Sunday, May 30, 2010

High Hopes

Friends Quote

My mind is going bonkers at the reunion lined up for me.Restless as ever as i look forward to
meeting my friends say after 30 yrs or more and i am at my tethers.
How will they find me after so many years?
Will they be disappointed to know that someone they considered good  gave up on her potentials and preferred to be at home for some time and maybe forever?
Will i gel with them now when status, money brings a tantamount change in characters/attitude?
The intellectuals...how should i talk to them or behave in a manner that they shouldn't be embarrassed at my not knowing so many things?
And last but not the least what should i wear?The dress...the shoes...the works.
i ransack my wardrobe and can't decide...for the mellowed down person in me keeps telling me... keep it simple girl...while my  friend wants me to look the coolest one.
i am a wreck and no one there really to help me out with this so i turn to my best friend-Myself.Sure i did talk to a couple of friends and some said this some said that but i guess at this juncture i can fully rely on myself.
So i pick up a couple of simple dresses which has minimal style and match it up with an elaborately self embroidered stole because i decide...to hell with everything...i am going to be me...take it or leave it.
Packing over, i wonder how i was unable to attend any of the Alumini meets so far. But this one which is not so much a major reunion but the kind of get-together where i'm told by my friends that quite a few will be there i am excited.
i do have imaginations about the reunions to be fun but my few encounters with friends of yore does leave me with doubts about the supposed fun.To add to my apprehensions is the fact that many i see on the social networking sites seem to have a very rocking and happening life.Mine would not be dubbed happening by those standards but yes i am happy and satisfied with my being.And i wonder that this low profile, self satisfied being, will she be of interest to those who i believe have now branched off to what i see more as networking and not so much as just plain friendship of yesteryears?
Definitely not all will come into that category and some will be so much the same as me but yet i am doubtful about the promised fun with the motley crowd.
i wonder if this meeting would allow us to catch up on the lost years and exchange notes about family.About the ups and down of life and how well we revelled or coped.
i hope everyone is mellowed down enough not to be pretentious and that i could be true and comfortable enough to meet them without any inhibitions and without guards.
All this hoping should not be something which later i have to look back and say,"High Hopes!"
Meanwhile i find this by another anonymous writer comforting as he/she talks about the changing weather of reunions and the simple words that tell it all...the excitement...the apprehensions...the discussions...the changing venues...the  attempted pretentions and the failed predictions...and last but not the least of the hopes of attending yet another one.Hopes...again.

                                      The Class Reunion

                       Every five years, as summertime nears,
                       An announcement arrives in the mail,
                       A reunion is planned; it'll be really grand,
                       Make plans to attend without fail.

I'll never forget the first time we met;
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant dress.

                      It was quite an affair; the whole class was there.
                      It was held in a fancy hotel.
                      We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
                      And everyone thought it was swell.

The men all concerned about who had been first,
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses,
And how beautiful their children became.

                   The homecoming queen, who had once been lean,
                   Now weighed in at one ninety six.
                   The jocks who were there had all lost their hair,
                   And the cheerleaders could no longer do their kicks.

No one had heard about the class nerd
Who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon;
Or poor little Jane, who's always been plain;
She married a shipping tycoon.

                   The boy we'd decreed "most apt to succeed"
                   Was serving ten years in the pen,
                   While the one voted "least" now was a priest;
                   Just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least.
Another was given to the grad who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.

                   They took a class picture a curious mixture
                   Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
                   Tall, short or skinny,the style was the mini;
                   You never saw so many thighs.

At our next get-together,no one cared whether
They impressed their classmates or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal,
By this time we'd all gone to pot.

                    It was held out-of-doors, at the lake shores;
                    We ate hamburgers,coleslaw, and beans.
                    Then most of us lay around in the shade,
                    In our comfortable T-Shirts and jeans.

By the fortieth year, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.
Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed
And be home in time for the pill.

                    And now i can't wait; they've set the table,
                    Our fiftieth is coming, i'm told.
                    It should be a ball they've rented a hall
                    At the Shady Rest House for the old.

Repairs have been made on my hearing aid;
My pacemaker's been turned on high.
My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled;
And I've bought a new wig and glass eye.

                   I'm feeling quite hearty,and i'm ready to party
                   I'm gonna dance 'til dawn's early light.
                   It'll be lots of fun;but i just hope there's one
                   Other person who can make it that night.
                                                                                   Anonymous

So after reading this i was more comfortable and stable about attending reunions if any although one can never tell.Maybe next time i get a call i'd make plans and keep it on my list because life does give us chances to prioritize and maybe this time i should buckle my shoes and give it a go...but now i am saying this even when i  know it's que sera...sera again. Let' see then laters!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kacchi Kali Kachnaar Ki

Kachnar Tree ((Bauhinia variegate) with Pink Blossoms                                Kachnar Tree ((Bauhinia variegate) with Pink Blossoms

This particular tree could be yet another associated with my childhood memories.i am just guessing though because locally in Arrah, a district of Bihar where my father was posted then, it was called Agastya and pronounced more like Agast. i was then a baby maybe 3-4 years old and although my memories are fragmented yet they make me very happy today.It is the memory of unpolluted, spacious and country like surroundings with fields, beautiful fragrant trees and cows which produced enough milk not only to feed the family but also to massage us with. Ma used to massage us with the froth of the freshly squeezed milk and later wipe us with a soft gamcha (a soft towel used in Bihar for wiping the body).i still remember how we detested that smell and the procedure and how we would bawl and rebel to get out of her grip wincing and flailing simultaneously to slip free.
Ma and Papa were different then in their appearance naturally as they were so young.Ma wore sedhe palle ki saree (Saree worn the Gujrati style where the open end covers the front) which would be bright and colourful and lots of glass bangles the sounds and colours of which fascinated me enough to want to wear them myself.Ma told me much later how i would refuse to sleep and want to play with her bangles instead while she tried hard with her stories and lullabyes to get me to sleep.
Papa was skinny, fair and dark haired and brought us toys from wherever he went on tours.We were just two kids then.My elder brother and me. So we had plenty of attention and affection of our parents and we were happy but pampered kids.Pampered by parents and all the helpers including the peon, cook, driver and all those who would come to work in the fields.Pampered wherever we went be it the shops or even the single cinema theatre in town.We were the priceless kids of the HAKIM Saheb and MEM saheb.And anyone who visited us would applaud the two of us driving our baby cars which moved as we pedalled like we were budding formula one champions.Big brother in his blue one and me in my red one.
i get flashes of the huge bungalow the kind which housed the Britishers earlier with very high ceilings and wooden Jalousie/louvered windows. But more than that the vision of the huge campus which had this tree along with the rest of the cultivable area where everything from grains to vegetables were grown, often crosses the mind's eye.



