girlfriend by two

 

When I first came across the word Half Girlfriend during the launch of the eponymous book written by our great Indian novelist and twenty first century intellectual Sriman Chetan Bhagat ji, I wondered what might be the meaning of such a word.

In Indian hotels, we are used to the rate card of a full plate as well as a half plate. You have half versions of tea and coffee. In Indian tradition, after marriage the girl becomes ardhangini.

Of course, the concept of ardhangini is understandable. After marriage the wife and husband become one unit. So, each unit is half of this arrangement. But, our male dominated society never uses the word ardhanga which should be the synonym to mean the husband.

Half girlfriend?

Is this  girl gifted with only half of the limbs that a normal girl has? Then, her boyfriend must indeed be a great hero to be emulated by all Chetan Bhagat devotees?  (by the way,  bhagat is derived from the word bhakt– a devotee)

Or, the protagonist boy has two girlfriends concurrently, thus, each one deserving only to be a half girlfriend?

Indian BloggersWhen I confided my confusion to a dear friend and Chetan Bhagat fan and who goes by the name Ketan, he suggested me to read the book to clear my confusion. I shuddered at the prospect. The last time I attempted to read one of his books, after two pages I had such mental indigestion that it took me two weeks to recover. Such heavy stuff.

Imagine. If I struggle for a day and break my head to make sense of only one word invented by this great innovative author, what will happen to my chetan man (conscious mind)  if I go through the whole book.

So, I let the meaning of ‘half girlfriend’ remain a mystery. What is going to happen after all. Already I am living with half a million mysteries of the universe that may not get solved in a million years to come. That includes the greatest unsolved mystery of all times, “Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?

At the same time I am afflicted by another mystery. The name half girlfriend is an insult to the women folk. To be more politically correct he could have used the word half boyfriend. Is Chetan, a misogynist?

I expected some feminist organsiations to take up the gauntlet, come in an Arnab Goswami show to  spread  the fire of protest so wide that the nation wanted to know only one thing – How dare Chetan Bhagat be more incoherent than the host of the only fire powered show in India?

The nation wide controversy would have made Chetan rolling on the floor laughing all the way to the bank while the sales figure of his books reached the moon.

But all this did not happen. Chetan did laugh his way to the bank, though. But, what happened to the feminists? Did they think it too trivial an issue considering the history of this nation in treating its female species, or, all of them got converted to the cult of Chetan Bhagat?

Of course, there were some halfhearted protest responses. One wrote a book titled Half Boyfriend. Another wrote a blog post titled Half Girlfriend/ Half Boyfriend.

A few days back,  Ketan  phoned me. He said he was speaking to me from Thailand. He had taken a short break from his vacation activities just to speak to me.

“Hey buddy. You know what. The movie trailer is out.”

“What movie?”, I asked.

“The movie based on Chetan’s  book,  Half girlfriend.” He was so enthusiastic – like  a cult member out to recruit.

“So what?”

“You wanted to know the meaning of half girlfriend. Well, see the trailer”.

He sent me the link. I opened the link and saw the trailer. My confusion got more compounded.

So what is a half girlfriend?

A character in the trailer, who seems to be the protagonist’s friend, tries to describe the boy girl relationship as – Dost se thodasa jyada, boyfriend se thoda sa kam. Somehow it makes some sense, vaguely though.

But man, how do you decide it fits the definition of a half girlfriend/boyfriend or, a half relationship.  How do you assign a numerical value to an abstract concept.

Of course, there seems nothing special about the relationship that the author tries to hype up by assigning it a value of  half. In any boy meets girl story, there comes a point from where the relationship could go either way. It is just a short lived phase of a relationship.

But the relationship must have a number. Otherwise, it will not bring good luck to the book. Thus spake Chetan’s astrologer.

Yes, it is the same astrologer that Ekta Kapoor is affiliated to. Let me reproduce the enlightened conversations between the astrologer and Chetan here:

Astrologer:  Look Chetan. I have already given alphabet K to Ekta. Knowing your type, for you no alphabet. Only numbers will do. Use any number between five and half in your title.

