Yes, the royal tamasha has just ended!
The euphoria has finally faded and Britain plans to go back to work tomorrow.
For the uninitiated, tamasha is an Indian term, which signifies a 'song and dance' routine.
What was it really?
A tempest in a teapot or something more?
It was an event of 2 individuals taking the vows, but the media coverage that they got was maybe a tad bit more than what the 911 got.
Multiply it by the euphoria of 60 million Britons and you get what you call a 'National Tamasha'.
Multiply it by 100 more, that would catapult the event to being an 'Epic Tamasha'.. a tamasha with an international flavour.
We'll talk later if the British royal family even deserves the attention they are getting.
The British royals are no self sufficient hard workers.
They are among Britain's biggest parasites.
They receive a government grant of about 43 million pounds a year to cover their daily expenses. But the public cost of the wedding far exceeds that.
Now have a look on the expenses incurred :
1. Extra policing and overtime alone is estimated at more than $35 million.
2. When all the people are celebrating, they're not working. And because the wedding holiday falls between two long holiday weekends in England, you can take 11 days off by burning only three days of vacation time.
That could bite atleast a quarter of their GDP for this quarter.
3. The wedding expenses are rumoured to be in excess of $50 billion.
First, the money belongs to the taxpayer, the state exchequer.
The wedding expenditure far exceeds the grants given to the lazy and lethargic royals.
$50 billion is something which is a medium sized country's GDP.
$50 billion could feed all the hungry children around the globe for atleast a couple of months.
$50 billion is what the blue chip Indian software sector earns in one year.
$50 billion is what India earmarked for 5 years to fuel the Urban growth in 30 cities by renewing the urban infrastructure.
$50 billion is what India pays for its defence deals in 2 years which help countries like Britain in running the show in the times of recession. Compare this with the following figure : India had procured 66 hawk advanced jet trainers from Britain for just a billion dollars. Pittance... right?
Now, come to the more philosophical part.. the poetic part of it.
The Britons were cheering.. laughing.. jumping at the sight of Kate and the not-so-good-looking William(I don't want to be rude, but he resembles VVS Laxman with a lot of talcum powder on his face) kissing.
Oops, a kiss that costed them a few billion dollars.
The money that they save up and pay in taxes, the money that the Royals use like it was their right!
The so called Prince... what was his name again.. ah.. William.. I would want to ask him what he thinks of Britain's sinking economy, what does he think of NATO strikes on Libya.
I know he's serving the Royal air force in some capacity, yeah, but who would know what capacity! He's the second in line to the throne.. a virtual throne .. which doesn't give them one penny a year.
Britain, in the recent past has become conservative, trade wise.
They have contained the skilled work force visas by a big margin.
They are following the once-famous-but-now-very-ordinary Obama's path of protectionism in trade.
Why? To save them the pounds.. to save them an economy which had a glorious past.
The country is now ageing and it shows in their result book, yet they choose to spend on seemingly insignificant things, and cry hoarse when the government fails to provide the people jobs.
Sample this against a developing country like India.
I am absolutely sure, there would
a. be no such event even if it were Rahul Gandhi's wedding.
b. No king of the past (oh yea.. we have had them in droves.. with a much richer past than what the Britain's royals have had) would dare to ask the state exchequer to foot the bill.
It's very ironical that a country with a democratic setup would advertise monarchy to such big proportions, however dear the parasites may be to their citizens.
I am really not too sure because I am not a British citizen, but I would be surprised if the average Briton actually supports such vulgar displays of public wealth.
Maybe, many young Britons are happy, because they just got 11 days off.. thanks to the wedding.
Truly a tamasha of epic proportions!
Long Live Great Britain.
PS : Kate looks lovely though!
Well, Russian babes or Russian babies?
The answer is not straight!
If you are a guy, in your wonder years, then choice 1.
If you are a girl/woman who is old school, or if you are a man who's settled, then choice 2.
Check out any fashion week, all the babes would be Russian or from the nearby CIS countries.
Even today, walk in the streets and you would find much more than average looking ladies everywhere.
Be it a simple grocery purchase, they come decked up like its a party!
Not without reason, have they gained acclaim around the globe for their beauty.
Maybe its the tough and inclement weather conditions that give them the good looking build.
Christiano Ronaldo's current flame is a Russian supermodel, Irina Shayk.
Well, she's the quintessential 'Oh-My-God' babe.
Now have a look at the guy with her
As much as i dislike deviating from the topic, I cannot help but comment on this idiotic looking guy.
