Saturday, May 24, 2008

I should really be locked up for my own good

I am not only injurious to the well being of others, but I really think I should be locked up and let out only when there is no other remotely human contact around. It's not the things I say and do, that can be forgiven, but it's my constant foot-in-mouth that irritates the hell out of my close contacts.

Like yesterday. I had called home over a scratchy STD connection. I firmly believe that the more times i bellow "hello...? hello...? hello...?" the more unlikely it is for the line to be connected.

I also believe that the telephone operator softly chuckles into the line while he crosses connections and blanks out parts of an ongoing call to wreck my happiness.

So as I was explaining to my family members in great details how to get rid of "the old hag, who overstayed its welcome," referring to a forlorn flea-bitten mongrel that has come to live under the pump house, an elderly relative who had come to stay at our place picks up the extension, unknown to me.

"I'm telling you, they never go on their own. They just eat, eat and eat and will deplete your summer ration and want to stay more if you show kindness...." I rant on.

I hear sharp breathing on the line and ignore it as electronic disruption.

"I'm not suggesting extreme measures like snuffing it (breathing deepens) out but I'm telling you, and mark my word she'll give you diseases (indignant, complete, frigid silence) and will get fat and soon will want to get in others."

I don't know what happened at the other end as soon as I kept the phone down. But my mobile rings in 10 mins and grandma Ira's choked voice made me abandon the "Pope will send text messages to youngsters to spread word of God" copy I was idly looking through.

"ALL MY LIFE....ALL MY LIFE, I HAVE GIVEN TO YOU NOTHING BUT KINDNESS," comes out through obviously gritted teeth.

"If I had not picked up the phone from my room I would have stayed under the illusion that your family wants me and loves me." Holy mother of God!!!

Do not misunderstand my consternation as remorse or panic or righteous indignation. Grandma Ira is like putty in my hands. It's the thought of my mother's towering frame and the image of her slowly wringing my neck for causing emotional trauma to her aunt, that did me in.

So I explain circumstances to her and stammer through the necessary apology. That it was the dog under the staircase I was talking about that left a pile of dog crap every morning.

"Ohhhhhh.... that? I'm afraid I misunderstood." You're telling me?

"Yes I told your father a day ago that he should kick that bitch out." She firmly declares.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Narnia rocks!

Hello to all suckers of fantasy films.

I believe in elves and goblins and in my opinion centaurs need to have the same rights as us mud-bloods.
So I checked out Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian last night with a friend. We had the evening to kill and a movie to catch up on.
To my amazement I found that fantasy/make believe/comic films are apparently the only choice that we have currently. Iron Man, Bhootnath, Cof N:PC, and er.... Jodha Akbar. Which again falls under the above category of fantasy/comic in my opinion.
So, back to Narnia, Aslan the lion seems to have grown bigger this year. And Prince Caspian is one of those geeky post-adolescent men who form the pack at boarding schools. He frankly had no clue why he's supposed to be special and the centaurs, despite living in such a breathtaking country and bang next to crystal clear watering holes, badly need a wash.
But I have to give it the firangs. Whatever they do, its on a grand scale. Overall I'm glad that we watched this film, as all the harry potter ones. God! I'm such a sucker for the make-believe!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A girl's best friend

When I was a kid, for some reason elders only gifted me books. Now you have to understand that gifting in the early 80s was not like its now. We only got gifts during our birthdays and new clothes during durga pooja.

Also when aunts and uncles living abroad or in a different city came to visit, they got us toys or frocks with puffed sleeves and broad sashes tied at the back. When they didn't have the time to pick up loot, they just took out their purses and distributed crisp, mint-new 10 rs notes. My cousin sister and me always preferred the latter.

Toys meant we had to take turns playing with them and frocks from abroad were wrapped in naphthalene balls and put away for special occasions.

On the other hand, money to ourselves meant we could do precisely what we wanted with it, after of course we lived through the half-hour lecture from mum about the virtues of saving for the rainy day.

Soft toys in circa 1980 were a rarity in middle class joint families and only appeared
on children's films. It cost a lot and parents could never be cajoled on buying us stuffed dogs or teddy bears. I never got any till I was almost 14 years of age and then I was "too old for them."

