The second innings

One of my nerdy friend, have got two divorces and three wives already. I envy his facebook marriage updates. Probably, the planning begins right at time of marriage. While I have been busy looking for an accountant to manage my taxes, he had been much shrewd to hire a good divorce lawyer. 

Its not about talent. Both of us were barely 20-30 ranks apart in college days, now we are 2-3 wives apart. If each wife is given a score of 2, he is at whopping 6, while I have a measly score of 2 with two negative (-) points of kids making it ‘zero’….cipher…..shoonya. Damn! Its all about talent.

While many of my earlier posts (e.g. Desi midlife crisis) does point towards me being in ‘frustrated forties’, I am not. Neither my clicking ‘follow’ on any remotely girlish gravatar proves anything. That reminds me, I once followed a long haired fellow in half-downloaded gravatar on my phone, proved to be a thick-moustached, heavily bearded spiritual guru later. To magnify my embarassment, he would send ‘love and light’ in his comments. 

Anyway, a craving for second innings and to even the score did lead me sieving through unanswered facebook requests. I diligently sorted out wheat from the chaff, I mean women from men. Next step was to exclude ones with many hobnobbing mutual friends. Criteria was set to ‘less than three’ mutual friends. After adding all of them, I just waited, like my wife waits for ‘whistle’ of pressure-cooker. The vibrations, the dancing nozzle, and the warning muzzled sounds culminating to extreme shrillness announces ‘rice is ready’. I too was vibrating and dancing like a cooker nozzle. 

And, it worked!!!

Many, “Sorry! May I know you?”, popped on my mac. 

The question griped me, and pushed me to oblivion. Having spent close to 40 yrs on earth, world doesn’t know me. People win Wimbledon, become bollywood superstar, bomb countries by this age. And me? Sending facebook requests to girls? Is my identity restrained to a mutual friend? Nah!

I just snubbed off, unfriended all of them, and got back to life, wife and rice.

Second innings begin with fall of early wickets. 

Match forecast: Brutal thrashing, innings defeat and follow on, when wifey reads it.

कबिरा खड़ा बाज़ार में

तोतली टूटी-फूटी बोली थी, नाक बहती, निकर खिसकती, फिर भी सवाल जरूर पूछा जाता- बड़े होकर क्या बनोगे? इस सवाल के ज़वाब से भी IQ का संबंध है. कोई डॉक्टर, कोई इंजीनियर, कोई पायलट, जो माँ-बाप सिखाते बोल देते. मैंने कहा, “साईंटिस्ट बनूँगा, नोबेल प्राइज जीतूँगा, और मरने से पहले राष्ट्रपति भी.” पूछनेवाले मुँह एँठते-कहते, “झा साब! और कुछ बने ना बने, आपका बेटा लम्बी लम्बी जरूर छोड़ेगा.”

अंकल की बात दिल पे लग गयी. मैंने कहा आविष्कार तो मैं कर के रहूँगा. लेकिन क्या? 

कबीर दास के दोहे से पहला आइडिया आया.

“बोए पेड़ बबूल का, आम कहाँ से होये”.

मैंने कहा अब तो बबूल के पेड़ पे आम लगा के रहूँगा. ऐसी खुराफातों के लिये भाई शुरूआत में जरूर साथ देते हैं ताकि प्लान फेल होने पर उछल उछल कर ठिठोली कर सकें. 

पड़ोसी गाँव के मामाजी ने ग्राफ्टिंग के गुर सिखाए, माँ से जिद कर केमिकल खरीदे, और बबूल के पेड़ पर एक-एक बड़े सलीके से सर्जिकल कटिंग कर जोड़ बनाता गया. एक टहनी भी न लगी, सामने के आम का लहलहाता पेड़ गंजा जरूर हो गया. पिताजी ने इन्क्वायरी बिठाई, भाईयों ने फुलझड़ी लगाई, और एक महान वैज्ञानिक पटाखों की तरह बजा दिया गया.