He is the quintessential 'oh-WTF' guy.
I have seen a few of his interviews, he doesn't even know how to speak what we call 'basic'.
He talks like the cheesy guys in the bar who ogle at women. He looks like that too.
Absolute 'no-class' guy.
So why is Irina with him?
Ah... show me the money, honey!
Plus the fame of being a footballer's WAG apart from being a supermodel!!
Now choice 2:
I have started noticing them quite a lot on my recent trips to Russia.
Have been touring this place for a long time, but more recently, these sugary cuties have started catching my eye!
On my last visit a couple of weeks back, a small baby boy, maybe about a year or a couple of months over, was at the security check in counter of the airport.
This guy had his shoe fitted on his left hand, it was a fur lined shoe.
He had put his hand in the shoe and was running all over the place with his hand held high... that was his airplane.
Suddenly he came near me and I too did the same thing, put my hand in my shoe!
He was taken aback... something struck him... he had competition, he stopped and started looking at me like a deer lost in the headlights.
I showed him my airplane and told him that it was bigger than his plane.
Obviously he did not understand, but now he wanted my airplane.
He gave me his shoe and started tugging at mine!
His mom came over... smiled and took away his 'airplane'.. said.. 'isvinite' (excuse me)...
I smiled.. and said that she had a very beautiful baby! :)
The joy on her face was something to behold.
Today, I again encountered 2 more such cute babies on my way back to India.
One at Ekaterinburg airport... this time it was an infant dressed in black.
He had stuffed cheeks that drooped like a fruit laden tree branch.
He barely knew how to walk, but the terminal was spacious and there were not many people.
So his mother allowed him to take a walk.
He did, and how!!
He wowed all the people around, because he walked a couple of steps to whoever was sitting nearby, went to them and just hugged their legs like he knew them forever.
Then he looked at them, made some gurgling noise and moved a few steps again.. then the next person.. hug hug.. that's all he did!
I was no exception... he was moving in a circle.. he came to me and did the same.
I picked him up. His mom, probably a little worried seeing a non-white guy came across, but then when she saw my smiling face and the comfort that the child was showing, she too smiled :)
It was a lovely moment.
Take-2, Moscow airport :
Here, the story went a little further.. a girl, all of 3 or 4 years.
But the same Russian cuteness overflowing...
She was in pink, pink cap, pink top, pink pajamas, pink shoes.
I was sipping my Pepsi diet, she was a couple of feet from me. I said : Hey, pink panther!
She smiled... then moved a couple of steps forward, turned back and gave me the smile which made my day.
Then again moved a few steps and turned back to see if I was still looking.
and she was happy!
Then she ran to her dad who brought the luggage stowed on a trolley.
She started speaking to him, but every few seconds turned to see if I was paying attention.
I was beginning to enjoy this!
Very few things in the world give you joy like playing with children.. it might be a game or something like this.. where there is eye contact and you just go wow!
She started to feel a little uncomfortable in the heavy coat that she was wearing.
Now, she told her dad to take it off.. but for some reason he wasn't willing to.
She turned again to see.. I was still looking, then she sat on a seat and started taking it off herself.
Once she was off with her coat and cap, for some strange reason, she wanted to put in on the trolley which her dad did not allow her to do because the luggage was a little dirty and her coat would get dirty as well.
Then he made her sit on a seat and went to get something.
She sat for a couple of minutes till he was out of sight, then she just looked around.
She put her cap in the hand luggage area of the trolley and covered it with a cloth so that her dad wouldn't see.
Then there were a couple of suitcases piled one over the other.
She wanted to stuff her coat in between them so that her dad doesn't notice.
But the suitcase was too heavy for her to move.
She looked at me like a child who had got lost in a mall :( .. eyes that said, "Please, help me".
I just went to her place and put the coat on the suitcase, sensing that her dad wont like it, she pointed at the place between the 2 suitcases and gestured at me to push it in between... I looked at her and smiled.
Taken in by her innocence, I just did what she said.
She was so happy, her face was now grinning!! End to end.
This is such a crazy and small thing... but it brought so much joy to both of us...
Then it was time for me to board.
I said.. 'dasvidaniya'.. she said..'svidaniya'
I waited to see if her dad was in sight.. I did not make it obvious, but I waited till he came over, then I left.
When I was leaving, I saw her again... she was so happy that her dad hadn't yet noticed the cap and the coat which were on the trolley.
These incidents made the end to my otherwise trying trip, fantabulous.
My vote : choice 2.