Chetan: Surely I will do. By the way, anybody who knows five words (three English and two Hindi) can not only understand my book, but also aspire to be a best selling author like me. But sir, after spending four rigorous years in IIT, and later on at IIM,  this much I know that half is not a natural number.

Astrologer: It is a combination of two numbers one and two. So don't worry.

After a few years Chetan wrote a book and wanted to titled it - Point Five Someone, to sound like the earlier one and to ride on its popularity all the way to his bank account. But before sending it to the publisher he wanted to have the final word of advice from his astrologer.

Chetan: Sir, I have written another book about a guy who is not even worth five points.  Shall I call the book Point Five Someone? 

Astrologer: No no. Make it more spicy. Give him a girl friend and call the book Half Girlfriend. It will achieve two things - confusion and curiosity. They go hand in hand. Good for marketing, you know. 

Chetan: By the way Sir, I thought you are an expert in astrology only. But, I see you are good in marketing too. 

Astrologer: Ha ha. Why not? let me tell you. There isn't much difference between you and me. Both us make millions by selling truckloads of bullshit.

Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him. His books adorn the bookshelves of half of my friends, occupy at least half a self in any library you visit, cover half of all the total space available in leading book stores- offline or online.  He is on TV- on talk shows and f**k shows. (I was thinking of a match making show where he acts like a f**ked up host).

He writes half banal and half unintelligible centre page articles on national newspapers. Like his books, movies based on his books make millions. Ketan, says that the movies are not exact adaptations of his books, but are loosely based.

Oh God, that is the saving grace. Being loosely based, the movies can take any kind of spin off.

It is said that the Americans are so adept in sales and marketing that they can sell real estate located on the moon to the Chinese. Well, Yankey dudes, here in India we have got the baap of  all salesmen.

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image credit: schoopwhoop.com

Suppose, Dogs were Allowed Status Update

dogs.png

An idle mind gives rise to bitchy ides.

Suppose dogs were allowed to open Facebook account. What would be their status update like? Here are a sample ten:

Dog 1: Feeling so proud today. Got an opportunity to pee on the front wheel of a BMW (with photo)

Dog2: Eating leftover food with my darling bitch at Maurya Sheraton, Mumbai (with photo)

Dog3: Holidaying in Delhi near the largest Drain of Asia (with photo)

Dog4: My Basanti and our four kids. Oh! How much I love them (Our happy family)

Dog5: Invited to be the Chief Barker at the All India Street Dogs federation meeting. (with photo)

Dog6: Feeling proud that my owner brought this new brand gold coloured dog chain for me.  (with photo)

Dog7: Feeling loved with Basanti, my bitch, my loving companion of x years. (with photo of both tongue touching)

Dog8: (the activist dog). Our dog world is going to the dogs. More and more people are getting fond of cats. Let us boycott those families who plan to adopt cats. Please forward this message if you are really concerned about the future of the dogs.

Dog9: At Mahim local station. Traveling to Bandra.

Dog10: Our darling pilla won this year’s ‘dog bites dog’ competition. Feeling so proud. Love you so much my cutie. (with photo)

(dog can be substituted for bitch and adjustments be made accordingly)

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #8

Wishing you all a happy  wonderful New Year

First of all, here is wishing my dear reader a wonderful New Year. May you remain cheerful and passionate irrespective of whether a few wishes got fulfilled or not.

Note that I have not used the word happy. There are reasons for it –   profound and scary reasons that google threw at me in form of quotes while I was searching for something else. Take the first example:

happy-1

So there is no point in having good health and selfishness if, these are not backed by a healthy dose of stupidity. However, it provides for a lot of hope. To be happy is not that big deal after all. It paints a very rosy picture of  human society since time immemorial- the vast majority of human society have never been as unhappy as we have made it out to be.

The following one is a very strong argument as to why one should not wish another anything related to happiness:

happy-3

However, the following is the scariest of them all:

happy-4

And finally a ray of hope, provided by non other than one of those highest priests of Christianity:

happy-5

Of course, I am not sure whether all/some/any of the above quotes have been attributed to the right source. Now a days on social media, every now and then one comes across strange quotes attributed to strange people. Sometimes, people making up these quotes do not seem to have even elementary knowledge of history. So, Swami Vivekananda gives very sound advice on the side effects of social media and Mahatma Gandhi warns us about the impending disasters when one harbours thoughts like those of Donald Trump.

