Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Things You Didn't Know You'd Say in a Marriage

Well, there are a hundred in this list, but I thought I mustn't be the one credited with the extinction of an age-old institution, so I put forth here only a 10 pointer.
  •  Statement 10 : "I wonder where he gets his stupidity from. Not my side of genes, I assure you." - A statement most commonly used when an offspring gets bad grades in school, beats up other kids, makes embarrassing statements in public, or all of the above. Of course, this statement is only relevant to partners who have children and does not count for the ones who are still in the process of being conned by various relatives into being parents.
  • Statement 9 : "You are 3.2 centimeters closer to the switch, so why don't you get it?" - This is the climax of a very mature conversation involving very high analysis and decision making skills. The said conversation begins when any one of the spouses tells the other one to switch on/off an electrical appliance such as a light, fan, AC, TV etc. Can also be used when it involves things like shutting the door, answering the telephone etc. A direct co-relation has been established between the frequency of usage of this sentence, and the number of years of marriage.
  • Statement 8 : "Of course I liked the gift." A simple guide to understanding what it most probably means:
    • 'I hate that color. Will get it exchanged once he forgets about it.'
    • 'I will never use that. Wonder where she gets these weird ideas from. Maybe there's a refund policy.'
    • 'When will they stop showing brainless ads of these on TV.... as if real men used them!'
    • 'Hmmmm...... maybe, if I turned this inside out, I could learn to like the color.'
    • 'Red? Again? The guy needs to go through a crash course in colors.'
    • 'Wonder if that stupid secretary bought this one too.'
  • Statement 7 : "In a meeting, honey." Yup! A guide to what it means - again:
    • The obvious; you know - the thing almost all Ekta Kapoor Serials are made of.
    • 'I did not check if the movie tickets are available - lemme get out of this one alive!'
    • The final over in an India -Pakistan match. Wait - I'd rather not even pick up the phone
    • The jerk! He forgot our anniversary - let him grovel!
    • Maybe - just maybe, in a meeting
  • Statement 6 : 'I woke up the last time......' usually accompanied by a whine, found among specimens that have mutated into something called 'parents'. Most commonly used when they have to deal with national emergencies like soiled diapers, refilling of the feeding bottle, or just plain play-with-baby-at-midnight regime.
  • Statement 5: 'Whoa! You're gonna eat that?' Extremely suicidal tendencies may cause a spouse (usually the male) to use this statement to the other, who in turn, may turn homicidal.
  • Statement 4 : "Who ate that last gulab jamun?" (or pizza, or chocolate bar. Never, never an apple, a salad or a bowl of sprouts) - Self explanatory.
  • Statement 3 : "Lets get this straight - you asked me to marry you." Sometimes this statement may resemble a broken record - interspersed with bouts of crying. Other versions may include 'I should have listened to my mother / friends / neighbour / pet dog....." (no, fathers don't make it to that list, and mothers top that list)
  • Statement 2 : "But you used to like it ....." could be used in varying intensity depending on usage - from a personal quirk (like a snorting laugh, or an a nasal twang a la Reshammiya, etc.)to food, item of clothing, or bedroom moves.
  • Statement Numero Uno : 'You've changed.' This little bomb demands special attention from the listener. Things you should not do if you want to live to see your next birthday:
    • Statement 7 
    • Statement 5 (Ensures torture before death)
    • Statement 3 (Ditto)
    • 'So have you!' (Most commonly used, and proof that idiots still exist. Will secure the talker a position on the couch.)
Any additions?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The twleve-year snapshots

 "Happy Anniversary," G called out shyly from the bathroom. (Yes, we still call ours a bathroom, in spite of repeated reminders from the kiddo who goes to class 4 that its a 'washroom'). I sometimes wonder how G could be shy one minute and cocky the other - one of the attributes that I married him for, I suddenly realize.

"You remember?".  I am genuinely shocked at being taken by surprise yet again, by the guy I thought I knew like the back of my hand.

"Um-hmm..... Ofcourse I remember. Just because a few times I forgot random dates doesn't mean I'll do it always." That was the cocky G.

Its a working day today, and we were getting ready for a normal day ahead.