The best times in one's life are the ones that have been spent in the past.
Everytime you think of one such time in your life, it evokes a nostalgic feeling.
As a human, we tend to forget the things that happen in our lives, both good or bad.
But a small glimpse of a photograph or a fleeting thought of something which reminds you of those good times sends you packing back in the past.
The feeling is superlatively special to you but you cannot share it with anyone because people, however close, will not relate to your nostalgia unless they have been a part of it themselves.
It's like a cup of hot coffee with a topping of chocolate sauce and fresh cream on a snowy day.
You are on a busy traffic median with traffic zipping past you in both directions... there you stand all unaffected with that cup of coffee and snow flaking on your shoulders... you look around dazed, but the surroundings don't affect you.
That's because the nostalgic feeling makes you numb to your present troubles.
For a moment, you forget whatever is bothering you today and just feel happy for that time that you spent in the past.
This is nostalgia.
No definition in any dictionary can define it.
A person could feel nostalgic about his high school cricket team..
About his crushes which never went to stage-2..
About college life.. hostel life..
About the first few days in your first job...
Basically just about anything that makes you feel happy..
Just a couple of days back i saw some pictures of a long lost friend on fb who was on some common friend's profile .. just remembered all the good times we had..
For that next 10-15 mins, the world's troubles could not touch me.
There are other kinds of nostalgias as well.. those that are invoked by listening to songs.
This, the Indian audience will appreciate.
In India, we have songs for every occassion. Some of them take you back in your memory lane and bring back all those good times.
'Live in the present' is a famous saying.. well, not always.
When you have time to introspect, have those few moments where there is just you and nobody else, it's an absolutely good idea to go back into the past.
It refreshes you like nothing else!
Try it out.
But, despite all that, its only a feeling which is virtual... which will make you feel good for a few moments.
It's not real. It 'was' real once upon a time.. not anymore.
Maybe that's why it's beautiful.
A famous song from a Hindi movie in the 1970s rings through my ears...
"Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo makaam woh fir nahi aate.. woh fir nahi aate"
--All the milestones that you cross in your life, will never come back.. will never come back.
But you can feel good that they came once in your life!
Lonely I'm Mr Lonely,
I have nobody,
For my own
People often confuse the world with the words : lonely and alone.
Lonely is something which you feel from within yourself, nobody can force you to feel lonely.
Alone is what you are when you are with nobody physically.
You can feel lonely with 20 people around you and that's precisely what I am going through.
How lonely can one get?
Can it ever get so lonely to the point that it could kill you?
Well yes, if not physically, then of course mentally.
It doesn't matter what the quantum or the timeframe is... you can start feeling lonely even in a day.
This has become a way of life for me now... since the time I opted to come to a godforsaken place called Ekaterinburg.
The temperatures are bone chilling. Moscow now feels like a summer resort.
The day I landed it was -27 degrees C ... later that night, it plummeted a little further.
The next morning, like a labourer on the job, I started from the hotel when it was -31 degrees C.
On the first walk to the office, a few tears slipped out of my eyes because of the wind chill and fell on my glasses.
When i reached office, I realized that the haze that was on my glasses were a few of my tear drops which had frozen on my glasses.
That's when I realized I had taken the wrong bus and reached a place I should not have.
But those were only the teething troubles which I got used to in a while... what kills me now is the loneliness.
I can grapple with lack of good food, infact that's the only silver lining here... i lose a good number of KGs when I come here.
The opposition is stiff and hostile, I can deal with that.. i don't care a damn.
The food and weather is adverse, been there, done that, dealt with it before.
But this is the first time, I realize how difficult it is to live without the ones you love.
Jack said to Rose in Titanic :
'Dont jump, you dont want to feel that kind of thing... water that cold, it feels like a thousand needles pricking on your body'
In my case, it's not the water, its the loneliness that pricks me like a thousand knives.
If you do not have a close one whom you can confide to, it gets claustrophobic after a while.
Just yesterday, I got to hear something from someone which I did not like.
It affected my whole day. I flipped at everyone and everything after that.
Later in the night, I realized it was only because of the feeling of loneliness and as a result I felt helpless at most things that I would just brush off when I would be home.
The biggest things that can affect you do not lie outside you.
You can look within yourself and resolve most things.. but loneliness will kill you from deep within.
I sometimes wonder, what Ajmal Kasab would be feeling like now. He should never be hanged because death is an easier penalty to pay.
Few days back, I had read that he started abusing the guards on duty to provoke them.
