Love is in the air

I loved ghazals and melodies, and she loved the smell of petrol and kerosene. I would carry anti-nausea drugs while riding state transport buses; she would love the noisy creaky sound and the cyclonic whirls of noxious smoke in the rear. I battled the Coffee Day dates strategically chosen in the middle of gas station, and the gasolene-odored perfume she gifted. 

They say ‘couples are made in heaven’. How do they commute in heaven? Never heard of a petrol-god (or goddess!)- Teldev or something. Although my love with petrol-lady couldn’t survive, I learnt to adapt in smoky bustling cities. Probably, she was the petrol-goddess incarnate who enlightened this mundane creature to happily breath the warm polluted air. Bengaluru or Delhi-just lay it on me! I can handle it unmasked, unnerved. They say if they squeeze my lung after death, it would give a jar of tar. Ofcourse, am not a honeybee, that you expect to get honey after squeezing, and lick on my dead lungs.

Recently, I visited Norway who seem to produce oil for the world, yet the air was so boringly clean. Carbon was conspicuously missing, I doubt if people breathed in and out only oxygen (In fact, I doubt if they breath at all). If we squeeze their lungs, what would it give? A farting sound?

Being a true devoted Hindu, I make it a point to drink Gangaajal (the Holy ganges water). Haridwar ones are bland, tasteless while Varanasi ones have multi-flavored Gangaajal depending on Ghat. The kid-urine, womanised sweaty, oily aarti ones, to corpse ash flavored ones. The drops may be bitter like ‘draksharishta’ syrup, but just sip it and feel the bliss! The loose motions for next ten days would make us pure and glowing pale. 

A paan-chewing fellow, spitting on the wall, and then cleaning it with urine stream in tandem; A woman hiding her sanitary pads in the middle of vegetables peels in waste-bag; And the girl who loved petrol!

Love is surely in the air.

Happy New Year.

(Author appeals for active efforts in climate change and tackling population on individual basis)

झुकी झुकी सी नज़र

कल अपने २३वें व्हाट्स-ऐप ग्रुप का उदघाटन समारोह था, जिसका प्रादुर्भाव महज़ उन लोगों से हुआ, जिनकी तोंद निकली है. मेरे वो मित्र जो अपने उदर से असंतुष्ट हैं, शामिल हुये और स्वास्थ्यवर्द्धक पोस्ट फारवर्ड करने लगे. खाने-पीने की रणनीति बनी और यहाँ तक की आपस के उदरों की मौजूदा तस्वीरें भी शेयर हो गये. मामला गंभीर निकला और ऑड-इवेन प्रणाली पर योग और जिम की अदला-बदली तय की गयी. खैर, मूलत: एक और वजह मिल गयी ग्रुप बनाने की. जिरह और हास-परिहास की पुरानी आदत और कभी आत्म-चिंतन की वज़ह से अक्सरहाँ ग्रुप से बाहर-अंदर होता रहता हूँ. पर कौतूहल है कि हर दो मिनट में फोन को टटोलने पर मज़बूर कर देता. ये कैसी चुंबकीय गुलामी है? फेसबुक पे लाइक कितने तो व्हॉट्स-ऐप पे चुटकुले पे कोई भला हंसा क्यूँ नहीं? न हँसे मेरी बला से, अजी बिल्कुल ताजा भेजा था. साँप सूँघ गया क्या ग्रुप को? बस ऊहापोह सी लगी रहती.

ये माजरा पहले न था. ताश के पत्ते निकलते या पकौड़े तले जाते. चाय की दुकान पर एक-एक कर दोस्तों का जमावड़ा होता. काफिले आते-जाते, मुद्दे बदलते, वाद-विवाद होता, और हम अक्खड़ जमे रहते. आवाज में बुलंदी, नजर ऊँची और ठहाके ऐसे की नुक्कड़ पे बस अपना ही राज. कभी सिक्का जमता तो कभी किरकिरी होती, पर डटे रहते. 

