Child One. Adult Zero.

My almost 4 year old niece stood staring at her reflection in the mirror, examining herself from every possible angle, concentration etched all over her little face.

I waited for a while watching her intently and then couldn’t contain myself any longer and asked – What are you looking at ?

She says – I looking at how I look.

So I asked again – How do you look ?

I expected one or the other version of the following – pretty, cute, beautiful, ugly, fair, dark, fat, thin, nice, etc etc etc

She answered and I quote –  “I look Happy”.

Enough Said.

Advertisements

www.judgepeople.com

370b303e1460d2691d353ec28f613396.jpgSo apparently just like you are asked to rate your Ola/Uber drivers..they are expected to rate you too.

The desire to be liked is so strong that I found myself shamelessly peering over my driver’s shoulder to see what rating had he given me and I must admit feeling very relieved to have gotten a five star rating. He probably gave that to everybody but the whole episode got me thinking – How many people are rating me ?

My grocer? My gardner? My hairstylist?

What do they write in the additional comments ?

Talks too little.

Does not receive phone calls.

Does not dress Indian enough.

Loves Methi (Fenugreek). Hates Pumpkin.

 Gets too impatient when late.

Wrinkles up her nose if the cab smells stale.

(Actually I also look closely at the cushioning – ONCE I FOUND BLOOD STAINS  which got my head caught up in a tornado imagining dead rotting bodies in the boot and what not)

Anyway I digress.

I imagine all the star ratings and comments going into a giant database that tells you a little something about a billion people.

In the future you could look for partners like you look for hotels. Log in to http://www.judgepeople.com (I checked – the domain name is available) and type in your requirement. Add the number of minimum stars four or five. Select criteria like patience. Generosity. Loves kissing in the backseat of a car. And press search.

And you have your perfect match.

Not choosing people solely on their profile pictures and their self commentary but actual ratings by actual people that they deal with every day of their lives.

You could choose someone based on your mutual love for cinema hall popcorn or karela as reported by the vegetable vendor on the app. Or computer games as reported by the techie guy.

If someone is good to the taxi driver I bet there is a high likelihood of him being an overall nice person.

I know one thing though. I am not letting my auxiliary staff get onto that app whenever that is made. I’d be in negative within three minutes.

On the bright side  – everyone would try to be their brightest sweetest best everywhere they go in the hope of a good rating.

Darkness

20160313_071751.jpg

Sometimes, Somedays

I wonder

If the darkness

would be kinder

than the raw callousness

of illumination

Would it be more forgiving

than the sanctimonious light?

More tolerant ?

Would it conceal my flaws

with a cloak

of anonymity

ensuring that whatever

breaks through

the seemingly impenetrable

impious blackness

always seems heartbreakingly

beautiful

and paradoxically

Godlike.

They are on the road again

I was 15.

It was early evening.

Maybe 5 – maybe 6.

That time of day when you don’t really know if the sun is rising or setting

Unless you look at your wristwatch.

 

I was on my TVS scooty on my way to Biology tuitions.

Where we studied life and such.

I was about to experience it firsthand.

An unsolicited practical.

 

I took a turn into a lane.

There was a mob of men.

Young. Old.

And that funny age when you don’t know if you are young or old.

 

They spread out across the road like a giant organism

I stopped. I had to.

They came forward.

As one

They pulled me off my vehicle.

They looked menacing.

They had something in their hands.

They rubbed something on my face.

They were screaming something.

They were reeking of something.

They touched me.

Not one

Not once.

Maybe five men

Maybe ten men

Or did I imagine it all?

In the middle of the street.

 

I remember my eyes burning.

I remember crying.

I remember touching my face and thinking I am bleeding.

And yet I saw everyone was smiling.

Even passers-by.

Some even laughed.

 

Then they left.

Just like they arrived.

As one.

 

Was it 10 min ?

Was it 1 hour ?

I don’t remember.

 

I remember running.

I remember howling.

I remember a palatial house

I remember barging in

I remember curling up on a stranger’s sofa and crying like a baby.

No not a baby.

A baby has no real sense of loss.

I cried like someone who has had something precious – something irreplaceable snatched from them.

I remember a kind faced lady

I remember a glass of water

I remember a soothing voice.

 

Then I left.

Was it 10 min?

Was it 1 hour?

I don’t remember.

 

That lane was not lonely. It was a busy road beside a very prominent college.

It wasn’t late at night. It was evening. Before dark.

I wasn’t wearing a mini skirt. I was in full length baggy jeans and an oversized t-shirt.

I wasn’t a sexy looking woman. I was a skinny gangly teenager.

Those men were not menacing. They were celebrating.

That was not blood on my face. It was my tears mixed with the crimson powder they had rubbed into my eyes.

 

They weren’t screaming in rage.

They were screaming Ganpati Bappa Morya

 

 

It is that time of the year again.

It is 2 decades later.

The beasts are on the road again.

They have forgotten me.

 

 

A 15 year old remembers.

I remember.

National Threesome Day

a4bdc0e58f148746dce513ed3a989232

Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that Independence Day is a day of formalities,reiterations and make believe. And we have all learned to continue the farce of patriotism while stabbing our fellow nationals in the back in the self righteous name of religion, caste and food habits. Yet I am at the end of the day an idealist and still continue to hope for the best which every new decade promises.

So instead of delving deep into our Indian inadequacies I prefer these days to focus on the quirks.

Because the quirks – oh the quirks –  they define us.

They are not only highly entertaining but wonderfully stupid making us almost lovably psychotic.

Have you ever noticed (at least it holds true in the city I live in)that all through the year the average motorbike capacity is 1 or 2 people ( or at the most maybe a kid )seated sanely heads down? The head down position is mainly to avoid eye contact with the police since the rider is mostly helmetless. Unless the helmet is being carried by the pillion – in which case the rider is proudly riding chin up and the pillion slips the helmet on and off at every traffic light.

But I digress.

Suddenly on 15th Aug (and on 26th January) the rules of the average 2 wheeler capacity change. Independence day is suddenly a day when 3 guys are on a bike.

Like the day implies independence in all forms.

No judgements to be passed.

Explore the limits of your fantasies.

And apparently the fantasies of adult Indian men include unnecessary flag waving, yelling like maniacs, whistling, littering but most important of all – RIDING THREESOME.

2 boys can’t be friends on National Threesome day.

It has to be an odd number.

3 or 5 or 7.

Thus ensuring 1 out of every 2 or 3 bikes you will see is laden with 3 men. Yesterday I actually counted 40 such combinations. I kid you not.

And you are welcome. I do my bit for the country. Taking surveys of madness is also a service before anyone objects to my pastime.

The excitement in their voices. The glee in their eyes. The glow on their faces.

I tell you – 1 day patriotism does more for their complexion than all the ‘Fair and Lovely’ creams in the world.

Patriotism is like a drug with all the high and absolutely no dependence whatsoever.

You can indulge in it on 1 or 2 days of the year and float blissfully through the rest of the year without a freaking care in the world even if the country is falling apart.

And it is Free.

Free.

Free.

No wonder they play the National Anthem at every cinema hall. It does pep up our mood thus making sure people get through third degree torture like When Harry met Sejal without killing strangling the person beside them.

In fact if cinema hall owners have a house full movie or trains/flights are overbooked and they want to accommodate more people I suggest they play the national anthem 3 or 4 times and distribute the national flag.

The patriotism might motivate people to sit 3 in a seat in a patriotic threesome.

Happy Threesome Day everyone.