Friday, 29 August, 2008

Feel Good

Two days back, Smriti, Jayshree and me, we were trudging back home from a very exhausting day at office, when we went to have gol gappa. I usually do not like this gol gappa business, still die hard loyal to my puchka. But this time during my two week stay in Kolkata I did not get the chance to eat puchka even once. To make up for that this time I agreed to have gol gappa. It was good.


There was a churiwala sitting just next to the golgappa wala. After a long time I actually bought some blue bangles. Smriti and Jayshree in the picture.
Arent these colours just lovely?

Thursday, 28 August, 2008

Children and Conversations...

Conversations… I had these snippets of conversations with children at different points of time...just wanted to put them down.

Place: My office
Time: Around lunchtime.
Background: Suddenly a little fireball of a boy come and leans against my desk in office. I look up startled.
Me: Aarey kya huya? [What happened?]
…: Thak gaya. [Got tired]
Me: Nam kya hain tumhara? [What is your name?]
…: Guru, kitna bar to bola tumko. [My name is Guru, I have told you so many times]
Me: Sorry Guru, main na bhool jaati hoon. [Sorry Guru I keep forgetting]
This conversation was happening between me and a ten/eleven year old boy, who comes to my office to deliver food from a local dhaba.
I look in my drawer; there is nothing in food group to offer Guru sadly. For a brief second I contemplate giving him a pencil, but didn’t think it would go down well with him.
Me (after a pause, while I was searching): Guru tum kaha se ho? [Guru where are you from?]
Guru: Darbhanga [One of the poor districts of Bihar]
Me: Kiske saath yeha pain rahete ho? [With whom do you stay here?]
Guru: Mamaji. [Uncle, mother’s brother]. Achaa main chalta hoon, der ho raha hain. [Ok, I am going, it is going late].
Abruptly he turns around and vanishes.

Another conversation…
Place: My cousin brother’s house
Time: Freaking 6 a.m.
Background: My sister-in-law goes to teach school at 6 a.m., so a small girl about 12/13 years comes to play with her son/ my nephew till she is back. Since the girl’s parents go off to work around 5.30 a.m. in the morning, they drop her that early.
I felt someone come and sit near my head on the bed. I open one eye and see a freshly bathed little girl, looking prim and proper with bindi and lipstick, smiling broadly at me. My sis-in-law says a cheery bye [another morning person] and disappears. Since it seemed rude to go back to sleep, I mutter some incoherent words. That was all the encouragement she needed.
…: My name is Deepa.
Me: Hmmm.
Deepa: I know you.
Me (a little interested): You do? How?
Deepa: Boudi (my sis-in-law) told me about you.
Me (with a little less interest): Oh ok. So where are you from?
This set her off for the next half an hour. She is from Kakdeep area which is in South 24 Parganas, fringing on the Sunderbans. First her dad came to Delhi, then her mom and now both she and her brother are here too. Her younger brother goes to school, while she works because her parents are poor and need all the money they can earn in order to retrieve the land, which had to be pawned to the moneylender when floods hit the plains. 24 Parganas is situated in the lower plains, at Hoogly’s (Ganga’s name in West Bengal) mouth and treacherously prone to floods.
Me: So when your parents get their land back, will you go back to school?
Deepa (a little wistfully): Don’t know.
(Then she perks up) But I study in the evenings with my brother.
Me: Do you miss home?
Casually asked but she launched into a missive on missing home. This naturally got me interested, if I was completed my Ph.D. my thesis would have been on diaspora, home away from home and all these vague concepts. Yes according to Deepa she does miss home. I point out to her the glitters of Delhi, no she was firm, and home will always be home. She rather be in her village with her grandparents and cousins. Don’t know whether these were Deepa’s very words or she was copying what her parents say. Talking to her was similar to reading one of the writers in exile. Whatever the background, the experience of displacement, the feeling of not belonging are almost the same, stress on the word 'almost'.

