jump to navigation

I fell In love again March 27, 2006

Posted by K in Life, Maiden, Reviews/Rants.
12 comments

Today,I realised again what supercalifragilistisespealydocoius(ok,ok! can’t spell it!) entity Maiden is!

I love them, their lyrics, their music, their everything, what they stand for, what they DON”T stand for.

They are thinkers. they are legends who don’t get their due. maybe they will someday. Maybe they wont(ha ha pallavi 😉 )

But that doesn’t change anything, does it?

There are no words to express what i feel for maiden

\m/nod nod\m/ 😀

I think its more than just music for me. Its a way of life, almost.

Thats the diff between them and the others-ozzy,priestetc who also rock, obviously, but just aint maiden.

: eyes: I know in a few minutes I’ll want to take this weird ranty,kiddy post off :eyes:

😀

Advertisements

Go Buddha! March 26, 2006

Posted by K in contemporary, Politics, Reviews/Rants.
2 comments

Wow! I finally have a politician I respect! Saw Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s interview with Karan Thapar a few minutes back. Karan Thapar decimates his interviewees; each and every one I’ve seen so far, the poor interviewee has been left stuttering, stammering and looking visibly shaken. and ofcourse, thapar has ripped him/her apart, and shown him/her to be a bumbling fool who doesn’t know what he’s doing and/or talking about.

TODAY, however, it was thapar who came across as petulant and wanting to pick a fight that didn’t exist 😀 Buddha didn’t lose any ground, he was articulate, honest and gutsy.

I think I want to know more about him. I think we need more Buddha’s in India.

Go Buddha!

March 25, 2006

Posted by K in Uncategorized.
2 comments

I desparately want to convert this blog into a journal. But I don’t have the guts to.

R.I.P Koyel’s journal.

March 23, 2006

Posted by K in Life, Nonsense, Poem.
3 comments

A sense of filth

The need to purge

A thorough cleansing

Of accumulation of thoughts

A misty blackness

Impregnable fortress

Mind of heightened dullness

Slow movements, eject!eject!

A rerealisation

A stepping into again

Drawing up

Home again

Rejoice!

I see you!

I see you!

Lets do that again

The Election (More Kiddy fic by yours truly :D) March 17, 2006

Posted by K in contemporary, Fiction, Politics.
4 comments

On the 25th of November, 2004, a phone rang in a small, but elegantly decorated room in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi. A man spoke into it, and hung up.

Walking casually to the door, he barked some orders to the men standing outside, who started stripping the room of all furniture. In 20 minutes, the room was bare. It was once again what it had been for the past 3 years: a room once used as a maintenance office for IA Colony, but now left to offer shelter to an occasional stray dog on a cold winter night.

No one saw them leave, no one overheard the phone conversation, but someone ‘felt’ them.

******************************************************

The assembly elections in the states of Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi were approaching. The BJP were favourites to win everywhere except Delhi. Sheila Dikshit was expected to make a clean sweep, the Metro, and privatization of electricity sitting pretty in the Congress portfolio.

Campaigning was on full fledged- old film songs being set to new lyrics, extolling the public to vote for so and so candidate, auto rickshaws doing their rounds, megaphones mounted…the usual.

The news analysis on NDTV 24/7 predicted a congress majority in New Delhi, based on pre-election polls. On Wednesday, 26th November, the headlines of the 3 o’clock bulletin spoke about a voting machine ‘copy’ found in a raid on a farmhouse in Mehrauli. The election commissioner dismissed it as ‘non-threatening and easily detectable’.

The 3:30 bulletin saw it relegated to the scrolling lines at the bottom. By the 4:00 bulletin, it had been taken off.

********************************************************

Wednesday 10:00 am

I had read a bit about telepathy, the sixth sense etcetera, but I had never very much believed in it. I did not deny its existence, indeed it would be foolishness to do so; it just did not happen to me. No extra sense warned me about the person round the corner I was just about to bang into, the hot iron I was just about to unknowingly touch, or the extra tough math exam that I was TOTALLY unprepared for.

So was I unprepared for that funny sense of ‘knowing’ that I had to check out the colony shopping center! I tried to ignore it, telling myself that there was NOTHING of interest in the market, not even a decent junk shop, but that uncomfortable feeling wouldn’t go.

I gave in to it finally, and strolled over, pretending that the warm sun was what had drawn me out.

There was no crowd at the market, half the shutters were down, and loud yells were coming from the fly infested sweet shop. Just another day at work, infact. Wondering why that ‘feeling’ wasn’t going away, I bought a packet of chips and started munching my way home, only to catch the first few drops of rain.

Winter rain so early? (No, its Providence, you fool!)

