Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Marriage from the memories

In 1992 I was just a small kid- sweet and chubby. The sole purpose of life was to have all the innocent fun. Those days ‘fun’ didn’t burn the wallets. It was more of running around. Playing cricket with tree trunk, in the end getting bored and wanting to return to school.
My uncle found himself a bride from a far off city. I didn’t have any idea on marriage. The sex knowledge was derived from Ramayana sops. The Devi and Dev got together in outer space and stared into each other. An orange light would shoot out and the baby was born.

I was pretty close to my uncle. He had a room of his own which I shared with. He used to buy me fancy erasers and pencil sharpener. The fancy ones wouldn’t last long and ultimately damaged itself in days. I knew that a pretty lady was moving in and would kick me out of the room. But I always were an admirer of pretty ones, right from childhood. Her prettiness outweighed my sad feeling.

I am left with only a few fleeting memories of the Marriage. Uncle had drawn up a list of ‘to-call’. A blue telephone with round dial had arrived at our home. It was then considered rude to call through phone. Phone invitation was for those who didn’t matter. The smell of new clothes was another piece of memory. As the D day neared there were lots of guests coming and going. The house wasn’t big but there was never ending supply of food. I don’t know how it was for the grown ups, for me guests were fun.

The persistent rains had made the courtyards muddy. That made running around all the more fun. I had an hyper active brother. In the pretext of controlling him, I used to run after. As soon as he was released he darted. The elder ones, never bothered what we did.
By the night before wedding the far off relatives had assembled. The finer details were ironed out and there was never ending quantity of food. By the morning cameras had come in. It was a new concept then- videotaping marriages. The gulf expatriates had introduced some luxuries in India setting off the beginning of a boom. The people were sort of perplexed when camera stared into their face. Most of the men pretended to be busy. The women looked away in shy smiles. Then the camera went into uncle’s room. A crowd was assembled there. Back then it was the duty of the friends to dress up the groom. We still laugh seeing uncle desperately trying to cover up his manhood from the camera as the friends make snide remarks.

Another imagery is my grand parents becoming teary eyed as they set off from home. I still try to figure out the reason behind those tears. And if the father /mother was dead it was a practice to go to the graveyard on the way to church.

The food was simple (compared to today’s standards). Biriyani was a luxury then. It was the staple luxury food for marriages which was succeeded by the ‘cup ice creams’. The starters were a piece of bread and chicken curry.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hero of our times -7

34 isn’t old age for a normal man. For him life starts by then. But you aren’t a normal man. Your career ends at 30s. Then your life goes through motions. The torn ligaments, broken bones and hamstring catch up with you. You’re put on medication. The drugs, drinks, divorce and the paparazzi follow the prescribed circle.

You were peacefully living the transition. A land where football holds no relation to foot, might have been the best place for you usher in a new settled life. You still walk out there and slots in goals. The only job you are good at. Moreover, there is no frenzy, adrenaline rushes or even YouTube videos.

Then one day the white haired one comes back to you. The first time, you needed him. Your fame, money and awards, you owe it all to him. He made you the legend you are. But legends don’t fight endlessly. They have to walk away into the glorious twilight and end up in folklore. You believed your time had gone and there is nothing much in you.

But the white haired one needs you again. The people you loved needs you and so does the young group of prodigy you left behind. The voice from deep down tells you, you will not have to do it again. Not so long ago, you gave them sweat and blood. You’re no longer young. Your body can’t stand the strain; your bones can’t take the blows, your feet no longer as fast as a deer. You will never be the king you once were. Still a question lingers on ‘Why Not?’ It grows heavier everyday and soon you can no longer ignore it. You wear the red and white colours again. You walk into the armoury once again.

The whole stadium erupts into frenzy when they see you. The expectation is weighing heavily on you. You who walked away in glory may be crowned a joker today. The head is turning dizzy. The game is moving on fast. Your contemporaries are watching you from the gallery. Do you see a tinge of sympathy in them? Or is it a smirk?

The opponent sends in their guards. They are fast, agile and will not allow you in so easily. Moreover they have the attitude. Once you sowed fear in the hearts. You were too fast and crafty to beat. How much of the pace is left in you? Are you willy enough to outplay the new generation?

The seconds drag on. You feel the muscles strain and the lungs heaving for air. Do you suspect a smirk in the opponent guards? The people in the gallery still hope for a miracle from you. You vainly hope someone slots in the winner and finishes the game. Out of nowhere Song volleys a cross. The huge clock moves back and forth. Years ago Viera used to set you up for the winners. No one has a clue where Viera has ended up. The clocks moves ahead, you move forward to collect the ball. The guards are fooled. You feel the old days returning. With a deft touch you caresses the ball.

The stadium lets out a collective gasp. You look across the line. The flag still stays down. You have only a choice left- glory or doom! You glance at the position. Once this was your favorite angle. But it seems that you went in too close. You open your body. The clock stops moving. The stadium comes to a still. The guardian opens his body for the most perfect star shape he can muster. Then your magical foot touches the ball.

You are not sure which came first- was it the roar from the crowd or the ball caressing the nets! Anyway you realize you are still….








Friday, January 6, 2012

A wide perpective of Kochi people

For a person who has never stayed here in Ernakulam, it’s a place of huge shopping malls, posh cars, IT services and pretty girls. For a person who had to earn his dough here the city is about traffic, pollution, congestion, inflated hotel bills. Whatever be the common perspective in both is Ernakulam is a city that revolves around commerce.