ऐसा नहीं कि टेलीफोन न था. चौक पे सरकारी औफिस में सस्ते में ट्रंक-कॉल बुक होती, एक छोटी खिड़की से रिसीवर पकड़ाते, और पीछे खड़े लाइन में लगे लोग दाँये-बाँये देख न सुनने का स्वाँग रचाते. अजी, कौन सी प्रेमिका से गूफ्तगू है? वो राँची वाले फूफा जी होंगे या दिल्ली वाले मामाजी. प्रेम-संलाप करना हो तो अगले चौराहे पे STD बूथ है, कटघरे में जितनी मरजी दबी आवाज में बतिया लो. बस ऊपर वो LED स्क्रीन पे मिनट देखते रहना! बड़े जालिम होते वो टेलीफोन वाले, हर तीन मिनट में पैसे दुगुना. 5 मिनट 59 सेकंड में जिसने झट से रिसीवर रखा, वो है चपल चतुर.

साल-दो साल की बुकिंग पे आखिर घर में भी फोन लग ही गया. क्या उत्सव का माहौल? पड़ोसी बधाई देते, और नंबर जरूर नोट कर जाते. शुक्र है अब चौक पे न जाना. झा-सा’ब के घर फोन जो लग गया. बात की बात, और मुफ्त की चाय सो अलग. और शामत हम बच्चों की, जो घंटे-दो घंटे मुहल्ले में फोन आने का संवाद लिये घूमते. ये तो धन्य टेलीफोन विभाग वाले की अक्सर फोन डेड रहता, और हम चैन की साँस लेते.

मेडिकल कॉलेज में भी यही फोन-बूथ का सिलसिला चलता रहा. रात को ११ बजे के बाद फोन के रेट कम हो जाते, और हमारी कतार लग जाती. आधी नींद में वार्तालाप भी कम होता, और पैसे बचे सो अलग. तभी एक क्रांति हुई. एक रेडियो-नुमा या भारी भरकम वायरलेस जैसी चीज, जो फोन का काम करती. हॉस्टल में इक्के-दुक्के अमीरजादों नें खरीदी और हम कौतूहलवश निहारते. जींस में लटकाते, तो आधी जींस एक तरफ खिसक जाती और कूल्हे अर्द्धनग्न. हाथ से कान तक लाने में यूँ प्रतीत होता, जैसे गाँडीव उठा रहे हो.

बड़ी कशमकश में हमने भी एक अभूतपूर्व जुगाड़ू निर्णय लिया. पाँच मित्रों ने मिल एक मोबाइल फोन खरीदा, और ये बंटवारा कर डाला कि हफ्ते में अमुक दिन इसका राजा कौन? दोस्त इसे पाँचाली कह उपहास करते, पर हम पाँडवों ने चीरहरण न होने दिया. ठीक-ठीक याद नहीं पर वो ‘मोटोरोला’ कंपनी का फोन सालों चला, अविवादित, अजीर्ण.

आज अपनी आई-फोन ६ प्लस की ग्लैमरस माशूका के होते हुये भी उस पाँचाली की बहोत याद आती है. रिंगटोन ऐसा कि पड़ोसी भी जाग ले, भरपूर वजन कि फोन उठाओ तो डोले-शोले बन जायें. सीना तना, आवाज में कड़क अंदाज. धीरे बोलने वाले, कमजोर दिलों वाले दूर ही रहे.

कॉफी पी रहा हूँ और सामने बैठी युवती के नजर उठने का इंतजार है. आधे घंटे से नजर झुकाये, अकेले खिलखिला रही है. अजी वो ही क्या, मैं, आप और ये सारा आशियाँ. कूबड़ों की तरह झुकी कमर, पागलों की तरह अकेले में हंसना, और तोंदूमलों का ग्रूप!

2015

Jan-March

# For all budding satirists like me, it was a moral boosting year and I began dreaming of being gunned down some day like Charlie Hebdo team or narrowly escaping like Denmark cartoonist Lars Viks. Indian cartoonists could never deserve such a gun-salute, and quintessential common-man R K Laxman saa’b died just short of century at 94.

# The boring oldie Yojana Aayog finally gets a hot and sexy feminine name- NITI.

# Year’s first bollywood blockbuster release MSG became the first movie where popcorn had to be flavoured with anti-nauseating drugs.

# Arvind Kejriwal purposely takes oath on Valentine’s day, to lampoon off his ex-girlfriend Kiran Bedi.

# De Villiers finishes fastest 50, 100 and 150, in 18, 31 and 64 balls; settles once for all.

# Culprit for economic slowdown found- ‘cow slaughter’; Immediate steps taken, and beef was banned in many states.

# Bharat Ratna was announced and a Steve Harvey clone got confused between Malviya and Vajpayee; finally both were awarded.

