Tuesday, May 29, 2007

10 ways my rural partners avoid my calls/ request for reports

1- Report is done but, mera computer 'crush' ho gaya
2- Aapka phone lagta hi nahin
3- Wo suddenly meri wife ki bahen ka husband ka mausa ka death ho gaya
4- Computer operator ka pet dard kar raha tha
5- Bijli chaar din se nahin hai
6- I have just sent it
7- Arrey, you did not receive it? Ok let me make some more changes and send it again immediately.
8- Ho madam. Ho madam.
9- My Mailbox Status: Received email without the required attachment.
Better still….
10- My Mailbox Status: Received mail with attachment. But! But! unrecognisable fonts. (or attachment in binary digits).

And one more way (should change the title, actually). I like this the best--

11- Hallo? Hallo? Sunai nahin de raha…hallo? hallo?

I do not lose my temper quite that often, though.

Friday, May 18, 2007

my lookalike

He still smiles at me even though his pink nails have faded

even though its been six long years of having known me

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Can you blame me for falling in love?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Last years’ calendar in guest room

She was walking like young Bambi. Young fat pudgy legs with dimpled knees, walking unsteadily towards me.

The white chemise that she wore had red and pink embroidery around the neckline. I could not hold back my smile. There is something lovely and amazing about holding babies. When their arms lie on your shoulder and their unsteady necks wobble back and forth. They gurgle , they chuckle and you become lost.
Atleast I do.

The anticipation of the fat baby girl wearing white chemise with embroidery around the neck as she walked on those wobbly legs towards me, made me smile and extend my arms to her. Then something suddenly turned in the air. Like it happens only in dreams and in books. The room turned from cool to chilly in an instant. Every realization flashed in a moment. All those low grade movies where the child turns into a killer made sense as I saw the baby girl in white chemise, now rush to me on steady legs and an evil smile. There was no knife but I felt the cold presence of steel. The anticipation of a sharp slash. I felt the pressure of her left knee. Knees, which now I could never imagine as being cutely dimpled. There is something more macabre about an evil intention behind a beautiful fa├žade.
I felt that pressure on my stomach.

I woke up with a start. It was so real. 4:32 am.

I froze with terror since the knock on the door sounded as real as the feeling of the pressure on my stomach. I contemplated on getting up and pulling the door open to face whatever was behind it. To face it once and for all. Then I told myself-'
shut up, u just have a gory mind.'

As always happens with dreams, I could not recall it with total clarity the next morning as I told about it to Kiran and Atanu. Atanu gave me a blank look perhaps not even bothering to listen to my ramblings and Kiran mumbled something distractedly as she directed Jamuna, the baby’s nanny to clean the kitchen racks.

I had again stayed the night over at Kiran’s place. This is so common for me that my toothbrush and some clothes are stationed in Kiran and Atanu's guest room. Kiran has in fact started refering to it as my room. Every 4th day I land up at her place to coo and drool over her baby boy. Little fat boy who has brought out all my long-buried motherly and nurthering instincts.

"These days I do not feel like working", I shot back as I rushed out of her house, again promising myself that from the next day, I shall reach office in time. Another Monday in office.

Another day for me to try and finish pending reports. Another day for Kiran to discover all those new expressions that her baby comes up with (there are numerous of those- sleepy expression, i-luv-u-mamma expression, cranky expression, sulking expression, potty expression…..). Another day for Jamuna, the baby’s nanny to finish this chore and that. She measured the kitchen racks and cut an old calendar into the-measured-neat rectangles, the calendar which used to hang in the guest room.

“Didi, yeh calendar ki baby kitni sweet hai."... Jamuna told Kiran, as she put aside the swanky kitchen scissors. Steel Scissors. “……..Kitni moti…aur iska white, embroidery wala chemise kitnaaa pyaara hai ”. Dekhke lagta hai na, ki photo se nikalkar aapki god (lap) mein aa jayegi?"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Her husband for social completeness

My chai-wali Patkar maushi called me a ‘kutti’ today. Lovingly ofcourse since she is very fond of me and favours me with untimely coffees and surprise hugs.

Sometime back she was frantically arranging for 5000 bucks since she feared her husband would drink away what she called her home of 20 years. Transfer it in her name, she did.

“So, now u have it in your name. Throw him out! “
‘Aiiga! Kya bolhi tu? Heh heh!’
She chucked.

