Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Of pretensions, elections and hesitations

Mid-sem exams are just two three days away and I am wasting time like anything. In mode-e-retrospect I think about the days when I used to study at least two times the topics that were covered in school on that particular day. And when some mate asked, " whats up with studies ? ", pretension game would start there and then, '' studies ? What colour is it dude ? Yaar, don't talk this crap with me'. No, I wasn't the biggest hypocrite. In my class there were those much bigger hypocrites than me, than even the ISI people. When I would be exercising yogic self control over myself in order to study for exams and not watch cricket ( why does these cricket matches always come up during exam time .. Look this cricket tournament in KL has begun now and Sachin is back on fire), one these classmates ( name withheld ) would ring me up just to say, ''hey !! Sachin's sixer was fantabulous!! wasn't it..'' and the entire yogic plus self plus control would instantly go to hell. And scorecards replaced textbooks for the next at least two hours. A few years down the line, I knew very well that this guy is not watching or playing any game other than that of distracting me, but his trick would still continue to work. Whatever, but the crux of the matter is that I was really serious about my studies. Not that I am not bothered about it now, but it is not showing in real hardwork.

The Delhi University students union ( DUSU ) election campaign was in full swing recently. Despite all talks about 'youth 4 equality' being at the forefront of protests against reservations, it failed all hands at the polls and the same old RSS supported ABVP and Congress supported NSUI grabbed all the seats, one and three 'respectively'. No 'respect' intended though. And I realised that my political understanding, after eight years of devoting myself to NDTV as far as television is concerned, it is still not anywhere in comparison to P Chidambaram's knowledge about chhole-bhature. On a more serious note, it feels saddening to live with the fact that politics, the activity that determines who our administrators will be, has nothing to do with ideas, wisdom, vision and objective and has everything to do with just power and money. No doubt they are important factors, but should they be everything ? I am not new to knowing things such as booze is thrown around to students like water at these polls, but my fundamentally conservative mind shows resistance in accepting a woman being at the centre stage of such a shameless process. Though this is also a reality I have known for years, but resistance erupts every time I come face to face with it. At 1 past midnight when I happened to meet this girl, pure accidentally, when she had encroached upon, with a band of boys, our college premises .. for votes, overambitiousness was the only definition of feminism I saw in her eyes. I 'll quote SRK now, when he recieved the filmfare power award for being adjudged the most powerful figure in bollywood for 2004 : ''Power. Power. Power. Does anyone want love.. ''

Meanwhile, time and again I have wanted to update the blog, all in vain. There are a lot of things that I wish to write here that I call off because there are people, I know, who read the blog but don't comment. And since I know who they are, I refrain myself from going into territory-e-discomfort.

Next, most probably, will be a ghazal penned by yours truly. In ten-twelve days time, maybe.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Festivals, it seems have lost the vibrancy. As a young kid, I was always ultra-enthusiastic about all our festivals and considered it my must-comply duty to do whatever that can be done to bring alive the festivity. That was, alas, as a kid.

At 6-7 years of age, Janmasthami for me began at 5 A.M. and lasted till 2 post midnight. I woke up, bathed and waited, quite restlessly, for others to get up, and that included everybody in the joint family I then lived in. like a man ( 7 year old though ) possessed I'd make a list of things - lord Krishna idols and jhoola(swing), G-I-Joes, chalks, funskool toy cars, sand/mud both red and grey, paints, brushes and more -that I'd need to create a 'jhanki'(model of scenery) of lord Krishna that no other boy in the locality would even think to match. Then my brother, myself and my cousins would put our 'Nari Contractor' like architectural mind to work chalking out a blueprint-on-paper of how the 'jhaanki' would finally look like. While all this was happening, in my conscience, I always assumed myself to be the man-in-charge of the process as if wanting to write at the bottom-right corner of the jhaanki : "by: S*****t and rest".

We then went out to hunt for rait(sand) both grey and red. Grey would be the majority flooring and red path from the 'gate' should lead to 'lord Krishna on his jhoola'. As I am watching the gully from the balcony right now, I don't seem to see any lump of rait. On those days, I don't know why, but there would always be a building under construction nearby and we'd pick the rait and bajri( red sand) from there. "where there is a will, there's a way". Maybe.

I remember that the task of asking for money for our 'experiment's apparatus' was invariably left to me, maybe they thought that like this we will be more generously given money. The fact that it was always me who had to ask for money gave me a strange feeling of pride. 'had it not been for me, you'd have just managed a portrait and some mud', I would brag.

Hindsight, today, seems very very pleasant.
Today, it seems, is not even a spot on those wonderful days.

Today, I woke up lazily at about 7:30 a.m. and even that was after my mummy told me to, yes, 3-4 times. I was still lazing around and reading HT as mummy began her 'pooja' preparations. Dad asked me, 'will you fast today'. And I plainly answered : no. I think there was a time, not so long ago infact, when a straightforward NO as an answer was a big misbehaviour both by my standards and my Dad's. today, I didn't think twice. And Dad didn't say anything.

I had always been a somewhat lazy fellow. Today, I feel lazy in a disturbing way. Today, I feel guilty in a very disturbing way.

And I wish to take back the first sentence of this post because 'I don't know whom' has rightly said : "there are no uninteresting things, there are only uninterested people".

'I don't know whom'! what the hell! I don't seem to know anything...

Saturday, August 5, 2006

55-year-old's RDB effect . . .

For the uninitiated, this goes for info-indispensable, that by RDB, I mean Rang De Basanti ……now I don't expect anyone to ruminate over what's Rang De Basanti. Right.