# Hilary Clinton replicates her husband in debauchery; possesses an illicit email account.

# Indian PM Narendra Modi covers up island nations- Seychelles, Mauritius and Srilanka, and for a change ‘Singapore’.

 

April-Jun

# Ireland legalises gay marriage; US embraces the machoistic Cuba, and also legalises gay marriage on similar note.

# Indian labs discover water on mars?

No. Lead in maggi.

# Indian comedian Kapil Sharma becomes popular icon on ATM screens in Greece, with his trademark ‘babaji ka thullu’ image.

# Microsoft puts an end to OS, designing its last and nastiest Windows 10.

# Nepal-the precarious state shatters under quake.

# Indian PM Narendra Modi could only visit China, Canada, France, Germany, Mongolia, South Korea, Bangladesh; Long way to go.

 

July-Sept

# The good and bad Muslims of India die in quick succession; TV channels give Yakub Menon and Kalam Saa’b equal respect.

# India gives formal recognition to its first indigenous adventure sport- ‘Dahi-Handi‘. Bid for Olympics awaited.

# An Indian Sundar Pichai becomes google CEO, and Sunny Leone, the most googled personality.

# Europe suddenly gets flooded with uncalled visitors called ‘refugees’.

# Donald Trump and Lalu Prasad Yadav lead debates in their respective junctures.

# Three AAP MLA arrested, and 16 Vyapam convicts in BJP governed MP released.

# Modijee covers US, Russia, Ujbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyhzstan, Tajikistan (huff! all are different), Ireland, UAE.

 

October-Dec

# Indian parliament becomes ‘paper-less’ which opposition MPs protested only to be assured that toilets are still not paper-less.

# Virender Sehwag retires losing hope, while Yuvraj Singh sneaks into Indian team.

# CBI ‘unearths’ 28 lacs from Kejriwal’s secretary and seizes a huge amount of 3 lacs of currency.

# A friendly match between Kirti Azad and Arun Jaitley organised by Delhi CM, ends up in bitter ‘foul-play’ pillow-fights.

# Ignoring repititive abuses, Kejriwal captures the first and last lap of year with his cynical odd-even formula.

# Modijee’s one month in Bihar goes in vain, disastrously losing election; covers up UK, US, Russia, France, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore in a hush-up.

 

Note: Author has spoofed up certain events and they don’t represent either truth or opinion, rather a fictional satire. Many events are based on writer’s memory based on newspaper reads during morning rituals; Kindly avoid using it as current affairs brush-up tool.

 

 

 

 

When I met Mahatma Gandhi

Belonging to a Tantric family, I was popular as ‘chandaal brahmin‘ ( the wicked priest ) among my peers. To keep my credibility intact, I would chant loudly the tantric mantras which sounded like spoofy satanic verses, with smoky fumigation and darkness in my room. A popular myth during exams was- anybody who steps in my room while I am pronouncing those verses, would fail. Don’t know how true it was, I fortunately aced the exams with god’s grace.

During one of my usual boasting (feku) sessions, I mentioned about my capability to talk with spirits or the dead. Those were school days of yore, when people didn’t have much assignments. Our pastime was planning a mischief with the teacher, pilferage of goodies of fellow hostelite, or scribbling an anonymous love letter and randomly throwing in girl’s hostel. Talking with dead was novel. While many scurried away, some school bully kind chipped in.

The midnight planchette experiment was ready with natural darkness of electricity-deprived Bihar school, the handy candles, and a photograph of beautiful woman- Amrita Shergill. She featured in one of our lessons and we spent hours in school library to research more on her extra-marital affairs than her paintings. If you google her, she is surely the perfect ‘ghost’ material with her extreme fairness, the lip gloss and the glittering teeth which shined more in darkness. As I began my chants, her library torn picture began fluttering with winds gushing through windows, and her sharp nose seem to point further. The bullies ran in a flash, and I bid adieu to my ‘bhootni’ (ghost) muse too.