Taking shelter in one of the many un-used rooms in the shopping complex I bided my time. I am not fond of dark, dusty rooms, but there was no way I could cross into the opposite gift shop without getting drenched.

Talking about dust, why wasn’t this room as dusty as it should be? Walking over to the switchboard I found that the switches were brand new. Hoping against hope I switched on what I hoped would be the switch for the light and hail Bosie! The room lit up.

I noted with surprise that I wasn’t the only person taking shelter. Curled up against the wall, wrapped up in a blanket lay Ramu, the neighbourhood errand boy.

Apparently my entry wasn’t noisy enough to wake him, but the sudden brilliance had him jumping up, out of bed.

“Oh its you!” he said, falling back down again.

“I thought it was those 2 men.”

“What 2 men?” I asked curiously, as he obviously expected me to ask.

“Don’t you know anything? They took this room for a week; paid me well, they did, to find another place to sleep.” he said.

“Had this place all done up, they did. Their boss came in the evenings.”

“How do you know all this ?”I ventured, only half believing him.

“I used to hang around here in the day time, they didn’t mind. They thought I was too stupid to understand what they were saying.”

I sniggered.

“I’m not stupid! They thought I wouldn’t be able to follow their English. Well, my English teacher says I’m the best student, but even SHE would have trouble understanding their Bihari English!” he laughed out.

“Aren’t you Bihari?”I asked.

“No, I am not!!” was the heated reply from the 10-year Hariyanvi.

According to him, their boss was some ‘election guy’. Had a lot of deliveries and phone calls.

The rain finally let up and I made my way home.

**********************************************************

I had forgotten all about the matter until I saw the news at 3:00. I have always had a very active imagination, and wondered how much chaos fake voting machines would cause. And how easy it would be to make one that registered a particular vote no matter what button you pressed. If you believe that all humans are rotten to the core or that anything can be bought with money, then the idea of planting a fake machine seems simple. Childishly simple.

*********************************************************

An anonymous caller ‘advised’ the Delhi Police to raid a liquor shop in RK Puram.

This time, the news remained in the headlines for the whole of Thursday.

More fake voting machines were found but the shop owners denied knowledge of the suppliers. They had been paid in lakhs to store them in their shop, and beyond that, they knew nothing.

The Election Commissioner was now worried. There was no way of knowing just how many of these contraptions had been circulated, and elections were a mere 4 days away.

The Delhi Police rushed into action, combing the city for more fake machines.

*********************************************************

BRRRRRRNNNG!!!

The doorbell rang early on Friday morning. Rubbing sleep out of my eyes, I went to open the door and found Ramu, excitedly hopping on one foot then the other.

“What is it Ramu? Mom didn’t want you today, she TOLD you she wouldn’t be home!” I said, trying not to yawn.

“ My memory isn’t half as bad as yours; I remember that.” He said, tartly. “ I thought you might want to know that ‘Boss’ is back.”

“Who’s Bos- oh, him! Where is he, and what is he doing?”

“ He came to the shopping center at 9:00 today morning (yes, readers, that IS early on a holiday!!!). He’s eating at the mithai-wallas. Those 2 men aren’t with him, though.”

I thought quickly (a remarkable feet, when last night’s dreams are still playing havoc on your mind) and decided that I would like to take a look at this mysterious ‘Boss’.

I changed hurriedly, and followed Ramu to the shopping center. Very few shops opened this early (they, apparently, concur with my idea of ‘early’!) and it was easy to spot the lone man eating at the sweet shop, one of the two that were open.

I wondered what to do. I obviously couldn’t just go up to him and say, “Hey! Mystery man! I’m curious to know why you rented that little room and paid Ramu so much to get out of it, rather than letting your ‘side-kicks’ chuck him out. I’m curious to know why you packed up so soon and left, and by the way, I’m also wondering why a well dressed man like you is eating from a fly-infested, cheap sweet shop, when you can obviously take your pick of fancy eateries to eat from.”

He solved the problem for me. Noticing Ramu beside me, he nodded and smiled a bit. He beckoned to him, and handed him an envelope.

Ramu ran over again, and told me that he had been given a letter to post. Like they say in poems, ’mine eyes brightened’.

I loudly offered to help him stick the necessary stamps, and pulled him into the post office, right opposite the sweet shop. No, I DID NOT open that envelope and look inside (sheesh! What do you take me for?!) However, I DID take my own sweet time sticking and un-sticking the head of Gandhiji onto the envelope. Not much of my saliva had gone waste, however, before Mr. Boss was joined by a distinguished looking man.

I gave a start. That was Shri Lokapalliya, the local independent candidate.