Reason : The constables have an order from the authorities that bar them from talking to him.
He has nothing to do at all, no jail work like gardening or any other errand. He cant sleep forever too.
He is going crazy because of his loneliness.
That is why I say loneliness can kill you from deep within.
Tonight I plan to sit with a few of my office buddies and sing a lot of songs!
Weird hobby, but it will drive away the blues I hope.
Another few days here before I reach Moscow, that's when I can say 'AWESOME'.
This is the day, this is the time.. but yet...
There are things which bother me.
The time of my life is now, the time to rejoice, the time to feel like God.
But yet, there are naggings which make me feel so slipshod.
Since a long time now, I have been thinking about what makes a perfect life?
How does one attain a life which is devoid of negativity or any other ill?
Is it really possible to dream of having such a life?
An emphatic and resounding NO is the answer from the skies.
So if some such thing like utopia doesn't exist, can we create a replica of it or atleast pretend that we live in a replica of it?
What did I just say? Pretend to live in a replica? Oh yes, definitely!
You can pretend to just about anything.
Inside, you may be the most insecure and jealous person, outside you can always potray a cool, suave and unperturbed image.
If you can be pretentious about all these things, then why can't anyone pretend to live in utopia.
But the point is, you are still pretending.
You are running away from what bites you.
You know how affected you are by something, but yet, you think by not thinking about it, the pain will subside.
The truth is, the more you try to detach yourself, the more you internally end up thinking about it.
What then, is the resolution?
It ain't that simple. It requires a lot of courage.
It requires a lot of confidence.
It actually is the simplest of things, but turns out to be the most complex thing to do in such situations.
It is 'TALK'.
It's a simple 4 letter word that has kept three big nuclear powers like India, China and Pakistan from going to war in times of adversity.
The most difficult part is to 'start' talking.
But once you do, you realize that the other person isn't all that bad, he isn't all that conniving.
Once the sun is out, the snow melts and the flowers bloom again!
But if you don't talk, you deny yourself that chance to joy.
You deny yourself that chance to mend fences and be back on track.
I have had instances in my life too, where things were assumed and then it snowed to such an extent that nobody was ready to clean up the snow.
Had I not come out and started to 'talk', who knows how much time I would've lost out and in course lost out on many other things important to me.
This situation will stare you in the face many times in your life, sometimes as frequently as everyday.
All you need to do is .. come out.. hold it by it's horns and say..
"Yeah, lets talk"
The wildest of bulls will also mellow down and listen to your side of the story.
Conflicts are inevitable, but combat is optional.
So the easy way out, however difficult it may seem initially, is to 'TALK'.
Garth Brooks said : "The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and himself"
This signifies that most of the conflicts are assumed and not real, the other person may afterall be only a catalyst to your own conflicting thoughts.
This makes 'TALKING' an even more sensible solution.
Wish I had the courage to always stand up and 'TALK'...
Because it can make things go from this...
Have you ever faced discrimination as a guy?
Well, you would find it less stranger by the end of this post.
For all those who maintain being a girl comes with its societal problems, please re-think.
I have been a guy for 28 years now and will continue remaining so :)
When I was a kid, I was fine till the age of maybe 6 or 7.
That's the age when you hardly realize who a guy is and who a girl is.
Frankly, for me, judging the sex by the length of the hair worked!
All short haired ppl were guys and long haired ones were girls.
Call it stupid or whatever, that was how I was till atleast I was 5.
As time passed and I grew older, I understood there are more intricacies to this guy-girl thing.
Till 6th grade, in my school, we considered talking to the girls a thing below the 'guy' thing.
Now don't ask me why, I don't remember either.
We made faces at girls. (like girls generally do).
7th grade was kind of a discovery period. It was a realization period when we were starting to reverse what we were made of, the guy attitude.
Slowly but surely, the hormones started jumping.
One by one, everyone seemed to like some girl or the other.
I was shocked... because it was the first time I was experiencing this.
There were 3 guys with whom I was friends... 2 started spending more time with the girls they started liking lately.
They even changed their positions and no more sat with me in the class.
They went to the bench behind their new 'girly' friends.
Exasperated, I looked for company of the last guy left in my gang.
Unfortunately, he thought that I liked a girl... and the problem was that he actually liked the same girl.
So, inspite of me not liking Madam X, I lost out on the last guy friend too!
Then I made newer friends.. slowly started realizing that this age does not belong to the 'guys'. Girls are what drives the guys crazy.
So this was my first lesson that girls are more equal than the guys.