This particular memory of the flowers of this tree makes me impatient to speak about the delicious pakoras (fritters or crispies) that were made with these flowers.i know how eager we would be not so much for the pakoras but the paraphernalia involving the preparation of the special meal which would also have these pakoras for lunch along with other things.


Someone would be called from the fields or if they were busy the cook or driver would happily oblige with the picking of these flowers.Someone would prop the ladder and few others would hold us not by force but more by cajoling as we jostled to have a go on the ladder.While someone would hold the ladder stable as the other would climb with a basket to pick the flowers.This simple task of the flower picking would keep us stay put and enthralled when otherwise we would be squabbling over the same toy or perhaps giving Ma a hard time as she monitored our mischiefs into sobriety.

The Edible Pink Bud of Kachnar Tree  

The pinkish red flower of kachnar       " Agast ke phool ka bachka kahiyega baua ji", (Little one would you like to eat Agast flower crispies?) the cook would ask us lovingly and till it was stuffed into our mouths mixed with the dal chawal (cooked rice and lentils) we would not relent. Later we would follow the driver to the neighbours where the rest of the picked flowers were distributed.

The White Blossom a variety of Kachnar Tree known as Buddhist Bauhinia( Bauhinia variegata var.

Now i know that it is known commonly as Kachnaar or else as Pink Butterfly tree and Purple Orchid tree but the one i am eager to see up and close is the ONE of my childhood the white one which i suppose is known as Bahaunia variegata. This one does not have narrow petals like the purple ones instead the petals are broader and never open fully flat.My memory confirms that they kind of overlap and they are white with traces of pink and even traces of  pale yellow.

i have this craving to eat Agast ke phool ka bachka and i am alert.Although i am not sure if i would be lucky enough to see it what to talk of finding enough to eat yet i wait because i know that when you want something very badly something pushes you towards it.
It is not surprising that like the so many others this tree is valued enormously not only for it's beauty and delicate fragrance but also for it's medicinal properties.Starting with the leaves to the bark and finally the seeds which are used to make medicines for ailments like ulcers,leprosy,dysentry and even haemorroids.
http://www.himalayahealthcare.com/herbfinder/h_bauhin.htm

Kachnar seed pods-2

This time when i speak to my father i have to ask him that when he sang this popular film song while i sat in his lap and shook as he would try to play imaginary tabla with both his hands, did he know that Agast was that Kachnaar. i can hear him sing distinctly,".Kacchi kali kachnaar ki...kach...kach...kach...kach...kachi kali kachnar ki...." as i delve into that tree, below which i sat sometimes with my dolls and played house house and that even as a baby wanted to climb and sit on it's branch with my cherubic cheeks close to the flowers to get the fragrance and later to pick one or two for Ma's pooja.
The White Kachnar

Can't memorise all but nice to know the names in different languages as i try to remember,' Kacchi Kali Kachnaar ki...kach...kach...kach...kach...Kacchi kali Kachnaar ki...hai kya samjhegi batein pyaar ki...kya samjhegi batein pyaar ki...Kacchi Kali Kachnaar ki....'

Tamil-Nilatthiruvatti/Shemmandarai, Telgu-Bodanta, Malayalam-Chovanna Mandaru/ Suvannamandaram,
 Kannada-Devakanchan/Arisinatige, Oriya-Borodo, Bengal-Koiral/Rakta Kanchana, Marathi-Rakta Chanda, Gujrati-Kovindara, Sanskrit-Devkanchan, Hindi-Kachnaar...or as Bauhinia is also the National flower of Hong Kong .
There are many varieties of Bauhunia which has been aptly called as 'eye candy' on: http://toptropicals.com/cgi-bin/garden_catalog/cat.cgi

And now for the song that papa used to sing:




Image courtesy:http://www.flickr.com
                        http://home-ande-garden.webshots.com
                       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhinia_blakeana

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Omar Shariff or Rom Whitaker?

Even looking at this photo shot hastily by my niece i experience an eerie shiver down my spine as i shudder in fright.From the safe distance from which this picture was taken i have to mention that this time i am going to just narrate all that ensued one morning at my sister's place when this COBRA was discovered on a heap of home harvested onions.But before i proceed i am in my mind trying to tell myself," Relax! this is just a picture". Does that make me snake phobic? Of course this kind of a fear which happens without any actual contact or even by a thought is known as Ophidophobia or more generally as Herpetophobia.

The jack of all trades and master of some cook of my sister's as usual went down to get some freshly harvested onions for the days cooking when dumbstruck and frightened when he skips and hops the stairs hastily as if running to safety which in this case was the master of the house.
" Saheb ji! Saheb ji! pyaaj mein Naag phan mar kar baitha hai !", (Master! Master! there is a full hooded cobra sitting on onions) he breathlessly beseeched  his master, the Senior Forest Officer who was savouring his morning tea with his fresh newspaper in the balcony.
"Naag saanp!! kahan! baap re! (Cobra snake!! where! oh Father!) shrieked my sis who was about to join her husband for tea and stopped half way twisting and shuddering which from a distance would have given the impression of a lady getting electrocuted.
She then ran and clutched her hubby hard as if some calamity had already struck her and she wants immediate respite which none but he could provide.
This was expected out of her as she suffers from the same phobia as me.The kids who were in their respective rooms heard her scream loud and clear to come out and were eager to see the beast, the unwanted intruder sitting on their onions.
The room where the serpent was sighted over a heap of onions is away from the staircase even then the master of the house followed by the rest tiptoed towards the venue eyeing carefully every step in case the venomous beast had slithered across and could be anywhere now.But luckily it was not sighted there nor along the passage which led to the room.It was still where it was but smart at it's senses which i presume the snakes gets through the vibrations, it was now more alert and ready to meet it's opponents/enemy.Coiled into a perfect balance to strike and the hood broader now there was no denying that the cook was justified in his fearful exclamation.The mark of the Cobra was fully visible and the family excepting the Forest Officer was stupified with that strange thrill mixed with fear.Although this cannot be said for my sister who was shuddering and tense enough to chew her fingers.

