Friday, February 27, 2009

Star Bugs

Many years ago, during my formative years, I would tag along with my granny to a Gurudwara for morning prayers and patiently sit through the discourse and hymns, its not that I fully understood any of the hymns that were sung by people inside the Gurudwara, or enjoyed accompanying my granny everyday, actually, my purpose was solely to eat the sweet Prasad that was served at the end of the discourse.

During those years, my granny taught me the importance and power of prayers. “Prayers alone can give us strength to cross any hurdles of life” she would say, “and if we pray hard enough and ask God to fulfill our desires, God shall never disappoint us. But,” she had added, “you must never ask for the impossible or you shall be sorry.”

Therefore, initially my simple prayers included chocolates and hugs and simple things as such which were granted easily, and that stimulated a faith in me. I became more and more greedy, and soon, my desires graduated from possible to impossible, until one day, I prayed for a groom who was a film star.

During those days, Rajesh Khanna (a Bollywood star) was the man I desired and I had tough competition. All the girls, who traveled with me in the school bus, also raved about him and I hated them all. I was holding out for deep romantic love and had a fantasy that this level of passionate intensity would make me happier. I had no clue as to how I could meet him personally and express my desire to marry him. Prayers were my only solace. I prayed to Lord Shiva, starved on Mondays, visited temples and poured one liter of milk on black oval stone and I even kept a special fast called ‘Karva Chauwd’ (that was common with the women, double my age.) Nothing extraordinary about that, every woman I knew-no matter how successful and ambitious, how financially and emotionally secure-would feel panic, occasionally with desperation if she found herself unmarried beyond the marriageable age. Higher the age, the more frequent were the fasts, sometimes forcing them to add extra days to try their luck with other deities as well. So my prayer for a groom was neither extraordinary nor impossible.

My desire for Rajesh Khanna had clouded my vision and I could not focus my attention on anything else. I saw all his movies, some of them multiple times I imagined his romantic songs sung just for me. I raged inside them and lived a double emotional life (half real girl, half inhabitant of a distant world). I bought his pictures, from roadside side-stores and stuck them on the last page of my school diary, in my text books, on my room doors. In my diary, below his picture, I had scrawled in neat script ‘My heart belongs to YOU’ and drew two red lips in a pretty hand made sign just below the message. Sometimes, something stirred inside me so much that I would be embarrassed by it. I was in worse academic shape and couldn’t concentrate on any school subjects although many trusted friends had assured me that I’d have a bright future, provided I passed that damn course. And I prayed every hour, every day, in most inventive yoga poses.

But, God had different plans for me, or maybe he was residing on another planet and was unable to hear the loud chimes of the temple bells. Red-eyed, I read the headlines in the local newspaper, one Sunday morning, screaming that Dimple Kapadia had stolen my show. I lingered on his dialogue “Pushpaaaa, I hate tears!” that had graduated from being mere dialogues to evergreen iconic statements! Did he really hate tears? Fresh tears of self-pity had rolled down my smooth skin!

Hahahaahahahaa and Ha! On a second thought….

Was God to answer my prayers that year, I wonder, if I would be related to Akshay Kumar today? Eeeeeeeeeeeeks!!!!

In case you didn’t know, *Rajesh Khanna was the Bollywood super star of early seventies and Akshay kumar is an actor, married to his daughter, Twinkle Khanna*

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Change Ho!!!

Jumping into a pool of shit
Scavenging through garbage to seek gold
Licking out morsels through rich men’s plate
Spooning off eyeballs to get some dough

World sings ‘Jai ho’ around this globe
While the poor man sits outside a gate
Wearing garb of poverty
His tattered crown bringing fame and show

From rags to riches, the world rejoice
While we tread through those narrow lanes
Seeing hollow eyes, bloated tummy
Can we be proud of our helpless folks?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SMS poem- Murder

I sat 2 string d rays of d sun
2 garland d yellow half moon at night
It startled d waves that leaped from d sea n
Murdered d silence within me

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine Jinga-la-la

While all of Mumbai is busy discussing the safest way to celebrate the V-Day and there are cartons of ‘Pink Chaddis’ packed for this special day, my live-in maid, who is just twenty two years old, is unaware of such a campaign. She has no idea about our ministers’ threat to young couples or the extremity of anger from various nodes on the network. Her day activities are just cleaning my house, cooking meals for me or sit by my bedside and watch TV with me. Off late, I am aware that she has a boyfriend who is a security guard in some building, which is on the other side of Mumbai, and my suspicions have been confirmed on many occasions, when she has burnt my chapattis and fed the crows, or cooked the onion, too browned, during her long, long conversations on her mobile.

This morning, on Saturday, the 14th, when I return from my early morning jog, she announces that she is going out to celebrate the Valentine’s Day. She is a young girl and a cupid arrow has stung her and her hormones as well, I am not sure if I would like to ask her as to what ‘Sex’ means in her dictionary, nor is it my business to probe into her personal life. The fact is that I cannot grant her a leave today because I am expecting a guest for lunch.

She pouts, rolls her eyes and walks swiftly out of my room. I follow her to her room, towards the back of the kitchen and I see her jeans and ironed blouse, with frilly collar, spread across her bed.

I am feeling terribly guilty of offending her.

