Friday, November 29, 2013

College days - light with infectious mannerisms

There is nothing innately wrong when one appears to be 'grave' looking but one is not. It all depends on the company you keep. I feel deeply indebted to two of my friends at college - Shyamala and Mandira. The former, a born joker, blessed with big, bulging, roving eyes. Of course, that never let her be wayward. She was a good student, less noisy, never giggled but left us giggling and somersaulting (mentally) with laughter. How can you somersault in a crowded local train in Mumbai - impossible!

Mimick specialist

Shyamala was a keen observer in class and in trains - as these two were venues for us to be together. She mimicked all our professors and delightfully walked out of the class as she was a perpetual disturbance in the class. In the train it was not possible to shut her out of the compartment as trains are too crowded and always moving. Once she mimicked a perpetual 'sneezer' for which she had to pay a heavy price. The 'sneezer' happened to be a ticket inspector who politely asked her to get off at the next station asked her to pay a fine for imitating a Government servant to attract (distract) a crowd.

Shyamala, true to her name, was dark but her cheerful disposition compensated this drawback (if I may say so). I called her 'Black' beauty but she took it in her stride. She once slapped a neighbour's son (a brat) who kept singing a song in an irritating tune 'Gore rang pe na itna....' whenever she stepped out from home. Once her back was turned he would replace the 'Gore' with 'Kaale'. One day she slipped off her sandals and slapped the fellow. Wah! Shyamala you have guts!

Mandira, another dear college pal who was short for her age but went to the most expensive shoe shops to buy stilettos matching her attire. Quite a hobby. Even then she had to tilt her head three inches to speak to me.
Mandira at times smiled at jokes for... so long..... that it got imprinted on her face for at least two minutes. We had to shake her and tell her, 'Mandira, we are sane'. All in an instant her jaws would drop like a boulder off her shoulders. It means, making her smile was a Herculean task.

Yesterday talk....always laidback

Another close friend with whom I still keep in touch,Nirmala was adept at narrating what happened 'yesterday'....the previous day.Even before greeting she'd begin....."Yesterday you know...." Our teaching faculties differed but our lives are like parallel lines on the same track but with different goals.If and when we (four friends) met at the same place, our WLs (wave lengths) went in different directions, then it would be a laugh riot.How can I deny that gratitude to Nirmala who managed to squeeze a little space to include my name in the 'acknowledgement' of her latest book 'Singing Earth'. Not that I started singing but it feels great when somebody thinks of you for long in a small way.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hotspots can give cold feet ....and misadventure.


Vajreshwari (Ganeshpuri) used to be one of the hotspots chosen by cousins as a picnic spot.The place known for its ashram and hot springs was a crowd puller from nearby towns and villages.But to think of it today adds a 'squirm' in the spine and goosebumps. Being much younger to the cousins.the up and down drive and the bathing at the hot springs still linger in my memory.

The cousins who led us were more prone to dating there and we kids hardly felt that 'dating' was forbidden. Then one day a boy and girl were found smooching behind the wall that protected the pooja room of the Swamiji. The young couple was admonished and supported (?) for the bold act.

Few hours in the lock-up

The couple ----close friends of a cousin went hiding throughout the stay. We kids got panicky. Then, all of a sudden we few kids with an elderly man went in search of a police station. The station was manned by a cop (constable) whose tobacco-chewing outsmarted his listening skills. Ultimately patience 'wearing out' for all, the constable stuck a notice outside the station: "Lost children with weird stories are put in lock-up. Responsible guardians can claim them to avoid further 'weird' happenings". The notice was in Marathi so less dangerous for us, as language became victim to gross misunderstanding.

Dating in a crowd? ........each one gawking and grinning at the other

The only 'dating' experience that I can think of when we (18 of us) decided to see a famous 'R K Film' - Bobby. All were paired except Shyamala and myself, perhaps girls outnumbered the boys. Happy in each other's company, we ate, drank (soft drinks) and spent the money we had, joyfully. Thank God we didn't have to coax, share and pretend to be generous. Oh, the movie over at last, we returned home quite oblivious to the fact that we had not informed people at home. Both our (Shamala's & mine) parents were debating about their nail-biting wait and scolding each other for being irresponsible.

