Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My poster brother

Praful, yes, that was his name.

In little towns, it's not the obvious that you think of, when you see the opposite gender. There are other relationships that get forged between strangers. Uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters. Without the familiarity of blood, without the common blood of family.

To Praful, I was his little sister. I remember meeting him when we waited by a dusty road for a bus to take us to a little village, where not many buses go. I was tired, hungry and put all my weight on one foot as I clung to mom's hand. I looked at mom and she knew I wouldn't stand much longer. As she looked around helplessly, Praful appeared before us and smiled. "Hi, you remember me?"

Mom says "Not really."

"I was at your place last month. Sir helped me out of jail."

Dad's a lawyer and in insurgency laden Assam, it was a matter of pride for young men to have been to jail. Dad would bail these guys out before they were tortured beyond recognition. At any given time, the house was filled with hungry and hurt boys, who mom fed and dad sent home.

And Praful was one of them.

That day at the bus stop, he took one look at me and smiled. The next moment, a car appeared and I was bundled in with mom. We reached the village, safe and sound. And after that, I began to recognize Praful as he appeared miraculously on dusty roads and rescued us. And sometimes, dead in the night, when he came to ask dad to bail out more of his friends before the night got over. A night in jail was not good news. The frustrated army pummeled the poor boys out of shape.

Praful was especially fond of me. One day, he told mom about his little sister who died. She was a mirror image of me. And thereafter I rode on the sentiments and memories of a brother's love for his dead sister. When I went to college, Praful often landed up at the hostel to take me and friends out for lunch, unexpected but well appreciated. I particularly remember the little strawberry shaped sweets he left for me at the hostel. All of us gazed and wondered if they were real. (We had not seen strawberries before.) We licked the colour off before sucking on them. They were delicious.

Sometimes there were long gaps in between his visits. I mentioned to mom before my exams, that I hadn't seen Praful in a long time. Mom said he was missing. "Okay, tell him to come see me."

I got off the bus after a 10 hour journey. Stretched. Glad to be home after my exams. As I rode home, I was hit by posters all over town screaming, "WHERE IS PRAFUL?" I looked at his smiling face on the poster and my heart stopped. At home, I sprinted up, breathless and yelled at mom, "What are these posters? Where is Praful-da?"

"Sit, you must be tired. I'll get you something to eat."

"No. Tell me first!"

"Praful was picked up and before anyone could go after him, they killed him secretly."

"What do you mean 'killed him'? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME BEFORE?"

"You were giving your exams. And what could you have done, anyways."

"So why the posters? They kill so many everyday!"

"They didn't intend to kill Praful. He was tortured inhumanly and he died."


"Then they denied having ever taken him and to destroy evidence, cut up his tortured body into pieces and burnt it in the jungle."

"And how do we know all this?"

"The guy captured with Praful was alive and made to witness everything as a lesson. Three week later he escaped when a drunk guard was on duty. Now, the truth is out and the people want the government to answer 'where is Praful?'"

I thought of his sad brown eyes and his curly mop over his forehead. He was smiling at me from the posters.

Over 13 years have passed. They have stopped asking "where is Praful?" I haven't.

Come home, Praful...

Monday, May 30, 2005

meme chain...

I have been blissfully reading this on others' blogs and enjoying peeping into their music lives. untill I found myself on Gulnaz's blog.

So here goes (nondescript details for you, of course)

Total volume of music files on my computer:
No idea (does it matter?) Have all that I want and need.

The last CD I bought was:
Ray Charles - Genius loves company (bought it for hubby... though all music in the house is otherwise bought by him and I don't know what half of the hazaar cds he owns, contains)

Songs playing right now:
Mrs Robinson - simon & garfunkel, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan saab and Abida Parvin's album

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that means a lot to me (won't amuse you till you know the reasons, but am not telling now):
vincent - don mclain
stoney - lobo
red red wine - UB40
lady - (dont remember who)
phir wahin raat hai - ghar

Five people to whom I'm passing the baton (most have gone through this and I am pouncing on the ones that haven't):
J (I owe most of the comp music to her)
poonam (it might just make her post)
kahini (brilliant writer, want to know her stuff too)
neelima (would be good to hear from one on whose blog, music is a way of life)
swb (a male, to prove am not a feminist)

So long, folks! You five, I'll be stalking and sending headless blood dripping chicken till you answer. Eeeeks! The thought is indeed disgustingly repulsive... am off to puke out my lunch! In the meantime, will think of some other sinister things to haunt with...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I swear this is the last time!