We suddenly discovered that we had nothing to say - none of the romantic banter that one associates with Wedding Anniversaries - especially since the kids had been packed off to school. We had our morning tea together. Just the two of us, the sound of the morning birds chirping and the occasional 'slurp' of the tea.

After tea, a quick squeeze of my hand, and a quick "See you in the evening" was enough to bring a smile to my lips and tune in my head for the rest of the day. While driving to work, my mind takes a historical tour of the 12 years that I've been the 'missus'  G.

I remembered the hushed conversation over the STD phone call (for the gen next kids, an STD is something that we needed on landlines to be able to call long distance. No, mobiles were not attached to our ears back then) G and I had, way past midnight a few days before our wedding. It had to be past midnight, because that was the only time we had privacy (since land line phones were almost always in the living room). And the conversation went thus:

G : "I've got all the travel arrangements done. After the wedding here in Delhi, we need to spend two days here, and then we all travel back to Kerala for the reception there." (this complex situation arose because I belong to a clan of uber conservative folks in Kerala, and he, from Delhi)

Me : "Ok. I hope it doesn't cost a bomb...... Aunty and Uncle (now Mom and Papa) are ok with the long travel, I hope."

G : "Don't worry. They can't wait to see your place. And I've booked the best tickets. (I could almost see his chest puffing up in pride). And its okay if we spend a little on this travel - and I booked the three tickets much in advance..... don't worry"

Me (suddenly fully awake) : "Err..... How many tickets did you say?"

G : "Three - one for Papa, one for Mom, and one for me."

Me : "Ummmm............. ok. And I presume you will be sitting next to my photograph in the reception. Or were you thinking of polygamy?"

G: "Oh shit! Gotto go. Will call you tomorrow. Bye."


After we were married, we had various official formalities to get done - especially since both of us worked with the same organization. All our trips to our common office spots - the head office, the unit in which we worked, the office parties, - we were an awkward couple.

We couldn't hold hands without looking sheepish. When we crossed paths in the office, we would do our best to look all professional, and would have succeeded too, had it not been for snickering friends in the background. We still ensured we had our lunches together, much later than the lunch rush hour. Thus ensured we got a few precious moments of 'couple' time.

I love to dance, and he would accompany me just for company. Given a choice, he would rather sit nursing a drink, chatting with a select few friends. In parties of common friends, when we were shoved into the dance floor, G never knew what to do with his hands during the slow dances. He managed the superb feat of keeping me away from anyone who came slightly close, without making any obvious moves.

G was not a big fan of my working odd hours. We were both hoteliers, and he knew the physical and mental exertion it took to be one. I loved my job, and so did he. While there were mumbling protests from him when we started leaving sticky notes on the fridge to communicate with each other, he never took it beyond the ultra-sound mumbles. So when I started feeling the pinch of exertion during advanced pregnancy, we had a hilarious conversation

Me : "Why don't you ask me how I feel these days?"

G : "How are you feeling?"

Me : "I feel like murdering someone. Who does X think he is ? Typical MCP. He's your friend no? And what does he know about par stocks? And I can do a better job than him while I am in the labor room. All men are the same - condescending MCPs. Try being pregnant - and you'll know. Sometimes I want to throw this whole damn job and sit at home."

G : "Er...... Ummmm.............."

Me : "Seriously, sometimes I think its not worth it. There! I am not ashamed to admit it! I am tired. I want a break."

G : "Er...... Ummmm.........Err........"

Me : "When are you going to graduate from Errr..... Ummmm? I knew it! You don't care about what I'm going through. Earlier you used to ask me how I felt..... now you just don't care! You were the one who wanted a baby - you should be the one suffering morning sickness and bloated ankles...." (With as dignified a walk-out as a football with legs could muster)

G : (five minutes later, with a cup of tea) "Chai piyogi?" (Will you have tea?) "I think you should take a break. You are working too hard. And you can always think of teaching maybe, if you are bored later."

Me : "There you go again! How typical. Teaching! What the hell do you think I will do in a roomful of kids? You think that's a safe job don't you? Gimme that tea."

G : "Or you could have the baby in the hotel laundry room. We can call the house doctor when you have your contractions. I don't think it should be a problem"

Me : "@#$%!!!"

