The Housing Woes Of Lord Jagannath

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( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)

Everything about we Oriyas is connected to Lord Jagannath . The Lord is a highly humanized Deity. He brushes his teeth, takes bath, changes his clothes umpteen times, falls ill after  an extended bath on his birthday  that is celebrated as ‘Snana Yatra”, goes visiting his  Maasi/Aunt Queen Gundicha along with his siblings, loves jewellery, enjoys gourmet meals  ( 56 varieties of food ) . Well, you can say, He really lives it up in style!

We Oriyas have a very special bonding with Lord Jagannath where we believe that he is just one of us … someone in our gang. So much so that we take the liberty of lying in his name too! I keep telling non-Oriyas that they should be a little skeptical if an Oriya swears by the Lord! For you see, we believe that Lord Jagannath  will bail us out of ALL tricky situations, even if we have  been a trifle naughty. Yeah, He is that cool…our Jaga Kaliya, as we affectionately call him .

My charmingly laid back home state has been, of late, become witness to flurried activity. Hardly has the heat about  the origin of the ‘roshogolla’ and the alarmingly passionate debates (euphemism for insults) with our worthy Bengali neighbors cooled down, we are stuck with acute housing problems of our Lord Jaganath. There you go! Housing woes affect the Divine too!

Reportedly, the structural condition of Jagamohan, a sprawling prayer hall facing the sanctum sanctorum of the Jaganth temple is highly unsafe and might collapse anytime.

That spells disaster of epic proportions and thus too many ‘cooks’ are busy cooking a broth to save the situation (and themselves).   The chairman of a technical core committee set up by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for supervision of the conservation work at the temple resigned in a huff allegedly because the ASI rejected an estimation and repair plan of the Jagamohan hall, prepared by the core committee. The rather   poor upkeep of the magnificent temple  has become a  highly politicized  issue with  the ruling BJD and opposition Congress and BJP baying for the ASI’s blood. Apparently, the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister have exchanged letters. High level meetings and debates about the ‘right thing to do’ are on.

But delays due to such extraneous factors only will worsen the  already precarious situation. I am reminded  rather gingerly of this “How many twenty-second-century bureaucrats did it take to change a light panel?
We’ll have a sub-committee meeting and get back to you with an estimate.” ( Peter F. Hamilton ‘Great North Road’)

As an Oriya, a devout bhakt of Lord Jaganath and also an individual who since childhood has marveled at the magnificence of the architecture of the temple, thrilled to numerous legends/stories connected to the temple told by my grandfather, I also wait  very anxiously for everything to become alright once again.

Do I sound terrifyingly ‘religious’ or ‘parochial’?

Well, I would echo  Abraham Lincoln’s words “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” And that’s what loving Lord Jaganath has taught me. That’s what every God teaches us. Like John Lennon said ‘ I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

Meanwhile, I think   my highly human Lord Jaganath must also be a tad worried about his house repairs? Hopefully he would not have to call his chief architect/engineer the Lord Vishwakarma to bail him out? What with the poor mobile connectivity there….tsk tsk.

Last word: Jai Jaganath!

 

 

Some may never live, but the crazy never die

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( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)

“I made up my mind I was going to find someone who would love me unconditionally three hundred and sixty five days a year, I was still in elementary school at the time – fifth or sixth grade – but I made up my mind once and for all.”

“Wow,” I said. “Did the search pay off?”

“That’s the hard part,” said Midori. She watched the rising smoke for a while, thinking. “I guess I’ve been waiting so long I’m looking for perfection. That makes it tough.”

“Waiting for the perfect love?”

“No, even I know better than that. I’m looking for selfishness. Perfect selfishness. Like, say I tell you I want to eat strawberry shortcake. And you stop everything you’re doing and run out and buy it for me. And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortcake out to me. And I say I don’t want it anymore and throw it out the window. That’s what I’m looking for.”

“I’m not sure that has anything to do with love,” I said with some amazement.

“It does,” she said. “You just don’t know it. There are time in a girl’s life when things like that are incredibly important.”

