PASS THE sopping board, the friend said. Huh?
Let me sop the onions, he said. For a second I had forgotten he – like many in Assam – pronounced ‘ch’ as ‘s’.
This sopper needs more cutting-edge but I can manage, he said again.
He shed less tears in chopping the pungent stuff. That possibly made him a better chopper manager.
I’ll get you a new sopper when I go sopping, he said. I nodded; ‘sh’, like ‘ch’, can be ‘s’ too.
The friend came calling the other day, without the chopper he had promised. “All the soppers have bad blades. They must be Chinese…”
Or Anglo-Italian, I chopped him off and produced a DVD. This Chopper at least isn’t a scam, I said.
Half way through Eric Bana’s portrayal of Australian criminal turned writer Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read, the chopper circuit conked out.
In candlelight, our minds drifted from Chopper to another cult movie Easy Rider. Remember how we chopped off the fenders, the pillion and other unnecessary parts of our 350cc bikes after we watched that Peter Fonda-Dennis Hopper-Jack Nicholson film of 1969 vintage, the friend said.
Back in the 1980s, we didn’t know such motorcycles without the frills were called choppers.
We yearned to ride those again. So we floated a global tender.
You need choppers or custom cruisers, the motorcycle firms asked. What are custom cruisers, we wrote back. Customised motorcycles, they clarified. Choppers, we insisted. Get hold of middlemen or buy standard motorcycles and chop off the parts you don’t require with an axe, they advised.
We tried the middlemen first. We can chop the rpm from 18,000 to 15,000 to suit Indian road conditions, they said. We can chop the engine too for an engineering service fee, they added.
We were almost through with the deal when I received a news update on my mobile phone. “Senior batsman axed,” it read.
Don’t Sehwag the dog in the middle of a business, the friend rebuked.
Let’s forget the imported stuff and go desi, I told him. He thought for a while and said it was worth a try.
We took a standard 500cc motorcycle on a test ride, bought an axe and rode to the edge of a lake. My friend grabbed the axe and swung it on the right fender. The impact made the axe fly off his hands and fall into the lake.
Seconds later, a fairy emerged from the lake holding a golden axe. Is this chopper yours, she asked.
Yes, we said together. The fairy smiled, handed the golden chopper over and dived back in to emerge with a platinum chopper, a silver chopper and a copper chopper. She handed those over too.
“Sacrifice isn’t one of your virtues, it seems. So I’ll keep the real one until I find a tyaagi worthy of it.” So saying, she vanished.