G: "You know you are tired, and you know you want to take a break. Why is this so difficult? We are going to have a baby, and we are all stressed about it. (I gave him a dirty look here) .....You more than me, but the truth is that you do need to take things easy now. Look - lets do something. You take a break, do what you've always wanted to do, read a few books, heck - even write something if you feel like it. And whenever you think you are ready to get back, we'll do the hunting together."

With a hint of a smile when he knew he'd almost won the argument

G: "And with your credentials, you'll not be hunting, you'll be hunted!"

Me : "Oh shut up!" (but mighty pleased with the turn of events, and with the superb ginger tea he's made for me)

A major phase in my life had ended with that day. I never went back to hotel operations, but this decision opened up another phase in my life. And the whole credit goes to a man with huge watery eyes, a purposeful stride (even if he's just walking away a cramp) and a cocky sense of humour who walked into my life and turned it upside down.

With the birth of junior G, I had discovered emotions in my husband of three years, that I had never seen before. He sat up the whole night in the hospital, barely blinking, barely breathing, holding little G. No amount of coaxing would make him put her in her crib till he finally believed that she was real, that she was his, and that he would be spending the rest of his life worrying about her.

We have had terrible fights too. From earth jarring door slamming to ear shattering silence, we've done it all. From cynical remarks about each others quirks, to silent jealous pangs, we've had our worst moments too.

But when I take a moment out of the mundane, to think of the man I am married to, all I can remember are the one liners that made me laugh myself to tears or the silent gestures that give me the strength to take on anything in the world.

Happy twelfth anniversary, G.

P.S. A request from a blogger friend was for the complete foto :-)


Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh! The Woes of Civilization

Hey! All you strange people out there!

Yes, yes ...... you guys! The ones who call yourselves 'liberal' and 'educated'. I have had enough of this nonsense of you guys going on and on about women's rights! What exactly are you propagating?

Are you telling me that we aren't modern enough for you firangis ? You and your chowmein and your mobile phone wielding women! Tch! Tch!

When a very learned friend said that chowmein caused all the rapes, you guys scoffed at him! This is nothing to scoff about - its pure science! Don't you realize that all those 'spagetti tops' these women wear reminds our poor boys of the chowmein and they want to just tear off those tops and eat them? And you call yourself educated!

And what is this hue and cry about about mobiles for women? Have you actually seen girls talking on mobile phones? They look so happy! Now you tell me  - don't we all know that womenfolk aren't supposed to be happy! It is in our culture that women should not be happy....

Have you ever seen a happy Sita Maiyya? Can you imagine her laugh with gay abandon into her mobile phone complaining that Lord Ram was taking too long to rescue her?  Do you think Ravana would have left her in peace if she kept laughing and joking into her mobile phone? And then you blame our poor boys!

Or imagine if Radhaji had a mobile phone, and kept disturbing Bhagwan Krishna while he was killing all those Rakshasas!! They were the true women - beautiful, sad and pining! No happiness for the real women. No sir! They are the real Indian women. And you should be thanking us for all that we are doing to take this country to Ram Rajya.

Let me ask you something - why do you think there is so much poverty in this land?

Hmmmph!! It has nothing to do with corruption - it is pure statistics, I tell you! We are poor because of this damn thing called equality!

Earlier, we only had to cook enough food for the men. After the men ate, the women (and the girls too) would just scrape off whatever was left and feed themselves - like real women should! And now we have to buy groceries for the women in the house too - it is truly Kalyug!

In the good old days, the boys would go to study or go outside to play, and the girls would be cooking and washing for them at home. If they did not wash or cook well, we could beat them up. And then see how the productivity of the whole country would have gone up!!

 But NO....... you and your fancy foreign concepts of resepect and equality for these women *gasp!*  only brought the whole country to the dogs. And now we are talking about stopping moksha for these cursed souls by not killing them in their wombs! How much more are you going to waste the nation's money on women? Where has all you patriotism gone now?

All you people want is to malign the poor Godfearing menfolk of this land.
Don't we fast for Durga Ma for 9 days?
Don't we sing 'Jai Ambe Gauri......' very loudly during the pujas?
Don't we wash young girls feet during the kanya puja?
What more do you expect out of us? Treat our daughters like we treat our sons (shudder!!!!)........ And let them be happy?