“निंदक नियरे राखिये, आँगन कुटी छवाय”

निंदा और ठिठोली करने वाले तो घर में ही था. कबीर दास के इसी फंडे पे हिम्मत दुगुनी हो गयी. 

इस बार बिजली बनाने की सोची. गाँव के लिये बिजली नयी चीज़ थी. वो तो बस उस बिज़ली से वाकिफ थे जो मवेशी मेले में नाचने आती. भाई-साब ने आईडिया दिया, गाँव के पचास लोग हर रात साईकिल चलायेंगे, डायनमो इफेक्ट से पचास घरों में बल्ब जलेंगे.

“धीरे धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय”

प्लान साइकल की स्पीड से फुस्स हो गया.

२००४ ईसवी में पहली बार रिसर्च करने इंडियन इंस्टिच्यूट अॉफ साइंस में किशोर वैज्ञानिक रूपेण चयनित हुआ. रिसर्च का तो पता नहीं, कैंटिन के डोसे लाज़वाब थे. और रात को लैब के बाहर चाय. वाह! मज़ेदार. बाकि रिसर्च तो क्या, इस टेस्ट्यूब से उस टेस्ट्यूब. चार घंटे बाद रीडिंग लो. फिर वही रीपीट करते रहो. इस से कहीं ज्यादा प्रयोग तो मेरी माँ मुरब्बे-अचार में कर ले.

“जिन खोजा तिन पाइयाँ, गहरे पानी पैठ”

आखिरकार मेडिकल की पढ़ाई खत्म होते ही पहली फुरसत में अमरीका निकल लिया. दो बड़े फैकल्टी के लैब पसंद आये. हमारे आधे फैसले तो हेड-टेल या अक्कर बक्कर बम्बे बो से होते हैं. डॉ लिगेट विजयी रहे, लातेरबूर हार गये. मैं भी जी-जान से रिसर्च में लग गया. डॉ. लातेरबूर को देखता तो मंद मुस्कान देता. बिना फंडिंग के गरीब दयनीय परिस्थिति थी उनके लैब की.

“जाति न पूछो साधू की, पूछ लिजिये ज्ञान”

२००५ दिसंबर: Paul laterbur wins Nobel Prize in medicine.

मतलब यूँ कहिये, सारे गणित धरे के धरे रह गये. थोड़े दिन टेस्ट-ट्यूब में चाय-साय बनाई, और वापस आ गया डाक-साब बनने.

मेक इन इंडिया कोई जुमला भले ही हो, बड़े जुगत का काम है. अजी मुरब्बे नहीं बनाने, रिसर्च और आविष्कार करने हैं.

“कबिरा खड़ा बाज़ार में, माँगे सबकी खैर”

The common wall: great Indian neighbours

I love him but I just don’t like the way he gurgles and clears throat every morning. We greet each other when we rush to pick our newspapers; While I give a conceited grin holding an intellectual The Hindu, he mocks me with saucy hot Times supplement. He keeps his car shinier than mine, and would light up his house 15 seconds before me in Diwaali. And both of our wives are locked in everlasting sugar-coated fierce duel. The day one joins Yoga, other joins Zumba, and the fight goes on. 

Years back somewhere in 1985, our childhood neighbour got a videocon colour TV, which was talk of mohalla. A month later, a massive deluge happened and our entire city was flooded. Yet, my dad sailing through waist-high water, was lifting a large box on his head, like Vasudev lifting Lord Krishna. It was a new Onida TV which said, “Neighbour’s envy; Owner’s pride.” 

Rest of the TV-deprived neighbourhood would gather to watch the ’87 world cup. TV was disproportionate large in our small home; My mother would fry delicious pakodas for kids who parted with us; While, neighbour uncle would slap any guy caught smiling when India lost wicket. India lost the world cup, but we won as better host.

