सपोलों से तन्दूरी चिकन तक

कल फ्राईडे नाईट और शादी की सालगिरह का खुशनुमा कॉकटेल था, सोचा कुछ रंगबाजी हो जाये. वैसे मौका न भी हो, तो भी इस बर्फीले देश में फ्राईडे को सारा शहर रंग-बिरंगे जैकेट में शहर के केंद्र ‘सेंट्रम’ में उमड़ पड़ता है. ये देश के मेट्रो-शहरों वाला अमीरों का डांस-क्लब या बार वाला माहौल नहीं, छोटे शहरों का हाट-मेला जैसा जमावड़ा. वो देखो एंड्रयू और मोना अपने चुनमुन बच्चों को बर्फ के मैदान में गोल-गोल घूमा रहे हैं. वो अधेड़ महिला जैकेट के ठेले पे जिरह कर रही है. स्कूल के लड़के एक चंद्राकार पुलिये पे स्केटिंग करते धड़ाम-धड़ाम गिर रहे हैं. टोमारी को पुराना यार मिल गया, दोनों जोर-जोर से ठहाके लगा रहे हैं. मुझसे हर कोई ऐसे खुशी से मिल रहा है, जैसे हम कुंभ के बिछड़े हों.

जब से जेब में थोड़े पैसे आये, हाट-मेलों से नाता टूट गया था. दरभंगा के बस अड्डे पे छुटपन में सर्कस-मेले में गया था. स्कूल में खबर आई, रूस की सुंदर बालायें आई हैं. जैसे-तैसे जुगत लगा के, हम भी स्कूल से भाग मेले में शरीक हो लिये. बीड़ी की दुर्गंध, टूटी-फूटी कुर्सियाँ और खचा-खच भीड़! सवर्ण सभ्य परिवार से था. एक पल के लिये आत्म-ग्लानि हुई. फिर सोचा, भाड़ में जाये सवर्ण, हम भी तो गाँधीजी के चेले हैं. क्या गरीब और क्या अमीर? और रूस की गोरी होती कैसी है, ये भी तो देख लें. सुना है, जलपरी होती हैं! शेर-भालू के नाच देखे तो आग के रिंग में मोटरसाइकल. दिल दहल गया. तभी आकाश से परी अवतरित हुई, एक पतली रस्सी से लटकी करतब करती. सीटियों से माहौल गूंज गया. सामने कुर्सियों पे सब खड़े हो गये, और मैं उनके टांगों के बीच निकल बिल्कुल स्टेज के सामने. बौना जोकर फूहड़ गाना गा रहा है, “गोरकी पतरकी गे”. उत्सव का माहौल. सारे वर्ण, जाति, और ओहदा एक तरफ, और गोरी का हुस्न एक तरफ. 

खैर, वक्त गुजरा. बुरा देखना और सुनना बंद कर दिया. गांधी जी का चेला जो हूँ. अच्छे लोगों के साथ उठना-बैठना. बीड़ी वालों से तौबा, सिगरेट वालों से तवज्जो. भोजपुरी फूहड़ गाने फिर कभी नहीं सुने और क्लासिकल में रूचि लाने लगा. जल्द ही साला मैं तो साहब बन गया.

विश्व के धनाढ्य देशों मे एक, जिसका विकास इंडेक्स सर्वोपरि है-नार्वे. वहाँ पहुँच फिर से मेले वाला माहौल. अमीर-गरीब का भेद ही नहीं. मेरे मकान का पेंट करने वाला मजदूर टॉम गले मिल रहा है. टॉम सालों पहले अल्बानिया के अनवर हुदा सरकार से त्रस्त ‘असाइलम’ लेके नार्वे आया था. मतलब तीसरी दुनिया का रेफूजी मजदूर एक अदना डॉक्टर से गले मिले. हद है! मैनें भी झटक दिया और तेज कदम बढ़ा आगे हो लिया. वहाँ थोड़ी दूर शायद किसी कंपनी के अमीरों का समूह था. धारा-प्रवाह नोर्स्क भाषा में बोल घुल-मिल गया. उनका नेता बोला, ‘याई एल्सकेर इंडिया. चिकेन तंदूरी!’ (मुझे भारत बहोत पसंद है. चिकेन तंदूरी)

मैं मुस्कुराया और बोला, “दू मॉ जेनेर गांधी” (आप गांधी भी जानते होंगे)

उसने हामी भरी और हंस कर कंधे पे मुक्का मारते कहा, “चिकेन तंदूरी!”. और हम हंसने लगे.

