Thursday, July 20, 2006

Things that Remain Unsaid..

One of my friends remarked after reading my recent blogs that if my Dad gets to read what I write, he will disown me for good. The chances of this happening are remote as Dad generally keeps away from the 'good-for-nothing' computers and has employed me part time to log-in to check his e-mails. That said, I pondered over what grudge I harbor against him that I involve him in my silly gimmicks to generate humor? After much introspection, I seem to have got an answer.

Dad's first book was published the year in which I was born. Its been a long time since then but over the years I developed a 'sibling rivalry' kinda thing with that book. While it gained success under the name of 'A Text Book of Algebra', I struggled hard to make any impression. Today, that book perhaps fetches more bucks than what I earn in an year. This constant realisation of defeat at the hands of a 300 page book maybe sparked off the recent spate of outbursts evident in a few of my last posts.

Phew! Man, am I not good at this soul searching and understanding my psyche stuff?

This brings me to another point. The father-son relationship and all the complications that surround it. This relationship is generally of awe and respect. Fathers and sons do not bond at the same level a mother-son bond for that matter. It has got to do maybe with the way we males are. Display of emotions is not our forte. We might feel all the love and affection for each other but taking the next step is always like taking a leap across a giant ocean. We might reciprocate but we do not initiate. The reluctance to take that next step slowly becomes a habit and then we forget even contemplating to walk that extra mile leading to the creation of a void in the relation that neither of the parties know how to fill. You have your questions but you stop to seek their answers by walking upto you father and he waits on his side wondering why you stopped asking him questions which he sometimes struggled to answer once you grew out of the "Papa, aasmaan neela kyun hota hai", "din ke baad raat aati hai ya raat ke baad din?" phase.

The void then starts to act as an excuse for your failures and frustrations at times. An unfamiliar resentment creeps in and it sometimes leads you into becoming a rebel. You feel that he never cared or understood what you ever felt and your Dad feels that you no longer need him to be around the way he used to be when you were taking your first steps or when you were first learning to ride your bicycle. Although blaming him for all your woes would be an extreme form of that resentment but I have seen that happening. Relationships fail at this juncture and that's probably the worst turn that all this emotional void can take.

In other cases, there might be no resentment but a positive struggle to make yourself worthy enough to overcome that void and go back to him someday. That is one struggle that I feel, I continue to make.

For some, earning money is a way of making life a successful journey, for others it has got to do with following their hearts and making the journey worth the walk. But for me the greatest journey would be the one that would take me back to home, when I will be able to look into my Dad's eyes and see that he feels proud of me in some way. That day maybe we'll sit and reminisce the innocent, good old days of my childhood and I might just ask him the same stupid question once again,"Papa, aasmaan neela kyun hota hai?" I know that he will be having all the answers prepared when that time comes. That would probably be his way of telling me that he too had been waiting for that moment all that while. Didn't I tell you that overt display of emotions has never been our forte!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"The Bihari" - Straight from the Heart!

Its hard not to fall in love with a place that you spent 18 very good years of your life in. If you felt that living in Bihar was hell, I would beg to differ. Biharis stand for being non-conventional, generally in a funny way. A majority of us are not the gun toting freaks like the Taliban who are on the look out to either kidnap or murder you and neither are we like a few of our distinguished public faces with political affiliations who don't exactly paint a very rosy picture of the state on the national scene.

"Hum aapko batana chahte hain ki hum bihari hain aur hamara naam suress, rajess, mahess ya binod nahi hai. Arre Bihari sunte hi kaahe albala rahe hain aap? Kaa hua? Hum bhoot nahi Bihari keh rahe hain. Dariye mat".

Purists might cringe at this contamination of hindi language by intrusion of words like dandanaake (with extreme alacrity), buta do(switch off) or associating everything with the masculine gender, but over the years Bihari has developed into almost a language making its presence felt across India besides the sizable chunk of Indian populace living in Bihar. It might not be pure hindi but it sure is sweet and funny. Slangs used here are also quite different from what is generally used in the northern parts of India. Bhootni ke, labad-dhondho, baklol being a few amongst them. We do not mix the crude Punjabi tadka style slangs in our daily life as much as it is used in some other parts of India.