Another conversation
Location: Children’s Home, New Delhi
Time: A few days back
Background: This minor girl of twelve/thirteen years has already gone through a lot more hell than most of us go through in our entire lives. She is away from her home and family, forgotten her mother tongue, speaks in a mixed language (bits of her mother tongue and Hindi) and is highly traumatized.
I had this conversation after I had finished formally translating for her.
Girl: Didi (elder sister) when can I go home?
Me: Soon. See once the legal proceedings start it takes sometime. You have to be patient.
Girl: Didi I miss my home and my family so much I cannot tell you.
Me: You will go back home soon, don’t worry. You have to be patient and brave.
Girl starts crying. So in order to lighten her mood I ask her: You have already forgotten your language, so how will you speak in home?
Girl: I will relearn once I am back.
Me: Wont you miss Delhi? Your friends in this place?
Girl: No didi I just want to go back home.
The poor girl is still stuck in the children's home, and there is little one can do to hurry up court procedings. In fact children's homes are like a can of worms-- each case turns out to be more horrifying that others. Anyways that is going off to another line...

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008

Home Sweet Home




Dear friends,

Am back from my two weeks break at home. It does feel a bit horrible, though it is nice to be back in touch with all my friends in Delhi and also I kinda missed our terrace and bits and parts of office or rather the people. Needless to say way too much work piled up but not started any of it. "Time to get back to work Suchismita" I tell myself but so far my brain is refusing to process this information.

Since I am still so gung ho about home, googled water colour paintings of home and some very nice pictures flashed up. Putting up two for you.

Sincerely,

Blogger back to blogging

Thursday, 21 August, 2008

How I Am Spending time from 9th to 21st August 2008

Books I read: Not reading any currently, strange for a bookworm!
Movies I saw: Come September, bits and pieces of Hum Tum.
Music I heard: FM mostly.
Shopping/purchases done: Well lots....
Gifts received: Lots again...guys am home.
Food Consumed: Eating at home, ma at her best, loads of nemontonnos as well.
Restaurants Graced: Bedouine and Zee Shan (both biriyani places), Stop Over (rolls), Kim Fa inTangra (China Town), Mocambo and Flury's (Park Street)-- all these are in Kolkata.
Friends/relatives/acquaintances/enemies I hanged out with: Home crowd....parents, brother and usual gang of uncles, aunts cousins etc etc and of course old friends Swati, Sudeshna and Sambaran and a new friend too.
Travel: Will be getting back to Delhi on Saturday.
On the phone with: Nocturnal creatures.
Anything substantial at work: Stray emails and phone calls...apart from that lazying at home.
Harmful activities: Over eating and lazying at home, sleeping till 11 in the morning, nap in the afternoons...oh what glorious life!
Anything creative: Eating (can that be creative?)
Sadness/depression/head & heartache: No time.
Hilarious stuff: General does of hahaha hehehe at home.
Any off beat activity: None
Future plans: None of my own, but my ma has some up her sleeve.
Severe Loss: N/A
Highlight of the week: Home, sweet home, and of course Kolkata.