You must all be out of your minds!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review - Just Married Please Excuse

There were some rules I had made for myself with regards to the kind of books I would read. I promised myself that I would read very selected desi books. No, please don't judge me - its just that after a certain point, there was nothing that I would remember about the book, if someone were to ask me about it. Not many pages out of the book stayed in your head for long.

I was at a blogger meet recently where a charming young woman named Yashodhara Lal was helping us with writing tips. The book titled 'Just Married Please Excuse' was doing quite well among young readers, and she was letting us know how the book came about. Her talk was not 'gyan' and felt genuine. I got myself the book and settled down to read it, as usual, after the kids had been tucked in.

In my usual style, a review

  • Plot : A city bred girl decides to get married to a diametrically opposite guy. The story revolves around the actual course of events through coutship, newly married days and the newly attained status of parenthood. Nothing new. But wait! Most books leave out the embarrassing moments of truth. This one thrives on it.
Give me an honest answer to this question - when was the last time you had tears in your eyes from laughing so hard after reading a book? Not recently, huh? This one scores hands down in the humour quotient. I had a concerned 9 year old come and check on me becasue of all the guffawing.

But you know what takes the humour to another level? The fact that it is so damn truthful!!
  • Writing style : I am a short story writer, and I couldn't write a novel to save my life! So I have immense respect for writers who write a novel in the same pace as that of a short story. This one has break neck speed. So make sure you have every distraction tucked away before you sit with this book. A few burnt dinners guaranteed otherwise :-).
 I finished the book in one sitting (finished it at about 4 am). A few strategically placed Hindi words and a few dialogues in the 'conversational' English that we love to use only makes the book easier to comprehend. Again, the triumph of simplicity over enthusiastic use of big words.
  • Character Development : This is where the author seems to have put her observation skills to good use. There are a handful of continuous characters, and these characters are for me, now people who have a face, a voice, a dressing style (hell, even a quirk!) in my mind. Even the random walk-by characters have their space in the book. Kudos!

  • Words and Print quality : Its a Harper Collins - period. No typos, no editing goof ups, and certainly no grammatical errors (other than the ones the author wanted to bring in for effect). Thumbs up here!

  • Final Verdict : I now possess a book that I will go to, when I have had a particularly bad hair day, to remind myself that marriage and kids are just another window to open up and take in a breath of fresh air. A book that couples can read and laugh together - you may even have wide eyed 'OMG! Thats so true!' being doled out in good measure. Also a book I have recommended to friends who share a sarcastic streak. A definite read!  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Love? Bah! Humbug! - My entry to the GetPublished contest

A beautiful, remote beach resort, renowned for being a honeymooner's paradise. Spread over acres and acres of land, with a private beach, golden sands, luxurious rooms beautiful swimming pools at split levels. Ruby red sunsets, cloudless, shimmering nights and the constant lull of waves that came to kiss the land......

The ideal setting for that perfect love story which could make Romeo and Juliet blush with inadequacy. A love tale that could have been an epic to be told and retold...... Right?


G and M couldn't see eye to eye. Literally. They met, they glared, they schemed against each other and they tried to walk separate ways; if only the world would let them be ..............

Based on the real life story of a couple pushed together by fate, love in this story is like a naughty child, springing surprises on the unsuspecting people involved. But sometimes, things really don't happen as you want them to.......... or do they?

Excerpt from the story :

"Wait a minute, you two!" The only person who could make us sit in one room for more than a few seconds was the General Manager of the hotel where G and I were colleagues. "M, if I hear one more complaint about you throwing G's files into the shredder, I will personally ensure your transfer to the Housekeeping department."

I nodded emphatically, hoping that would pacify the Boss. I was in no mood to cut short my career in hotels, just because I wanted to punch G's smirk; but I was seething inside.

G's cinemascopic smile froze on his face when the GM turned to him. "And you..... If I ever hear about you changing the office locks without giving her a key, I will shift your office to the bhoot bangla (the haunted room). Am I clear or do you want written communication to remind you in case you forget?"

"S(He) started it." We both mumbled under our breaths.