“Things like throwing strawberry shortcake out the window?”

“Exactly. And when I do it, I want the man to apologize to me. “Now I see, Midori. What a fool I have been! I should have known that you would lose your desire for strawberry shortcake. I have all the intelligence and sensitivity of a piece of donkey shit. To make it up to you, I’ll go out and buy you something else. What would you like? Chocolate Mousse? Cheesecake?”

“So then what?”

“So then I’d give him all the love he deserves for what he’s done.”

“Sounds crazy to me.”

“Well, to me, that’s what love is…” ( Haruki Murakami, ‘Norwegian Wood)

Well, yeah guys, to me love is crazy too!

But the pic posted is supremely ewwww 😀 

Dealing With A Flirt

Well, hello blogworld and the rest of the world! How has life been treating you ? The accidental sufi is back after a short break, that was filled with fun, warmth , love and laughter. One heartbeat of her’s, who stays in London ,is currently here. The other heartbeat of her’s , who also stays in London, is going to be here soon. Mazeltov!

Alright, kicking off this blogpost with two truths about myself:

  1. I hate oats/oatmeal. I see absolutely no reason for its existence here on earth. They fill me with dread and terror.
  2.  I don’t really flirt. I mean, I am kinda ‘direct action’ person and if I like you, I will just go up to you and say so. I , thus , hate it if people try to flirt with me, especially if I am not interested in them. And more especially, if it is early in the morning!

So, my story today is about oats and a flirt.

 I boarded an early morning flight today and was sitting in the window seat of the first row. The middle seat stayed empty and the aisle seat was  soon occupied by a middle aged man. He was quite nattily turned out at that unearthly hour, was good looking, had a hyena type of laugh and wished me ‘Goodmorning’ with such enthusiasm that I flinched and my eyes shut automatically. That is defense mechanism working ,say ,like a turtle withdrawing into its shell.

The pretty air hostess arrived with the munchies and snacks on sale . It was an Indigo flight, where you need to buy the stuff.

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Copax: I am so confused! Will you help me choose ?

Me : Pardon me ?

Copax: *hyena laugh* Should I have the ‘Chicken Junglee’ sandwich or ‘Chicken Rosemary Sub’ ?

Me: *very  poisonously sweet voice* No, no please have the oats! So yummy!

He wasn’t convinced , but had dug his own grave. So he grudgingly ordered oats and glared suspiciously at my Coke Zero, cake, sandwich and potato sticks tin, which I ordered after he had paid for his meal. The oats looked like monkey crap and possibly tasted so, I thought , judging by the man’s expression.

Copax: So , what are you ?

Me: A human female.

Copax: * hyena laugh* No, no..hehehe…I mean what do you do ?

Me: Oh, I am the CEO of a hugely successful company which sells tampons.

A troubled frown started on his face, but I guess the lecherous DNA was too strong for him to back off.

Copax: I thought I had seen you somewhere earlier ?

Me: *feral smile* Maybe one of my sisters ? We all look alike. My parents kept trying for a son, but landed up with 36 daughters! One of us is there in each  of the 29 states and 7 union territories here in India.

The troubled frown on his face  grew bigger. I guess he wasn’t prepared for such hostility. Whereas, I was annoyed at the presumptuous manner at which he thought he could flirt openly because I happened to be travelling alone. I ranted about this to a male friend here and was furious at his amused  words :’Oh come come, the poor guy was just being appreciative’. I seethed at this attitude which I guess most men would tote! I really hope I am wrong about this, but experience proves me wrong! On behalf of any lady reading this, I wished my friend ,Kabir, that he should ,hopefully be stalked by a serial killer nymphomaniac. Let’s just see how unbelievably this story ended.

Copax:*eyeing my Che Guevara laptop bag* Who is this man ? Your favorite filmstar ?

Me:Do you mind please ? I am trying to sleep.

Copax: Oh, ok,ok. Can I borrow your book to browse ? ( “Meditations’ by Marcus Aurellius)

Me:* hissed* No. That requires an organ , entirely different from your favorite one, it seems.