I want to bury my head underground with the rest of my body above.

That'll probably not be enough to save me from the embarrasment of losing my 4th cellphone today. Left it behind in a rick like 2 of the earlier ones.

When I called to inform the hubby in the morning, he couldn't believe it. Then he was raging mad. Then he hung up.

The next time I called to gauge reactions, he had given up and spoke, resigned.

I am miserable beyond words, of course. But I am more bothered about him. For the encounter at home, I have thought of "Thank God, it was just the phone! Thank God, I wasn't raped or murdered!!"

Anyone thinks it will really make him thank God? And not make him wonder what's the connection? Swear I'll make it up to him. And will never scream at him for losing his watch, his shirts, his goggles...

Friday, May 20, 2005

With love from Russia

Friends who recently moved to Moscow came over some time back. We ate a lot of home food, okay, Assamese food, drank South African wine and ate Russian chocolates all accompanied by snippets from life in Russia - without speaking Russian.

They took Russian classes before leaving. But not helping much. However, it's enough to flirt with the airhostesses, accused the wife.

They don't know half the things they eat. Almost every instruction and information is in Russian.

About 300 TV channels. About 50 in English. Yes, 50!! 50 porno channels!!

They roam everywhere with their passports. Even to put out garbage.

He mentally converts roubles into euros, then into dollars and finally rupees, before buying anything, much to wife's chagrin. (He's a banker)

Russians are strong is an understatement.

His luggage, difficult to lug even on trolley in Bombay was snapped up by Russian driver who walked with it and coolly, threw into car.

Russian man pushes him out of the way on the road. Our friend falls, slips in snow and had a swollen bandaged wrist for 3 weeks. Self esteem badly bruised.

Our friend struggles to open heavy metro door. 70 year old man comes, opens door, walks in. No effort, no halt.

To explain better, they say, Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty, Bollywood action heroes, will look like cute babies among Russians.

For the first time, they are shopping in Bombay without asking the price of things.

For the first time, husband is encouraging the wife to shop some more.

They live in the centre, close to the Kremlin. Everything is triple the price there.

Good thing is, they are seeing Russia. The beautiful villages. The pristine interiors.

They are going through the whole of Europe too. Every nook, every sunshine town, every little hamlet.

And then finally, they plan to come back to Bombay. Good old Bombay!

come to Bed with me...

Will you come to Bed with me?

Throwing this at unsuspecting opposite gender, seems to be the latest source of cheap thrills. So went to Bed. The Lounge, I mean. Surprised to find only pulsating music and... hold your breath... fresh air!! No smell of smoke greeting as one entered. People are learning to take care of their health or what?

Glad there are still people who love to dance. The lounge system is getting too much for me. Happy to see salwar kameez clad lady gyrating. Last Bed was in the news for refusing entry to women in sarees and salwars. Read 'under 21 not allowed' board outside and was amused to see little sardar kid sitting atop bar and head banging. Which home let the kid out? Could be the owner's.

Ate, drank danced, sang and laughed. Good place. Like it. Thank you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Where was I?

The urge to update has been there. The time hasn't. Good thing, that. Else, a lot of useless banter off the top of the skull would have been spewed here.

I have never really been able to understand time. When I need it the most, it slips by. And otherwise, the clock too stands still and mocks at me.

I remember preparing for the inlaws visit. I remember them coming, I remember them leaving. In between the 3 weeks, I don't remember. Faint recollections of shopping, going out, cooking, shopping, eating delicious oil laden spicy food and shopping come to me. (I remember oily spicy food from hubby's delicate tummy being taxed and the heavy tears in his eyes.)

I clearly remember they reaching home and calling to inform they are missing us. I replied dutifully, "we too".

I very well remember both of us cleaning the house for 4 hours, putting lot of things back in place, and going out for a lazy lunch. I remember us preparing for dinner parties at home for visiting friends for 2 nights after that. I remember dressing up and attending friend's engagement party.

I don't remember the last time I watched TV. Watched what I wanted.
I remember asking ma-inlaw to come live with us for a few months. I remember her promising to come back very soon.

So all?s well that ends well. Till the next visit then!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Names that sucked... sorry... stuck!