But I am sure the following one must have been spoken (or, at least thought of) by Adolf Hitler, who swayed even the most intelligent persons of Germany to his Nazist point of view with his banal rhetoric. I am afraid this must also be the secret of success of  writers like Chetan Bhagat churning out best sellers and Salman Khan movies making multiple crores.

happy-6

Here is wishing you again, a happy (er. sorry) , a wonderful new year. 

Three blogposts that you may have missed

I started this blog in July this year.

A blogger is not like an ideal parent for whom all children should be equal favourites. Nevertheless, he has paternal instincts. It is natural for parents to give special  attention to that child who lagged behind other siblings while at the same time proudly bringing to attention of the special skills of a particular child. The following blogposts from this year are a mix of both.

When the wrapper is considered superior to the gift inside

It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place

The lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact

What is in a Name?

Shakespeare was not born in India. If he were, he would not have said, “What is in a name? That which call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”.

Here in India Name is everything, not only in a spiritual context as emphasized by Guru Nanak Dev, but also in a social, materialistic, patriotic and pragmatic context as glorified by the common man, celebrity, the politician and the military leader. If I meet Shakespeare I would point out “Sir, even if calling rose by any other name does not affect its smell, it does not sound the same or spell the same and these differences have different connotations for different people”. Of course he may counter argue, “But it is your Gods who justify my point. In your country every God of some reckoning has a thousand names. But aren’t they same in essence as you claim”. He may also lament the fact that in the western part of the world few Gods can afford to have more than one name.

Indian BloggersFor the common man his reputation and social standing revolves around his name. Being well known is like having a big name (naam bada), being disgraced is to get a bad name (badnaam), and tarnishing somebody’s reputation is as good as reducing his name to dust (mera naam mitti mein mila diya). In a society that puts a premium on honour and reputation people would rather reduce themselves to ashes than see their name being reduced to dust.

The celebrity is actually more obsessed with the composition of her name than what her name smells or sounds. “Success ke liye kuchh bhi karega’ is her mantra as she runs to astrologers, palmists, numerologists, tarot readers and parrot readers to work out what alphabet to insert or delete from her name so that the next project is a run away hit. My page three specialist friend himself being a star vedic astrologer  argues, “It only shows the impeccable professional attitude of our celebrities. In this age of professionalism, as we have specialist choreographers to take care of dancing and experts of hair, skin, teeth, eyes, ears, hands, nails etc to take care of respective body parts, so we have professional soothsayers to take care of the names”.

When we evaluate our post independent progress, along with population growth and advancements made in different areas of human activity we must give due weightage to the number of times we have changed the names of squares, villages, streets, cities, districts and states. In case a foreigner, who has not been keeping himself updated about Indian current affairs for the last twenty years, comes across an updated India map now, may assume that cities like Bombay, Calcutta and Madras have been gobbled up by the sea due to global warming.

Our swadeshi leaders would like us to believe that a more Indianised name is the first step towards becoming more Indian. However, as globalised Indians we cannot sever our ties with all things English. While the Indian name of our country is Bharat,  we have English abbreviations for all lengthy Indian names. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited becomes BSNL and not bhasanili, BJP rather than bhajapa is the more popular abbreviation and who would understand what you are saying when you refer the Biju Janata Dal as bijada instead of BJD?

Whats-in-a-Name.jpg

Maja Hi Kuchh Aur Hai

It was due to a ‘comedy of error’ that I got introduced to Pandit Om Vyas. Someone had shared a youtube link on FB about Arbind Kejriwal’s fiasco about some issue. When I clicked the link it took me to one of the kabi sammelan videos of Late Kavi Om Vyas ji. That time I did not know that the satirist to whom I had taken an instant liking was no more. Subsequently, after watching a number of hilarious videos, when I learnt of his tragic untimely death, it reminded me of the song: haste haste rona sikho ….. rote rote hasna…….  just like his sessions.