Event led to an unsaid ‘cold war’, a war of superiority, and we took the brunt most. If his kids got more marks, I was screwed and vice versa. But, my dad suddenly become Gandhian and began giving Amir Khanish lectures. He arranged many Vajpayee-Musharraf style meetings but one day the neighbour kid stole all our fresh lemons and the war resumed. Lemons were returned, kid beaten and a wall was erected. The wall on which we urinated for long.

We moved from kid-hood to adulthood, and my father turned into Robinhood helping any needy, but neighbourhood bitterness persisted. Whenever friendship of our generation bloomed, aunty would charge at her son, “If you like them. Go and stay with them.” As if we were Pakistan, and he was Shahrukh khan, huh!  Shahrukh khan my foot!! He wasn’t even close to Rajpal Yadav. 

Years gone past, we moved to other states, other countries, globalised. The wall stands but lost its sheen with some algae layers at bottom, I believe nobody urinated on it for years. Faded yet a memory stands, when there wasn’t a wall, a TV, and a reason to fight. Our fathers played chess, while we toiled in mud and sand.

Uff! He coughed again. Bloody! Man has TB I think. 

The lover’s nest a.k.a FOSLA ka ghosla

I learnt most of the Ghazals, when I was lovestruck for the first time and mastered them with each failures and heartbreaks as they say. Somehow the complex urdu poetry absorbs all the woes, while you try to figure out what it actually means. A country exemplary for epitomes of love like Tajmahal to Kamasutra, has incidently the largest inventory of lovelorns, frequently abbreviated as FOSLA (Frustrated one-sided lover association).

Although I had never been a president of FOSLA since there were much strong contenders, I must have played some stupid game like ‘FLAMES’ and sang lovesongs. While giving a debate speech, I would look in crowd for the blue-eyed girl, with my tone fluctuating with her facial expressions. Once I was narrating Subhash Chandra Bose speech in an adrenaline-charged loud voice, and she just gave me a casual smile. The smile turned Bose into some Kamadev (love-god) incarnate, and in a soft enamored voice I said, “Tum Mujhe Pyaar do, Main tumhen Azaadi Doonga” (You give me love, I will give you freedom). Not to mention, I received the punishment #1 – a brutally tiring diatribe (read my old blog).

Well, Shahjahan was a royal Mughal who would have charged his army, captivated Mumtaz’s father and taken her as prized possession.  If Shahjahan were an aam aadmi, he would have roamed around the gully where Mumtaz lived, lifted gas cylinders for her dad, and would have been content with a glass of water offered from Mumtaz. He could have never built Tajmahal, but must had shaved every morning, and walked with his two hands in pocket across Mumtaz, furtively catching a side-glimpse. While the road-side romeos ogle at Mumtaz, Shahjahan would warn, “Tameez se beta! Bhabhi hai.” Mumtaz would have been mohalla’s bhabhi never knowing who the hell is Shahjahan? If anybody dared to whistle, he would pounce like a mughal warrior.

Some shayar said, “Shahjahan tumne Tajmahal banakar, Hum gareebon ka udaya hai mazaak”. (O shahjahan! you made fun of we poor people by making a Tajmahal)

Aurangzeb must have cursed Shahjahan while paying EMIs for his Dad’s Tajmahal. Poor man could never build anything for himself, and no girl gave bhav to the poor king.

Akbar had Jodha.

Salim had Anarkali.

Shahjahan had Mumtaz.

Aurangjeb had Begum who? Probably, one of the founding member of FOSLA Aurangzeb was. Respect!

And what about Kamasutra?

The FOSLA library always had a strong collection of porn, which would be circulated among members, with each member tearing pages of their choices till the last member receives nothing, better termed colloquially as, ‘Babaji ka thullu‘. Whatever would have been the intentions of Vatsyayana in writing Kamasutra, I wonder how its pages are preserved till date.

To say FOSLA is a man-only institution, is a bit biased opinion. From ages, one-sided love was more common in women who would dream of a prince riding on horse. Well, it transformed to a Shahrukh Khan running in knicker later. Whatever movie said, if father is even a bit of Amrish Puri, a girl would never dare to love. These TV soap and romantic movie crazy melodramatic creatures surely form a huge chunk of FOSLA.

