Saturday, May 28, 2011

Of Mango Dropping and My Being

Few Leftovers...

...more to escape the fury...

The Storm ravanged...
Its that time of year, when dust storms lash out their fury upon the plains I inhabit. You can see them arriving at a distance, in black nor yellow clouds, depending upon the color of dust they bring along, either from the Indo- Gangetic plains, or from the Thar desert nearby. And this year, they choose to arrive almost always when I have just finished washing my hair! By the time I finish closing the nearly one thousand one hundred and eleven windows of our house, you can barely tell my skin from my hair from the floor from the furniture from the lawn from the fields from the roads outside.

My mother's mango trees that were heavily laden with ready to ripen huge mangoes are nearly bare now, which is a pity really, as I was so looking forward for a taste of the fruit right from the bough , instead of from the cold storage. "Evil eye of the servants took them"  my mother would mumble . Those juicy mangoes have always been the eye of the storm between a lot of contenders, before they perish each year to the raging skies, and to be picked up raw for pickling by the passersby.

But this year, not to be defeated completely, I picked them up , baskets full of 'em, and drove a hard bargain with the neighbor who makes delicious sweet mango chutney : she makes the chutney with my mangoes ( I am the next in line of heir-ship since the real owner , my mother is in Canada for while ) and I get half of it . So dear folks, I am  now sitting pretty with two large jars of yummilicious mango chutney, to dip my fingers into!

That said , I had to tell you that as I was resting on one sultry summer afternoon , I had an epiphany about my own being. I realized that I am here because of an intuition! Now this is an interesting tale which I must relate, because its really worth sharing with you all how you nearly missed having me here ; had it not been for the intuition.

My paternal grandmother was married off at the age of five to my granddad , who must have been a lot older than she was at that time , since that is the way, it used to be till about three score decades ago in India ( you could put a baby in the lap of a bridegroom and tell him that it was his bride) . Now being the landlords that they were, my ancestors were bound to fall into family feuds , which would result into falling out and then falling away. So not so long after her wedding, the young bride and her groom were sent hither with their respective share of land and wealth, and set to establish their own property and reap their own harvest.

Being alone, and coping with responsibility was a hard task for the child bride , who having reached puberty got a big belly in place of her periods.

Now let me digress here, to let you know, that till, not very long ago, all births in India took place at home. The modus operandi was to make a squatting seat by placing two heaps of three  tiered bricks beside one another, make the woman climb on the platform placing her feet on both the tiers , and there was a gap between the two platforms. Then they would place a small charpoy , standing on its one side , in  front of her, to hold on to, as she pushed while in labor. The birth would soon take place as the baby emerged and fell within the gap in between.

So my granny's first born was a bitsy baby girl , who barely survived her minuscule self , perhaps because being the lesser mortal (female) she was less prone to being mortal.After that, there was an array of still births to follow, all boys. Thus having produced a string of seven tiny corpses; while the eighth one landed in the cul de sac , he lay very still, like all the previous little ones had. As the mid -wife's moan rose a wailing once again , my granny had an intuition. Even before she set her eyes upon the baby boy, she had an intuition, that he was alive. But no amount of patting could move the inert baby to cry.

So she did something strange.She got up and went to a niche in the wall, where she kept her sewing equipment. From there she took out a needle and threaded it ; took it to the baby, and pierced its nose using the thread to ring it ; and lo behold the baby started wailing and was alive and well after that !

The baby grew up to be father of me and my siblings later on.

And I keep wondering, what if they had passed him on for passed away too! I wouldn't be here.I also feel disturbed to think, that perhaps some of the babies that they buried before him, might not have been dead at all since they never went through the piercing process...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Flash 55ve Fiction: Beast Fable # 5

Baby Ape: Daddy, if apes evolved into being Man, why did our family ancestors choose to remain apes and continue to be so even now?

Daddy Ape: Son, my ancestors were very wise. They chose to remain apes, so that Man after evolving into himself, could have the freedom to become apes again!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dirty dancing :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Madame Don Quixote?

A quick recount of  weird dream I had :

I am driving a black Bentley which suddenly becomes a huge black stallion , and the steering wheel becomes the reins. Another rider on another horse comes beside me ( actually its just a 'voice' that I somehow know, belongs to another rider, although it is not clear whether it is a male or a female voice) . The voice tells me how and where to pull and turn the reigns on turns etc. It also tells me that I am the 'Black Knight' and soon I will be riding in the dark and that I should not be afraid when I reach darkness.

Sure enough, the straight road seems to enter into a dark tunnel , and although I expect to be afraid and close my eyes, the ride appears smooth, and so I venture to open my eyes; and I feel relieved to see a halo of light surrounding the base of the horses' feet ,where ever our path leads us. I also discover that my clothes have turned into an iron armour .