In a congregation of poets (Kabi Sammelan) hosted in memory of Haribansh Rai Bachchan, in his inimitable style, he recited a poem whose pet phrase (takiya kalam) was ‘Maja hi kuchh aur hai. Well, Panditji, with due respect to you, here is a rejoinder that I have composed, imitating your style. It follows an English translation which may not be exact but, as close as possible to the Hindi version:

Signal se thik pehle lane change karne ka
Chalti gaadi se bahar thuk-ne ka
Bina matlab zor se zor horn bazane ka
Gaadi khadi karke public view mein mut-ne ka
Footpath mein motor cycle chalane ka
No parking board ke thik samne gaadi park karne ka
Beech raste mein gaadi khadi karke dooosre driver se jhagadne ka
Maza hi kuchh aur hai... maza hi kuchh aur hai

Bina padhe whatsapp mein message forward karne ka
Bina samjhe sabhi issues mein apni rai dene ka
Boss ke bhadde se bhadde joke mein pet phadke hasne ka
Junior ke badhia se badhia baton ko nazar andaz karne ka
Bhid ke saath kadam se kadam milaye chalne ka
Karod-on ke lutere ko maaf aur do kaudi ke chor ko saza dene ka 
Maza hi kuchh aur hai... maza hi kuchh aur hai

It is so much fun

To change the lane just before the signal
To spit out from a running vehicle
To honk loudly without any need
To urinate on the roadside in full public view
To ride the motorcycle on the footpath
To park the vehicle just below the No-parking sign
To stop the vehicle on the middle of the road to pick a fight
It is so much fun... it is so much fun

To forward on whatsapp without reading the message
To give expert advice without understanding the issue
To laugh out loud at Boss's mediocre jokes
To ignore a brilliant idea because it comes from a junior
To march with the crowd matching step after step
To forgive the looter of a million and punish the one who stole two pence 
It is so much fun..... It is so much fun

Panditji. I am not at all bothered whether you have gone to heaven or hell.
Because, wherever you go you will make it heaven.
May your soul rest in peace.  And have the last laugh.

Indian Bloggers

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #7

Indian Bloggers

The Great Indian Escape

“Which movie are you going to watch today, elder brother?” I would ask quite often in a routine manner to one of my senior fellow boarders. He  was a great movie buff. Or, so I thought that time. I am talking of those  glorious decades of 70s and 80s for the Indian Cinema.   His answer was equally routine, “I do not know. Let me see. Any way I will tell you once I come back.”

It would be in one of those Telugu movies that he would land up most of the time. My home town which has a large Telugu population lies near Andhra border. Odiya movies were few and far between and Bollywood reels of new releases took six months to arrive. So, if you made up your mind that you must see at least twenty movies a month, it had to include a fair dose of Telugu movies, irrespective of whether you understood Telugu or not.

My senior boarder was not alone in such adventures. There were many. Every now and then, we would hear of stories of  so and so who failed for the fourth time in the final year exams. Then, we would hear the town loudmouth’s foregone conclusion: If you substitute the cinema hall for the class room round the year, what better results can you expect?

 If somebody was found in the cinema hall to bunk torturous classes, some one might be there to escape a sadist boss. Or, maybe a father. Or, wife. Or, real life in general.

The majority of the middle class of those days was not moneyed enough to afford escapes of these days like weekend getaways, dinner in a fancy restaurant, day out in an amusement park or such things. Television was not in vogue. Twenty twenty was not conceived of yet.  Nor was an evening in a mall just for the sake of window shopping. Whatever little surplus a lower middle class had, after his roti kapda aur makaan needs, went into buying a few second or third class seats in a movie hall that did not have the basic amenities like  ac, cooler and sometime a toilet. And to cater to the fantasies of this middle class, Indian movies with angry young men or, different types of other larger than life characters became the hallmark of block busters.

Coming to the present times, before I had the opportunity of watching a movie in one of the multiplexes in a posh mall, I had thought, it must be the serious movie buffs who went to watch a movie paying such hefty sums. (And not to speak of the cost of the snacks and cold drinks that remind you of an international airport). But I was proved wrong the very first time I saw a movie in one of those multiplexes. It was some Hollywood block buster 3D movie that I  was watching in an Imax. Even a  slight disturbances in the form of somebody moving in front or lighting up his cellphone caused great annoyance. But my neighbour was not bothered by any of these annoyances. Nor was he aware about the annoyances he  himself was bent upon perpetrating by being engrossed in his whastapp chat through out the length and the breath of the movie.

