Into the Pyratorium

If you happen to be a friend of the person this post is about, you must already know what this story is going to be.

If you are the girl he likes, or a girl who likes him, you are so very lucky. As you go through this post, you will get to know why.

Before I get into this, before I tell you how the word “Pyrate” came about, I will tell you, first, exactly what pyratepunti is.

It is made up of two non-conventional words, “Pyrate” and “Punti”. Pyrate is something I get to explain later, as it requires context. But “-punti” is what is “-ism” in English.

Pyratepunti is a state of total bliss where he is happy no matter what.

A state of fuck-em-all where he does the things he likes, irrespective of the fact that he is or is not supposed to be doing them.

Pyratepunti is him going to a semester exam, and then getting expelled from the exam hall within fifteen minutes, because he may or may not have been cheating. But it does not seem to matter because he ended up clearing the exam anyway.

The same exam that others wrote for two full hours.

Pyratepunti is him leaving his precious laptop in the backseat of a cab in the pre-uber era, not remembering the face or the number of the taxi. But then getting it back within fifteen minutes because he was determined enough go for a chase of the taxi that had driven away five minutes ago.

Pyratepunti is him walking around the hostel with one leg of his trouser half folded, apparently copying his idol Akshay Kumar from some random movie, even after being trolled n number of times for it already.

Pyratepunti is having an exam the next day and still watching a movie till 10 pm in the night, because he trusts his friend Anubhansoo to read the full syllabus and explain in a way simplified enough to understand. And then clearing the exam anyway.

Pyratepunti is sometimes, being daring enough to read just seven questions out of a set of thirty for the exam the next day and being lucky enough to get five of the read ones in the question paper.

Pyratepunti is walking around the hostel with a hair band in your forearm, because apparently it makes you look cool, even though your other friends disagree.

Pyratepunti is to be the guy who introduced memes to the rest of the gang and end up being trolled himself.

Pyratepunti is him watching undubbed South Indian and Korean movies with subtitles, and expecting the other friends to watch it too, because they are awesome.

Pyratepunti is using the warranty of one pair of earphones to get a new one is exchange in place of another, broken pair.

Pyratepunti is staying updated on the latest price of shoes and shirts on Myntra and Spykar, and using a multitude of coupons to get the products he wants at the cheapest possible price.

Pyratepunti is staying updated on the availability of the latest print of a movie on torrent, and keeping your friends posted about it.

Pyratepunti is playing cricket, counter-strike, badminton, participating in dancing competitions, trying to build a body, watching 3D movies on a laptop (Yes! With a 3D glass) and everything else.

In other words, Pyratepunti is doing the things you like.

In short, Pyratepunti is being happy.

And my addition to that, it also means to be a damn good friend.

Pyrate’s real name is Abhijit. Though I have never called him that. He is the the guy doing the most odd things in a group photo.

Initially I would call him Bengoli. Even today, his number in my phone is saved as “Abhijit Bengol” because I never changed in the twelve years, I have known him.

And later, and there ever after, I sentenced him to be known as Pyrate.

My first memory of him is stark clear and sharply fed into my mind.

On June 18, 2008, I landed in the horror city of Bokaro and checked in to a dilapidated hostel on the top of a supermarket ( I have written about this in my other posts). I reached a little late and so all the other students there had gone to school and the lodge was mostly empty.

After I put down the luggage in my room, I went into the common washroom, and realized the soap was common among all occupants. Disgusted, I came out to the open area of the roof, and was having second thoughts, looking all around.

Then a door behind me opened and walked out Abhijit. Earphones in,  and perhaps listening to the radio (we did not have smartphones with MP3 songs then!) and he looked at me and guessing me to be the new tenant, smiled.

I asked him if the washrooms were ever cleaned. He said they were, sometimes, and suggested that I could keep my own soap, but it may get stolen so better keep it in my room and use it when needed. He also told me about the mess guy who used to deliver food to the hostel, a total scoundrel called “Pandey Ji”.

I chuckled and went back in my room. I did wonder that if all others hostelers had gone to their respective schools, why hadn’t he? The answer to this question would become clear to me afterwards. In the months that followed, I got to understand Bengoli even more.

I grew up with bong teachers and multitude of bong friends in my hometown. But Abhijit was the first one I chose to call Bengoli for reasons unknown.

Even though I stayed in toad lodge for hardly eight months, my memories of bengoli are distinguishable.

I remember his grey-ish no good reliance phone, which in the hands of anyone else, was just a phone, but in his hands, was used to its maximum possible capacity. I distinctly remember his small room and the tube light outside it.

I remember Bengoli being as eager as me to read comics, especially Bankelal. Numerous evenings we sat together, reading the latest comics that we both loved.

