Friday, October 16, 2009

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Romancing a Louis Vuitton

"I look H-O-T!" thought Ann. A fleeting smile passed her candy gloss covered lips.
"The mirror never lies darling," James had said.
"I hope you are right James."
"He was rarely wrong", she thought shaking her head and smiling while stuffing her sunglasses into her red leather handbag.
She paused a moment to admire her bag...
'you were such a good buy, you were expensive but oh how I love you. We've been through a lot together!' Ann could and did talk to her bags, belts even shoes.
Don't be ridiculous her brain told her... you are a supposed to be a 'sane'- at least you claim to be one - twenty-six year old independent, soon-to-be-immensely rich- business person. What are you doing- talking to your handbag like that?

She felt the plush leather as she loving caressed  her bag...She remembered the rainy afternoon she had been strolling down the super expensive Blink Boulevard, and there it was... sparkling elegantly in the Louis Vuitton show window which was all dressed up for Christmas. It didn't need to be dressed up she had thought... it's always Christmas in there.

She remembered the panic and how she had almost decided not to splurge on it just as she handed her credit card over to the cashier. She remembered blocking out 'Warren Buffett' from her head and the effort it took.

'I deserve a Christmas present too' she had told herself,  'I am a woman....  I need handbags'... she had rationalised. That's the one that had worked in the end or maybe it was the promptness of the handsome, clean cut guy at the cash counter.

They packed it in a storage bag, she remembered, and then into a paper carry-bag with Loius Vuitton printed boldly on it. Strange how you just know you've bought something incredible (or incredibly expensive)  when they pack it in a storage bag. She had even saved the paper bag for some years.
'It's not everyday you buy a Loius Vuitton... my first Louis Vuitton' she thought while standing in front of her dresser admiring her bag. 'The first of many'  said her wicked handbag crazy brain as her sensible brain had died a slow, delirious death to the bottle of wine she had opened to toast her buy.

She remembered how this handbag had helped her get her first job when she had been so completely broke.Anyone carrying around a bag like that with a degree in writing was a definite asset to a fashion magazine. It had got her a better pay packet than the others as well. The lady interviewer had assumed that she was from a rich family and wouldn't agree to stay at the measly salary they were offering others.

'I haven't forgotten your contribution in my being a fashion model! holding the bag up admiringly as you would your own child.

The reporter had been ignorant enough to think you were an imitation! I had so wanted to sock her but I just let her print the photo of another original LV to accompanying her article on 'budget buys'! Ann remembered, her eyes twinkling with mischief just as they had been in the photo that had come out on the front page of the city edition of the newspaper!

Oh and how could I forget that I met James at the special Louis Vuitton party for people who loved the brand!' the mere thought of him made her eyes twinkle as she fiddled with the diamond ring on her left hand. A handsome, rich man who loved the finer things in life. Where else would I have met someone as perfect? she mused.

But what I still can't believe is how we got our first store. She remembered how tired she had been walking back from her job and... you aren't very light either my beauty. And there in front of the ice cream parlour she had met him... the gentleman in a pink shirt with a cone heaped with 2 scoops of strawberry ice-cream. He had told her that he was into fashion accessories and looking to expand his business....and would offer her a a franchise if she cared... she hadn't believed him for a second. She remembered thinking, 'carbs, gluttony and fashion don't go together, old man. Besides pink was so last season!'  She had thought him to be one of the many con-artists and not a very good one either! "And then your strap came undone," she went back to talking to her Louis Vuitton, "and my eyes fell on the gentleman's Tanino Crisci shoes... I believed every word he said after that. Most people let the finer things go unnoticed. The finer things are important...for the finer people..."