Shri Lok, as his name was often shortened to, was extremely popular. He was one politician who genuinely cared for the people of his constituency. He was a Professor at a well-known College in Delhi, and never once had anyone any reason to doubt his integrity. He was a determined, far-seeing leader, and it seemed that everybody in Vasant Vihar, everybody in the whole of this constituency (just so that you know, Vasant Vihar falls under the RK Puram constituency.) wanted him to win the elections. Such was his popularity in a Congress dominated area.

Shri Lok and Boss had a nice long conversation before they went their separate ways.

Perhaps the ‘Boss’ just managed his election campaign, I thought. But that niggle in my sub-consciousness, also known as the sixth sense, wouldn’t stop telling me that this was going to be one interesting election.

**********************************************************

Saturday came and went. Sunday went creeping by, if you were a candidate.

The Police were still searching for the answer to the fake voting machines seized.

After much debate, it was decided not to postpone the elections, as the FVM’s, as they had come to be called, had been investigated, and found to behave like the real thing. Perhaps, mused the powers-that-be, this was somebody’s idea of a joke or a quick way to earn money.

**********************************************************

Monday morning dawned nice and bright. There was a holiday like air. Schools had given a day off, and students were enjoying a lie-in. Some schools, like mine, had given a whole week off for no earthly reason, but who’s complaining?

People went in trickles to the election center in our colony until closing time.

The day ended peacefully. No Kolkata style Election violence, thank you very much!

**********************************************************

School started the next day, and thoughts of ‘Boss’ and FVM’s were replaced by organic chemistry and co-ordinate geometry.

The results of the election were declared on Thursday, the 4th of December.

Surprise, surprise! The Congress DIDN’T win! Every constituency in Delhi turned up an independent winner. Sheila Dikshit lost, ML Khurana lost, all the big shots lost. True the margin wasn’t big, but there you have it. The elections were over in Delhi, and the Congress didn’t win, the BJP didn’t win.

All the news channels spent the day expressing surprise. Some suspected foul play, others cried it down. No trouble had been reported anywhere. The Congress was shocked into silence. They had been expecting a clear victory, so had, indeed, the rest of us.

**********************************************************

Friday, the 5th, saw another surprise. Instead of merging with a party, the independent winners decided to get together and form their own party. They elected Shri Lok their leader.

Chief Minister Lokapalliya was sworn in and was given a standing ovation after his speech.

The niggle in my sub-consciousness that had made me go and hear his speech, suddenly gave a ‘thump’ to my inside, as if saying, “You stupid moron! Can’t you connect it all even now?”

I was startled. The ‘Boss’, Shri Lok and FVM’s started revolving in a merry-go-round in my head, not unlike what they show in those Hindi serials, when the heroine has a flashback of her indiscretion.

Readers, I am only 16 years into the world. My mind isn’t yet half as scheming and evil as your average master-criminal. I think I have an idea of what happened in the Delhi elections of 2003. If my explanation sounds too simple, then remember the second sentence at the beginning of the paragraph.

**********************************************************

I think there was a conspiracy (I know the word sounds corny and is there in every other cheap thriller, but hey! I’m telling it like I see it.) to make Shri Lok the CM of Delhi. There was a conspiracy to deny every known party a SINGLE seat in Delhi. There was a conspiracy to form the Satya party, consisting of the independent victors. And ‘Boss’ and Shri Lok were behind it.

The educated middle class had taken a giant leap in the history of mankind. Tired of getting government after corrupt government, it had rigged an election in a democratic city, and got away with it. It, rather than the illiterate masses that vote on the basis of which party gives away more food sacks, finally chose the leader it wanted.

I suspect that the FVM’s had somehow been planted in a majority of polling centers. They probably registered something like every fourth vote in favour of the independent candidate. That coupled with the legitimate votes the independent got, made him/her a winner.

The ‘Boss’ is probably just another well-to-do serviceman/business man with some clout. Organising something like this in a mass scale isn’t easy, and 2 slip-ups did happen, but the seized FVM’s didn’t arouse much suspicion. He probably rotated between a lot of ‘offices’ like the one he set up in our colony, to escape suspicion. The planning for this must have taken up a lot of time and could only have come from the brain of Shri Lok. He is, after all, a distinguished professor of political science and foreign affairs. The other independents too are of a similar background. I suspect they too, had a brainstorming session or two over it.

**********************************************************

10th August, 2004

I never reported my suspicions, why should I? Shri Lok was running Delhi better than any of his predecessors. True, some of the usual glitches were there, but then, it would be silly to expect otherwise.

There was never a whisper of a scam, the electricity and water situation improved. Homes were set up for the homeless. Street children were taken care of. Crime levels came down. The sporting infrastructure in many Delhi sports clubs improved. CAS was done away with. There was an unprecedented transparency in the working of the Delhi government. Everything improved. The change in the functioning of the capital was monumental.

