Saturday, February 24, 2018

2018, a LOU story

Heartless Nimmo ran away with all of Pran Nath Banke’s money leaving him with egg on his face. The neighbourhood is abuzz with it. 
Technically it was not his money but we’ll come to that later.
Many of his men friends turned up at his place with ‘we told you so’ condolences. He was yet another casualty of the nefarious schemes hatched by women out to squeeze helpless men dry of their juice.  
Too bad this was not Love Jihad otherwise they could’ve hacked Nimmo into boti sized pieces.
Theirs was an unlikely LOU story. Nimmo and Banke were as different as wine and lassi. She, pish -posh, born with a diamond ring in her mouth, soft spoken and petite, who wore nothing but couture. He, a hard-working simpleton, unpretentious to the point of shabby. A quintessential nice guy he was every aspiring mother-in-law’s dream come true. Since he only spoke Punjabi and she really bad Gujarati in a firang accent, they communicated by poking each other. Nimmo had even given him a cute nick-name - Pokemon. 
Nobody expected Nimmo to be the runaway bride. Leaving on a jet plane, with not even a note when she’ll be back again.  Didn’t even wake him up to say goodbye. 
She was after all from a rich khandan and from the looks of it definitely not in need of his money. Ok, not his money but given by others for safeguarding it. 
Idiot. Couldn’t even do one job right! 
It’s not as if Pran Nath Banke was short of suitors. But they were mostly middle-class and needy. For the uninitiated this is the breed that has to earn their own money instead of inheriting it from their family and then pays most of it as taxes to a government that doesn’t do its job well. Our dear Banke loved to make them sweat like they were in a Mumbai local. One of the commandments of the holy grail of dating is act like a government servant. Keep mum, make them run, and always look disinterested, just like a dead fish. It is rumoured he even made one them dance on broken shards of glass like Basanti in Sholay. 
The poorer they were the nastier he was with them. 
Nimmo was subjected to none of this. All she had to do was shimmy in a skimpy tight dress that could have gotten her raped but didn’t and pout seductively. Then she faked some interest. And before she could croon ‘are you loansome tonight’, he was hopelessly in LOU with her.
Unfortunately, his inner voice that was screaming Banke, you fool, you are giving her too much credit, was put on mute.
Maybe he was not so nice after all. Maybe he was asking for it. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dear Ravan, Look who’s back!

Read part I here

A lot had happened since Ravan left to meet his makers. Such was the allure of Sri Lanka, a small island country plentiful in its bounties, it attracted tourists from India and as far as Netherlands, United Kingdom, Portugal, who then refused to go back to their countries. In those days they were known as invaders. The forever greedy Brits seized power from the Kandyans and the island was finally united under the British in the 19th century.

Phew, there’s so much knowledge you can get from Wiki with just the click of a mouse!

Unlike Ram who is still the rockstar of the devout and is often used as an excuse to unleash violence on other communities, Ravan is buried firmly under the debris of history. Buddha is the rockstar of the Sinhalese and there are more monasteries in Lanka than there are men and women who claim to be children of cows.

Perhaps they are ashamed of a King who despite his 10 pairs of eyes that could see more,  10 heads that could think more, chose lust. It led to an apocalyptic ending for everyone and everything that was near and dear to him.

Sometimes I wish I weren’t so beautiful and sublime. I blame my striking charms for bringing out Ravan’s inner Jat. Maybe even had ‘Jat bwaays out to have fun’ painted on his Pushpak Viman and shot a couple of toll boys on his way back. Who knows! I was so busy crying and checking him out.


Nuwara Eliya looks nothing like Lankapura that Ravan had seized from Kuber, the lord of wealth. Snatching things that didn’t belong to him was an old habit of his, it seems.

Thanks to the British who have the proclivity for making every country they had occupied look like miniatures of the hamlets they left back home, Nuwara is no different. It is home to some of the finest tea estates where you waste hours sniffing and tasting different teas with fancy names and arrive at the conclusion that the tea grown in Darjeeling is superior in aroma and taste.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Sita Visits Lanka Again

It wasn’t easy convincing Ra-aam, my husband to plan a vacation in Lanka. I had to work on him for years, showing him pictures of sunny beaches, women in bikinis, serene hills, stunning landscapes, the many monasteries dotting the country. A part of me understood why he wasn’t so keen. His last visit was not under pleasant circumstances. The poor guy had to walk all the way to Lanka, get a bridge built by an army of monkeys to cross the sea and engage in a fierce battle with the king who had kidnapped his wife.