Many times I have thought of what is the best way to  ward off unwanted male attention ?So many women are troubled by it!My experience has taught me to  believe in what Maya Angelou said  “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”.  In the end, confidence, capability and  not waiting to be rescued by a woodsman or a hunter is the key , non ?

The Evils Of Technology

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”. ( Albert Einstien)

So in the world of Viber, Whatsapp etc that we all live in today, humanity and compassion has been forgotten by those listed on my smart phone.

While I expect the inevitable, daily whatsapp ‘Goodmorning’ picture to be this :

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An  inhuman, deeply un-compassionate smartphone contact sent   me this :

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or this:

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These days I have taken to retaliating with the picture below. Many have since then stopped whatsapping me good morning pictures. Some have deleted me from their contacts too, I think.

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Office Office

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Lunch time in my office always  makes me morph into Hamlet mode. ‘To go or not to go’ for the extended common lunch session with my colleagues. All of us assemble in the large, spacious office of ‘The One Who Can’t Be Named’, who is pretty high and mighty in the pecking order of official responsibility and powers.

My hesitation of ‘not to go’ is rooted in the acute OCD ( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) I have. Some male colleagues of this lunch club use their hands in ‘strange places’ for ‘strange pleasures’. Usually, it is in the olfactory regions or nether regions of the human anatomy which make me feel rather faint. Of course, the OCD inducing discomfort, is not gender specific. A female colleague, magnificently and bountifully blessed by nature in assets distribution, is prone to growing long nails. Sometimes, when the nail polish is chipped, the nail’s hygiene reminds me of the seedy, road side gol gappa wala’s in Sarojini Nagar market.

The urge ‘to go’ is based on the fact that one gets to hear the latest gossip doing the rounds, which is usually very, very delightfully malicious. Sometimes good things that have happened to other colleagues are talked about, but really it falls into the rarest of the rare category.

Following the Buddha’s middle path, I go for these lunch sessions three times a week, barring Mondays and Thursdays. We begin lunching by 1.30 pm and finish off by 3:30 pm. A large center table with a shinning glass top and flanked by chairs and sofas is where we all sit. Juniors like me have to sit on the chairs while the sofas are reserved for senior bottoms. Then, a motley crew of servile office peons, each looking traumatized by unseen demons, march in solemnly with the lunch boxes.

It is then that I get reminded of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’. All the lunch boxes are eerily of the same type and Milton company. They are either maroon or a dirty sea green. There are three steel boxes inside the outer casserole holder. It always contains, dal, subzi and very sad looking un-oxygenated chappatis rolled in aluminum foil. Funnily, all the wives of the 16 male colleagues seem to have some sort of telepathy, because the subzi is usually the same. Perhaps, it has got to do with the seasonal vegetable? So one gets to see variants of bhindi bhujiya from 16 households these days. Oh yes, a feeble plastic box will also contain salad and sprouts which the dear wifey packs for enhancing her husband’s health. Little does she know about the mid-morning & afternoon snacks of samosa, kachori with typhoid inducing green chutney! Each of my colleagues then proceed to offer their lunch to each other, very expansively , in a hearty voice: ‘ arrey li jiye sir, lo yaar, “.I always wonder why because everybody’s lunch is the same! After all how much different can Sharma bhindi fry be from Kumar/Tripathy/Nanda/Pandey bhindi fry ?When offered, I meekly demure, remembering all their ‘strange pleasures’. I have noticed that if anything special has been packed, say a little ‘kheer’, ‘paneer bhurji’ etc, there is a lot of veiled animosity by the herd. Thus, Nietzsche’s ‘super man’, that is the chap who for that day doesn’t belong to the bhindi grazing herd and has a little special something packed, is warily categorized into either ( a) has had great sex the previous night or ( b) has been promised so, by the wife tonight that night.

