“The closest that I’ve been to a woman in my life is ‘– 8 inches’ …”
- Rowen Alphonso Pereira
Famous last words? The fact that this bloke has gotten himself married to a really nice girl in recent times would make one surmise that these would have made nice last words indeed considering that these words were uttered long before he got married. But, this statement too, like innumerable others which were uttered in the recklessness that can only be induced by the consumption of certain alcoholic concoctions (not excluding cough syrup) couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. That’s ‘minus 8 inches’ by the way if you were wondering … and may God have mercy on your soul if you’re still wondering. Read on …
If you’ve ever read the story of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, then you could possibly begin to comprehend the effect that alcohol has had (and will always have) on this otherwise well groomed, ‘soft spoken’, well behaved and devout Catholic Manglorean lad (that’s quite a mouthful of good words that I’ve heaped upon him, but bear with me won’t you?). One minute he’s Rowen, the good natured dude we’d all come to love and the next, he’s sweaty, mad-eyed and horny (and this is when there were only us guys around). Most scientific investigations into the matter have concluded quite univocally that this indeed is the way that a normal human body should react when there’s too little blood in one’s alcohol stream but our man Rowen, here, was probably the reason why the term ‘alter ego’ was invented. Even the clumsy, mild mannered Clark
One thing that they both (Superman and Rowen) do have in common however is ‘Kryptonite’. Now, let’s not get the wrong idea here, that Rowen gets all light headed and woozy when exposed to Kryptonite. He’s hardly the sole survivor of the ancient planet of Krypton, who’s adopted our world as his own. I’m merely using ‘Kryptonite’ as a metaphor here (What? You’ve never heard of ‘Kryptonite’ being used as a metaphor before? Sue me!) . For those who’re wondering what I’m talking about here (read: rotting under a rock for the last 10 years), here’s a flashback to 2003 when Rowen, as our beloved class representative was addressing us on the last day of college where he began his speech thus - ‘Big problems come in small sizes …’
When Rowen addressed the congregation on his wedding day, I kinda drifted back to ‘those days’. It’s funny how we always think of ‘those day’ when we have our hands full with ‘these days’, but ‘those’ were truly the days to be in. I’m sure that I wouldn’t be alone in wishing that I had a time machine that could just take me back in time to the days that were so that I might then be able to savour and relive all those memories gone by, but only through the eyes of an outsider this time around. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as much fun as being part of all those ‘events’ but I’ve always maintained that somebody ought to have videotaped all that crap!
Rowen’s always had a penchant for women who exceeded the height of the average Indian woman and women with below average height for an Indian woman, have always had a penchant for Rowen. He spent the first couple of semesters chasing bigger women (note how I’ve subtly concealed the fact that it was just one woman) and little women (same technique of subterfuge) spent the next six chasing him. To be or ‘Nath’ to be, that was always the question for Rowen in the beginning but the dude managed to shake her … er, ‘them’ (phew) off like a bad habit … eventually, or so he claims. Rumours, however had it that the woman in question here noticed one evening as she was walking to
When Rowen was in the prime of his youth, he weighed a couple of hundred pounds and was a couple of inches taller than he is today. He could have been the face of
The story goes that at the height of the imaginary affair that this woman was having with our lad (as a consequence of which she followed Rowen more efficiently than the Hutch nework), she once actually mustered the courage to go all the way to his house one day. Her alibi was that she had to see a doctor and needed to use the phone urgently. The poor lad fortunately saw her coming (arriving … just in case you’re a pervert) and managed to hide himself in the remotest corner of his house. I don’t know whether it was the knowledge that she knew where he lived or the fact that she had to see a doctor and was at his house as a consequence that scared the dude out of his pants, but the fact remains that he did not come out of the nook that he had chosen to hide himself in, till the next morning. This saga too, sadly (for us, not for Rowen) came to an end however, the means by which we’re not entirely clear about but the very fact that the abominable kutty was conspicuous by her absence at Mangalore is reassuring that ‘it’ is truly over.