"Now be ready for the leap" the voice tells me; and sure enough we leap into pitch black dark space, and instead of going down, we begin to rise. Soon I realize that I can see silhouettes of dark shapes of countries becoming small , and then the horse's hoofs land upon the edge of a cloudy crunchy icy surface. We have almost made it to a semi solid ground of crushed ice!

The surface of this 'land' is covered with weirdly shaped buildings and there are people from all ages moving about silently doing their work. I 'park' my horse in a garden of ice , and start walking along a path with the 'voice' in tow. I look behind, to see the stallions has turned ten times larger and is walking around on its two hind legs ready to attack the inhabitants of the planet. But the sight does not frighten me. I walk back to the horse, I pet it and tell it to behave, and it demures.

Soon the voice tells me that we might face insurgents and be ready to defend ourselves , and someone hands me a wooden sword as my weapon . I ignore the voice and ask about the whereabouts of the 'foreign exchange' service. I am led to a place where they exchange my 'sword' with a bag of multicolored sweets. Sure enough, those sweets can buy me necessary items in this land, and I get some rain boots and a scarf in exchange.

The voice warns me not to get too close to the inhabitants as I might be harmed or infected . I ignore the voice and try to win over the trust of a few people ( one cobbler, one locksmith and some period people and children) by showing kindness and also by making them laugh. Soon there is laughter all around and the grim faces appear warmer.

The icy surface becomes snowy.

Then I see that the inhabitants have arranged a dance show for me, which show them moving like a huge lotus flower as they move. I enjoy my dance. Soon there is a commotion that the 'diplomats' are assembling for a meeting as their planet has intruders on it, and they need to get their defenses up. I also see my late father among these diplomats.

The voice pulls me away to hide in a building, which is made of glass on one side, and through which I can see a huge sprawling red soil planet with red sand buildings all across its surface. It seems deserted. I am about to enter a room, when I see this ancient Greek style dressed man standing on the door calling my name. Upon close look, it turns out to be my late husband. He is overjoyed to see me and expresses immense relief as he tells me that he had been searching for me far and wide. It turns out that he is the Prince of the Planet and then he takes me to meet his parents there... Fin

And I am wondering, if even the Helen of Troy faced such an adventure!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Break Time News

Wow! May has never been so hot at this time of the year!

The television has been blaring hot news all through the day, while the ceiling fans have been spewing nothing less than fire. The temperature has soared to an exceptional 42 degrees Celsius ( 107.6 degrees F) . The electricity supply has been erratic throughout the days and nights and, as rivulets of perspiration try their level best to keep us cool , its not enough, and one could take a dive in barrels of lemonade ( India , denies most the luxury of swimming pools ; not counting the occasional dips taken in murky pond waters by the people, if you please) 

I have been taking evening classes, teaching Shakespeare from 7 to 9 pm. which is like baby food as compared to trying to comprehend and ingest Jacques Derrida on a hot summer night like this. Derrida's Deconstruction theory is driving me delusional for some while now, and so I decided to take a hike for a few moments before I put the author to death  !  Just so I wouldn't die before that instead : Ivan, Please note ;-)

So let me relate to you some interesting facts about our system that I learned a few days ago. 

One of my cousin's son ( Nephew) got a dentist degree recently and took up a job at a private hospital that boasts of 'good doctors attending to wealthy clients'. The hospital which pays an average salary is reputed to mint money in its own business running process.

The Nephew was not very happy, but he was with 'Chalo chalta hai , at least I am at a reputed place to begin from' attitude. The business of the hospital in the dental section was not doing well, and so the 'boss' summoned him and said : " No need to 'cure' them; just see to it that they are not in pain.Keep them revisiting. If you cure them, there will be no business anymore" !

As if this was not enough, a few days later, a female dentist was introduced as a new employee of the dental section.

" Keep her with you" the boss said , summoning him, " teach her all that you do here".

Soon, the Nephew realized that the girl hardly knew a thing. Still he wanted to take up the subject in a subtle manner to get to the bottom of it all. So he asked her , " Doctor, you must have trained at the medical institution where you studied. What is the need of my training you over here?"

To this the girl replied quite frankly thus:

" You see, my father is a well known politician and he got me a seat at the 'So and So' medical college. It is a college for the 'Who's Who's offsprings. We pay the fees, do not attend classes,yet get full attendance marked up in the registers, do not take exams,but get a degree. It is only after we get a degree, we get into places like this one and then we start learning as we get paid .

The Nephew resigned the very next day, and is now appearing for interviews for a job outside India!