Strangely I don’t have any ill-feelings towards that chap, Ravana. The guy understood the concept of consent even when it wasn’t fashionable The man had strange tastes though. Wore too much gold, just like Bappi Lahiri.

If it weren’t for that dork Lakshman, he wouldn’t even have to abduct me to teach the brothers a lesson. Couldn’t he have just said ‘let’s just be friends, girl’ to Surpanakha instead of chopping off her nose!


As if it wasn’t bad enough that he had insisted on following us to the jungles like a devoted puppy when we were exiled! I was so looking forward to some us-time with my man. His Barjatiya sized family would never leave us alone in the palace and insist on playing antakshari every effing day. Ugh! Also the palace food was making me fat. So when I decided to accompany my man after he was banished on the insistence of his step-mom, I had already formulated a diet plan that would get me my size zero figure back.

But no! Thanks to my BIL and his humongous appetite, I had to prepare 4 course meals that took ages to prepare on wood fire. While the boys would go off gallivanting in the wilds, I was confined to the hut and the boring chores.

In a way my unplanned visit to Lanka was a nice break from the monotony. The ride in the flying object wasn’t too bad even though I regretted dropping off all my jewellery as a GPS tracker for the husband. After years of being married to him, I had very little faith that he could find anything, leave alone his missing wife, on his own.

Since my last visit was mostly confined to this fancy resort ‘Ashok Vatika’ I hadn’t seen much of Lanka. Also, it was way back in 7292 before some chap called Christ.

I am no longer the same woman and Lanka has become much fancier.

Pity, Hanuman burnt Ravan’s Lankapura down. But then he was always monkeying around.

So it was with mixed feelings that we walked across the arrival terminal of the Colombo airport. My face hidden behind oversized sunglasses, I was praying no one would recognize me, given my fame. Though I look way different than my pictures in tacky calendars and posters, that has my hair plastered with oil and hands folded with devotion towards god-knows-who!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Snacking Is India’s Favourite Pastime Right After Outrage

Courtesy - Google Images

Hunger is one of our most primal needs, because it’s food that sustains and comforts us, and gives us joy. Sometimes we get into such an intense relationship with food that it borders on obsession. This kind of relationship usually ends up in heartbreak. I mean what can be more sorrowful than seeing the needle on your weighing scale cross unchartered territories! Which is why the most dangerous type of hunger is the one that has more to do with your state of mind and very little to do with the rumblings inside your stomach. It starts as a little voice inside your head, soft at first, coaxing you to reach for that pack of crisps that you’ve hidden inside a 60-feet pit you dug a few hours back. The one that you were not supposed to buy but still bought it. The one whose existence you were supposed to forget like the promises politicians make just before elections. But damn, it’s stuck inside your head like a fly in a pot of jam! The more you try to ignore that bloody voice, the louder it becomes. It has now installed monster sized amplifiers inside your head. Your hands are now feeling clammy and you can hardly breathe. And that voice is now sounding like a chorus of crazy cricket fans chanting – just eat it, dammit!

You start clawing at the mud with your fingers, sweating with desperation, eager to reach to the bottom of the pit to that green and orange pack that you bought from Kalu ki dukan. You tear open the pack and gobble its contents in 10 seconds flat. Your face is now smeared with the orange spice that’s making your nose gush like sewage during monsoons.

Crispy roundels of heaven, packed with absolutely no nutrients, hollow claims, lots of guilt and 100% guaranteed satisfaction. These devious things cast a hypnotic spell on you. You know it’s bad for your waistline, yet you keep digging in for more and more like a greedy politician.

Eyes half closed in ecstasy, your breathing is now slow and languorous and then you take a deep sigh of regret.

It’s not as if Karni Sena will come running after me to behead me if I choose to snack on carrot sticks and a handful of chia seeds instead. But having a healthy snack is against Indian culture, no? Especially when you are born in a country that takes its munchies as seriously as not a doing a thing about toxic air that the capital is forced to breathe.

A mind-boggling variety of farsans, chop, jhal-muri, bhelpuri, phuchka, dahi bhalla, momos to choose from. Uff! It’s like you are Vishwamitra and these apsaras are out to wreak havoc on your carefully laid out diet plans.