A loud, incessant horn downstairs brought her back to the present.
'It's showtime baby!' she said slinging her bag on her shoulder as she rushed out of her apartment.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Treasure Island

Most people who know me, know what a sport fanatic I am so I have had mostly guy friends to whom I have always been 'one of the guys' as guys (most of them) seem to believe that only guys can like sport or watch football and understand the off-side rule. So whenever, a girl like me comes along, they seem to assume that I couldn't possibly care about handbags and shoes and 'Sex and the City' and 'Desperate Housewives' and haircuts with bangs! I usually play the part, not wanting to be ridiculed but more importantly not wanting to bore my wonderful friends by discussing the 'art of accessorizing'. But today, while we were watching the IFA Sheild Semi-final between the Churchill Brothers and Air India, I caught myself being a little blue and thinking about the last 'Sex and the City' episode in which one of the characters is slowly losing her memory. I was getting a little teary eyed and it had nothing to do with the football match (which the Churchill Brothers won) ....could have been the fact that this was probably the last time I'd see the series (SITC) or the fact that one of my closest gal pals had given birth to a beautiful baby girl last night... things were changing.
It all came back... my friend's wedding and the heartbreaks she'd been through before she married her wonderful husband... the nights of crying, eating Oreos and then crying some more when we put on weight, going on diets together, going to the gym, finding the perfect dress and then hiding it behind some attrocious clothes hoping it would still be on the shelf when the season sales started. All things girlie and all things nice and sometimes, not so nice. All of a sudden I didn't feel as blue as I did . I had started reminiscing teary eyed and now was all smiles... Amazing how important memories can be. I can't even begin to imagine how terrible a disease like Alzheimer's would be. I mean aren't memories the precious gems that we collect all our lives, that help us get through the terrible times, that keep us positive... where else would you turn to for strength? Until today, I hadn't thought of Alzheimers being as bad as cancer and all the other terrible stuff out there. But now I think Alzeihmers is scariest of them all, robbing you of your life while you breathe. So I have decided to cherish my memories and not feel bad about things,circumstances, people, months, relationships changing but instead be grateful that things change and leave behind these beautiful treasures for me to cherish (hopefully) forever.
Life - Our own little treasure island.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Long hair, an earring in his left ear, lanky, somewhat handsome, loads of attitude and stoned beyond his senses. Arjun sat in the canteen of his Film School, yet again not attending classes.

What could the old teacher teach him that his 'God' Kurt Cobain couldn't?
He had his own rave going in the canteen. I need another fix, he thought. He thought of the secluded street right behind the school. His very own 'heaven'.

Getting back to the canteen, he felt a lot happier, lighter, chirpier. He wanted to talk, dance, jump, shout, sing, do the twist, all at once.

His teacher walked into the canteen for a much needed cup of tea. He saw Arjun and shook his head sadly. Poor boy! he thought. He used to be such a delightful young man. I remember him when he came to the college for the first day accompanied by his mother. He was clean, his eyes bright, his walk straight, his clothes smart. His walk is what his teacher remembered most vividly. The confident walk of a man who has nothing to hide. He walked creepy now, he stayed in the shadows now, he dressed like someone who should have been slinking away in the corner in the dark room, thought the teacher.

Arjun wasn't innocent but his teacher still couldn't get himself to completely dislike the boy. He used to be good. He still was good when he was sober. He still smiled sometimes but most of the time Arjun just looked mad.

Right then, while the teacher drank his tea, Arjun snapped and started dancing and singing loudly to the Marlyn Manson song which was now playing on his laptop.

As Arjun, reached the peak of his franticism, his singing turned to an animal like howling. Not a happy howling but a sad, desperate sort of cry and then he broke down in front of his music blaring laptop. 'I miss you, mum' sobbed Arjun. He had lost her in a traumatic road accident. The same accident in which he lost his soul.

The image of his mum, dying in his arms in the middle of the road while he went from pillar to post to get an auto, a car, a mo-bike, a rickshaw, anyone to take his mum to the hospital flashed before his eyes. She died on the road leading to his college. The road he traveled every single day. He saw it all play out in his head every single day. Strange how he didn't see his mum lying there but only the face of auto driver, looking on like it was a film shoot. How ironic? A wry smile crossed Arjun's face.

