Friday, 23 December 2011

"A" word and a few bad manners!

We Indians have serious issues when it comes to addressing strangers. The best bet is to call someone 'sir' or 'madam'. The 'sir' becomes 'saaaaaar' to South Indians, ' sher' to North Indians...We tend to pronounce the word with our regional colors. Here comes the list of most irritating ways to address a person, not necessarily in the same order!

1. A- word adolescents:

The blood boils in every cell...the tension is palpable as he lingers along the counter, awaiting my reply. That is when the canine in me wakes up and makes a plunge, i almost bark, seething in anger-"I am not your aunty, just call me madam". Bewildered, he looks at me again, a five foot frame draped in a cotton salwar with dupatta pinned up chin high, sindoor, few stary hairs and of course, a few extra pounds...May be age is related to weight, so how is it to be called when you are a mere thirty two, by a half crazy adolescent? Anna and his cadres, please call for a fast to delete the word "Aunty" from Websters'.  

2. Crappy clappers:

This is one tribe definitely different. You can find them on random roadsides. They usually spring into action when you drop something unknowingly and walk on. They clap and clap till their palms become red and the whole area turns toward them. As he hands over the stuff he had picked up on the sidewalk, you feel like smacking him on his back for letting the whole wide world know that you are idiotic and irresponsible. Dumbhead probably clapped all his life for others! And this clapping might be of heavenly use when you are awaiting an auto rickshaw. The louder you clap, the easier auto walah will hear you rather than the hefty woman on the opposite pavement's meek wave of hands.

3. Whistle bloopers:

These are the most annoying ones. We can safely exclude the bus conductors from this ilk, but must add the indecent monkeys jumping in front of movie screens in any movie hall. Well, the tribe do exist now, though their number is dwindling fast, thankfully! I feel like biting off the fingers that whoosh in and out of that ugly mouth...And i love glaring at the traffic constable who whistles and gestures every lady in the vicinity to move her vehicle behind the Lakshman Rekha! These whistle bloopers deserve a special punishment, we could chop their tongues off!!!

4. Coin tappers:

Have you ever went to some office and tapped on the glass counter with coins when the clerk is busy on a call? This is how it feels when you are on the other side- you feel like snatching the coin away and bang the person's head right on the glass! The sound of coins tapped on the counter glass or granite top is definitely not sweet, i say...

We definitely lack etiquette and manners when behaving in public. We like to tap, clap, whistle and christen anyone Aunty! I almost forgot my real name, being called aunty a hundred times a day. No more forgiveness. Next person calls me an aunty is going to be slaughtered, that is for sure!

P.S. - I have been quite busy with my brother's ensuing wedding and not so regular with the posts, please excuse. Don't care!
P.P.S.- Does the word "uncle" irks men more? I would like to know;)
P.P.P.S.- I scolded someone in my office today for jumping the queue- literally "jumping" a row of chairs and he was 46 years old!! Imagine his face when i called out on the mike- " Sir, you are 46, please don't jump"!!!
P.P.P.P.S.- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all fellow bloggers and readers:)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Once upon a Christmas...

The pink head with a shock of raven hair appears first and then i face straight at the tightly shut eyelids, button nose and rosy lips. Then come the small hands and then the tiny feet. Reshma is still unconscious as i pat the young one. The baby boy lets out a sound scream that reverberates along the maternity ward. As i remove my grubs, wash and move out of the theatre, my eyes go again to Reshma to check her vitals. Still unconscious. I crane my neck to look at the little one blissfully asleep near the new mother. Satisfied, i stroll along to my room. The huge Christmas tree adorned with tiny colorful lights tinkling on the corridor catches my attention. I walk doggedly to the tree and stand in silence near the manger. Folding my hands i stand in a quiet prayer, as baby Jesus sleeps on His bed of straw. The sight of the sleeping boy who was born just then flashes by my mind. Shaking my head, i stumble to my room. I can have some peace, at last.
The couple before me look quite ordinary to me, must be another pregnancy confirmation, i think as i gesture them to sit on the chairs. The girl is robust, happiness showing in her whole 5 ft 4 inches frame and the color fanning her pink cheeks. I check the case sheet to find nothing and nudge them to speak. He was ill for the past six months, she complained. Stomach pain, treated as ulcer with all proper medicines. I write out a normal endoscopy just to be sure. As they walk hand in hand outside the room, i admire the deftness with which he held her little fingers. One loving and cute pair, i say to myself.

As i examine the reports, all i can feel is professional sincerity. Something is wrong, i think as i write down the name of the top oncologist on my prescription pad and hand it over to the couple. " Please go and meet him as soon as possible. Let us see what he has to say on these reports." I couldn't bring myself to meet the eyes of the young woman who looks at me with earnest eyes. I know what would happen if i open the news here, better, let the oncologist explain. I couldn't bear to shatter the happiness of them. 