उपसंहार:

भीड़ में टॉम को ढूंढ दोस्ती की. गरीब क्या? रेफूजी क्या? और तीसरी दुनिया? ये बड़े-छोटे, भेदभाव की दुनिया ही शायद तीसरी दुनिया है. और भारत बस ‘सपोलों’ और ‘चिकेन तंदूरी’ का देश नहीं, ‘गांधी’ का देश है.

The land of Nobel

Nobel Prize had been a childhood fascination for me, from the days I began collecting trophies in school quizzes and gully-debates. While Mother Teresa and Rabindra Nath Tagore seemed too ethereal, Hargobind Khorana seemed achievable and I began studying medicine. And when I first opened my email account on Hotmail, one of my first emails was directed to khorana@mit.edu scripted in a broken english,

Dear Dr. Khorana,

I had been fascinated by your research from childhood, and wish to join your lab. Though I am in process of application to your university and have taken all requisite tests, there are meagre chances to join your prestigious university. Please accept me as Eklavya if not Arjuna, by just replying this email.

Regards.”

Man never replied. Eklavya turned Devdas. Cursed the old man with abuses gulping bouts of drinks. Years later, I figured out man didn’t know how to reply emails. He didn’t even reply to White House when they conferred him with National Medal of Science. A white house representative had to track him down on foot to make him attend.

Anyway, I figured out, to win a Nobel- you have to become a cynic psychopath scientist with a french beard, an Einsteinian hairstyle, a test-tube in hand, and sitting in a US-lab. And here I was! Sitting in a prime lab in United States, with similar attire and outlook, and joined the most cynic professor’s lab. Man kept snails as his pets, who even followed his orders! My research progressed with snail pace, and I would have taken more Vodka shots in those test-tubes than performing experiments. Well, that was cynic!

One day my professor asked, “So Kumar! How is your research going?”

In serendipidity, I answered, “I am making a mathematical model of snail behaviour.” Huh!

“Hey! That’s awesome. Let’s meet up this wednesday and see it.”

WTF? Mathematical model of snail behaviour!!! What the hell is that?

Greatest solution to all problems existed even those days some 12 years back. Baba Google!

With a good bout of plagiarism and copy-paste Java animation programme, I was ready with a simulation program on snail movement. My professor clapped when the snail model moved dodgily on the computer screen. When I discussed the model with an IITian friend, man wrote his first mathematical paper on some ‘stochastic behaviour’ and scribbled my name in acknowledgement. The snail shit was superhit!

But, I knew Nobel would never be awarded for decoding a snail’s behaviour. It has to be a ground-breaking research which will shake the world. Something like, “The formula to kill the cancer”, “the secret of addiction”, “the special gene responsible for woman’s abnormal behaviour”, “the neuron which excites on seeing the porn”, “why Katappa killed Bahubali?”.

I quit the US Lab, and began my journey to ground-breaking research, breaking a coconut in one of the famous south Indian temples. The priest said looking at me, “You have a bright future waiting for you, all you lack is focus.” Priest was damn right!

Focus! I googled and ordered the famous book by Daniel Goleman “FOCUS”.

I don’t know if I misunderstood him, but to achieve a target, I understood I have to be close to the target. Left the country, weathered the snow, and landed for good in Land of Nobel. Searching for the clerk in Nobel committee who will get things done for me, and assures, “Kaam ho jaayega” (The work will be done!)

Norway! Here I am! Come on Nobel, now lay on me!

