Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Way to go,da!

Deve Gowda has done it again. Just when I thought our political leaders were digging new depths of boredom, Gowda, the old warhorse of clumsy politicians, shows us he’s still got it. Which makes me think, why do we expect our politicians to be honourable, respectable and genteel in their dealings anyway? Come on, they are humans too. They have egos, fight, and call each other “bloody bastards”. What’s the big deal?

I firmly believe politicians be left alone. Let them make asses of themselves, at least they will be providing their constituencies with comic relief. Won’t it be fun to listen to them go at each other? Compared to the usual tripe of “Yeh opposition party ki saazish hai”. Imagine the pleasure of listening to a politician go “Honourable Speaker, I would like to point out that Mr. Tiwari is a bloody asshole!”. It will be a sure-shot way to get the youth interested in politics. The other option is to have prettier politicians. I mean, Priyanka Vadra is kind of cute, but then anyone in the midst of Mamta Banerjee and Mayawati ought to feel like a princess.

But keeping boring politicians aside, the two words “Bloody, Bastard” do ring a bell. At one point of time, being able to say ‘bloody bastard’ meant that we had grown up. There was an unwritten law in our school. There was an accepted level of profanity for every stage of growing up. Till Class 2, we were not allowed to use any unpleasant words. Going to Class 3 meant that we could say “Shut Up”. We couldn’t be blamed. We were surrounded by spiritual vibes. We were protected from movies, with the only abuse being when some God would appear in the demon’s dream and say, “Moorkh!” or “Paapi!” or something like that.

Class 4 wasn’t much of a progress, with words like ‘ass’ being thrown around when someone was real bugged.

Class 5 was our coming of age year. We were allowed to bathe ourselves once a month, we were allowed to write with pens. It felt great to see our shirts’ pockets stained with ink. And we were allowed to say ‘Bloody, Bastard’. There was a dramatic transformation in the way we conversed. Even a small irritation would be met with, “Get lost, you. Bloody, Bum, Bastard!” The three Bs. The elusive three Bs. It felt like such an achievement when you could call someone that.

There was this classmate of mine, Nishant. Overwhelmed with his newfound adulthood, he once asked our classmate to “go, mind your own bloody business”. While everyone went “O” in surprise, our Chacha Chaudhry immediately came up with, “Check the dictionary, ma’am. ‘Bloody’ means smeared with blood. So actually I haven’t said anything terrible”. If only teachers fell for that kind of crap! Another guy, Shivram, believed in making maximum use of abuse. When he had a fight with anyone, he went on saying “Bloody, bloody, bloody, bloody” at a very fast pace till his opponent gave up, or put his index finger to his head and made the “mental” gesture.

But anyway, going further in our progression of profanities, it was kind of alright to use ‘fuck’ in Class 9. Of course, if a teacher heard you, you’d have to clean the toilets, or clean the corridor. Since profanities came at such a premium price, I have always reserved mine for the best moments. And the choicest of abuses. But seeing these politicians go at each other like Class 3 girls makes me go “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!!!”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bribing Sunday Baba

In Bhubaneswar, there is a strange practice prevalent. The begging is pretty organised. They have studied the market and choose to venture out only on weekends. As a result, you will always come across a beggar on a weekend morning.

And the sad part is that they sing. And loudly at that. One such person who would frequent me was a Baba who spread the gospel of Shirdi Sai Baba on Sunday afternoons. Now, being a baba is better than being unemployed. You will never be denied food anywhere. Partly because how foolish superstitious people are. Or someone will take pity on you. Or probably just give you something so that you leave.

As a result, you get to see a lot of interesting babas. There was this one guy who would go about shouting. Yes, shouting. He would keep screaming at the top of his lungs. And what was most astonishing. He would scream for hours on end, and absolute gibberish! Imagine screaming yourself hoarse for hours, and actually not making any sense.
And then there was this baba whom you could see near the railway station. He would sit on a mat on the footpath next to the highway and do the unthinkable. And then there is this baba who waltzes in and out of babadom whenever he feels like. He is actually a “ranga mistri” – a labourer who paints houses. But whenever he feels, he stops shaving and becomes a baba. And hard times make him come back to the world. So he just shaves, and is off to painting houses again. People in the area call him Sansari baba.

Now this baba, whom I like to call Sunday baba blesses our locality only on Sundays. I first noticed him on a lazy, sleepy Sunday. I had just had lunch and was on the threshold of beautiful sleep, when I was startled out of my senses when I heard a voice. “Sai Baba Aae, Sai Baba Aae….” I initially thought someone was standing next to me and started screaming. On opening my eyes, I realised it was someone on the road outside. It was like the sound of a loudspeaker tied to your head in a cruel punishment. When I went out to see, I saw it was just one guy.

He had one irritating voice. And he would come every Sunday. And sing the same damn song.

After tolerating him for about 3 months, I decided to do something about it. I waited at the chhak around the time he would come there. Before he entered the lane, I walked up to him. You could hear him from a mile anyway. Only when I stood about a metre from him and stared at him for a full five minutes did he shut up.

Baba, I have a request.

He gave me the “Ah, come my son. You have come to the right person look”.

“Ah…tell me. Sai is the answer to all problems.”

“Baba, my grandmother is unwell and you are very loud. When you pass our house, she jolts out of her wits. So please do not sing when you are in front of our house.”

You should have seen the look on his face. As if I had surgically removed his vocal chords, he gave me a disgusting look and said. “We are here to do Baba’s work. No one can stop us in this.”

If I hadn’t left after the ten minutes of requesting, he would have pushed me away. Finally, I took out a 50 note and put it in his plate. “Baba, please. We are devotees of Baba. My grandmother would love it. And I also would.”

He gave me one last disgusting look and walked away to the next lane. It has been two weeks, and we do get to listen to him on Sunday afternoons. But only like someone is playing a radio (a badly screwed one) nearby. And that too when he is in the next lane!

It seems a relief. But Sharad Pawar has announced that sugar prices might go up to 100 rupees. I wonder how long the offer will last!