A few good men #1

He is certainly no Gaurav Kumar, nor is he like any other 100 and million.

He stands out when deep in the middle. He blends in even when on the outside. He speaks the language yet implies cryptic truths. He may assume the role of a trickster but is secretly petrified of hurting.

Underneath all the layers of assumed confidence, the winning attitude, air of deep analysis and lot more is the faint chirpy yellow of hope- with a need for acceptance and craving of self knowledge and understanding. This man is a baffling mixture of unnerving traits skillfully cutting through bullshit while clowning around .

Now, to a reclusive, socially awkward and intellectually spaced out person like me, knowing a character like such is disastrous. The already comfortable special abilities of awkwardness and phobias-a-million dig deeper into my heavy soul. For I would be in a perpetual state of ‘What does that mean?’ Is that judgement I am sensing?’ Am I supposed to laugh now?’ Was that a humorous statement or was it sarcasm?’ This state never meets any resolution, respite or revelation of any sort. It just stays put, propelling me to escape the said situation effectively before it re appears in my mentally torrid life.

There are a zillion posts and blogs, psychology articles and analysis from social scientists about how a woman has to deal with in laws, different culture, practices and expectations after her imminent marriage or death of her identity. What no one guides you on how to deal with, is that extremely important person in your spouse’s life. That best friend who knows it all, that relationship that’s thicker than blood and sweat or whatever men swear by.  The baffling question that arises screaming is how is one supposed to deal with this member from the other side of my long forgotten identity.

Fortunately in the last decade I have averted crisis successfully many a times barring a handful of them. Now this important person has to make an appearance now and again. Considering how high up the ladder he figures in my partners life I pat myself on my back at my success rate. Having said that I also state quite strongly that of all the people I am forced to meet, Mr. Not-Kumar is an amazing person, I am happy to know.

Over the years while retaining my likes and comfort I have grown a hide not-so-thick, not -so-bouncy yet, a protective shield. I have learnt to deal with grouchy uncles and aunts in laws, the clawed cousin in laws and various such species. They are easy, if you follow the many examples floating around, on how to ignore, deflect or simply not care about their opinions. For up the priority ladder my dear partner in crime couldn’t care a hoot about these. So if these creatures bitch-slam you, or judge you to hades and back, the couple can shrug it off and move on. Now my fear is the near eventuality that the best friend have the same, similar or almost close -opinions like the rest. To the friend you must be cool, intelligent, modern, supportive guy like gal. The kind of a person you constantly have to be is someone who can never afford to be in the friends bad book, in any way. The line is thin that one treads on. For one bad remark, one hopeless act can fling your relationship into the deathly despair as prejudged by the legal carnivores. No! No ! it is pertinent that you be yourself and hope to god that it is highly approved.

It is this state I constantly find myself in. Recently, after reading by earlier blogs, this ultimate member of my husband’s clan challenged me to write about him.  Insisting that I write about him, under a false,too-common name, since he is a normal sort of a person (Yeah, Right!). Internally I had palpitations, cold feet, and felt breaths in spurts, gulping for air for I felt I was in purgatory. After shaking his head a zillion times, laughing and politicly saying that my post was beyond comprehension to his simple mind, having said it was cryptic and profound yet incomprehensible thanks to all the jargon I spewed, I got into a state of my usual confusion. I tried my internal dialogues to decode the meaning behind it, ‘ was it that bad?’ ‘ was it juvenile?’ ‘ should I give up my need to share my tangled thoughts?’ so on and so forth. Anyway, I pull up my big girl panties and decide to bite the bullet. You shall have this post and I shall call it ‘Interesting characters I know!’