My lunch which normally consists of a sandwich/fruit salad and lassi is looked down upon by my colleagues. Possibly, my ‘radical attitude’ is attributed to this. Radical attitude by the male colleagues usually means that I know my job well and thus don’t need to flutter my eyelashes, drop my dupatta or act helpless. Sometimes a sexist remark about ‘looks & figure’ and its supposedly intrinsic relation with my frugal lunch and competence at work, does come up. The last time this happened, I said a tad venomously “Grow breasts then, Sir’’. Woefully, I am also categorized radical by certain female colleagues too because I don’t fast on karwa chauth, believe in adoption and have 5 rescue dogs

I guess conversation in the lunch club is so deliciously sinful that it makes up for the surfeit of bhindi fry. One gets to know who has been fired, who is in disfavor, unbelievable stories about a retired boss for he now lacks the power to harm, etc. The fabled story tellers tend to spill out the noisiest of skeletons too which relate to romantic aberrations of the ‘happily’ married people. There is much that I learn about the inter-personal relations of my colleagues in the club too, which is essential for my official sanity and success. I leave the lunch club a bit early as the male colleagues smoke and I suspect indulge in locker room gossip, which I would love to hear actually. Unfortunately, I have been unable to break into this traditional bastion of maleness.

Sometimes I feel a tad guilty about my duplicitous enjoyment of the lunch club. I have thought many a times that I should quit it. But, the therapeutic effect of harmless gossip wins over every time. I am usually chuckling when I walk back to my office. Much Like Santa Claus, who is jolly, says George Carlin, mainly because ‘he knows where all the bad girls live’.

Everything is in a Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Thus said Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet”, arguing that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival’s house of Montague and named after it. This frequently referenced saying of the Bard is used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are.

I totally disagree. Names do have a bearing on the personality and attitude of a person and especially others’ perception of them.

I also am a tad intolerant of persons who do not pay adequate attention to choosing a name for a human or pet or even for that matter bestowing nicknames, whether for romantic reasons or as we are all wont in India to have a ‘ghar ka naam’ & ‘bahar ka naam’.

My parents named me after the Goddess Durga. My Ma told me that she wanted her daughter to be fearless and strong. Years later, an ex-boyfriend, feebly had asked me why my parents had not considered names like ‘Sita’, ‘ Sulochana’, ‘Ahalya’ etc that are epitomes of calmness, gentleness, humility etc.This was after I had ‘accidentally’ spilled hot tea on his crotch for slyly checking out the college hottie. I had told him that he should have had the guts to openly lech. His hoarse reply had been ‘Please, I don’t want to be be-headed, Durga Ma’. Possibly, images of me riding a tiger with terrifying looking weapons cropped up in his mind.

We Indians also tend to have ridiculous nicknames for our beloveds. Sometime back I was at ‘Kamala ‘sweets in Chittaranjan Park, deciding the rather painful existential dilemma of whether to buy ‘mishti-doi’ or ‘shondesh’ . A newlywed, and thereby much in love and lust, Punjabi couple were being given an emotional lecture on ‘mishti’ by the Bong manager, who I suspect is diabetic. The pathos in his voice and moist eyes made the girl coo ‘Ladoo, Ladoo’. The Bong manager was affronted at this North Indian impertinence! ‘Ladoo’ over ‘Roshogolla’ ? I was appalled because I realized that ‘Ladoo’ was the affectionate, romantic, come-hither-thrill-me nickname for her husband. Somehow I cannot imagine feeling very sexy, flirty and womanly with a man called ‘Ladoo’.

