Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Marriages are not made in heaven...........................

Our forefathers downrightly declared "Marriages are made in heaven" cleverly ignoring the tricky part that thay are supposed to be celebrated on earth!!!!

But how can one celebrate when marriages got futher classified into Love Marriage and Arranged Marriage.

Love marriage holds the upper hand  with only getting into love being the most difficult part and the rest just  falls in place.The boy meets the girl.The boy likes the girl first.It remains one sided for a few years until the boy finally gathers some courage to express his love to the girl and later realises the girl was waiting all these years for the him to take the initiative.Then it enters the second round of issues where they realise that their parents don't want to be a part of this love story.But since "Pyaar andha hota hain" parents are ignored and the boy marries the girl.After some time parents slowly start missing their children and finally they all kiss and make up and the Family photo is complete.Life can't get more thrilling than this........

In an "Arranged marriage" things are confusing right from the start.The boy in the first place is not sure whether he loves the girl but what is  more important is that boy's parents have to love the girl's parents and vice versa.Then both families need consent from  their respective eldermost person(90 and above)  in the family who is on the death bed but taking advantage of the situation shows some tantrums initially  but finally gives in.Then they all rush(boy and girl not included) to the so called Horoscope expert who is at home with stars,moons,sun signs etc.After a lot of trial and error the horoscope matches or rather is matched up and all heave a sign of relief.Poor Boy and Girl before they realise are already Married.Life can't get  funnier than this


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eka Daji chi kahani (Story of a son-in law)

Daji, the term itself tickles the funny bone. The fun stops there though. This simple, innocent term creates loads of negative energies for the bride’s parents. The entire family is supposed to be addressing the son-in-law by this, with lots of respect, of course, never mind how the Daji looks or behaves. It is particularly used in the northern part of Maharashtra and its mere utterance means, the girls family would start shivering at the same time, top to bottom, in unison, nerve by nerve. Imagine a family of parents and 2 kids shivering at the same time. Jeez, it is quite a scene. I have seen this with naked eyes and till date, I can’t stop laughing at the sheer fear the term generates.

Society, particularly the rural middle class treat their son-in-law’s as demi gods. This fear is so embedded in their genes, that the respect comes at a spontaneity and one does not have to rehearse it in any which ways. One wrong statement from the brides family and they are game for the rest of the life. "Daji rusley mhanjhe muli kadche phasle". This so called Daji would wait for an opportunity to throw a tantrum. Every one from the Daji’s family in-fact had the license to dominate the fearful bride’s family. The dominance is directly proportional to Daji’s education qualification. More the education, worser the tantrum.This forceful respect came more out of the fear that their ladli gudiya would have to sit at her real home (maheri), if Daji’s ego was left unsatisfied.

The tantrum season would start right before supari (engagement) but would gather vociferous momentum after it.  It would reach its pinnacle during Basta. Basta is event where bride, bridegroom, all parents, elders, relatives, distant relatives, kids, every one is supposed to shop for the marriage. After the shopping the clothes are tied neatly in a white clothe and then reopened only on the marriage day, I guess. This is a real event to flex muscles, display chauvinist power for Daji and his family. Daji has the right to break all the agreements which were made during the marriage talks and his entire family (distant relatives included) would get a chance to shop things which they always dreamed about. Any denial, non-approval of the bill from the bride’s family meant disaster which they could face immediately or later depending on the severity of the crime.

It is routine that the wife’s first pregnancy is an in-law affair for Daji. This basically means that the wife is brought to her parent’s home at 6’Th month and stays there as long as he wishes. This also means greater inconvenience for the parents because now, Daji could visit anytime he liked and every visit of his would mean lavish food and 5-star treatment with at-least one house-hold person accompanying, rather entertaining him at all times. Gosh, such an inconvenience. I remember a real life scene when a ruffled Daji was upset that he was ill-treated rather ignored by the in-laws while his wife was in labor for the second time. As usual, this Daji would not speak with anyone and declared that he would keep the new born and his wife forever with her parents. Looking at the grim situation, the parents had a routine shiver session followed by tons of apologies and promises. But this time it seemed things were completely out of control. Anticipating serious trouble the father came up with a solution which he thought would help cool down the matter. He announced insanely that he would treat his son-in-law like a king if they would be given another chance. Another chance meant another pregnancy! This word spelt disaster. Daji was left red-faced and embarrassed at the same time. Listening to that he went to a shell and I can’t remember how long it took them to make Daji happy again.I was laughing at the solution. So innocent, yet so devastating.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Getting nostalgic this Diwali.........