Men or women; the young and the old; and the bloggers with long lovelorn letters and poetry. The glory prevails. Long live FOSLA!

बस यूँ ही, मेरे मन की.

यूँ तो मैं हिंदी में कुछ खास लिखता नहीं, बचपन से वही मिडिल क्लास वाली अंग्रेजी की कवायद. लेकिन आज़ ज़रा देशी मामला है, और ये ब्लोग-स्लोग में तो क्या गोरे और क्या पाकिस्तानी? कोई भी मुँह उठा के लाइक करने आ जाता है. धर्मपत्नी जी भी परेशान, कि ये किन लड़कियों के कमेंट्स पढ़ मुस्कुराते रहते हो? मैने कहा ऐसा नहीं है. आधा वामपंथी, आधा गाँधीवीदी है ये वामगाँधी. निर्मोही. निर्विकार.

तो प्वाइंट पे आता हूँ.

ये किसी छिटपुट बात के बतंगड़ पे किसी गाँव में कोई हादसा हो गया. कुछ खाने पीने का मामला था. छुटपन में हॉस्टल के मेस में मैनें भी काफी तोड़-फोड़ मचाई थी. खानसामें मेघलाल की लुंगी खींच चड्डी में दौड़ाया था. साले ने तूर दाल ऐसी बनाई की चार गोताखोर डाले फिर भी दाल का दाना नहीं. जीभ मत लपलपाओ अब तूर दाल के नाम पे. मेरा ब्लोग तो सस्ते में पढ़ रहे हो ना? और जकरबर्ग मियाँ अमरीका वाले ने चाहा तो बिल्कुल मुफ्त.

हाँ जी तो हम कहाँ थे? वो कुछ वही बजरंग बली के भक्तों ने मोहम्मद साब के चेले को…. फिर कान खड़े हो गये? अबे सिनेमाखोरों, ‘बजरंगी भाईजान’ की कहानी नहीं सुना रहा मैं! ये तो ग्लैमर-स्लैमर से कोसों दूर गाँव-साँव का मामला है.

खैर. तसल्ली है. भुखमरी से न मरा कोई. बढिया माँस-मुँस खा के डकार के मरा. मेरे अस्पताल में तो वो खडूँस डाइटिसीयन है. आधे तो वो गीली खिचड़ी और उबले कद्दू खा के सिधार गये.

सुनते हैं, बड़ी तादाद में लोग बाग आये. मरने से पहले भी. मरने के बाद भी. अजी गाँधीजी को एक गोडसे ने निपटा दिया था. पर ये लॉजिक बेकार है. वो ठहरे गोमूत्र पीने वाले शाकाहारी जब तब भूख हड़ताल वाले कंकालनुमा व्यकतित्व. और इधर तो गोमाँस वाला हट्टा कट्टा. खैर ये गाय वाय से दूर ही रहना ठीक. आदर करो या निरादर. मारे दोनों सूरतों में जाओगे. न गाँधी बचे न वो बचा.

अखबार में ये पुरष्कार वापसी का दौर आया तो मैंनें भी बचपन के क्विज डिबेट वाले अवार्ड ढूँढे. ये चिंदीचोर लेखक. अवार्ड वापस करने गये तब लोगों को पता लगा कि ये है कौन जनाब. इनसे ज्यादा तो मेरे ब्लोग के फौलोवर निकलें. मेरे क्या आपके भी. देशी कोई पढता कहाँ है? हाँ पीते बहोत है.

अब जो हुआ वो तो हो गया. मैं नहीं करता कुछ वापिस. मेरे जैसे बिरले ही मिलेंगे. आज भी स्याही वाली कलम से लिखता हूँ. अजी दवात से वो कलम में स्याही डालने का मज़ा ही कुछ और है. अब स्याही पोतने का तो तजुर्बा नहीं. हा हा हा हा.