How stupid parents can be? Neither of the four (our two moms and two dads) asked how the movie was. Of course, the only person seething with anger out of jealousy was my sister (elder).

The tragedy

Thereafter, my sister was allowed to watch a film every weekend without me. For me films were allowed only with sedate company, the elders as audience (spectators). Perhaps that explains the serious disposition I wear even today.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Clout .... not a phenomenon - a cynical formula

Well, if you are imagining that this piece deals with only politics - then 'No'. 'Clout' dates back to the primeval times even before Darwin was born. Earth was just conceiving for millions of years and then was born the first organism which was 'innately' built with a driving force to survive. That living organism evolved to become forests and primeval animals.All things 'refined' pop up late. Then came MAN, looking like a grizzly bear who hunted for 'food' and 'mate'.

Life blessed to perish

Any organism can be termed a colony of atoms upgraded to molecules then to matter and shape. The last feature depends on terrain and food. Then comes the urge to look for similar creatures. Thus they formed a group. Now groups wished to distinguish themselves with a 'colour', 'attire' and 'mannerism'. If one group (oldest) wished to be an outstanding CLOUT becomes a privileged facilitator to reach the core group.

Swatting lives to survive

Since then this practice has been followed and CLOUT gets you the 'aid' to trespass into the group. The shrewd man informs or disinforms about the 'clout' to a maddening crowd which diligently falls for 'mass mania'. Can you believe mass mania presumably gets glued to one 'credo' like a torch that ignites the mind and keeps sounding and resounding the credo. So, we have had a history of wars, religious wars, dethroning, beheading, usurping, ousters, murders and what not. All man-made.

Let nature do the destruction

On a lighter note, the 'clout' puts on the garb of a 'coterie' that thrives on 'money', 'gossip', and 'ill-timed' drinks and nibbles. The coterie appears influential and can do and undo situations except natural disasters. Unless they have the expertise to explode nuclear bombs under the earth's crust or strategically poised 'submarines' which can (?) explode in the ocean, endangering marine creatures also.

So clever man can be - to form a group, a clout and a coterie - all for survival or challenging survival.




Monday, November 4, 2013

Headlines do not appeal to the head

I am lying if I say I am not exactly a newspaper freak but headlines these days are freaked out. Some are so categorical that if they refer to politicians or political parties they just astound to the extent eyes ogle out or ears grow out of proportion that's obviously bad even for a caricature. 

"For women more degrees mean less pay"
means women should shun education or women are underpaid?

"......hoopster..........jewellery con
means basketball leads to conning or vice versa?

"......6 killed in factory fire"
sounds better than placing "Factory fire kills 6. 

"Election forecast - AAP plays spoilsport for Cong & BJP"
Cutting costs make a sports reporter a political expert. When were Congress or BJP on the 'high five" list to be 'bulldozed' by a popular party. As a matter of fact all three are quizzically placed now in Delhi.

Those three strong women are alive and kicking 

Woman 'A' well past her 60s lives like a grass widow. But a grass widow hopes that one day her man will come back. This woman with five growing children one fine morning finds her husband leave for the Himalayas with an appeal - 'Don't come looking for me'.

Woman 'B' stumped by the mishap of a fire in the factory. This compels the husband to leave home faced with bankruptcy and subsequent 'mental' depression. The woman strong enough to make do  whatever little she had rears he two children worthy of living in a 'decent' society.

Woman 'C' wakes up one fine day to see her 70-year old husband leave the house without notice. The cause being two 'warring' sons left the old man shattered who left just like a lost Zombie never to return.

None of the above husbands are dead but each left a home and hearth in the hands of a strong woman.

Lost wives in a jungle of drudgery, strangers, vigilant social animals, added responsibility, etc.

No, I don't mean to glorify women but families can be run by a single parent, especially the weaker sex.

Lo  behold - a close relative deserted by his wife who left with a 'decent' maintenance. Harassed husbands also exist - call them 'fodder' husbands for hungry (angry) wives.