First of all let me encash this opportuntiy to wish all of you a "Happy Diwali".

Writing a post on paid Holiday with Karanji and Chaklis for company is something out of this world.The ambience of Diwali however is slowly but surely diminishing.The mithais are there infact more exotic and more sweeter,the crackers are more louder and more colorful,the lightings are more techno and state of the art but the real part that is missing is "Sanctity and Enthusiasm"

        An insight of a typical Diwali a decade ago would be not be so colorful but the zeal and the excitement part could be given a ten on ten."Diwali Vacations" was an important part in the school curriculum both for teachers and students each having their own reasons for it.The transition from  "Exam fever" to "Festival atmosphere" would be spontaneous.The once deserted galli ka ground would now be overcrowded and infact there would be so intense space crunch that we had people appointed only to wake up early in the morning and ensure that we made our teams presence felt on the ground though at times we won't even have a play for the entire day.........

Cricket was the only game I and my friends played confidently more often in the diwali vacations so the confidence was pretty much conveyed through our body language and we took on some well known galli teams.Though we would almost loose every single game the ideas and strategies for the next game almost never ended which was nothing but optimism at its best.................

More than eating "Pharals" distributing them was adventurous and required some guerilla tactics  since due to the amazing camraderie we all shared as neighbours we had to ensure that "pharal" reached the the third persons house without the second person knowing about it...........

The motivation to wake up early morning and burst the loudest cracker on earth so that people get out of their beds in a shock was such that we hardly slept on Diwali nights.

This blend of naughtiness and fun is conspicious by its absence in the Diwali of the present era.Where did it dissapear???????????

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I am a responsible citizen, are u?

Honest Confession- I Vishal Pore voted for the first time in my life. Better late than never!

And for the very first time I felt like a confident, responsible citizen. The feeling is upbeat and rightly goes with a promotion of a leading campaign "Hey, sarkar maza asel" which displays a hapless, suicidal farmer requesting to vote for the right candidate. The hype created by the media with countless, beautiful, creative ads had a huge huge impact on me and finally decided to break my silence and cast my valuable vote. The impact was further accentuated today morning by Anand Mahindra's impressive tweet which reads "Just finished voting. Never fails to make me feel proud and exhilarated". I have never attended any election rallies but my vote went to the candidate who least sms'ed me during wee hours (of-course I am kidding). But yeah, the nuisance was intolerable and could have been avoided for sure. Blame it on technology.

The question as to why I voted so late in my career is worth answering (certainly not a excuse). The seeds of (self) awareness where sown pretty late. In-fact they were never sown when they should have been. I remember we had a terrifying subject called Civics during school days. It talked about municipal corporations, state governments, assemblies, Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, prime-ministers age, who's responsibility is to fix the broken street lights and all such things and it surely had all the ingredients necessary. But my feeling is, it was being taught at a very tender age when one has difficulties understanding family relations. And further there was no time for understanding; all thanks to my mugging capabilities (well documented at Mugging a day keeps parents meeting away.) I remember quite vividly that it took 3 hours for me to mug the eligibility of a Lok-Sabha member. Phew! Where was the time to understand what it meant, when all that mattered was marks on mark sheets and report cards (read My Report Cards)? So the blame goes fairly and squarely to my studying habits first and may be a little bit on the 'education at the right age' factor. As i grew up i began to understand what it takes to form a government. How politicians promise a lot and deliver nothing. How they beg prior to election and alter their personality post win. The vibes surrounding the general public were not exactly encouraging and mostly negative. All i heard from colleagues, elders, and friends was, "kay upyog vote karayacha" (what's the use of casting the vote). So certainly I went with the flow and never tried to question it. Suddenly out of no-where my interest grew in politics. Suddenly i was listening to Sonia, Raj, Uddhav, Vilasrao and suddenly I began to understand alliances, the MNS factor the feud between the first cousins and suddenly I decided to become a sincere citizen. After so much of suddenness, I was happy to vote. In-fact, euphoric! May be i felt like a adult for the first time (never mind, i am already a father)