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Do vote for it on this link at Harper Collins if you would like to see this story complete itself .....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I, Me and dumber Myself

I had an aching posterior, most probably due to the graceful moves associated with slipping on a tiled floor.  After having cursed my inclination towards overdosing the 'Death by chocolate' dessert for my clumsiness, I decided to sleep out the pain.

That's when I had a strange dream where I had a very weird conversation  with a younger, prettier, dumber myself. A ME that was a decade and a half younger....

Me : Hey you look just like me!!

Younger Me : Well duh! I should think so...... I am you, dumbo (followed by an irritating guffaw that had intermittent snorts. I winced, thinking of all the people who knew the Younger Me, and mentally congratulated Me for doing such a good job of Myself!)

Me : WTF!! Then what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be like inside of me or something? I ain't dead or anything am I?

Younger Me: (that guffaw again!..... God! do I laugh like that?) : No you're not dead - for now! But looks like you soon will be!

Me : Ha! You dare advise me? Look at you, you and your silly happy guffaws and your pipeline jeans and your curves and your bloody lovely hair ..... Err.... I mean you with your inexperience, and your hollow existence!

Younger Me : Well, why shouldn't I advise you? Guess who's been making record-breaking embarrassing mistakes just for your benefit? You, however, seem to have an asinine reluctance to learn from them! Do you know how difficult it is to grin stupidly in a roomful of people snickering at you? You do realize that my very existence is questionable if you haven't learnt from my mistakes, right?

Me : No way, dudette! There's nothing you can do that I can't do better!

Younger me : For starters, I can wear spandex - so just shut up and listen. Also, I can laugh at myself ...... can you?

Me : Ha! How hollow! ..... Can you be the super mom that I am? Or the creative mastermind that I am at work? Can you even write an essay without messing up sheets and sheets of paper? Do you even know what a blog is? No match - I told you!

Younger me : Hmmm..... well,  I have a beautiful handwriting, I am told. And honestly, you want to tell me that you prefer punching keys to actually writing? I mean the sound of real pencil on real paper. The joy of discovering that particular pen that fits so perfectly between your index finger and your thumb..... the joy of collecting beautiful pens, the exhilaration when you just changed the refill...... (now looking genuinely surprised)..... you've forgotten all about them, haven't you? (now with an accusing look)

Me (feeling a little uneasy now) : One's got to change with the times. Think of the time it would take me to write all this stuff with a real pen? And use what whitening fluid for corrections? Yuck! Anyway - that's not a big thing! Look at all the stuff I've achieved....

Younger Me : Yeah..... ok. Well, do you have better friends now? I mean do you have the kind of friends I had? The kind who would wake you up in the dead of night to tell you they forgot to wash their clothes tonight and they had to wear it tomorrow, and so you both had to wash it in darkness coz' the landlord would blow his top? No? Well, what about friends who will drop everything to be with you because your dog died? No? Okay I get it! You have friends who would give you the last hundred bucks in their wallet because you had that urgent STD call? Ummmm...... No, huh?

Me : But I have my priorities now! And frankly, this romantic gibberish is far below in my list. Unlike you, I have a house, a car and a career (almost expecting Younger Me to do a 'Shashi Kapoor - Mere paas Ma hai" on me after this!). You didn't think all this just fell into my lap for being a wistful, twenty something with lovely skin, dreamy eyes and long, luscious hair err....... I mean, by being a foolish Utopian, did you?

Younger me : Well, I had more character, you know! Not to mention vivid imagination! Look at you - you watch Shirish Kunder movies!!!!!

Me : Heyyyy! Not fair....that was a mistake - I thought I was going to watch Rowdy Rathore....

Younger Me : Me, Me, Me...... sigh! Now how does that logic make you look any better?

Me : Oh Ok.... that was not the right argument! Anyway, your logic is flawed too. If I was you, I'd be sent to the nearest mental asylum! You laugh like a hiccuping train, you cry when you watch silly stuff like 'Tangled', you smile at absolute strangers, just because you feel 'the sun was nice and bright today', you lend money to people who can't possibly pay you back, you dance 'for the heck of it', you go 'awwwww' the moment you see a stray pup............ you are a certified nut job!