Heroically the Officer examined the serpent from the doorway and in a muffled tone claimed, "This is an adolescent cobra and not a fully grown one". He should know better as he is the Wild Life Expert.
One by one he let his family member have a good view of the most feared and also the revered serpent.But all this talk and movement was getting the venomous one very restless now as it could sense danger too. Excepting my sis who was still clutching her husband's kurta sleeve, the entire family was thrilled by the intruder and before anything could be done, my elder niece took a shot of the adolescent King from her mobile phone.By the time the younger one could get her cyber shot and take a stance to shoot a better picture the forest Officer was in full form doing a Romulus Earl Whitaker with the help of a hollow bamboo thick enough to house the cobra and closed at the end from which he held the bamboo.
Balancing himself on the heap as the onions slid, he slowly and carefully made his way more near the snake which had started hissing now.My sister who was terrified at her husband's heroism screamed again which led to more hissing which made the officer back out a bit.He looked now more tense than he was earlier as he held the open end close to the snake and kept absolutely still.This is what my sis told me over the phone that he was like a statue legs apart for balance with the pole sticking close to the snake and it was a successful trick.The adolescent Cobra slid inside and the cook who was ready with a gauge of rolled old clothes plugged the open end tight.
My sis who was standing with her nephew slightly away now was shuddering and trembling still.The fact that the Cobra was inside the bamboo which her husband was holding was giving her the jitters and she was screaming asking him to throw it as fast and as far as he could.
The Hero was smiling and just to freak her out a bit more brought the bamboo close enough to make her hysterical while he kept chuckling and even laughing, very amused at my sister's fright at the caged beast.
However he relented and took the bamboozled cobra far away from the colony and released it into the wilderness.
Mission accomplished like a true wild life enthusiast.Hats off to him.
Was my sis all well after that and after what her nephew told her i seriously doubt.Which was something like this, " Chachi Cobra toh gaya par ab iske bandhu bandhav bhi toh yahin kahin honge unka kya karoge?''
( Aunty the Cobra is gone but it's relatives could still be here what would you do about that?)
She must be sleeping with her lights on i know and it is surely going to take sometime when she can be normal again, this i can vouch for.

On my conversation with my younger niece i realised how upset she was to miss out on her father's brilliant Operation Cobra and heroism which merits a national award.
''Mausi i had to search for the camera upstairs and by the time i came down the entire thing was over", she complained in her sad voice.
i tried to pacify her and tell her that hence forth she should take complete charge of the camera and keep it handy so that next time she will not miss a thing.As if the relatives of the Cobra will come looking for it and the entire operation will be repeated. Anticipating such, her innocence soon replaces the sadness with excitement
when happily she starts mimicking the hiss that she got to hear in real and  narrate the day's incident with much enthusiasm of a 11 year old.She went on to inform me with a sense of pride in her new found hobby as a shutter bug that the second shot of the swaying Cobra was taken by her.Also that her pet Pomeranian Buddy had just few days back saved the cook from another snake which lay coiled below the scooter in the garage.As i listen to her another thought crossed my mind and i spoke aloud my thoughts to my 11 year old darling," Wow what a family where Master toh master but Doggy bhi... baap re baap!"

Now i sit and think about this fear that my sis and i share.What is it about the snakes that causes this shiver and this eerie goose pimples to appear at the mere thought of it. i wonder if i would've acted any differently.
Is it it's slink and slither or even it's sinuous ease? Why is it that a mere sight begets fight or flight and even intense fright?Why does it look so eewwww so yucky?
It is not as if the snakes will come get me no matter what but then why this fear? Is there any way to get rid of this? So once again i sit and Google about Ophidophobia and i am informed of many solutions including knowledge about snakes and hypnotism but none is a full proof method.
I guess some fears still remain no matter what just like the fear of darkness.However some thoughts  expressed and more findings were impressive enough to link them here.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/10/1004_snakefears.html

http://www.yourstory.in/expert-talk/guest-column/2872-snake-lovers-entrepreneurial-lessons-passion-for-the-unusual-can-lift-you-to-the-top


Before quitting i must say however that though he has his own idiosyncrasies like all of us do i am only more impressed with this man my sister is married to. If there is one person i know in my life who followed his heart in choosing his profession it is him.i can say this with certainty because the love that he exhibits for flora and fauna is not only evident in his day to day routines which he executes with sincerity and committment befitting a Forest Officer but also the values for nature and its creatures that he has instilled into his children.
Thank God Shiva that His ornament which bedecks His blue neck had accidently ventured into my sister's house and not somewhere else in the colony.Or else today instead of living it's rightful life it would be mercilessly clobbered to a very painful death.
i have been educated by this wild life enthusiast about the snakes too when he once told me about the venom types of snakes.Explaining Neurotoxic Venom he had informed me that snakes like Cobra and Krait have venom that is neurotoxic which affect the nervous system leading everything from seizures to death.But snakes like Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake has venom that is hemotoxic that affects the blood and organs causing a breakdown or inflammation of the body.These bites are more painful as breathing hurts and tissues begin to die.He also told me that most garden snakes are non poisonous and that they are just killed out of fear.
As a mark of my intense respect now for this handsome Officer who sort of resembles Omar Shariff i will try and convince myself that SNAKES like all creatures are beautiful and my fears are dumbfounded.
And to those who call me crazy for identifying snakes as beautiful i say, ''Go Hang!!''

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Constant Teacher

THEN...
The sound of the beep peep! beep beep peep!! of his car horn in it's rhythmic tune would in a way create a war of muscle where we would jostle and use our might as right just to leave the younger and weaker siblings sulking far behind.
The car being parked and when he would alight the peon would scurry to get his briefcase and his files if any.
Then  ACTION...a clamour for his attention as he tried to hold all four of us in one go.My brother and me propped on the either side clinging hopelessly with our arms around him for the simple apprehension of being dislodged while he would try to grab the two little ones who would be nudging at his legs and pulling his trousers. All this between a chaos of complaints of the little ones about the atrocities committed by their elders and sounds of affectionate kisses lodged on us one by one...words of affection coined for all of us which had no other meaning but unconditional love.Can anything like BHATKALE,MANCHASI,JORJREAL,GALBADIN mean anything but that.
The eldest son and me always asking him if he got the things we had asked for be it some stationary item, toy or even cinema tickets  for the weekend show while the younger ones would be listing out the complaints non-stop on:
a) the errands they were made to do perforce,
b)all goodies that was not shared by their elders and
c) who got clobbered by whom during his absence from home.
He would then settle all of us one by one in a manner that gave us the first lesson on democratic justice which was to hold the eldest son who was a sort of a bully in a firm grip and ask us to give with all our might  our best shot on his bony but strong back.The only condition being that pinching or biting was strictly prohibited.

