I have always loved irking people. Nothing amuses me more than a mild dose of friendly banter and watching the ensuing reactions- especially when I know that the other person is unlikely to reciprocate with an equal amount of ‘friendliness’ 😉
My earliest recollections of indulging in this pastime are some incidents that commonly occur at home. Cousins slipping and falling in the garden, mom dropping the milk jar in the kitchen and other such unintentional gaffes always seemed to amuse me thoroughly. It isn’t that their very act of committing the mistake and thereby succumbing to some injury/loss amused me. My laughing at their blunder would inevitably irritate them and that was what made me laugh – in advance. So I used to laugh first and when the expected reaction would occur, I would laugh even more. And it has never failed to fetch the predicted results.
While at high school, I stumbled upon a gem of a fictional character called Professor Cuthbert Calculus in the Adventures of Tintin series. He is hard of hearing and gets on everyone’s nerve by mishearing what everyone says and substituting it with a rhyming word. If you ask him, “Professor, don’t you think our flight is taking a little too long?” he would quip, “Hong Kong? But I thought we are heading towards Bulgaria!” My admiration of Calculus was so profound that I aped him for years and drove people nuts with my indigenously and instantaneously improvised rhyme substitutes during everyday conversations. It is one habit I haven’t quite shaken off – I still practice it on some pals of mine who were probably the first witnesses (or should I say, victims) of this novel habit. 😉
I took to spoonerisms eventually. I would interchange the first syllables of the last two words used in a sentence by someone who was conversing with me. For e.g. one of my friends once asked me, “Have you seen the movie, Tum Bin?” and I perplexed him with the question, “What is Bum Tin?” 😉 I would spoonerize whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and it went to such a degree that people would actually spoonerize the words themselves before telling it to me so that when I spoonerize that, I would be getting it right!
Beef. That is what I took to saying since last year. As the past usages were heavily dependant on what the other person would say, I thought I should invent something original, independent and laconic. So when my friend and classmate asked me, “Hey, have you done that assignment on financial analysis of statements for tomorrow’s submission,” I answered, “BEEF!” He expected a yes or a no and some rationale to back either of my answers but all he got was one incongruent answer. And it was great fun to see him staring back at me shaking his head, trying to make sense of what I had just said. I tried some minor variations like Buffalo beef but then I thought it best not to tamper with original stuff.
I then realized that my scope is always limited to the people I know, especially to those who I encounter every day. And it gets narrower and narrower as people will quickly learn that I am out to irritate them and will either stay away from me or find an antidote. So I thought it would be a great idea to irritate complete strangers or those who I don’t get to meet personally nowadays. So I started blogging!!!
But if you think I am the master of this game, then you must try reading Arundhati Roy and Joseph Heller. Pages and pages of completely incongruent stuff. They are my true inspirations. My imitation of Calculus and Spooner pales in comparison to their Veluthas and Yossarians. For one, the titles of their novels make no sense and have nothing to do with the rest of the content inside the book – exactly what I have tried to imitate in this blog. There is no rationale in the writing and there is no explanation for why the rationale is missing. And since this trick can’t be repeated often, these authors have penned one or very few books. I can imagine how uncontrollably Roy would have been laughing in her bathroom after she was declared the Booker Prize winner – play a prank on people and get rewarded for it! Heller’s readers are convinced that the book depicts black humor – but are yet to find it. Perhaps he deliberately made it so black that it is invisible. So I am not the only one. Just wanted to tell you that.
You might be wondering why the title reads Dhobidas Deshpande of all things. Well, that is my latest coinage – like beef and all the others that preceded it. No logic there. Ha-ha, so I have sprung it on you really well because you have read this blog till here. I had a great time pulling this prank on you. Please post your comments – I will edit it or block it to double your irritation and triple my amusement. More innovative ideas on how to bug people are also welcome. And yes, I have started to write my own book. You never know – I might just win the next Booker Prize! 😉