It is about yesterday, August 4 2006. After a somewhat hectic day at college, I was bursting with 'delight', when the classes ended at 5'o clock in the evening. Friday it was, and I was craving for the trip back home, especially after the 3 hour long machining workshop I was tortured to. Though college and home, both are in Delhi, the word 'trip' would still make sense, considering the journey duration being 130 minutes including changing modes of transport (RTV -> metro -> pvt/dtc bus ) two three times and most importantly the sheer volume of vivid experiences associated with it.

So there I was, as soon as classes ended, I hastened to get out of the college premises to catch the RTV. To maintain honesty in writing, adding that the 'delight' was all but gone after the 20 odd minutes in the RTV cannot be done without. 'Delight' as I mentioned in the beginning, was absolutely out, and sweat, strain, distress and pain were in. Air conditioned metro gave some respite though.

OK OK, enough of the prologue, it shouldn't get lengthier than the real content.

So here's for the real piece. At 1825 IST, I board a pvt bus from Cannaught Place. After about 15 minutes of journey, a traffic policeman on the road yells at the sight of this bus. Bus stops. A 'mujhe-haath-laga-ke-toh-dekh' type of man ( not traffic policeman ), shouts at the driver, " rak ibb(ab) bhaar(baahar) likadne(nikalne) ku(ko) bhi bolu ke(kya)."(don't know Hindi? It means "should I also ask you to get out now, sir?" ;sarcasm of course intended) Driver, otherwise no less a 'bond' himself, looks worried. Gets out of the bus. A minute later conductor leaves too. The seventy-eighty passengers in the bus are getting annoyed. Various reasons : getting late; its hot; unsure whether they'll have to change bus now; unsure whether ticket amounts will be refunded ; and meanwhile its getting hotter. Suddenly a 50-55 year old bhaisahab-banarasi, sitting with me gets heated up. Must say his hindi was pretty 'Ramdhari Singh Dinkar' type , full of JOSH. Plus his vocabulary would've put even Dinkar to shame.

He begins, 'kya vyavdhaan utpann ho gaya'? (whats the problem)

'yeh log (referring to traffic police) sabko aise hi pareshaan karte hain.' (they irritate everybody like this)

' in se hi desh ka sarvnaash ho raha hai' (they are ruining the nation).

Suddenly a sound of slap is percieved by my ears. By everyone's I think, infact. I glance out through the window. This time I don't just hear but see. One more tight slap at the pimple-ish cheeks of the conductor.

Bhaisahab gets angry like hell. A scene of Sunny Deol screaming in 'Ghaatak' reels across in my mind. He gets up. I ask, "kahan? Uncle jee"(where? Uncle.) Bhaisahab: ' bete tum vyarth ho, padhe likhe jawan ho kar bhi haath pe haath rakhe baithe ho.( 'You're useless fellow, educated but worthless'.)" Abhi salon ki khabar leta hun" (now I'll teach them a lesson).

He gets down. Agitated, I follow. Impressed, others follow.
Now twenty odd of us are down along with a driver, 2 conductors, 3 traffic policemen. Here the policeman was fondly remembering driver's mother and sisters…I'll add although I feel there's no need : gaalion ki bauchhaar ho rahi thi.

Bhaisahab enters the conversation, "kya baat hai..aap apni apni shaktiyon ka durprayog karenge kya" (whats happening..u think u can misuse ur powers.)

Policeman : re tere pet mein ke darad pad ra hai. (but why r u complaining stomach ache..we're dealing with the driver).

Bhaisahab : theek se baat keejiye, challan katna hai to challan katiye, chahe 50 rupaye ka ho ya 50 hazaar ka, par yaatri kyun vyarth mein peedhit hon ? Hum kya jaante nahi ki aap yahan apni jeb garam karne ki vyavastha kar rahen hain…yeh nahi chalega" (talk with respect give him challan, amount doesn't matter, but don't create problems for passengers. Don’t we know, u're irritating us in order to fill ur pockets)

Policeman 2 : manne ke teri poochh paadi hai…rak bawli tared chup baith ja, na dun tere bhi… rak tu hai ke be?" (what wrong have I done to you, shut up and leave, what do u think of yourself).

Bhaisahab : main tera baap.(I'm your dad)

Me: (shocked & scared) uncle chalo please bus mein .. Aa jao..driver aa jayega 2 minute mein.( uncle lets leave..driver will come in 2 minutes).

Bhaisahab : are ruko, ( takes out the phone ) .. .(now to the police) ..abhi tumhare baap se baat karata hun… tabhi tumhe akal ayegi ( pretending he's gonna call their commisioner ).." (to police: come talk to ur big daddy).

Police out of its wits …snatch the mobile phone in haste… policeman 3 says : (to the crowd), jao jao ho gaya…(to the conductor)..ja ja bus le ja tawli..chal. (go, go its done, to conductor: go go take the bus ..fast ..go)

Mobile phone respectfully returned, "sir aapka mobile."

Police: relieved, bhaisahab: on cloud 9, driver&conductor : in seventh heaven, me : confused like I'd never been, frankly never thought someone from among us would do such a thing .. And never ever thought ..that it would work. Phew.

Finally, all of us back, bus faster than a cheetah, hot weather turns pleasant… bhaisahb states rather loudly( referring to traffic police), "main inka paani bhi
Nahi peeta, aap log yakeen karenge"( I don't even drink water at their place, will you people agree? ). Bus seemed to roar with 150 hands clapping. And excitement soaked me that very instant.

Never dreamt I'll get to witness Rang De..effect from a fifty five year old. Never expected so much thrill in a journey of ticket worth Rs.7 … for which I bought a Rs.5 ticket… ha ha ha ..yara da tashan dekh lo.

A finishing without this won't do :

Khalbali hai Khalbali