The Boil and the Band-aid

Friend, who also lives in Calcutta, called the other day because Friend wanted to drink (and meet me, he claimed, although I think it was mostly about the drinking.)

I was feeling ever so slightly Smurfish so I hemmed and hawed and suggested meeting another day.

Friend made the mistake of informing me that he had a horrific boil on his nose and suddenly, the idea of meeting him for a drink didn’t seem too bad. It would give me something to laugh about, and I needed a laugh that day.

We decided to go to Oly. He reached before I did and called to say he was waiting for me outside.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I saw the boil before I saw him.

It was a big boil. A little smaller than a coin. It was on his nose, covering most of his nose. Another little boil was growing higher up on the other side of his nose but it was hidden by this particular boil. Which was, in case I haven’t been emphatic enough, huge. The surrounding area of Friend’s face had turned red, but the boil itself was yellow and looked as if it was about to burst.

Friend tried to pretend he had a sense of humour by telling me that it would burst all over me but I knew that he was just trying to comfort himself, just trying to convince me that he was above caring about boils because people who contemplate the meaning of life as often as Friend does (or claims to do) do not care about boils.
But oh, how he cared. I know he cared.

Friend was also drunk because he’d met another friend before meeting me. He described the bar he went to as we waited for our drinks – red light, he said, so dark you can’t see the face of the person sitting across the table from you. An uncharitable thought came into my mind here, but I did not voice it. I merely thought it was quite convenient that Friend had chosen a dark, shady bar to sit and drink in. Unfortunately, Oly, while shady, is not dark. The bright tube-lights cast a harsh glare on Friend’s boil.

“Why are you being so naka?” said Friend. “Why aren’t you talking?”

I wasn’t talking because I was too busy delighting over his boil. I knew it was karma. Friend is always making fun of my remarkably pig-like nose, and boasting about how “at least ten people” have told him his own nose is attractive. Which is a lie. Friend’s nose, while not as hideous as my own, is nowhere close to being attractive. It is hooked, so hooked that if he dipped it in a pond he would probably catch a fish with it. But anyway. This was karma because while I refrain from making fun of Friend’s nose on a daily basis, he does not extend the same courtesy to me. And now the boil (with another one on the way) had taken over his nose. Serves Friend right.

We talked about other things apart from noses and boils (we briefly touched upon carbuncles), because Friend is a delightful person to talk to. However, Friend did not want to go home drunk and he was already drunk, and I didn’t want to be drunk, so after the first drink, we decided not to have anymore.

But where to go?

“We could go back to my house,” I suggested.

Friend seemed hesitant.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t want your mother to see my boil,” said Friend softly.

“That’s alright. She’s out.” This was true. My mother was indeed out. She was at the club exercising. My mother exercises for two reasons: one is so she doesn’t die of heart disease, and the other is so she can drink her two (so she claims, but it’s actually at least four) glasses of whiskey every night and fasten her jeans the next morning as well.


“She won’t be back till ten,” I reassured him. This, unfortunately, was a lie.

Friend knew it. Friend doesn’t always know what I lie about, but he does know that I lie a lot, so he treats practically everything I say as a lie unless I have proof to back up what I’m saying, or unless I’m saying something flattering about him. Which isn’t often, but he’s awfully quick to believe me when I do.

“Trisha. You’re lying, you’re lying.”

“Of course not,” but I couldn’t stop the corners of my mouth from turning up at the thought of Friend parading around in front of my mother with his boil.

“Listen,” I said finally, after ten minutes of to-and-fro conversation, “we’ll pick up some band-aids on the way. You can put the band-aid over your nose and if you do see her – I keep telling you she’s not at home – and she asks what happened, you can tell her you got hit by a football.”

Friend’s boil infested face brightened visibly. Even the boil seemed to glow more.

After walking up and down Park Street looking for a taxi to take us to Ballygunge, we found one. On the way, we stopped at a pharmacy.

“You go,” said Friend. “You’re closer to the pavement.”

“Don’t want to buy the band-aids yourself because you’re afraid they’ll instantly know why you want them?” I asked, and the look on Friend’s face told me I was right.

So I went and bought the band-aids.

Then as the taxi continued on its way, I carefully taped one over Friend’s boil. Loose enough to cover it, but not so tight that it would pin the boil down and cause it to ooze.

Yuck. The things I do for Friend.

Friend looked at himself admiringly in the mirror. “I could easily say it’s a football injury,”

“Sure,” I said.

We got back to my place. Mother wasn’t home. Then Mother called to say she was on her way back with my uncle.