This Mr. Not-Gaurav is an amazing father; fun, protective and encouraging. He is a great husband; supportive, inspiring and caring. I met him before I met my husband through another friend, and my first impression of him was- Yeah nice guy, totally in love with his girlfriend (who is his wife now). I heard him go on and on about something he thought was funny and I thought – Boy this man loves to boast and loves his own voice. At that time I was going through my aura phase and I felt he has excessive yellow chakra spinning him into a tizzy; had this crazy need to make it bigger, larger but didn’t think things through. I eventually met him the second time months later with my bf who is now my husband. This time around I saw loyalty, veiled carefully, God forbid anyone sees his good points. The intelligent mind well disguised with cliches he expertly uses to  mask the fact that he can see through you yet shall not reveal the truth, he craftily makes everyone comfortable whoever they are, wherever they come from so as not to intimidate them. Needless to say, this being just cannot be surmised by a few words.

I have simple .3 second analysis on people I meet, they fall in categories which make my social meetings easy. I fake interest, I zone out, I pity some and I admire some, but in the last decade I haven’t yet figured how to cope with a being who is an admirable friend, closer than family member and a 4 am buddy. A being who is intelligent, an eternal optimist, and a someone who sees the truth.

My apologies Mr. Not Gaurav Kumar, I do not know you enough to write about you. I fear for my life and my mind, lest I annoy you.

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An evening with a paunchy uncle

I love being an Indian (it’s not like I have much choice) for only here can we have kamasutra and all its intricacies as well as women with 10 children acting like a blushing virgin.

I (unfortunately, or may be fortunately) hail from the majestic, highly acclaimed Nagar clan; global population of which is a measly few thousands yet it is a solar system of its own.

If you’ve ever had the good fortune of meeting one of the tribe members you ll notice glaring differences between them and the rest of human species. The Nagars consider themselves high above the social, cultural and intellectual ladder. They are the script writers of the old old laws, they are matriarchal, rule makers and changers, avatar garde attitude and such great attributes. If you actually happen to hear them, watch them or observe them at a distance (except me) it ll make you think of a floundering plastic bag in a weak breeze tethered to the ground weighed down by discarded green chutney.  At least my relatives are almost like that picture above. For even a plastic bag thinks it’s new age innovation, slowly changing the world.

One fine day, I got married and started my life as a couple. I even went for a few dinners (my side of the family) where I gritted my teeth more than chew on the dinner. I even smiled while my brain swirled with amazingly inappropriate thoughts; things I wish I could say to shut them up but couldn’t.

My stint in Delhi opened up spirited avenues for me, after spending my life in a dry state, criminally acquiring the firewater in dark alleys from secret service agents, I drank in the day while I waited for the night. Of course too much alcohol, buttery mughlai food and zero exercise lead to too much contentment which well hugged my fabulous self all the time. Since my fabulous self had already snatched a catch I didn’t care about the extra weight. This grande state of me went for a dinner in my homeland, to meet a few uncles and aunts that I cared not much about.

I met this old paunchy thing who isn’t my uncle but a cousin brother-in-law, twice removed. He has a nasal sing song y tone that drones on and on about how great he is, all he knows, and his glorious ancestors. While I forced myself to eat some bland concoction , his family recipe that had made a few dead people famous (famed in his small dinghy well) I was told conversationally, as a remark, ‘ you have put on weight, it happens after you marry!’

The half cooked potato in my mouth was just as dumbstruck as me while he continued his discourse on how all the rounded women in our family are married and thus well rounded. A while later it was stated that I had been in my current state since a year now. “Wasn’t it the same time  you met your husband?” Quaistio inappropriatus!!!

Have you ever been in a situation where you  realised that this is the moment you turn a new leaf, the feeling of re-birth of you and how your life shall never be the same ever again? I had that adrenaline running through me and I finally and for the first time said what I really wanted to say! But politely. After nodding a bit and bobbing my head about , softly and unsurely I began.

Why marriage, I asked, is that got to do with being sexually active? Although it was alcohol and my lifestyle  that lead to my weight gain and yes I had met my husband then and yes we met a lot, partied a lot but we were always with friends. It’s rude to imply and question or be curious about my sex life. Regarding the myth that you mentioned, I feel it’s lack of orgasms that make these women around you fat. Oh! And you are Fat too, even after 20 years of marriage.

I must say, my parents were proud of me! Well almost after their fallen jaw made its journey back to normal . And as for the uncly cousiny relatives, they always smiled at me from afar!!!!!