IMG_4762

 Epilogue:

In a dinner with Nobel laureate physicist Anthony Leggett (who incidently was my room-mate’s guide) in 2004, he asked, “Doc! You would know it better. Isn’t virus a live moving nanoparticle which targets our cells? Why the hell people are crazy for designing one to target this or that, when its right in front of us? Leave it. I don’t know anything about this.” And he laughed away.

Years later, in 2012, Nature published ‘virus as nano-particles’, what they called ground-breaking research. Beautiful minds toss such ideas on dinner table!

 

The start-up comedy

24 December 2024

Christmas holidays have just begun. Our plane reached Delhi at 10 pm, but we couldn’t land since it was an odd-numbered flight. The genius jugaadu pilot kept darting around till it clocked 12 and became an odd-day; we finally landed and breathed the ultra-fresh Delhi air.

Life had become so easy with so many apps and start-ups. I just entered my ticket number on ‘pick-my-baggage‘ app, and my baggage began moving in ‘the map in my app’ till I reached ‘Harley-Davidson‘ gate at airport. Bullet train to Bhopal was gone in an eye-blick and the one to Patna entered like a gusto. I just flashed my ticket and it sucked me in with a vacuum mechanism. Before I could compose myself, I was thrown out onto Patna platform, where a coolie was already having my baggage and smiling at me. Thanks to ‘book-my-coolie‘ start-up app.

My hair got disheveled during all this suckin-throwout process, and looked around for mirror. Ah! I could see it everywhere. The glistening shining floor and pillars gave a crystal-clear view of myself.  I combed quickly, and as some bits of hair fell down, the beep sound irritated me. A red circular device stopped around me, which read ‘find-the-dust‘-a swachh bharat initiative. Embarassed I smiled as others sarcastically clapped at me. I took those hairs and carefully placed them in dustbin labelled ‘non-pubic hairs’.

Tired and hungry, we had breakfast at famous Fatanjali cafe. It had a live cow-milk counter where long straws were directly connected to cow-nipples. Kids chose to have delicious Fatanjali noodles. Beverage counter seemed too busy especially live go-mutra (cow urine) counter since cow hadn’t urinated for long. Anyway, I pushed off.

I badly wanted a drink. A drop of alcohol. A beer may be. Patna haven’t seen a beer since last ten years. Thanks to ‘darubhatti.com‘, a local start-up, I could get a made-in-india ‘toddy‘, the only legalised alcoholic drink delivered within minutes by half-naked lungi-clad fellow on a bicycle.

Inebriated, we app-booked a local Zuber taxi to my hometown across river Ganga. The purest and cleanest water in the world refreshed me up as I took a quick dip. Well, it wasn’t so quick either. I had to wear a swimming cap, shave my pubic hairs, and a dog sniffed my armpits before I could be authorised to take a dip. This process was managed by another genius start-up- Clean My Ganga Inc., now a Fortune 10000 company. I was issued a loyalty card, where I get a free pubic-hair shave next time. 

The taxi barged into my home campus as my father came out shouting. It seems GPS didn’t mention my father has put a bamboo fencing and began some tomato farming there. Old man is still living in his old world. Huh!

…….

……..
(Author strongly believes in enterpreneural initiatives like Start-up India; this blog is his signature satire style, and should be taken in humor and pun-intended spirit)

 

 

Mixed doubles

Two fascinations of rich elite class remained with me for long— playing golf, and having rejuvenation spa. The swinging shiny chiseled golf-stick, stroll through golf-courses donning a stylish golf-hat, and a ride on those golf carts with hot women. Ah heaven! For records, golf fascination remains. But, frequent body-aches pushed me to a rejuvenation spa situated bang opposite my hospital, which displayed a half-naked woman lying flat with some oil dripping on her nude back.
Well, I had some oil-massages from village barber, and at a local akhaada-style gym during early young days. The masochistic telmaalish (oil massage). While the barber would kick and thrash randomly on body, giving harsh spins to the neck and torso, generating cracking sounds through every joint of body, the akhaada one was soft oil massage rubbing chest and back like some gay-porn. 
My eyes searched for some pehelwaan (muscleman) figure in the spa, but all it had were the dark-haired north-eastern fair-skinned girls with accented crisp english. A shiver ran through spine as they seemed to scan my body, and guided me to a dark room. I wondered if some beastly muscle-man is lurking in dark. May be a revenge from the dark past.