We decided on some benign and non-aggressive ghost, and who could be a best pick for non-violence? With umpteens of portraits of man in every classroom, hostel, currencies, Mahatma Gandhi was everywhere. We just picked his bespectacled smiling pictures and carefully sorting one without his ‘danda’ (Just to be safe). We also got his books ‘My experiments with truth’ and a series on his ‘teachings’ issued. Given so many speeches on Gandhi, most of the books were marked by ‘highlighter pen’ by me. So, we conducted the planchette experiment on October 2nd (Gandhi’s birth anniversary) with 11 gandhi portraits nicely positioned around four of us. After my usual tantric rituals, I began singing ‘Vaishnav Jana to’, Gandhi’s favorite song, and gave an impromptu speech on him. Gandhijee kept smiling, and as we kept our fingers on planchette, I slowly moved them with each question. A master of Gandhi literature, I answered every question of my friends by moving my finger, and they believed Gandhi ghost have arrived. Not quite sure how it happened, but my fingers moved accurately in some questions I didn’t know too. Did I really meet Mahatma Gandhi? Haha! Leave it.

Let’s come to my third and final planchette experiment. We were fascinated by the flawless beauty of the era- the indian actress Divya Bharati. I studied with her smiling portrait on my wall, and it was the month of April in 1993 when she died. Devastated, I planned the planchette very next midnight, hoping she should be easily accessable freshly flying around. With a ‘Diwaana‘ movie poster, and a tape-recorder playing ‘Aisee Diwangee’, we began the experiment. My friends were dancing an uncouth version of serpentine ‘naagin’ dance, while I was still in my tantric self. And I felt she kissed me. Divya Bharti’s ghost kissed a fledgling school kid in knickers in a dark room with Kumar Shanu song and background rustic dancers. Hahahahaha!

I never conducted the experiments again.

What woman want: A mathematical approach

Disclaimer: With all due respect to our great forefathers who never dared to venture into this territory, I, Vamagandhi, present this piece with nobel and humanitarian intentions. Any coincidence and resemblance is purely incidental, unintentional, unmotivated, and all their synonyms. 

…………………..

1. Binary mind (0 and 1 rule): 

Hypothesis: Women have two strongly opposite opinions decided impromptu, and thus difficult to guess.

Tests conducted: Buying anything for woman: Anything. From toilet soap to a glittering jewellery.

Results:

A loud exciting yeaayyy, the hugs and kisses, and o-i-luv-u-so-much;

Or,

a disgruntled face, vocal blurt-out, stamping feet, and go-change-it-immediately. 

2. Stochastic process: 

Hypothesis: Every decision is indeterminate, and you have to rely on series of indeterminate events to derive a certain probability. 

Tests conducted: Restaurant menu is a perfect set of variables. Based on many stochastic predictions, I could accurately predict she is going to detest what she finally ordered, and we will be switching our meals soon. 

Results: I slurped the Chicken Jakutti in a nasty broth, while she gobbled on my Afghani Kebabs. Goddamn! Stochastic process!!

3. Mutual exclusion principle

Hypothesis: No two critical processes can be handled at same time, and one is bound to compromise or change the source.

Test conducted: The famous TV remote experiment where a climax of football match competes with climax of TV soap.

Result: Ofcourse the TV soap continued. Watched the highlights late night.

……………………
Early results forecasted. Experiments running…..

Lost in documentation

I become utterly religious whenever I plan to visit any government office. I would unceremoniously take a morning bath in freezing winter, pray for long hours, take blessings from everybody before I prepare myself. The ID proof, photo ID, the address proof, the passport sized photos, umpteens of copies, the notarized papers, the affidavits, the tax statements, the bank statements….huff! 

I almost planned to live in a rented apartment for life, to save myself from agonies of bank loan paperwork. But, every doc has his day, and so did I. The suave doctor would be stripped till underpants to prove he deserves a loan. Well, stripping would have been much easier, this was worse! 

While the private bank fellows would have been easier to handle, there would always be one nasty guy in family who would convince you they are cheats. So, I was pushed to the ultra-slow paced ‘sarkari’ bank. The wobbling ceiling fan making screeching sound; the fluttering bank papers, and the dusty files; all bespectacled fellows straining themselves on computer screen, and wondering why ‘E’ follows ‘W’ on keyboard. I navigated myself to a disinterested sweating fellow hidden behind fortified walls of piles of files, and a paraphernalia-studded desk. For the sake of anonymity, let’s say his name was ‘pandeyjee’. 

