(phone bell ringing)
TM: Hello? Who’s this?
BY: You called me, who are you?
TM: Actually, I didn’t call you. I got a call, so I guess, there is some mixup. Anyway, that usually happens with landlines. So, who is this? I’m Tejaswini Malik from Mumbai, India.
BY: I did not call you, either. I hear my phone bell ringing, so I rush to take the call. I’m Baba Yaga, from Siberia.
TM: Baba, who?
BY: Baba Yaga, that’s who! Don’t you know who you’re talking to, you silly girl?
TM: Been a while since anyone called me that.
BY: Silly? Why? Is it not obvious to most who speak to you?
TM: Don’t be mean, Baba Yaga. By the way, can I call you BY? Catchy, right?
BY: No, you may not call me BY, I am Baba Yaga, you will call me Baba Yaga and not BY or Catchy.
TM: No! Catchy as in, you know, sounds interesting, grabs attention. You know?
BY: I do not want to grab attention. I only want two things in life.
TM: Mm hmm. What’s that, or rather what are they?
BY: First, I want Siberia to remain as cold and friendless as it has always been.
TM: Very good, and second?
BY: I want Russia to be whole again, not divided up into so many people, they now consider me an illegal alien when I try to scare kids in their dreams in Ukraine.
TM: No, seriously! What is the world coming to? But, BY, I mean Baba Yaga, you don’t need to worry, Siberia isn’t going to turn warm any time now. At least, that’s what I think.
BY: You think? And how many centuries of experience and life go into your thinking, tell me?
TM: Not many, but enough to give me a mid life crisis!
BY: Ah, the mid life crisis. Pshaw! What nonsense, mid life crisis! All you need is good hundred percent vodka, a new fox fur hat to warm your ears and your mid life crisis is, how you say it? Finished! Oh, and black Russian cigar, too!
TM: Really, now that’s a new one. Forget about HRT, forget about any kind of visualization techniques, thinking yourself younger, and so on and so forth, just go back to basics, right? Vodka, fur hat and cigar! My God, you’re politically out of time and incorrect.
BY: I am not political. I am mythical, mythological, I am every man’s mother in law and in some cases, their wife. I am also the sister of the earth.
TM: You wish! So, give. Why should we worry about Siberia, please?
BY: You’re getting too warm.
TM: I am? You can tell by hearing my voice on a really bad international call? Wait a minute, it is international, right or are you hanging out on your broom somewhere in the lower stratosphere?
BY: Ah, romantic imagery, Baba Yaga roaming around, what you call it, doing hang out on massive straggly broom in sky, in cold Siberian winter with my dirty matted hair frozen to the roots of my bony scalp! Right. I don’t think so, I know one thing, you can mess with anything, but you don’t mess with mother earth and her laws. No matter what color her top soil may be, she is one revengeful *** and can slap your wrist for any messes one makes!
TM: Mm hmm. I’m going a bit glassy eyed, right now Baba Yaga, you are way too long winded for this day and age. Can’t you limit it to say, 44 characters or something?
BY: Okay. Katrina, Leticia, Sarah.
TM: That’s not 44, you can have…Hey, Katrina is well known, the hurricane, right? What about the other two?
BY: Those are the ones who mother earth is sitting on the bench right now. She lets them loose, your game is up.
TM: Oh, right. We’re talking Quidditch here, I suppose.
BY: No, global warming, end of world, and no more Siberia! The Big Melt!
TM: OMG, I have to tweet this! An eco savvy witch! I so have to tweet this one! Give me 55 characters, I mean, a moment, Baba Yaga.
BY: Take your time, I have to check on my borscht, anyway. So, what you do, for fun, wherever you are?
TM: Oh, you know the usual, spend money, earn money, waste money, mmm let’s see, oh, oh! I know! I write too you know, as a hobby.
BY: Oh, not another writer. But, I hope you at least are drunk most times of the day?
TM: Sorry, Baba Yaga, I’m not a writer of any mention, or one who gets paid to write…
BY: Which writer gets paid to write? Ha! Let me see, maybe the ones who wrote for the Tsar, you know, official stuff, public notices, killings, births, deaths, odes to favorite queens and…but you write for hobby? So, you like to write?
TM: Yes. I enjoy it.
BY: You don’t agonize over every word and wonder why you want to write, you don’t lock yourself up in cabin in lower Siberia and stay unwashed and search for inspiration in the blue veins on your wrist?
TM: Huh? Unwashed? What are you talking about? Lock myself up? Cabin? No internet? Oh, no! No! Why would I do that?
BY: You know, true writer suffering for his cause. Like Doestoyesky.
TM: Oh, I know him! You know, it’s so amazing, they reworked that movie, thirty days in the life of Doestoyevsky, into a romantic comedy! With Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson.
BY: Yes, yes. He write tortured book, The Gambler. He hire secretary to write what he dictates. She really whiny, annoying girl, and she make him change story, idea, and…himself. But, good, good Russian film. Dark, deep. Brooding. Director, Tarkovsky.
TM: Tarkovsky? Uh, okay. He sounds like he had a different take on it. But Hollywood re-made the film into a kind of romantic comedy, you know.
BY: WHAT? That is sacrilege. What romantic? What comedy? It is pathetic! He trying to make money out of writing about one bad relationship and fall in love with young woman who could be like his daughter. What is romantic in that? It’s torture, to sit and watch suitor court woman you love, when you have no money and no hair!
TM: Gosh, BY, take it easy! My eardrums almost broke on that last one. Okay, I get it. So, he was writing about a broken affair with some chick who gambled, right?
BY: No, no. She make him gamble for her. She need money.
TM: Why didn’t she get a job?
BY: That was her job. To make men gamble, spend on her.
TM: Oh, she was a courtesan?
BY: No, darling! She was a woman! And they all need money, whatever label they may carry.
TM: BY, I hope you don’t get out much in public, your views would get you labeled an anti-feminist.
BY: Why? I live alone in hostile condition, I hunt for my own animal and occasional human being to eat. I help people out by offering herbal supplement and magic spell. I am ecologically conscious and grow forest around me, whenever I shift in my chicken legged house. Actually, house shift, not me. I just huddle in corner and survive the ride. I don’t mind when peasant folk scare their babies into sleeping or eating green goo, saying” Baba Yaga going to eat you if you don’t eat or drink or sleep or work.” I am good, as you say, female for all season and age.
TM: Hmm, well, can’t argue with that, BY. Anyway, I am going to call it a day. Something tells me, this isn’t the last you’ll be speaking.
BY: Oh, I will get heard, don’t worry. You can’t ignore me…