Years back in med-school days, we witnessed some sadistic sessions of homosexual thrashings. A fair smooth-skinned fellow (colloquially called ‘chikna‘) would set the honeytrap in public toilet at a happening posh street in midnight. He would trap a gay with erudite suggestive gestures, bring him to hostel, and suddenly a group of sadistic fellows would thrash him brutally. The Gandhian in me would run to his rescue, only to be scorned and laughed at, as homosexual chikna. Soon I began growing my beard to never ever called chikna again.

Coming back to the spa session, there wasn’t any muscleman waiting, rather one of those chikni girls ordered me to be naked. What? A respected suave doctor and father of two daughters, stripping off in a dark room with a woman? What if a patient is lying next to me, and figures out Doctor-saab has a mole on his ass? Forget a patient, what if this girl visits my hospital next day and gives a naughty smirk in front of my colleagues? I just covered my face with palm, followed her orders, and my hindu self began muttering HanumanChalisa (a religious chant). She was indifferently massaging my body, while I was differently shrinking and giggling when she touched the sole of my feet. I don’t know if she sensed my discomfort or was surprised at my repulsive behaviour. She asked, “Are you a gay?” This was extreme insult to my sexuality, and I retorted, “Why? Are you a lesbian?” 

Woman casually said, “Yes, I am. My husband died of excessive drinking barely three years after marriage. I hate having relationship with men.” 

Her confession shed off my inhibitions, as if the woman was harmless and my humanly wiggling willy too shrunk back. So did the pride of false man-hood, the gay-beating, and the lesbian-hatred. 

ओर-छोर

जब से दक्खिन जा बसा, नया साल मनाने लगा; नहीं तो दिल्ली के कोहरे में अजी कौन रजाई से निकले? थोड़ी ऊहापोह के बाद कन्याकुमारी और केरल पे सूई अटकी और हम निकल पड़े. कुछ पल बच्चों के साथ उछल-कूद, कुछ धर्मपत्नी के साथ समंदर किनारे रोमांटिक गूफ्तगू और कुछ यूँ ही मटरगश्ती.

अजी काहे की मटरगश्ती? गरीबों का समंदर निकला भारत का आखिरी छोर. न कोई कन्या, न कोई कुमारी. पिछले साल गोवा गया था, आँखे थक जाती थी जलपरियों से. कन्याकुमारी तो मछुआरों की बस्ती और विवेकानंद का पत्थर! मछुआरे ठहरे ईसाई. क्रिसमस की चहल-पहल अब भी थी. बच्चों के रेतीले मैदान में यीशु के जन्म के घास-फूस वाले मॉडल, और सुनहरी लड़ियों से सजा चमचमाता चर्च. चार कदम पे सालों पुराना कन्याकुमारी मंदिर भी स्वर्ण-सुसज्जित. 

इस चमक-दमक में बेचारे विवेकानंद थोड़े आउट-ऑफ-प्लेस लगे. तहकीकात की तो पता लगा, पहले वहाँ चर्च बनने वाला था, जिसे हिंदू अस्मिता-रक्षन में विवेकानंद-रॉक बना दिया गया. स्वामी जी तो अपने शिकागो-ट्रिप से पूर्व बस तीन दिन आये थे, जैसे मैं नॉर्वे-ट्रिप से पूर्व. घूमने-फिरने बोटिंग-शोटिंग पे आये होंगे. तीन दिन में कौन सी फटाफट साधना? हालाँकि शिकागो का भाषण लाजवाब और अविस्मरणीय था, क्या पता यहीं कोने में ड्राफ्ट की गयी हो. 

