August 27, 2010

"Stand By Your Man"

For one of my closest friends, one who has always believed in me, who has always stood by me and I failed her today as I was unable to be with her on this special day.

But for her, one of the golden oldies. Tammy Wynette. Though derided by the feminist movement in the Americas, Tammy always defended it saying it's about the love of a woman for the man in her life.

All the best friend of my troubled times. Wish thee well.

Sometimes its hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
You'll have bad times
And he'll have good times
Doing things that you don't understand
But if you love him you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a man
Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your man
And tell the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man
Stand by your man
And show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man

August 23, 2010

Finally Koonri Gets Married

Mom is very happy. Koonri is married now. I mean Mom has the right to feel concerned. Koonri can’t speak. Her parents had disowned her when she was a kid. She grew up as a maid in the family that took her in. Of course, there were other complications. But those were too complex for my puny little brain to comprehend. The main point is that for the last few months we were worried whether Koonri will get married or not. So we all knew that the boy she was getting married to was sure to get married on Sunday but who would he get married to? Would it be Koonri? Dekhte Rahiye Aaj Tak, Intezar Kijiye Kal Tak type suspense ruled our hearts.

Mom was really really worried. And I could be of no help to her. I could meet Koonri only on Saturdays and there too my roommates would frown. They just could not stand Koonri. Every time I tried to establish a connection, they would groan and make faces and order Veg Club Sandwiches. Sometimes, they just don’t understand the concern I have for Koonri.

Anyway, coming back to the marriage, Mom was more worried about Koonri than Sanchari. Sanchari too is about to get married. But Mom is sceptical. After all, that girl is slightly irritating. I mean, mom’s point of view is that if Sanchari likes Rono she should just accept it. There are others in her family mom does not like. But she does like Sanchari and feels irritated when she acts dumb.

So I came back suddenly to Calcutta on a Saturday evening and said, “Momma I’m home” in as cute Bengali I can muster. And all that Mom could say, “Sit Sit. Koonri just entered her in laws house.”

I remembered my Didi’s tear laden voice over the phone, “Bhai, we’ve lost Mom. Koonri is her love now.” Well, now such is life. Her own two idiots of children are surviving. Her entire motherly concern now needs to be directed at someone. In the absence of a daughter-in-law (as she never fails to remind me) Koonri took the spot.

But things turned out well. Some people went to the hospital, others were locked up in their rooms, there were hysterical tears, Market Research figured out that public sentiment wanted Koonri to get married so that the next stage of her troubles could be discussed and my mom turned to me and said, “Phew!!! So what brings you to Calcutta?”

Clearly, didi was right. My book reading, TV hating mom has metamorphosed.

August 19, 2010

Tick Tock

I have always loved watches, the hand wound varieties especially. The quartz never fascinated me. It was too precise, too accurate, too common. The real worth of a man lay in mastering the hand wound watch and its idiosyncrasies. Imagine the meticulous precision that one must maintain when one owns a hand wound watch. A miss in the morning and you never know when the watch will stop functioning, when during an important exam

The other fascinating aspect of a hand wound watch is that you can observe time travel backwards. Well, it supposedly wrecks havoc to the instruments inside but even then it’s worth a shot. The sense of power that surges through you encapsulates you completely, holds you in its sickeningly sweet temptation as the power surges through you while you watch time travelling backwards at the turn of your two fingers.

So this time while I was lazing at my house in Cal I was ordered to clean up the chaos in my room and there I saw it. One of my first watches – an HMT – trusted lieutenant for many exams was lying on my table. You never know when the past comes back to you and I remembered the numerous exams that it had helped me in. It still shined, reminiscent of the days when I took a lot more care of the things I had, when I ensured that my books and electronics were spotlessly clean. It was a way of life I had grown up on. Why would I leave it now?

The standard quartzes now need to take a back seat, for on my hand I now have the control of time.

August 12, 2010

Rains Halfway

I stood at the Carter Road Promenade. Sprinting was never my forte but at least I hoped to jog that morning. But like many other mornings it was not to be. We woke up late, made our monthly ritualistic trip to Crepe Station and suddenly the rains came down. But that day it was a strange rain. It rained all around us but not on us. We stood and stood and waited for the rains to hit us but the drops wanted to tantalize us, make us want them even more. Somewhere in the horizon the sun was playing hide and seek, peeking at us from behind the clouds. The clouds on the other hand were in the mood for changing their colours every now and then and the entire canvas of the universe was painted and repainted again and again.

And then they came; making everyone run for cover. We sat in the Coffee Day, still my favourite

Spot in Mumbai on a Sunday morning as the spears from heaven hit the ground. The battle had begun. The first arrows had been fired and they struck the ground hoping to drive life into them. But the world they once knew had been changed. The ground had given way to asphalted roads, the earth to black tar. Again and again their attack was pushed back as the world watched.

Then suddenly they stopped as soon as they had come. Perhaps the futility of it all hit them. No one below cared for them. No body remembered that in a world full of dirt and squalor the arrows of fortune decided the fate of the world below.

After the rains will come the new life. But what if the rains stop halfway?

August 08, 2010

First Fights

As a child I was extremely peace loving. I still am I guess. I don’t remember having got into fist fights in school. I think having engaged in fisticuffs with didi at home, I was sure of my own ability. And then if you can engage in verbal duels why expend energy? The other less important reason might have been that having been a peace broker through school, you somehow don’t engage in fights. Rather you observe till the time blood is about to be drawn. So using my well nourished frame I remember having picked up quite a few Stallone in the making from the playground and deposit them in the basketball court and start giving them gyan about the merits of a good behaviour. In fact, the Mumbai bouncers at times just don’t get it right.

In college the only physical fight I remember was with Dr.Sen when we battled it out with brooms in the Budhfront corridor while the Mallu, Marathi and the Tam contingent in the wing bet on the eventuality. I lost hands down due to years of non practice and because his broom had a longer reach.

But verbal fights have been quite a few if not numerous. And First fights are always the most exciting ones. Few days back I had one with Kid. And that’s what led me to write this post on Friendship day.

So kid and I had our first fight over a pun. Now if it was over the credentials of bangali meetha vs. banarsi meetha, it would have been acceptable. But it was over a pun rather than a paan.

My first domestic fight was over 99% Fat free milk. Apparently you can’t make great tea with 99% fat free milk. But who cares as long as I have been convinced by some marketer that fat free milk is good for me? And whatever others might say I must do what’s good for society at large. But seems society wants to grow more bulky. So be it.

My first fight in school with my best friend was over who would sit in the window seat in the bus. The first fight with another was over Diego Maradona. The first fight in college was over the way a club should function. The first fight in office was over the direction of the next campaign.

First fights remain in your memory and while you would not want to have any fights at all, these will always happen and will linger on for longer than you would like them to. They serve as reminders for self control and as long as the number of first fights in your life remain at a manageable level, you realize that the world is not such a bad place to live in.

But then there are some first fights which go on longer than you ever thought they would. They never end and you lose a friend at the end of the day. That, trust me, is never worth it.