“So, he has come to the theater because he thought it the best place on earth to carry on an engrossing whatsapp conversation”, I concluded.

Not being born and brought up in an English speaking country, I  strain hard to listen and make out the whispering dialogues of the Hero. It is a crucial moment of the movie. So I strain harder. And how fervently do I wish the  crackle crackle cuddre cuddre, chap chap, ha ha ha, he he he coming from my back seat stopped. But finally I resign it to my fate of the day. As if the whole universe was conspiring to see that I did not enjoy the movie smoothly, in spite of buying the the city’s most expensive cinema ticket of the day.  The sounds have been there, as if these were part of the soundtrack of the movie, intermittently from the first reel to the last reel, with a little respite during the interval when the gobblers went  for replenishment. And to top it all,  a hearty laugh at the most melodramatic moment of the movie.

Maybe, some come here just to eat, drink and make merry and to laugh at yesterday’s jokes remembered and understood in the typical ambiance of a cinema hall and that to at the most melodramatic moment and in spite of the pricing of snacks reminding one of air travel.

And some say, a large number of flop movies are made so that unofficial romantic couples could have some private space and time for themselves.

My conclusion is that, whatever money the movie made, only fifty percent of it came from people who really wanted to see the movie and enjoy it. That should give a realistic assessment of the popularity of the movie, for the sake of the movie.

Producers, directors and actors please take note.

But there is something one cannot escape from, alive

Of course I am talking of life, from which you cannot escape alive. It was after a long time that I was watching a quality Bollywood movie. That the movie was educative, or rather refreshed my understanding about certain basic fundas of life was an added bonus. At the same time the movie was not preachy.

Never expected such mature acting from Alia Bhatt. Shahrukh is at his as usual best. It seems Gauri Shinde put her heart and soul to make such a wonderful movie- Dear Zindagi. 

You may also read : A few good movies

Previous week, ended up with the Fantastic Beasts, just to accompany my son, whom I had promised to take for this movie long time back. (Actually it was he who made me promise, and it was he who brought my attention to the the movie). I am not much of a Harry Potter fan. But, nevertheless I have watched all the parts. And read maybe, half of one of the books. All the movies had appealed to the child in me. This one was no different. I enjoyed it, if not more, at least as much as my son did. It is a fantastic movie.

Towards the end of the movie,  there is a kind of reversal of time. It is a strange coincidence that this reversal of time occurred towards the end of ‘Dr. Strange‘ as well . Well, this was the movie that I had watched the previous to previous weekend. A strange hotchpotch of Indian concepts of outer body travel, relativity of time, immortality and modern concepts like multiverse. Of course the stunning visuals, and the stray humours thrown in here and there ensured that you were not bored while thinking of the complex scientific (or, seemingly scientific) themes explored in the movie. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie. Because of the large number of Indian mystic concepts used in the movie, if your are an Indian chauvinist,  you are definitely going to like it man. There may be a slight disappointment because the Hero goes to Nepal and not India to learn all those mystic theories.

So three movies over three consecutive weekends. Each of the movies was great in its own way. Four point nine out of five to each.

And, what better weekends could you ask for.

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #6

Random Notes

The times are such that, neither are notes so random nor do they have any  association or destination other than the bank. The whole nation is in queue for a few ‘tukda’ notes. It is Saturday night and as we finalise our plan to visit Chinchi Falls and Mekedatu as part of our weekend getaway, we are reminded, we have forgotten to factor in legal tender notes to our itinerary. So we rush to the nearby ATM. Though there is still a queue, we manage to get some of those extremely rare pieces of paper and come back home by 11:30 P.M.

It is ‘7’ o clock in the morning when we start our trip. However, people have already left home long back for their  ‘Cash’ mission and we notice long queues in front of every ATM or Bank that we pass.

Four days earlier, on my way to office, for every traffic jam at an unexpected place I would hear someone commenting, “There must be a bank ahead”. It also reminded me that  I too have to get some legal tender notes. Nahi to yaar biwi bachon ko kya muh dikhayoge. Somehow bunked it for three days. But on the fourth day ran out of excuses.

