Friday, April 30, 2010

At The Traffic Signal

This other day, I was at the University signal returning home. It was around 6.20 in the evening. As I waited in the car for the signal to turn green, I observed a salesman making the rounds of the vehicles at the signal. I have seen him there many times. He sells cloths, those yellow and brown ones that you use to clean your car or bike.

I was waiting very close to a truck. The space between the truck and my right hand mirror was not enough for a person to pass. And as the salesman approached, I saw him trying to squeeze himself through the small space. And just while doing that, he inadvertently brushed against my mirror and moved it. However, my instant reaction was that he should not get hurt as he squeezed through. I hoped that he had not hurt his back against the truck.

I slid down my window to ask him that. But the first thing he said was, "I am sorry Madam. Galti se ho gaya!" I was left speechless for a minute. Then I asked him, "Aapko laga nahi na?" He was taken aback that I had not scolded him, smiled, and answered that he was not. He apologized once again and went away.

I kept on meanly do we deal with these salesmen. My car's mirror might have moved even if a vehicle had dashed against it. Although I didn't get angry with him, he had expected me to take him to task. His supplicant reaction made me think if we behave too harshly with them.

We ought not to forget that these salesmen are at the traffic signal the whole day, in the harsh sun, in the soaking wet rains, and cold winters, tiring away to earn a few rupees a day.

I know that we can't always entertain them. But we might just try and be a bit patient, understanding, and graceful. It might just make our lives easier and this world a better place to live.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lights Off

For 10 whole hours! The reason: Unknown! How do you survive in the heat? Just exist!!

This is really ridiculous! Can you even imagine how difficult it is stay without a fan for hours together in this sweltering heat? This has happened twice now.

This is the scene in our city. Imagine the state of rural India where there are no lights for almost 12-14 hours a day every day!

"Sarkar cha doka thikanyavar ahe ka?"

To Dear Papa

Happy Birthday!

It's my dad's birthday today according to the Hindu calendar. Interestingly, no one, not even he himself knows his real birthdate. No one knows neither his birthdate, nor the year. We just know his birthday according to the Hindu calender. It's the last day of the first Hindu month of Chaitra, and this year, it is today.

But we know one thing certainly, and that is that he was born. Because he is.

Today, I wish him many more such wonderful birthdays. I wish him health and happiness. I wish him peace of mind.

On this day, I want to salute the person that he is. His wealth of knowledge, his calm and quiet nature, his adherence to values, his punctuality, his constant and quiet support to what he feels is correct and right, and yet his stubbornness, his at-times whimsical nature, all make him what he is.

He is an English professor primarily. But he is also proficient in Sanskrit and Marathi. He has taught Sanskrit to junior college students. He has taught Marathi to German, American, and Indian students. It's amazing to see him literally play with these languages.

You will notice his mastery over all these languages when you hear him play with words as if juggling knives. He is apt to make you laugh with a few words spoken with a very straight face and a plain tone. His repartee is just unconquerable.

Obviously, if he is angry with you, the way he will show his displeasure is unique too. He'll seldom raise his voice. But what he will say will be such that you won't understand what has hit you until it's too late. And then too, he will have made you speechless. Beware, it could at times be quite nasty and possibly a below-the-belt attack. But you probably earned it.

Very recently, he did the MS-CIT course. His tremendous will power to learn about the world of computers is very admirable. And he passed that exam in flying colours. Hats off to you, Baba!

Moreover, like all men of his age, he is so much aware of his surroundings. He is up-to-date with the latest political happenings. He is also aware of the latest Bollywood gupshup. It's amazing how he finds time to know all that!

But there is one thing that he doesn't like much. He generally doesn't like watching movies. Especially if it is at home. If I make him go for a movie in a theatre, he will do that. But if you ask him to watch a movie at home, he will make some excuses. In fact, he will suggest a good movie that's on TV. He will watch it till the first advertisement break and then quietly slip off to read his books.

Yet, he has a few favourite movies: Sarfarosh, A Wednesday, Hum Aapke Hain Koun! And he never misses a single episode of the daily Marathi soap Agnihotra. He generally never stays up late after 11 in the night, but if he misses watching Agnihotra at prime time, he stays up to watch it at 11 p.m. That's his solidarity for his only favourite serial.