Sweet, savoury, crunchy, chewy, there’s something to suit everyone’s palate.

We love our snacks so much that we even invent occasions to give us an excuse to indulge ourselves.

When we were kids, winters would mean picnics and picnics would mean taking breaks between munching on peanuts, puri-aloo, gajaar halwa, pakora and chai to play the mandatory game of badminton and losing yet another Frisbee. If you are a Bengali you’d have the added bonanza of having cold boiled egg sandwich with banana. If you crinkled your nose in refusal, you’d be rewarded with the sight of Bhutoo kakima rolling her eyes like a windshield wiper on a rainy day. And rainy days mean that veggies have no option but to dip themselves in a batter of gram-flour and jump in a karhai of hot oil. God made winters so that we could get fat and content consuming kilos of gajjaks, revdis and chikkis.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Hostel Diaries: Straight from the mouth of MaGau

Getty Images

Year – 2025

Om Prakash Dhankar who is now a 175 feet statue at Veer Savarkar Chowk previously known as IFFCO is fondly remembered as the only minister who kept his promise. It may be recalled that way back in 2017 the State Animal Husbandry and Dairy Minister had announced his grandiose plans for setting up “PG hostels” on 50-100 acres land in major towns in Haryana to rear cows and buffaloes. Thanks to his unwavering commitment and the ambitious Deen Dayal Gauwas Yojna, Haryana is now the Gau capital of the world. Cows from as far as Switzerland and Germany are now thronging to Jaat pastures forcing the steak loving firangs to switch to Patanjali paneer.

Our reporter decided to approach the inmaids of one of the oldest and most prestigious hostels Working GauMaata Chhatrawas (GOTCHA) in Haryana to get a first-hand account of life behind the four walls.

What you’ll read next will leave you speechless.

(Names of hostellers have been changed to protect their identities)

“I spend most of my evenings staring outside my window, looking at my lower caste sisters shitting without a care in the world and swaying their tails with gai abandon” says Bhuteshwari. We are at the grounds outside the hostel champitheatre, where the gau and bhains get their weekly massage. Bhuteshwari and a few of her friends have gathered to share their experiences of life in the hostels at GOTCHA. Shifting uncomfortably in her khakhi shorts, Slutty-Savitri hisses “you know why they made us wear these shorts?” “Our chief-rakshak, BC Bhagmat was inseminated with the idea that our naked butts were sending wrong signals to the bulls in the neighbouring hostel. Bullshit! They squeezed us and our tails into these discarded RSS shorts to curb our freedom of expression.”

“This is bloody bovine injustice!”

The gais and bhais don’t want reveal their names because they could “get suspended” for speaking up against the administration. And then, as the evening starts to fade into darkness, they must head back in time for the ‘curfew’ hour, that begins at 8pm.

“From 9am-5pm, we are busy being milked. After that, we only have time till 8pm to do things such as visit the main gaibrary with limited internet access, visit our favourite garbage joints, or meet friends to talk about our achhe din which is now just a mammary,” says Abhainstika. After the main gates close, there’s a roll call to ensure all the gais and bhais are in. “If you are not in by then, it’s a serious violation of rules,” says Moomita, another inmaid. “The bulls, however, can stay out till 10pm, and unlike us, don’t need permission to step out after the deadline. They are even spared the ignominy of squeezing themselves into RSS shorts.”

“It’s like being born a gai was the greatest sin!”

“It wasn’t always like that,” sighs Gauteeka, the hostel’s oldest inmate. “There was a time when we were free to roam from dawn to dusk, chew cud and ruminate about world peace at roundabouts while bringing the traffic to grinding halt. Why, we could even get men killed for daring to look at us with hungry eyes!”

“Not anymore. We are now like chattels of powerful dairy magnates and who can’t keep their hands off our booty. From our poop, to pee, to our milk, they want it all. Greedy bastards!”

“We all feel udderly exploited.”

Monday, October 16, 2017

Women not crackers make Diwali special

Take out the woman of the house from festivities and it becomes a cold, empty house waiting to be filled with happy laughter. 

A major cluster of our cherished childhood memories hover lovingly around festivals. And it was our parents, their extra efforts that made these celebrations so special for us. Add to it the innocence that didn’t count calories, fret about the logistics and then complain about the stress, these occasions were the most looked-forward-to. 