I have spent 4 years in Kanpur studying there and I can tell you from experience that what is chalta hai in Kanpur or for that matter in Delhi can prove detrimental to your survival if you are in Bihar. I had come to Patna during vacations once and had a slight verbal duel with a ricksaw puller. I made a war cry using a normal and benign looking expletive that i used in my day to day life at hostel. That was it! He was not so much peeved at being yelled at than he was at the expletive I used. For God's sake I just used it for addressing rather than to convey anything deeper in meaning. He threatened to wipe me off my existence and then wiped the beads of sweat off his forehead to figuratively suggest to me the ease with which he would do it. I learnt my lesson - Fight or argue but try not to dig into the refined words' dictionary when dealing with people in Bihar.

I generally talk with my Bihari friends in the bihari lingo, the Hum hain na stuff and switch over to Main hoon na mode while talking with non-bihari folks with consummate ease and that is maybe because my bihari blood has become adulterated after staying away from the place for a few years now and also because I had always made a conscious effort to speak grammatically correct Hindi with Maa being a bit strict on how we fared in our Hindi examinations at school. But the instances when a biharism meets Hindi results in a deadly khichdi that could make Sacchidanand Hiranand Vatsyayan 'Agyey' feel as if all his contributions to hindi literature had gone to the drains. For example: Hum tumse kahe thhey na(bihari) + Maine tumse kaha tha na(hindi) = Hum tumse kaha tha na(the khichdi)

Kanpur has been almost a second home to me and how can I sign off without giving you a taste of how Kanpuriya hindi sounds:

Set up: Mumbai railway station ka platform number 12
Time: 12 in the night
Characters: A - From Bihar..Desparate to get back home. Has bought a railway ticket first time ever(you don't buy tickets while travelling within Bihar, its free!) and wants to ensure that he does not miss this train.
B - From Kanpur..Robbed of all his belongings by a fellow traveller a couple of hours back while waiting for his train. Frustrated and waiting to explode.
C - From Mumbai..Raat ko baarah baje din nikalta hai, subeh ko 6 baje raat hoti hai type tapori.

A: Bhaiya ee Babban Rao Ambegaonkar express isi platform se jayega?
B[frowns]: Abe Bhaiya dikhte hain kaa be? Thakur khandaan se hain, ijjat hai hamari...Bhaiya bolta hai

A:Oo ta thik hai lekin tarainwa(train) ke baare mein to bataiye
B: Na batayein to kaa kalloge(kar loge)?

A[mocking]: Pata hoga tabbe(tab hi) na bataiyega
B: Dekho hum gaali nahi dena chaheete(chahte) hain. Is liye sharafat se bolley(bol rahe) hain ki tameej se pess(pesh) aao.

A: Ago(ek) sawaal pooche to jawab mein ladaai suru(shuru) kar diye apne se aur humko tameej sikhayenge
B: Dekho aukaat mein raho kahee(keh) de rahe hain.
C[intervening]: Kya re dono halkat..raada karne ka dono ko yehich jageh milella tha? Chal ab maandwali kar aur kalti ho le, nahi to 'Mumbai for Mumbaikars' ka naara lagake apun 100-50 logon ko ikattha karega aur dono ko without ticket UP-Bihar bhej dega.

..Hmm..I guess it would have made more sense had I talked about the diversity in the way Hindi is spoken all over India. Maybe some other time!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Independence Day Woes & Killing Time

As Americans geared up to celebrate their Independence day, I feared an alien attack or an UFO sighting here on 4th July. I mean that's what they have always showed in their films. Come Independence day and the world's biggest super power faces annihilation at the hands of some extra terrestrial powers. Only this time I wished that our super hero Krrish would come to their rescue in his half burnt mask, climbing mountains, skimming over seas and the proverbial Saat samandar paar se fashion. It would have been more than befitting for an Indian to save America from destruction considering the fact that US has increased the H1B limits to almost double for the next year. It might just have been our way of reciprocating.

But someone up there had other plans. There was an attack, not of aliens but blood sucking bed-bugs and the attack was in the apartment that I was putting up for the weekend with my friends. No, Krrish didn't turn up either. It was left to the three of us, sleepy and tired people to put up a fight against them. We were up at 3 in the night googling to find ways to fight this menace after killing a dozen of them didn't help. The results weren't encouraging. The bed-bugs had been a problem in NY some 60 years ago and they are resurfacing again. Someone's plotting for a biological warfare maybe. President Bush beware!