There's one another thing that he is amazing at. Baba loves to search for books on the footpath. He loves visiting the footpath-vendors who sell books; I call them that for a better name. His favourite one is the one who sells books on the Lakdi Pul. He has bought a wonderful collection of Perry Mason books, religious books, P. G. Wodehouse books, and other interesting books from him. And he will buy them at a meagre Rs. 20-30. It's such excitement when he comes home with a new Perry Mason book!

Baba loves listening to classical music. He is a fan of Pt. Vasantarao Deshpande, Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. But he also appreciates film songs-Hindi and Marathi as well as newer songs that are really worth it. His favourite song from the new generation music is the Kajra Re song. He simply loves it!

Today, on his birthday, I wish him lots of love! Love you, Papa!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

310 Tick Tock

That's the new song Nanu has composed.

You are supposed to sing it with the right rhythm and correct hand gestures. Your left hand should be high above your head in the air. The thumb and index fingers should be closed as if you are holding a pinch of salt. You should say aloud the song in the rhythm "310, Tick, Tock." 310 must be said in Marathi. And "Tick" "Tock" are sounds that you must make like that of a clock ticking. The song is incomplete if you do not sing it while you go round and round looking at your left hand in air. You have the freedom to move your right hand as you want.

If you are bored with this song, here's the first song that Nanu composed: "Digbun, digbun, aulay!" You have full freedom to use whatever actions that suit you. But the rhythm should be "Dig-a-bun dig-a-bun, au-lay."

When you sing these songs, don't forget to tell everyone that they have been composed by Nanu.

Three cheers to Nanu!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Masks May Bring Fame

I generally cannot boast of having any similarities with film stars or high-profile leaders. But this one time, I have my claim to fame. I can claim to have two things that I share with Rupert Grint, the actor playing Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. We both share arachnophobia. And the more recent one is, I can boast of being an H1N1 swine flu patient, just like him. :D

Yes, I had swine flu for a week since March 25. I was isolated, under medication, and now almost out of it. I completed my medication course on Wednesday, March 31. But I am still suffering from an unprecedented bout of weakness and fatigue. Never before have I felt that frail. But it's all in the game.

What is funny is not that I had swine flu, but how people reacted to the news. The first reaction I heard from people was of shock. Of utter disbelief! It was as if I had caught a dreadful disease, something out of this world! Most thought that it was a dreadful condition to be in, how could I ever contract it, what did I do, and how was I ever to get out of it. I assure you all that swine flu is completely curable. I am a living example. If you can understand the symptoms early enough, take proper precautions, and take regular medicines, you will be out of it in a trice. Well, not literally, but certainly!

When I had the symptoms, and when another of my friend tested positive with H1N1 (with whom I had spent some time together), I had my doubts that I might have contracted H1N1. But the result of the test that I underwent, when out as positive, made the difference. I went into a self-imposed (and rightly so) isolation. I could not meet friends or relatives. Fortunately, my parents weren't affected! Touch wood!

So, I was at home, taking medicines, resting, and also wearing the N95 mask.  It is only now that I appreciate people who have to wear masks at their work. It is so inconvenient to wear that damn irritating thing all day. Believe me, it is hard enough not to meet folks when you are ill (and not get yourself pampered by visiting folks.) And it is worse to sit there all alone in a corner, wearing a mask, feeling all the more tired and dejected. And this is how I also appreciate all my canine friends who are muzzled so that they can't open their mouths. Poor dogs! Here's my "Tails-Up" salute to all of them!

The next time you see such a dog with its mouth all bound up, bless yourself that you haven't been affected by H1N1. And don't forget to bless those little souls too!

So, anyway, here I am, recouperating! I shall soon be in action. Till then, here are some tips that you might want to have a look at:

Ohh, and one more thing! This is not applicable just to H1N1. It's true of all illnesses. But it's more valid for swine flu, because it is such a contagious disease. Be prepared to recite your story over and over again. Be prepared to retell your story of how and when you got the symptoms, how you dealt with them, how and when you got the test positive, what medicines you are taking, what other precautions you need to take, and the whole history and geography of your illness as many times as you have friends and relatives. No one will be satisfied till they hear it all. Remember, there is no shortcut to fame!

Cheers fellas!