When I was a famous jockey

This is part of my series where I look at an image and come up with a story. Here are my two earlier, similar attempts – On why I hate chicken and Fallen Angels

You probably don`t know but I was once a very famous jockey. Serious. OK fine…if you don`t believe me…I have proof…I am just 165 cms tall!

Being a famous jockey helped me hobnob with the best of the society. During the day I mixed with the prettiest ladies in the land and at night I mixed drinks with business magnates. My life was great, except when I was on the race track.

I was not always a famous jockey. There was a time when like you I was also a normal human being with a 9-5 job in an IT company. Back then the times were good – we are talking about the pre-1999 era when it was cool to be an IT person. I had loads of money in my hands (and pockets too). Wanting to buy a house I bought the latest issue of Yellow Pages and started browsing ….as I ran my finger down the print, I saw it “House for Sale” in bold. The house was in the area where I wanted my house to be – Mylapore.

In no time, Namita Chatterjee – that was the girl I was dating back then – and I left in my Maruti 800. Back then, as soon as you got thro` the interview in an IT firm, a gift-wrapped Maruti 800 was dispatched to your house. For somebody like me, who had just come in from Madurai (a small town in Tamil Nadu), Namita was a fast girl…she wore noodle straps, drank vodka, and danced at discos and she was the girl I wanted to woo and marry. Little did I realize that she was using me as a driver. Not a screw driver…just a driver. When I think back now, I feel she was doing to me what my wife is now doing – use me as a driver, peon, assistant, secretary, financial consultant etc.

By 2 p.m. we reached the place and rang the bell. I couldn`t help but notice the black horse tied in the courtyard of the house.

“Hi, I am here to buy your house,” I said.

“So did you like it?”

I could see only 10% of the house from where I stood. I asked him if I could enter the house. After all, before buying the house I needed to see the wood work, the wash rooms, plumbing etc.

He came up with a polite refusal: “You know, the whole of my family is sleeping. Can you come in some other day please?”

Being an honest, chaste man I understood his predicament. “So when do I pay for the house?”

“You know it is an Appaloosa. Very costly.”

I didn`t know what Appaloosa was but I knew I couldn`t let Namita know my ignorance. Must be some famous builder in Chennai, I told myself and kept quite.

I nodded to whatever he said about the house. He said it was sturdy and had great stamina. I gathered it as an obvious reference to the fact that the house had been built ten years back but still looked new. He didn`t seem to have good pronunciation for instead of saying this “house is a good build”, he ended up saying “this house is a good breed.”

“That`s fine how much of advance do I need to pay?” I asked getting impatient.

“Pay as much as you want to…you know what it is worth.” The house owner seemed like a good negotiator. Never commit a price before you get the other party`s opinion…for all you…he/she might be willing to pay a higher price than what you are going to quote.

“I will pay one lakh now and the rest after the papers are signed.” I wonder if Namita`s presence mattered. Was I trying to impress her? I remember my college days when my class mates used to come to me and ask for money only when I was with girls…they knew circumstances would work in their favor.

The house owner looked flabbergasted but held his own and said: “You look like an honest man. For that much advance I am willing to sign the papers right now.”

I paid the old man his one lakh rupees and signed the documents with an air of superiority in my eyes. Even as the old man put in his initials he was all praise for me. He did mutter something about the Indian Economy…I think he said it was booming.

Namita would now know that I was an honest man, I thought.

“Ok old man, I will come over in a week`s time and pay you the rest. When do you plan to vacate the house?”

“Why?”

“I just bought your house. I will pay you the rest in a week`s time and I expect the house to be empty when I come back.”

“What are you saying? I though you were buying my black house which is tied in the courtyard.”

Then it stuck me…this guy couldn`t pronounce horse properly and I had just been duped.

“I saw an advertisement in Yellow Pages and came here to buy a house,” I said getting all worked up.

“Exactly, that`s what I am telling you. You came here to buy a house…and you have just bought it for one lakh. Now go.”

Namita was listening to all this. I could earn the one lakh back…but I was sure earning her confidence would be costly (diamonds are costly, aren`t they?). I decided to make a quick exit.

I reined in the horse and mounted it. Believe me, it is an easy job if the horse is under the influence of beer. Apparently, rum can make it dangerous. Namita drove the car.

As luck would have it…the next day the dotcom boom burst. I never got a chance to gift Namita diamonds…my Maruti 800 was taken away the moment they gave me the pink slip…all my savings had gone.

With no job at hand and no money in my pocket…but a horse tied outside my house…I got into horse racing. Apparently, Appaloosas are the best race horses and win without any effort…thus, I was winning races.

As I said earlier, I became a famous jockey and stared hobnobbing with the best in the society. This went on till Jaswant Singh, who has just released a book titled “A Call to Honor” accused my horse of being a mule…and it was disqualified from participating in any race horses. As soon as I changed my horse…I became the slowest racer in the circuit. The picture you see above was taken during one such race – needless to say I came last.

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