**********************************************************

I have never understood why my dormant sixth sense awoke for that particular period, because I have had no more such ‘flashes’.

Maybe in 50 years or so, occasional riggings like this will finally produce a central government consisting of members who have more of an interest in the progress of India, rather than the size of their back-pockets.

I hope I live to be 66!

**********************************************************

This is something i wrote when I was 13… March 17, 2006

Posted by K in Fiction, From The Attic.
2 comments

In calcutta for my mum’s operation, and i was sleeping in nani’s house and suddenly i woke up and remembered this dream i was having. so i wrote it down :D:D. Corny posts are allowed…its a masssive dose of nothing afterall!

BirdGirl

17th August, 2030

I, Dr. Zirzya Zarlow, am on the brink of bringing alive the first ‘Bird Man’, rather ‘Bird Girl’. Even now as I speak, the incubating term is about to end. Just a few more hours left.

I have had many dreams about flying, dreamt of the day when by some scientific magic man would be able to take to the air.

One night, I suddenly woke up with an idea of cloning a bird man.

Dolly was possible, so why not my pet dream?

Sure, it would be a LOT more difficult and people would think me mad. But I Could Do It.

I gave up on my other dream of being a surgeon(I still cannot stand the sight of a needle penetrating skin) and pursued my fantastic dream.

I went into genetic engineering and spent my first few years doing the normal research in a top institute in Australia.

I became very bored.

This was a lot more boring than what I’d expected it to be. I let my imagination lose and came up with lots of fascinating ideas which, according to me, were workable, even if it took years.

My fellow workers refused to work on anything for so long if it did not benefit the human race. They gave me several hints about starting to work on one such project, which I ignored.

Maybe that wasn’t nice of me, but I do not have the patience or ability to sit down and work on something like that, difficult and interesting as it maybe, simply because the ratio of imagination, real imagination, was a lot lesser than good thoughts and Science in them.

I only find imaginative work interesting.

I voiced my ideas in several World Wide Conferences(WWC) and found that though many were willing to sponsor my work, nobody was willing to work on such a far fetched idea. They all thought it to be useless.

I met one scientist from my country, Dr. Xa, who suggested to me that I work on my own, and set up a lab in some remote place. She was willing to help me part time with my research though she would be unable to help with the practical work because of her own work. Her advice was valuable, as I would hardly get any privacy in the institute, and I cannot work with people breathing down my neck.

So, with about 500 sponsors, I started my work by getting the lab built, stretching from underwater to the limits of the sky, in order to study all environmental needs for my clone. The construction took 2 years to complete, giving me ample time to study.

I now felt the butterflies in my stomach. Would I let down my sponsors and the world? Could I do it? I dismissed these thoughts the best I could, and went back to the drawing board.

I would have to make my creation in an egg. I had to give it a human face, body and legs, leave the birds wings and attach robotic arms.

I would extract the necessary genes to make it talk, feel and have human emotions. Calculating every detail, I set up in my now complete lab, and I put it to use.

I took the specially cloned egg of an eagle and inserted the human genes in them and extracted several eagle genes. That completed, I put it in the special incubator and left it there for 1 year.

That year was nearly up now.

One hour to go… 30 minutes… 15… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1!

I carefully picked the egg out, and with my tools, made an opening at the top. Breaking the rest of the shell, I placed a small creature on a tiny spongy bed. I hardly dared look at my masterpiece.

After 7 years, she was here! Being a great believer in girl power, I had put female genes in it , and I now beheld a petite little birdgirl.

I immediately put her through a trainer and attached the robotic arms. She came out as an end product, able to talk, move, sleep and do everything that we can do.

I named it Zani , and ran it through a special cricket course. I am a great lover of the game though I don’t have much time to catch up on it now.

I started a conversation with my girl and was DELIGHTED when it conversed back!

17th August, 2050

My Zani is now grown up.

Her height is 5 feet nothing and in mard(man-bird) years is 18 years old.

She has a great imagination, and has ‘inherited’ my love for cricket.

I have finally got my 129 autographs with her help, as she can simply fly out to get it.

She amazed the world.

She was a human on wings!

There was a small error in her though, her bones, although designed to resemble a human’s, were hollow like a bird’s, to support her weight in air. This endangers her during a storm, as she can blow away. I am working on a way to overcome that.

I am proud of her. My dream is being realised through another.

I am also working on an artificial pair of wings. Afterall, I want to fly too!

We live in the lab, the safest place for her.

She is as normal as anybody. And she can fly! I feel as satisfied as scoring 35 centuries, making 11,175 runs, taking 500 wickets, and averaging 99.99! I must sign off now. Zani and I are going out for dinner and then to watch a match. Tomorrow we attend yet another WWC and after that we are to meet a cricketer! Goodnight.