Marlyn Manson is right! There is no good in the world only evil. Just varying degrees of evil. Satan is the only thing that is real.

Just then Arjun heard the sound of pure, uninhibited laughter. It sounded like nothing he had heard before but he didn't want it to stop. He turned to look at the source of the enchanting, exhilarating, tinkling sound. It was a bunch of new girl students. All dreamy eyed and excited about being in Film School.

He remembered the excitement he felt when he had set foot in the prestigious film school the very first day with his mum. It had truly felt good... then.

One of the girls from the group came up to Arjun, "Are you OK?" , she asked smiling sweetly, her eyes anxious looking at his trembling body.

'I am cool' said Arjun, winking at the girl. She stepped back slightly taken aback by the evil glint in his eye which contradicted the innocent smile on his face.

'Baby, do you wanna be cool?" asked Arjun running his trembling hand through his long black hair.

She walked away. No angels, only varying degrees of the devil, thought Arjun looking at the pretty girl in the pink top walk away stunned.

Black Diamond

A crowded Costa Coffee, a lady with graying hair and eyes that once must have shone like black diamonds ... now only simmering coals remained.
Radha looked anxiously at her son seated across the table from her. His eyes were sunken, bloodshot, his hair disheveled, she felt he smelt of liquor and it was only 10 a.m. she thought.

She thought back to the day she dropped him off at the railway station to go to Noida. He had told her he had a job interview. She had been so naive to believe him. He had left with a hundred thousand of rupees. He had said he needed them for deposit on his rented accommodation.

Now here he sat, asking for more money, with no job, and no real plans of doing one.

Had he even showered? she thought. His stare was glassy and he looked like the devil. 'How can a child be so different from his father?' Radha thought. She remembered Arun's dad... immaculately dressed, honest, a tea totaler. What did I do so wrong? a panicky voice in her asked.

Her son was brooding and demanding some money and food. She glared at him to at least go and pick up the order. He almost trampled a kid on his way to the counter, looking back only to shout a profanity at the now terribly worried mother of the little kid.

Radha wished the earth would open up and swallow her that very moment. She smiled apologetically at the lady as Arun returned with the coffee almost slamming the tray on the table.

Just then Radha, noticed a very skimpily dressed girl with very red lipstick, high heeled boots and glassy eyes resembling her son's eyes walk up to the coffee counter.
She seemed slightly off balance. She saw Arun and waved at him. How a wave of the hand could look so dirty, Radha just couldn't comprehend.

Arun winked back at the girl and then demanded his mum give him another Rs. 50,ooo for the month. He threatened her with dire consequences if she didn't. He played the guilt card too by blaming her for his state in life and for his father's death.

Radha got up, left the envelop with the money on the table, payed the cheque and left with a silent prayer and a solitary tear.

A job well done

2 cappuccinos, a crowded Costa Coffee , a beaming mum and her all grown up son.

He has become such a fine young man thought Radha. Was it really only 6 months back when he moved to Noida, a hesitant, lanky, nervous 26 year old to join his very first job. His very first job in a city he had never been to.

She remembered him leaving Karnal with his bags and an apprehensive smile.

She remembered praying desperately that he like his new life and really become successful at his job as an engineer in an automobile company.

She also remembered his frantic calls sometimes when he felt lost and lonely in his new city and life... they were more frequent in the initial weeks she remembered. He is a quick learner my she thought proudly looking at the handsome young man seated across the table wearing a smart pair of denims and a lilac shirt.

My son always had fashion sense, look how handsome he looks! I Guess all the girls in office have a crush on him. That's what kids these days call finding someone attractive.. 'crushing!' imagine that! He looks so like his father. Radha smiled.

He has his father's walk too she thought when he went up to order a sandwich for her. He stopped to let the pretty lady order first, I taught him well. He learnt well. Well! He is a gentleman she thought.