I said-
“aur nahi to kya. Find another mausa!"
to which she called me

[Aside: comment on ‘another mausa’, was a joke. There was another dimension about ‘done-with-the-men’ conversation].

“But why do you need him anymore? What has he given you? “

A man of 50 odd years who gets government money which he drinks away. Gets fed, drinks, gets a ready family to abuse, drinks, swears, drinks, sleeps in stupored glory, drinks, gets to stay in a ready-made clean house - two children and one grand-child who maybe love him only because he his their father, drinks. And drinks.

A man who thinks it is his due that he ‘be-served’. He is after all ‘the’ man of the house.

“Aise hi hota hai. Aadmi hai who mera!” She insisted perhaps the 100th time since we have had this kind of conversation many more times before.

Samaaj…Aurat ka zindagi….reet….

She again repeated those endless reasons as to why her husband is parmeshwar.
About social sanctions. About traditions.

We have this on-going game, where I tell her what she calls ‘outrageous things’. “Tradition is as per convenience. There was a time when sati was sanctioned”, I continued.

“I will do Sati, if required” declared my Patkar maushi.

So she would. For a man who she resents. Whose bed sores she tends to. Bed sores, brought about by a long bed rest while he recuperated from the physical fall since his drunken legs didn’t support him.

She will shed tears for him since he is her husband. And she will shed tears for herself, since she is a 'mere woman', as she calls herself.

A ‘mere women’ who single handedly raised two children, got one-married. Managing all in some 2000 or 2500/- that she earns. Money, which she often had to hide in secret places from the hands of ‘the man’ of the house. Those hands which would not hesitate to fall harshly on her and her two children.

She will continue to be the victim, all the while trying to be a survivor.

She needs the social sanction of a useless husband for keeping her house, ensuring baap ka saaya over her children.

To my mind, the only encouraging (wee bit) thing about such a mess is that, she once a while hits him back!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

to each his own

how do u know
when u need to shrug it off or u need to put your foot down
how do u know
when enough is enough
how do u know
when u finally say ‘Enough! No More!‘ .....
.....it is because you have, upto this time either been (a) least-bothered or (b) have been a coward
how do u know that
the time seems right (a) because u have been pushed to the corner (b) it is actually right
how do u know

that being pushed to the corner is not actually 'so' but seems like it, because till this time it seemed childish to react
how do u know
when u think u have transcended from the lesser-lives
but something inconsequential (perhaps) - that ought to be shrugged off, makes you want to react instead
how do u know

that not caring anymore
is not the same as being a quitter.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wish or Conspiracy?

If you look at something continuously
It takes shape as u want it to….

This friend who made me happy and whom once I made happy…

…once did this artwork for some songs
One of his sketches look as if it has me in it.

Of an embrace so sweet and intimate
Of closeness-togetherness-warmth-trust-faith-companionship

Could it be … could it not be?
Am I seeing it or seeing it, Am I?

But it should not matter
Yet I cannot throw it away……

hum Hindustani

Another of those endless workshops, where I tried making small talk.
Tried is the keyword here.
“You know, I hate English language”, said he. He the pompous.

I wonder if I should have asked him in Shashi Kapor style, with my hands folded and looking
sideways…... "Can u repeat in Hindi ?”

or perhaps I should have loudly broken into something like "Givin the dog a bone... Givin the dog a bone...."

Almost Original

Like a badly designed tacky bag saying ORIGINAL

Like a man wearing shoes that are branded FOOTLAND

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

shake it 2 ur left and shake it 2 ur right

If you get caught on a Saturday afternoon in a contraption of a mall, while hip people and not so hip ones scurry about, have a foot massage as the last stopover. If you are mad since you have had to wait for lunch till 6.30 in the evening, then coax your friend to try out the electric body massage chair (which is rated at some freaking grands).

My friend sat trapped as if for some virtual reality experiment. Face frozen while man-made fists thumped through her back. Suddenly her shoulders started shaking –left-right-left-right-left-right. Her eyes kept opening wider by each fraction of the second.
The other friend had her mouth open wide while she asked- ‘why are you shakin so?’ I am not! She screamed. This chair is shakin! Take me out take me out!

My Saturday was made. As I knelt on the floor because my laugh got taken over by the tummy ache at seeing her shake and scream and look perplexed all in one electric moment.