Few weeks later...

As i call upon the next patient, Raj enters the room. He is nowhere near the shadow of the young man whom i had met two weeks earlier. He is looking pale as death, gaunt with a thick stubble on his chin. " I have something personal to discuss with you, Doctor", he quips. I intently listen to what is being told and silently admire his courage. Again i pull out a sheet of paper, scribble down the name of the sperm bank, make a few phone calls and turn to him. He is in terrible pain, that i can see. " You have an appointment with them tomorrow at ten", i reiterate. He nods and thanks me for the help. As he staggers to the exit in excruciating pain, i am feeling numb and i spend the whole day in a dull and melancholic haze. 

That was the last day i saw Raj. He had died in a week. It is almost a month later that she appears in my clinic. Bloodshot eyes, all color drained from her face, thin and wallowy, she makes a sad sight. She hands me a crumpled sheet of paper that she must have read and re-read hundreds of times. The scrawl was almost undecipherable, probably written with great difficulty. It read-

"My darling wife,

I know i am leaving you. My end is near and i can feel it. You too know my days are numbered. These six months of our wedded life have been the happiest of my life. We woke up in delight, ate in company, spoke with love, made love with passion. If only God had given me few more years to live with you, you would have known how much i love you...Life is always this way- predictably unpredictable. I know i am leaving you all alone in this dark world. You need someone to cling on to. Some hope to live, some life to love. I remember i have never got you the Christmas gift you have always wanted. 

Please do meet Dr Anne. Your gift is with her. I am happy i could give you something as i leave you. And i know my gift can make you immensely happy. I shall always miss you, your sweet smiles and tinkling laughter. I wouldn't bear to snatch all that happiness and smiles from you. I shall always be there for you, guiding you and protecting you. God Bless.
P.S. I love You!"

I turn away holding back my tears and produce the file from my closet. Her expression goes from blank to hope and then extreme happiness. With my hands folded i watch hundred emotions criss cross her face. " Yes, Raj had asked me to hand this file over to you. He wanted to gift you his child, after his death. He wanted you to give birth and bring up his own son. I suggested he deposit his sperm in the sperm bank and he had done so. When are you starting the IVF schedule?", i gently prod. With happy tears she says- " Right away, Doctor", clutching the crumpled letter from her darling husband.

It is time for my night rounds and i move on. The case summary in the cot stand reads RESHMA RAJ and i see her stirring slowly. She gently opens her eyes and reaches for my hand. Gently i hold her, ask the nurse to lift the baby son for her to see. Tears of joy roll down her cheeks as the lights from the Christmas tree weave a colorful array all over her beaming face. " Doctor, can you please help me to the tree?" she asks. Holding on to the baby as if it is life itself, she sways and staggers to the tree. Nearing the manger, she touches the cheeks of the sleeping figurine of Baby Jesus. "This is the best Christmas gift a man could ever give, Doctor" she says. I stand watching her in peaceful silence with the sleeping baby in my arms. The church bells chime somewhere far in the dark chill night. 

Merry Christmas!

P.S. : This post has been inspired by the following news link- Miracle baby

Friday, 9 December 2011

The "Dirty" Silk and the "Pure" Tinseltown!

Watching the trailer of Dirty Picture is a nightmare. And the reviews that speak volumes of Vidya Balan's beautiful portrayal as the sensuous diva irritate me. S..i...l...k...the very name that evokes passion, sexuality and arousal in men all over the nation! A skinny Vidya is no match to the voluptuous dusky beauty who had a generation gripped in sexual fervor. And the sensual 'aura' that emanates from Silk's eyes and pouted is a meek kitten, compared to the cougar! Sorry Vidya, you fail miserably...In that case, no woman can possibly touch the heights Silk's sexuality did!

During the peak "silk" era of 1980s, i was a mere baby. Still i can remember being told- 'an apple that Silk Smitha bit was auctioned for Rs.500 in a movie shoot'. Such was the charisma and charm she enthused in an otherwise mundane and glum South Indian movie industry. I remember i was told to close my eyes..ahem...while watching the "pon meni uruguthe" song from Moondram pirai, in the theatre! I was about six or seven then! Silk knew how to gyrate and sway, though she never was a great dancer. Husky and sensual singing of Janaki helped her carve a niche in Tamil movie industry. She knew how to twirl the men of the movie industry over her little fingers! There were men who waited at her doorstep, for her to simply wag her finger at them. Vijayalakshmi, fourth standard drop out from a dusty village near Eluru, AP, could have never scaled these heights, if not for men...
Picture courtesy
Being raped at 9 years, married to a waste to fend off molesters, Silk always nursed a secret dream of making it big in Kollywood. What not the way out than running away to Chennai? She started her reel life as a touch up girl to a B grader. Luckily, she played the 'man- snatcher', manipulating the paramour ( i wouldn't name him here:P) to land in a plump role in a Malayalam movie. Her first movie in Tamil "vandi chakkaram" ( 1979) earned her a huge name in movie industry. It gave her the name "Silk" too! She was one woman who knew her game and how to use her cards...It was after "moondram pirai" that earned her a cult status did she end up being typecast as "the other woman", a vamp all the time, dressed in skimpy bikinis and murdered in the climax scenes! Most movies that just had her performing a single 'item number' with mundane story lines became superhits. She was the MOTHER of all ITEM GIRLS! 