That gets me to the crime parents commit while infinitely damning their kids with devastating nicknames. My Dad and his three brothers are called ‘Babaji’( bearded , homeless mendicant) ,’Bairagi’ ( mad man), ‘Sanyasi’ ( has no possessions) and the worst ‘Kangali’ (irretrievably doomed scrawny beggar), which is Dad’s moniker. The names were apparently given to ward off the evil eye! I remember the time of my late teens when my cousin sister and me believed the/a perfect man exists and that we would fall madly in love with each other for eternity. Well, she chanced upon a lovely tall, handsome man from Kolkata. The chap loved rock n roll, wore clean underwear daily, made intelligent conversation after 8 tequila shots, and was a radical kisser. We cheered because he was called ‘ Karna’, our favorite character in the Mahabharat. But then we found out that his mother had lovingly named him ‘Thobla’ because of his erstwhile ‘cho-chweet’ baby fat. ‘Thobla’ in Bengali means not only fat, but the fat that shakes, quivers and rolls. Unfortunately, the name stuck and everybody called him ‘Thobla’. I warned my cousin sister that her sex life would be severely compromised when in moments of deep passion she would possibly cry out ‘Thobla! Thobla’. The relationship ended. But she was doomed. She married a Bihari guy whose unbelievable nickname was ‘Nunu”, which apparently means a guy with a little willy! She hastened to tell me that this was not the case.

Barnes & Nobles had devised a quiz which tested the degree of your book ‘nerdism’. One indicator of true nerdism was if one named pets after literary figures, authors, books, etc. I guess I am a hardcore nerd for I have had dogs called Rousseau, Rupert of Hentzau, Neo, a rabbit called Thomas Hobbes, cats called Nabokov, Tom Sawyer, Zorba the Greek, Machiavelli, a donkey called Socrates, homing pigeons called Scarlett O Hara, Mr Darcy, Shakuntala, Miss Marple, Sherlock, Virginia Woolf, a rooster called Atticus Finch, a tortoise called Maxim de Winter. The point I am trying to make is that I paid deep loving attention to my pets’ names. I have known Philistines who wouldn’t go beyond ‘Tommy’ ,‘Tiger’ for their dog’s name. A strange fact also is that we Indians tend to give our dogs/cats ‘English’ or foreign names. I am yet to find a dog named Siddharth/ Raunak or Priya/Pooja. Truly, we suffer from a colonial hangover! It is also very annoying when people name their pooch after their alleged enemy and gloat over silly commands to the dog. Why, I would consider it a deep honor if any one names their pet after me!

Enhancing the problem of unsuitable, careless names is the craze these days, of adding an alphabet to it for luck and good fortune. My sister has a friend called ‘Asok’. The good chap, under the influence of some numerologist, add another ‘s’ turning himself into ‘Assok”. I itched to ask him how he had ensured that all was ok with his a*** ?

Alright, the rant is over. José Saramago in ‘Blindness’ says “ Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are”. I think I believe him.

 Ta, guys! Tomorrow is SATURDAY! Oh ,yeah!

Six Secrets

Here are six secrets about me that I  reveal  today:

1. I don’t like to shower. Jeez, don’t jump! I bathe 😀 But the Indian-ess in me roots for a bucket & mug. Immensely satisfying!

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2. Everyday I plan to kill  a particular senior colleague of mine. The methods which I dream of would make Hitchcock bow and call me ‘Master’. You see, guys,  I can never forgive him for asking why I chose to adopt a Special Needs dogs. ‘But the dog doesn’t have a leg ?’, he told me. ‘Its my calling Sir. Just as working with people without brains is”, I replied.

3. I find posters like the ones below a tad irritating & offensive. Most of my female friends normally coo ‘Cho Chweet”. I  always think their estrogen has got mixed up with LSD to induce  such hallucinogenic horrors.

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4. I have once  eaten the  exorbitantly priced Kitkat bar kept in the small  room refrigerator in a 5 star hotel. Then, I had packed the wrapper so craftily that no one could make out that the chocolate had been eaten. I feel terrible confessing that I  had felt quite gleeful.

5. I had once milked a buffalo  (in my village) wrong. I felt bad. I am not that kinda cruel feminist as you guys might be thinking!

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6. I actually like this song.

Umm…please don’t hate me 😀 Its Friday, yeah!

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Alright, tell me six secrets ( Sounds a bit corny, non? And has the tremendous potential of being mis-read/spelt?)) about yourself 😀

Chew on this : “Know thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be thyself’ shall be written.” ( Oscar Wilde)

Ta!

