Besharam bevakoof badtameeZ

Some words – Honest like a honey bee's, pure like a butterfly's and dumb like G.W.Bush's when I run out of stupid similes.

Month: March, 2016

Nothing New

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“We always have boring New Year’s. We never do anything new. Mumma, it’s so sad. Just so sad.”
Hrithik was up and on again. Kids have incredible levels of patience. He has been making the same point for the last one hour, framing it in semantically different forms. He would claim his right to have a fun filled New Year’s eve, realize that I would not respond and quieten down- to repeat the cycle again after a while. He knew I hated talking while driving. I hated that part about myself. That and the constant worrying.

“Why couldn’t you just turn here? We could have gone and sat in the park. The least we could do. It’s not like I am asking you for gifts or anything”.

I meandered to the left of the road, switching on the indicator and turned slowly, eyes both on the rear view mirror and the vehicles ahead. I loved driving, especially two wheelers. It gave me this feeling of power; of control. I was a sucker for rules of course- never over speeding, never raising leftwards while overtaking- the usual stuff that isn’t usually followed. My father had taught me to drive, I swear he is watching me from up above- I will never disappoint him.

“You know what, I want gifts for the New Year. I’ve been a good kid. I know you are lying about Santa. Of course there is Santa. He can’t just not appear this year, can he? Why don’t you just give me the gifts?”
Deep breaths. Key to surviving an Indian middle class life. Petrol prices are going up. I have to do the math again. The scooter was bought after a meticulous session with a calculator, pencil and paper. My rationale behind buying a vehicle was based on sound economic principles. Considering the time I’d save from the bus rides, and the fuel prices at that time- it was worth it. And the perverts in the bus- their disturbing antics had a definite negative costs associated with it.

“… Mumma! Are you even listening to me? I said, we needn’t get new notebooks for me. I’ll just remember whatever ma’am says in class. I don’t like writing anyway. With that money, I can get a totally cool gift. Mumma!”

I stopped right in front of the zebra lines, and breathed a sigh of frustration. The kid was getting on my nerves. To be honest his demands for a great gift were rational. After all, the human mind is designed to seek immediate gratification in place of future benefaction. Sex, adventure sports, fast cars- all designed for that dopamine rush.

“Can I at least get extra cookies for dinner? Mumma! Why don’t you talk? I hate you!”
The traffic light had just turned green, when the honking began. Couldn’t wait for a second more, these bastards! What’s all the hurry? I wondered. The quicker you leave this light the faster you reach the next one, there to wait again for another eternity? Maybe the honking gave them an illusion of doing something.

I remember moving forward on to the clear road. No vehicles from either side, thanks to the rule obeying public. A microsecond after had I crossed the center, I heard a crash and a heart stopping wail of pain. Turning around I saw a bus that had jumped the stop signal, crushing its weight on top of a middle aged woman with its massive front wheel. Blood flowed, re-coloring the tar in detail. A boy of my son’s age was riding pillion in the scooter, had fallen head first onto the road.

“Mumma! Let’s… let’s go home”, his horror stricken eyes were moist.

I rode on without looking back. Guilt was eating away at my selfishness for not having stopped to help. It was all washed out when my dear son quipped later that night, “I don’t want anything new this New Year’s Mumma, but you just promise to be around for the next one, okay?”

Children are so ridiculously blunt.

 

-Sr Ja [13/01/2016]

*Inspired by a real life incident.

Bitches.

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The train compartment was crowded as usual. Mr Clement climbed up on to the train bearing his huge suitcase and his not so huge frame. He had missed his Eighty-Thirty local like a lot of other people and was running late for work. A stable family life meant helping out your spouse in the kitchen, whether you like it or not. Punctuality at work naturally suffers when you don’t have the determination to push through your morning chores at break neck speed. Mr Clement was a calm and composed man. He was old as he was wise. He was of the opinion that a lovely night in bed was worth more than a professional advancement. Even if you lick all those asses that sat on top of you, and wiped them clean later; there was no surety that one would get acknowledged. The late Clement Sr had a few things to say about work-“Turning up on time, Doing good work, Getting people to like you- if you can do at least two of the above three gracefully you are a sure shot success”. Wise words from a wise man.

Mr Clement tried to adjust his suitcase so as to hurt as few people as possible. No mean feat this, in a train that crowded. You barely had to hold onto any straps to support yourself. Simple physics principles were at work here. Every action had an opposite and (nearly) equal reaction. All internal forces in a free body cancels out. You lean against a fat man, the fat man leans against a fatter man. The chain continues until you reach the gate, which probably supported the fattest of them all. All one had to do was to make sure that he or she doesn’t get crushed under too much weight. And the door- you can’t be too careful while being near the door. At times you wouldn’t even know where the train had reached, and presto manifesto- the door would slide open. A bunch of people who suddenly realized that their station had arrived would jump out in a jiffy, and another unruly bunch would jump right in. You had to have a lot of physical dexterity to survive all this.

Slowly and steadily the people in the train started thinning out. To the extent that Mr Clement could turn around and observe his fellow travelers. There was a slight commotion at the other end. He tried ignoring it initially. But the sound levels grew too loud and started breaking into his thoughts before he decided to pay some attention-

My Julie needs her space, don’t you point your finger at her that way. Uncouth philistines. What do you think of yourselves?”

A lady dressed in brilliant red was throwing words at random individuals around her as loud as she could. The clothes showed that she had copious amount of money but the choice phrases and that grimace meant she had recently acquired wealth. Married rich probably. She was accompanied by a poor excuse for a dog- a strange poodle with all its fur plucked out and a sad look on its face. The animal was the reason behind the arguments flaring inside.

“Why do you have to keep the dog on the seat? Can’t you see? This tired old woman has been standing for so long. It’s illegal to carry pets-“- a gentleman, middle aged; was trying to put across his point rather timidly.

Shut up! Don’t teach me the law. I know how the law works here. Why don’t you get up if you are so very concerned?” She just spat him off like gum.

“But can’t you keep it down. It’s just a do-”Another petite woman was giving her best try.

How dare you? Filthy bitch. Seat my poor child on the floor? Unclean rags!”

“Keep it on your lap then?” An intelligent looking teen gave words to what Mr Clement thought was the easiest solution to the whole problem.

What did you say? Do you even have any idea how much this costs? It is worth more than your house, for all you know.” The lady had gone too far.

Mr Clement, the devout Catholic that he was; drew a cross across his chest, prayed to the Lord and stepped forward. Four long strides and he reached the scene of action. Picking up the dog in one hand, he smoothly opened the window with the other. With the use of little force he threw the dog out and calmly closed the window.

Silence.

The tired old woman who had wanted to sit for so long, stared at him for a while and then said-“You threw the wrong bitch out.”

With a cheerful smile Mr Clement replied, “I have done what I could”

 

-Sr Ja [19/02/2016]

*punchline courtesy of a lecture I attended when I was a kid-name and occasion have been forgotten. Apologies.