When babies came from sky

[adult contents warning: user discretion advised]

One of the prominent politician thinks mobile phones are reason behind child abuse since people are getting easy access to child porn. Quite a funny thought. No smart phones. No child abuse. What an Idea sirjee? Though I laughed at thought, it took me back to the days when porn was limited to some smuggled Hustler magazine or a revolutionary writer called Mastram. Soft porn stuff could be found in some hindi mags like Manohar Kahaniyan or Saras Salil.

As I remember from medschool days, child becomes aware of its own sex by 3 years. In most part of rural India, naked children with the dangling male thingy could be seen running around. When asked, show your mama (maternal uncle), they will proudly point out and run away laughing. Similar innuendos existed for female organs like maternal grandmother or anyone from mother’s family. Unaware, uncorrupt kids would bask naked in mud, pond; chase hen or a spare bicycle tyre; boys and girls alike.

Not only kids, women of Dalit or down-trodden communities would be hardly caring of their attire when they bath in public ponds or would be performing their morning rituals in barren fields. A dalit women with a big ‘ghoonghat’ upto knees was easing herself in morning with her ass facing towards people when a feudally superior one shouted, “Hey you! Turn the ghoonghat towards us, and ass on other side.”

Ignorance of sex and stigmas wasn’t restricted to the lower social strata. In our med school ragging days, we were asked how many holes a female has? Most couldn’t answer. One to pee, and one to shit, was the commonest reply. And mind you, these were chosen geniuses in biology. 

From childhood, its taught that babies either come from sky or we borrow from hospital. This seemed to so deeply creep in, most adolescent males could never imagine a 3 kg baby coming out of a tiny hole. It was unheard, unseen. I have seen village kids playing with balloons made of condoms they pick from rich home’s garbage. They never learnt, since newspaper ads or the large government banners never explicitly mentioned, and TV channels are swiftly switched when a saucy condom ad begins.

For women, things probably happen a bit differently. From ages, they have been trained as a baby-making machines. In south India, arrival of menses is celebrated as a grand function while the poor girl in agonising pain wonders whats wrong with her body. In spite of feeders from elderly females, sex and childbirth remains confusing for many. They just couldn’t imagine how a tiny imperceptible hole would do everything from bleeding every month, to satisfy a man and give birth to a kid-who-looks-mammoth-now. Won’t it just rip the body apart?

Now, many kids have access to umpteen youtube videos and porn collections, even on the smartphones as netajee pointed. On whatsapp, some would send a hot video, other would bounce back, “its old dude.” They know that babies don’t come from sky and would give a naughty grin when parents would explain so. I believe they know sexuality so well, that they would not allow a stranger to grope or abuse them.

But, what about small 3-6 yrs kids who barely learnt to talk, and understand us? 

Author opines-the abuses may end only by two ways-

 1. The netajee way of going back to the days without phone and imposing a blanket porn ban.

2. Improve sexual education ( the good and bad touches) at earliest comprehensible age. 

Chose the 2nd option. They surely love to hear they came out of mummy’s tummy. 

Thank god you retired Sehwag!

Hey Viru!

So, you finally gave up, eh?  I knew god will punish you and send you in oblivion; your country-men would forget, and you will get balder day-by-day; Is there anybody reading your tweet? It was me who was waiting for this day like ‘Chatura Ramalingam‘ in the movie ‘three idiots’. I knew someday you would fail Seahhhhwaggggg. Huh!

Remember when I castled you the very first day. I bet you don’t, because you never chased dreams. Never looked back. What do you think? Are you Sachin Tendulkar? You only told he is the ‘baap’ and you can never match his…….I think you said ‘bank balance’…whatever. You can only be an imposter like Chaaanchaddd. You can never match him.