( All photos from the Internet for illustration only)

(Un) Holy Gurus

 This Saturday afternoon, Dad and me ,went to the Central Cottage Industries Emporium in Janpath. I really love being there :http://www.cottageemporium.in/ 🙂 It is full of beautiful handicrafts and textiles which reflect the rich , cultural heritage of India. But I do  get a very deprived feeling because shopping there is a tad expensive! Although, one is assured of the quality and authenticity of the items.Well, yesterday Dad wanted to see the exhibition on ‘Rudraksha’ that is going on in the emporium.( Read what a ‘Rudraksha’ is here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudraksha ). There was a pretty impressive array of ‘Rudraksha’ on display and for sale. I saw a necklace of  ‘Rudrakshaa’ capped with gold for a whopping 1 & 1/2 lakhs! There were these wise looking men all clad in saffron robes at the exhibition too, doling out advice on which ‘Rudraksha’ to buy for fame, money, health, marriage, happiness etc .My Dad started talking to a particularly fierce looking saffron clad man,smelling of sweat and wilting jasmine.I don’t know why the chappie glared at me ? Because my nose twitched disdainfully at his un-holy body odour ? Or was it because of the  Faulaadi T-Shirt from Kulture Shop,that I was wearing ?  Here this one: https://www.kultureshop.in/faulaadi-womens-art-tees.html/# It says ‘Dekh kya raha hai be  ?” ( What are you looking at ?) Aware of her strength, her rights and her bad-ass attitude, Faulaadi is the ass-kicker all girls secretly want to be 😀 ‘Your daughter needs to be calm! Buy her a ‘panchmukhi rudraksha” thundered the chappie. Just then my sister called on my mobile phone.Her customized ringtone is ‘Immigrant Song’ with Robert Plant howling ‘Aaan aah aaah’. Both Dad and the holy ( ?) chap flinched. We left.

 I have noticed that somehow the Gurus/Pandits/Babas don’t seem to like me much. Whereas I have tremendous  respect for them! Why ? Well, because they seem to be in the BEST profession!  Everyone is showering money and gold on them.Disciples galore bring them fruits ( terribly expensive anytime out here ), sweets ( all made in ‘shudh ghee’) and other savories.  Nubile, beautiful girls and boys keep pressing their feet  and  the Lord only knows what else, 24×7. They get to hobnob with the leaders,politicians and celebrities.Some get to kiss film stars too. Here check out this picture below. Guruji , I am sure, attained nirvana 😀

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 I had this very, very rich Aunt who was majorly into Babas/Gurus. Saffron clad men of all shapes and sizes would surround her in the hope of getting huge donations. But Auntie dear was pretty crafty. I remember , when her daughter was having marital problems, a seedy looking, fat ‘holy’ man turned up at her door step. He called himself the ‘Nag Guru’. (‘Nag’ means the King Cobra). Before he started with a sentence, he would to my fascinated horror, hiss and throw back his head.Intermittently, he would stealthy scratch his scrotum  without batting an eyelid at my giggles! Well, ‘Nag Guru’ stated that Aunt needs to donate two snakes made out of gold to him. He would then recite some powerful mantra, bathe the gold snakes in milk and erm…mate them.This would miraculously set her daughter’s marriage right. My Aunt nodded and gave the man a Rs 100/- note, asking him to come after two days. ‘Nag Guru’ returned hissing and with a pleased, expectant look on his face,perhaps imagining two fat pythons made out of gold ? His face crumpled with shock at the two tragically thin “S’ shaped gold wires given to him by my crafty Aunt :D. He stuttered ” Memsahib…the snakes are too thin!  The female snake has to be plump and fat!How can they mate otherwise ?” 😀 Which left me, all of 12 years old then, with the impression that I need not worry too much about my baby fat :D.