Unlike any other township Ernakulam is run by merchants- implicitly and explicitly. The Merchants form the ruling class. Hence the entire gamut of life revolves around a merchant perspective. All the important roads, streets, by lanes and junctions are named after prominent businessmen. The elected representatives also hail from these sect. The FDI-in-retail issue saw some of the most vociferous protests in Ernakulam. Needless to say even basic necessity such as road widening is aimed at business interest rather than ease of commutation.

Catholics form a major chunk of population. You’ll get to see enormous churches and Catholic-run colleges and Bishop houses in heart of the city. The only method to win a seat in Kochi is through these bishop houses and the subsequent pastoral orders from them.

If you have the time and space, observing the bustling crowd in MG road can give you an idea on the cross- section. There is a sizeable chunk of business men flaunting their BMWs and Volkswagens. They might be first generation businessmen or their bloody children moonlighting as directors. With the ingenuity of a Mallu any and every kind of businesses can be found here in Kochi. The intolerable ones are those who managed to get into the rich bracket by sheer luck. They might have gotten their hands on some bloody swamp. An excuse for a house would have been built and rented out for vulgar sums. These tenants live with the constant fear of possible liquidation.

Recently another phenomenon has threatened the slender balance. The IT revolution has ushered in another new generation of highly paid technical graduates into Ernakulam suburbs. It might be easy to spot these people from a crowd. A French beard, wire frame glasses, long sleeved shirts, laptop bag, fancy mid segment car and a pretty thing (wife/GF) in passenger seat. The weekends will be a shopping mall wearing accessories brought cheap from Wal-Mart on the last onsite visit. Still these people have powered up the huge metro development in the outskirts of Kochi.

There is a huge chunk that powers up the finance of the city. You can see them on buses or scooters, with a mobile glued to their ears fighting in at their wits’ end to make the cut. These might be young graduates just out of college and big dreams trying hard to make their cut. These financial services mainly aim in making the lives of the rich comfortable. The main area of service is tax evasion. No matter how much you earn, how much you spend tax sends creeps through the spine of a businessman. The phenomenon is common across the globe. Helping them avoid taxes is a big industry in Kochi.

Besides credit system is very popular in Kochi compared to other parts of Kerala. There are so many avenues that help you spend out of your means. Easily people get tied upto loans and have to slog in all their lives. Credit servicing is also another lucrative industry in Ernakulam.

Kochi seats the High court of Kerala. It will be a gross negligence if I donot mention the lawyers. They are a traditional clan in Kochi. The famous ones are very rich and cunning. They have got everything necessary for the formulae- shrewdness, political connections and the loopholes to skirt the law. Advocates are generally treated with a slight indifference.

Last but not the least, Kochi is known for its women. They are highly fashionable and may remind you of your good old days in Bangalore. The women in business class may not do anything but wear the costly attires and roam around in chauffeured cars attending to their culinary fetishes and a few scandalous affairs in between. The IT ladies will wear the uniform – jeans and kurthis- and hang around their techie husbands. Womens salons and boutiques are really hot items in Kochi

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Team Anna- the end of second part

Many months ago, Arundathi Roy wrote an article in the Hindu editorial on Team Anna. As her reputation demanded it, the article invited fierce reactions from the readers. The patriotic bloggers and tweeters drove their daggers. Many used their wordsmithy to spill venom rather than think about a creative response or counter argument. I was on my regular weekend train, when I chanced upon this article from co-passenger’s daily. I immediately texted the bomb to my friends.

That was a period when Team Anna shone with all the might and glory. It would have been a political suicide to question him. So it wasn’t exactly intelligent to mock the adulation. But no one foresaw the king was about to be dethroned.

The flow of tide turned when Anna decided to campaign against Congress in the elections. He clearly under estimated the ‘machinery’s’ weakness and over estimated his strength. The mouth piece of Anna were the intensive media coverage. He never thought it was going to be flimsy and tempremental. The huge government meachinery churned its wheels and slowly weaned away the popular support from Anna.

The eunuchs in the battle were Sibal and Digvijay. Now while the former is no popular leader at all, the latter is more or less feudal lord in some god forsaken land. So the jibes, taunts and hate of the enlightened e-generation were bound to have no effect at all in their long term political stint. In the run, newspapers compromised on the language and content.

Even when we are stunned and shocked by their (Sibal and Digvijay) opinionated remarks, they managed to create a schism in the society. That was their job and no one would counter argue that, it was done well.

Clearly half of my twitter companions were no longer interested and were even irritated with Anna. The continous and intensified attack coupled with inept response brought down the credibility of the team. The team seemed too shocked to handle the change of tide. Erstwhile smart guy Kejriwal seemed arrogant, Bhushans were unpatriotic and Bedi the brave policewomen was good at siphoning off money. To top it all Anna couldn’t decide on anything other than putting Congress men behind jail.

The logic no longer got to the public. The so called pan Indian movement, which was really a middle class dissenters forum had another unseen blow. The failure of FDI in the parliament was projected as anti-reform and took some steam off opposition. Then to top it all the holier-than-thou judiciary too took sides.

End of Part II- The fast fizzled out fast. Weather was said to be the cause. Now for those who expect a summer fast, I don’t see it coming. Anna is not in good health for another go and rest of the TEAM are not interested to fast.

About Me

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.