Tuesday, November 03, 2009

...Zindagi...

Bus de conductor wangoo
Ban'h gayee hai zindagi apni


Safar wi nahi mukk'na
Tey jana wi kiteiye nahi...

***

Bus ke conductor ki tarah
Ban gayee hai zindagi apni


Safar bhi khatam nahi hota
aur jana bhi kahin nahi...

***

Life has become like a Bus conductor. The journey is endless to no destination...







Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Family That Whistles Together....


....Stays together. This is the logic that Mahesh gave to both the kids while counselling them to learn how to whistle using their fingers and their mouth with their tongue twisted inside the mouth.
Last year, he had challenged me to teach the kids how to whistle. “Mampi, YOUR kids should know how to whistle.”
“MY kids? Wow... And by the way, how do you expect me to know how to whistle? You mean I have been whistling at people... Bole toe MEN? You are the man, you are the father, YOU teach them how to whistle.”
This touched a raw nerve somewhere, “I don’t know how to. Otherwise I wouldn’t bring you in picture.”
After an extensive session of YOU YOU ME ME, we finally decided to take some professional help in teaching the kids how to whistle. That was much easier than convincing kids why they should learn how to whistle. My funda is straight. If you can learn to whistle, you can bully people, you can tease people, you can hoot in the auditorium. My kids are rather worldly less wise, so I believed that the ability to whistle would make them more confident human beings.
Once Mahesh expressed his inability to whistle (and believe me, with that he absolved himself of ever having teased a female on the road, or ever having made a pass at one of his pretty classmates), I had to look for someone who could teach the kids the fine art of whistling. Once I found the boys who would help me in doing that (no girls knew how to whistle real loud). But as they say that you can bring the horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. So I, too, could not. My kids were shy, they were reluctant, and they enjoyed cycling more than whistling. So here comes Dad with his logic that I mentioned in the very beginning. He said, “Look, if you learn to whistle, you will have a survival tactic right within you. You can raise an alarm, you can catch someone‘s attention if you need to. If you are stranded at sea, you can even bring down a helicopter.” Okay, this last one was exaggeration and he didn’t say this. Jai was totally exasperated at his father's convincing tactics. "Papa, why dont you just buy us a whistle if it is so important to learn how to whistle?" Anyway, the persuasive devil that he is, Mahesh made both the kids go with me to the ‘whistling classes’. The whistle teachers are my college Bhangra Team. The boys are usually in the auditorium, preparing themselves for the coming Youth festival.
They all know me as a rather weird teacher, but this? They were all wide eyed.
“ Teaching your kids how to whistle? Ma’am, how can we whistle in your presence?”
“OK guys, I can pretend I cannot hear you.”
Most of them were on the verge of crying. “Ma’am if our parents had encouraged us to whistle, we would have reached places. We have been beaten mercilessly for having whistled.”
My heart went out to them. Poor Boys!! I said, “Consider me your mom and whistle away to glory. Practise, practise till you make my kids really good at whistling.”
Every day, in the evening, after swimming class, both my kids would stand with their fingers in the mouth in front of the auditorium and try to whistle. Initially, the whistle was only a forceful breath and the fingers got wet with the saliva they forced out of the mouth. With a day or two of practice, Rasan was able to bring out some semblance of a whistle out of that breath. Another day and she could produce a loud shrill whistle. Then there was no stopping this girl. She would whistle for visitors, she would whistle for parents, she would whistle in the car, in the pool, on the road, on the phone, at night, in the morning before brushing and after brushing, before meals, after meals, in the bathroom and even in the restaurant. “Papa, if I whistle here, nobody would suspect that a little girl with innocent looks has whistled.” And I thought of the group of boys who would get a sound beating for having whistled in the restaurant.
No, Jai cannot whistle yet. He should have learnt it before her; after all he is a Punjabi Boy. But given his dad’s track record, I am rather apprehensive that he would. Coming back to the Family Whistling mission, I am midway into the lessons but Mahesh has withdrawn from the whistling club.

Monday, September 21, 2009

....And I thought Indians were the Greatest Bahanebaaz(es)...

A friend sent me this email. Not sure if you got it from your friends or not. I was about to send it out when I thought that I must share it here.

These are absentee notes from parents (including original spelling) collected by schools all over South Africa .

1. My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.

2. Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

3. Dear School : Please ekscuse Shadrak being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.

4. Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating.

5. Please excuse Blessing from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.

6. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face..

7. Moses was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.

8. Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.

9. Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side

10. Please excuse Justice Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.

11. Please excuse Pedro from being absent yesterday. He had (diahre) (dyrea) (direathe) the sh*ts. [Words in ()'s were crossed out.]

12. Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.

13. Petros was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.

14. Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

15. I kept Beauty home because she was to go Christmas shopping because I don't know what size she wear.

16. Please ekxcuse Wiseman for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off verunda, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

17. Sally won't be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend her funeral.

18. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the Marines.

19. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.

20.Please excuse Mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.

21. Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.

22. Please excuse Burma , she has been sick and under the doctor.

23. Maryann was absent December 11-16, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.

24. Please excuse little Jimmy for not being in school yesterday. His father is gone and I could not get him ready because I was in bed with the doctor.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AGYAAT, LUCK, LOVE AAJKAL