Bliss!!!!

A little logic goes a long way

These times are tough. People, in these times are rough …..around the edges. 

I have always maintained : Never! Never ever get into an argument with anyone especially people you like, about

Parenting

Politics

Religion

It’s a no no; it’s a death sentence to your relationship (well, almost). There’s no winner except the hanging argument, which may have started like a supermodel on a catwalk; flaunting her haute couture on her perfect size nothing. It may make you feel like a peacock poised fanning her tail but all it does is show your noisy rear end. 

Having said that, I just denounced two of my friends (temporarily denounced in my head). I broke my own cardinal rule! 

I am human, what can I say?! 

My first world problems arose on the night of November 9. I eagerly awaited my online shopping to be delivered the next day, cash in hand I anticipated trendy times ahead. Of course, our PM had better plans they had nothing to do with my boots! 

I grieved my cancellation, tried to pay online but someone else was walking in my shoe by then! Aggravated, I called my best friend of 25 years to vent! 

I am a female and I called a male friend – mistake no. 1. Now, we all know how women love to share grievous thoughts, not because it bothers us much but because whenever we say it out loud we get better ideas. On our own. 

We also know how men react to such sharing of information. They buckle up their tool belt and get to work! And we say, ‘Mister! hold on, nothing’s broken! Nah! Men do what they do! They are like the traffic lights on abandoned roads. 

So my friend blabbers about how I can make right the situation and starts the deep political conversation. Now I could have said yea right, it’s for the best and move on, but I decided to open my mouth and spew my thoughts. Now I wouldn’t say I agree or disagree with the bold move but I would, women style, share petty , homemade grievances.

I agree it’s a bold move

I support the decision to tackle counterfeit currency

I also feel black money (herein lies the tricky bit. Is it hordes of cash stored by politicians, builders and business men? Is it money used for criminal activities? Is it cash-in-hand kind of money with people, like say me a housewife – average person?), Should be curtailed. I say curtailed because if it’s the first two reasons then we’ll let them not have it all.

Now, Money is money. If we have a piece of paper with a number, a series, a governors signature and our father of the nation on it, we worship it, take care of it. I may not have gone out of my house to earn it, but I have it at my disposal to run my house, as frugally and wisely I can.

In a span of 10 minutes, I was accused of not being a nationalist, having a myopic world view and implied being a criminal because I dare to disagree. My friend, of 25 years and I had a stupid, silly disagreement over something neither he nor I had a say on to begin with.

The conversation veered into how, not only the poor (clear definition needed here too) but every struggling person would benefit and change the economy etc….making a better balanced country. Of course it is the grass root level poor without who the country wouldn’t function. 

Housewives , like me, have sustained the country, I said, all these 60 odd years. We have managed people who work in our homes, bargained with the local grocery store for better prices, brought up our children to respect and share, taken care of the old parents and made sure our husbands are not overly stretched or burdened. 

Now I am no saint, and I may not do all of it like Sita. But hey the thought is there. 

Temporarily, our only jobs were suspended. And I said what about us? Shouldn’t the government pay us too?! Now I know the benefits we are bestowed, but for the sake of an argument, should we lament too?

The advice from his tool box was, ask your husband for a salary! He ain’t a good husband if he doesn’t do so. 

The gall of that man! 

The very act of giving money to anyone implies an inherent hierarchy. It says one has more power than the other, it means one controls the other. We, my husband and I share our accounts. I still maintain my own but all of his are ours. There’s no power play. There’s communication, respect and honesty in our dealings. 

Stating one needs to pay a salary to the woman of the house may be righteous to the group of fanatical feminists but the realists would agree that it totally and completely defeats the purpose of equal footing. 

We argued, I denounced him I’m my head and I know I ll forgive his folly for I am The wiser one here but is this how everyone thinks? A good husband has employed a wife? 

The moral of this story is never ever discuss parenting, politics or religion with people you like! 

The other side of my fence

Revolutions sound amazing in history books!!! The reality, when living through it is like sitting at a dentist for a root canal. It’s trying to be chirpy with a hangover. It’s like smelling when u have a blocked sinus! 