Friday, 8 August, 2008

What I Did Last Week: 2nd to 8th August 2008

Since I am going home today, this comes a day early....
Books I read: Reading a book about a nun, still not remembered the name. Hardly read 10 pages, though those pages were pretty interesting.
Movies I saw: Ugly & Paagli and Shall We Dance.
Music I heard: FM mostly.
Shopping/purchases done: Silver earn rings (4 pairs), one ring (with pretty pink stones), one diamond nose ring all from Chadni Chowk and tee shirts for my dad and bro and will sweets for home count?
Gifts received: A poem.
Food Consumed: Eating at home or not eating at all, yes strawberry cheesecake shake, chicken salad and chocolate volcano which literally had chocolate sauce oozing out, jaleebis with koolfi, sada vada and pineapple juice. Ha made ladies finger/dharosh ka sabji, since it was me cooking veggies (kya din agaya hain life main) that too with curry patta I was very doubtful but turned out well.
Restaurants Graced: China Hut & Kadmi Dukan (Bhogal market), Mocha and Angels in My Kitchen (Def Col), Sai Sarovar Pure Vegetarian Food (Lajpat Nagar)
Friends/relatives/acquaintances/enemies I hanged out with: Usual lot, Anubha’s friend who comes to our house with food/drinks, makes us drinks while we laze around, and lecture him on his future and generally bully our benefactor while Anubha keeps getting mad at the already confused boy.
Travel: Starting today. Going home. Oh yeah.
On the phone with: My parents, brother, cousin brother and of course Swati (though this week I have not been giving her time, either she calls during office hours or I call her when she is in dreamland).
Anything substantial at work: Yeah.
Harmful activities: Where do I start? Seesha/Hooka (green apple flavour) at Mocha and flavoured vodka (green apple and orange—tastes like dream, heard vanilla is dreamier, will have to try that one) on our terrace.
Anything creative: Emailing (can that be creative?)
Sadness/depression/head & heartache: No time.
Hilarious stuff: General does of hahaha hehehe till 1 a.m. and then again at 6 a.m.
Any off beat activity: Five days of continuous early morning waking up (pat, pat, pat my back). Heavy doses of emailing.
Future plans: Someone will come and cook for us which we will have to eat with ‘shonaheno mukh’ (cant translate).
Saw this fabulous meena and jarwa gold set embedded with real diamonds and emeralds…………………………man…………………………. Can I even ever possess something that beautiful? I just touched it tentatively and felt like a princess. But should someone have that kind of expensive thing? That idea rankles a bit.
Severe Loss: Ability to sleep.
Highlight of the week: Curious incident of the owl.

Thursday, 7 August, 2008

Urghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...........................

In the middle of a busy, busy day just when your brain feels that it cannot keep track of all the things that it needs to work on, the trick is to clear everything on your desk, put your head down, close your eyes and silently scream with all your pent up energy and frustration inside your head. Urghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Then get up, cos you are too agitated to lie down, and start writing. Writing is supposed to be theurapatic right? Right?

I just did the screaming and now onto the writing. Before that had a fight with someone who moves at the speed of 1 inch an hour. Boss I am meeting two deadlines, and do not want to know if the scan machine does not work or someone has picked it from your table and dumped it in the dustbin or broken your head with it or whatever, you are being asked to scan, just scan and fast. No response, only blank face. Watery blinking eyes peering at me like I am talking in Hebrew. Urghhhhh. Why cant people just understand that there are some days when the other person is in a hurry and not interested in your health or your entire family history. Just do the work and get on with it.

March to the admin head and demand that a scan machine and a faster scanner be provided. Admin head the nice man he is, calls the slow man who then launches into a sob story. Women are too aggressive and some other bullshit. My face is turning red, so admin head hurriedly keeps down the phone and tries to pacify me. Thanks for trying, but no thanks. No point, so I find a solution myself. Got hold of the sweet office boy. I dont know why I try to stick to procedures and rules on such days, should have bypassed watery eyes and gone directly to ever resourceful Vikrant, who conviniently found a scanner and scanned the document which has already reached it destination. Vikrant is an interesting character, 22/23 years old, one brother sells veggies, the other is studying computer engineering and Vikrant works in our office. Already in his spare time he has picked up typing and types tomes for lawyers when watery eyes waters his eyes. Mark my words that boy will go a long way and I am going to push to get him become a typist in this office and whatever else he wants to be. He is too good and talented to waste it.

Talking about Vikrant's talents, soothe me. So now reply an email and get back to work.

Wednesday, 6 August, 2008

Calvin says...


In my facebook Calvin says "I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense, we couldn't react to a lot of life. " How apt Calvin, you are right as always.

Happy Wednesday


Tuesday, 5 August, 2008

Breakfast...

