Sunday, May 29, 2011

Try licking fingers in a 5-star hotel

Over the weekend I went out for dinner with a few of my Indian friends. Apart from the fab menu and an even more hip ambience there were spoons, forks and knives, too. And my gourmet tolerance took a ride.

With all due respect and love to my SubContinent brethren, I dedicate this piece to you all.

This is my nth experience when domestic talk and holiday plans switched over to Geneva and Las Vegas once inside a 5-star environment. Wonder why. After all we are there to eat. And eat by chewing and tearing using the same set of yellowish, cavity-filled molars and tea-stained canines.

It doesn't matter if you are hanging out with childhood friends who've seen you in chaddis, I'm convinced beyond the realm of questioning that once you are holding a fork and a knife to spoon your hunger, you only  talk stocks and conferences.

Invariably, the conversation shifts from school fees and hypertension to suits and tuxedos of husbands.

Yes. It is women, who love announcing their self-conferred status. So what if the hubbies haven't seen the inside of a Taj or a Oberoi or Emirates Palace even - they have been on virtual trips to Copenhagen definitely. The once-in-a-blue-moon meeting with a superior becomes "Oh! my husband is always attending conferences around the world...", accompanied with a drawling demonstrative sigh, as if they get to do the act even only up mid-air!

The best part is these are the same local sleuths who love licking their fingers schchum, schchum, schchum, when others around are busy manipulating the innocent weapons in hand. Or whose spaghetti gets sucked in deep down their oesophagus threatening to take the fork inside as well.

Shut your mouths, idiots!

The simple act of closing the mouth will not only ensure you bite that pasta at the desired end but also help you balance the fork between the left fingers, too. Not to mention, it would be a great relief to the men folk (those mamma's men who are pot-bellied, blurping and ****ing) who could take care of their sound effects - and save the others on the table from the eeew, eeew and icky factor.

Why do Indian men make terrible eaters? If they bite into an apple then the juice gets sprayed out like coloured water from toy guns of kids; when they drink tea, it is akin to starting a bike and if it's coffee (especially a freshly brewed cuppa) then God save you from a vehicle without a silencer. Even the mundane daal-chawal and roti is eaten with a vengence in the name of relishing. The ceremony of each bite involves tearing a big portion of roti, folding it and scooping in the daal all the while the tougue hanging out like man's faithful friend until ultimately the five fingers carry the catch of the day to place it hurriedly amid the gluey mucilage with a shruuuum...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Even freedom comes @

Have you noticed how you fail to enjoy things that come free? Be it  free of cost or effort. Anything availed free will haunt you for the rest of your life in some way.

Avail anything price-free and watch unpleasant thing/s following or a hidden sting piercing through you at a time in the future, when you would have long-forgotten what you even availed of.

Consider these..
Groceries - The fewer the currency notes you exchange the quicker the vegetables/fruits rot in your fridge.

Apparel - Not brands - the everyday middle-class stuff if picked up for their rates rather than fabric, then you see their colour run or hem torn even before you've quenched your desire to flaunt in them.

More seriously...
Jobs - If you are offered a salary more than what you actually deserve, then surely you'll get to see less of your family or worse still be made a scapegoat for your superior's mistakes.

Favours - If you seek of someone, rest assured you will have to compromise at the most demanding of personal times.

Most profound...
Education - If you avail of free school education (consider the government-run institutes in the SubContinent), then you'll be free the rest of your adult life!

Worse still...
Degrees/certificate - If you were to get degrees or certificates free of the effort required, then rest assured you will be accountable for others' lives. Consider the fake pilot licences, fake surgeons and teachers' cases battled out in the corridors of power in India alone.

More examples later...

Thankfully, poultry owners and farmers do not require certificates to get about their businesses.

Brains come free in our package. Let's use it to our whims and not trade it with @. Lest we become 'dom' and free - a lethal combination!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stinky secrets

My experience as early as in high school taught me that superstitions can be silly, screwy and even stinky. The last classification I had forgotten until I met an ambitious colleague at the workplace recently.

As for my personal tyrst with superstitions, it began and ended with mynas. One for sorrow, 2 for joy, 3 for letter, 4 for boy, 5 for silver, 6 for gold, 7 for stories yet untold, 8 for a wish, 9 for a kiss; 10 for something never to be missed...

Know not when the myna myth built a nest inside me. As teenagers we loved looking out for myna pairs in college. And if we saw one then hurriedly looked for its partner or alternatively looked for a crow. The belief - a crow can take away the sorrow of the lone myna from affecting you. What logic!

However, it was only mynas in pairs or sorrowful singletons. Never dared a kiss and I didn't know what I missed. Finally, when the smooch-time struck, I lacked patience to go looking for nine chocolatey birds up in the sky. Because...I will reveal no more. Strictly censor personal stuff.

However, in general, when it comes to superstitions the most private of stuffs tend to call the shots.

In one of our math periods in Class X, my friend shrieked 'I knew it', on getting her test papers. While, all heads turned towards her, she revealed in whispers to me..."You know this is the 6th day I've worn the same pantie...Whenever I wear this I get good marks."

But why 6 days in a row, for Pete's sake?

"Didn't Ma'am say we'll get the papers on Monday. Have been waiting for it every day. How can I risk changing? No babaa!"

Stinky! Phew.