1- What kind of a movie does it take to punch a good man?
Answer -AGYAAT-supposed to be unknown.
2- How much does it cost to produce such a movie?
Answer -A lakh or two, because all that the cast has to do is to run through a jungle and go on running in just a single change of clothes. And their roles go on ending one by one, through convenient elimination, blamed on something/someone unknown.
3- How much does it take for this movie to hire a fight master?
Answer -Nothing, cos you cannot see the villain/vamp.
4- How does the movie end?
Answer -With a single hand asking childishly, who-killed-them-all, and the protagonist says, "Hell yaar, no idea who killed them all. Thank god the shooting for the movie is over."
PHEW!
RGV-what did you do my dear? You are the man who produced and directed Satya, Sarkar, Sarkar Raj, Rangeela, Shool-what on earth is prompting you to go for making horror movies? You are making one horror movie for every socially relevant movie that you give us. But then you are the man who gave us Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag too. Absurd!
You made Phoonk and when I came back from the movie, I vowed to myself that I would never go to another horror flick ever ever ever. But then being a beautiful little Phool that I am, I allowed myself to be tempted into watching 1920. I have not forgotten the horror yet. I kept postponing watching this movie Agyaat. But then the cruel man that my husband is, he persuaded me to watch it with him. Since I am his only movie buddy, he would either watch it with me, or would not watch it at all. And he always succeeds in persuading me, all that he has to do is to talk about the popcorns.
Coming to the movie, the tension starts right from the beginning as is RGV’s wont. But then this time I was amply disgusted with the gory show every few minutes. I was smarter though, this time I just closed my eyes everytime I suspected a death would take place in the movie. Mahesh refused to be moved by the horror . He said the movie failed to scare him. All through the movie, I kept digging my nails in his arms (whenever tension mounted). Poor guy, he will curse RGV. I mean it is not okay if BEEWI digs her nails in your arms while watching a movie... is it??
For RGV makes this absurd movie and aptly calls it Agyaat-the unknown. And he has the cheek to end the movie by telling us that COMING SOON is AGYAAT 2. I have never threatened my husband with anything. I am such a docile beewi. Today I told him at the end of the movie that he deserves a punch for making me go and buy tickets for this movie. Yawning, he started the car in the abandoned parking of the multiplex. It was at that moment that I again warned him against even suggesting that he wanted to watch Agyaat 2.
I had been whining that I don’t want to go watch a horror flick. I would have been happier sitting home and reading all these beautiful blogs if he had not wasted my precious 1.50 hours watching this movie. But then he is not the only one who is to be blamed. Told you, I had gone there to gobble up those yummy popcorns, movie be damned. And the tragedy is that I didn't eat any. I ended up eating nachos ! Bah, what a colossal waste. I should at least have had my bagful of popcorns. Now i will remember the jungle and water, and Agyaat by the nachos that I had there. Sometimes things just combine to give you that sub-natural feel.
That reminds me to count my blessings. Love AajKal is one of those blessings. It is a fabulous movie. Well, I like any movie in which the hero/one of the heroes is shown as an intelligent romantic Sardar, the way they actually are. Yes, I am racially/communally biased. Saif looks good as the young Rishi Kapoor wooing Gisele Monteiro. Boy, this girl is simply cute-every inch an innocent Punjaban like me, well not so old, nor so fat, but almost as cute. Transparently cute and sweet. Wish her luck.
Deepika is totally smashing. Mahesh did not like her (He finds her too thin) but the moment I told him she is Prakash Padukone’s daughter, he was visibly impressed. Is it something unique with him or is it with you all men?
And the week before that was Luck. Luck-a different kind of movie though they had used too much of the word Luck, Luck, Luck, Luck. 'Luck' in Punjabi is the word that we use for a waist. I have something far more than a waist, hence I have a lot more Luck to my credit. This is why I loved the movie. Imran looks cute, Shruti looks good, Sanjay looks great, Danny is fit as ever. The concept is different, the locations breathtaking. Though towards the end, it was more like a common Hindi Bollywood movie in which the hero saves the heroine in that 15 second period that goes on and on for about 30 minutes.
Next week it would be Kaminey, though I and Mahesh have been laughing at Shahid exposing his muscles, and then next week something else and so on and so forth.

Conclusion: Go watch LoveAajKal
Go watch Luck
Puhleez don’t go watch Agyaat .

But then some people always learn from their own experiences. Didnt the ticket counter guy tell me also that Agyaat was ‘so-so’ kind of a movie? Did I heed his advice in my over-enthusiasm to become a pativrata bhartiya nari out to accompany her husband to a horror movie show?
Mind you, I am writing this post within half an hour of returning from the cinema. Now what kind of a movie inspires you to do a post? Of course something like Agyaat. Mahesh said it didn’t deserve a blog post. He was right, wasn’t he?
And he complimented me liberally once we were out of the cinema hall and I was creating some kind of sounds with my singing. He said, "You are better off with the horror thingy." Now, a husband can get only this cute na !!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

the lock


Every night
Before sleeping
I remember
to lock the heavy gate
Outside the courtyard
Of my house
From inside.

I do not want
Any intruders.

Tonight
I picked the golden lock
And pushed a silver key in.
I was attempting to lock it shut.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Papa

“Mama, when will Papa come?”
“He will come soon”, she says
and looks out of the window
of her father’s house to which
she has returned, a stranger.

“Does Papa love us?”
“Yes, he loves us a lot”, she says
glancing at the wedding band on her
middle finger
even gold pales with time.

“Will Papa send us money?”
“Yes, pots of it,” and she
pushes back the yellowing strap
peeping out of the neck of her
frayed silk blouse
silk shines but does not last.

“Will Papa bring me toys?”
“Yes, a boxful of them,” and
she looks at her brother’s son
playing with the toy train
forbidden to her daughter
toys are prone to break.

“When did Papa go?”
“Only two months ago.”
she is happy that her
daughter has not yet
learnt to count
it is difficult to count days.

“Why does auntie give apples to
Sonu and not me?”
“Your Papa will bring you apples”
and lies rest in the vermilion
mark on her forehead
Some marry only for a dot of lies.

“When will we have
Our own house?”
“Your Papa will come and take us to
Our own house,” she says and draws
a house on her daughter’s slate
it is easy enough to draw a house.

“What will you do when your Papa comes?”
The little girl looks up, surprised
since when did her mother learn
to ask questions?
and she answers slowly:
“Mama, Papa will not come.”


posted with permission from the poet NIRUPAMA DUTT from her book The Black Woman and Other Poems (Aesthetics Publications, Ludhiana, 2009: p 41-42)

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Last Day

My Little NewPinch has posted a poem The Last Day on her blog.
Since this blog has been running arid for a few days, why don't you go visit her?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Riddles

Is love a one-time-lump-sum investment that you make to go on enjoying its returns unlimited?

Or is it a daily wage earning that you must work for each day?

Why is it so hard to reach out to the one you love? Is it ego? Is it confusion? Is it a lack of understanding of the situation? At that moment, does love take a back seat? Mundane existence then, is a mere reciprocal? I reach out to you, you are condescending; you reach out to me, you are patronizing.

Should I, then, wait till you reach out to me? Will it not be too late by then?

What do I do with the days thus spent waiting? Shall I subtract them from my life or shall I count them in? If I count them in, would they not be too painful to retain?

If I subtract them, will not my life become too short?


Monday, July 06, 2009

Of My Pounds and Hair-Matters

Yes, it is a kind soul that informs me that I have won British Pounds 750,000. I know you will dismiss me as another drooling Indian who does not value Indian Rupees the way she can grovel for the British Pounds. No, you are mistaken. I will drool for Rupees 750,000 in much the same way I am worried for these 750,000 pounds lying somewhere in the world in my name. Every day I get an email informing me that I have won millions and the phool that I am, I go on deleting this information without even reading it. I delete it for I mistakenly think that these pounds are going to translate themselves into kilograms, into tonnes, into quintols and then, and then, ahhhh, I will be a celebrity.

The cynic that I am, I am rejecting celebrityhood. How will my poor spouse handle so much of fame that his wife will attract? So, like a good Indian Pativrata Nari, I kick this good luck. Ah, the bad luck. Kismet! I will die poor and wretched and wrinkled and arthritic and with a bad knee and bald.

Bald ! Someone help. I am losing hair like the money in my wallet, only my spouse and I do not fight over the lost hair. But I am worried, seriously worried. I just went to shampoo my hair and the hair fell like rain used to fall in Cherrapunji. Wasn't that the name of the place that used to get the maximum rainfall. Talking of rainfall, we had two wonderful rainy days and now again, we have the powercuts, and miserable days and generator sets working overtime. Rainfall makes me digress. I am losing hair. I had heard that the hair fall in rainy season. But then it is the rainy season for my hair all through the year. Help, Help. Boys you can ignore the post, or at best you can ignore the last paragraph while commenting and focus only on the pounds. Girls you can get creative about my hair-loss and suggest something good that will help arrest this fall. For your information, I am using henna, not using color. My hair dresser told me the other day that henna is the primary culprit for my hair fall. Is it? I suspect that the greedy fellow wants to earn commission from the L'Oreal people. I am using mustard oil like rustic babes. He hated me for that but said nevertheless that it was good to use. However, he insisted that I use color to hide the strands of grey that I am getting now. Bah, I have other plans about my grey hair. So come on, all you creative BlogWaasis, help me.

