Friday, April 29, 2011

Krooked tales - now playing at Tihar...

A man in white is playing Antakshari with his friends.  There is a slight hitch though – he sings only in Tamil while his buddies sing Hindi songs with an English accent.  They try to avoid songs that start with G, it brings back uncomfortable memories.  Not one G but two, two G’s - the reason why they are cooling their heels here.  

The place actually feels like a resort – cocooned, like a fortress, so safe and so many policemen concerned about their security.  Too bad the rooms are called cells and the place Tihar – so uncool I tell you.  And the greatest part, it’s absolutely free.  Not that they lack money, in fact they have lots and lots of it hoarded in secret little islands. 

Giribalajoshi.blogspot.com
The man in a white veshti secretly smiles to himself, as he is hums a romantic song.  He just read in the paper that his beloved K might join him.  As he reclines on the wall and swats another mosquito, he can’t help but think of his parents.  What a great visionary his Amma was, naming him Raja.  And how well Andimuthu Raja has lived up to the promise of his name, how loyally he has served his master, the ugly K.  When his lord & master sent him to Delhi, he not only stole for himself but his Kadavul and his family.  Especially the family and his beautiful daughter Kanimozhi - she with the smile sweeter than payasam.   He has scribbled R loves K ....Kannu weds Annu...all over the walls of the compound of what the lesser mortals call Jail – it’s a good pastime and what’s more it’s keeps him happy.  

Last week his 2G buddies, the infamous five joined him,  - Doshi, Chandra, Vinod Goenka, Hari Nair and Pipara.  He giggled inwardly –These English speaking Korporate honcho types.....Serve them right for giving me a bribe.  Now, together we will spend countless nights.....Sab saale chor hai, including, me...Tee hee  hee

Now that he had the lyrics, he brought out his harmonium and started to sing.  No more Antakshari with these telecom Krooks.
 
In another part of the city, a man with a grin wider than the Grand Canyon, is preparing a grand entry to this exclusive club of Krooks.  He even got a slipper hurled at him, as a special welcome gesture.  The man has a story similar to Humpty Dumpty (HD), and what’s more, he even looks like him.  Sat on a wall....had a great fall...all the queen’s men...could not put HD together again.   And now his queen’s men have been greeting him with Hai-Hai instead of Hi.   A gaggle of chameleons I tell you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Parenting outsourced

Courtesy Google images

Our complex has a charming play-park for kids, complete with a sandpit and an assortment of miniature swings.  In the evening the air resonates with sounds of running feet and excited chatter of children.  Pretty little girls in their cute dresses try to bully each other in all their earnestness.  The play-park comes to life with excited kiddos trying to outdo each other in calisthenics, while their maids look on stoically.   The only thing missing from this picture perfect scenario is the parents.  They are either too busy or have better things to do. 

The ayah, an age old phenomenon, has been a ubiquitous part of a memsahib’s household.    She made her memsahib’s life more bearable, taking care of babalog’s tantrum-y ways and ironing out bothersome inconveniences.  I had a full time working Mum.  She took time off for me, but when my brother was born she had to rely on a procession of ayahs to take care of him.  She did what she had to do because she had no choice.  For the middle class working woman, an ayah is not a luxury but a necessity. 

But of late I have observed a new phenomenon especially in fast paced Gurgaon.  Gone are the days when the woman of the house was content with just a bai who took care of the washing and cleaning. From fixing meals, to watering plants, to washing the family cars, even a household of three depends on a retinue of hired helps.  There’s Robi to walk the dog, Reena to wash the coloured lots, Babita to clean the windows twice a month.  Thank God we are in India where everything including help is available for a price.  And so addicted are we to this pleasure of having domestic helps at our beck and call that our life revolves around their whims and fancies.  Why, I even dedicated an entire post to my cook, my knight with her shining ladle.  It’s another matter that she jilted me just a few months later and my pining drove the husband up the wall.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Big Fat Indian Wedding Threatens To Slim Down

Weddings to turn into frugal affairs. Restrictions on number of dishes served, limiting guest list among Proposals.
24 September 2022

Today is a momentous day.  Tee has finally found THE ONE.  Phew! I was so sick and tired of her string of loser boyfriends.  No taste, no class and the worst part, they didn’t even read my blog. Poor sods they didn’t know what they were missing.  I still haven’t met her chosen one but I like him already!  He has read my book “An Idiot’s guide to Sarcasm” and even gifted it to all his ex girlfriends – how sweet naa! 