A ball is there to hit, eh? Uska ghar boundary hai. Who gave you reasons to say that? A ball is there to defend, to slowly nudge, to flick a bit, and rarely to pull or hook. When a pacer with bouncing hairs comes running to you with fiery eyes, just duck yourself or pray for safety. And that too the quickest on earth.  Learn to respect Viru!

I heard you only thought in 4s and 6s. Both you and Sachin were big-time duffers in school. Count 1, 2, 3…. Heard of these numbers? You Jat of Najafgadh! See, Sachin has learnt it so well. But you? So incorrigible you are!

And by the way, do you know the difference between test and one-day? Haven’t you learnt from your great ancestors? Oh! Whom am I talking to? This man gets close to Vinu Mankad-Pankaj Roy record and when asked about, he says “never heard of them”. Before even holding the bat, you should have known the history, and how to play test match. Its an upbringing problem that you played tests as ODI, and ODI as some gully-cricket. There was never a window to smash in Multan or Lords, and you kept hitting. Stupid!

Let me tell you one more thing. You are a bad singer, and on top of it, you do this cheap road-side romeo whistling in a tense situation. Why don’t you better play antakshari? I will beat you like anything. If you are Sultan of Multan, I am Begum Rawalpindy.

Will drop by in Najafgadh next time I am in Delhi. Yeah! I keep coming in shiv sena-free areas.

Some say Nehru feared Bose would return. I don’t know about that. But, I always feared you will return.

Thank god you retired Sehwag

Your favorite bowler. Hahahaha.

Read also:

Zaheer khan: the unsung hero

The gully-games of India

Some say chess or ‘shatranj‘ came from improvisation of ‘chaturanga‘ played in Mahabharata period; Polo was invented by Indian shatraps; Playing cards were popular in various courts as ‘Kridapatram‘ or ‘Ganjifa‘; Kalaripayattu gave origin to Judo and Martial arts by Buddhists; Teer-Dhanush promoted to archery; Kabaddi in Asian games. And ofcourse, land of snake-charmers must have been the idea behind ‘snake and ladders’. But, those games gained enough popularity to spread their wings across the world from Olympics to Vegas casinos.

But, some games couldn’t make it.

1. Antyakshari: College kids singing with deafening voices, trying to culminate songs with ‘tha’ (ठ), ‘dha’ (ढ). And the veterans coming up with ‘Thandey Thandey Paani se‘. A popular among college trips, and in boredom of trains, Antyakshari remains the most glamorised indigenous game featured even in movies and TV shows.

2. Goli a.k.a. Kanchey: One game, which led to frequent thrashing in childhood was this marble ball game. An intoxicating addiction. The enticing colourful shiny balls, and the ease of hitting with bow-stringed finger. The game is a miniature version of golf where we try to put the round balls into the hole, breeding many Tiger Woods of Kanchey.

3. Lattu a.k.a. Bambaram or spinning top: Spinning top is the first childhood lesson in practical physics. The ‘torque’ and centrifugal force, the spinning velocity. A game of perfection, Lattu needed hours of practicing to develop that reflex.

4. Aada-paada: Razma-mooli/Dosa-Idli eating Indians have always been obsessed with farts and purgatory desire. No wonder iconic Amitabh Bachhan was chosen for Piku (the movie). A detective shot at who farted and a wonderful limerick!

Aada paada kaun paada

Mamaji ka ghoda paada

Aam paam dhuss

Chane kee daal phuss.

One of the nasty embarassing game to nab the ‘wasn’t me’ guy.

5. Pitto a.k.a. Lagoria/ Satolia: Game may sound benign but it was the only violent skin-ripping masculine game played ofcourse by the notorious boys. A soft ball (technically) would be thrown at a pile of flat stones. While the opposite team tries to stack it back, the attackers would hit hard with ball at them. A cowboy game of ‘who shoots first’ played in gullies of India.

6. Raja-mantri-chor-sipahi: A chit game where ‘mantri’ have to choose the thief between ‘sipahi‘ and ‘chor‘ on raja’s instruction. I am sure similar chit games must be existing elsewhere but police and thief in similar garb may be unique to India.