Thanks to Anubha I have started eating proper breakfast now a days. Before this I have never been much of a breakfast person. I always start feeling hungry after noon. But Anubha gets hungry early on in the morning and makes something. So by default I eat with her or just bring the food to office and eat it while starting work. I am told it is a good habit, lets see how long this can go on.
We usually eat poha, sabu dana (this cooked with peanut masala or just crushed peanuts is my latest obsession, I think in my old age I am turning Maharastrian), parathas, egg, chicken saussages and bread (this is my contribution to the breakfast menu). Sometimes when I am feeling indulgent I walk to Janata Bakery and pick up their mushroom patty. In the winter Jayshree and me, we eat a lot of kachouris. These are not the bong kochuri. We have a favourite shop who serves them pipping hot with equally pipping sabji, mirchi and chatni.
When Anubha is not making the effort I generally stick to cereals with yogurt or my other usual-- papaya.
At home my mother refused/refuses to cook any breakfast, so whoever felt/feels hungry would toast a bread, maximum there would be cheese or peanut butter or marmalade during winters. Sundays were/are different, along with milk in the moring, kochuri with cholar dal and jilipi would come. Sunday Telegraph and this breakfast while Rangoli being broadcasted in DD1 was a great combo to start the day. I look forward to Sundays at home. I always used to get up at 7.30 a.m. eat, read the interesting bits of the paper and then go back to sleep. What bliss.
I remember the breakfasts we used to eat as kids in mamarbari-- kochuri, shingara and jilipis. This was before television had started broadcasting in the mornings. The radio would be on full blast, there would be mostly some Rabindrasangeet playing, and each page of the Sunday newspaper would be floating around among my four mamas/uncles. There would be inevitable tussle over the sports page, my eldest mama would be walking behind my didima/grandma reading her the football/cricket news, praising Mohunbagan and crusing East Bengal. While the other mamas would try to prise it away from him. Soon a huge discussion would start off, while Ma and me would sit and eat. This was even before my brother was born. Suddenly the entire scene from my childhood came back so vividly.

Monday, 4 August, 2008

Happy Birthday Baba


Today is my dad's birthday. Yes both my parents are Leos. Imagine growing up with two Leos. I will share a secret their (Leos) barks are way worse than their bites.
My father like the rest of his generation, is not even comfortable being wished on his birthday. Whenever I wish him he just doesnt know how to react, then mumbles a 'thik achee' (Ok). Imagine! But then this is what dad's are I guess.
God help you if you ever hit on the brilliant idea to give my father any gift. Whenever I gave my father anything be it a Rs 5 pen, a chocolate or a tee shirt, he is convinced that I have been cheated by the shop keeper. He would go on and on, till I would start screaming in frustration.
Last year I gave him a tee shirt and while giving him warned him if he asked for the price, or commented on the quality or wanted to pass it on to my brother cos it was too fancy for him or anything along similar lines I would be really angry. So mom says that he goes around wearing that tee shirt and tells people "my daughter has bulldozed me to wear this". Lets see what I can bulldoze him with this year.

Friends at the right places...

Came as a forward from DJ. Really liked it. Enjoy.

Femisnist Critique of Sapphire's 'My (Lamenting) Ode to Puchka'