I might die fat, I might die poor, I might die wrinkled, but must I die bald??


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Powered Rain and Dharamsalaed Trek

Punjab has been reeling under power crisis. Nothing new, considering that the two prominent contenders for power have always been at verbal loggerheads with little time and energy to think of common people. And do not forget Mr Sukhbir Badal contributing his (unfortunately worthless) more than two pennies too. Anyway, I desist from political commentaries and I stick to the bijli crisis that we all suffered and which was a supreme case of mismanagement, rowdiness, and haphazard supply. As a result, you have a paddy cultivating Punjab suffering badly with a power supply released for half an hour every two hours. Anyway, this post is not about power.

Thankfully, for the past two days it has been raining hard and good and I cannot help grinning. Rasan, ecstastically hugged me yelling, Mama, hun bijli nahi jayegi na? (there will be no power cut anymore, right?) Never in the last five years have I celebrated rains in such a spirit. Why, you would say? My previous residence was a closed kind of building where you did not get to see the stars. Mahesh loves to see and show off the stars to kids here in this residence. Here, I hear the koel, I hear the crows. Sadly there are no small house sparrows that I grew up watching in my house. I loved the way they picked at the grains that we scattered in the courtyard for them. They are innocence incarnate. Where did you all go, dear little sparrows?? And here I get to see grass growing so fast that the gardener is unable to finish trimming the whole garden in one go, By the time, which means days actually, he gets to finish the lawn, the grass at the beginning, much to his and my chagrin, grows back and yells for his attention. Being a sarkari banda, he doesn’t bother though. Grounds filled with water, cool breezes, jamuns falling off the trees in front of the main gate. You deserve a video. I will post it soon.

But then this post was not about rain also. This post was about our recent visit to Dharamsala and the trek that we enjoyed with the kids.
the fortunate girl, the unlucky boy

Before we set out for Dharamsala, everybody discouraged us saying that there is nothing much to see in Dharamsala. Sure they were right, if you go by the standards of a standard Punjabi family looking for fun. The staple fun that they expect in a hill station consists of these ingredients -there should be a good hotel, sumptuous food, car-able road (road where you can take your car and blare the stereo at full volume to disturb others), drinks – mostly for men, and shopping-loads of it-for women. We are different.
buddies

I mean I am different. My family was looking for the fun, sans the drinks. This time around though, I had my way. I made them live in a lodge with few luxuries. I pushed them out of the rooms at 8 am and we trekked all the way to a nameless waterfall. Most of the people who have been to dharamsala would understand that I am talking about Bhagsu Nag. Sure, we went there too. I found the priceless FBI at work there. This other waterfall is way higher above McLeodganj and Dharamkot where you leave your car to go into the wild to explore the priceless waterfall. I and Mahesh would have loved to go there alone but we had kids along. So we had a family meeting, took kids' consent that they would walk all the way to the waterfall which was about 4 kilometers uphill through narrow trails. It was fun, because with every step that we took, we were heading away from civilisation.
in the middle of the trek, we could hear the waterfall and could not see it

Kids were apprehensive, Mahesh quiet. I am sure he was thinking if it was a good idea to take his family into the wild. 1 hour and 45 minutes into the trek and we reached the waterfall. It is infact an assortment of 5 waterfalls and three wonderful pools that they form. With only two trekkers who reached prior to us, we were a total of 7 people on site. The seventh being Sansar, a man of 35 who runs a cafe here.
Sansar, the gutsy guy who lives alone at the waterfall

The cafe has the barest refreshments but the guy’s attitude is far more refreshing than anything else. A few minutes of talk with him revealed that he is unmarried and that he enjoys staying here-far far away from madding crowd. When asked if he misses living near the city he said “Those who live in stress need meditation; I am meditating every single minute of my existence. No, I don’t miss the village nor the city” It was somehow strange to find a humble businessman uttering these words.

I had a big fall on the rock near the waterfall. With an already injured knee it was a bit too much for me to handle. I wanted to cry, as in , I wanted to weep but just about managed with a yell and Mahesh rushed to my side, made me stand in the cold cold water to cure the knee of any fresh muscle tear and I was able to walk back through the tricky trail that we had chosen to spend our morning in.
the end of the trek-a tired trio, atop a cement ka ghoda

The day prior to it had been spent in roaming about in the McLeodganj market. Kashmiri stalls of trinkets and silver jewellery arrested me a lot of times but my favourite cop came to my rescue and released me from the shackles of avarice for newer pieces of junk jewellery. The Namgyal temple, its great wooden interiors , the funny signboard that warned us thus,
even when you are inside the temple? You gotta leave your eyes outside...

chess in every cafe, momos, Tibetan bread, bad humoured waiter serving us French toasts, a cool waiter bringing in chicken tikka, thin crust pizza,

bole so nihal, sat sri akal slogans in the McLeodganj main square, lunch in McLlo, dinner in CarpeDiem, cold drinks sans limits, half the night atop the lodge roof-under the stars, no internet, no TV , a dried up Dal Lake (yes there is one Dal here too- a duplicate one), St John's gothic Church and Lord Elgin's grave and Mahesh trying to play ghost,

this bell was foundered in 1915 in London

-that is what our two days consisted of. The third day, we went to this trek and said adieu to the hills, till we meet them again.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

FBI @ Work

Recession is so so so bad that FBI is forced to sell Malai Barf (old styled ice cream):


Please do not notice his hand and knife, for soon he wiped the knife on his jeans and 'cleaned it', no idea about the hands about where/if he cleaned them:




Mission accomplished, time for a smoke:beedi jalayee lay...

Edited to add: I did not try the Malai Barf. Could not dare to.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Mother, Head Cover, and Education

My mother used to wear a sari many years ago. She would have only two or three kameez salwar sets-that too when she had to go to her in-laws’ village or her own native village. It was perfectly normal for us to see her in a sari. In fact we associated her sari with her office-formal wear it was. She never used to cover her head with it.

Then she started to wear a kameez salwar and with it, a dupatta over her head all the time. I took some time adjusting to it, but then it was the call of the day and she being the ultra-flexible person, took to wearing what was the demand of the times. Sari had suddenly become a lewd and un-Sikh like dress. She stowed her saris away in trunks and cupboards, only to take them out seasonally to air them. We would wear them for some functions and flaunt our grown up selves in a changed attire. I still have not overcome the scare of having a sari coming untied down to my feet in the middle of an important presentation or a class, so I avoid wearing it. Mom still wears and carries well a sari for some functions where she does not want to cover her head.

Yesterday, we were at a friend’s place. Mom took two of her books for that friend’s family to gift them. The family’s daughter-in- law C and our relative H served lunch. Mom kept talking to the grandmother of the family. Mom wore a white cotton suit and a white dupatta and she kept her head covered all the time. H knows my mom quite well, C was meeting her for the first time. C kept talking to mom quite condescendingly, even sympathetically. After lunch when the customary seating pattern of men sitting separately from the group of women was repeated, we sat in one of the many bedrooms in the house. I left them for a few moments to check on the kids sitting in the kids’ room. When I returned, H was just short of ROTFL. She said, “Didi, C asked aunty (my mom), Thora bahut parhey likhey wi ho? (Have you had any education?)” I was aghast. Mom is a Ph.D, for dear God’s sake. This was the first time mom had been asked a question like that. I didn’t like it, but tried to smile and asked C whatever made her think that she was not? She said it was because of the head covering (dupatta) she wore. She tried to apologize but I didn’t want her to feel bad. She had a right to her opinion too. Mom turned it into a light one by quipping, “No, I aint educated, I just wear them spectacles to give a semblance of an educated woman.”