However, the rituals required to get the election card were not so easy. I ran pillar to post to and vice-versa to get myself registered. But, I can tell you with a lot of certainty that India is progressing and progressing quite magnificently. The form to be filled was simple and i cracked it with full marks. This form was provided by jago-rey, so many thanks to them. Next, submitting the form to the election office was not as difficult as I thought it would be (interacting with the government officials, I thought was huge task. Read Encounters with Government officials). They performed way beyond expectations. The only road block was to get myself registered to the correct ward. The absence of the officials there put some pressure on me and had to visit them often. But nevertheless, I am happy that I got myself registered and yes I voted today. The election identity card is yet to make inroads to my house. Let’s hope it would be ready by next election. Till then I am all optimist about it. Cheers!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shelar Mama, Nasik style Khichadi and much more

It was yet another hopeless Wednesday morning and I was all alone at home killing time. All of a sudden my phone rang. Mornings usually i don't get calls from Ranjit, friends and well wishers. So,the phone ring i thought was from marketing executive who would promise to manage my portfolio, insurance sellers and other irritating scheme tellers. I was in no mood of an altercation so was trying to avoid answering it. But surprisingly the call was from my childhood chum Vijay Shelar whose alias list includes Pappya, Shelar mama, Vijya to name a mentionable few. He was at a walking distance from my house so obviously i suggested him to walk by. I had just woken up (10 something) and had finished my daily dose of newspaper and a cup of ginger tea (95% water and 5% milk as a taster) to kick start my day.

We were meeting after quite some time so the intensity, motivation and the energy levels were pretty high. After the high fives i settled for another round of tea (his first of-course), this time the milk proportion increasing manifold. We talked about work, recession, mobile phones and also managed to get nostalgic remembering the lovely good old school days. Vijay was also a average performer like most of us in the group. No wonder we gelled so well then. The only enviable fact about Vijay  was he was member of the NCC group (Army) and I was thrown in to the less favorable scout group (all thanks to my height) which was a default group for all the rejected NCC folks. So when these guys would march in unison, we would be busy plucking grass, cleaning grounds,collecting donations which were the activities for the scout guys. Our uniform was strange too. He had white shits, matching pants, a rope and a unforgettable orange scarf tied round our necks.

The banter had reached exciting levels when i realised that my stomach had started complaining for lack of solid food. I avoid packaged food so that meant, I had nothing ready made. It was already noon then so there was no point in breaking fast by a breakfast. So I thought of cooking something for lunch. I pressurised Vijya to stay over and he did succumb to it. The question obvioulsy was the menu. I am not found of cooking but soon realised that Vijya was a fine cook and had heard some stories about his cooking style and so forth. So we finally decide to settle over Khichadi. He asked which one I like. Moong or Tur.I had no clue of the distinction between the two (all dals looked the same to me), so i pulled out a dabba and found the dal which Vijay identifying it as tur.

I also managed to find the cooker,the stirrer spoon, salt, rice, meerchi, onions, potatoes and yes all the spices too. The only ingredient which he thought was missing were groundnuts. I searched all over the kitchen but finally gave up. Vijay was certainly disappointed but we decided to move on. I cut one onion, two chillies, coriander and handed them to Pappya. He had already poured a couple of tea spoons of oil and the spices (mustard and jeera) were busy crackling in the hot oil. Next he put the neatly cut onions and potatoes and fried till it tured orang-ish. He then mixed 1 1/2 cups of rice with almost half cup of  tur dal and washed it carefully. When he was satisfied with the the torture of  onions and potatoes, he put the mixture (dal and rice) and kept stirring for a minute or so after adding haldi, mirchi and other masala in a medium ignited stove. He then poured about a liter of water, added salt and left it to boil. After another couple of minutes he closed the lid of the cooker and it seemed the rituals were over now.In the mean while I removed my glasses and started searching for the groundnuts just to make up the disappointment. But it was not to be.