I feel all of the above. I am part of a grand revolution or perhaps the onset of dark ages part II. Either way the experience is …… inexpressible. 

Every such event leads to two simultaneous occurrence; of civil unrest within the proletariats and a secret society in the Noble legions. Each cause has been suppression of certain class, usually led by the leader who rose like a dragonion phoenix from beneath the layers of silk. He would rise, charm and then promise utopian equality- absence of the bad, the oppressive, leveled comforts for one and all. 

If history were to be believed and learnt from, then it’s obvious that no such leader delivered the promised goods. However, the two occurrences cannot be denied. The suppressed anger of the formerly vindicated starts with glee and joy and hope for the future. Then he graduates to, in a second, happiness stemming from watching the fall of the mighty. So excited he gets that he wants to see more and more of his opponents trauma. He starts reveling in it and soon he feels empowered and takes matter into his own hands leading to petty insults and finally to harm. All this has happened. Keeps happening around us too on normal days, it’s human nature, envy , jealousy, greed and sloth define us. We see little crabs everywhere busy pulling everyone down. 

The comfortable lords suddenly find their pillows unpuffed and wonder what makes life uncomfortable. He ll reason , puff up the stuff himself and since he is feeling good about his goods, he decides to give away in charity. He doesn’t feel vain, he is a philanthropist. Spending his time reading and learning he has gained knowledge. Until one day he is rudely awakened on a hard floor. Some run away, some find better ways and a few start a secret society to discuss and deal with words and tact rather than stones .

On that note, if anyone starts a secret society, kindly do let me in. I won’t tell anyone.

When, in the name of higher law, nationalism, moralism or even world peace, drastic steps are taken all the known evils soon get replaced by the unknown evils. Think about the last time u decided to suddenly change one bad habit only to be replaced by a defense mechanism of a ridulous kind. People around you would definitely notice them and most likely ignore the quirks as a passing phase. Until it gets to be a habit and someone or the other intervenes. Take that example and multiply it by a billion. Sudden system changes shakes the human vices into an unfathomable territory. 

Unknown , unspoken, unvoiced . 

No one acknowledges the little incidents, assuming it’s a passing phase. It does not stop. It gains speed and power. 

The nearing of utopia gradually fades into dark recesses. 

The gain is enjoyed just by the risen star and his comrades from hither thither. the fallen and the stumbled amble their way forward. The trampled remain trampled but now have unsheathed claws. 

Is there a way to avert such a scenario? Could we hope that may be this will turn out different because there’s some goodness in the heart of ruler? Could we hope it’s all for a better cause and not personal gain for power and money? 

I , alas, am a believer, an optimist. I shall live and dream in my happy bubble and hope my dreams come true. 

​Rumination of an ordinary housewife!!

After the smog in Delhi where we couldn’t see much of anything going around nor smell, primal-y, the stench of it all; We entered into a 2 day smog when all the senses and our understanding of it, created a dreary daze. On one hand while we awaited the folly of the U.S. (And us) we got a shockwave of Indian denominators. We were told the biggest two are nobody’s and the lowest two Rock and Roll! While the middle two stayed the same and the upper middle is the boss! We rejoiced! Oh how we f***ing enjoyed. Till someone went out for a smoke and said,”Shit! We are screwed!” Smoke break! Ah! Smoke break! The final last luxuries, never to be seen of yesteryear! So that blue-blooded intellectual vice lead to an epiphany and our joy soon cut down to a daze! To our dear fellow Americans!- “We got there first!” and then the Trump happened!

No ! He actually did!!!!

Now I am a not-so-great , bored, average housewife. And I sit and start typing! I have all these thoughts and I feel I can finally say!

If I say that, it means it’s truly great, because I don’t do depths of any kind.

Remember? Average?!!

So I type about how it has affected me. If I were a normal average housewife married  to a salaried – at a mid-level company husband I’d be crying  because his company went kaboom! And if I were a normal average housewife to a mid-level salary-giving to a few kinda businessman I’d be, too, like my precedent feeling shaky and perhaps suicidal?!