Before you read this dear reader ( if you are reading this at all, that is) you have to read Sapphire's 'My (Lamenting) Ode to Puchka' at http://sapphiredrops.blogspot.com/. Only then will this make sense to you.
Puchka is a street snack of Kolkata belonging to the family of pani puris and gol gappas. It is a small wheat ball, deep fried, really crisp. So what puchkawallas do is that they prick a hole on that ball and stuff it with mashed potato which in itself is mixed with salt, rock salt, tamarind juice, lemon juice, fried jeera powder, channas/chola/beans and fresh dhonepata/dhaniapatta/coriander leaves. After stuffing these balls with this potato concoction they then dip it in tamarind water which has been prepared with masala and then they serve you in a shal patta (leaf cups). Even thinking about it makes my mouth water. You have to stand in a row in front of the puchkawala and he goes clockwise or anticlockwise depending on his position from behind his stall.
By now you must have guessed this is a food of extreme taste--once a puchka goes inside your mouth you immediately are assaulted by tikha (hot) and khatta (sour). Apart from that you have to be really coordinated in your eating, you have to know just when to munch and when to swallow the water. One mistake and the puchkas have the capacity to burn your taste bud and the water can enter the wrong pipe.
For some reason, it is a predominantly women's snack. A few brave men have learnt to enjoy the taste but on the whole it is still female dominated. Who said is it easy to break gender domination?
Men complain that women usually force feed them puchkas, but men forget is that we, the women usually like doing things together so naturally if defies our logic that he will be standing while 'I' will be eating. But women like me have learnt the hard way how resistant men can be to good things in life. So we prefer puchka eating with girl friends who are way more fun.
Sapphire says "And talking about standing and watching you when you eat it, believe me you do not look cute when you are trying to stuff your mouth with more food than you can chew and tokjol running down your chin and dripping all over. Thats not the end of it! You want the phuchkawala to add more of every spice that make up the unholy concoction. Believe me my friend, it is such a turn off to have a date drooling over spicy roadside junk for half an hour and her breath reeking of rock salt and tamarind. You smell sultry. Do you think any of the above does anything to add to your grace and poise? And then you expect me to look at you as the most adorable piece among all of God's creations."
Trust men to try and find sensual pleasure/poise/grace in so tiny a thing as puchka eating. Oh when will men grow up? For your information dear men when we, the women, eat puchkas we are already in the throes of immense pleasure and the last thing we think is whether the man beside us is giving us lovely dovey looks or thoughts. For those 10 minutes our mind becomes blank of all thoughts and we are gripped by puchka fever.
So men if you cannot participate, kindly back off and let women be just themselves and enjoy their puchkas in peace.

Sunday, 3 August, 2008

Happy Friendship Day

Hey guys wishing you all a very happy friendship day.
Friendship Days always reminds me of a particular friend of mine-- Jessie. He was my pen friend. Remember at one time during teenage people are gripped by the idea of pen friends? I had a similar longing, so in our school library there was some magazine called Target which used to have a list of potential pen pals, I jotted some names down and started off in search of a pen pal. I wrote to a couple, some answered back, some did not. One boy from Punjab did reply back, found him interesting so I also replied. But then this guy did not reply back. I waited and waited, then one day I got furious and wrote a stingy letter to him in the lines of "who the hell do you think you are, not even bothering to reply....".
I still remember it was the day after Saraswati pujo, a big courier came in my name. It was perhaps the first courier I recieved. I was excited beyond words. Inside there was a long letter and a couple of cards saying how sorry he was and why he had not written for such a long time etc.
That started off our friendship. We mostly communicated through letters once or twice a month. I was still in senior school while Jessie was in Punjab Engineering College. I got to know about his latest crushes, the movies he watched, what he did in college or rather did not do, what was happening in his hostel, upcoming fests etc. His letters opened up the joys of college life to me.
We shared other things as well like the personal tragedies which struck his family, his uncle and aunt were killed by terrosits, joys his sisters marriages. I would always recieve an invitation card and feel important to be invited.
He was someone who would never forget my birthday or friendship day. On Val Day I knew I would be getting a card from Jessie even if no other guy gave me one.
Soon I got into college. Whatever problems I faced in the bewildering adult world Jessie was the guy I turned to. I would send SOS letters to Punjab and he would send SOS solutions to Kolkata. He had already been there and done that, so worldly wise and ready with surivival tips. His tips almost, always worked like charm.
Once he wrote to me saying that he had been caught cheating during his exams, expelled from college and disowned by parents, so he requested me whether he could come and live with me for sometime and look for a job. I was aghast. I read and reread the letter and eventually figured out that it had an April date, so it must be a joke. I wrote back equallt solemnly saying that of course he was welcome, I had spoken to my dad and uncle and pleaded with them, so they had fixed a clerk's job for him in Kolkata, do I need to send him money for his train ticket etc etc. Soon an appologetic letter came saying he was sorry if I had got into so much trouble for him, but it was a joke and he was fine.
Sometimes our letters would dry off depending on the exam cycle, but would soon revive once exams were done with. Jessia would joke with me that he dared not write to me, cos he was scared that I would dash off another menancing letter and one such letter is enough for one life.
Somewhere along the line Jessie which was his pet name anyways changed to Jaggu and he started signing Jaggu. But I didnot know any Jaggu, I knew Jessie so I persisted with Jessie. I think I am the only person who persists in calling him by that nickname.
Before long it was time for him to join work. Even though I have never put my foot inside Wipro/Infosys/IBM offices, every office that Jessie worked in I knew the layout by heart, which girl sits where (depending on who his crush was at that point), how far he sits, where the rivals sit, all of it. I got to know about the picnics, the parites, the intranet chat and flirting.
He would be troubled with questions like when do you tell a girl that you like her? Like when you have a crush on her or when you are in love with her? I would try and ernestly decipher women's mind for him.
When the movie 'My Best Friend's Wedding' came, Jessie floated the idea that if by 30 neither one of us were married, we should marry each other. Marry my best friend? Not really a good option, but I kept it stores for future deliberation and willingly agreed.
Once Jessie got into job, he used to send me gifts from where ever he used to be-- Pune/Bangalore/Hyderabad through colleagues/friends who were visiting Kolkata.
I met him only once in Delhi when I was in JNU. And I gave him saving kit and he kept teasing me about it later "yaar how can you gift a shaving kit to a sardar?".
Jessie got married in 2004. His matchmaking was an agonizing ordeal. The girl his mother had fixed up was a beaty and Jessie was feeling that she deserved a more handsome man than himself. So he got into strict diet and excercising regime and we used to have roaring fights over him giving physical beauty more importance.
I was very proud of the way Jessie got married, even though I could not attend it. He refused all gifts from his in-laws, when they insisted on the grounds of their prestige being punctured in society, he borrowed some furniture/tv etc from one of his friends' who had a showroom, displayed those in his house as gifts from the bride's house and then after relatives left returned them all.
After his marraige we drifted apart, he got busy juggling wife and career and me with my career. Sometimes I think he is scared of introducing me to his wife cos I know all his ex crushes.
Right now we have no contact, he emerged briefly in Orkut but soon again disappeared.
I am confident that where ever he is, he is happy, he is too sweet a guy not to be happy and keep his wife happy.
Maybe we will meet again along life's way. Till then. Au revoir.