However, my Aunt met her match in a ‘holy’ man, who has gone down in our family history with the name ‘Arse Guru’.Sounds terribly risqué, I know! But the man had a penchant for screaming out ‘My arse’ in the most  horrible colloquial dialect, when he got excited .The first time we heard him, everyone flinched because you see, while ‘arse’ sounds pretty inoffensive, its the Indian version, a four lettered word starting with ‘G”, that can cause havoc with your sensibilities!Anyway, perhaps my Aunt was really not in her element when she met him. She had been told to cut down on her  alarming sweet intake as her sugar levels were not good.Her children had all got married and settled outside the country. She complained that they had forgotten her. Her  mild  husband, though devoted to her, had hired a pretty, sexy secretary.My Aunt believed that the secretary regularly laced Uncle’s tea with ginseng and powdered rhino horns 😀 ‘How do you know that ?” I asked. ‘ Your feeble Uncle is like a frisky rabbit when she is around’ she replied viciously. I  was at a loss for words and thankfully the Guru summoned us . He sized her up, looked piercingly at her, invoked the Gods & Goddesses and said ” Arrey cow-herdess!”. I gasped because my Aunt was a very stylish lady! But to my amazement , she was looking at the man with rapt attention! ‘Arrey cow-herdess! Are you not tired ? You have raised that little calf, borne its kicks! Now he has deserted you! Smell, smell your hands! They smell of cow -dung! My arse, my cow-herdess, look what you have done to yourself!’, the Guru screamed relentlessly. Aghast, I watched my Aunt break down and sheds buckets of tears. ‘LET’S GO, LET’S GO, the man is a creep’, I told her urgently, giving the Guru a baleful look and he  shooting an evil one back at me.’ To my horror, Auntie gave him a thousand rupee note, a wistful smile and a tearful goodbye. ‘Why did you do that Aunt ? He is  scum”, I raged. But she gave a martyred look and then drove everyone nuts with her  ‘ I am a cow-herdess. Krishna speaks to me” ! I am so reminded of this “Yes, reason has been a part of organized religion, ever since two nudists took dietary advice from a talking snake ” 🙂

On a sombre note though, I would like to add Voltaire’s words :”Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”. I believe In God. I have a hot line communication with Him. I really don’t need an operator  to connect me, non ?

Did I tell  also you all that Led Zeppelin is my religion ? 🙂

Ta, guys!

Stories From Oyster Bay Beach # 2

( Oyster Bay Beach is a small, boutique hotel right on the beach @ Puri, in the state of Odisha, India. It belongs to my sister)

(Alright, this post is all about  ‘whole lotta love’! So play the above badass link from soundcloud, while you read the blog 😀 )

‘Madam’, said the lady manager to my sister,’ we need a honeymoon suite in the hotel’. I was aimlessly lounging ( my favorite pastime anytime, anywhere) in the lobby of the hotel but straightened up at these words, redolent with the promise of an extremely interesting conversation.

Well, let me just call the lady manager Ms X. She is my sister’s trusted confidante about all affairs of the hotel along with being the  major domo out there. She would be in her mid-fifties, dressed in a starched cotton saree, hails from the state of West Bengal and has a grossly obese cat called ‘Felu’. The cat is lovingly referred to by her as ‘Felu Da’ and believe it or not, snacks on  Lay’s potato chips 24×7! Ms X is a spinster but  a die- hard romantic. I was able to glean the gossip from my sister that when Ms X was young,comely and foolish she gave her heart to a rakish poet, who after declarations of undying love, finally left her to marry an insipid girl of his father’s choice and  sacrifice his ‘art’ for a  lack lustre  government job .Ms X never really got over him and spurned all proposals of marriage after that to state ( to my sister) that she was martyred in love.Sometimes I have heard her singing, and she sings rather well, that weepy, cringe-worthy number “Yeh zindagi uski hai jo kissi ka ho gaya” ( This life is his, who has become somebody else’s). While Ms X adores my sister, she is , I suspect ,not too fond of me. She warily sized me up on our first encounter and declared that I am very  hippie like !

 (Onto the conversation which I joined with much glee)

‘Madam’, said Ms X excitedly, ‘our hotel is really liked by the young couples and newly weds because they can see the sun rise/set on the sea from their balcony!They can go to the beach anytime because Oyster Bay is right on the beach! We can increase our revenue if we do something special for such customers!’. Well, what do you suggest Ms X ?’, asked my sister.