And began a gruelling Q&A session;

Not to mention, my wishes and handshake were unanswered.

Q: Form, photo, ID, Documents?

A: Here it is sir!

Q: Any other address proof? Rental agreement not valid.

A: Aadhaar card sir!

Q. Not valid now. BJP govt you know.

A. Passport has old address sir

Q. Your passport first name is ‘Kumar’, but on Aadhaar, its ‘Praveen’?

A. They called me ‘Kumar’ in US and I am ‘Praveen’ in India.

Q. Ok. Give an affidavit of name change and one of address change. Your wive’s surname is ‘Singh’?

A. Yes. She is from Delhi. You read my blog Dilli-waali girlfriend  sir.

Q. Ok. Give an affidavit about that. But, your blog is Vamagandhi.

A. Yes, I am a Gandhi follower sir. Great to see him on your wall too.

Q. Huh! That’s everywhere. Bloody Congressis. Anyway, give an affidavit. 

A. About bloody congressi?

Q. No. Leave it! You scored 100 in mathematics, and you are a doctor. Isn’t it fishy? Doctors are poor in maths.

A. In that case, for records, there is one who is good sir. Never thought that way.

Q. Your tax papers are doctored? No doctor pays such tax.

A. I began paying since I joined Anna movement sir.

Q. K. But, now Anna is nowhere, and his protege are big cheaters. Your voter ID is of Bihar?

A. Yes, I belong to this village sir.

Q. Huh! You voted for Lalu?

A. No. I was in Bangalore sir. I am Brahmin by the way, if it helps.

Q. Yes. It would. I will make sure your loan gets cleared. I am Brahmin too. Ha ha! Why did you marry that ‘Singh’ girl?

A. She is from royal family sir.

Q. Smart guy! That’s where the money comes from. Who can afford flat in Bangalore otherwise?

A. No dowry sir.

Q. Stupid you! Two daughters hmm. But, you said, you are a radiologist?

A. Yes sir. It was me who did ultrasounds.

Q. Could have kept only one daughter. Anyway, your choice. Come back with all affidavits tomorrow. Will see.

A. I wouldn’t. You seem to me a big asshole sir!
Note: Biases are one of the many criterias of being asshole. This piece is a part-fictional satire based on biases in humans, and govt office spoof is not intended to denigrate the system. Author apologize if it creates any such bias for private sector.

The Left-Right conundrum

Moment I decided to be leftist, I attempted a Lenin beard, ended up with Che Guevera-cut, which often carelessly grew to Castro-style bit bushy ones. I believed men without beard were ‘rightist’ like Reagan to Bush; with beard were ‘leftist’; and one who wished but could never have, like all Gandhis were ‘centrist’. Two bearded Indians defied my logic though. Two progressive chief ministers of that era in diagonally opposite states- Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra, and Narendra Modi in Gujrat. Both sported a modest beard, and both seemed to have rightist and pro-capitalist thoughts- The darhiyals (bearded) with a difference.

The idea struck me to core, where I would sport a beard, talk like a leftist, but act like a rightist. Born in underprivileged state, I loved the notion of industries, IT boom, and a flourishing state. Men of development like Naidu and Modi appealed me over corrupt proclaimants of social justice like Lalu and Mayawati. Soon, I quit my idea of rural service, and flew to US. I began believing poors deserve to grow in a development wave or perish. They deserve to suffocate in doctor-starved rural India, and rush to urbanised world. Mine or any doctor’s presence in village, and giving freebies would make them lame.

Soon, I graduated in tricks of trade, learnt minting money, forgot Lenin to Gandhi, and became an ultra-rightist. Not to mention, it led to some sense of economic, religious, caste and racial pride too. The thumping chest and bragging mouth. ‘I’ dominated the ‘We’, when I would scorn at my old village pals.

It was year of 2002-2003, when certain events rocked my virtual world and shook to core. 

State of Andhra was facing worst drought ever, with farmers commiting suicide. Poverty had struck the most pockets of a prosperous growing state. Gujrat was burning in communal riots in the same year. Yet, states kept flourishing, with head held high of my idol CMs. Naidu disastrously lost in 2004; Modi had a thumping win; 50-50?