While on the queue, I  came across so many conspiracy theories. As usual some were pro M, and others were anti M. A young man in front was describing about the fake currency printing presses in China and Pakistan with such graphic details that I felt he had just landed on the queue, fresh from a first hand experiences of those macabre places.

Now coming to the weekend gate away, details of which I will share in a separate blog post, the road as well as the tourist spots were unexpectedly thinly crowded. Then of course someone made a nasty comment:

bhaiya bhid to bankon ke samne lagi hai. Yahan aaj kaun milega.

While coming back, by the evening, again observed the long queues.

Sunday ka suraj nikla nayi ummeed ke saath, 
subah 6 bajese lambi kataron ke saath. 
Din khatam hogaya, lekin umeed nahin, 
kataron mein koi kamee nahin.

One event, so many memories

Reminded of my days in military training. If one person did a mischief, the whole platoon would be punished. The funny thing was that quite often the mischief monger would escape by reporting sick.

Those were the days prior to the installation of ATMs in India. If it was a pay day, it was only the bank employee who did his official job. For others, it was  a day to be spent in queue either for you salary or for your movie ticket.

Then of course, one is reminded of those never ending queues and drama in front of the ticket windows of cinema halls during those golden decades before the advent of Television.

One may be reminded of a few Bollywoood dialogues as well for easing one’s frustration while queuing up to get back one’s own money parked in the banks.

"Ek tukda note ki kimat tum kya jano Modi Babu"
"Tumhare kale dhan bale noton mein itna chhed karenge, 
confuse hojeyge, kitna bank mein le jayen, kitna mein aag lagaye." 
"Aaj mere paas gadi hai bangla hai. Kya hai tere pass?" 
"Mere pass ek hazar ke chhute hai"

The people who used to do ‘dus ka bees’ in and around the cinema theaters are also back in business bringing the silver lining to those who do not mind paying a little extra for the sake of avoiding the serpentine queues.

Or, to avoid being asked back at home:  “Khali haath laut aye. Kya socha tha… khsuh ho jayega

Swagat nahin karoge hamara

1000-notesWhen the movie ‘Pink’ was released there was so much fanfare and pre-publicity. Even the great Big B wrote a a letter to his grand daughters with his own hands using a Parker pen (for which he is a brand ambassador) and made sure it made into the headlines of national media. (Was he not in talking terms with his grand children? Then why did he need the entire national media to take his message to his own grand daughters?)

But no such pre-publicity for this pink note – the harbinger of a new economic order. Like Lord Krisha, it just took birth, unsung, unnoticed.

The movie ‘Pink’ tried to create awareness about women’s issues. Hope this pink note makes us aware of the dangers of black money and parallel economy.

Indian Bloggers

A Tale of Two Gossips

I am thoroughly disappointed to know that google cannot throw out a name with xxxxxxphobia for this fear that I had while growing up to my early teens. It was the fear of marketing. Let it not be confused with the market place where I enjoyed roaming anonymously. It was rather the dread to purchase something. The fear was at its worst when it came to vegetables.

When I want to be precise and google, ‘fear of purchasing vegetables’, I am suggested with a poor substitute – lachanophobia which is actually the fear of vegetables. I am disappointed again because I love vegetables. I have always done so.  My mother was such a good cook of vegetarian dishes. My wife is not that bad. (Hope she is not reading this).

Before I describe the detailed prescription that I followed to get rid of this, let me share my assumption about the the genesis of this fear.

Being the youngest among all siblings I was pampered a lot during my early childhood. Nobody ever allotted me any household chore. If I went to a shop, it was to fulfill my own fancies of chocolates or some other thing. It was never to get a packet of salt that my father had forgotten to add to the monthly grocery list.

Once, while we were staying at a relative’s house, the lady of the house politely requested me to go to the vegetable market and get some fresh vegetable. I was the last option available to her, she said. She did not tell me exactly what vegetable to get. Of course, had she given me a list of vegetables to get, it would not have bettered the after effects.  If I remember, I got the costliest vegetables in the market by paying the highest imaginable price as if to claim my place among the highest bidders of a market where no body was bidding for anything. What was worse was that the vegetables I bought were not as fresh as was expected. Of course she was not angry. But my adventure in the vegetable market became the latest gossip in the neighborhood. Her husband, who fancied himself to be the funniest man of his era, started teasing me from next day. “Here is our great marketing man. Now on, whoever needs vegetable, make sure you do not forget Baba. (my pet name). He knows the freshest vegetables and  how to get those at the most reasonable price”.