'Ok! Lets see this girl you've been raving about' she said to him when he returned with her sandwich.'

'Sure mum, you'll love her. She really is looking forward to meeting you.' he said placing his hand over his mother's.

'Let me just call to check she's O.K.'He said reaching for his swanky new Apple i phone.

And just when he was dialing her, Radha noticed her son's eyes light up looking at this lovely girl. The formal pants and shirt gave her away that she had come straight from office even though she looked as fresh as ever.

She looked slightly nervous Radha noticed. Arun walked up to his lady love and she seemed to gain strength from his reassuring smile. She bent to touch Radha's feet and just then it hit Radha that she was old! 'What an odd thought!, said a little voice in her head as she quickly hugged her pretty-soon-daughter-in-law-to-be.

Two lattes and a couple of hours later, Radha called for the cheque. Arun promptly reached for it. 'Mum, it's on me' he said showing his perfect set of teeth and the gorgeous dimples.

Radha sighed, smiled and thought Arun really had grown up. A job well done she told herself.

Monday, November 05, 2007


"Switch off the lights .... you know how expensive electricity is! You children, never understood the value of money! All I do is keep switching off lights after you!' said Pritam, her old feet in new slippers making a peculiar sound on the marble floor.

"Precisely Mummy" said Renu, rolling her heavily made up eyes in a manner that would have put the best bollywood actress to shame.

"What is this?" she said picking up a mascara bottle off Renu's dresser and looking curiously at the silver embossing on the bottle, slowly moving her finger along the alphabets ...."

"Mascara hai" said Renu, seeing her grandma's reflection in the mirror as she finished applying lipstick to her smooth, unwrinkled lips.

'Maca?" 'Ki?' asked Pritam trying to search her memory for a similar word.

"Mas-car-a" said Renu... "for making the eye lashes look longer..."

'Oh ho! You don't need make-up! ... Just apply a chap stick and you are ready... that is what your bua (aunt) used to do" she said smiling at her granddaughter.

" Acha... ok! "

"This is a nice flat... hai na? You get very nice, bright sunlight in the balcony... it really dries up all the clothes rather quickly.

"Hmm... " said Renu dreading the idea of her clothes being put up on exhibition and shuddering at the thought of what havoc the 'nice, bright, sunlight' would play on her delicate clothes!

"You should let the sun come in sometimes... curtains all the time is not good for you. Look how pale you have become." said Pritam opening the drapes and enjoying the sunlight that flooded the room.

"yep... ok." said Renu, a small frown appearing on her crease less young face... eyes rapidly blinking to adjust to the sunlight now flooding her room.

"Where are my jeans? I put them right here on my bed! " muttered Renu throwing all the stuff off her bed and creating a small hill of very interesting things on the floor!

"In our times, girls were judged by how clean their rooms were. If a robber breaks into your room, he'll think someone beat him to it!... What are you looking for?"

"My blue jeans... I put them right here," said Renu, pointing to one corner of her bed.

"Which jean? neeli (blue)?"said Pritam picking up clothes and pillows and toys and deodorants off the floor with an exasperated sigh.

"Haanji!... have you seen them? Mummy, I am getting late" said Renu frantically throwing out clothes from her cupboard.

"Those were so dirty beta... so I washed them... look" she said pointing to the jeans hanging from a clothesline in the balcony, dripping and making a small puddle on the floor.

"Nahiiin! Noooooo! How could you do that? You washed them? You didn't even ask? Why!? I told you not to touch my clothes Mummy! I wash what I want to, when I want to! I didn't ask you to wash them! I specifically said to you last month not to touch the clothes on my bed!"

"It was sooo dirty! I can't let you wear dirty clothes...hai... what will people say?" "It needed a wash period" said Pritam innocently, retying her silver hair in a neat bun.

"You have ruined my evening... do you know how many months I worked on those jeans so they would be perfect? And it was perfect now! I specifically said not to touch anything! You don't understand! Why can't you mind your own business! This is so unfair,"said Renu now hysterical.