Beaming Ms X said very firmly and conspiratorially”Madam, there should be no DISTURBANCE. The two suites on the top floor are perfect.NO DISTURBANCE,NO DISTURBANCE’. Her eyes gleamed and held a strange,far away look which made me ask unwisely ‘Why Ms X ?”. She glared at me and snapped ‘For love, choto didi ( younger sister)’. ‘ You are using the wrong four lettered word, Ms X’, I grinned ,only to be asked to shut up by my sister. ‘Madam, we must also put special things in the room’, said Ms X , warming upto the topic. ‘Yeah,some slinky gratis lingerie,possibly a few packets of con****”, I started off.Ms X was aghast at my ‘hippie-ness’ and looked mutely at my sister for support.’No, no, you suggest Ms X! Ignore choto didi’, said my sister hurriedly, giving me a kick.

Ms X had her way and  has put red velvet heart shaped cushions in the honeymoon suite. She has chosen beautiful bed sheets and personally strews rose petals on them. A music system with a collection of nauseatingly mushy  CD’s is in place. The lights are dim, the fragrance used is sandalwood. ‘We must have ‘love food’ too Madam’, she declared. I brightened up! Well, well the woman wasn’t such a retard after all! ‘Aphrodisiac-l ones ,Ms X ? Strawberries dipped in chocolate? Wine?”, I suggested. ‘Milk, madam. A glass of warm milk’, Ms X said authoritatively after years of viewing legendary Bollywood scenes on the subject of the best method to increase  the libido. Here, see pic below 😀 I was stumped.

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The pièce de résistance of Ms X’s romantic fervour was that, she would escort the couple ,clucking and fussing over them like a mother hen, to the suite. There she would coyly ask the chappie to carry the lass in his arms into the suite, while she clicked a photo of theirs’ on her mobile phone.She would then take a print, present it to them ,nicely framed, as a farewell gift from the hotel, wishing them eternal love. On one occasion, a room boy and Ms X baiter &  her bête noire, told me that this touching scheme backfired. The lass was hugely plump, while the chappie was stick thin.After many  takes and re-takes of enacting the scene, Ms X gave up too,long after the couple had done so 😀

 Oh, I forgot to tell you.When the re-done honeymoon suite was inaugurated,I had mischievously slipped in a copy of the illustrated ‘Kamasutra’. I had meant it as a prank to plague Ms X, who saw it at the last moment, frowned but couldn’t do anything about my ‘hippie-ness’ again. I left the next day back for New Delhi. It seems the wise, honeymooning couple took  Vatsayan’s treatise along with them! Ms X excitedly saw this as a clever, marketing ploy and revenue enhancer. So she  telephoned me and imperiously ordered  ‘Choto didi, please send at least 50 copies of ‘those’ books! Its a hit item.Madam has okayed the proposal!”. I can’t even begin to tell you the shock on my bookstore manager’s face here when I ordered 50 copies of the illustrated ‘Kamasutra’. I have been buying books from this store since I was in college! As he jotted down my order, I couldn’t really meet the bookstore manager’s troubled and un-believing gaze!

Ms X’s opinion about me has bettered after my  above contribution to the honeymoon suite and resultant cash counter ringing. She is a huge fan of my guy, Adi who she met for the first time a couple of months back. ‘Choto didi, next time you are both on holiday, special suite will be booked for you both’,she declared. I flinched and stuttered ‘But, but we are really not honeymooners Ms X”. A  sinister vision of me holding a glass of warm milk and acting coy rose up to choke me!

Then, Ms X killed me with her words ‘Nah, nah choto didi! You and Adi babu will be in love forever! My blessings”.

My eyes became moist. I wished I could recite Neruda to Ms X.To this  romantic, tragic,funny,quaint woman who ‘loves to love love’ 🙂 This, perhaps?

“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue”

But I think Ms X would prefer to imagine love and passion as was shown earlier in Bollywood movies. Two red roses veering towards each other or two  white pigeons canoodling 😀 Jeez!

Over & Out , guys!