विवेकानंद जी से कहीं ऊँची काली सी मूर्ति भी कुछ दूर एक पत्थर पे नज़र आई. आस-पास रहने वालों में आधों को हवा न थी, है कौन ये महानुभाव? बड़ी मशक्कत के बाद एक अधेड़ उम्र के बंगाली भद्र-मानुष ने अपना पक्ष रखा. तमिल लोगों को जब ये अहसास हुआ कि ये पत्थर बंगाली विवेकानंद ने कब्जा कर लिया, तो उन्होंने भी बराबर के पत्थर पे अपने लोकल महान कवि को बिठा दिया- संत तिरूवल्लुवर! 

छोटा सा आखिरी छोर- और पत्थरों की मारा-मारी. क्या करें, इतने धर्म-समुदाय जो ठहरे. 

बेटी को मोबाइल में गूगल-मैप दिखाने लगा. ये देख इंडिया. कश्मीर से कन्याकुमारी तक. पठानकोट से मालदा तक! 

The blue ice: a shit-com

For whatever reasons, birds always found my head as a coveted shitting destination. Even in a crowded environment, if a bird is flying around, I would gear up myself holding a file or book overhead. My transient breath of relief would be annuled as the raven comes back swifter dropping on me accurately like a targeted missile. I was brutally splattered with bird-droppings during my short stint in Indian Institute of Science, which boasted of highest density of nasty crows (kauwa). For the first time in my life, I wore a Govinda-style yellow shirt to camouflage the shitty polka-drops.

The fear of bird-droppings soon extended to any flying object as I would hide even at sight of aeroplane. I always wondered what happens to the shit in the air. Most convenient way would be to disperse it in vastness of atmosphere, and cruise away. The untimely rains and windy splatters. My curiousity ended recently when an elderly woman in Bhopal (city in central India) got hit by a huge chunk of ice fallen from sky. Early investigations suggested it could be ‘blue ice’, human excreta disposed from aeroplanes which gets frozen in stratosphere. My fear wasn’t completely ungrounded and some do throw the shit right up in the air, especially Indian planes devoid of sanitary space on ground.

While the aeroplane mystery took some time, Indian railways were pretty blatant and open-minded from its inception. A hole in the toilet peeps directly down on track. At a usual train velocity of 150 km/hr, a 15 minute shit of yours can make roughly 38 km trail of shit droppings. Considering ever-engaged toilets in trains, the multi-origin shitty trail would extend from origin to destination spanning some 1000 kms. One of the royal heir I heard of, always took a local 30 minute railway stretch every morning at 6 0’clock, only to shit in moving train! His habit seem to have ended at a serious note when he disregarded the statutatory warning displayed in Indian Railways – Please do not use toilets when the train stops at platform. People say, constipated Raja-Saa’b continued his rituals even when train stopped. Sanitation fellows with long brooms began cleaning the toilets, shoving through holes beneath the train, and gave a powerful thrust when they found anything obstructive. This time, it was Raja Saa’b’s ass!

I haven’t utilised public toilets much in life, since I considered them as some sacred love destination. Similar to temple walls, toilet walls too are studded with scribbled names of ‘love-couples’. I wonder how somebody can have an amorous feeling while shitting, and scribble his flame’s name. Extreme love! Isn’t it? As I recently travelled and about to position myself strategically on a shaking commode, I found it written on toilet wall – I love you Priya. I pity the love of poor girl Priya with the shitty boy.

There were days even in my life, when village toilets were reserved for women who seem to have incessant affair with bathrooms. I would be forced to stroll to bamboo-plantations and ease myself with bushy grasses rubbing my body. Umpeen times would I change my position as I would imagine somebody staring at me and breaching my privacy. At a distance, I saw a queue of villagers shitting calmly with one palm on their cheek as if in a great contemplation. Surely, those early days devoid of toilets, gave India great philosophers. Even today, at least my blogging ideas shoot off from long gruelling sessions in toilet. Doesn’t my blog stink?

[a satire on need of sanitation in developing nations; a sequel to earlier blog ‘Love is in the air’]