'Why don't you wear this one?' said Pritam holding up a mouse-brown pleated trouser.

'What is wrong with you! That is so out! Do you want me to look like a clown? Look at my make-up... look at my earrings ... wear that with these?' screamed Renu pointing at her earrings and t-shirt and hand bag and walking out of her room to the balcony.

"What did you wash them with?" she said hurriedly bundling up her designer jeans, spaghettis, dresses and jackets, t-shirts, shorts, skirts out of the harsh sunlight.

"Nirma of course." She said proudly, "I went to the market and esspecially bought Nirma for them. That foreign organic stuff you children use now-a -days... it doesn't clean at all... no wonder all your clothes looks yellow... look at the white shirt now... see... how clean it is now and what you use is so expensive!" said Pritam theatrically crossing her arms and shaking her head.

"Whatever!" said Renu also shaking her head and dialling her best friend's number on the cell phone as Pritam slowly, slightly unsteady on her feet, left the room, rearranging the bottles on the dresser on her way out.

"You won't believe this Sims... I can't make it today... mummy has washed all my good clothes with chemicals and like that wasn't all my denims look brand-freakin- new!! I am just so frustrated ya! I mean ... Why can't she mind her own business ya! And you know what is so unfair... if I tell someone what happened... I come out looking like such a nasty person... I mean... poor old woman... washes my clothes and I get mad! Why does she have to always do something like this... Now she is going to go watch some stupid KK serial and relate me to a nasty, spoilt, uncaring vamp! And that is not it at all... I love her to death but she just keeps pushing and pushing and pushing... till you have no control on your own life."

" I can understand how you feel."

"I so wanted to come.. you know." said Renu in tears and still hugging the bundle of wet clothes.

"I know," said Sims, "and hey! Renu, you are not a nasty, bad person... you are just human... just as she is".

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Being Tom

"Hello! who is it?... Ronny?... yeah.. I am awake.. nah... tell me"
"Hey man... I am in deep shit... you need to help me Tom! I was with this chick ... things happened... Tara ... the kids... wont answer...
"OK! Ronny... slow down... you are breaking up... tell me what happened.... "
"Jeez man!!!... why don't you answer your calls! anyway listen up... I was at that bar we went to last summer... remember... 'Rystlers'... the one with the neon light bar stools..."
"...was sitting there drinking the Fireball...and this really hot chick comes up to me... and well one thing lead to another... so if Tara calls I was with you... and we were at Rystlers... drank too much and I am still in bed...and one more thing.. open up... am outside in 2 minutes."

"It's open... come on in... will be out in a minute"
"you look like shit... what happened?"
"Don't ask buddy... wouldn't wanna make you all jealous!" said Ronny winking and running his hands through his unruly hair.

"I am not lying for you anymore Ron... Tara is a wonderful person and I hate to...!" said Tom... "want some coffee?"
"Yep!"... sure could use some... Did I mention I was up all night?" said Ronny going into the bathroom.
'Oh Gawd!' muttered Tom
"What... what did ya say?? You know how your constant muttering bugs me!? " yelled Ron from the bathroom.
"Well.. good!... look Ron I am not lying for you, I just ain't... simple," said Tom plugging in the kettle.
"It won't happen again.. come on Tom I messed up... I was drunk... she was hot.. you know! what do you expect me to do? Go tell my wife?...who will leave me for sure... and take my three year old girl with her and they'll both hate me... and what for?... a stupid .. stupid ... stupid mistake..." said Ronny looking down at the blue gray carpet, shaking his head.
"Come on man... last time.. I promise"
"Here talk to her," he said dialing a number on the white cordless phone... "tell her I came down to meet ya coz.. well you needed to talk and that we went to Rystlers and had a drink too many... come on.. you know.. just make her know you are the only one she trusts of all my friends"
"I know," said Tom... "I know."
"Just this once!" said Ron crossing his heart like he used to back in school when they traded secrets about their crushes.
'He still looks like that guy in shorts and glasses and a tie selling tickets at the school fair,' thought Tom, looking at Ronny, who was now giving him the thumbs up.
"Hello!" said a soft, accented female voice on the other side.
"Good morning Tara... this is ...
"Hey Tom... how are you?"
"I am doing good Tara... sorry to wake you up at this hour... just wanted to tell ya that Ron is here with me... we got very late last night and I insisted that he shouldn't drive back"
"Oh! ... ok...uhmm... Thank you Tom...haven't seen you in a while... you should come over for dinner one of these days... I'll make apple pie for dessert!... I know that will get you over fast!
"You got that right, Tara, " said Tom laughing heartily.
"Good... Can I talk to him?" said Tara in her subdued voice.
"Sure," said Tom handing over the phone to Ron.