My hairs have grown upto the shoulder, and dominated my Lenin beard. A movie-freak, I was watching movie ‘Motorcycle Diaries’, where a doctor roams around villages of South-America on his motorcycle, and becomes a part of great revolution. Man was Che Guevera. 

I cut off my hair completely, and became bald, clean shaven. Returned back to India, unlefted, unrighted, directionless.

Got my beard back, and learning to walk in ‘center’ like Mahatma Gandhi and Luther King.

Hope my bearded idols got senses back too!

लविंग लाइसेंस

वो वक्त भी था जब युवतीयों को देख गुदगुदी कम सिहरन ज्यादा होती. ट्यूशन पढ़ने आती खिलखिलाती लड़कियाँ सामने से आती, तो पैर काँप जाते, साइकिल से औंधे-मुँह गिरता, लड़कियाँ मुँह दबा उपहास करती हँसती निकल जाती. कोई कलम भी माँग ले, तो छिज्जी उंगली और अंगूठे के बीच आखिरी कोना पकड़ता; सर झुका कलम ऐसे बढ़ाता जैसे हाथ में साँप की पूँछ आ गयी हो; छोड़ भाग आता. 

ये सिलसिला कब तक चला, याद नहीं. पर हाँ, कई गुलाब कोसते रहे,  “हाथ में ही रखोगे लल्लू, या उसे दोगे भी? मज़े में गुलदस्ते में था. खामख्वाह तेरे भी बीस रूपये गये, और मैं भी इंतजार में मुरझा गया.” 

मैं क्या? बड़े बड़े शूरमा हिल जायें. भगवान राम को भी जनक से छुप-छुपा, शानू के गाने गा, सीता को इम्प्रेस करना होता, तो रामायण की कथा कुछ और होती. धनुष तोड़ने से मिल जाए तो भैया! हॉस्टल में हमने भी बहोत तोड़-फोड़ मचाई. 

खैर! त्रेतायुग से कलियुग के ट्रांजीशन में परिवर्तन तो लाज़मी था. मैंने भी आखिर इस क्षेत्र में कई प्रयोग किये, ‘ट्रायल-एरर’ से लेकर ‘व्हाट वूमन वांट्स्’ की तह तक. हाथ में मर्दाना अकड़ और गूफ्तगू का सहज़ अंदाज़. जैसी युवती, वैसी अदाकारी. पढ़ाकू को ज्ञान, फिल्मी-चक्कर वालों को रोमाँस-डोज़, और कन्फ्यूज्ड मंदबुद्धि सुंदरियों को झूठी तारीफ. बस सिक्का जम गया. ज्ञान बाँटने का शौकीन था. लवगुरू बन गया.

गुरू गुड़ रह गया, चेले चीनी खाने लगे. समय बदल रहा था. मेरे फॉर्मूले आउट-डेटेड होने लगे. न वो रिझाना. न वो मनाना. न वो घंटों प्यार की गूफ्तगू. अजी! कौन बैंक जाये, पासबुक-इंट्री करे? ATM स्वाइप का ज़माना आ गया. पहले ऊबड़-खाबड़ रोड पे ऑटोरिक्शा में क्षणिक श्पर्श में ही शरीर तप्त-कंपित हो जाते, अब तो पब्लिक-पार्क में लिपटे पड़े मिलते हैं. क्षुब्ध, मैंने भी सन्यास ले लिया. कोई खास शारिरीक संबंधों से शिकायत नहीं थी, परंतु इस प्रेम में उचाटपन और अस्थिरता दिखी. वो कहते हैं ना, आज पूजा, कल कोई दूजा. फिर मेरे जैसे पुजारी की क्या आवश्यकता?