Younger Me : And you? You laugh as though it costs you a fortune! You get embarrassed by emotions - you don't shed a tear even when you know that its the best tribute! You squint and growl at strangers because they delayed starting their car a microsecond too late at a traffic light. You save up for months to buy something of immense monetary value - and yet your happiness does not live beyond a few days, sometimes hours........ Who's the real nut job? (Horrible, horrible laugh again)

Younger Me was a scheming little thing, let me tell you. She used my momentary shock due to the Ravana guffaw, to drive in more irrelevant, irreverent stuff

Younger Me : Do you even remember the last time you laughed while reading a book? No, not that simian show where a cricketer and a man...err...woman...err...I have no clue, sit on a show and laugh themselves senseless on equally tasteless jokes...... but a real book? Or do you remember the last long drive, when you drove to feel the wind in your hair? Or the last time you cooked leisurely, thinking of the reaction when the person you cooked for, saw it?

Rudely woken up by the alarm clock, I was grateful I didn't have to hear that awful laugh again. Ofcourse, I know Younger Me was stupid.......... Right?

(Pic courtesy google images)


Monday, October 15, 2012

All is Fair ..... and Lovely!

Apparently, these days, interviews are all about slathering copious amounts of 'Fair and lovely'...errr .... 'Fair and handsome'....err..... 'Dumb and confused' on one's face, accompanied by an exaggerated Tom Selleck cocky eyebrow. It really doesn't matter what crap you say in the interview, as long as you look like a 'fair' model. Thats what this ad would like us to believe anyway. So make way, IITs and IIMs - qualification was just an excuse. What we really want to see is if you turned up the 'fair-o-meter'.

"Just rub 1 ml of cream into eyes of the people you want to impress, and voila!" Pic. courtesy Google

Similarly, if you are a badminton player or a tennis player, you apparently will not win a game, if you aren't (wait for it.......) 'fair' !! Wonder if other racket sports have the same problem? Maybe then the Willaims sisters bribed their way into lead positions!

And how can you forget that unforgettable appendage called gasp! the underarms? Heavens will thunder and the earth crack open if you have dark underarms. Gone are the days when everyone from the carefree Auntyji to the ooh so sexy Bengali didi used to don sleeveless without a care in the world! Today we have to get those 'fairness deos' before we attempt the impossible - wave a hearty goodbye in a sleeveless top!

The height of sophistication seems to be having 'fair' 'intimate parts' too. Losing the lustre in a relationship? No problem. Nah! What you need is not a marriage counsellor, but get your intimate parts shining fair and lovely! (See? We are a progressive nation. Whoever said we were not modern?). Don't believe me? Watch this !!

We are now so bombarded with the fairness virus, that we do not bat an eyelid if a pehelwan uses a whitening cream, or if we have men rushing for shelter to protect their delicate skin from the sun's darkening rays. A new dimension to gender equality, folks! Just when we thought the 'fairer sex' was just a metaphor, we now have competition here too!

By the way, if you are a talented singer, or dancer, all is lost of you are not granted that magic cream which gives you the 'raison d'etre' ..... Fairness!  After all, can you see even one matrimonial ad that says 'dusky, awesome girl'? Chances are, you will not. And ofcourse, we all know that the final destination is righ there in these ads...... so why not start young, huh?

What tickles my funny bone is that when an appropriately called "FakingNews" newsletter declares that a new Fairness Cream for Newborns has been discovered, they received a rush of comments asking for further details. (dont forget to scroll down to read the comments for a huge dose of laughter)

Can you imagine the pain, the frustration of a parent with a beautiful but dusky complexioned baby? The poor kid will not be able to win a match, or display a talent, or hell, even get an 'affsar - wala' job, for heavens' sake! And lets not even get to the part where the poor family looks for a 'fair' spouse for the kid!!

The post itself is howlarious, with a reporter called 'Pagal Patrakaar' doing a superb job of calling a spade a tractor; but what really takes the cake is the comments section - do go through the pitiful frantic pleas of worried mothers (and fathers) waiting to lay their hands on this cream for newborns ....................