Time passed, I had similar such experiences in every walk of life which reposed faith in my belief that guys don't stand a chance when it came to a face-to-face battle with the girls.
Especially in the softer aspects of everyday life.
Being favourites of the lecturers in college to getting favours from the lab instructors in the mechanical workshops to getting good marks in college internals to hogging the limelight at college festivals, the girls got it all done!
And how? Just like that!
Guys, including me, no matter how hard we tried, found it difficult to manage the same kind of attention!
Another example, have a look at your social networking profile, orkut or facebook or whatever...
If the guy is extremely popular or drop dead killer looking, then the case may be different, but for a commoner, the updates/scraps are a little far in between.
He generally keeps 'liking' others' posts.
Sample this against an above-average looking girl on facebook.
The first thing you would notice that her number of friends are double yours.
You may be a stud in some other field, but on networking sites, you don't just measure up.
The saddest part is, you post something on your profile, there would be a couple of 'likes', a few comments.
But on the other hand, any mediocre status update from the above-average girl and the humanity pours in on her profile.
If it's a happy quote, people rave about her wittiness, talk how they feel the same and everyone else is dirt.
If her status message is sad, the whole set of friends, some who even otherwise barely talk to her, would give her pep-up talks, give jadu ki jhappis and make her feel that she is 'THE CHOSEN ONE'.
All this talk and people talk of downtrodden ladies!! :(
Agreed, there is a section of the female society which still is in the previous century...
But you also have to agree that the urban go-getters of the female community are leaps and bounds ahead in the race and have their male counterparts a distant second in the race for attention.
This is not a letter of appreciation for the more-than-equal ladies of the world!
Yet, I would also concede that I am also in awe of such ladies.. afterall I am a guy who is prone to killer ladies :P
Few years back was when the 'travails' ended.
And how? Just like that! :)
8 years back, lightening struck and I was smitten for life by one such lady.
Slowly, I started doing everything that I hated my friends in school for. :)
We went from strength to strength and now we are married happily! :D
Apart from my mom, who is still 'the-one-lady' whom I look up to for everything, there are just 2 ladies who are on my list now.. the ones for all occasions.
Needless to say, they are my support system and that's how the travails which I faced in my earlier life with the girls turned to the biggest boons with these stars!!
My wife, who was my friend-turned-life partner, continues to remain my best friend and biggest asset of my life, a person who I look upto when I am down and beaten.
She gives me that charge which makes me feel larger-than-life.
She is not just 'a star', but 'the star' who keeps my solar system chugging.
The best days of my life were spent during my college days.
And I don't say this without a reason.
There is a distinctive 'aashiqui' thread that I keep talking about.
That's common everywhere as long as a guy has hormones to keep playing!
Ok.. coming back, have you ever felt that you like/love someone but are just not getting the kind of response that you'd like to?
How simple is it to decode?
Is it just that the 'bird' isn't interested? Or is the 'bird' playing around?
Well, it can be both. It's not that easy for a guy to dissect.
First up, you have to learn to decode the reaction through common expressions that she shows.
She might be smart and brilliant, but when you throw a hint at her, does she reply stupidly or just like she did not understand what you meant?
Well, if this is the case, then she isn't dumb, you are.
You are the biggest moron on the planet.
Then there are girls who just do not understand anything.. whatever you say, they just laugh it off!!
Believe me, they are the most irritating lot.
But inside, they too might be intelligent!! Beware.
There was one guy in another college whom I knew during my college days, Purab Dambekar(name changed of course).
I sometimes felt for him, because I never understood if what he did for 4 years was even worth it or not.
He tirelessly pursued Anjali Matondkar(again name changed of course).
First, I felt it was a true case of aashiqui.
I watched from the sidelines. Slowly by the end of first year, it became a kind of junoon for him and he thought he was the next SRK from Darr.
Anjali always was friendly with him... talked when it mattered or replied when talked to.
Purab took this for something else and fell deeper for her.
In the second year, took a gift and went ahead and did the unthinkable on 14th February.
Got royally snubbed, came back dejected, downed 8 bottles of beer and spent the nite in the lavatory puking.
But Purab sir, for whatever reasons, thought that Anjali was his partner, you know, like saat janam waali.
Like the ones that get manufactured in YashRaj films.
Kept pursuing and passing comments on other guys who were friendly with her.
Third year passed, proposed again, got slapped across this time.
The resolve got even firmer.
Fourth year, 'bas-abhi-nahi-toh-kabhi-nahi' syndrome took him over.