I had almost forgotten this incident, until I made friends with a  colleague in office. She's a self-confessed ambitious and over-driven workaholic, striking the same pose every time she enters the conference room for the weekly meetings.

Pulls the chair with the right hand. Transfers the file and pen from her right arm onto her left palm and places them on the table. Picks at the strap of her bag from the right forearm and keeps it on the floor on the left side and walks around the chair to enter from the right. Thrusts her chin up and shakes the hair off her shoulder as she lowers herself into the chair.

Then she adjusts diagonally in the chair with one butt lifted and the leg corresponding to that side of her arse crossed over the opposite leg. She calls it the 'commanding position'. "It shows confidence," she says. All through the meeting her nose and chin perform the attitude-throws and palms dismiss unwanted proposals but the propped-up section of her behind remains static as if fixed with glue in thin air - no matter how long the meeting runs.

Am sure there's a pantie-secret to it. On meeting days probably she jumps into and manages to pull up some decades-old, ill-fitting undie for things to go her way! I bet.

BTW, I was too curious and did try the 'commanding posture' at home. Shit, it hurts. That's what I call a real pain in the arse!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sick of Osama and Obama...now must bear the dog, too

One man is finished. Got his share of hoopla even in death. The other man has done it. Has received his share of euology. 

Only when I thought we've moved on, a dog began stalking us.


The media seems determined to keep bin Laden alive. It's almost a week since the most-wanted terrorist was lowered at the Arabian Sea, and still prime-time minutes and reels of newsprint are being wasted on him.

With nothing substantial coming off discussions on where the US-Pak relations stand following the aftermath or the US' modus operandi, the hot topic now is whether a dog was involved in the operation.

Its breed, its skills, its temperament, its training, its intelligence, its agility...oh my! just stops short of its poo!

As if the dog's vital statistics will reveal all that Obama refuses to say.

Do laymen care if the Pakistan President was aware of the attack or their intelligence were unaware. Or whether bin Laden's end is the beginning of second-term dreams for the other?

What people really would like to know is if Al Qaeda will explode in their neighbourhood. In the name of revenge will we be the next victims? Can anyone gurantee our lives?

Well, world leaders echoed.."with Osama bin Laden gone it is not the end to terrorism, the battle continues". Thank you for the wise words.

Now can we leave the Os behind and move on? We need to take care of ourselves.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The day my child's teacher let her down

Primary school children idolise their teachers - their word is The Bible. And my daughter is no exception.

There are days when she jumps out of her school bus beaming and runs towards me...In that splash of a second I conjure up 10 reasons for her happiness. She possibly received a reward; no, a compliment could
be; or possibly her friend's birthday...

But she'll wrap her hands around my waist and announce: "You know what mamu, Ma'am asked me to be the leader again today." Or "You know what mamu, Ma'am wore a pink skirt today. Oh! she was soooooo beautiful." One day it was her touch. "You know what mamu, I touched Ma'am's palm. Oh, sooooooo soft. Really." [The really comes whenever I smile.]

My child's you-know-what-mamu-incidents are stress busters for me. The little happenings in class hold immense importance to her. She feels majestic when asked to lead or feels special when her friend takes her
around to distribute sweets on her birthday. And when her teacher showers a compliment...WOW! I'll need a tranquiliser to calm her down!

But last week, my child got off the bus with a pout. It took her a long while to get speaking. And when she did I had reason enough to believe my child was let down. Let down by her teacher!

Painting competition 

The school management was selecting students for a painting competition.

"You know mamu, my art teacher came to our class yesterday and said who all can draw nicely, raise your hands. So some of us did and ma'am asked us to draw something that will show friendship."

The chosen few followed their art teacher to another classroom. At the end of the period, their teacher walked in to collect the work.

"But it was break time. So ma'am said, those of you who did not complete, can go to your classes and complete the drawing and submit later."

Yeah, then what happened?

"Wait, I'll show you." I thought she had got her work back from the teacher.

"But you know what mamu, Dolly. Remember I told you she was my partner. Ah! that Dolly, she came to class, took our Hindi text book and copied the picture from this chapter. See this picture? She drew
the saaaammmme. Same picture."

And her pout grew bigger.

"That's bad manners," I assured her.

And there flowed the stream. She hugged me and cried..."But mamu, she got selected. She copied and ma'am selected her. We all drew from imagination.

"And you know what mamu, Dolly says, ma'am said we can copy. But I didn't hear ma'am say that. Everyone can draw nicely, if we copy. This is wrong, isn't it?"

As I stood clueless about what to reply, she continued..."I went to art ma'am and told her."

Zap! My ears stood up. "You complained about Dolly?"

"No. Why should I complain. I wanted to know if ma'am said we can copy."

Innocent, my child! What was the use. Too late, anyways. But I restrained myself at the last moment from thinking out loud.

"Ah? What did she say?"

"You know what mamu, ma'am said 'yes, we can copy and draw'. And when I said Dolly copied this picture and she got selected, ma'am said, 'it's ok. She will practise for the competition'."

"All of us can practise and draw nicely."

...and what did you say, I asked?

"I said ok ma'am, thank you and went to my class."

I prayed my helplessness didn't pass on to my child as I held her close.

"It's ok, my darling. Only true talent will last, I explained. And the most important thing is you were sincere in your approach. So what if you are not selected. I'm proud of you."

"Only you! What about papa?"

There that's my child back in her elements in a jiffy with a tight hug.