Dr. Zirzya Zarlow

Fiction (very raw;rough draft) March 14, 2006

Posted by K in Fiction, Gender, Life.
9 comments

‘I sent a letter to my father, and on the way I dropped it. Someone came and picked it up, and put it in my pocket…’

Again.

‘I sent a letter..to MY fa-th-er, and ON the way I dro-pped it. Someone…came and…picked it up and, put i-it in MY po-cket…’

Every weeknight I heard this childish jingle just around the time I went to bed. The first time the strains of this well-loved ditty floated in, I sat up, pleasantly surprised, nostalgic. Walking to the window, I pulled aside the blinds, and peered out. I saw no one. The singing, however, went on.

Five minutes later I could no longer hold myself in; I went out and looked for this mysterious singer, a child singing in the sweet, unselfconscious way that only they can. I looked here, I looked there, behind the fountain, in the woods, but I couldn’t find the owner of the voice. Finally I just stood still, and allowed the voice to wash over me; there was something so pure about it, something that touched me in a way I didn’t remember.

The next day I heard the singing again, but in locating the singer, I was unsuccessful yet again.

Some days, instead of the singing, I heard it being played on a child’s 1 octave keyboardette. The tune drifting in was like a soothing lullaby, and I would fall asleep listening to it. It amused me, a reversal of roles; the adult being sung to sleep by a child.

My friends were horrified when I related this nightly occurrence.

“Are you crazy? You actually go out into the woods when you hear it?”

“How can you take it so calmly!”

“I have the contact details of an appropriate company. You ought to take the details from me.”

It never struck me to be afraid of this mysterious musician. I was well aware of the reputation of the old mansion in the woods; a beautiful piece of work, built by an eccentric old woman as a shrine for her husband, whose price was less than one-tenth of its actual value, because no one would buy it. It was haunted, the agent warned me, but I had no time for ghosts or ghouls. As far as I was concerned, I didn’t bother them, so they needn’t bother me.

So I bought it, and haven’t really regretted my decision till date. Old houses have a wonderful aura; there’s an air of calm wisdom, the comfort of a mother’s bosom. The house and I connected so well, that soon it became impossible to distinguish where it began and I ended. It became an inexplicable part of me.

Maybe it was because of the house that I was never frightened by the ghostly singer. I felt safe and protected, and the very idea that someone might do me harm in my backyard seemed laughable.

Some days the song would take on a different note; almost as if it were inviting me, as if it were waiting for me to join in. So I too sang along. The child’s voice would take on an air of delight, and we sang a pleasant enough duet, I would have to say!

Often there was a change of song…Chanda Mama being the preferred alternative. The ghostly child was a bilingual singer! Its voice was as pleasing in Hindi as it was in English.

Months later, the singing stopped abruptly. Newly wed, I led my sceptical husband to the window by which I used to sit, waiting for the song. We waited long, but the song didn’t come. I was disappointed, but not embarrassed, for I missed the song more than I missed proving its existence to my husband. He laughed, not without a little condescension, and enfolded me in his arms.

“Looks like your singer doesn’t like a bigger audience,” he said, nibbling my ear. I let him nibble, my thoughts far away. Why didn’t the child sing tonight? And why did my husband’s response rankle? Why did I suddenly feel like a little child being disabused of a fantasy, and not like someone his own age?

The night after, too, I went to bed without its soothing comfort. The ghostly singer became my husband’s favourite dinner time story. Whenever he wanted to tease me, he would burst into a nursery rhyme in a grotesque imitation of a child. I laughed the first few times, and then asked him pick another topic; the songs had become an intrinsic part of me, and these days, I felt as if there was something missing in me without them. He would laugh then, lovingly rub his nose against mine, but the very next day, proceed to entertain company with the story of the ghostly singer who didn’t exist.

My life slowly changed. I was happy enough with my husband. We were compatible in most ways, and shared a love that seemed normal enough. Yet, I felt different. I was no longer myself, and I wasn’t a blooming bride either. I felt alienated from my inner self; I no longer connected with what I liked to think of as my soul.

As I went about my daily life, I felt as if a huge chunk had been extracted from my psyche. I felt as if I was constantly answerable to someone, that I had stopped being an individual, and I don’t know why.

My husband was not one of those who believe men are better than women; yet I was the one laying dinner on the table each night. I was the one doing the laundry, and I was the one listening to him talk about his friends, his work and his views on cricket. When I spoke about my work, he listened, offered advice, but an uncomfortable realisation plagued me that he considered his work to be of more consequence.

It didn’t strike me as unreasonable when I asked to be treated as an individual, and not a wife. It bothered him when I questioned old relatives who asked me why I wasn’t pregnant as yet, and if I was taking good care of him. It was little things like these that widened the chasm that was steadily emerging between us.

