Have you heard the Tiger story?

The one where the boy goes shouting Tiger Tiger and the tiger never shows up. And one day when it actually does in the F and B(for Flesh and Blood – as it would apply in OUR point of view; NOT Food and Beverage as it might in the Tigers’ point of view), no one believes him.

Well the boy in question happens to be in Mumbai right now even as you read this. And it must be said that he didn’t come here for pleasure. Or for business. He, to cut a long story short, set off to save his ass. Yes. That’s quite a natural reason. For if you knew the events that occurred over the months prior to us discussing his precise whereabouts in Mumbai, you would agree that it was quite a natural and commonly acceptable and socially agreeable impulse to embark on such an expedition.

Let me elaborate clearly on what I mean by ‘saving his ass’ before I explain the build up. He just didn’t want to be mauled and killed. And if he did escape an attack, he certainly didn’t want to live a life with a handicapping inferiority complex. For which self respecting man would like to picture living his life, especially the part involving his raw youth, with bums that are scarred like they rested on a hot griller? I wonder if you can fathom the enormous plight of the man whom we now know is in the thick of raw youth.

Well for months before he embarked on this mission in Mumbai, the young man has been much like the BMC that says its roads will be ready and smooth before the monsoon. Monsoon after monsoon has come and gone, yet they tirelessly parrot the same thing over and over. Potholes remain. More often than not, they get worse. If a pothole doesn’t get worse, there’s a new one that miraculously ‘surfaces’ – pardon the pun – close by. You must admit though, without prejudice, that the BMC has been fairly consistent and dependable on their message to the public.

A satellite picture of the moon and Mumbai roads might look the same.

So our young man has been predictably shouting ‘Tiger Tiger’ for as long back as ones memory can serve one.

And, as the story gives us to believe, and, as the good Lord expects us to, the probability of the Tiger showing up in the F & B was increasing each time the words ‘Tiger Tiger’ passed his lips. For, the benefit of a lie or a thoughtless promise never served anyone longer than ones lifetime. Sooner or later it is bound to catch up. And so it would, in the life of the youth under discussion.

The thing with stories like Tiger Tiger is that they are painstakingly simplified. And the result often is that similar events, situations, occur oft in our lives – so awfully inconspicuously that we seldom realize it. It takes enormous wisdom to see the parallel.

As it is in the case of the youth. For months now he has been yelling ‘Tiger Tiger’. No tiger showed up. People were annoyed with him and were beginning to realize what a load of gas this youth was turning out to be. They heard him say ‘Tiger Tiger’ increasingly with the same involvement, the same eagerness and the same conviction that they heard, for ex., the weather report or G0rge Bush’s speech.

And the mood sort of caught up with our young man. One morning, before dawn, our youth was, out of the blue, hit by a lightening bolt of wisdom. He could tell that the Tiger would indeed be right there staring at him one day. And he would have to then run. Run for dear life. The blood curdling snarl of the tiger behind him would push him to run faster. He could almost feel the warm panting breath of the angry tiger around his ankles – how could he think of outrunning a Tiger!? He could picture the tiger taking a calculated leap. Its paws opening menacingly as it flew in the air to pounce on him and pin him down. If he was luckly the Tiger would have timed its leap badly. And he would survive. Albeit with the deep gnashes of its paws on his youthful bums. On the otherhand, if the timing of the leap was impeccably perfect, he figured that just sheer fear would pass him out before he got mauled.

And he resolved he wouldn’t shout ‘Tiger Tiger’ anymore. So he decided to set out of his comfort zone bravely and come to a place where he can himself confront the tiger head on. With chin up and chest out. Head-on.

Like a real man.

And bury the tiger forever. Once and for all.

So he took a ticket to Mumbai’s Churchgate station and headed straight to the booking counter. And took a two way ticket. And waited for the 6.07 pm local train at on a weekday.

This would be it. He would confront the Tiger. Finally. And fulfill a promise. And regain his own honour.

It was 5.57 pm on his watch. And he waited for the Local to pull into the busy Churchgate station.

He was breathing heavily. There was much at stake. What mattered most now, was his honor. That was paramount. He couldn’t be bothered with his bones now. Or of having the Tiger rip the epidermis off his ass. Honour. Honour it is.

He saw the Tiger appear far away. It was but a tiny speck in the distance. Becoming bigger with each moment as it came closer. It was now about 6.03 pm…..and the speck grew into sight, and the Virar local pulled into platform 4 at Churchgate … . . .

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