Thursday, November 26, 2015

Instant Karma x 2

I am on my bike, getting back home. Satyam Cinemas lane. (One-way lane)
This guy is crossing the road a few meters away from me, from my right.
As he is crossing the road slowly, he has completely turned his heard left and is busy staring at me. I'm irritated. He won't look away.

Enter: stern-looking uncle on a scooter. The uncle is speeding on the opposite side of the road, toward me (on the wrong side). Our chap (henceforth called the 'starer') has forgotten all rules of crossing while he busy staring. The uncle who is now really close to the starer applies a sudden brake and his scooter touches the starer's knees. At the impact, the tea that the starer is holding in his right hand, completely spills all over uncle's black shiny shirt.

Uncle freezes. Starer freezes. I slow down. Uncle raises his hand towards the starer. I wait to cross a few meters from where I am, to burst out laughing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Weather I like it or not


Courtesy: http://themetapicture.com/reflection/

A week of unstoppable rain. Four days of house arrest.

Anyone who knows even a little of me knows how much of a romantic I am.

And yes, true to the cult of romantics, I love the rains. I always have. But for the first time in my life, I almost wanted it to stop. Perhaps personal and professional pressures have mounted up just like the laundry pile sitting in the corner of the room. Look! A shirt sleeve menacingly juts out of the filled-beyond-capacity laundry basket. If you've watched at least one horror movie, you'll know what I mean.

If all I had to do was to sit by the balcony and stare at the rain, I would have loved the rain and would have been so much in love--with no one in particular. (We romantics never need a real person to be in love with, okay sometimes.) I now get to visit the balcony only to pull out the half-dried clothes and to pull away the junior dreamer, muttering fear-inducing words like cold-fever-doctor-injection.

I would have loved the rains if I had someone supply me with hot snacks and tea. Forget dancing in the rain. The only water I came into contact happened to be freezing cold soap-water. The only things that blossomed in the monsoon were the callouses on my palms with all the dish washing.

Oh, all that kitchen work and the baby-sitting made the weather even more gloomy. So I yearned for and earned my TV time. The family was nice enough to hand me over the remote. So I plonked in front of the TV, rubbing my palms in eager anticipation of a cheesy rom-com or some classic. But TATA SKY did not think that way. It just sternly asked me to wait till the rains stopped (in 3 clear bullet points). Ah! Now I understood the family's generosity with the remote. Hmph! Not one to give up so easily, I sulked and pouted. The untouched DVD collection was raided. The Malayalam classic Balayasakhi was fished out. A sordid formula: Kolkata rains + Kerala rains + 1 broken leg + 2 broken hearts. Even Mammoty's handsome face couldn't save me from drowning into further depths of grey. (The leading lady was so wooden that they could have made an entire prosthetic limb for the handicapped protagonist using just her face.)

I then crawled to the book that I've been trying to finish reading for almost a year now. Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul. Suddenly his huzun (loosely meaning melancholy, a word I had begun to love) made me whimper.

I politely shut the book and turned to the window only to see a 3-feet deep wading pool on the road - I shut the window with not-so polite words.

I don't know what the weather's got to do with nostalgic trips. This time I had an entire odyssey by itself. Thankfully, I did distract myself with work. And quite a productive distraction it turned out to be, as long as it lasted.

Make hay when the sun shines is one thing. But the motto of the anti-ruling party TV Channels seemed to be 'sow seeds when the clouds burst'. And the TV Channels run by the ruling party pretended as if it were all fun and sunshine (pun intended). However, talking about TV news, I firmly believe that what happens at home should stay at home. It felt terrible to see Chennai and its admin 'lords' being ripped apart on National TV, especially hurtful when it was done by a charming home-grown boy on CNN-IBN.

The lightning, thunder. The noise of the winds. The drone of the mind-chatter in the silence of power-cuts. My rebelling hormones. Flooding everywhere. People living in danger. Cumulative effect of the cumulonimbus, haven't slept well in days. Greydarkgloom.

Day 4, I woke up to see a few rays of sunlight sneaking their way in. Water-droplets on the balcony grill gleamed brilliantly, cheering the sun, as it were. Dear friends from other towns sent me sunshine in jpeg format. The stagnating water outside my house started receding. The romantic in me slowly stretched, yawned and opened her eyes lazily.

Though romance and routine don't get along very well, I have come to agree that there is indeed some comfort in routine. The house-helps are back. I am back at work. The ear worm has finally wriggled out. I now look forward to only two more sounds - the chime of the school-bell and the whir of my beloved scooter. And perhaps a little pitter-patter?

Courtesy: http://i.imgur.com/jZqlp.jpg




Saturday, November 07, 2015

She would have preferred her father to say that




Happened to read this article a couple of mornings ago. I'm still feeling rather disturbed.


It is the story of a 19-year-old girl who decided to marry her 21-year-old companion from another community. Her father who apparently didn't agree to this relationship filed a criminal case against the boy, alleging that the boy had not only kidnapped the girl but had also lied about his age. At the end of the hearing, the courts told the girl that she could go ahead and chose her life partner.

Let me make it clear right at the beginning that I am not saying 19 and 21 is the best age to get married. Let's talk about marriageable age some other time.

My point is this. In the times that we live in, forward thinking and liberal views are just a dream. A dream that comes true perhaps only for a minuscule percentage of Indians. A majority of us (not just women) still go by what others tell them to do, especially in matters like when to marry, whom to marry, how many children to have and when, what occupations to choose...

Isn't it sad? Two people fall in love and want to get married. The couple should not be waiting for a court order but just a kind word from elders in the family. They should seek blessings but not police protection (just look at the line-up of cops in the disturbing photograph!). Ideally, a responsible father would tell her daughter that he trusts her and will support her decisions. He might want to suggest that she should wait till she graduates. And the daughter should be able to trust the father enough to wait. Isn't that a lot easier than going to the courts?

I hear that today, it has become a 'trend' to go to the courts alleging kidnap when the case is actually marriage with consent. Who is to make up for all the loss of time, money and effort wasted in settling such issues? And given a chance, we all only love to throw darts at the judicial system in this country.

Now what happens after this court order?
The couple might go ahead and 'live happily ever after'. But what about the scars?
Will the family ever patch up?
Will the family desist from further tying to separate the lovers? Don't tell me we haven't heard such stories before (the girl having to lose both her father and husband as well in the battle).

I want to know. Isn't peace the main goal of every human being? Why is it so difficult to live and let live? What is that ONE THING we need to change in our lives? Where do we start?