After the settlement of disputes and complaints and still holding the youngest of the sibling, my sister who was in her kindergarten, he then would walk towards his room to change into easy clothes and freshen up.
Tea with hot snacks bought from the Secretariat Canteen would see all of us happy and contented as we would dig into the yummy pure ghee Kachoris, Samosas and fresh melt in the mouth sweet Boondi.
Can't paint the divine glow that radiated his face while he saw to the even distribution of the bounty between all members of the family among those seated with him and those absent including my Ma and all the helpers who would be busy with other chores.There was always enough for everybody.
Then very respectfully in his local lingo he would call out for Ma and ask her to wheel us away to do our homework but before that inquire about her needs if she wanted anything from the market or on other matters of domesticity.Mundane activities discussed between the two was least interesting as we would smile at each other munching away to God's glory.No war but only peace emanating through our smiles.
This is the earliest memory i have of him my HERO.

NOW...
The phone rings and when i answer it  is my hero who among other things warns me not to be on my laptop all the time.
"Run around and do your work sometimes the conventional way instead of internetting all the time; it is very good for the mind and body.By the time you are fifty your fingers would be rendered useless...are you listening to me Munni?", the hero asks impatiently.
This after the last one month spent tirelessly on the laptop trying to get his itinerary done for this trip abroad for the person whom i now prefer to call the Lusty Traveller not for any other reason but as a shortcut to his lust for travelling. An avid globe- trotter who chooses his destinations to be what he calls them Civilisation Tours as a free individual tourist, his next and the last mission is China and his choice on the four provinces of China which he is hell bent on visiting.All i can say is Amen!



Handsome as ever and a walking encyclopoedia on most disciplines one cannot deny his presence even when he is 78 plus.It is not uncommon to find him center stage in all discussions ranging from mundane to political and is as amazing on matters spiritual.A realist to the core he keeps his audience enthralled and speechless with his arguements which have a strong penchant towards rationalisation through scientific enquiry and logical reasoning.
Sometimes it feels like we fade away in front of his brilliance and at other times his biting truth about matters we don't look eye to eye with gets on our nerves.Technology and the new way of life being one of them.The other being about education and this mad rush for IIT/IIM and the so called pay packet that IT sector offers.
''Ghanta PAY PACKET!!'', he would sound very agitated and disturbed and continue, "And what about quality life with family! what about that!."
Dead against the gruesome and backbreaking curriculum children are forced into which according to him is inhuman he often wonders why more and more parents are subjugating their smart and sharp kids to such torture.
When we were kids he made no such demands and signed our report cards happily even when we had done average or even less than that.
Any young prospective IITian visitor is then sermonised profusely on the easier choice...a choice which according to him is less burdensome mentally and financially both to the parents and the students alike.A choice which according to him gives a good family life and begets a lot of respect .
His panacea to all such evils regarding the rat race to finding a good career is THE CIVIL SERVICES.This for both genders.

Fiercely independant still, my hero prefers to do all his jobs himself be it raining heavy or shining hard.My attempt thus to be a good offspring meets with this response about my fingers becoming severely arthritic just because i sat at home and tried to prevent him from running helter skelter for ticketing/hotel booking and other formalities in this sweltering and humid heat of the South.
But the moments which bring laughter now and not when it happened was when my hero sat next to me when all this was done . i can only say this that if a Uncle Podger Hangs a Picture scenario can be applied to any such instance in my life, it could  be best fitted here.
All confused options by him were dealt hastily by me as i tried to prove my mettle with new technology.
Only the Heavens know how i was praying for miracles to happen with my clicks as i was ashamed to admit that i was not as net savvy as he assumed me to be. And at that time i could see the man who really wanted things done at the snap of his fingers had no patience when data was being processed by the machine.
'' Tell you beta i will go there and get this done better because on personal face to face enquiry I might get a better deal.'' he would be butting in every second with additional queries and causing me to jump and startle with the new instruction even when the old is still being processed. On reflex i would land up giving the wrong command and mostly all the wrong clicks.As i would focus hard on getting the work done he would in his above normal pitch which sounded more like an irritated command rant off four other options which i should look for before i could ok the earlier one.Little realising that the ok command has already been given.

My hero shares all my interests but one. This being his intense passion for secateur and lopping all plants to give it a proper shape.Have to be very honest i am glad i don't own one.Or else he would be lopping away all my babies to what he feels would make them look neat and well groomed.
He is quite a sight, back home as he gingerly tries to climb the compound walls with a large secateur in hand going khachack ! khachack! at the Mauleshwari tree which looks awful and sort of pathetic just like the sad bird that has lost all it's feathers, the day he has done the pruning.We see him from the balcony laughing at how comical he looks in his TRANSPARENCIES.. a term  we have given to the white lungi which shows the shadow/silouhette of his thin but muscular and well formed legs as he perches balancing himself.This is most prominent when his white lungi is against the light.
His pruning done on one he would eagerly look around for his new victim .Surveying the masterpieces that he has created he would look at us and question us on our laughter and we just keep laughing all the more because the explanation to the reason now has another extension... his masterpieces in his transparencies.
Nevertheless have to accept this that when the new foliage covers the tree they do look qutie sculpted and  round rather just too round which kind of looks cute if not artistic.

He also is a movie buff but i am shocked as to how when we were young he would mimic the dialogues of Guns of Navarone to perfection or even the fast American ones to our glee and clapping in appreciation and awe.But now has a hard time catching the dialogues of today.Often the symbolic aspects would go over his head now and in an irritating voice he interrupts our concentration at some serious scenes by putting forth the dumbest question.Today we laugh out aloud remembering and mimicking him but on seeing the movie called 'Misery' which deals with the story of a insane maniac fan who tries to murder the writer of whose book she is an ardent fan of, we were getting very irritated and cheesed off with his angry and irritating questioning, " Why is she doing like this... and is her name Mijree?"The way he kept butting in with his exclamations and his mispronunciation MIJREE still makes us roll with laughter.
(Brilliantly played by Kathy Bates as the maniacal fan Annie Wilkes for which she bagged three prestigious awards including the Oscar and Golden Globe in the year1990.)
Maybe we were watching the wrong movie because this man actually has a particular choice in which he will remain absolutely quiet and non questioning.
Loves Greek epics and Biblical movies which he prefers to watch close to the TV but within the prescribed distance with proper lighting. And i the all knowing one about movies dare not go any where but to sit tight next to him explaining all that he is unable to figure out.He would be vigilant enough to pause while i satisfy his reasoning.Needless to say then that when i get DVD'S for him i am dead if it does not have English subtitles.