From then on, whenever by mistake I happened to be at the vegetable market I  felt that all the vendors were evil-incarnates and were born in the world for the sole motive to cheat innocent boys like me. Slowly the fear went viral from vegetables to other items. This fear was akin to the stage fear faced by those who have stage fear. I developed many innovative excuses to escape from being sent to purchase anything.

There came a time when I was boarded out from home to be a boarder in a High School. There, we had a very tough hostel superintend who saw to it that we had many Gandhian habits inculcated in us. It was compulsory for two inmates to go to the market by turns to purchase vegetable for our mess. When I learnt of this, it was already too late to persuade my father to shun the idea of admitting me into that school. The consolation was that I would not be going to the  market alone.

For my first marketing adventure, a boy from the senior class was my teammate. That further emboldened me. Still, before entering the market I told him about my being a total novice to the world of marketing and my dread of the vendors. He laughed off. Never even  in his wildest of dreams could he conceive of such a fear. He commented, “So padhai mein hero, baaki sab mein mein zero”. Actually I had stood first in the district Board exam of class VII. By the time I joined the school, I had already become notorious in the district for being a kind of a ‘studious’ star.

When we were purchasing vegetable I noticed that the vendor had tampered with the weighing machine in such a way that the wight will be invariably be less than what we had bargained for. I pointed this to my senior and also explained the scientific principle behind it. He was surprised. Even though he knew the scientific principle he had never noticed this.

The next day, I was the subject of gossip all over the school. But this time the gossip was about a star who had saved the hostel from the sharks of the vegetable market.

“Let him go to the market every other day”, said the superintendent when he learned of this.

I also looked forward, with a tinge of revenge and missionary zeal, to save my hostel from the vegetable cheats.

P.S: The above incidents actually took place. The only characters fictionalized are the person who used to tease me and the lady. The person who used to tease me about my marketing skill later on became my father-in-law.

Did I take a sweet revenge on him? (For the second time, I hope, my wife is not reading this).

                       Indian Bloggers       wowbadge

(This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.)

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #4

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Those unknown heroes did not even wait to hear our applause

One day, while I was driving to Bengaluru Airport, I spotted two small IAF planes moving in synchronicity. Instantly I was reminded of an aerobatic display by the Suryakiran team two decades back.

It happened at a  forward base. The local Chief Minister was the chief guest. All were waiting for the first glimpse. The perfect formation of the nine aircraft became visible over the horizon and in an instant they zoomed past the spectators who looked on with awe. There after followed various hair raising stunts and manoeuvres, all in perfect coordination and formation. Every one knew that a split second error could result in a major disaster. Only those at the cockpit knew how much practice, patience, alertness and gut feelings went into producing such an impeccable display.

Of course in some of the later displays that I witnessed at other locations including the displays for the public, there were arrangement for running commentaries where the name of the team leaders were mentioned. But then with all those din and excitement in the surroundings,  the running commentary hardly held your attention. In this particular show there was no such running commentary or public announcement. After the display there was arrangement for refreshments. During that time the Chief Guest was supposed to meet and compliment the pilots. A large part of the spectators was eagerly waiting to see those men behind the machines who gave those miraculous stunts. However, after some time we came to know that the team had to leave urgently. Neither did we know their name then nor did we have any opportunity to let them hear our applause.

This incident is a representative of the larger events involving our soldiers. Forget about the applause, in the theater that the soldier operates there are no spectators to applaud. Sometimes the hero even does not live to narrate or hear his glory. There are case where a soldier is awarded and may occupy a fifth  page mention. But the majority of those heroes go unsung. May be that is why we have so many memorials to the ‘unknown soldiers’.

suryakiran
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 By Sivakumar ThyagarajanSurya kirans !, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

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 Why should the Hero take all the credit

Here of course I am talking about the reel life heroes. There is no need to mention that. Our social conditioning is such that when we talk of heroes, the first ones to come to mind are the filmy ones, even though majority of them could be damn cowards and hypocrites in real life and may be suffering from all kind of fears including fear of not being the best noticed one in a public gathering and not to speak of the fear  of cockroaches. To distinguish a real life hero from the filmi hero, we have to say – so and so was a real life hero; where as,  it should be the other way round.