I am so thrilled that my Tee has finally managed to get hitched.  I had to pinch myself several times, just to make sure it wasn’t one of my silly dreams.   Better fix the date and get her married off quickly, before she changes her mind.  God knows how badly I need her room for my Pranayam-in-a-hammock sessions.   It’s a lot fun, you just have to lie in hammock and quiver your stomach violently.  Ten years back, in 2011, my Yoga sir used to have a hard time teaching me complex postures that entailed resting my right ankle gently under my left ear.  A fellow blogger and well wisher, as he fervently claims, then introduced me to a Jana Yoga version that Baba Ramdev had just introduced at an election rally, and I have not looked back since.   

2011 was indeed a dark year not just for me but the entire nation.  The National Advisory Committee made a proposal to the food and consumer affairs ministry that weddings be made frugal affairs, by limiting the number of guests and dishes served.  The suggestion that mehndis, sangeet, cocktail parties and receptions be crunched into one was met with a national uproar.  The designer fraternity wrote an emotional appeal to the textile ministry pleading that their livelihood will be at stake.  Where and when will the well-heeled wear our stone-studded, multi coloured, super expensive creations! Karan Johar and Sooraj Barjatiya went into a month long mourning, vowing to make only gangster movies from now on.   Socialites shed copious tears – All the friends I carefully accumulated over years, what will I do with them?  A wedding is futile, if we don’t get to show off.  What is the point of evading taxes if we can’t stun everyone with Lovely’s lavish wedding bash!  What is the reason of our existence?  All my solitaires, I can’t possibly wear them all on just one measly day.  India is no longer shining now!  Dahling let’s shift to Qatar.

JJ Vallaya and a few of his Page 3 friends even went on a hunger strike (Anna Hazare style) to protest against this draconian law.  After fasting for three full days they managed to shed so much weight that they all flew off to Cyprus to celebrate. In the meantime the government accepted all the proposals and Band, Bajaa and Baarat were never the same again. 

Sigh...How times have changed.  Behen Mayawati is our dashing young Prime Minister now.  Burqas are a rage except in France and Belgium.  Pakistan’s President has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for donating all its nukes to Afganistan.  It is rumoured that Kate Middleton has eloped with a sheikh.  Never say die, Queen Elizabeth has refused to comment and forever in waiting King, Prince William has gone into hiding in Aspen with his latest squeeze to grieve. The strange ways of these royals!  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just a matter of Time



All my life I have been made to wait and I still haven’t got used to it. To make matters worse, I married a man known for his punctilious ways.  We now wait as a pair – sometimes patiently and sometimes otherwise.  I guess we are something of an anomaly in a nation that is chronically late. 

Our citizens are notorious for their late coming ways. The more powerful the person, the more likely his total disregard for extending the simple courtesy of landing up on time.  Public events hardly ever start on time.  Bus and train schedules have a mind of their own. We’d probably heave a sigh of relief if a train starts just 30 minutes from the original departure time.  Hey that’s almost on time!  On social occasions, people are more than fashionably late.   And political events can be a nightmare because VIPs can make the audience wait for hours with no concern for their time or energy.

We are not just used to this ‘late coming’ phenomenon; we are nurtured, cultured and spoilt in such an environment. 

Strangely, even though we have scant regard for punctuality, it rarely deters us from flaunting our watches!  We like them big, chunky and flashy, loaded with features we may never use.  We may prefer splashing around at the shallow end of the pool, but our watch must be a Tissot Seastar 100 Chronograph Dive watch, equipped with a dive log, depth gauge and what not.  But tell me if you are drowning in the sea, battling for breath and dear life, will you be exactly in the frame of mind to look at your watch? 

The buss duss minute is the biggest joke circulating in town.  Your AC is throwing tantrums and has started behaving like the country cousin of Niagra falls.  You punch the technician’s number desperately and coo to him in your sweetest voice.  Madamjee buss dus minute mein ayaa! Like a well chewed bubble gum, the ten minutes stretches into hours or even days, while you keep plucking your hair off the scalp with a  – will he / won’t he come.  Another oft used ploy is the Mangalwar trick.  Go to any shop any day of the week and try asking for a newly launched packet of crisps.  A true blue shopkeeper, will never admit that he is has no frigging idea about what you are talking about.   With a stoic expression he will inform you – Mangalwar ko zaroor aa jaye gaa!  You hope in vain but that Mangalwar never comes. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A dirty word called Politics