Stories abound about Rowen’s escapades during
Rowen never had to invite anybody twice to his house. He’d just have to tell us that he was having the house to himself for half a day, and people would just miraculously apparate at his house. Rowen’s folks used to make this killer wine at home that was to just die for. So much so, that the demand would often well exceed supply. Once, we were all done with quenching our ‘thirsts’, our lad suddenly realized that his little scam ran the risk of being discovered by his folks. So, he devised the strategy of emptying multiple bottles half way and then topping them up with water so that his folks would always find full bottles. I guess, they stopped making the stuff at home when one of their guests complained that the wine that they were being served tasted like water. So, ended Rowen’s little scam and our happy hours. :D
But, that’s definitely not the end of Rowen’s affiliations with alcohol. Like I’d said a little earlier on, Rowen’s just not the same person when he’s under the influence. He turns into this (for lack of a better term) horny, sweaty bull-dozer with a perpetual grin etched upon his face. Flash back to our class trip to Ooty and Kodaikanal …
When Rowen got himself tipsy during that trip (Gardhi had his first taste of kerosene during this outing), all hell broke loose and the poor dude managed to do all kinds of unspeakable stuff that even a hundred confessions wouldn’t have helped. The first sign that things were about to take a turn for the worst was when
“You ****in’ ***res … what the **** are you doing in there … and what the **** is all that light supposed to be? A ****in’ nightlamp? Come out here …” (The rest shall not be mentioned here to safeguard the modesty of all people concerned … especially Rowen’s ;) ) … THUD ! (That was Rowen falling down on the floor with a resounding, earth shattering thud).
We all thought that we could safely go to sleep, now that the worst was over (what could be worse than that? ), but our (my) slumber was to be shortlived. I was rudely awakened (manhandled) by the bloke at around 3 in the morning and was rather taken aback even in my groggy state that the moron was in tears. Five minutes later and he was positively bawling his heart out. He had apparently woken up and found himself on the floor. The effects of the booze hadn’t worn off yet, so the act of removing himself from the floor took quite a herculean effort. Once, he was on his feet (all four of them in his own words), he felt the sudden inexplicable urge to visit the adjoining little room with lots of taps. He manages to find the room and ‘sit’ down but unfortunately falls asleep again on the ‘throne’ to wake up a little later only to find himself face to face with a cat (“pussy”) with whom he has a heart rendering conversation about life, the universe and everything … and about the presence of ‘non veg’ all around (clarified below). It was after what has gone down as Rowen’s ‘dialogues with the pussy’ that he decided that he needed to come clean about certain ‘bad things’ that he’d done in his life … and who should he bestow the honour of listening to his tirade but yours truly. Ravi swears to this day that he was asleep and he didn’t hear a word of what Rowen told me, but I swear that I could see the sly bastard from the corner of my eye, shaking with laughter everytime Rowen uttered something controversial … and boy were there controversial topics aplenty mentioned. The highlights were –
(a) He lost his virginity while Xeroxing his notes at Krishna Xerox. But it was not his fault but the girl’s as she was ‘ready’ and willing. It was a good thing he used protection though, as SARS was going around back then :D
(b) There was blood splatters on the walls of the lodge and this was attributable either to the lodge’s being haunted or to the fact that it was occupied by the girls until a little earlier …
The next morning however, Rowen was a different person (back to normal if it pleases you). No matter what we told him, we were unable to make him remember the events that had transpired the previous night. Whether he was pretending out of shame or whether he truly couldn’t remember anything we’ll never know, but the fact still remains that neither Rowen nor I remember anything that happened during the day that followed that night of horror … we slept like babies in the bus the whole day … me from lack of sleep and him from the mother of all hangovers.
All things said and done, Rowen was, is and always will be one of my best friends. He’ll always be Mr. Class rep in our hearts, who got so many internals postponed / cancelled and who influenced so many professors to go easy on their correction of our exams papers as some (all) of the questions were out of syllabus (as was invariably the case, nine out of ten times). He was always ready to lend a helping hand to those who needed assistance and he’s always had a comforting smile for us when times are really bad. Most people would describe Harsha as a gentle giant, but the truth is that it’s rather hard to come to think of Harsha as a giant … it’s Rowen who actually fits the bill. The dude always managed to put a spark into all our trips by singing funny folk songs and doing all kinds of ridiculous stuff that never failed to liven things up (who’ll ever forget the dude dancing in the bus on the way to Balmuri falls … the bus driver aint ever gonna forget for sure ;) ) Always up for adventure, he’s probably the only Pereira on the planet who can boast of having made it up to Palani and back :D. When I look back now onto the tumultuous years that followed engineering, I’ll never forget the fact that Rowen would always call me up whenever I was in Bangalore and he’s also probably the only friend who’ll always thank me when I wish him a very happy ‘Good Friday’ (which was the only time I’d ever call him :D ). I finally realized how out of touch I was with him, when I saw him after a couple of years (of no contact) and couldn’t recognize him for he was ‘half the man he used to be’ (no pun intended) :D The dude had shed a good four stones in weight!
Here’s hoping that marriage will have a sobering effect on the dude for this dude’s always been and will always be high on life …and always the dude who convinced the ‘tronics lab prof. that the KEB signal displayed on his CRO was the ‘distorted output of his transformer circuit’.
Rowen, buddy, pal o’ mine … if you disagree with any of the stuff I've said so far, I’ve only got these words for you, immortalized by Bart Simpson – “Eat my shorts!”