Not to use a strong word but just for a lack of it. I’d be feeling, ‘Now what??!!’

The rest?!

They are chilled! They haven’t even if they craved it, neither do they lose, much of it anyway. It’s uncomfortable but it’s alright! Shrug it off!

Instead I am thinking, reminiscing about my political Science class of good old days where we would sit and say, ‘Ah it’s fun! A fantasy but that’s theory where are the facts?!’

And here I am seeing it happen! And I am excited!!!

Yay! here is the real live version of Karl Marx and his Iron Law! And here it is happening!

The impossible!

Well OK improbable or implausible just to appease you!

And I see the grand strategic avoidance of world wars!!!

And I see old enemies finally getting together – the band or brotherhood of brothers !!!

Wow! It’s a fairytale it’s alpha hero rescues a damsel in distress, it’s a shining knight slaying the dragons and saving corporate unicorns!

Then I think yea it does sound amazing but will it work? Of course I am human and I’ll be apprehensive because we aren’t used to perfection, we have lowered our standards and learnt to disbelieve fairytales. But the hopeless romantic in me sees it as a hope that may soon rise to a bright flame!

I think about the strategy our PM used….he made the announcement right before America went into polls. He influenced the votes of every voting Indian of that country. Where Hillary had earlier kinda embraced immigrants and decided to tackle yet another super power to dissuade terrorism, and Trump was being Trump; Indians feared the the journey back home because of course they were deemed as people from state supporting terrorism. The Modi thought modified their choices.

In a ‘namo’ second we told them, ‘Hey we are with Russia! Money, loads of money is here, Indians can stay there safe and sound. Trump and my man here are friends helping each other. Trying to curb their distrust and forming a friendship – a friendship like the three musketeers, none are too strong without the other. And the mortal enemy is now China and the terrorist states.

Wow and Africa our only source of natural resources has been infiltrated by the Indian money and it’s there to stay. The black money is totally going there including the vested interest of big big money money companies of our country!! So brothers we have 3 continents worth of power!

Wow again, a fairytale. So while the idea maybe to empower the poor of the country, they will be of course empowered by 20% and they will get paid in cheques. They will also have better work hours, no Diwali gifts, holidays and yes paid casual leaves. Which also means now they won’t have month long , twice or thrice a year holidays for their village and festivals. Which is good…..decent amount of holidays, throughout the year, interspersed. Which also means that people who just started business in small companies with no intellectual reason will shut shop. Menial employees will not be doing menial jobs and hopefully they’ll get some job, soon. It means the rich schools will have fewer rich people and poor schools will have many. Which also means many poor schools will open up but I hope they allow all enthusiastic professionals to teach rather than wait for a govt approved degree. I do hope tht the PM realises that if Trump or even himself can do something on a whim or sheer love for it, then intellectually rich people can too. For far too long they sat, like me, bored because ‘Damn! we can’t make money we can only share our wisdom, we can’t make you accept it but we can learn from discourse.

So Make in India has started! Indian intelligence in all its form can start the manufacturing…..

The panicked lots will lose 20% and the Mafia more. At a grassroot level I do hope that the suppressed people who have now tasted blood, the blood of their oppressive landlords, who have just fallen, do not develop a taste for it. I do hope that a new class of money criminals from way below doesn’t emerge. And if it does, I hope they submerge.

But I also feel for the sad middle class, who haven’t been affected much but their whole structure seems shaken. If they looked up to someone, they don’t have them. If they seem happy about it, their cockiness will be a new bourgeois, if they show empathy, they are the new philanthropists.

To people like me who don’t read newspapers (I, do but the crime and corruption depresses me) nor do we do much except cooking, cleaning and taking care of our kids, I got a feeling yea I am important too…..I m hopeful. may be in a decade or so I may not be famous or rich but I ll feel content!

That is a very tough thing to do. There are many like me.

So let’s hope this is not a fairytale.

Let’s hope that Modi and his ideas that have actualised every wisdom of Vedas has come here to show us a better path.

Cheers to Chai!!!