New Delhi has discovered an ingenious way to cope with its bursting-at-seams population.  It keeps unleashing anew deadly bacteria every few months to tackle this menace. The newest kid on the block is the NDM–I gene. British scientists have recently claimed the presence of the deadly New Delhi Metallo gene in the city’s drinking water supply.  This is no faltu gene, but a superbug that makes bacteria resistant to even the strongest antibiotics.  Once you get infected, your only hope will be almighty’s benevolence, whichever way that takes you.  The Delhi government is not too perturbed though and is tackling this menace the only way it can – by making an official statement “we have not seen it, therefore it does not exist”.  I guess ‘superbug’ conjured images of little green things with their undies worn outside that Ms Dixit was unable to behold through her ageing eyes.  These overzealous Brits, I tell you, they have nothing better to do and are now training their sights on Sheila ki Dilli.  Of course, we know our denizens are used to much worse – live worms, dead worms and sewage in our tap water – what’s a teensy weensy bug claiming to be super!  And if Delhites can’t drink water they can always drink beer!  Ms Dixit will soon be seen on life sized hoardings, holding her beer mug, flashing her dentures and saying Yehi hai right choice baby!  

In politics you become an ostrich with its head buried in the sand, bugged or otherwise.

Delhites may have become inured to politicians and their bakwas but all hell can break loose when godmen, known to pontificate on spirituality, start talking instead about matters political.  And who knows it better than Baba Ramdev when he faced the wrath of one of his followers who sent him hurtling to the exclusive shoe club, one that boasts of such stalwarts as George W Bush and P Chidambaram.  

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Mitu Singh Rathore, a paramilitary forces soldier, had taken leave to travel to Nagpur to listen to Ramdev’s yoga discourse and got to hear an unnecessary speech on politics instead.  Things came to such a point that Rathore opened his boots and hurled the pair towards the guru.  Baba promptly folded himself in half to avoid impact.  Perhaps this was Rathore’s humble contribution to the Yoga guru’s otherwise shirtless- shoeless wardrobe.  And if Ramdev continues to regale his unwitting disciples with unwanted political discourse, who knows he may end up with a collection larger than Imelda Marcos’s.  

Pranayam and Politics do not mix well.

As a subject, Politics does have a reputation for being the least fascinating of subjects. A British teen yawned so deeply during a class on the topic that her mouth got stuck wide open and she couldn’t close it however hard she tried.  It was later discovered that she had dislocated her jaw. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

When she calls you Bhaiyya

Courtesy - clipart.com

I had a thousand brothers as a kid, not that my mother knew anything about it. Seniors in my school. Sweaty neighbourhood chaps forever playing cricket. Older boys in the circle of family friends.  In the school assembly, we sang the world is a family. I took it literally.  

It was not as if my heart was overflowing with sisterly love.  I was far from a model sister and loved making life hell for my younger brother, using him as target practice for all my pranks.  I had somehow imbibed the congenial spirit we Indians are supposedly so famous for, like a sponge.  Quite literally, Vasudheva Kutumbakam.   

It got me thinking when I recently read that an expat explorer survey has found us the most unfriendly country to live in.  That’s a dichotomy.  We are adept at constantly forging relationships with strangers.  We do not think twice before addressing a random person as uncle, didi or bhaiyya.  The neighbourhood lady in her nighty-chunni ensemble is our Aunty.  If she is rotund then she is lovingly referred to as Gol-Aunty.  However, this pervading feeling of social bonding abandons us in situations where it is needed the most.  When a woman gets molested, most of us look away because we want to stay away from trouble.  When a hit-and-run victim lies bleeding to his death, we vroom past without batting an eyelid.  We rarely smile at strangers, we step on other people’s toes as if it’s our birthright, we think saying ‘thank you’ for the little courtesies extended to us is a waste of time.

Into this boiling pot of contradictions, we women then throw in the B-word.  To the uninitiated, Bhaiyya would sound dignified and lofty, something akin to the universal brotherhood of man.  To the one who has sinned, it’s far from it. 

The word has myriad connotations.  In Delhi, all the men who migrated from Bihar, Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are our long lost brethren.  We may haggle with the sabziwallah, accuse the auto guy of overcharging, glare at the raddiwalla for cheating us yet again – but all the admonishments will be lovingly prefixed with a bhaiyya.   No wonder they never want to go back to their villages.  How can they leave their sisters behind?  In amchi Mumbai, bhaiyya is used condescendingly and reserved exclusively for the northies.  ‘Bhai’ on the other hand sends chills down the spine.  In Lucknow, bhaisahab has a mellifluous tone to it.  And in Bengal, you are Dada forever.  Whether it’s youthful Sourav with his mid-life crisis, or the septuagenarian Pranab Mukherjee with his budgets eternally deficit.

