Twas all because of two twee tweets that the tree, bloody twat, broke in twain and wiped me out. I am sure of it.
An international conspiracy, no less.
As some of my tweeple maybe aware, the minutes and hours after Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, for really really truly deeply madly wanting world peace more than anyone else, yours truly madly deeply may have poked an inordinate amount of fun at this decision. The idea, of course, was not to make light of the venerable Obama at all. Take that thought and immediately perish it I say.
I am a total Obama fan boy. The US president is tall, fit, good-looking, immensely intelligent, a wonderful public speaker, a good writer and a terrible bowler of right arm leg-spinners. What does that mean? Exactly, he is the anti-Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.
But being the Bizarro-Siva alone does not qualify one to win the Nobel Prize for Peace. Maybe a Hero Honda "Most Crucial Player Who Assisted In A Turning Point During A Powerplay (Day-Night Only) of The Tournament Award" with cash prize and free bike. But little more.
So I was quite tickled by the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the prize to the big O.
Off I fired a couple of tweets in mirth.
Of course it was meant with no malice whatsoever. It was all as if I am standing next to Obama and gently poke him in the ribs with my elbow and wise-cracking. Like friends you know.
Said tweets were retweeted merrily and one was even quoted by a magazine state-side.
I believe this was the incident which triggered retribution. I was no longer with him, I was now against him. I believe this media coverage was subsequently picked up by that US agency responsible for the capture, slow torture and eventual assassination of foreigners resident in other countries: i.e. Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I kid. I mean the CIA. The CIA then alerted the Delhi branch of Obama's black ops team who then prepared a stake out in order to eliminate the threat posed by my Twitter feed. It was an audacious attempt. One meant to tell everybody never to mess with the leader of the free world.
I survived. Just.
The attack transpired as I left the safety of my office last Thursday and walked out to the Costa Coffee at CP. The missus, Pastrami and Lover Boy were already waiting for me at the cafe in our usual spot in the right-handed corner of the ground-floor section. I confidently walked out looking all journalist-like with my man-bag and Blackberry. I stepped out of the office and took a right, putting me on a path that flanked the American Center immediately on one side. And Kasturba Gandhi Marg on the left side.
Till this point I had always regarded the American Center very highly indeed. They have a good library with many superb magazines and often host interesting lectures, talks and movie shows. And recently they also had this mural stuck on the facade which showcased Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther together. Nice.
But housing clandestine belligerents? Not so nice.
Not knowing any of this, I quickly strode, late for our meeting as ever, past the the police jeep that is always present outside the American Center. For a moment I slowed my steps as I prepared to update Twitter with this message: "The MTS mobile service launch has to be the lamest ever."
(You've seen the billboards? Guys with spiked hair surrounded by low-budget photoshop thingies. Epic Network Fail.)
And then blank. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Oblivion. I suddenly feel like I am asleep but dreaming dreams without visuals. Just noises in the background. Very confusing. An Adoor Gopalakrishnan dream. All the sounds were mostly people talking, with the hint of a police siren now and then.
Next moment I am limbering onto a bed at the emergency ward at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. My specs are missing, my shirt is all over the place, my mouth feels numb and my head feels as if it's been through a washing machine on full speed spin as the machine tumbles over Niagara Falls during an earthquake.
Remember how you've made fun of those 80s and 90s Bollywood classics where the hero recovers from blunt trauma to his cranium? As his eyes open everybody looks blurred, like the Loch Ness monster...
Recovering hero: "Mein Kaun Hu? Mein Kahaan Hu?" Hu Jintao: "Vijay bete aap aspatal mein Ho..." Ho Chi Minh: "What?" Hu: "Was not talking to you Dude..." Kamaal Rashid Khan (KRK): "Yes...?"
Oh how much we all have made fun of that no?
Well stop doing that.
Because that's exactly what I had to do too. Groggy, I asked the policemen standing next to me what had happened. Where was I? What day was it? What time was it?