“Let us move to another house,” he said, suddenly, one night. This old house was jinxed, he said. He reminded me of all the people who wouldn’t buy this house.

“And now when I think about it, I was probably wrong about the singer. The ghost probably exists; it fits in with the history of this place. And now it’s hell bent on ruining our marriage.”

I was stunned. Could it be…? It was true that the songs had stopped the day I brought my groom home. But the house…it had been built as a shrine for a husband!

I had difficulty in believing that the child singer was malicious. Noting my indecision, my husband increased his efforts in persuading me to move to a two bedroom flat that he had his eye on, in the city.

“It will be closer to both our work places. Besides, you shouldn’t be…” he stopped abruptly.

I looked up sharply, he had been about to let slip something that he didn’t want to.

I needed to think, I said, and walked into the woods for the first time in over a year. For a while, I waited almost expectantly. I knew the singer was gone, but hoping against hope, I started singing the first song I had heard it sing. Silence. No answering tune.

I spent a long time in there; it brought back memories of days when I was happy, and it cleared my head. I thought of what my husband had said, and it dawned on me why he suddenly believed in my ghost. It made him uncomfortable to live in a house that I had bought with my own money. He probably couldn’t stand the jibes, that I imagine came his way, about men living off women.

I filed for divorce.

Relatives descended on me like a ton of bricks. Nobody could understand why I had terminated a marriage that seemingly had no chinks. You’re a fool! I was told. A husband that wasn’t abusive, that loved you and wanted to take care of you…!

How was I to convince dozens of people who were so conditioned by society that they couldn’t see beyond stereotypes of men and women? Not one female relative who came to admonish me could understand why I refused to be a ‘woman’. I was taking feminism too far, I was told. Feminism was fine for the world, why drag it home?

“Aren’t you taking it too far?” questioned a distant cousin. “You’re like those radicals who scream bloody murder when you read out fairy tales to children.”

To the others, “Really! Some people begin reading too much into Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty etcetera. Honestly, can’t they just see it as innocent fairytales? Why must they begin seeing patriarchal propaganda in it?” Other voices chimed up in response. I smiled wryly to myself, as two others joined in, saying they were merely stories of love and fantasy.

“How can they be anything more? They’re for little children for god’s sake!”

It was ironical that these women were voicing out the very reason for my divorce without realising it. It was these books that one is subjected to right from the time one can comprehend that were responsible for not only my husband’s attitude, but all these women’s too. How can any one ignore the stereotypes that begin to be fed into us right from childhood?

I was alone, in my mansion, after more than a year. I felt at one with the house again.

That night, I had a curious experience. I was almost asleep, in a state of semi consciousness, when I fell into a dream. I dreamt of the singer, only the child was, curiously enough, woman; a woman so old that her face was hidden under wrinkles. She beckoned to me, and asked me to look deep in her eyes. There I saw a young girl, laughing, singing songs, arm in arm, in step with a young boy. The old woman smiled a sad smile at me, and lifted her manacled hands.

“I thought nothing would change it.”

As she walked away from me, she started singing, and I too joined in.

The next night a familiar sound reached my ears. The tinkle of keys of a keyboardette, and a child’s voice. “I sent a le-tter to MY fath-er. On…the way…I d-r-o-p-p-e-d it. Someone came and…picked it up and…put it in my po-ck-et!”

Surprised, excited, I hurried out of bed to sit by the window again. The child sang longer that night. I joined in, a smile of comprehension on my face.

Blank Noise Project March 11, 2006

Posted by K in Blank Noise Project, Bus rides, contemporary, Life.
2 comments

I must laud the efforts of whoever started this project( forgive me, i’m too lazy to look it up)
I’ve read what a few people have to say about it, and i’ve read some responses. I could try to clinically analyse the menace of sexual harassment on the streets, but I cannot. I cannot step out of the woman in me while observing the situation, and i can only account what runs through my mind when I’m out on the street everyday.

I travel by buses(the past few weeks have seen the spoilt brat in me getting ferried to and fro). I remember my first time: heart thumping, newly into college, a failed attempt behind me. I was so glad to find a classmate of mine, a seasoned warrior, waiting for the same bus(864). She got off at South Ex; my stop-far far away in Sector 1, RKP. It was a relatively empty bus: but I was not to know that at that time. To my virgin eyes it appeared full enough, and I was a mass of nerves, watching out for the bastards I’d heard about from every woman I knew who travelled by buses, and constantly, timidly, pestering the conductor with ‘Stop aane walla hai kya?’ (poor guy, he finally said, bata denge!)
After a point, I was curiously at ease. I didn’t find any lecherous glances directed my way, no one paid any more attention to me than they did any one else. My stop came on time, and my switch to a 623 and the consequent ride was as eventless.
My conditioned fear of buses disappeared after that day. I even began to enjoy my daily rides! Soon i was unafraidedly stepping into buses almost bursting at the seams (okay, okay, not quite! But full enough, i assure you!) And till date the only dubious incident that I was subjected to remains a ‘bhonda’ type of a man sitting closer to me than I thought necessary. It was remedied easily. Doubtful of whether his intentions were to harass me, i moved seats; i didn’t feel like accusing him of something that he actually might not have been doing.