"I better head home buddy... I'll catch up with ya soon" said Ron hanging up.
"Coffee?" said Tom holding up a cup
"Nah... another day... thanks man... you are such a buddy!" said Ron running out the door.
Tom followed him to the porch and picked up his newspaper from between the rose bushes where it had landed and waved to Ron as he zoomed past him.

Tom took his coffee to the table... pulled up a chair... it was still early and it was one of those rare days when he got up early and could sit down with his coffee and read a newspaper on a weekday.
'Earthquake ... Fire... Plane Crash... Elections... Robbery... Murder... Nadal loses to Federer'. "Thank God for the sports page..." he muttered as he settled down.

* * *

"Green again... Wow! it's amazing how when you are running late you get all red lights and today when I am actually on time... rather early... I haven't gotten a single Red light!... Guess that's God's way of rewarding you!" said Tom to himself as he zipped past the row of offices.
'Who'd believe that in just a few minutes... it'll be tough to find a parking spot here' he thought as he looked up at the huge 'Real Deals at Zeal' banner...
"Good morning!" Mr. Flanagan, said John
"Good morning John... how are you today? Could you ask Margaret to send up some coffee please?" said Tom taking his letters from John.
"Mr Flanagan Sir... Miss Margret hasn't come in yet... and the pantry staff hasn't come in either.. I'll seee....'
"Oh not a problem John... guess that teaches me not to come so early to office! Don't you worry... just send up some coffee as soon as it is possible... ask Margret to do it.' said Tom smiling good naturedly at John.

'The new slogan really is something,' thought Tom looking at the floor meter in the elevator... 5.
"oh great ... at least housekeeping has finished their work,' thought Tom plugging in his laptop.
From his office he could see the elevator and everyone coming in. Mary in her white pullover carrying her favorite huge handbag... he often wondered what she had in it. Joe with his leg in a cast was getting out of the elevator with a group of six or seven who were nodding along as Joe talked.
'He's definitely telling them about how he slipped on a silly doll in the doorway and broke his leg... and how he was a force to reckon with because she got her head squished!' thought Tom shaking his head.
Maria, Simon, Ricky, and Gina were almost pushed out of the elevator.... as it stopped on the floor... it was very crowded by now... and everyone was in a hurry to get to their floor.'

Everyone wished Gina as she passed through the office to her cabin. She went past his office without looking his way... as Tom went into a reverie...'Good morning! Tom.
'Good morning baby... you look beautiful... I can't imagine waking up without you here,' said Tom rolling over on his side so he could see her.
'Oh you are sooo sweet...' and devilishly handsome.' said Gina, her eyes twinkling but her smile still sleepy...

"Mr Flanagan... Good morning! Sir... where do you want it?" asked Simon, the pantry boy balancing a tray much bigger than him as the aroma of coffee filling up the office and Tom shook himself back to the present.
'Good morning! Simon... just put it there on the table. Thank you.'
'Anything else I can get you sir?"
'That will be all Simon.. thank you."