My neighbours and friends are often quizzed and one of them calls me a rare sight as they don't get to see me even in the balcony tending to my babies, every time he comes to visit me.He is all consuming, for from the time he wakes up till he is tucked in,  i have to be by his side.That's because he wants to impart me with all the knowledge he can as if i was a knowledge soaking sponge.It will be dishonest on my part if i do not agree that i love to be that sponge and of late i try to scribble down as much as i can cause i can't help my failing memory.
The best is when he follows me to the kitchen and gives me all his fine tips on the right amount of spices to make my baby potatoes and methi bhaji (fenugreek greens) perfect and too chatpata (piquant) that it can be eaten just like that straight from the kadai hot and singeing the tongue...in between trying to blow to prevent the burning.
i remember his stirring the Colocasia slivers crisp with the minimum amount of oil just by monitoring the flame of the gas stove.Oh! he is not a health food freak, no ways!.He has nothing against the use of oil but he advices on the use of  the amount which is  generous but just sufficient to fry it crisp and that it should not show on your plate.But strange, this miracle happens only when he is here with me.

For a self restrained smoker and his medicinal drinking two pegs of good whiskey daily he is quite a stunner so far as health is concerned.The amount of stamina and self control that he possesses would put a non smoker and a teetotaller to shame. Everybody who knows him is much in awe of this fact as how he stays off all this twice a year when he does his Navratra ( Nine days of worship for Goddess Durga) or when he takes his pilgrimage.Recently to Amarnath and after his retirement , to Kailash Maansarovar which was not a weeks affair but was a month long trip.No one has seen him restless for the intense urge of any of these on any such occasion.Thus i feel my Hero is a Sanyaasi (sage) of sorts.When i ask him how he does it he replies quite as a matter of factly,'' Beta it is an exercise i do on purpose which certifies that i an not an addict."

He was my first teacher on all aspects be it femininity of the Indian woman when she dons a saree which was when i had my first farewell party in school, to teaching me how to drive a car when i was in the 9th std.
His words are going on inside my head now as we both sat in the FIAT Premier Padmini, he in his driving seat and me on the next passenger seat reckless and impatient to roll.


"The car is your baby in which you shall be breathing life.You have to be very attentive to her sounds because every time your baby is in discomfort it will try to speak to you and you have to attend to it or else your baby will get sick."
Later he went on to show all the gears which then was a rod with a smooth knob projecting below the steering wheel.1st,2nd,3rd 4th...he would show me gliding his hands and reminding me to be a smooth operator on that and never ever be rough.
"Now you have to breathe life into your baby and how will you do that?You will turn on the ignition like this at which you will get the vibration of it coming to life... ."
What happened on my first solo drive on the way to my Maternal Grandparents village 6 hours from Patna is history which needs a separate narration altogether.



Now as i read this article which i want to share badly with him i am falling back again on what he will definitely not want me to do.I know he will prefer that i post the cutting to him instead what i do is to email the page to my relatives back home requesting them to take a printout of this and hand it out to him. http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOICH/2010/05/16&PageLabel=13&EntityId=Ar01301&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T




His forgetting things especially what he said the previous night does not disturb me more than his new found pronunciations . My younger sister was shocked to hear him say,"Here Chotki i got you the water of river Neel..." after he had returned from Egypt and  she was wondering if it was Hinglish that he's trying to familiarise himself with.Thus Nile is Neel now and Richard Gere is Richard JERE but the best one ,Yale is YAALAY according to him.This is so strange because so far as correct pronunciations is concerned he would do his best by correcting us when we defaulted as kids.He was so particular about the correctness that he would consult the Websters and even discuss with his friends who would also be professors in Literature.
Sometimes i think it is a trick he plays to give me a false sense of pride that i am teaching him now finally.Maybe he smiles internally to see my consternation grow with every new one.

What am i trying to do? Teach my hero, my guru who has been my teacher all my life and will continue to be so.And what am i trying to teach him or rather tell him?  That he may be wrong here when in my heart of hearts i know he is right very very right when he asks me to keep the usage of technology at a level that should keep my mind and my body healthy.
Oh! Papa.... tussi great ho!!

Image courtesy: http://www.google.co.in/imgres?imgurl=http://www.aperfectworld.org/clipart/family/father_daughter.png&imgrefurl=http://www.aperfectworld.org/family.html&h=513&w=600&sz=16&tbnid=RJt7s7hZfKv62M:&tbnh=115&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfather%2Bdaughter%2Bclipart&hl=en&usg=__-X6odJBQlPyfv32ZhoU6dupiPAw=&ei=apzxS6-MHYyA7QPEvPyiBg&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=6&ct=image&ved=0CDIQ9QEwBQ

http://www.fotosearch.com/IMZ006/dro0088/

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mister Binocs


As i attempt to make a picture of my memories related to the Madhumalati my earlier post and the boy who refuses to get dissociated with this creeper which delights me in all possible way i wonder if Madhumalati would remain the same without his memories.
Then can excepting me anyone understand that there could be people in your past life for whom you can neither say that that he was your first crush nor actual love? Can i myself fathom then in all these years why is he so alive in my thoughts and even features in my dreams? As i try to figure out the WHY i can't seem to get answers but i am still happy with the unanswered question because this memory of him takes me to my childhood and amidst all things i start smiling as i go down this memory lane.

''Ye that  through your heart's to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What through the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight
Though nothing could bring back the hour
 of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind."
from Imitations Of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood by Sir William Wordsworth.

The early 70's saw my Dad constructing his first own house in this area which still was not considered suitable for settlement  by many, as back then it was not so popular because apart from fields for farming it had no such frills as is most desired nowadays when one purchases a plot.Plus the main road leading to our construction site had a wide open canal which carried the town's dirt towards Holy Ganga.Sad but it did.And maybe it still does although now it is no longer visible to the naked eye.
It's a different story about that area altogether today as what to talk of a plot even small flat in that area will cost you something that approaches half a crore.And it has all the frills and fancies required for a modern day settlement.And no one but the octogenarians and all the grandad's, granmom's still alive, the original inhabitants will remember that wide open sewage canal which now is apparently concealed by smooth road by the sidelines of which all the accoutrements including apartments, shops and malls have sprung up.Probably hence it was known Boring Road then and Boring Road now...bore of the well kind...not bore of the mental status.

But it does not delight me anymore the sight of the concrete jungle and that family all scattered in all corners of the world and that house i doubt if the Madhumalati stills creeps across HIS window.And we don't live there anymore as my family back home has shifted to their new house and this house has been happily handed over to the twelve tenants who now have the sight of that house with it's original occupants all gone with the wind and now also housing tenants probably.