Now coming to the real (or, reel) issue, the filmi hero is like the body of a car. It is the most visible and highlighted part of the movie. The other fellows (including the heroine) who work equally hard and are equally talented, do not get as much credit as the hero. In the filmi world too there are unsung heroes. The body double who does the real ‘heroic acts’ remains  unsung.

body-double

Of Good and Evil

Nothing is good or bad. But thinking makes it so- said Shakespeare.

Long before Shakespeare, a Chines sage had said somethings very profound. (Hope my patriotic countrymen – particularly the whatsapp warriors,  will forgive me for  using things Chines in my blog post). I extract here a few lines of Lao Tzu’s Tao- Te- Ching :

"As soon as beauty is known by the world as beautiful, ugliness is born. 
As soon as virtue is being known as something good, evil is born. 
Therefore being and non-being give birth to each other. 
Difficult and easy accomplish each other.
..............................................  "

So the concept of ugliness was born when man recognized and discriminated something as beautiful. Prior to that things existed as they were without being judged. So was the case with good and evil.

Even the ancient seers who compiled the mythologies  knew this. Hence, Ravana is actually not an enemy of Vishnu. He is just doing a role play as ordained by the divine order of things. He is one of Vishnu’s trusted lieutenants, being the doorkeeper of Baikuntha- the abode of Lord Vishnu, who becomes Rama in his seventh avatar.

According to the Bhagavata Purana, once the four sons of Lord Brahma also known as Sanat Kumaras, went to meet Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha Dham. The four sanat kumaras are Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumar. It is said that due to regular spiritual practices they looked like children. So the gatekeepers did not take them seriously. However, when they insisted that they be allowed to go inside without delay, Jaya and Vijaya told them that Lord Vishnu was taking rest and they have to wait till He wakes up. However, the kumaras were enraged and told that Lord Vishnu is available all the time for their devotees. Further, the kumaras cursed the gatekeepers for their insolence so as to be born in the mortal world leaving their heavenly abode.

Subsequently, the gatekeepers asked forgiveness of the kumaras and requested Lord Vishnu to waive off the curse. Lord Vishnu told that the curse of divine beings like the kumaras cannot be reverted. However, he wanted to commute the punishment. So He gave the gatekeepers two options – either to be born as His devotees for six births or as His enemies for three births. Jaya and Vijaya chose the latter as they thought the sooner they are re-untied with their master the better,  even though they have to play the role of villains. In their first descent from heaven as mortal beings they were born as Hiranyakha and Hiranyakashyapa. In their second life, they were to be born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna; while in their third life they became Shishupala and Dantavakra.

According to the mythologies the gods and the demons are descendants from the same father. Of course from different mothers. Rishi Kashyapa had two wives – Aditi and Diti. All the devas and other auspicious beings were born to Aditi while the demons in general, and Hiranyakha and Hiranyakashyapa in particular, were born to Diti.(Here again, feminists please forgive the misogynistic bias of the seers who were mostly male.)

There have been interpretations of Ramayana, where Rama’s actions have been portrayed more devilishly than Ravana’s. So the dispute as to who is the hero and who the villain of the same story goes on.

As we see there is a very thin line that divides good from evil or deva (god) from the devil. If I put it in Hindi – hero aur villin mein sirf unneesh beesh ka farak. This theme has been used in many English movies. Remember Spider man III? Spiderman’s scientist friend is his arch enemy this moment, his savior the next.

As there are no absolute heroes or villains, some sages suggested let us kill the demons within.

Now, which are these demons? Anger, Ego, Lust……

Ok.Wait.. wait.

As we know, without ego, many of the great things in world would not have been done.

And without lust, where would we be? Would I be here writing this post. Or, you reading it?

(I know it sounds a little incorrect, politically speaking)

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