*****

Below is a video of my mother speaking on Jalandhar DoorDarshan on Female Foeticide. It is a fragment of the program that lasted an hour. Kindly adjust with me for the poor quality of recording. Mampi to be blamed for holding the phone rather awkwardly.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Cheap Honeymoon

No, I am not going on one. I mean we are not going on one. Not that I am against honeymoons, or against cheap things, or against cheap honeymoons, I am just wondering what do these words have to do with my dear dear post about our dear Dev D . Just Just Just now I got an email from almighty God and his representative Joseph that 'told' me that they have just added this post to their website and here is the link where I can see the honors been done to my post. Are they trying to make me famous by linking my post? If they are, why is the post hacked to half its size? What good is it going to serve their cause of giving cheap cheap honeymoons to people? How does Dev help them in their honeymoons? Is it because of the word 'sex' having been found in the post? Come to think of it, is honeymoon all about the 's' word? But then, in my own style, I digress. On a serious note, is Dev going to provide the honeymooners with any kicks? The million-dollar question is, what the heck is THIS post doing there? My blog has 99 more posts. Agar isey samjh sako....

So coming back to the question, are they trying to make me famous? No, there is no free lunch. Why should they make me famous? Alternatively, are they trying to make themselves famous? Should I flatter myself that my post is so so so valuable that it will make them famous by giving them more hits? If it is so good, it could give me more hits at its own home turf. What say? In order to put a pin through my puffed-up ego, I would understand that it is no instrument to make them or me famous. So what IS the purpose?

Also, on a detailed perusal, I found that my neighbour posts deal with cheap hotels, airlines, fat weddings, thin weddings, honeymoon ideas (do they really need them?), Barack Obama, Democrats, cheap activities (now this is the limit), witches (wow, what a kick during a honeymoon), Karla Darocas (yes, I know her, or is it a him?), Paris kisses, Arthurian legends (whatever their connection among each other), army ball (just one?),Caesar salad (if I had known this works, I would have had a cheap wedding too), Groom's guide to keep the honeymoon cheap (sure, ask the pink chaddi gang, they have ideas aplenty) etc. Barring my post and Obama, all deal with honeymoon. What the heck are you and I doing there, Barack dear?

I remember having read that one of Iya's posts had been linked at a website and she had written a post here. A few days before that NM had written about a whole post of hers having been lifted and plagiarised, and Kiran had also mentioned the same problem. The latter two cases had been plain lifting by the same person who later ran off deleting her blog . I understand that by writing in the open blogworld, we leave our writings vulnerably available -to be used by people as and when they wish. All that we can claim or make noise about is due credits being given to us. In mine and Iya's case, the url's of our blogs have been mentioned. Should we be happy? In this case, would you enlighten me, counsel me, advise me, console me, congratulate me or just call me a phool and run away?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whose Maid?


She sat outside an examination hall where I was invigilating for the CA exams. We exchanged smiles. I was wondering what she was doing outside this examination. She was only a child-a child possibly not more than 8 or 9 years. Later, I saw that she was scribbling something on her notebook. On closer inspection I found that she was writing from the notes that the examinees had left outside. She saw me observing her and we just exchanged warm smiles. I got busy with the duty inside the examination hall and did not come out for the next about 30 minutes. It was 3.00 PM by the time I came outside. Sitting on the bench with her arm resting under her head on the desk, she was dozing in the warm breeze. I called out to the waterman to carry the child under a fan if she wanted to sleep. She woke up and smiled sheepishly at me, as if ashamed at having been found sleeping. "You want to sleep?" "Yes." I blinked at her and gestured to her to go to the little office, she smiled and we struck a chord immediately. She again smiled broadly and waved to me as the waterman led her to the small office where she could lie down for her siesta. About half an hour later, she was back, refreshed. She resumed her copying duties. This time, I went to her and asked her, "What is it that you are copying out?" "I don't know, I'm just copying for fun." "Its good," I said, "you are doing a good job. Keep it up." ... 'strategic management', 'overview' those were big words slipping through small fingers. But she was writing them down. "Did you come with someone?" "Yes, with ... Didi." "Is Didi in my room?" "Yes, there she is," She pointed to an overweight girl writing her exam. "You work for them?" "Yes" "Do you study?" "Yes, in class three" "Wow, you sure are intelligent. Can I take a picture of yours?" She grinned in response. I took her picture and showed it to her. She gave me a billion dollar smile. "Thank you" I said and patted her head.


I went in, resumed my duty. It was soon 4 PM, the exam was nearing the end. I was collecting the answer books. When I reached her didi, I asked, "That little girl is with you?" "Yes Ma'am, she is my maid." The bell rang and the examinees trooped out, chattering , free minded , for it was the last exam. The little girl was lost somewhere in that loud mayhem.

Her name is Poonam-Full Moon.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Why?

This is my 100th post. As is customary in the Blogworld, we mark anniversaries. 100th especially is supposed to be quite a landmark and in a case like mine, it is definitely a big deal, for I have done the vanishing act twice or thrice in the past few months. When I came back from the land of the vanished back to the blogworld, I was really touched to have you buddies around to read me. Me no writer, but the fact that someone reads me, does make me feel good. So what makes you want to come back to my blog? That is THE question I want you all to answer in the comments space. THAT is how I am going to mark my 100th post. I would copy out all your comments and put them here in the post.
So What do you say? Why are you here? What do you like about this blog? C'mon, make my day.

***

Devaki says: I'm glad you asked Mampi! I don't agree with you when you say you are no writer. I think you are a wonderful writer! Not as good as your daughter but still... :)
I love your cheerfulness and simple and easy style of writing. I think you are smart, witty and also unassuming - a rare combination if you ask me. And very warm and encouraging on other blogs. And how can I forget? I love your choice of music!
Happy 100th btw. :)

Tara from Mindspace says: the writing style has to be the foremost reason... Its simple and has just the right amount of humor for me..
I was directed here thru roop's blog
I liked the music on your blog too.
~my first comment here perhaps, having been around since early this year..
~Tara

Mithe says - She introduced me to her blog and a big new world opened up for me...She made me see whats out there through her blog...
For me her blog was a window, a window to the outer world, to the vast plethora of talent actually surrounding me and of which I was unaware and its still that way...I want to keep visiting again and again and again....
Congratulations Ma'am. You have been a friend, philosopher, guide and above all the best teacher...and to think she has not actually taught me!Thank you for your pearls on this blogworld and thank you for being YOU.
PS:She is like that in real life too...Beautiful, Talented, Smart, Vivacious, Witty and Funny:)

How Do We Know says-Its the quality of your writing. And that you personally engage with everyone on ur blog. Your readers get the feeling that they are talking to a VERY real, very warm person. Simple as that sounds, its actually quite a rare thing.
Your writing has just the right degree of humour and most importantly, the posts are not novellas in themselves. They are just the right size!
You make other people feel like real people, in whom you are genuinely interested. Things like that cannot be faked.
So basically, what brings me to this blog is all of the above, and the wonderful person that you are. Since meeting u, i am even more smitten and can start a Mampi Fan Club too! (umm.. i m straight)

D says - What brings me here Mampi is your creativity - not just in the way you use language but in the way you think. It's good to be able to express well what you're thinking but it's great to be able to think well.
Congratulations on your 100th post!