And then he told me what had transpired: "Bhai saab ped gir gaya aapke upar."
Even in that concussed state my mind thought to itself: "Ah. So in hindi tree is masculine!" And then shortly after: "Wait. A tree fell on me? LOL."
Apparently I was walking by the American Center when suddenly, without warning, without natural motivation, a large portion of the tree outside the American Center entrance broke and fell right on top of my head. This was not some small branch of a huge tree. But a sizable chunk of the tree itself. One bit knocked me out as it struck me on top of my head, the other smashed and slithered down my back, and assorted bits bruised me all over.
But that is all conjecture. I have no idea AT ALL what happened. Oddly enough my left ear and cheek, and my left big toe were hurting as well.
One of the cops confirmed that it had been only 30 minutes since I left office. Then I suddenly realized that I didn't remember anything of the previous several hours. And when a cop tried to fill in a form I realized I didn't remember my phone number or home address either. This was all getting very creepy indeed.
At which moment my phone rang and I remembered that I owned a phone. It was the missus.
The gang set out for the hospital immediately. Meanwhile a doctor came over and I told him that I did not remember anything. "Oh that's alright. You have retrograde amnesia," he said with a tad too much enthusiasm. And then gave me a tetanus shot on my Side B. Then the cops wanted me to call someone besides the missus. So I looked up my last dialled numbers and phoned my boss. The man can never lose composure in any circumstance and coolly asked me if I remembered lunch.
I did vaguely. It was at The Chinese. Thankfully this kick-started the memory retrieval process. (Now I clearly remember eating the Home-Style Stir Fried Fish.) Boss immediately dispatched a fact-finding mission from the office.
Now I'd like to regale you with hilarious details of my X-rays and CT scans in the emergency ward but unfortunately I don't remember much. It's all a fuzzy blur of grubby tile-walled rooms, brusque doctors and crowds. Later I was told that my brain would act like a little pen drive: all the things I picked up while amnesiac would fade away and be replaced by forgotten things that happened before the accident.
But thankfully due to a life full of high cholesterol diets and a head of hair of helmet like consistency I seem to have escaped with nothing more than a few bruises and a very badly strained neck. Much of the foliage merely bounced off my cellulite.
I do occasionally wear a neck collar when it gets particularly painful. (Brief digression. True blurb from box containing neck collar: "Collar offers comfortable immobilization!") This takes the pressure off the neck muscles somewhat. And prevents me from suddenly swinging my head from side to side when I am in the office and one of my smoking hot female media colleagues walk by breaking news flashes across the newsroom demanding instant editorial attention.
Also I was pleased to note that people in Delhi are extremely polite when they see the convalescing with their neck support collars. Just this weekend I was crossing one of the inner roads in CP when I almost got run over by a bike. But the biker turned around, noticed my collar and politely--unbelievable this--smiled and referred to only one close female relative as he rode off. I was quite moved and clapped a little.
However while I have survived the ordeal with some bruises, a week's worth of physiotherapy, and scratches on the backside of my BlackBerry, my hatred for the US Government is total. Clearly the US Government had arranged for the encounter outside the American Center and made it to look like an entirely freak accident. Many conspiracies theories have been spiraling around at home, but I am convinced it was a death ray from one of their spy satellites hovering over New Delhi that hit the tree and led to the assault. Triggered by operatives, "cultural attaches" no doubt, housed in the American Center.
Americans, your retaliation was a pathetic cowardly attempt at trying to silence my voice. I am not fazed. I will not step down. I will not stop. I shall overcome. I believe in miracles. I'm the Neal, I'm the man, rockstar, superstar. I contain multitudes.
You don't scare me. However I am willing to settle this peacefully in exchange for a green card and a country farm house somewhere in New England. Or controlling stake in Chrysler. Or a Kindle 2.
p.s. For the record this blog never broke up, it took a 12 week vacation
p.p.s. Expect major book updates sometime next week. A little bit of exciting new paperwork needs to be completed. I want to blab. But it would be premature right now.