She was the peer to our Rakhi Sawants ( now there, i had my dig at her this time too:P) and probably Angelina Jolie learnt her pout from Silk Mamma! At the pinnacle of success, Silk charged Rs 50,000 for an item song. Imagine this was in mid 1980s when heroes down South were toiling for 20 or 30000 bucks a movie! There is no drug muckier than success and it was success that climbed to her head and brought her movie empire come tumbling like a pack of cards. Her subsequent fall from the top aided by fresh heroines who were ready to shed even bikinis at the drop of the hat and drug abuse is a rather sad story. Her probable suicide abetted by a love story gone wrong, lists her with the other young starlets who had unnatural deaths- Divyabarathi, Shoba, Savitri...

Though dead and gone, her sultry eyes, pesky pout and voluptuous frame shall always remain etched in the memories of a generation. All she has is my genuine sympathy and understanding. Which makes me ask the critical question- Is Silk Smitha an icon of women's sexuality misinterpreted and exploited by Kollywood's dark caverns or a vamp who 'used' the men who came her way? Further more, are women in Kollywood 'used' and 'exploited' mercilessly  by its men, as we go by general understanding?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Could i borrow your pen, please?

I try to keep myself busy by looking at the phone that doesn't ring and then scribble some rubbish on the paper nearby. The man standing before me refuses to take the cue and just keeps on hanging. Oh my...should i or should i not? My dilemma deepens and i look up at him trying to put up a stern face, that never comes so easily to me...Even the dumbest of the dumb men would look at my stern serious face and feel like giggling! This one looked smart and i knew he wouldn't budge. And he shoots his question, that question i have dreaded the past two minutes- "Madam, can i have your pen?" Gritting my teeth, i make a wry face and hand him over my pen gingerly. He accepts it gratefully. I check on how he writes, he holds it carefully and starts writing. Thank God, his nails are properly trimmed. Hallelujah! His hand is neat.

He seems to be engrossed in his writing and finally looks up and slowly moves the pen to his mouth. Oh no! I almost shriek in silence,  but the nut case chews the tip of my pen...MY PEN, absently. I glare at him, which he fails to notice as always. He chews quarter of an inch before he fills up his application form and by that time, i am resigned to my fate, THAT pen is going into the dustbin. He says a meek ' thank you' and hands my pen over. I use my 'tissue' paper and pick it up after he is gone, chuck it in the dustbin and take out my new pen. Reynolds has been showing profits all these years just because of  me! 

I hate to lend pens and i try my level best to say a NO when people ask for pens in the counter. I am not that unhelpful, but i just can't bear it to see my pen being chewed upon, used to scratch the back, scratch the head and once, clean the ears! My strict policy is " Say NO to lend a pen". I found myself in a tragic situation once, in a nationalised bank. I went to deposit some money and promptly took a pay in slip. Only when i looked up in my bag did i find out that i had forgot it back at home. I tried to borrow from the person standing next in the queue and he showed me a pen hanging in front of the counter. Thanking him and my lucky stars, i headed to the counter where the pen hung. 

All of my five feet frame could not reach the pen how much ever i jumped! I cursed my forefathers who were short, my PET master who didn't teach me high jump properly and my short heeled slippers. The pen was hanging from the countertop tied with a tight string, which might have been heavier than an iron chain. As i tried to pull it down, the string snapped and the pen fell on the floor. I could feel atleast a hundred eyes watching me and as i picked it up and tried to write, it refused to write, as anticipated. I shook it vigorously, blew it from the back and even tried to hit it- Sardarji ishcooter style, it refused to budge. Damn! I muttered a silent curse when Mr. Right arrived from nowhere. He looked at me and advised, " Madam, the pen is for everyone's use, don't take it for yourself". That is when i exploded, " As if it writes!" Mr Right glared at me and picked it up to write. Smiling sweetly, i left the bank as Mr Right was jumping, shaking and blowing...trying to make the pen write!

I have been wondering of late, why don't people keep a pen in their shirt pockets and women in their handbags...The next time you approach the lady at the counter asking for a pen...remember you are asking for trouble with a Capital T!