Tried all tricks in the book, never got the girl, but failed in the exams.
The result, girl happily got done with her engineering, guy sat around for another year sulking and completed his engineering in 5 years instead of 4.
Now, in my eyes, this is a classic case of uber-moronism where the guy should've fathomed in the first year itself that the 'bird' belonged to a different species.
The 'poor boy meets NRI girl-knocks the wind out of her sails-and they live happily ever after' never works in real life.
Lesson 1 : Get Real.
Lesson 2 : If your subtle hints don't work, there is good chance that they never will.
Example : If you say, you have been thinking a lot lately, and she asks about whom? Sachin Tendulkar?
You have got to get the signal.
Lesson 3 : Often, its better to be direct and get your answer. If its a yes, live happily ever after, if its a no, look for another branch and another bird.
Lesson 4 : Never under-estimate the people who may be her confidants and in-the-know of things. A smitten kitten is more easier to spot than a tiger in the yellow grass.
Lesson 5 : Always do a benchmarking exercise before beginning a voyage. Every Seal doesn't mandatorily get a Heidi Klum.
There too, Heidi was very 'high-maintenance' and Seal was perpetually rich.
This, I realized when I saw so many guys fooling around in the 4 years. It continues to show up till date, but on a lower scale.
The Junoon isn't so pronounced, it's more subtle and subdued, but the 5 lessons still hold true!
Kinship, one of the most basic building blocks of the human civilization, in my view is quite overrated.
Quite simplistically, if anyone were to be asked, who is the person closest to you,
the result set would vary from one of the parents to a sibling to a friend from college or work.
This is because there is an emotional connect between the two people in question and that is the reason of the fondness between you and him or her.
Genealogical relationships are cursory bonds that I think we pursue to show everyone around that we form a dynasty.
For example, a sibling to my father might be a person very close to him, but may not be so much to me.
This is reason enough for me not to be very aware of my father's siblings family's family.
But if I ever visit them, meeting everyone cordially and saying sugar coated "HIs" and "HELLOs" is an unwritten rule.
Here, in India, I have seen scores of people including some of my very own people carrying forward genealogical relations just because of the societal norms.
Neither of the 2 parties involved actually cares once they are out of your homes.
In my case, I live quite far away from the city where most of my relatives live.
So I go only once in a while and I only stay put with the ones I am comfortable with.
But still, the genealogical nature of the humans forces me to go visit just about everyone's home.
Father's sibling's daughter's husband's sister.
I can only go till level-2. I find people in level-2 itself very pesky.
Any further than that, I will prefer visiting a man-hole.
There are 2 kinds of relatives. 'Pesky' and 'friendly'. True to their names, the friendly ones are the ones who mind their own business and come to meet you because they actually want to meet you. Most have very few such relatives.
I say most because my analysis is only limited to the friends and people I interact with.
And none of my inner circle people have Karan Johar style family bonhomie.
'Pesky' relatives are the ones who show up once in a while but would be infinitely interested in your personal lives. They would have an opinion about everything including the colour of the tiles in your bathroom and the shape of your dust-bin's lid.
A lot of such masala is available on platter, free-of-cost in India round the clock.
A typical such case is any Indian festival.
Scores of people will descend on your house like thirsty birds on a lake in summer.
People who you hardly know or have heard of, come and hug you.. saying : "Oh my God..you have grown so big"
Yeah, right, if you never found the time to come see me in between, that is no reason for me to stop growing!
They wait around for an hour, ask you questions about your personal life and basically pry around everywhere you are uncomfortable.
But wait, I need to keep smiling!
I do, always!
Because I love the last tradition which is followed in India, more specifically in the North.
Any relative before leaving, however pesky, gives you some amount of cash if you are a little younger than them.
I consider this as entry fee to my house and gleefully accept it!
A nice 7 inch smile, satisfies their hunger to see my face and off they go seeing my vigorously waving hand and an equally vigorously grunting face!
Now, what I mean to say here is that, this is a typical case of putting up with a familial relationship even though you don't believe in it.
There are scores of such instances...
Unmarried girls would relate with this instance I am about to give..
Any gathering, any function, if your daughter is hovering in the 25-30 age limit.. the nosy aunties get hysterical.
There is an unmistakable feeling of one-upmanship in the neighbourhood aunties as to who gets your daughter married off first.
Each one will have their own way of saying it :
There are some direct ones "Your daughter is getting to the age.. what are your thoughts on her marriage?"