But I have been lucky. I have friends who have been molested in buses. A friend of mine from Gargi tells me that everybody there avoids buses as that route is frequented by lecherous drunks. She shells out close to 75 bucks daily, travelling by autos: not the safest of vehicles.
A friend of mine was molested more than once while still in school, as she travelled a short distance to and from her tuitions.
Many other friends are always conscious of eyes on them in buses, on the streets, and even at the anti-Bush Rally.
I personally have never felt eyes on me. That could be because of a multitude of reasons; because I’m not the kinds that catch men’s attention, because I’m generally spaced out and/or lost in thoughts. Because I dont really ‘look’ around me much. My time on the bus is spent absorbing the many wonderful people who often get on. Interesting, if not wonderful. I see little children, toting school uniforms and bags, get away with not buying a ticket because the conductors are so amused by them. I’ve seen a conductor utter a muhavra out of my hindi text books, I’ve seen a grandmother handle her (i think) mentally challenged grandson encouragingly normally, and talk uninhibitingly to me about him. I’ve had people voluntarily give me their seats on days I’ve been sort of tired, offer to hold my things for me if i’m standing. I seen a lot of normal people on the bus. and I think I like to kid myself that this is how all buses are like.

I have been molested; at a railway station as a child, at sarojini nagar,on a tourist bus in cherapunji. I am aware of the molestation that goes on on buses, streets, offices,with just as much regularity as the sun. I’m aware that I have become conditioned by this; to avoid smiling at strangers when I’m happy, to move two steps away from groups of men, to look suspiciously at men who walk my way. I’m on tenter hooks when I walk in crowded places. i constantly check the top of my shirts-no matter how high they go- to ensure that its in place. Even my premature excitement at attending a Maiden gig is tempered by questions of the behaviour of male gig-goers.
I don’t want to become paranoid. But I have.

Lost March 7, 2006

Posted by K in Friends, Poem.
6 comments

There were two birds

Sat side by side

Pulling at twigs

They found beside

Hop and skip

Staid followed the other

An about turn:

Hop skipped the other

A friendly push

Back flew the other

Let’s watch the match

Said both together

“I lost a friend”

Confided one to another

“No, she lost you,”

Assured the other.

They stayed together

Through seasons many

Friends enough

To meet occasional monthly

A storm one season

A gathering tidal wave

That friend is gone

Remnants of a person remain.

The lone bird watches a wing tip

Wonders why

It doesn’t think to cry

Launches itself for an untroubled fly

Would be nice if it could remain

Trapped in the web of old

But birds of a feather flock together;

Born-again ones fly happily (uneasily?)alone.

I Can March 5, 2006

Posted by K in Ablility, Fiction.
2 comments

“You’re not normal. How can you even think of getting this job?” The executive behind the impressive desk looked disdainfully at the girl seated in front of him. “Please don’t waste my time.”

At the first glance, to all eyes she appeared ordinary enough. If you looked carefully, however, you would notice that she had no legs. Below her knees she wore artificial feet. She had lost her feet in a motor accident a few years back.

A steely glint was visible in her black eyes as she scraped back her chair and stood up.

“I pity you,” she said simply and strode out to the door.

At the door, she paused, grinned, and said, “There’ll be a day, Mr. Ramlal, when you’ll wish you had invited me to a cup of coffee.”

And then, she was gone.

Zainab sighed. Life was not easy for a ‘cripple’. Especially if that cripple was looking for a job. So what if she had trained her artificial legs to become a part of her body? So what if she could do everything by herself? To ignorant beings like Mr. Ramlal, a cripple was a cripple was a cripple.

People had never been comfortable with disability. It made them feel awkward, embarrassed to acknowledge a missing arm or leg or sense.

Zainab, herself, had been no different. After the amputation, she had believed her life to be worse than over. She had felt as if she were stuck in between the worlds of the living and the dead, not being able to live, and being denied the pleasure of death.

Depressed and listless, she had allowed herself, one day, to be wheeled to an orphanage where her family volunteered.

She noticed a little boy in the distance, pretending to be a duck. Every time one of the ducks around him flapped their wings, he would flap his arms in time. When they tucked their beaks under their wings, he would comically put his head under his knee. As they waddled about, he waddled too.