Geena says- Mampi, probably this is my first or second time that im leaving a comment in ur blog site..but trust me i read each and every post of urs and dont miss a single day to visit ur blogpage..now u wanna know why??? remember the days at jalandhar..how i was addicted to come and see u to have a cup of tea together everyday and how i couldn't stay without sharing things with u..that addiction brings me to ur blogs everyday..cos at miles apart, i dont wanna feel tht i am away frm you..when i read ur posts, i feel as if ur talking to me face to face..ur blessed by god tht u could make this far with ur writings to 100th post.You are indeed an amazing writer and a wonderful friend..keep it up. love u. GD.

PhoenixRitu says-Hey, I did not say Happy Birthday to my blog! Damn
Happy Anniversary Mampi's blog!

Solilo says -I am a new reader to your blog, Mampi. That means I have read only couple of posts and you touch a chord. I like your travelogues and humor and all the little-big things you weave with the words. That's why I come back.

Hitchwriter says - Congrats on 100 posts... !!
If I recall correctly you were the first blogger I interacted with... and for a long time i was under the impression that you were a guy ... Lol... blame the name of your blog !! lol...
Neways.. why i come to your blog...
1 main reason.. your very original sense of humour.. !! a lot of other too but thats the most important one.. ! :P

Liju Philip says - Congrats on hitting the 100. Why i like to visit your blog is mainly for the humor. Original daily happenings seem much more funny when you write them.
Looking forward to 1000 more posts from you.

UL says - Because I can't get enough....your world is fascinating, you make it fun...you do write well ...and I love those poems too- makes me wish I knew your language...

SuKumBho says- Why??? Because YOU are YOU! Simple as that. It was the same for the 1st post and wud be that for the 1000th post. As an honest critic, I wud rather vote for the poems. Not to undermine the posts throbbing with life. As Geena says, I also read all of them but seldom leave a comment. Because it's ME. Simple as that.

XpressCoffee says - Best wishes for hitting a perfect Century !
I know how it feels to be coz jus recently i realized i had hit 150 and was unbelievably elated !
Enjoy the feeling ! :)

Veena says - What hooked me on to your blog is your genuiness and your sense of humour.. :) Its a pleasure reading your blog .. Congratulations on your 100th post.

Pinku says - why do i come back to your blog?
thats one question I cant answer...since I am never away...I log on to your blog as many times as i log onto mine.
what makes me do it..is the smile that you always manage to bring through your posts no matter how bad a day I may be having.
Happy 100th post...keep writing...you motivate many...with your simple, down-to-earth, touching the heart posts.
Love your verse creations too...hope to see many more of those in the coming posts.

Sudipta Chatterjee says - Congratulations! Why do I read your blog - well simply put I like the content and your views on stuff. Of course, the songs are a bonus. :)

Quirky Indian says - Congratulations!
What makes me come back? The humour, the simplicity and the honesty.
Please don't change.
Cheers,
Quirky Indian

Life Begins says - O wow..congrats :)
The smiles you spread,
the cheer you add,
the joys you share,
the mood you set,
to life you add
all that is perfect!!
:)
PS: This is my small try at poetry to thank you for being you.

Iya says - What makes me come back:
1. although we haven’t met up in person or even spoken to each other the fact is I seem to really like u.
2. your writings are simple yet so personal. There is this instant connect
3. your writing have the beautiful aroma of Punjab which I so love.
4. Reading u makes me feel as if I am reading someone who has a beautiful heart and that makes me come back 

Mandira says - happpy 100th post mampi!!! i crossed that landmark a while back..dnt even remember if i recorded it!!
why do i come back to ur blog again n again? for the songs!;)and also for the funny posts u throw in frequently..like the one with the pot bellied officers recently...n the every day events kinda posts..the kids,the husband, the MIL... i like those as well.. so i guess i keep coming back for everything u write!!:D

Jyoti (Imp's Mom) says - Yay!!! Congrats!!
Why I read ur blog? watch my space... u'll soon know :P
patience ok... aur nahi bata rahi abhi.

Sucharita Sarkar says - You shoot straight from the hip, you have a great sense of humour (often directed at yourself), and 'you entertaining-to-read writer'! Also, for me, the name Mampi was intriguing.

Oreen says - arre, you are like a lifeline, bhai... aise kaise likhna band kar dogi?
we come here to breathe...

Ashwani says - Mampi,
One can feel the passion with which you reach out to people by writing your blog.Underneath your TM humour is a genuine concern and senstivity which is reflected in all your posts.
The freshness of the subjects that you choose to write on reflect your fertile imagination not only in prose but in poetry as well,
not to forget the encouragement you provide to the fellow bloggers by appreciating their posts.
A heartiest congratulations on hitting the century!

SS says - Why am I here?
Well, I liked the initial few posts I read and added your blog on to my Google Reader. Now, it follows your blog for me.
:D

Pradeep Biswas says - Mampi,
My heartfelt congratulations for your 100th post but if you are mopping the bids of sweats on your forhead I am not with you. You have a long to go and you just warmed up yourself. Why do I like your blog? good question. It reminds me one of my story in my college days. There was a common heart throb. The followers felt great if she obliged them for a little talk with Tea and a little smile. One day she asked all of them by turn "You said you love me but Why?" There were intellectuals, witty and smart fellows. Everyone gave colorful answers. The most unsmart,timid boy scratched his head and said "I donot know, i shall try but I am sure I may not find any. I am sorry" The bill for tea came up, she held her hand tightly and did not allow him to pay. From the next day that unsmart fellow had a single follower, that was our common heart throb. Now do you follow why so many of us like your blog? I and we like it just like that I and we do not know "why"

Soulsafar says - Congratulations on your 100th post. First time here. Will definitely have something to say when you cross 200 :)

Kiran says - congrats!! happy 100th =)
i love your writing style and the simplicity...always brings a smile to my face! keep writing!

Monika Manchanda says - congrats!!!
and WHY WHY WHY I AM NOT HERE????
WHY WASNT I ASKED
*walks away in a combination of anger and bhaav*
but I love ur blog.... love reading it because I feel connected to my land because of u... I can sometimes feel the smell of punjab in what u write
I can feel the warmth of a genuine person u are in the simple words I read here
And last but not the least... I love love the humor....
Hoping many 100's from u Mampi
(((hugs)))
and u better ask me next time

Himalayan Adventurer says - Hi Mampi, congrats on being a centurion! It is amazing how many people have responded to your challenge and narrated their reasons for visiting your blog. But sometimes, you do something and yet it is OK without specifying any reason. Best wishes for your forward journey and more and more companionship.