There are yet others who have given appropriate (if not deserving) replies to these parents. Some replies I wanted to stand up and give a standing ovation. :-)

Certainly makes one stop and think - is beauty really skin deep? I am afraid not.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Letter to the Torch Bearers of Indian Civilization

This post is a Blogadda Spicy Saturday Pick

Dear Sirs and Madams,

We are indeed blessed to have been born into the oldest civilization in the world. The glorious land of thousands of Gods and Goddesses, where unmatched works of art and literature were created; where we have people like you to lead us into the most desired, most blessed civilization the world is yet to see.

The most remarkable individuals that you are, we have to thank you for all those times that you have proved again and again that we are indeed, a nation full of idiots.

While we have people like the Madam who taught us that being called 'sexy' by a bunch of rogues in a street full of castrated, spineless creatures is actually a good thing. We, mere women, were so stupid to think that being treated as an object was actually bad! You opened our eyes to the truth, Madam. Ofcourse, such remarks from random guys on the road are, in reality, a boost to our morale. It also gives us the impression that we, just like you, are young and desirable. Does that also mean, Madam, that when we ignore such comments, and the said 'enthusiastic boys' decide to discover silence as a code to push their luck further, we send them to your address?

In yet another enlightening moment, Madam also educated us simple mortals that your jeans, or your off shoulder dress is actually a code, in the language of her ancestors, to invite an assault on yourself. Ofcourse! Why didn't we ever think of that, Madam - really a eureka moment here. Poor 'enthusiatic boys'! How can we expect them to control their animal urges when we invite them to rape us by not following a dress code? And to think we had the audacity to demand punishment for the poor rapists! Shame on us!

By the way, lets not forget your esteemed sister, who had very selflessly given away the details of a molestation victim all over national media! In these troubled times, who gives away the limelight to another? But Madam did it with such ease! It takes unfathomable levels of stupidity, and an equal measure of insensitivity to achieve such a feat! Kudos, Madam.

But nothing quite prepares the mind for the astounding discovery by you, esteemed Sir, on the direct co relation between the marriageable age of girls of our nation and the enviable rape statistics of the country. I am sure a discovery of this magnitude could only have come with rigorous research and single minded devotion on the part of the highly educated research analysts assigned to our rural villages, also lovingly known as khaps. You have proven beyond a sliver of doubt that the right to decide when to marry, who to marry and whether to marry at all or not, should not rest with the stupid parents, or gasp!! the girl!........ God forbid if they decide to wait till the girl child is a well educated, confident woman!  Can you imagine how tragic it would be if every girl in the country knew all her rights!! Thank God for such visionaries such as yourself, who most certainly will take us back to the days of glorious Aurangzeb reign! Also, thank God for this glorified, legal, indigenous institution whereby you can, in the comfort of your home, rape young girls at your own convenience - legally!

Epic brainwave, I tell you Sir!!

Last but certainly not the least, this years winner of 'Size 11 foot in mouth' Award goes to the epitome of intelligent life forms. This gentleman has single-handedly, managed to discover the missing link in the evolution of man from monkeys - himself!!

There was a time when consensual sex meant just that! Today, thanks to this genius of a monkey....errr....man, we now know that 'gang-rap(e)' (not to be confused with Gangsta rap, an art form which requires much higher skill levels than owning a penis) is actually a mutated variant of consensual sex. So what if popular belief defines gang rape different from consensual sex! We know it to be one and the same, and this explains our tolerance, and our encouraging, nurturing attitude towards the previously misunderstood breed of people called rapists! Way to go, Vatsyayna'a first cousin!

Sincerely yours,

The Stupid people who vote for you

The Cord (redux-ed)

This was my first work of fiction, which got published in an online fiction mag. (Some of you may have already read it). But the mag seems to have drowned into a state of suspension, and I miss reading it ....... so here goes! (Please do remember that this was written by a younger me. Judge gently :-))