Festivals for most of us were not just limited to the day of celebration. Like any well scripted story it built up over time, kept us on tenterhooks, made us impatient with excitement before reaching its crescendo.

It would start with anticipation of goodies which would give an extra spring to the steps we took. Unlike the hedonism of the present that eats out twice a week and shops till it drops, our past had few excesses. Our parents belonged to the era that believed in rationing material pleasures. So eating-out, a new dress and shoes were would wait for special occasions. If we had just watched a movie, stopping for ice-cream on our way back was a sure shot way of corrupting our souls beyond repair.

It was during festive occasions that our parents loosened up a bit. We were allowed second and third helpings of sweet treats and a few more when Mom was not looking. Almost all of them were homemade and invariably made by her. She’d spend long hours in the kitchen while we danced around her like excited puppies.

Is there anything in this world that tastes better than fresh off the griddle malpua dunked in a degchi of sticky sugar syrup?

When she was not busy in the kitchen, she was engrossed in making alpona on the floor with ground rice paste while I’d squat beside her and watch her in mesmerised silence. Each festival we celebrated had her distinctive stamp –from the 14 diyas she lit on chhoti Diwali, to the bhog she made during Lakshmi Puja, to the paste of turmeric and mustard oil she’d keep for us in the bathroom to slather ourselves with in honour of the beauteous and talented Saraswati. Durga Puja meant weeks of preparation for the many competitions that were held at the pandal during the Pujas.

When you are ten, all you want to do is make your Maa happy. So you recite poetry with emotions you don’t comprehend, participate in dance-dramas with your face caked with ghastly make-up, play musical chairs even though you hate it, all in an attempt dazzle her friends and relatives with your unimaginable talent.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Have We Let Our Children Down?

Photo courtesy - Google images

You don't realise how deeply you are capable of loving till you have your own child. As an adult who’s seen the world that can be kind and cruel, soft and harsh, cheerful and sinister, you want to shelter them from the worst and experience the best humanity has to offer. You want their childhood to be a cherished memory and not a nightmare.

So, when you read about a boy, all of 7, killed brutally for resisting sexual advances of a crazed man inside the safe confines of his school, your heart bleeds. You are filled with rage at the school for taking safety of your most precious so casually. You grieve for the parents who will be left with a gaping hole in their heart for the rest of their lives.

But the first thought that engulfs any parent is – what if it were my own child! I was living in Brisbane, and my daughter in Delhi when the Nirbhaya incident sent chills down our spine. It also brought out my worst fears. As much as I hated myself for doing it, I would ask her to be home by evening, carry a Swiss Knife with her at all times and my insides would turn into a gnawing jelly of anxiety, every time she wouldn’t pick up the phone.

Every time a child gets sexually assaulted or worse killed, we are overcome with helpless rage. It was appalling to find out that Ryan International has toilet facilities shared by students and the non-teaching staff including drivers and conductors. Children are easy targets for deviants. Also it's a known fact that paedophiles seek employment/engagement in organisations where they are in close proximity with children. It’s baffling that the school didn’t bother with background checks before hiring the non-teaching staff.

It is a colossal tragedy of our times that sexual abuse of children is not given the importance it deserves. It is either shrouded in complicit silence or the perpetrator is let off with a reprimand. The bus conductor who murdered Pradyuman allegedly had a history of sexual misdemeanours. Yet the school that dismissed him just a few months back didn’t think it was important to file a police complaint.

As a nation whose track record of safety for its citizens is far from exemplary, we still do not have a national database of sexual offenders. It’s not as if demands for one have not been raised before but our outrage that follows reports of sexual abuse in schools has the attention span of an amoeba.

The Delhi Police has chalked out a plan of action to look into the issue of security of children in schools following the Ryan incident. I am sure the Haryana government will also come up with their own list of rules and regulations for schools to follow. But simply drafting hurriedly made rules for children’s safety is not enough. If new laws and rules could keep us safe, no woman would be afraid to step out in the dark, no man would think twice before stopping to a take a bleeding accident victim to the hospital, no rapist will have the audacity to rape again and again.

Police background checks become just a useless piece paper when you know that the police chowki will simply sign the form without any physical verification for a mere 500 Rs. Regulations are of no use if the school lacks the sincerity to implement them.

One single lapse is all a predator needs to slip through the safety net.

So how do we keep our children safe?


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