We were going upstairs just as they entered. My mother smiled at Friend, didn’t notice the band-aid. Friend didn’t recognise my uncle because he’s been taken over by a ginger handlebar moustache.

“Who was that?” He asked me when we were sitting outside.

“My uncle,” I said.

“THAT was your uncle?”

“Moustache,” I said.

We sat there for a bit. Friend ever so slightly uncomfortable. I didn’t blame him. Not only did he have a band-aid on top of a boil, but the last time he was over, Pud Kaka joined us for a beer and at one point made me turn the light on so he could “see this fellow’s face”. Luckily for Friend, Pud Kaka didn’t raise any objections to the face. Although, I thought, watching Friend sulk under the moonlight with band-aid stretched across his nose and a suspicious bump underneath the band-aid, Friend might not get so lucky this time round. 

“You’re going to laugh about this with your mother after I leave, aren’t you?” said Friend suspiciously.

“Of course not,” I said unconvincingly.

“You’re a fucker. You’re also going to write a blog post about this and make fun of me, aren’t you?”

This, I couldn’t deny.

“I’ll write something. I’ll write a guest post.”

“Alright,” I said.

Friend left soon after, refusing to say goodbye to my mother and my uncle, because he was ashamed of his face.

Later on, over dinner, I told my mother about Friend’s boil. I told it with gusto. We sniggered with gusto as well.

(Sorry, Friend, but you knew I would).

Friend, who is demanding his own say in this, has written his version of events which I am posting below. He has referred to me throughout as porkypig but this is only to make himself look better. Friend has used elaborate language (don’t let it fool you because Friend is a fucker) to hide the simple moral behind this story: When you have an ugly boil on your nose, listen to your grandmother (Friend did not) and stay at home.

The Boil and the Band-aid: Friend’s Side of the Story.
red swells. a sea trapped within a volcano, swarming with ghost warriors. dead cries traverse the molten space, rebounding off the closed top, anticipating the beginning of a furious, heroic, horrific outpouring. 

the eye roams and settles on the boil. the nose might not universally gratify nasal-aesthetes, but the boil exudes monstrous charm, proudly displaying its viscous viciousness, its crimson charisma. the nose belongs to a callous hound, seemingly impervious to the grotesque import of noseboils, but receptive to porkypigs (and their mothers). a strange situation arises: callous hound imperfectly imagines how facial aberrations might offend mothers of porkypigs, and for the first time, ponders about the postmodern totem. callous hound is also prosaic and silly, and thus commits a significant crime: he calls the boil a boil. 

new cries, new pain. anguish expelled in a furious frenzy: a tiny opening. redhole. spurt. 

the decision to confront mother must entail shrouding, if not suppression, of the thing-that-repulses. meanings crumble as callous hound imagines his salvation. beauty turns into a silly monolith inside his head, unsophisticated and unvarying. callous hound remains steadfast in his desire to conceal terrible beauty. porkypig easily slips into the role of shallow-accomplice and maliciously plants an idea in his head. time speeds up. passing-lights, horn-blares, pharmacy-pause, band-aid. 

anguish reaches a crescendo, and then silence. beauty breathes still, indignantly perhaps, into the uninspiring heart of adhesive bandage. 

(note#1: porkypig is a strange creature. her intentions are never clear. she assumes contradictory guises to hoodwink insecure souls, gently feeding poison balm to indecisive callous hounds. something needs to be done about her, but who-knows-what. 

note #2: the volcano shall erupt, irrespective of how socially insecure callous hounds handle themselves (and their noseboils)

note #3: mother's eye roamed across the bandage and responded with ordinary, fleeting warmth. callous hound struck salvation.)


blinknmiss said...

Trisha, I prefer your version. But when you wake up with acne, you'll know karma is having the last laugh.

Friend said...

you won't blink and miss the acne, porkypig. when it happens. which it will.

trish. said...

You're missing a very important point: this is YOUR karma for making fun of my nose.

Friend said...

i'm not missing the point. i'm making a different one.

porkydorky. acnephool.

Sayan said...

you're funny, trisha. so phaneee. also, fools shouldn't pretend to be intense.

trish. said...

Stop posting through two different identities. Everyone knows you're Friend.

Friend said...

what? me? i'm Friend indeed. are a friend in need? i have the right be be pseudo-intense and uniquely foolish! fuck you, sayan. also: two more boils on nose. karma's on overdrive. i really hope you suffer from some terrible skin-disease soon.

Ankita said...

beware the wrath of the Zit King, Trish. If you even make the mistake of thinking someone else's zit is funny; the zit king will strike. Just a warning.

On another note, when are you in Cal until? x

Philophobic said...

Muchas funnay. :D