Some not so direct but will approach the girl directly : "Beta, what are you doing these days?"
Girl : Smiling.. "Job, aunty"
Pest : Disguising the taunt and the curiousity to poke in everyone's life .. "So beta.. what have you thought about your marriage?? Do you like someone...? " and then a devilish... HA HA HA HA HA echoes and the uncles join in the comedy circus.
More follows :
Pest : HA HA HA HA HA .. "If you say.. shall I get you a good boy??"
Some more HA HA HA HA HA
Poor girl.. she just has to put up with this shit because of this so called kinship.
She would be close to just 4-5 people in her life.
They would never do this "HA HA HA HA HA" thing with her... "Shall we get you a good boy... HA HA HA HA HA"
Once these pests are out.. everyone whips them black and blue!
I too am a part of this circus.. but I just wonder.. how artificial everything around the civilization is and how artificial this has made each one of us.
If anyone reading this, hasn't experienced such a thing even once in his/her life, then he either is Karan Johar or aspires to be Karan Johar.
Initially I thought, there was something wrong with me because I was pretty negative about letting people in my personal space.
I am atrociously reserved and very guarded and protective about anyone close to me.
But when I saw many of my friends in similar situations, I knew it wasn't me, it was the reality of life.
All of us are artificial and we love being it. Either by choice or by force.
The reality is not Karan Johar, the reality is Ram Gopal Verma.
(a little out of context maybe. Sorry, the people not familiar with them would be cursing me).
Not very long back, I met a motor mouth, who was probably level-15 or 20 in the relationship circle with me, I touched the feet of his mom while she was leaving and she gave me 1000 Indian rupees(it's an Indian tradition to touch feet of elders).
The motor-mouth shot off "See, you gave him money and he touched your feet".. all this with the oh-so-typical "HA HA HA HA HA".
People think they can be smart and pass off any taunt with a "HA HA HA HA HA".
I was so bloody pissed off because I didn't even know who he was...I hadn't seen this guy ever in my life... i had even forgotten his name.
If he was someone at the street, I would have pulled out each single hair from his moustache with a plier.
But then, sense prevailed.. and I thought.. what the hell.. I don't even know him.. it's not bad for 1000 bucks.
So... "HA HA HA HA HA" from me too.
He felt a little embarrassed at my "HA HA HA HA HA" and beat a hasty retreat.
Kinship, like English is a very funny thing!
Karva Chauth is undoubtedly the most 'in' and celebrated festival in the northern part of India for all married ladies.
The euphoria doubles when it comes to newly-wed brides!
Decked up like it's an early Diwali.. the young married women flock open areas and terraces of their houses to catch a glimpse of the moon.
If moon was a person, then his name would be Osama bin Laden on this day.
The moon is simply the 'most-wanted'.
But the fetish for the moon isn't all religious.
Well, let's see what the religious angle is first :
There was a mythological princess called Veeravati who had observed a fast for her husband. The deal was that she would break her fast once the moon had risen.
She was fragile and couldn't stand the rigour of not even having water through the day.
Her brothers were worried and lit a fire on a nearby hill and tricked her into believing that it was moonlight.
The lady believed, broke her fast and almost instantly received the news of her husband's death.
Now, this is only a part of the story, but it's long enough to understand the essence.
Modern Day adaptation :
Veeravati's husband had died because she broke the fast.
So the ladies observe this fast once every year to ensure that their husbands have a long life.
Now, this is a little far away from the real truth simply for the reason that Veeravati was penalized for breaking her fast without seeing the moon.. it might not mean that her husband would live longer if she observed it truthfully.
But then anyways, every adaptation has a little bit of distortion.
So giving it the benefit of doubt, moving on to the modern story...
Today's scene in my apartment complex :
Young ladies and old ladies egged on by their younger counterparts flocked the terrace of the building.
All decked up, smelling of extreme perfume and a pooja thali in their hands, they had forgotten that today they are going to worship the same husband that they had beaten black and blue yesterday.. well almost :)
The husband, forgetful of the past and gleefully smiling stands in front of his wife.
She takes the sieve out(this is again the tradition, that the wife sees the moon first through the sieve and then sees her husband through it.. whatever it means).
She sees the moon, then her husband, thanks God for marking the moon's attendance quickly and then drinks water thereby breaking the fast.
Now the husband is not needed.
Run back home.. that's where the food is waiting at the table.
Hog, hog, hog and then just remember there is a husband angle too...
"Honey, awwww... didn't you start the dinner still?"