"Oh you idiot stop thinking about her!" said Tom to himself as Simon went out.
'But it was good while it lasted... ' he thought and let out a sigh...'it wasn't real... you know that... said another voice in his head.
"...maybe it was," he said under his breath.
'yeah.... so real that ever since she got that promotion she hasn't even asked you how you are!' said the other voice.
'she never forced me ... and she so needed an idea to keep her job... it was only fair of her!'
'It was unfair of her to even expect it you sissy romantic!' said the other voice
'See that banner outside... see that office... that should have been yours'
'can't believe I let her use my ideas...'
'let it go...'
'Uhmm... the coffee is really good today.. I must remember to tell Simon, thought Tom sipping his coffee and getting ready for another day of work.

* * *

Tom looked at his watch. It was almost 5. 'Wow! I think I'll rent Babel today... finally!... This is great!' thought Tom smiling to himself.

'What are ya smiling about ?'
'Oh! Hey Mary... sorry didn't see ya there... was daydreaming!' said Tom smiling at the young blue- eyed, dark haired intern.
'How are you Mary?'
' I have been better Tom... I need your help... please please don't say no,' said Mary her eyes wide with worry.
'Sure Mary... what is it?'
'Tom....I am doing my masters along with this job and I have this really important test tomorrow... and Gina.. Gina has given me this huge heap of papers to sort and file and If I don't go home and study ... I'll fail for sure .. I told her this.. but she doesn't care about anyone but herself... forgive me.. I know you two were a thing... but....I don't see how... you, being you could date that Devil of a woman! ...It's a very important test.... I don't know who else to ask... you are the only one who is good to me here...and I know this is not your job... please please... I promise...I'll..." said Mary her voice getting squeaky and incomprehensible.

"Hey... Mary... slow down... relax... I'll do it... just get me the papers and go home and study," said Tom smiling reassuringly.
"Oh thank you, Tom... thank you soo very much... you are just wonderful," said Mary, heaving a sigh of relief and running to get the papers from her desk.

'Babel has to wait again,' thought Tom.. replugging his laptop and looking out the window... his desk overflowing with papers.

It was still light outside and down on the pavement he saw... ' the beautiful dark haired Mary wearing a short skirt and a halter neck top..... precariously balancing herself on her pencil heels crossing the road... all ready to party!'

He sighed and frowned and then a smile broke over his face and shaking his head he muttered
' she sure did a quick job... well...girls will be girls and.... guys will be guys'.
'If I can finish this in an hour I'll get back home and make myself a great cup of coffee and catch the rerun of the football match... that will be great,' he thought.

Friday, May 04, 2007

What Cheek!

I just started reading my first Saul Bellow novel "The
Adventures of Augie March". The very first page got me
hooked... and thinking:
"Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of
suppression; If you hold down one thing you hold down the
This was it... this said it all ... in a weird way it answered
why India wasn't doing as well as it should... the cricket
team... the Indian writers... the actors... Something is
missing.. and I realized maybe.. just maybe this was it. If there is
no fineness and accuracy of suppression, I guess there is no
fineness or accuracy of repression either. Too many little dictators holding too many things down.

India became hugely famous for it's spicy food in the
twentieth century and in this century it is becoming dreadfully popular for it's moral policing! And why shouldn't the 'true' Indians be concerned? After all in their skewed dumb head , every white guy out there is crazed with the desire to rob India of her tradition and cultural heritage!

Take for example Richard Gere... what cheek! Kissing an Indian
woman.... on the cheek!!! Forget that he has been spreading
awareness about AIDS in the country... helping the Tibetans ...
promoting peace ... running charities... investing his time and
money... more than I can say for the people who are so quick to
judge him! When was the last time these self-appointed
guardians of Indian culture took any steps towards spreading
awareness about AIDS. Oh! how could I forget, AIDS is a 'phoren'
syndrome too... after all how can it exist in India, no one
ever heard of sex in India, children are gifts from the Gods, remember!
Here is this white guy... in India... loves Indian food,
converted to Buddhism... works hard to help the people... a
respected citizen in his country... a super achiever by any
standard...a good human being... kind enough to devote his time,
energy and money in our country and we thank him by dragging
him to court for kissing a woman (who loved it) on her
cheek. And did I mention that they were at a public function.It is not as if a scared defenseless damsel was being harassed in a crowded bus by an uncouth,uneducated, unconscionable goon. A humiliating experience every woman who has had to board a crowded bus has been through.

