“A sudden smile is like a gentle sneeze, it relieves you and is best unnoticed. Laughter is like a fart, relaxing for you but awkward for others.” The performer paused looking for any reaction from the audience. Fewer people were laughing than the one cracking jokes. This was not what the organizer wanted. With a room full of people who paid for the event, something needed to be done and quick. As if a stroke of genius hit the organizer, she went up the stage and announced, “It is time to include you, our guests in the experience. We’ll randomly select a name from the guest list. She or he will get a chance to perform and an opportunity to win prizes.” In front of her was a glass jar with folded papers. She picked one and said, “The lucky person to get this chance is, Oved!”
“Oved, please come up on the stage. A large round of applause for Oved, everyone”
As the audience clapped in relief, Oved got up, hesitantly, from his seat. He stepped up on the stage and was blinded by the lights.
“Hello, Oved!” Peony handed a microphone to him.

Hanah and Oved wanted to meet but weren’t sure if they could spend all the time talking. Between awkward pauses, their last meeting had ended abruptly. This time they decided to go to a comedy evening. Oved was already sitting when Hanah arrived. She noticed a bag on the table.
“What’s this?”
“Go ahead, see for yourself” Oved said.
She opened the sling bag. There were a few sheets of paper and a wooden box. She took the box out. Its lid had a peacock carved on it. She slid the box open. Underneath a layer of cotton, lay some charcoal sticks. She picked one of the sticks and put it back. Then, she covered it with cotton and closed the lid. There was a metal sign, that read “Out of Order”.
“Why do you have an out of Order sign in your bag?”
“Sometimes, I have to use the public toilet”
“So, how can you use one while someone is taking a dump next to you?”
“Yeah, that feels gross but how does this help?”
“Well, I always use the last one and put this sign on the adjacent. That saves me from the noise and smell.
“Where do you get these ideas?”
“Mostly, by watching Mr. Bean. Also, I’m very unlucky”

“What do you do?” Peony asked as Oved moved trying to dodge the lights.
“I disappoint people. Mostly, that. For a living I find bugs in code and hope engineers continue to be lousy at their jobs.”
Somebody laughed.
“Well, not disappointing for a start! Let’s see what you have to say and whether you are the winner. If you want to get some time to think, sing a love song for us”
Peony winked as the audience cheered. Oved held the microphone closer.

“There’s something I don’t understand. Why is it that every time a crowd decides to embarrass someone, they make him sing. It is such a cliche. The victim makes excuses like having a bad voice or sore throat. Then, some smart ass will say that we’re all lousy singers. The crowd tries to convince that everyone suffers while he sings. We are ready to suffer, they say. If all you want is suffering, then I have a suggestion. Next time, you pick a target and ask him to give everyone a haircut. That way, even after the drinks and amusements, the embarrassment stays. Everyone truly suffers. Every look in the mirror, every curious look outside, will be a reminder.”

The audience looked perplexed. Many looked at the beer and food as their savior.

“Nobody sees a gold mine and says, ‘here, let me add a nickel too!’ It feels like seeding a torrent after the download is completed. But here I am, trying to be funny at the Comedy Evening. However, I am a very unique person. It is not merely the unique perspective that I bring to conversations. My whole life I have taken the road less traveled challenged the status quo. Not afraid to swim upstream. I am a Maverick.”

“This is evident from all the choices I make. Do not stereotype me. I ride an Activa. Silver grey, 3G edition. Better than the cleverly named 1G and 2G that came before it. Surprisingly different from the 4G and 5G that were launched after it every year. If I do not consciously repeat the parking slot until I reach my office desk, then it becomes a struggle to find it. I ride like an old woman. Sometimes, I get overtaken by guys who have time to remove their helmet and spit on the road.”

“My career choice sets me apart. I chose engineering. Who does that? That too computer science. Only to be hired by a top IT company, along with mere 400 students. This company had more employees than my college fees, or the rank I got to enter the college. Perhaps, my rank was more but one in a million.”

“You cannot place me with the dime a dozen software guys who wear sports shoes to work. Peer pressure is not a thing for me. I wear riding shoes to work. Co-branded by BMW, on a 110 cc mean metal of mayhem. Don’t assume I bought these shoes because the girl at the showroom complimented me. At an age, where my mother struggles to find me cute, my beer belly is as disloyal as those who question our Supreme Leader. My double chin is as desperate to come out as Eurus Holmes. I can almost hear it say, “let the world know”

“These are the shoes that I’ll wear on a bike trip across the country. Obviously, after my friend who can ride bikes agrees. More likely, after I lose the extra weight the health reports keep cribbing about. Yes, it’s the shoes that set me apart.”

“I remain a man of simple tastes. However, to spice up my sex life, I decided to try anal. To experience it, I started taking Ola share to work. You cannot imagine the number of times that thing can go in and out of the same place. You step out of your house, sit in the company of strangers and then, move in the opposite direction to pick a person who is pro at testing the timeout of the cab wait time. The mysterious voice on the driver’s phone tells directions to the house, then we wait watching the timer touch 30 seconds. Out of nowhere, comes out a lady who’d have given you a heart attack, if it wasn’t day time. She begins shouting her OTP as she sits in the car, filling the air with her perfume and demands, Please turn on the A/C!”

“That was wonderful but your time is over!” Peony said as she rang the bell
“Wow, that was quite funny!” Hanah shouted as Oved returned to his seat
“You think so?”
“I saw Top Gun at a very early age. My wardrobe was filled with posters of airplanes. However, at this age, the only thing common between me and Maverick is that none of us got promoted.”

Also published on Medium.