Husband : "Honey, how could I? U didn't allow me to"
To save myself from all this melodrama, I took an oath 4 years ago.
I have been observing the Karva Chauth fast with my wife.
On this day, I too stop eating and drinking water.
Once a year, it's worth an effort.
For me, it's more about showing solidarity to her cause.
If she can fast for my well being, why should I not for hers?
Moon, though, is my favourite target this day.
Last year, it just didn't show up.. and I was burning with acidity with all gastric acids playing foosball in my stomach.
That was when I threatened it with dire consequences if it repeated the same thing next year.
Today, my gamble paid off.
The moon like a good boy after summer vacations in school, turned up right on the dot.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
She broke her fast with water and I broke my fast with Eno.
The antacid mildly placated the acidity.
Then came the hogging time.
I hogged for 30 mins. She too did, to a lesser degree though.
We then had dessert and were smiling ear to ear with fat bellies!
Ah, Karva Chauths are fun if you want to have fun..
A modern adaptation of an ancient tale may necessarily not be boring.
The best part about it is it ends with good food!
Happy Karva Chauth 2010 everyone!
Is anybody in this world really good or bad?
I have always believed its only the situation that makes them behave in the way they do.
But then if its only the circumstances then stars should be blamed for everything that goes wrong on our planet.
There is another hidden factor called demeanour.
Demeanour is something that is going to save you from situations when you have a slight upper hand in a conflict, it
will also make you victorious when you are the victim.
What the hell is demeanour now? Is it something which is genetic or cosmic? Or can it be acquired?
I am reminded of a line from the movie Rocket Singh :
"Every person has 2 qualities. One which will take him up and one that will take him down. Whichever one he takes, his life only becomes a manifestation of that path"
I recently had one such experience.
I was in Ekaterinburg,somewhere in Russian hinterland for official work.
I was lonely because I was kind of cut off from my world and my people.
The loneliness coupled with inclement weather, irritating rains and sub zero temperatures were a bone cracking deal for me.
The people from the client organization I worked with were not favourable either.
Few of them were good and amiable, but most of them were mocking birds.
The smallest hint of an issue and their scoffing smiles coupled with the 'looking down' behaviour killed me.
The lady 'second in command' on the other side was leading the way.
Now I really don't know if that person knew much about the work done, but every small pin drop was potrayed as a rocket launch failure.
Plus as an Indian, I was deprived of any decent food for four full days.
I only had cup noodles for lunch and some ready to eat stuff in the nights.
All these were not honeymoon conditions.
They were taking a toll, but I remembered that line in Rocket Singh.
There was one occassion when I had the 'second in command' firmly under my grip and I could have chosen to twist the neck of the opponent.
But I knew that would only make things worse. I resisted and the results started showing in 1 hour flat.
The other person realized the mistake on their part, but did not apologise. I wasn't complaining either. My point had been made.
I moved on.
The last day, the 'second in command' came to my desk and thanked me for whatever I had done. The other people who I thought were my opponents too came and we clicked pictures together.
The one that made my day was something like this :
When I was leaving the building finally, a nice sweet lady in her 20s maybe smiled at me and said 'Dasvidaniya, come again'.
I was zapped, I even did not know who she was.
On my way back I was thinking who she was. Suddenly it dawned upon me... I had gone to one person from the other organization to explain something. She was sitting by her side and doing her work.
Seeing that I was helping the first person, she asked me how to solve particular problem.
I did not pay much attention to her because I had gone to do something else.
But then I realized I can help her with her problem, it was a small thing. I did and left.
Then I fogot about her completely.
The last day she was near the door when she greeted me.
That was when I started thinking that nobody is bad or good.
Circumstances also don't make you bad or good.
The way you react to a situation is what forms a perception about you in the world.
Its not that Mahatma Gandhi never lost his temper, but he knew how to react at the opprtune time and that made his image in the world.
Smiling I came back from Ekaterinburg.
I had won because I won over my ego. Not because I defeated someone.
I won because I knew the other person realized his mistake and came to my desk to talk after the stalemate.
Everytime a person reacts, he is making an image of himself which will affect someone.
This may not be significant to him, but he either makes an enemy or a friend for life.
Come to think of it, you or anyone else in this world is just a chemical which has a finite life. After that you cease to exist.
In that short life, you can either choose to do whatever makes you happy or let go and be happy and make others happy as well.
Too much of righteousness at most times causes problems for the people around you.
The choice is to each individual to choose the quality which takes him up the ladder or the one that brings the ladder crashing.