Mama Mia says -100 posts! how awesome is that?!
me read your blog because it has a l'il bit of both, sense and madness! :)
cheers!
abha

Alankrita says -SO you hit a century!!!!!
Congrats.
I come here, just to think. And to turn off that music there.

Lazyani says - Congrats Mampi on your century; a century similar to that of a true blue test match player. Your innings has class, character and a lot of peace in its making. That's what makes me return to your blog, albeit quietly.
My first comment on your site probably, but I am a regular reader.

MySpace says - Likhtey raho...
why do i come back...for your humour and honesty...apna connection hain koi shayad issliye???

Balvinder Singh says- Oh my good God, i missed your centenary post in this rigmarole of my transfer. Ok belated congrats.

Now why do i like your blog ?

It the substance which is the cocktail of intellect, compassion, fine language, and so many other ingredients which go on to make a fine writing and which is garnished with lots and lots of polished humour.



Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Peaceful Co-existence...

...with lizards, ants, moths, dogs, frogs is what we are practising in the new house. Remember, I told you that it is an old old construction with old fashioned high ceilings and lime plastered walls?

The first night we stayed over in the newly distempered house, I kept an all night vigil for any lizards falling from the ceiling. In the weirdest of my imaginations, a lizard would fall onto the fan blades and would cut itself and its pieces would fall on me. Scared, I covered myself in a white sheet-thinking it would double up as a scary sight for the old girl and make it retract into its house high up. There is one particular lady who lives in my drawing room and somehow lifts her head in the typical dinosaur fashion and sways to and fro. Possibly it enjoys Abida on my blog as much as I do or possibly it is threatenting me as if it is going to jump down from the wall straight into my book-cupboard. I often wake up with nightmares of lizards jumping out of my almirahs. However, a month into the house and they have gotten used to me just as I have also gotten used to them. Only yesterday my mother in law and I celebrated the birth of new ones of the lizards in the house (she was actually in the favour of celebrating their lohri-since she is now the official flag bearer of the NGO that fights female foeticide) by chasing a few out. I am sure they will return with the same scary pomp and show as the Return of the Mummy. And mummy and I will go on fighting a losing battle with brooms in our hands and war cries in our throats.

The ants in the house are such patient beings that they adopt the same old paths that they are used to following generation after generation. I use the insecticidal spray on their regular routes, they mourn their dead and again resume their day-to-day life. After all they are Indians too. We raise a hue and cry post incidents like 26/11 or gruesome deaths at unmanned railway crossings, tremble a few times at the repeat shows on the television and then start our day to day life – as if nothing ever had happened. One thing more, the ants in this house are so desperate that they don’t even leave the salt container alone. I mean their attacking the flour container, the sugar container, ghee or stuff like that-is traditionally acceptable. But my ants are a little hatke you know. I love them. Now I’ ve gotten used to cleaning the kitchen counter (if you can call the 2x3’ shelf a counter) about 200 times a day. The ants are actually angry with me and are biting me on my feet as I type this.

Moths felt almost at home when we had just shifted. They actually resented our presence. They tried to attack the youngest of my brood. I remember Jai was so scared of them that he refused to brush his teeth in the verandah wash basin. I told him that actually they themselves were scared of him and that they would not dare attack Inspector Jai. But he believed in the theory of ‘better safe than be sorry’. The very next day he was so irritated with their continued presence around the tubelight that he started to stamp his feet. When asked what he thought he was doing, he said I am trying to scare away the moths. Wow, by stamping his feet about 4 meters away from them. The moths have since taken a flight, due to the heat, or due to the scare of this brave guy-but gone they have. Till it rains.

Then there is a black emaciated dog who has attached itself to the house. She lingers on outside the door and sits under the sukhchain tree right outside my gate. In extreme heat conditions it moves inside to the verandah. Now I hate dogs. Sorry, dog lovers, but I had had dogs once and they caused me much heartbreak. Vowed never to have a pet. However, this dog has attached herself to this house and Jai has attached himself to this dog. He ensures that the dog has three square meals a day, enough water to keep herself hydrated. In return this stray dog has pooped in the lawn, snooped in the dust bin to scatter away all the rubbish and has expressed love when I threatened it with a stick. What do I do folks?

Frogs-their music is our everyday food for the soul. The other day, in a post dinner stroll, Rasan and I found a big fat dodo kind of a frog. I tried talking to it, it didn’t respond. Today, post dinner, we strolled and talked about that frog to Jai who was very curious about its looks and its persona. By chance we saw it again by the roadside. I insisted that it was the same frog. Rasan disagreed. I said, “ Let’s check.” I again talked to it, it didn’t respond, I called it names, “You dumbo, deaf fella, idiot, don’t cha hear I am talking to you?” It didn’t respond. Proven that it is the same.

Oh, by the way, there is a big fat rat that sneaked into the washroom from the lawn today. Here goes the lady with the broom to chase it out.

Some Co-existence !!! Till the ants die, the moths fly, the dog yelps, the frog jumps; the lizard falls and the rat crawls.... away...


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Touching Moment

I received this as a forward in my email. The utter Punjab Police loyalist that I am, I had to share this over here. M, Kindly adjust.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life Starts Anew

What happens when you shift your house? You suffer from a short term memory loss; and in the rarest of the rare cases like mine-you suffer a long term permanent memory loss. The short term memory loss was a family contagious disease that afflicted us for about 4 days and then it got cured by itself. When I say 'us', I include my children who also happen to suffer from selective hearing syndrome at times. When I say 'us', I also include Mahesh, who glared at me everytime I said, “No, I don’t want to throw this away.” When I say 'this,' I mean the art sheet that Rasan had made about 9 years ago. When I say 'art', I mean to say a whole cardboard carton full of sheets colored in myriad shades, variety of styles, and lines and doodles. Phew, as a result, there are two big BIG boxes of this ‘art’ that Mahesh wants to throw away telling the kids, “You can always make new art.” Come on Mahesh, no one can make NEW art, art is art, it stays with you for the rest of your life. If you destroy it, who knows you are destroying a potential Michael Angelo or a Raphael. I will not allow this to happen. I would rather go down in history as a martyr to the cause of saving art and the artist. I must do the saving stint even if it means a big big fight with you. Partly because I know the next axe will fall on my clothes that I simply packed and brought to the new house to give away to people. However, the emotional attachment to these clothes is by far too large for me to give them away. The real secret is that I am living with a vain hope that a few of these fine dresses will finally fit me when I lose weight, in the distant future. W-h-e-n I do. I-f I do. Hope sustains life after all. But I better start giving these clothes away in the really Buddhist style of detachment, otherwise I will end up stacking every box and cupboard with my clothes.

When Mahesh said, “ Look lady, I have only 5 pairs of shoes and you got 36," I was not in the least ashamed. I was actually grossly offended like hell when he said throw all but 5 away. Are you kidding Mahesh? I need them all. I will wear them even if i have to wear them one upon the other. For sure I would. I simply onioned* myself to develop the symptoms of selective hearing and swiftly walked away from the offending words.