“Try to understand,” I plead, “Who will do the cooking and help me with work, if you go away?”

“I have an idea” she says and a smile returns to her face

“I will cook fast and finish all the work before going, I promise.” She says

I contemplate on an idea of taking my guest out for lunch, although I would still prefer to eat home-cooked food.

“I am planning to go after lunch,” she continues, “So I will cook enough for both of us and also for your guest.”

“Oh! Your boyfriend is not taking you out for lunch?” I say

“No, He is taking me for an afternoon show ‘Billu Babar’ and then for a Pani puri and chaat at Juhu beach.” She says

Well, if she has planned to cook for herself, then it will not be an extra effort for her to cook for me too, and since she will go after lunch I think I could manage without her help, on the contrary, I might even enjoy some privacy with my guest.

“See that you finish all the work before you go.” I warn her and return back to my bedroom to check my e-mail.

After an hour, I hear the door bell ring.

“Maam! Can you please answer the door?” she says

“No! You answer the door! I am busy, can’t you see that?” I say, irritated by her interruptions. My score graph on ‘Lexulous game’ at ‘Facebook’ is dipping and I am trying hard to concentrate on a seven letter word to revive my score board.

“Please Maam! Please, I am feeling shy to answer the door like this” she says as she stands at the entrance of my room.

I look away from my computer screen and turn to face her, I am shocked, to see her face grey and chapped. She has a face-mask!

“Please Maam, Your driver is at the door, he wants to ask your permission to drop me to the nearest train station.” She says

“My driver will not leave you to the station.” I say, raising my first finger and pointing at her, “You must take a bus.”

“Please Maam, let him drop me, it is just few minutes away, I will be delayed if I take a bus.”

Forcibly, I steer away from my computer and answer the door and permit my driver to reach my maid at the local train station.


I head back to my game on the net.

My guest arrives at one O’clock. My maid offers him orange juice and peanuts and I wait for her for another fifteen minutes, hoping that she will bring some snack for my guest, but, none arrive.

I go to the kitchen to see what she has prepared for lunch.

There is only yellow Jeera rice in the rice-cooker; vegetable curry and a salad.

“Maam, I don’t think I will have time for lunch, I am running late, I will eat Batawada-Pav at the railway station, can I go, please?” she says

I glare at her from top to bottom. I look with displeasure at her straight and shiny, blow-dried hair; thick black belt around her mid rib, separating her tuck-in blouse and jeans, white sandals, unmatched purse and a strong smell of a cheap perfume.

I don’t want my guest to see her like this. If I had a magic wand, I would swirl it around to make her disappear immediately.

“Go soon before I change my mind.” I snap at her.

I am back in the living room with an apologetic expression.

My guest and I go out for lunch and then head towards the nearest PVR and watch the evening show of a film ’Billu Barber’

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An Expensive Valentine

The Law says that ‘Valentine Day’ is a foreign concept and it is illegal to celebrate it in India

I call up Sunil early morning on 14th February to cancel my appointment with him.

“Why?” He says, “I have already booked a table at Sheraton, we have to close the deal today.”

“Oh! I am sorry, but I cannot meet you today because it is Valentine Day and we might get arrested if we are seen together.” I say

“But I am not your lover!! I am just a business consultant of my company in Bangkok” He protested

“Yeah, that’s true,” I say, “But how do I explain this to those cops who are patrolling the city, hunting for cupid arrows?”

“Look, be reasonable. I really have no day to waste, we have to meet today.” He argued

My mind reels back to different avenues in my area where it would be safe to meet. 5 star-Coffee shop?…no,Not safe at all! …Udipi?…nah!..can’t eat too many dosas…... Batatawala stall?….Nah!...unhygenic!..Juhu Beach?….hmmn…messy!...Local train?...too crowded!....Jogger’s Park?.. can’t jog while talking….My house?....Cannot!…neighbors are peeping!.....Where?. Where?, Where? ..It is important to meet him today, I know that too, but where the hell is the safest place to meet?….I cannot afford a ticket to Bangkok, just to attend this meet today!

We decide to meet at a fast food restaurant across the street.

At 1pm I enter the restaurant and request for a table for two.

“Sorry Maam” says the waiter, “We have no tables for two.”

I look around to take in the interior of the restaurant, the ambience is good, there is a sweet fragrance of food, beautiful pictures adorn the walls, all the tables in the restaurant have a clean, light blue table cloth with a small flower vase holding one stem of Orchid but each table has only one chair.

The waiter looks at me apologetically, shrugging his shoulder.

“Can you please join two tables so that I have two chairs to seat me and my friend?” I say.

“Sorry Maam” he says, “Cannot do that today, it is against the law.”

Sunil is surprised when he sees me sitting alone at the table and no chair for him

“I am afraid you will have to sit at your own table, over there, at the far end of the room” I smile

“And how do we discuss the deal?” he frowns his forehead

“Unworry. We have mobiles, we can discuss it on SMS’es” I say and turn my gaze to the menu card.

And so, for next two hours, while we enjoy the meals at our own single tables, we discussed the pros and the cons of the business deal by exchanging 325 SMS’es, nods and smiles between us..

Sunil insists on paying the bill for me.

Court hearing to our case is scheduled for the next week.

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