I remember the books of Modern and Pradeep in his room, and me going through it, eagerly.

I remember us going to nandoo’s shop and checking out the comics as many times as till we could find something new or one that we could read again.

I remember him asking for my Walkman at times, and me being totally disinclined to give it to him, because I did not know or trust him, yet, until much, much later.

I remember him going to the same tuition as I, to Surender Singh’s physics, albeit in different batches. Whenever he or I would miss a class, we would refer each other’s notes, and at times do the sums in assignment together.

I remember his roommate Vishal distinctly as well, although he was in a different skeletal class of his own. But they were both from the small town of Gomo and student in the same school, DAV, in Bokaro.

I remember his nurturing friendship with Amit, another exemplary case from toad lodge. And it was in the early months of 2009, that I first started to be called “Bhanu” and heard the expressions that I had never heard before, like, “champ diya” (basically flattened someone or something) or “bhiga ke maara” ( meaning insulted someone badly). We did not have facebook, whatsapp or Instagram back then, and so our friendships grew the most organic way… finding things in common and playing games together. Bengoli always knew which radio signal to catch and how, and in what part of the hostel.

My time in toad lodge would end abruptly, with a narrow escape and runaway tale. And with that my interactions with Bengoli would decrease to a minimum. I avoided the toad lodge completely thereafter, and our rare interactions would usually be at laxmi supermarket.

And my memories of him fizzle out slowly into a blur by the early months of 2010.

About two years would go by, with hardly any interaction with Bengali, due to lack of social media or a social life.

All up until that day in 2011, when we all arrived at NIT Jamshedpur to purse the same course together for coming four years.

When brings me to the second, and fun part of this bio-story.

To find him in the same batch and the same department as I was a source of great relief. A familiar face in a crowd of hundreds always is.

Me, him and Bambam started our four years together in the electrical department. And it was in the first week itself, when Pyrate (we did not call him that, yet) was the victim the first hooting in the class (Woooooooooo), as he was walking in. Needless to say, who lead that hooting.

And with that, my memories of him start to get sharper, happier.

I still did not know him enough to trust him yet, but here we were in the same mix of things. Sometimes he would talk to me about my love for Linkin park, and at times, about my random brain burst Facebook updates.

I remember this one time distinctly, when I had posted, “Forgiveness is a hypothetical concept” and he come up to me and agreed, saying, “admi kabhi man se maaf thode hi karta hai…”.

But I still did not trust him yet, up until that one night sometime in September 2011.

You see, I had been in the eyes of quite a few seniors for ragging. Needless to say, these seniors were complete failures in their respective dating lives and wanted to take it out on me, for reasons unknown. So, this one night in my first semester, I got a call from one of them, asking me to come to the basketball court.

Of course, it was for ragging. Of course, they wanted to hurt or humiliate me. And I had heard all sorts of stories of ragging events in NIT Jamshedpur. Of things going wrong. Of freshers getting beat up.

As it was natural, I was scared to go there. And I told this to the people in my room, bengoli being one of them. And he then stood up and said he will come with me.

The fact that he decided to go to an unknown senior to get ragged because of me won my heart, and he has had it ever since.

What happened at that night is not the point. But yes. That is when I learned to trust him.

And things would change thereafter.

Exam after exam, the night before, we would sit together, huddled up to study. Sometimes it was Op-Amps, sometimes transistors. Sometimes it was transformer and sometimes it was DC machines. We had the same huddle: me, Pyrate and Bamz. They learning from me. And I learning from them. And clearing the hurdles of semester exams together.

By the second year, we all got out laptops, and that is when the word Pyrate entered out lingo. A modified version of the word ‘Pirate’ from the movies “Pirates of the Caribbean”, Bengoli started to use it extensively as his character name, so much so, eventually, he would be known less by his name “Pyrate” than his real name.

The word Pyrate can be used as noun ( to refer to him, explicitly), or to as an adjective or adverb. It basically means going all out in counter strike, to run right at your opponent, all guns blazing. This in your face bravery as a character in counter strike was sometimes predictable because you always knew where exactly he would come from, repeatedly, and you could kill him right away. But in the instances that you didn’t, he would get you. And would not stop shooting even if he is done killing you.

And with that in your face attitude, he came about to be known as Pyrate from the second half of 2012.

Of course, there are a lot of memories of and with him in hostel B, most of which will make this post too lengthy. The innumerable GPLs and cake smashing as well as the late-night exam preps being the most memorable.

And then there is the memory of him giving me a Brock Lesnar-isque F5 on the nasty puri beach.