Coming back to STML-short term memory loss. Everytime we opened a box, we started to keep the stuff at the right places-only in the middle of the journey to the ‘right’ place , we forgot where we were going and why. Five zombie like creatures - (Mahesh, my mother, Rasan, Jai, Mampi )still managed to give a shape to the new house-and in the middle of the STML also managed to laugh out loud at the one who came saying, “Yaar, where was I going? Where did I place xyz?” The zombie situation came full circle on Friday last when Mahesh and my mother - after I lay dead in the bed with rough feet and dry hands-spent a whole night in moving furniture and shifting stuff. Moving as in moving things physically. Thank God I am a heavy weight otherwise I would have woken up with my bed shifted under the mango tree in the courtyard. The most interesting part is that they would stand still when I would sleep walk and sleep talk asking them what were they doing moving about at that god-forsaken hour. They would grin and pat me back to sleep. In the morning, I would have believed I was in a dream if I had not seen the furniture moved to strange corners.

Enough about the people-here is something about the house. This government accommodation came into existence sometime between 1920 and 1947. Yes, I am the unofficial restorer and caretaker of the heritage buildings of the Punjab. Only they do not offer me any honorarium, rather I have to spend from my own pocket to indulge myself in maintaining it. Okay, not my pocket, but Mahesh’s. However, doesn't gurbani proclaim us Ek Jot doye moorti (We are one in soul though two physically)? Therefore his pocket is my pocket after all-especially when I put my hand in the pocket and come up with crisp new notes of 1000 bucks. We had to spend on getting the big watertank of 300 litres replaced with a bigger 1000 litre ; a flush system had to be put in place – for there was none. The previous occupants made do with throwing bucketfuls of water in the pot after potty. As an aside, I wonder how do you save enough energy to do this exercise after a good session on the pot? Even the kitchen supported the old Indian style of sitting on the floor and doing the dishes. My thundering thighs would have been strengthened to rocky hardness if I had to do dishes like that. The primitive style has now been replaced by a stainless steel sink. The taps that had forgotten to deliver water are now gracefully throwing out water. The quantity of junk thrown out of the stores would have put a good junk dealer into thought and would have made me richer if only the departmental policies had not required me to procedurally write them off and sell them to fill the governmental coffers.

For now, we have settled in the house. The house has settled down on us, I mean it has gotten used to us. We do not have an AC, nor a good old khus-cooler, but the mad May heat has not gotten us down yet. The high ceilings, the 18" thick walls with lime plaster, the cross ventilating windows and doors are a bliss. And also thanks to the loads of vegetation around us, we are enjoying almost sylvan surroundings. Soon we will make the house more livable and then I will probably post some pictures also. This was primarily the reason why I had disappeared from the blogworld.

*little boys (never heard of any girls doing it) in Punjab keep a peeled and raw onion under their armpit to induce fever-so that they don’t have to go to school. (there is no such word as onioning, but then who says we cannot make new words?)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fling A Shoe At Me, Please

Fling a shoe at me please. I want to be popular. More importantly, I need shoes. Shoes of all variety-running shoes, heeled shoes, chappals (for I develop corn on my little finger sometimes), pump shoes, thin shoes, fat shoes, platform heeled shoes, pencil heeled shoes. Fling a shoe on me when I am looking my best for I understand that the media would surely like to report the shoe-incident and I do not want to be caught on the wrong foot with the wrong makeup and with a wrong shoe being thrown at me. I wish that I make it to the front page-looking as stunning as I always do in my photographs. (Just between you and me-I look far far more stunning in my pics than I really am-so if my photographs have managed to enamour you-pull yourself out of your crushes. They are hardly worth the pain in you-know-where.) All the national dailies and regional, vernacular dailies, weeklies, monthlies, yearlies, decadalies, centuralies would want the picture of a good looking me-ducking the shoe, or maybe very charmingly holding the shoe close to my bosom so that you end up envying the shoe and cursing yourself aloud why you didn’t fling yourself instead of the shoe at me. Just for your information-if you had flung youself on me, you would have tasted the heavy Punjabi slap that I am capable of delivering. The Shoe would not suffer anything like that slap, so do not envy it. And otherwise also, I have a tendency of paying people back sooner or later-usually in my own coin. So a shoe thrown at me would not mean that I would tell the press beatifically that I have forgiven the thrower of the shoe. I understand that the forgiving in shoe throwing is the in-thing. However, I would not want any legal action to be initiated against you (for this is a request to you to fling a shoe at me). I would, instead, very forcefully throw the shoe back at you and there is every chance that it will hit you, in the face or below the belt-depending on my mood and the energy quotient at the moment.

So please, throw a shoe at me.

But why would you throw a shoe at me? After all, I am no minister belonging to a party which has successfully conducted pogroms of minority communities; after all you are no frustrated youth peeved at false claims; you are no drunk father upset at your son’s unemployment and you are no victim of a religious wipeout. Also, you are no independent candidate from my opposition party. I even will manage to conduct shoe proof political rallies, press conferences and public meetings

I deserve this treatment because I am guilty of not reading your blogs for about 3 weeks, not leaving my comments there and of not putting up a blogpost. People must get hit with shoes for these major offences.

Here end my hopes of being hit with a shoe flung from audience while I use the mic to glory.

Understandably, I accept that I would never be famous.

Monday, April 06, 2009

My Words

I, in an emotionally challenging moment, penned down some words in Punjabi which I have posted on my Punjabi blog- Kaaghaz de Kujh Purzei. In a casual chat with my friend Sumanto, I happened to tell him that I wanted to put it up here too, but that I had not done a good job with the translation of the poem. He, very kindly, has translated it for me-rather as he puts it- he has 'transcreated' it for me. Your input is worth appreciation, Sumanto. Thank you.

++++

kamrey ke maroothal kee

deewaro'n se takraa kar

jab

mere lafz

mehz aawazein ban reh jatey hain,

main maa ban kar

pingley baccho'n ki tarah

unko goad mein utha

darr-darr firti hoon,

duaayein maangti

shayad

kabhi shabdo'n ke kaalib* mein

fir se rooh dhadak hi jaye.

(*kaalib-skeleton)

++++

Words rebound

lose their sound

in the four walls

of the desert of my room.


Tired whispers

die a silent death-

in the desert night.


I do my mother act

Gather the fractured words, my progeny,

Onto my lap-

caressing,

petting,

knitting prayers on my lips.

I roam about

each corner of the desert room

Hoping for an oasis

if only the skeletons could get back

the touch of blood

and

live upto life again.



Thursday, April 02, 2009

It Happened One Night

It was around 10 P.M. They both went to that upclass sweet shop. She saw the boy standing near a couple. She thought they were a family and that it was their child. He was dressed in clean clothes. On a second look, she could see that pile of papers tucked under his arm. She even saw him persuading them to buy one of those papers.

They went in, she bought her apple pie, had a fight with the counter guy for heating it up too much. He tasted his favorite sweet, laughed about with the counter boys if only to make up for her bad humored verbal exchange. She wanted ice cream, he said, "I will share it with you. " He should have said, “Don’t eat so many sweets. You are already fat, sweets will undo your workout.” Instead he indulged her. They came out to the car. She placed her pie, their ice cream on the car boot and started to look for the car key that he often tells her to put in her bag.