Years wipe out the creases, the awkwardness and a lot of times take us to vistas new... far far away from an era gone and a life lived, enjoyed and digested, and done with.

What never leaves? Yes, names. The same ones given by a bunch of losers in college, in hostels, to spice up lives which otherwise were mostly spent crawling walls.

Here's to my beloved bunch of losers. (Who when referred to by their real names are strangers to us.)

Steam Engine - This one is a wizard in slow motion. Goes through half of life with her eyes closed. It's a tedious task to even watch her waking up in the morning. She sits up (in slow motion) rubs her eyes, yawns (in slow motion), grunts a bit and declares "Oh! I am so tired...!" First thing in the morning! So Steam Engine, she is. Makes a living by being, believe it or not, a journalist! By the way, she makes glass paintings and crochet titbits for all of us. Things, we insist, she must have started in her last life, at the pace she works!

The Cow - For some strange reason, this one's the cow. Loves the good life and lives it. And talks and talks about it. Plenty of poor suckers have floundered money on the unholy cow. The trademark is a little cleavage showing between bombastic boobs. A hotshot lawyer in a European city today, married to an Irish leprechaun, Cow still signs off mails with a moo (when she bothers to write, if at all, about sipping 100 year old wine in some South of France island!)!! Bitch always farts more than she craps!

JoshPosh - Cannot live without air conditioning. Home, office and car. And eats only chicken tangris. We often remind the woman of hostel days, a major part of which were spent running after buses and packed trains. Employs 3 nannies for 1 baby girl (nannies not included in driver, housekeeper and cook). JoshPosh can be trusted to provide luxurious wining, dining and bedding to the gang whenever anybody lands up, which we all often do.

The Rat - Intelligent. Witty. Has no patience for other kinds. But will never say so on the face. Will bitch later to us. Responsible for most of these wretched names! Hi profile journo with hi profile house. Loads and loads of friends, fans and devotees. Eats less, drinks more. Had emptied half my wardrobe. Have kindly paid back by emptying half of hers too! Pretty generous, except with her books. Prefers to gift one than lend one.

Baby - Is the baby of the gang and hasn't managed to shed the cute baby fat. Of course the squeaky voice makes you want to pinch or slap the soft cheeks, depending on what the squeaky voice is hollering about. Sojourns to VLCC and Talwalkars are legendary. Is blessed with a paw on the right hand, the result of being caught in a bad fire as a kid. The scars are smartly draped with the most expensive swatch.

Crackpot - Only buys beautiful writing paper and greeting cards, writes on them and sends them to some invisible childhood friends. Forgets to wear sandals, have a bath, lock doors (including bathroom ones), call parents, meet friends, go for appointments. Wonder of wonders, Crackpot is a working mother in the U.S. All the advice that's dished to her now is, "don't forget to feed the baby and talk him to the park. Also don't forget to bathe the poor baby. And once he's bathed, don't throw him out with the bathwater."

Church PR - Calm, composed, disciplined and wears only ironed clothes. Sleeping pyjamas included. Goes to church regularly. Gently chides us for evil intentions and cushions us when in trouble. Unfailingly sends reminder mails and messages on birthdays to the forgetful rest. Co-ordinates and organizes dinners and lunches for the gang. And even buys gifts. Right vs wrong finds meaning with Church PR. What would we do without her?

Potato - V is the friend. Potato was the love sick rich bugger who followed V around. Short, round and diamond rich. So Potato was synonymous with poor V. All of us benefited. Parcels of food from all the 'cannot afford restaurants' in town arrived in the hostel for V and hungrier friends. Night clubs miraculously refused to accept entry fees and drinks were offered on the house. Potato had long hands and big pockets. V, frequent traveler entertains us with stories of foreign trips with Potato following around the globe. Update: Last met V with no Potato lurking around. Either must have got over her or diamonds must have got over.

There are quite a few more. But for lack of originality in their names (name given by friends coming pretty close to name given by parents), I deter from writing about them here. If any of them even get to know I blog and often fill my page undressing them, they will hang me naked. And before they get suspicious, let me disappear from the scene.

In case you are wondering what yours truly is called, hah, you will never guess! I would have killed The Rat long ago for naming me that. But once the cause for murder is investigated, I realize the abhorred name will be out and will cause more sensation that the actual murder. So am thinking of a supari on The Rat...