Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Phantom of the Theatre

No whistles, boos or cheers! Things one associate with a movie theatre, especially when the audience is mostly boys, was missing. Yeah, boys! Who said I am a man all grown up, eh?

But the show was beginning - the late night show!

These shows have become more of a habit now: The after-work games and movie sessions at my place with friends Kannan, James Hardy and occasional guests - Engineer Ram, and couple of other friends of Kannan.

But 1 O’ clock in the morning is never late-night for me, is it?

It is the usual time I leave office and yesterday, being a relatively uneventful day in the sporting world, I reached home just past midnight. Actually, I would have taken a little bit more time had my friend Kannan not given me a “ride” on his bike.

Not exactly a "lift" in the conventional sense of it though as I had my own wheels, my cycle, and Kannan was riding his Thunderbird. But I used my trusted old right hand to cling on to his bike back-rest as he rode in a sedate speed to accommodate this awkward passenger. But it was fun, something we have been doing quite often these days.

Once work is over at office, I usually end up sitting on my terminal, most of the time keying in the poems I may have written during the day, while Kannan and Hardy would be doing what they love most. The former, designer beyond par, will be checking out video games, while the latter - the wise guy among sports journalists in Chennai - will be researching means to hack and download music for free.

And then the suggestion one day by Kannan: “Hey, why can't we go to your place and hook up the Playstation and kick some butt?”

You know what my answer would be right. “The doors are open baby,” I had replied and so it began. First with Playstation and then suddenly we developed this taste for movies.

Movies... MOVIES?

Yes, the motion picture kind. Movies are completely against my nature and I am not exaggerating here at all. My brother Leo had downloaded and saved a few movies on my hard-disk and I had never watched it till last week when Kannan, while browsing through my files, suggested they were good. And this designer dude has a big collection on his laptop too. That was the beginning of the end I guess - the end of sleep, I mean!

Of course, I agree that my place is a dump but as a theatre it just rocks. Then there is the added comfort of the nearly non-existent bed where one can stretch and watch the flick of choice by the click of a mouse. And of course the digital surround-sound from my speakers, though small, is powerful enough to wake up the neighbours. We found that the hard way actually.

Two weeks back, me and Kannan, a little drunk of course, put the speakers to full blast. It was around midnight and my neighbour came up and politely said the volume is a bit on the higher side.

“Sorry boss,” I waved, smiling with pride at the power of my speakers. And in a deft move of my left hand I reduced the volume, all this while negotiating a high speed corner. We were playing 'Need for Speed' on Playstation you see.

And then came the movies one after the other, usually the sessions lasting till we hear the Big Mosque in Triplicane invite the righteous for their morning prayers. A couple of binges were there too, hardly avoidable, especially at the start of the month when we are hell-bound on spending money on booze and birds, the latter sadly eluding us till now.

Yesterday it was a French movie, again a contribution of Leo. The video had some problems but the movie was entertaining. “Now that's a movie with attitude man,” said Kannan afterwards.

But Kannan man, it is not the movie; I feel it is our surprise visitor who is so full of attitude – ‘The Phantom of the Theatre’.

All was set for the day's show, laptop on chair, our tired butts on the floor, speakers connected and just as I was going to switch off the lights, a sudden yell from Kannan.

“Yo, man what's that?” he asked. Couple of F-words later I answered, “It's a bloody rat dude and how did it come in here.”

Show him the door, I suggested to Kannan, who tried it by slightly opening the door so that this little brat can go out. But the visitor seemed to be in no mood to oblige and was getting cozy between my shoes. I tried to urge it to move forward to which it squeaked and ran towards the TV and poof!

“Where did it go man,” I asked, searching through the mess in my room and promising myself that I would clean it up first thing in the morning. But somehow I had to get rid of the rat first.

But he was nowhere to be found. So we got back to our movie which got over at four in the morning. Kannan was packing up his stuff ready to leave while I was just wiping clean the food crumbs.

Few minutes later, the designer rode off, to the sunrise! Leaving me all alone with the ‘Phantom’.

Now Kannan was sure the rat had gone out and I believed him too. I was not getting sleep though and so I logged on to the net and was checking some random stuff when the ‘Phantom’ reappeared, this time menacingly active.

Perhaps it was time for its morning jog. I tried the ‘showing the door’ routine and what do you know, the ‘Phantom’ obliged as if it knew the show was over for the day. Adios amigo. But wait, will he make another appearance?

As for cleaning up my room, well if I had cleaned it today, then who will update my blog? You?

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