The boy came near them, they tried to ignore. He said, “Ma’am, Please buy this map from me.” “But I don't need one, Beta,” she said, but told him to show her the maps. “I will take the city map. No, the state map is better. Umm, or maybe, India map is more useful. Uhoon, Let me take this world map.” He told the little boy, “Ow just give me the city map. How much is it for?” “Sir, it is for 25 Rupees,” He began to look at the map. She saw the boy looking at the feast kept on the car bonnet. She looked at the boy, he smiled. She asked him, “Do you study?” He said, “Yes, I am in class 6th.” She thought, “Almost as old as my older one.” Then asked him “Would you like to have an ice cream?” The boy hesitated, then said, “yes”. She blinked her eyes, gave him the little bowl, he paid the boy for the map and told him to keep the change. The boy grinned and thanked her. She decided it was the most beautiful smile she had seen lately . She would never forget the grin. Once the boy went, she thought aloud, “Glad I gave the ice cream away. Saved me from sinning.” Once inside the car, she told him, “We are a crazy couple, aren’t we? !!!” He said, “Why do you think so?” She said, “Aiwen ee.” He said, “You are !! and that’s why I love you.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Babe's Followers

That day a few months ago, when I opened my blog, it showed a follower.

Follower? In terms of admirer? At this age? As a teenager, it was scary to have boys following us girls. Yes, it was abuse. As a young woman, I had followers-friendly as well as unfriendly followers. Ah abuse, thy manifold manifestations ! But a follower on the blog? I must say I was flattered, happy, scared- all at the same time. After all, what did it mean? I had never seen any followers on blogs. Whatever it meant. Curious, I opened the blogger dashboard and it revealed a follower. Blogger merely said," *** is following your blog." And I began to think, does it mean he/she knows whatever activity goes here? Does it mean he/she knows my password? Is he a stalker? I can tackle a she-stalker. I would have to bring in M to tackle a he-stalker. A few days into this following business, and there were more. One, two, three, four, five-by now I was in a wow mood. It meant I was being read. There were people trying to know what I was writing. I should write better. I should try to post more sensible stuff here.

One night I had a clothed Eureka moment and that woke me up with a start. It dawned on me that having a follower automatically means I can start a cult. Or even a religion. All that a religious leader needs is a few followers and I had, after all, a total of six. Thereafter, networking will do the rest of the job. If those fancy vilaiti companies can offer bonus on networking, I will give everybody some incentives too. Incentives like kadah parshad (flour halwa); or pinni parshad; or perhaps patasa (batasha in hindi and sugar candy in vilaiti English) will do instead of Phoren travel or big time money. Yes, I will resign my job and wear a designer suit and be a religious leader with a difference. A charming babe of a leader with a good hold on Punjabi, a non-accented English and a ‘cornered’ Hindi – and the magic would be complete. I said cornered Hindi, because most of us in Punjab speak out the language making it as abrupt as a turn in a room with corners. (Surjit Bhaji calls our hindi “nukkra’n kadh ke boli hindi’) I would be a babe as the feminine gender of a young baba – there are plenty young babas in our land. The feminine gender of old baba is bebe in Punjabi, bebe being an old (mother) woman. Now there is not much difference between a hi-fi babe and a Punjabi bebe. A mere ‘a’ I dare say. But then we digress. Coming back to the accent, I know my followers would forgive me any accent and actually will make a trend of my style. After all, what are followers for? But the dream soon shattered badly. For I was just one among all the blogspot bloggers who had followers. Whom-so-ever’s blog I visited on blogspot, almost everyone had a follower or two.

Gradually the followers reached a number of 38. Then the university sent me a letter, “lady, you have your dreaded viva voce with an examiner soon. Stop this follower business and get back to your studies” and I went back to my thesis, to my books and all that stuff. As if that was not enough, kids’ schools conspired with the university and they sent their date sheets. Poor babies started to get big time howling and cribbing from me, because my viva fell in the middle of their exams and there was no way either of the two tasks would allow me any respite.I forgot my blog, I forgot my followers. And my followers forgot me. Like the TRP of an Ekta Kapoor serial in which she finally killed Baa (did she, or didn’t she?) after Baa became about two and a half centuries old, the number of my followers fell. It fell from 38 to 36, then plummetted further to 32. I was sad, a little. Then one night, I woke up laughing out loud. I realised that only the true followers remain. They are the ones who have stayed by my side in my lonely and trying days spent compulsively away from blogworld. Mampi, think positive. Wow, I can still start my own religion.

And I have money power too. I am reminded through a widget on my blog that it has been valued at $ 23,710.68 even in these days of hopeless recession. Now that is some consolation. How they evaluate blogs is beyond my humble understanding. But I am happy, and for now that’s all that matters. With elections approaching fast , maybe I can, with muscle power (I have ample on my person) use some money power too and in the true blue Indian political style, combine my babe-dom with politics. But then this would be too ambitious for a single blogpost.

Meantime, everyone’s welcome to join the fold.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Delhi 6 - From Chandni Chowk to Nowhere

For the first half, you don’t know what the movie is talking about. Then, as the story develops, it starts to tie a few threads and make a few new ones to leave them untied. The jump from thought to thought is abrupt. But then, I like the old world charm, be it Montreal’s cobbled streets or Old Delhi’s crowded, heavily wired rooftops. I guess that is why I went to watch Delhi 6. Somehow I was disappointed. I don’t get disappointed easily, I go on looking for some saving graces in the work till I find them or till I abandon the work. I found some in this movie too-but they were so far removed from each other that I ended up waving my hand and telling Mahesh, “no its not worth all this time I am spending here. " But then most of the movies I watch, I watch to be with Mahesh, to laugh with him, to get scared, to just have those 3 hours all to ourselves. So it is okay, I went on watching Delhi 6.

Abhishek is cute, I like him, he could have done a good job in the movie if there were any job for him to do. He disappoints but then the director hardly appointed him. Sonam Kapoor tries to do that girl next door act, but she fails miserably-she ends up behaving and getting filmed in a clich├ęd way. I normally get impressed very easily by people, but she couldnt even use that ease to impress me. Mahesh even had a suggestion for her (obviously she failed to impress him too) that she should find a good boy and get married asap before it is too late. Waheeda Rehman is one of the redeeming factors in the movie; the others being Vijay Raaz in the role of Inspector RanVijay who has avenged all the slaps he has had to suffer in other movies and Divya Dutta in the brief role of an untoucable sweeper. Atul Kulkarni impresses in his own way.

I expected more from Rakesh Omprakash Mehra after Rang De Basanti . This movie also tries to say things through symbolism. RDB had its legend of Bhagat Singh and his comerades; here it is Ram Lila transmitting the message of communal and religious harmony. But this movie is not even close to the charm of RDB that refuses to fade even today. Rang De Basanti had all the new comers except Aamir and they ended up governing the entire psyche of the youth of the nation for quite a while. This movie has a cast of accomplished, senior, mature actors; unfortunately the director has been unable to handle their talent-he got to get them to do nothing. The message could have been given in a stronger, far stronger way (and it is the need of the times too) but the director somehow lost interest somewhere in the middle-it shows. It ends up as a sweet and a clean kind of movie, but then you cannot go on having Mamdu’s jalebis for three hours.

However, symbols like masakali (the pigeon) , the tulsi, the temple and the mosque, the black monkey, and the song with the combination sequence i.e. Dil Gira Dafatan are the few things that I will remember the movie by.

Moral-I could have watched it on the DVD if there were not the danger of having to see Mahesh fall asleep during the movie.