‘Bhaiyya’ is also capable of keeping men really confused and guessing endlessly, holding up a glimmer of hope, that could as easily be snuffed out.  In school, smart girls loved anointing the preferred ones with this special term even though their intentions were far from sisterly.  And he was no ordinary brother but the word of mouth one - the muh bola bhai.   After years of careful scrutiny, I concluded that it was a mere ploy to hoodwink the parents and the rest of the universe.  What better way that to keep your license to thrill close at hand without raising a single eyebrow? Sheer genius, though the way a classmate bitched about it was somewhat revolting “pehle bhaiyya, phir saiyyan”.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bare all tell all


Women sans clothing can work miracles. Why, even the mere promise of such a possibility has brought back a Cup that was eluding us for the last 28 years.  A certain Ms Pandey promised to strip for Team India if it brought home the trophy and look how well it worked.  Sehwag was not too keen so he promptly got out in the second ball of the opening over.  But look how Gambhir, Dhoni and Yuvraj took the bait and sent the Lankans packing to the Island of Serendipity.  Poonam’s dreams are now stuck in red tape and the men in blue are busy looking for a time and place (preferably Paris) where the lady can strip to boost their sporting spirit. 
Ms Pandey

Please don’t smirk at Ms Pandey and dismiss her as yet another publicity seeking hound.  She is the rare one who thinks before she strips and has been catching up on her reading (not the hoi polloi variety like Chetan Bhagat) to give interesting sound bytes.  The lady is now quoting verbatim from the many studies conducted by various universities abroad.  Such performances boost and inspire people to perform better in any field, be it sports or otherwise. Even books on psychology confirm this.  Amen to that.  Does it mean board meetings will have pole dancers now?  Will underperformers now be subjected to a torturous session at a strip club to boost their sagging spirits!  Damn! Shirking was never such fun!

Ms Pandey has company.  There’s another woman who takes the business of stripping rather seriously - meet Sarah White, a New York based therapist who specializes in naked therapy. Feeling down? How about a little nude therapy to perk you up? New York's Ms White is a therapist who has taken the term “baring all” to new heights.  You talk to her and bare your deepest and most personal thoughts and she takes her shirt off.  Such fun!  The therapist with a difference told the New York Daily News that her nude therapy sessions are encouraged to get men – who normally shy away from therapy – to open up.  Err but isn’t it Ms Sarah who’s doing all the opening up?
The Slut Walk

Monday, April 4, 2011

It’s a Game.....


I have a confession to make – I watched Game, first day, first show, on April fool’s day.  Of late I have been feeling a bit reckless. After the Ravan fiasco watching Bachhua’s movie is always risky business. Me, I hate taking risks alone and I’m always looking for co-victims. So, I laid out my trap, dangled a few carrots, made sickly sweet promises and managed to trap not one but two bakras.

In the morning when I read Game’s review in the TOI, my heart sank deeper than the Titanic.  When someone like Nikhat Kazmi, a critic who praises every trashy movie under the filmy sun, pans a new release – you can’t help but feel distraught.  Geez what have I gotten myself into.  Should I turn up my collar, look shady and try to sell my tickets to unsuspecting strangers?  Tee and Cub will kill me with their whining. Aww c’mon it has Farhan Akhtar at the helm of matters, it can’t be that bad!  After a long animated discussion with me and myself, it was decided that we will go ahead like the crew of Star Trek – to boldly go where no man has gone before. Aye aye captain!

The hall was packed if you didn’t look beyond the last three rows and I had two smelly men who were in love with the sound of their voice sitting right next to me.  In my sternest school teacher voice, I asked them to shut up or move to the front rows.  It worked like magic.

Game, directed by Abhinay Deo is a suspense drama.  A billionaire, Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) invites the four lead characters to his private island in Greece.  The lead characters are multinational but their dil is phir bhi Hindustani – Aby baby from Istanbul, badly in need of a shave, Gillette better take note.  Boman Irani an aspiring prime ministerial candidate from Thailand with perpetually raised eyebrows and a spooky surname – Ramsay,  Jimmy Shergil a perspiring film star with a haunted past from where else but Mumbai and Shahana Goswani – a journalist from London who loves her drink too much.   It turns out they have all been involved in the life and death of Malhotra’s long lost daughter Maya (Sarah Jane) and the reclusive tycoon is maha pissed-off with them.  He offers them vintage wine and then drops the bombshell (thou shalt go to prison) and none of them end up having that precious wine!! What a colossal waste. Kher has a gorgeous house and an even more gorgeous assistant, but before I could ask for his phone number & address, he kills himself.

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