However as soon as the ground floor got constructed we moved in as construction still went on for the rest of the building.There were just 2 houses of repute then, HIS being one and the other of a famous and very respected minister of the Bihar Cabinet.
However since that was further away and his house was just across so it was just chance and few courtesies that my father exchanged with his new neighbour that got me a warm entry to his house.Maybe i was too cute as a child and his parents loved having me there and would often call me to play in their garden and also with the other kids of the house.
Happily i would gatecrash to play with his nephew who was my age and was affectionately known as Hittoo which i presume was a short form of his real name Hitesh.Another nephew Guloo was still a toddler and i could not be interested.Don't exactly remember how old i was then probably 6 or 7 but i was a real kiddo.
He was the only son to his parents after four elder sisters.And his father was in the Police Force while mine in Administration.So it was a good combination and i would be pampered, fed with specials of the day and allowed unlimited entry whenever i felt like.

Hitoo's mother was a renowned lady doctor something quite amazing during those times and in fact the entire family later was known in the town more for the 5 kids who were all very smart in academics with all daughters except one becoming successful doctors and the one who DIDN'T opted to teach as a lecturer in Botany instead at a very reputed girls college in town.People were in awe of this gentleman Mr P.N.Sahay who later got promoted to the IPS and whose kids were so brilliant in studies that they did very well in life and got the family much higher status in the social circuit.

It was predictable by the commitment he showed even as a kid towards his studies that he would do no less than his sisters all elder to him and so successful.Some even went to the extent of saying that if one Kayastha family has that vardaan  (blessing from the Gods) it is this family.It is a belief among my people back home that the Kayastha community have this blessing for lekhni( meaning reading writing as symbolic of intellect) from Gods.

This lanky and tall for me boy had a room of his own which had a window facing my house.So from wherever you could see from my house the window would be visible as the room was just above the garage of his house.And from the ground a very lush Madhavi lata (Rangoon creeper) crept all the way across his window and as if got stuck there refusing to climb further.You could thus see the blooms and in the evenings then when it was all vast spaces, get a whiff of the fragrance too of this and of the other fragrant shrub called Raat ki Raani(Queen of the Night,Cestrum nocturnum) which was planted next to his house gate.Very heady mix this which would delight us in the evenings when after dinner we would sit and have fun filled conversations about all and sundry  near our gate where chairs loosely scattered would fit all of us in.A single electricity pole with it's solitary bulb later a tubelight thanks to Mr Sahay IPS illuminated the road and the shrub and provided enough for us to have a mellow lit banter with family and relatives of whom there was no dearth.

So this boy whose name was Vijay Sahay went to the best boy missionary school and was also good in extra-curriculars. Was doted upon by his parents and sisters and also sang very well.Though he would always be seen with a book in hand he cannot be called a nerd or a geek.Was good in games too as i watched him play cricket with my brother and the rest of the colony boys.

The one good memory what i have is how his family would be seen having fun all the time.There would be weddings one after the other as each year the next in line sister would be getting married.If not the wedding then we would get invitations for all kiinds of parties including birthdays and welcoming parties.
My first encounter with a birthday party was here in Hitoo's birthday. Can't explain the wonder at the paraphernalia involving birthdays...Balloons,Cakes,and all that specials which i thought resembled a banquet.
And on all such occasions apart from the gramophone ( later stereo system) belting out songs, Vijay would perform invariably first at the cajoling of his sisters and later on request of the guests who were aware of his singing skills.He would then give a matchless rendition to popular film numbers sang to perfection in his teenage and not fully cracked man voice.

His family members would teasingly ask me who i wanted to marry.If it was Hitoo or Vijay and i was just too young too react to that.Don't exactly remember what i used to say.All i remember is that they would often tease this sandy haired unkempt girl, me, who would come to have her encounter with all fanciful things at his place.Vijay must be in his higher secondary then and i probably a first grader or perhaps second going to the best convent school in town.

During his sister's weddings a mike with loudspeaker would keep the colony chirpy with festivities as popular numbers were played.And in between songs from Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (i remember this very popular Hindi Movie) his voice would entertain us when Vijay would sing 'Jindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo makam...woh phir nahin aate...woh phir nahin aate'.Whatever we would be doing we would just feel enraptured and even as a kid i would stop to listen and wanted very badly to go and sing myself on that mike just to know how electricity would change my voice and make it sound so good.At least this is what i thought then.
Then when he would be lampooning with the colony boys during Holi (the festival of colours) they would finally stop at his gate all coloured and ready for their malpuas (holi special of Bihar which resembles a pancake) and  the much needed wash , he would be requested to sing.We would listen to his singing then from the terrace watching and giggling at the antics of the street- side romeos who would be trying desperately to grab our attention as a part of his holi gang.

Time passed and i grew up seeing him cross one milestone after another while the Madhavi lata kept getting lusher at the base and slender at his window with blooms now peeking from the rain hood ( that cemented projection) over his window.
There was yet another party in honour of Vijay qualifying his pre-medical entrance with top honours which my dad attended  along with the other known and reputed people of the town. i had by now grown up to to the extent that there were restrictions on my free movement and if at all i was taken it was always with my mom as an escort and this time since Ma was not going i wasn't even offered.
While i was allowed to attend all wedding functions at his place with my mom i certainly was grown up enough not to gatecrash.
Hitoo too had some years back moved abroad with his mom and dad who were now both practicing overseas.
But that particular day like some others in a girls life i hated my growing up and wondered if he regaled his guests once again at the party in honour of his achievement because i would often get news of all the awards and accolades won at his school for debates , elocutions and also his singing.By now i was sure that he was passionate about singing too.And just like others i was by now an ardent admirer of his brilliancy in academics and his superb skill in singing.


How he remains intact in my memory is after he went on to study medicine.He would now be seen as usual moving with thicker books and often seen at his window with the Madhavi Lata, cramming medicine silently, in between gazing out on the road or towards anything visible from his window.From my balcony i would also see him shaking his head as if trying to get some rhythm into his head of some songs.
Sometimes very rarely though on his initiation we would exchange LP'S. i do remember exchanging Karl Douglas's Kung Fu Fighting and George McCrae's Rock your Baby for his collection on Duran Duran and even Bee Gees. i guess so far as pop was concerned Duran Duran was his favourite.But can't be sure about that too because he listened to all that was popular and sang all that he liked.

But the best part for which he will be remembered by all in my colony which had by now mushroomed into a very happening place within a gap of 10 years was for his peculiar hobby.That he cleared his medicine levels with honours there is no doubt but more than that the sight of him with his binoculors looking far and near is what he was now talked about.Some silly ones in the colony talked negatively about this but no one made a fuss about it large enough that he could stop it because of complaints.Maybe the colony people gave him that benefit knowing that he was a harmless brilliant boy always studying so hard.
 He would sit on the swing in his balcony with his binoculars sometimes hung round this neck and in between books would just take his binocs and start spying on the colony.Spying that was what some who did get annoyed to see a young man do this would gossip amongst themselves.
Spying especially towards the terrace of my house which had two cute cottages on the either side which the bachelors would often take on rent.
This particular Malaysian who was also studying medicine had a girlfriend Junie who would come all the way from Malaysia to be with her boyfriend was what provided VIjay all the entertainment with.
Imagine a live in relationship back then and it created no furore because after all he was a Malaysiasn and on being probed by nosy neighbours the Malaysian would shut them up by proclaiming that Junie was his cousin.The Malaysian's cottage faced Vijay's terrace and his window and he would carry on with his hobby but also always seen studying seriously.