That reminds me of another recent incident involving Mandira Bedi,
the first Indian lady cricket commentator in a male dominated
profession. Recently, she had to apologize on national
television for being proud of her religion. Wanting to
show the world her feelings towards her religion she
got a religious symbol tattooed on her lovely shoulder. The
bigots were up in arms. After all they own the
religion. Whoever heard of such an absurd concept as "the freedom of expression!" Thousands of people have the same symbol tattooed on their hands, forearms and biceps. What was sacrilegious was that a beautiful, successful, confident woman
got it tattooed on her shoulder. The shoulder is impure, the hand is pure! How twisted!

Mandira, wanting to make amends and leave the whole tattoo
incident behind... wore a lovely sari ( a sari, surely no one's
sentiments could be hurt by her wearing a sari, in tune with
the Indian culture and tradition) for the Final Day of the
Cricket World Cup. Designed by a famous Indian
designer, it had flags of all the participating nations on
it. But the designer and Mandira both underestimated the 'Big Brother's
sensitivity (to successful, confident women?) "THE BIG

How dare she wear Indian colors and disgrace the country.She should have known better. They made her apologize for being insensitive and unpatriotic.
Poor thing! She had to go and change her dress in the middle of the show.
The reason? The Indian flag was too close to her feet. (The feet are impure too).
And the poor soul.. apologized again... several times... on national television!

A lil too biased, are we?
A lil too proud?
A lil too fragile?
Looking for a lil ego massage are we?

Another incident making the news is about bookshops being ransacked and all copies of a certain book being torched after the Supreme Court lifted a ban on the book
'Shivaji : A Hindu King In Islamic India". Like the title suggests the book is
about Shivaji, an Indian ruler, written by James Laine. The ugly American, again. Who gave him the right to write about an Indian king. How dare he write something so sacrilegious even if he was translating an old Sanskrit book. What was he supposed to do if he has to translate a passage which
dealt with Shivaji's paternity? Lose the truth in translation to satisfy the
'moron police' ... Ooops... moral police?

But how dare he write about an Indian king is what 'the reverent ones' wanted to know . Why does he not stick to 'gora' kings. This American must be stopped lest he runs amuck and shakes the foundation of the mighty Indian culture.
What 'the prudes' are most upset about is that Laine brings
out a widely known fact about Shiva ji's paternity which the the 'restorers of history' want suppressed. The self appointed 'moral committee' came on TV to tell Laine to stay away from India and "not write 'such type of stuff ' ever again". Another ordered his disciples to "burn Laine's book."
What are they really scared of?

Why is it that most good Indian writers and artists prefer to live abroad? Is it
because creativity in India is killed before it blossoms. Is it because they feel stifled
here? Are we suffocating our Youth? Are we killing creativity?
How is it that youngsters of Indian origin outside India are doing so
much better? Are Indians in India not as smart?! That couldn't be it. Well, one thing I darn well know ... I better keep my head covered with a duppatta, not look anyone in the eye, make good grades, take up a job and never ever state what I feel about anything INDIAN and I'll do just fine in the largest democracy in the world.

Here something of what America is at least trying to teach it's citizens about America and freedom and democracy. This is what sums up democracy for me. In a powerful scene from the movie, "The American President"... where the President of the United States is making a speech after he has been targeted by the opposing party for dating a woman who was once seen in a protest rally burning the American flag sums up what freedom of expression means. he says, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its
citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".
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