We also went for the fireworks at the Battery park. It was good but nothing spectacular about it. In fact I grew bored after 5 min of fireworks. It wasn't as grand as I had thought it would be! C'mon now, coming from a nation where you celebrate Diwali, the firework affair sure wasn't going to be a novelty in any case.

There was too much time to kill so caught up with a few old movies as well. The Shining and A Walk to Remember. When you watch a Stanley Kubrick film, you have to keep searching for the underlying meaning and keep asking - Why? The killing of the head Chef of the hotel and then the closing scene had more to them than what they apparently depicted. I now have to watch his last directorial work Eyes Wide Shut, which he claimed to be his best work to date. I tried watching it once but couldn't get a clue of what it was all about.

A Walk to Remember is a romantic film that you watch with your girlfriend and not with three guys. It was predictable and it ended with three of us forcibly making the fourth one accept that he was moved by the tragedy of Jamie Sullivan and Landon Carter.

A: "Abe tu ro raha hai"

B: "Paagal hai kya?"

A: "Tu dekh le, iski aankhein nahi bhar aayi?"

C: "Haan mujhe bhi lag raha hai"

D: "Dekh ro nahi. Ye to kahani hai. Kahe to Mandy Moore se milwa doon."

B(accepting defeat): "Chal thik hai mere baap ro raha tha..ab samajh gaya..nahi rounga. Jaan chhod meri ab"

Peace prevailed thereafter.

Read this line somewhere in one of the scraps of a friend on Orkut. Liked it for its originality:

"Har wo jageh jahan cheezein real estate prices se influenced hokar bikti hain, us jageh ko shopping mall kehte hain" - My salute to the subtle humor of Anubhav!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Soccer Mania

Soccer mania grips the world and the talk of the town is "Who will win it?" With the South American teams out of contention, it has turned out to become an all European affair and I'll bet on a Germany Vs Portugal final. But I am not as sentimental as some of my soccer maniac friends whose lives hang in balance as their favorite teams slug it out so I really won't give it a damn if Italy or France make it to the final two either.

I tried doing some psycho-analytic tests on myself to find out why my reponse to the mega sporting event was so cold and bereft of emotions and then came up with a reason. My career as a budding football great was shelved at quite a young and tender age when I was diagnosed with myopia. For the less informed this disorder is not as serious as the Lympho sarchoma of the intestine, it simply means that I had to put on specs. I still managed to play the game for a few years because a football is too large to be ignored even by people on the verge of losing eyesight but with no family support I couldn't continue.

"Kahan se aa raha hai?"

"Football khel ke"

"Football jitne bade goley milenge tujhe kal ke exam mein. Kal se tera khelna koodna sab band"

Slowly I too lost interest. Only once in four years do I get to know the names of these football players and then I brush up my knowledge about the leading scorers, teams, etc of the past and present football teams so as not to sit like a dumbass with zero soccer knowledge quotient in a discussion on whether defensive play suits the Argentinians or on the caliber of the Portugese goal keeper who kept England at bay.

I can however understand the emotions involved and can relate to the frenzied fan reactions on their favorite team's loss. I felt the same during the 1996 World Cup Cricket semi-final against Sri-Lanka. The loss left me completely heart broken. The thought of making a mark as a cricketer in future then crossed my minds. That plan too was nipped in the bud.

"Kya? Tujhe Ranji team ke selection trial mein jaana hai? Aur kal ka exam kaun dega?"

"Sachin bhi to 10th failed hai. Fir main kyun nahi?"

"Sachin..Sachin kaun? Gavaskar ka beta hai kya?"

They always used examinations as an excuse to keep me from following my dreams. And Dad is still struck with the Gavaskar bug. You ask him who is M.S.Dhoni and he might as well say Gavaskar ka pota.

Coming back to the Soccer fever, I wonder how we would have reacted if India had made it to the top 32. Poor Bhaichung would have been mobbed by crazy fans and we might have had our own version of Bend it like Bekham as Bend it like Bhutia. But that dream seems some distance away. Till then manage by going crazy over the Beckhams and the Rooneys and the Zidanes while I manage with this:

"Football dekh rahe ho? Kaun jeet raha hai?"

"Jeetne ki baat chhodiye, Brazil haar gayi."

"Haar gayi? Kyun Pele nahi khel raha tha kya?"

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