Saturday, 2 August, 2008

How I spent this week: 19th to 26th July 2008

Books I read: Started reading a story about a nun, forgotten the name, pretty interesting.
Movies I saw: None.
Music I heard: FM mostly.
Shopping/purchases done: Gearing up for today. Going to Chadni Chowk for some jwellery shopping.
Gifts received: One cute flower shaped page marker from Anubha as peace offering.
Food Consumed: Chocobar ice cream, Chinese khana (chicken lollipops and Cantonese noodles), biriyani, mutton bhuna, Anubha’s cooking, jalebis (Aagney’s birthday treat, you have no idea the amount of coaxing he needed, he skipped Christmas, Good Friday, finally could not escape his birthday), chocolate mousse (forgotten from last week), blueberry cheese cake (forgotten from last to last week).
Restaurants Graced: China Hut & Kadmi Dukan (Bhogal market), Moets (Def Col) and Barcos (CP) and any other places which I forget Anubha will remind me and I shall mention later.
Friends/relatives/acquaintances/enemies I hanged out with: My usual friends.
Travel: Home to office and back and the same again and again and again…
On the phone with: My parents, brother, cousin brother, cousin sister, Honey and of course Swati.
Anything substantial at work: Internship lunch. Also got displaced for the fourth time in one year, I am so tired of these shifts. At least this time I have been able to cling on to my soft board.
Harmful activities: Loads, any problem?
Anything creative: Bheja fry.
Sadness/depression/head & heartache: Remarkable cheerful week even in the face of boredom.
Hilarious stuff: Yesterday evening.
Any off beat activity: People are teasing me for a change.
Future plans: Run away.
Severe Loss: Friendship with Anant Asthana. Alveeda dost.
Highlight of the week: Severe hair loss due to mental unstability. Patched up with Honey on his birthday.