She stretched on her bed, while attempting to open her eyes against the morning sun. The movement caused her feet to tingle - her legs seemed to have developed a sleep-wake cycle of their own these days. She saw the red nail paint on her feet and suddenly remembered that she had to wear white today. She never had many clothes in white; Ma didn’t approve of young women wearing white – they were reserved for funerals. She remembered Ma insisting on colorful stoles to counter the whites in her wardrobe when she would dress for college.
     But this was a funeral – the first one in her life. Ma had kept both the sisters out of funerals. But Kartika couldn’t avoid this one..
     Kartika didn’t know whether she was supposed to wear the gold bangles and chain that she was wearing. Ma insisted she wear them all the time. Funny how she remembered the white outfits, but not if people wore jewelry for funerals. She decided to remove the jewelry too – better to err on the conservative side.  As Ma always reminded them all the time, “You can always add more salt to the curry later…”
     Kartika giggled as she remembered Ma's long dress with yellow flowers, the one that Ma wore when had run behind the school bus the day of her school picnic. Kartika was already seated in the bus, and the girls had already finished the customary “Hi Kartika” chorus. Suddenly the bus had stopped, and only then did Kartika see the bright yellow dress…
     The harassed bus driver had stopped the bus, Ma convincing him that it was imperative to stop the bus while holding up traffic, so that she could give her daughter a goodbye kiss.  Kartika was 5 and she  hadn't been able to hide her embarrassment.
     But Ma being Ma, had walked right in, hugged a wiggling Kartika, planted a moist kiss on her forehead, and given her last minute instructions. As a parting shot, she had called out a ‘bye-bye’ to all the kids in the bus……..
     Kartika remembered how the sisters became young adults with hormones, emotions and egos running wild. They liked everything Ma did not; and then Ma began to adjust to the burgers meals and the party wears – sometimes even offering suggestions for both…..
     Marriage took Kartika geographically away from Ma, but emotionally closer to her. Ma now stopped monitoring her clothes, her friends and her exits from home......but Kartika would call up every time she had a little detail of her life to share with Ma.
     Kartika was shaken out of her reverie by the sound of crows outside. Weddings or funerals – you’d always find crows here. Large, black and impatient. She wondered why they made such a racket. She could hear the sounds of domesticity outside her room – there was some strange comfort in those sounds. She struggled to get out of bed, and change into ivory colored dress.
     She went into the kitchen and saw her aunt come in carrying a tray of empty tea cups and biscuit plates. She started when she saw Kartika at the door of the kitchen. Her aunt was a tiny woman, with the birdlike delicate mannerisms that tiny people usually have. She gave Kartika a wordless hug, and turned around, continuing to keep herself busy. Everyone around seemed to be caught up in a frenzy of activity that allowed them the luxury of an unthinking, mechanical state of mind.
     There were at least a hundred people out there. They had come for the funeral yesterday. Ma’s funeral……
     "You could have waited for me Ma."
     “What for? You are always embarrassed when I kiss you … even at your wedding; you said it spoiled your makeup.”
     “But that never stopped you from doing what you wanted.… You kissed me every time you felt I needed it. You made me wear those hideous caps every time you thought it was cold. You listened in on the extension when you thought I was talking to ‘that useless fellow’. You put butter in my food in spite of my pleas – because you thought I was skinny. You bought me stuff over my protests. Why is this suddenly about what I feel?”
     ‘There are some things I cannot control, Kartika. You knew I was going. You and I, we were fighting this disease for a long time, weren’t we? Life needs to go on for both of you – I’ve taught you all that I know….  Now go comb your hair away from your face, so that people know you have a forehead as well. No daughter of mine is going to look like she’s been hit by a truck!’
     Kartika giggled at Ma’s attempts to tame her. The somber-looking old women who had come to mourn her mother’s death were watching her with shock. She went in to comb her hair just the way Ma would have liked it. She even put on some nude lipstick. She was about ready when the nausea hit her.
     She remembered she had not eaten yet; the doctor had said she must not let acidity strike her in the mornings. She had almost forgotten the iron pills too. Heck, she’d almost forgotten that she had only a couple more weeks to go before the baby would arrive. It was one of those moments when she felt she could do with a hug.
      She could see Ma shaking her head in disapproval.
Your life is not only yours, you know….... That baby needs nutrition. What kind of a mother will you be if you don’t even remember to feed your baby on time?’  
Kartika looked at the mirror, her palm gently rubbing her bulge. She smiled.
“I am waiting for you, Ma. And this time, we’ll see who gets embarrassed.”