With time, Pyrate evolved into a bigger version of himself, just as the second season of a series which had a really good first season. Any movie you could name, Pyrate would have already seen it. He moved from 3GP and CamRip to soon watching movies only in BluRay. And his range soon expanded to south Indian, Korean and non-conventional movies. He always knew which network gave the best speed and which websites to download movies from. He would roam about the hostel, with one earphone hanging from his ear, which may or may not have been connected to a phone ( and it was not, sometimes). His Nokia touchscreen phone became his inseparable partner and he soon started to venture out into various activities

If there was camera, Pyrate made sure he got himself clicked.

If it was a group photo, Pyrate made sure he was in the centre of it. This one time in Hyderabad, we counted the number of photos each group member had gotten clicked, and Pyrate had twice the number of his photos than anyone else did.

He never had a tattoo but gave one to himself by editing a photo. His desire to perform always took him to places that I would never go (CDS events, wink, wink.).

Even when I had ideas to make movies, the first person I thought of was him. In fact, he acted in both the movies I made, making each of them so much better. Pyrate has been at the forefront of my experiments on video editing (making people fly / disappear). He is my lucky charm and if and when I make my next movie, he will definitely be in it. He is the first person I always cast.

Speaking of, here is the link to one of the movies he made with me:

Pyrate is very loyal, not only to his friends, but also to the things he likes and admires. He has consistently defended Akshay Kumar and his movies in all the debates we would have. Recently, his fascination has turned to KL Rahul and you could see him posting and celebrating his successes.

The other funny memory of him is from our trip to Hyderabad. We had had a dull day and we were tired from all the walking. But Pyrate was still full of Pyrate energy and was pushing us to go somewhere further that we did not want to go at all. So I distracted him to look at this trampoline set up by the banks of the Hussain sagar lake, and in no time Pyrate was up on it, jumping away and giving poses for the camera.

The other very memorable incident I have of Pyrate is of this photo competition of 2013, in which the contestants had to submit a collection of photographs, with a message in each. Pyrate came to me and wanted me to help him with it. So, I did my research, and we shot a few photos that sent out messages of unity etc and submitted for evaluation.

Pyrate won that competition. But that is not the memory. The happy memory comes afterwards when he gifted me with a “Pierre Cardin” Pen as a thank you gesture. And I was so touched that I have carried that pen with me ever since, wherever I have gone, just like the wallet Bamz got me. The pen has become my superstition since and has been in my pocket in all the interviews I have cracked so far.

As we grew up, Pyrate only become more Pyrate and did even more Pyratepunti. This one time we caught him in his room, having downloaded the 3D print of a movie and watching it on his laptop, with the 3D glasses he had managed to buy! Here is a photo of him in Pyrate mode:

That he and I are completely unlike in characters and tastes, testifies my respect for him and his for me. I can go on and on about how different people we are, but I guess the most common trait that linked me to him is loyalty. You can trust Pyrate to neither listen or speak any kind of trash talk about you. And he has always got your back.

Even when I was learning to drive a bike, and people were afraid to sit pillion, Pyrate was forever ready to trust me with it.

Then the other happy memory I have of Pyrate is when we celebrated his birthday in front of Sudha. The photos of it are all a blur because of the dark evening and poor cameras, but the memories are all sharp and happy. Here is one:

Of all the photo databases I have maintained since ten years, the one person whose photographs I have had the most, is Pyrate. He is the most recurring face in all my albums, and mostly intentionally. Here are a few more of them:

The thing that scares me most about people is their unpredictability. The thing that comforts me most about Pyrate is his predictability. In any situation, he will hold his own. When he is worried, he will watch a movie. When he is happy, he will dance. When he is normal, he will be sharing memes to one and all.

Pyrate accepts you for what you are. If you are a drinker, he will drink with you. If you are a dancer, he will dance with you. If you are a writer, he will read what you write. If you are busy, he will leave you be. If you are a fucker, he will fuck you right back.

If you are into movies, he will have tens of suggestions across a range of languages and genres. If you love songs, he will suggest you umpteen. And most importantly, he will stay loyal.

Pyrate can take a joke, and give it right back at you.

And even if he is not a part of your life at the moment, you can bet that he will be doing something that makes him happy.

There is a reason why Pyrate features in the list of people I feel safest around. There is a reason why when he asks my help with any task, no matter how very busy I am, I find time to work with him.

And there is a reason why this post is as long as it is.

And if my life were a bollywood screen, with flashes of hits by other actors such as Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan…

Pyrate would be a Akshay Kumar flick.

2 thoughts on “Into the Pyratorium

Add yours

  1. Meticulously put as I can relate to my school time close buddy cum best competitor. Vividness into words and I wish you continue to put people into stories, might your stories turn people for good. All the heartfelt best wishes for your future endeavours and wish we meet soon brother. ❣️

  2. Wow, beautifully written. I was smiling after every line, it was like reliving a few of those moments again as you described them.

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