My friends who would come to visit me would see this young man in his white payjamas and shirt, sitting on the terrace with a thick book in his lap peering into houses and everything through his binoculars and that's how for us he was no longer Dr Vijay but Mister Binocs.For us teenagers it was enough to address him in our conversations as Mr Binocs, giggle hopelessly at our silly match making and teasing each other as to who would go ahead to make the first move with this man.i was by now a young lady doing my plus two very much in my teens the kind which secretly nurtures romantic thoughts about the opposite sex. Him can't be far behind then.Was brilliant, sang well , was from a rich and sophisticated background what more can one ask for. Only thing it was not to be so because in my heart secretly i was already having a platonic relationship with another boy who again was a Kayastha and was my class fellow.But no one knew about this.This was a secret divulged much later to my  best friend who could only yell in surprise at the revelation,...Oh my Shivani! you liked *******all this while...".
That's why i always say no matter where you are and however you are in everybody's life there is a 'Summer of 42'.

Later Mr Binoc's got married to my friend's elder sister who was also an intern now along with Mr Binoc's who had successfully completed his MBBS making inroads for his MD.And then they left the country to the land all head forward to, to be more proficient in their chosen careers and their field of specialisation.Can't really tell if it was UK or USA but definitely one of these.

Madhumalati brought all this memories alive though i often see Mr Binoc's in my dreams.My husband's interpretation to my dreams is that i admired him tremendously.He agrees that it may not be love or infatuation either but my admiration for his attributes has kept him there in the corner of my heart.
It's funny and strange how some things choose to remain so.And the guy i had my deepest love/crush/infatuation never features in my dreams.For this my husband has the same explanation when he says,"What you thought was love was just plain and simple admiration, admiration not for the boy as such but for his qualities." Probably my husband is right.Probably i still don't know as yet how to demarcate between admiration and adulation.Between devotion and love.

Maybe then memories are echoes that sound in our dreams and never fade away.
Maybe these are lights that burn to keep the heart alive.
Maybe they are precious, too precious that the heart chooses to keep them lingering.
Whatever...it cannot be summed up simply but here i'd like to quote Amanda Bradley when she says in her short poem 'Reminiscing'
"There's a place within our hearts
Where we keep our favourite memories,
The ones that never fail to make us smile--
And when life becomes too hectic
It's such a special feeling
to close our eyes and reminisce awhile ."

My own attempt on blogging about Madhumalati and memories led to another happy moment.So when after say 30years or more i Googled on Dr Vijay Sahay i found out that not only is he an endocrinologist par excellance as he is rated 4 out of 5 by his patients but now also a King of the Karaoke Club where he practices in New York.It made me so thrilled that i called my best friend still between goose pimples to tell her that i had found Mr Binocs.To which she asked me to send a link right away and when i did that again amongst more teasing she said,''NOBAAD,NOBAAD at all.'' Was she saying not bad not bad at all, who cares what she said , right now i have lots to listen to, of that doctor who did not allow a tough medicine life steal his passion away instead honed it to still more perfection.That boy turned roving eye turned doc... on whose window Madhumalati lingered probably waiting to hear him sing.Who knows...
Meanwhile i hear him croon ,' Hai Duniya usi ki Zamana usi ka...Mohabaat mein jo ho gaya ho kisika...'


Image courtesy:http://www.glowimages.com/search/Vine+Wall.html
For sake of privacy the names have been changed but everything else is as it was and as it is.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Madhumalati


Rangoon Creeper

Rangoon Creeper It was just another day and as i drove along to my destination something stopped me right in the tracks.In any case i had to halt as the traffic signal showed red and this was going to be a more than 3 minutes wait as the digital meter at the traffic signal was showing 180.So i pushed the gear to neutral and let my Maruti 800 rest a while.Had to open my window screen now as the AC was off and while i did that the sight of something forced my mind to think of HIM.

Him who is etched to my childhood memories as much as this Rangoon Creeper that i saw in full blossom in some stranger's porch driving in Nelson Manickam road.There were mixed emotions now as i battled to have full view of this creeper as you don't get to see many of these in Chennai while thoughts were pulling me to that image of him which i wanted to remember clearly removing the cobwebs of my now hazy memory.

Thoughts are my own and i have the time maybe think of him later i said to myself and instead indulged in the beauty that my eyes wanted so badly to feast on.One always has a choice and this time my choice was Madhavi lata (creeper) first.Madhavi lata is the local Bihari nomenclature to Rangoon creeper which is also known as Red Jasmine.

So beauty entices isn't it true?And the more fleeting it is the more we want to linger.This particular moment i wanted to just walk out of my car and probably knock at the gate and ask permission to go near and just smell the flowers.i did have the scent in my memory but just wanted a fresh whiff.
Impulsive my husband would say to that however he was not there to reprimand me and ask me to stay put on my seat so i looked up at the digital meter which clocked 77 now.Still some time so i started but was stopped again in the middle of my tracks because a tin placard which had the picture of a ferocious dog with snarling canines jutting out, proclaimed,'Beware of Dogs'. Mustering some fearlessness i did walk near the gate and did what the onlookers would have thought about a crazy 40 something doing Praanayaam near an elaborately artistic wrought iron gate.
It was not bingo entirely but i got the same faint whiff and my day was made.Peering through the slits of the grill hoping to hear a growl i did manage good glimpses of the lusciuos green foliage and definitely the white...pink...peach...finally red blossoms when my mission was interrupted by the mad honking of automobiles.Needless to say how i ignored the dirty glances and shut my ears to fierce Tamil cursing in between lipsynching sorry to quieten the behind the wheels mobs.If looks could kill i would be dead but anyways i managed to scoot.Inside me a kaliedoscope which showed me these and kept me smiling instead of swearing.




