had settled but there was a mist, and it was still dark. They could see the landscape of machines in their slumber, the large wheels curled into the earth, the levers all leaned forward in a rested “off”.
At about 5:15 after they finished their tea and smoked their morning beedi, they walked towards the machines to begin pillaging the earth, leaving it completely changed for the next day. Mani was still nowhere to be seen.
At 10:00 am Parthiban and Karthik decided to take their second break at the tea stall. In the distance from the other side of the construction site a cloud of dust was moving toward them.
“Is that…Mani?” Parthiban asked squinting with his head turned, his fingers and palm arranged at his brows.
“Ya, why is he in such a hurry?” Karthik was confused.
By the time Mani had made his way over to them, he was out of breath but his eyes were filled with excitement.
“Where were you? I have been looking for you all morning. I have to show you something” he said fiddling around in his pocket, panting “after we left yesterday, I couldn’t sleep so I put on my data and I saved these videos that my friends from Karna sent me”.
The machines in the landscape continuously interrupted him; grinding, drilling, revving, boring, dropping, moving.
Karna was a village about 50 kilometers away, it takes an hour and half to travel there by bus depending on how full it was, and how many stops it made.
Mani pulled out his phone and opened his camera to videos.
“My friends somehow downloaded this video from one website and they have had it for months now, they watch it all the time and they sent it to me, I didn’t send it to you chuths cause you all act too smart sometimes”.
He started the video. There was a firangi woman with gold hair walking on the side of the road, she was not wearing too much clothing. Then three firangi men approached her and they talked for a while. It seemed like they had a good conversation, maybe she was lost and she needed help getting home. She started taking off her clothes and then they were all naked on the side of the road.
Grinding, drilling, revving, boring, dropping, moving, pushing and pushing and pushing.
“You chuth, you didn’t show this to us before?” Karthik said smiling from ear to ear.
“Chup kar na chuth! The best part is” Mani continued “my friends thought it was so good, that they wanted to make something like this on their own, why not? we have roadsides also.” Mani moved on to the next video.
It had no audio. A young woman from the village was on her way back home from work. She was not lost; she did not need help. Grinding, drilling, revving, boring, dropping, screeching, screaming, breaking, pushing, moving, pushing, moving. The machines interrupted louder than before, their presence was clear.
They had to shout to hear each other.
“They’ve passed it on to the whole village, soon it will come to our village too” Mani said smugly.
“Look at her, her bangles are all broken” Parthiban said laughing
“Sala kuta! When we do it you can ask the girl to take her bangles off if you are so worried about them!” Mani laughed back.
The machines quietened down, dust began to settle. They sipped on their tea and went back to work.