* Games like chhupam-chhupai (Hide and seek), patang (kite-flying), chausar (roulette or board game version), gudda-gudiya kee shaadi (barbie indian version), gulli-danda (cricket) are excluded as they didn’t seem purely indigenous to author.

Kanchey: the game

Lattu: Glamorised as ‘spinning top’

Play pitto

Raja mantri chor sipahi

Another brick in Deewaar

Some ten people were being trained about cliff-jumping, their legs shaking at the sight of torrential rapids of river Bhagirathi. I knew this training will scare the hell out of me, so I just jumped ignoring all instructions. Only after diving into deep water, I realised I never learnt swimming. My wife was already shouting, “help, help!!”. Life had made me so exam-oriented, that I took it as just another exam. The distance to shore, the requisite velocity and the momentum of rapid…….the genius aced it. 

A peek into Indian schools of yore and present.

The rotes and the notes

Grandpa asked kid the meaning of rhyme “Humpty Dumpty…”. The fledgling convent educated kid said, “I just know the rhymes, not the meaning.”

Grandpa declared, “Convents are based on rote learning. ” (This wasn’t true but grandpa’s words were a dictum). 

I never had any assignments or homeworks since I studied in a dilapidated sarkari (government) school but that came out as a boon. Books became the toys, and innovative mischieves we played in hostel got me into scientific thinking. 

The rhetoric

For many years, it remained a same syllabus and curriculum. My brother would get a brand-new book which he would embellish with plastic covers and colorful marker pens. What I would inherit is, a creased and shabby book and my younger bro would get a thing-once-called-book. 

‘Wars of Panipat’ remained quintessential poser in history papers for years. Ten-year question papers and guess papers were vogue to ace any exam. Nobody cared to frame a new question.

The crouching children and sleeping teacher

Maths lessons were perfect for whooping ass and punishments (read my other blog), and literature lessons for a blissful nap. I had a hindi teacher who would ask to recite a story from textbook para-by-para in turns and sleep off. I always spoke loud, so when my turn came in lesson ‘Ibrahim Gardi’, my para began,

Ahmedshah Abdali said “Dozakh ke kutte!!”

Teacher got up from sleep, and all he heard was loud “kutte” (you dog!!) and slapped me in quick reflex.

The bliss of ignorance

One of the commonest phrase we heard when we were inquisitive, “That’s a very good question. Sit down.”

And that’s it. The answer would never come.

The aura of respect

One of the spiritual leader said, “India has the best culture in world.”

A child with gleamy eyes asked, “why?”

He retorted, “Because we respect our elders and never question back.”

His curiosity would be gagged for entire life, and he would never question.

The filmy fuchhas

The love-duets, the long chats, and emotional breakdowns. I-pills replacing candy-boxes. In my cosmopolitan practice, when I see a 12 weeks innocent fetus in a smiling teenager’s womb, it gives me goosebumps to just imagine its fate. I am not into moral policing but unwanted pregnancy must be avoided.

Schools have come a long way, and originality is creeping in. We all need to just free our mind from the rotes and rhetorics.

Macaulay revisited

Desi mid-life crisis

“Sir, you look pretty young, must be in twenties!” The callous bubbly girl remarked.

I never realised how swiftly I entered into 30s and close to heading what they say ‘midlife crisis’ or ‘frustrated forties’.  Could have been a genius-in-day-hoodlum-in-night kind during my college days, and then the pursuit of Dilli-waali girlfriend (read my old blog). Unbound uninhibited. For most of the born middle-class, this fool’s paradise gets over with a simple-yet-effective word called ‘marriage’. Its a symbolic end to any imprudent or luscious desire.

For many mischievous incorrigible young goons, marriage would be ultimate weapon to bring them on track. “Beta! Abb to shaadi ho gayee. Abb to sudhar jaao.”  (Now you’re married. better fall in line!). Even people like Ajay Devgn began doing movies like ‘Bhagat Singh‘ and ‘Singham‘ after marriage, while skimpily clad gyrating Kajol decimated her career to kid movies and Alpenliebe chocolate ads.