Madhavi lata as we know it i wonder what Chennaites have against it. If i owned a house of my own instead of the bougainvillea this would have adorned my gate.Maybe Vasanti Amma is right when she says that fragrance attracts snakes or else how can one not have this which has beauty combined with a fragrance that either give you divine thoughts or romantic thoughts nothing in between.Actually nature brings you closer to God as i found out from this fellow blogger who too is enamoured by nature and says he feels closer to God when he takes his nature walks. http://jamesmissier.blogspot.com/2009/07/rangoon-creeper-vine-quisqualis-indica.html

So those who study about plants will know it as Quisqualis indica as for me i will know it as the evergreen and fragrant Madhavi lata and there are yet others who call it Madhumalati  also Radhamanohari and debate whether it has fragrance or is odourless but then i cannot agree to that because the one that i know from childhood , has a divine fragrance especially in the evenings and it reminds me of HIM.Him that i knew and lived next door and is a mortal just like me.Him will definitely occupy my next post as one cannot be dissociated with the other.

Once again when i Googled i got this from the net and because it is simple and beautiful i would like it to be here with my blog as i condense my thoughts.However once again i don't know the creator all it says is that it is contributed by Dr.Uma Asopa.
              
   " Madhumalti
Wise woman she is-
a cultivated creeper
grounded in stable soil                      
with wisdom worn like
green umbrella
interspersed with prints
of pink and white flowers, Rangoon Creeper
Madhumalati is her spirited name;
she is sweet scent of night
walks in wilderness,
roaming like untamed bride.
Morning calls her back
She is home with first ray of light-
spirit loaded with perfumed flowers
coy and sleepy with night's plight."

Walked in wilderness when i did wasn't i too the untamed bride of that lanky and dark boy so much elder to me when i was say 7 or 10 and his family wanted me to be his bride when i grew up.
Oh no! not again that is going to take me back again to Boring road when it had just few concrete houses and where ever eyes could reach fields of tur dal (lentils) and paddy could be seen way upto Patliputra colony.
Maybe laters right now let me be with my Madhumalati...




                                 http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/QUISQUALIS_INDICA.htm


Image Courtesy:                                                            
                    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/azgard/msg0911302328081.html
http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/1461210181035151727MGkfHA
http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/QUISQUALIS_INDICA.htm
        
        

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hey It's Me



If there was one ad that touched me to the core and made me feel proud about what i am it was this.Can't really explain whether it is the brilliancy of the ad or some new found wisdom which dawns as and when you approach what is called the middle age that makes you stop being a critic of sorts and gives you this sensibility to mull over your own richness and fullness of what makes you YOU.

i am sure the ad is incomplete as there are endless things very common that can be added to this...attributes that wholly and solely belong to the Indians as there are atrributes belonging to say the Americans,the British,the Chinese so on and so forth.

So i begin to admire this guy Russel Peters who brings out these so brilliantly too in his Stand Up Comedy shows all over the world.i admire his observation ,his skill at delivering with ease these atrributes complete with aprropriate pronunciations, gesticulations and histrionics too.But it only happened after this.





On my initiation to phoren stand up comedy i was more hurt than being amused.When i first saw his show on Youtube that too on the insistence of my son who was in his first year of Engineering i actually hated the guy for making so much fun of all people.And when he cracked on Indians i felt sore and hurt because he talked about the smell of crap emanating everywhere you go in India.He made fun of Indian men holding hands while they took a stroll on the beach and he made fun on Indians being CHEAP.It was as if everything that is Indian was to be made fun off and scoffed  at and i felt like killing him in the first instance. i actually even thought of writing a long email to him blasting him for the way he's been portraying us and reminding him that he is also first born of an Indian and later raised in Canada.How could he go on ridiculing his roots like this.If one needs to be put behind bars for being a traitor then it should be him.Definitely i was more angry than being amused and was only swearing in my thoughts and calling him Gaddar (traitor) what to talk of even lipsynching with the taped laughter.Of course in front of my son i did not have to pretend that i was loving his new found interests.

It is silly how i reacted then and sort of watered down limp all of my son's enthusiasm who had just returned for his first semester break after having witnessed his first live show of the person i momentarily hated.So he kept quiet about the entire experience about the show.But then just like always he is my real window to all things young, new and happening.So he said a few things very wise in fact too wise for his age which was,"Ma if you are able to laugh at your own self for what you really are means you are good...means you really know who you are.It is so easy to laugh at other people and to joke and make a mockery of others but when you laugh at oneself you will always be guilt free." He went on to say more to make me so comfortable that anger was replaced with admiration for the happening  Stand Up Comedy talent that  he was familiarising me with.




Later when he left home to join his University back for the new semester he left me loads to beat the blues away including Seinfeld,House MD,Scrubs and others that he watched.But i became hooked to Russel Peters in so many ways that when Dan Nainan came to Chennai i went to see his show for the simple reason that he was i thought a protege of my new icon.The show was okay but i laughed more at Craig and Karthik (regular Stand Up Comedians in Chennai)  more than i could at Dan Nainan.Maybe that was so Indian of me.Or maybe Dan's sense of humour went over my head.Now my best of Russel Peters are these two.One in which he makes a crack on how Indians find it so hard to get the correct pronunciation of Louis Vuitton and the other in which he compares the Indians and the Chinese and explains with his usual humour why they can't do business together.



That i am every bit of what they say about being an Indian in the True Roots ad and more (that they could've missed fitting in due to time constraints) is evident from the fact that i am digging more and more into the phoren humour than i am at Raju Shrivastava who actually makes my stomache ache with laughter and eyes wet with moisture when i revisit all his best ones again and again.Also a mere recollection his Gajodhar episodes and the ones in which his characters are not human but something like lights or even local train and even the handlebars of local trains sees me smiling into my mundane routines.
So truly Indian of me trying desperately to fit in and talk in the social circles animatedly about my new found interests all the while nodding in unison to the Moghuls who say how pathetic Indian comedy is.While in my heart i know what i enjoy the best...be it Raju Shrivastava or Bharti when she acts out Lalli.Their talent makes me laugh without getting hurt.Even i remember the evenings when we guffawed to Movers & Shakers and it's fantastic host Shekhar Suman who would mimic all politicians with panache but i don't remember anybody getting pissed off with that either.
So am i again being prejudiced here or am i more aware of my roots now.Maybe yes maybe not but i do know one thing for sure that when i am really hungry i want my Dal Bhaat (cooked lentils with cooked  plain boiled rice) more than anything else.



That maybe one of the reasons why i find myself being a big PHONY or once again it is my involvement with this boy in 'Catcher In The Rye'....Why is it that when i'm talking now i remember Emma Thompson when she said,"Laughter is a celebration of our own failings.That's what clowns are for.And that's what I am." or i remember this by Carl Reiner,"Inviting people to laugh with you while you are laughing at yourself is a good thing to do.You may be a fool but you're the fool in charge." Wasn't there something by our very own Kabir which said of laughing at oneself and not at others but why can't i remember that. See that is the Indian me... but not so proud though to be like this.