अरसों बीत गये. कल फ्लाइट की सीट पे अनमना सा था. सफ़र में सोने की पुरानी आदत, और सामने वाली सीट पे कुलबुलाहट. सीट के बीच से पड़ी एक अनचाही नज़र ने ही कह दिया, नवविवाहिता जोड़ा है. चूड़ियों से सुसज्जित आधी से अधिक बाँह, जो बारम्बार पति के हाथ को झटकती. पति भी कहाँ मानने वाला? कभी कमर, कभी वक्ष की ओर, और मैं मुँह छुपाता बैठे-बैठे आधी-तिरछी करवट लेता. तभी कुछ अप्रत्याशित हुआ और मैं काँप गया. पीली साड़ी, माँग में मोटी सिन्दूरी रेखा और स्वर्ण गहनों में लदी युवती ने पति का हाथ मरोड़ा और अंग्रेजी में कहा, “What do you think you fool? You got a license to love me or what? Stay away.” चार दिन की शादी में वस्त्रहरण का लाइसेंस तो नहीं मिल जाता.

नारी-सम्मान और प्रेम के पुजारी को इस वीरांगना में असुर नहीं, साक्षात् दुर्गा दिखी. इस लविंग लाइसेंस के कई इम्तिहान हैं. प्रेम-शास्त्र कल भी था, आज भी है, अज़र-अमर, Evergreen. सिलेबस ही तो बदला है, विषय तो वही है. सोचता हूँ, पाठशाला फिर जैसे-तैसे चालू कर ही दूँ, ईमानदारी से लाइसेंस की. 

The land of Kamasutra

Obsessed with Gandhi, in spite of my future wive’s warnings, I opted for a Vedic no-strings-attached marriage. Only string attached was the ‘sacred hindu thread’ on my half-naked torso, and tonsured head. How would a DDLJ-obsessed Delhi girl feel if she sees a Chanakya-Gandhi cocktail as her groom? Her murderous eyes and my ‘non-violent’ blissful smile met, and we were pronounced life-partner forever. My refusal for marriage gifts were taken too seriously, and all we got were some wall-clocks from Chandni-chowk streetshops, candy-boxes from Amrikaa-waale relatives and a box of Kamasutra from nasty friends. It seemed impossible for her to become Kasturba, so I took a marathon course in romance and transformed from celebate Gandhi to head-bobbing, wooing Shahrukh kind. 
Since I believe in re-incarnation, I many-a-times tried to digitally superimpose Nathuram Godse’s (man who killed Gandhi) face with my wive’s. After all, she exorcised Gandhi from me. What would it be like? Sleeping with the enemy! Heard of ‘ichhadhari naagins‘, the serpents who transform into women, and marry a man for revenge. Never imagined an ‘ichhadhari godse‘. 

Thankfully, my wife failed the digital test, came out pure as ‘Sita‘, and we soon had ‘luv‘ and ‘kush‘ in female forms. 

Whatever the talk about Gandhi and Ramayana, some dirty minds would still be thinking about, “What the hell happened to the ‘box of Kamasutra’?” Let me be clear enough that its not a Chetan Bhagat novel, that you drool and expect a bedroom romance, rather its boring me gearing up to begin his social rant. 

Story goes back to an illiterate dalit fellow working in our village fields, when I was an avid-reader of gandhian philosophies, and wished to be a social-reformer. I began taking his lessons, the poor man learnt a bit, and graduated to ‘writing-his-name’ stage. Pumped up with power of literacy, he married a matriculate girl (matriculate means 10th standard pass). 

My enthusiasm to reform continued and I gave him lessons on contraception, right before marriage, and handed him a ‘box of Kamasutra’. In next medical school vacation back home, I found his wife pregnant. 

Furious I asked the guy. He innocently said, “Sir, it was tasteless chewing-gum.” 

What??? Man took it as chewing-gum and chewed it up. Yuck! 

Long before ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, I was a small part of a similar campaign in rural Maharashtra. Government authorities installed toilets all over, and we saw people still going to fields. When we looked into it, they have garlanded the toilet and a priest was performing puja everyday. 

The shape of the shining white indian toilet-seat, and the flowing water reminded them of Lord Shiva temple, and they were wondering when we would install ‘shivalinga’????

The ‘clean India campaign’ would need a gruelling task of educating masses with we all doing our bit. Just tonsuring the head and walking half-naked doesn’t make any fool a Gandhi.

Watching a news debate, sipping a drink, I look at my wife. She asks me to switch to some TV soap about Ichhadhari Naagin. Doubt if she is hiding a gun, would bend a bit and shoot me. Ichhadhari Godse!

Celebrate a Vamagandhi Jayanti if next post never arrive. What? Definitely, not a dry-day.