Yesterday when I was feeling blue and taking a stroll in Sarojini Nagar market I came across this huge pile of stuffed animals from whales, peacocks, snails, bears, dogs, giraffe and dolphins to even the obscure antelopes, ants with shivering antennas to ducks and pigs. In the softest furs and brightest colours. My legs slowed down automatically and I stooped to pick up a bear in a baby suit with limp limbs that can be wrapped around you for a better hug.

Surprisingly, there were very few kids around. I smiled at a 10-yr-old girl who was critically inspecting a winking penguin, "Isn't this bear cute?"

"yeah, but dirty. These are street toys, no?" And after a pause "I get my teddy bears from Archie's."

I noticed the plural. I picked up this mutt (refer photo) and paid the 100 bucks it cost (yeah. I earn now. So i can pay for my own soft toys. hee hee.) and went home a happy 28-year-old.
Call it corporate culture and the evils of western influence and call me a sissy, but soft toys are amazing at cheering you up.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Will it not stop raining?

Domestice helps take this sadistic pleasure in waking you up when you want to shut out world till 11 am on an offday and snore away.
Why should my maid be an exception? The bell rang 5 times before I stumbled to the door with the customary "whadduyouwant?"
With a grin as bright as the sun she declares "saare chhay baj gaya, abhi bhi so rahe ho?" (its six-thirty, you are still sleeping?) Is it a cognisable offence in India if one kills her maid for coming at 6:30 AM to work?
I am atleast 20 kilo heavier than her, with the temper of a hungry grizzly bear and towering over her 5'1'' and she coolly brushed me aside to enter my home.
So thats how my day started. I watched BJD last night and fell asleep when she went to the theme party on a Sunday afternoon dressed in a bunny outfit, only to find out that the 'tarts and the vicar' concept was cancelled and everyone else were dressed in their Sunday bests.
If the rain lets up I will go to Sarojini market. Shopping always lifts my mood.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Thank god for Indian generosity

Have you noticed how everything goes into slow motion when something catastrophic is about to happen? I saw out of the corner of my eye the paper cup holding coke tilt precariously and before I could break a cold sweat or cry out it joyfully upturned.
It happened thusly.
I was on the flight back to Delhi after a three day visit to Kolkata and wondering whether I should get the exorbitant foil-wrapped sandwich that came for Rs 125 a pair.
But my passenger next to me turned his nose up on my query "is the sandwich any good?" and that decided it.
So I got cookies instead and a juice, which turned out worse. I don't know is its the airline's policy to endorse health food or not, but the cookies seemed to be made from bajra.
Anyway, so this plump lady sitting right behind me in the aisle seat had been minding her own business and reading erich segal's doctors. (I know! I love that book too). The paper plates were cleared away and I tilted my seat back to settle in for some shut-eye when it happened. Seems that she had not got her tray back up and her coke perched on it did a wild twirl and splat! all over her obviously expensive cargo pants.
For the instant it took the wetness to seep through to her skin I grit my teeth and turned around. "Uh-oh, this doesn't look good, does it?" The lady said quite cheerfully.
I could not believe my ears. I have just spilled coke on her pants and she looks like her parents did not toilet train her and all she says is uh-oh? Is there a God after all?
"Hi, I'm Ritu and I'm the clumsiest oaf on planet earth," I managed. "I have a spare shorts in my duffel, do you want it? I mean do you want to change into it for the rest of the flight?" RED ALERT! RED ALERT! I'm blabbering!
But with the sweetest smile she says, "you are wrong you know. I'M the clumsiest person I know, and I'm not going to give it up for some new plane acquaintance." Lord, what is she doing to me?
As it happens in India, one thing led to another and soon we were swapping cards, recipes, places to but cheap make-up and bitching about the men in our lives and having a jolly good time.
It was only when we were about to walk out arm-in-arm that I casually mentioned, "you know, had it been any developed country like UK or US of A, you would have been asking me for damages."
A weird look came in her eyes, "you know I had not even thought about that.... you mean for the discomfort i endured, i could sue for damages?"
I gulped visibly.
"GOTCHA!!!!" my new friend said and poked me in the rib. Thank god for India and its jolly breed of people!

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