Zainab laughed out loud, and felt the warm sun after a very long time.

“What’s his name?” she asked the girl who was wheeling her about.

“Oh, that’s Duckie, our resident clown,” said she with a laugh. “Duckie loves the ducks so much, that the name stuck.”

“How old is he?” asked Zainab.

“He’ll turn five tomorrow,” replied the girl, and asked her whether she would like to talk to him.

The sun went behind a cloud right then, and Zainab shivered.

“No, I think I’ll go home now. Would you please tell my mother that I’ve left?”

All day that day, the image of the boy with his head under his leg kept popping into Zainab’s mind. She decided to pay the orphanage another visit.

The boy was with the ducks again, this time trying to straddle one like a horse, and ride it. The duck gave a loud quack and waddled off, leaving a giggling boy flat on his back.

“Duckie! How many times do I have to tell you not to trouble those poor ducks? They’ll stop laying those beautiful eggs; then what will you have for breakfast?” A lady caught sight of his antics, as she came out of the orphanage.

Zainab frowned. Why was she speaking like hat? Enunciating the words clearly, as if chewing them before carefully laying it before an invalid?

The lady caught sight of Zainab, and smiling, came over to her.

“Leela told me you were asking about Duckie yesterday,” she said. “Isn’t he an absolute pet?”

“Yes he is,” replied Zainab, absently.

“Why were you speaking to him like that?”

The lady looked surprised. “Like what?”

“You spoke as you would to a little baby learning to talk, not to a five year old.”

The lady smiled. “Duckie is learning to talk. You see, he is hearing impaired, and he was diagnosed very late. Thus his vocabulary is equivalent to that of a three year old.”

Zainab was shocked. “He’s…deaf?”

“Not deaf, hearing impaired,” corrected the lady gently. “You see, one of the first things I learnt, as the sibling of a blind boy, was that the words we use often reflect the way we feel, and vice versa. Words like ‘deaf’, ‘retarded’, while being perfectly accurate in their description, are associated with negative emotions.

People have associated weakness and inferiority with such words, and when we use them, we automatically, without knowing it, reflect the same. So I’ve decided to stick to hearing impaired.”

Zainab nodded. “He doesn’t look it, you know. He’s so happy…”

The lady looked surprised.

“Why shouldn’t he be? He’s alive and he’s loved,” she said. “Oh look, he’s actually managed to sit on Quacker! That boy…!”

Zainab looked at her retreating form, not really seeing.

“Why shouldn’t he be?” the words echoed in her head. “He’s alive and he’s loved.”

That night sleep was hard to come by for Zainab. She twisted and turned, but it was no use. Duckie and the lady’s words kept popping up in her head.

“It’s time for me to do a little soul searching,” she thought. “Maybe some of my perceptions will have to be re-perceived.”

Why did everybody assume that a disabled person had a miserable life?

Why were they pitied at all? It was just assumed that everybody wanted to be physically ‘complete’.

But would an Eskimo ever rue the fact that he hadn’t tasted butter chicken?

Or should the birds pity the humans because they can’t fly?

Next morning Zainab woke up feeling as if a huge load had been lifted off her chest.

She had decided to live.

Ten years on, one cold November morning, a woman in whites could be seen instructing a group of children about the correct grip for leg spin.

She walked over to the nets, took a short run up, and bowled a perfect leg spinner. Grinning at the awed silence, she ordered them to practice until they were comfortable with the new delivery.

The woman was Zainab. And this was her cricket coaching academy. Today she had not only made a name for herself as a cricket coach, but was also the president of a leading sports management company.

She had never thought she would be where she was today. Her mind often went back to that warm, sunny day, when a little boy and a few ducks had shown her the meaning of life, and she said yet another silent thank-you to the boy who had given her the courage to live a happy life.

Duckie had been adopted soon after she saw him, but at her request, the orphanage lady had arranged a correspondence between them. He was now a high spirited fifteen year old. He went to one of the best schools in his city, and had made a name for himself as a pianist.

“Zainab! There’s somebody here to see you!” Yelled an aspiring cricketer.

Zainab looked up, startled, as a balding man approached her.

“Hello, Zainab! How are you? We have heard so much about you!” The man paused. “What, you don’t recognize me? I’m Ramlal of UniSport Ltd. I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance.”

“We are opening a new branch office and I was wondering if you would do us the honour of heading it.”

Zainab looked incredulously at Mr. Ramlal. Then she burst out laughing.

“I don’t like coffee, Mr. Ramlal!” she threw back over her shoulder, as she went over to rejoin her students.

Poor Mr. Ramlal was left opening and shutting his mouth like a goldfish.