So, it wasn’t inapt for me to ignore the lively charming girl. Given a choice between Katrina Kaif or Konkana Sen, I prefer to go for Konkana’s movie which carries some substance-as they say. Wonder why these calculative producers pay so much to Katrina, a woman without substance? These ‘hot’ and ‘oomph’ don’t quite register in mind……anymore. The definition of ‘substance’ for me has flipped for good, like ‘Congress-to-BJP’, a character reversal, moderates to hard-core rightists. No other women. No indulgence. No freedom. No wits. Restrict to roman code of ethics and the supreme boss- your spouse. Konkana couldn’t hold me for long, and gradually the interest for movies died. TV soaps or those millions of singing idol shows were equally brutal.

Aren’t men cheering up Sachin and Yuvraj while gobbling on chips and drinks becoming rarer? I don’t remember when I last watched a test match. What would men do if they are stripped of historical ‘couch potatoes‘  status? With women conquering the couches watching all TV shows, should we begin calling rather ‘couch tomatoes‘?

To make it worse, era of ‘bigbasket’ and online shopping confiscated the lone birthright of indian husbands- shopping vegetables. I remember men enjoying evening walks to shopping ‘haats’ and fish-markets, a healthy respite from family woes. They would drift around, have long chat with buddies, have a ‘bhang-sip’ or a small ‘drink’ based on local preferences, discuss women may be or an unchaste joke. And there was no mobile to track you down either. Deprived of this casual pleasure, I have slowly forgotten the contours of gourds, and colour of flours. Big Bazaar revolution eliminated the pleasure to explore.

While driving back home, I was crooning an oldie, “O bade miyan diwaane, aise na bano” (an old song based on a moonstruck middle aged fellow). The girl who complimented in morning suddenly flashed in the rear-brain. She must be in her twenties or could be even younger. Huh! a kid. Yet, she brought in me a conceited grin, a quick look on car mirror and a stroke through own beard. May be I am still so young and charming! Day-dreaming I reached home. My spouse was surprised to see an exuberant beaming face instead of routine insipid fatigued profile. Mirror was even more surprised to find me staring at it for long. Everything seemed in tone, except the bulging tummy. I began coming home early and rushing to the gym. After lifting plenty of married life burdens, those weights and dumb-bells looked so wispy and light. Soon, my gait transformed from kyphotic bent Neanderthal to a Modi-style bold bloated stance.

Funky T-shirts, kamaal-khan sunglasses, a goan rejuvenation escapade and counting female stranger ‘likes’ on facebook. The new life had begun. Essentially, a suave doc was turning into a silly lampoon.

The tummy kept its contour intact not even budging for an inch. I sweated, panted, pushed up, tread-milled. Futile attempts of revival. God pushes you into such a karma-cycle that the only girl who would ever genuinely appreciate you, is your wife, sometimes more imposingly termed ‘life-partner’. A sacred elaborate marriage ritual and those seven-pheras glue you forever to somebody. Bond becomes even stronger with kids stepping in. The concept of ‘yours’ , ‘mine’ and ‘ours’ kids never crept much in Indian familes except a few like famous Mukherjeas where family lived like a riddle never knowing which son or daughter have come from which womb.

Coming back to the bubbly girl. She deserves some credit for bringing a sense of revival in me. A life lost in undesired burdens and imposed routine. A much early mid-life crisis which engulfs most of the married, divorced, or never-married people, is simply unwarranted. A ball-room dance with spouse may be extreme for many, but may be a bunch-of-roses would do.

What nonsense is buzzing in background when you write such a serious blog? ……Daddy mummy nahin hain ghar pe…….uncouth lyrics, oafish gestures.

Note: All characters (including me) are fictional and any resemblance is mere coincidence.

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