Friday, 1 August, 2008

Mills & Boons

You read M&Bs! :O (Horror written all over the face)
How tacky! (With nose up in the air, it’s a real art the ‘holding up nose’ I tell you)
Ah you are a closet romantic! (With utmost suspicion, like romantics are akin to Al Queda and dawning realization that I am one of them)
Don’t you get bored? (With a yawn and the unsaid air like I never read anything less intellectual than Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, ok too German maybe Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and Marx et al.)
How teenage! (With a superior air, like they are eighty-year-old grandmas, my grandma, God bless her, is more sporting than that)

I do read M&Bs. More than that I love M&Bs. If reading M&Bs makes me tacky then I am not only tacky, I am mother superior of all tackiness. Didn’t you know I am a die hard romantic? Ah the feminist grab fooled you, but I am someone who believes feminism and romance goes hand in hand, you just need the right kind of guy. Bored while reading a M&B? Never, unless the author has done a real shitty job. Well I maybe going on thirty one but in heart am still a sweet sixteen. Thanks for acknowledging it.
Once the fact that you read M&Bs gets known this is the general reaction you mostly get. I do know because I have been getting these kind of reactions since class VII. Yes been reading them since then. Don’t remember who introduced me, but my two elder cousin sisters used to read and rave about them, but whenever I wanted access to one, they would be very mysterious and say, “Not now when you grow up”. It was one of the things that you do when you become a teenager. Oh how impatient I used to be. So finally in class VII, I got my hands on the first M&B. Have been severely hooked ever since. Over the years there have been many funny incidents over my reading M&Bs.
I lent a M&B to one of my classmates, her mother caught her reading it and she confiscated it. Not only that, that draconian lady came to school and gave me a lecture on morality (not knowing that her own daughter was planning to elope with a guy and go and live in Assam at the age of fourteen, so much for moral policing). I still remember that day when after school she came to meet me, there was students all around us, having fun, me along with one of my loyal friend who decided to face the music with me, listening to her lectures.
Every night after reading the M&B, while going to bed I would drop the book in the space between my bed and the window, which was just next to my bed. This was my effort not to let my parents know what I was reading. Every morning my dad would come to the room, to wake my brother and me up, open the window and lean over, pick up the book and keep it on the window ledge. So much for trying to hide the books. But he never said anything, never tried any funny censoring. My mom tried once, but soon lost steam and backed off. (That is the good thing about my mom, she looses interest pretty soon.) So with parental non interference I kept reading these books.
Some where along the line my cousin brother in Delhi had the funny idea that I should not be allowed to read M&Bs, so what he used to do was come and snatch the book away. We used to have huge rows over that.
In JNU hostel one of my seniors had a huge stack of M&Bs, which she graciously lent me. Angira my ex room mate and present Delhi best friend is not into reading books and she hates it when I am in the middle of one. She specially hates M&Bs because she feels these are totally nonsensical and worthless books. Once I was deep into a M&Bs and Angira kept on talking.
Listen I think X is really having an affair with Y.
Hmmm.
What do you think?
Hmmmmm
P was saying ABCD is a good movie, lets go on Sunday.
Hmmm
Don’t you have to finish that essay? Get up and do some work. Can’t understand what you keep reading.
Mmm.
Will you kindly take off that horrible book off your face and listen to me?
Mm. (In my head I scream "Yaar my hero and heroine are in a really romantic mood and starting to have hot sex, so will you please shut up!!!!").
Total silence for five minutes. Ah she heard my silent scream. My hero and heroine are done with their sex, sated they fall asleep. I look up. Where has Angira gone? I see her on her bed, curled up with a book. I get up to enquire, she and non study books dont go too well together. She is reading the UN Charter.
“We The Peoples Of The United Nations Determined…”
[Had my mom been present she would immediately get on pet her hobby horse ‘me-bashing’. Dekha (see) this is why Angira gets a first class, because the girl has dedication while you…etc.]
Thankfully my mom was not there and I found the situation was so incongruous that I laughed and laughed.
This is how I have been going on. Lately haven't been getting access to M&Bs and I do miss them. If you have old stock and need spring cleaning, unlike Aatreyee please don’t sell it to the junk man, please give them to me.
May my sweet relationship with M&Bs continue for life and keep flourishing. Inshallah.