So 10 minutes later the pressure cooker released all the pressure it had accumulated and buzzed with a lot of confidence. He let it buzz for a couple more time and left it to cool down. I readied the eating apparatus by the time and also found ghee as a topper and pickle to spice things further up. Finally he decide to open the lid prematurely (possibly looking at my hungry face) and there it was. The food was ready to munch. I decided to serve it as a good will gesture. It tasted wonderful and suddenly took me in to Nasik mode. We did not chat while we eat. I guess it was more to do with the taste rather than the lack of topics. Of-couse I burped at the end of my lunch and thanked him vociferously was such a wonderful meal. He too obliged and we decided to wind up things as we suddenly realized that we had to go to office. It was indeed a memorable meal with Pappya.............

Thursday, October 8, 2009

When Things go wrong!

One fine morning I getup and realize that I have a demand draft to be made from the cash, to pay my brothers college fees. Unfortunately the college for some strange reason does not accept cash. Only demand drafts, strictly! I think it is a fair and simple job though the draft has to be made today as it is going to be last day tomorrow. I casually walk at noon to the HDCF bank. I ask for it . I have no clue about the procedure. I am told by the officials to get a cheque,they wont accept cash. I say ok, what if you don't give, there is many others who would service me. I go to ICICC. As usual, nobody pays attention . I still go to the brightly displayed customer service department . The front desk lady smirks and suggests me to get a cheque. I am disappointed now. I start to think, may be this is a standard procedure followed by everyone. I walk back home with the sun shining comfortably at 38 degrees . I decide to get the cheque ready. I cant find my cheque book. I am controlling my emotions now. By this time, my semi smart brain works parallely for alternate solutions. I decide to call up my office buddy to exchange my cash with his cheque, Buddy is obliged. He calls me urgently as he has a meeting to attend. I rush to the office realizing half way, I forgot the identity card. I run back home which is at a walking distance of 20 minutes. I get the identity card this time. I storm my way to reach in time. I barter my cash with his cheque. He gives me Citisank cheque. I rush back to HDCF. By now it is 3 pm. With tired tone and polite manner, I am told "Only HDCF cheque are accepted". I am shattered now. I find my way with a heavy heart to ICICC. The lady gives the same explanation. "Saar, only ICICC cheque we accept, you see". And with a harsh tone requests me to use common sense. I dont handle demand drafts daily. How on earth would I know that they need only respective banks cheques. Not her duty to tell me to tell me the salient points? I refrain from asking .I had no intentions to increase my blood-pressure which by now has shooted nadir and putting heavy load on my fragile heart. I walk away regretfully cursing  faith. I decide to give a final try to Funjab bank. I go there with a lots of patience. Reason- a) I have no hopes from Government affiliated corporates. b) I don't expect exceptions there. I go there with dropped shoulders. I bend and a man in 50's looks suspiciously . I ask him if he can give me a draft. He says of-course why not? I give him the same old cheque as if to tease him. He says, why cheque, only cash. I cant believe this. But whats the point. I don't have cash now. Oh holy heavens. I am told to get cash in 15 minutes as it was close to their business hours.15 minutes flat. I sprint back to office. Buddy in meeting now. Holy geez. I call him out of desperation, He comes out and I explain him the story. He is upset with my strange behavior. But I don't explain further, I take the cash and run harder now. I would have been devastated if the bank was closed. Fortunately, it is still alive. I am told to fill a complex form. I do that. I am told to come in another hour. I had no idea why was I told to run that fast earlier .Pressure tactics perhaps. I am restless. I can't sit one hour in Funjab doing nothing. I walk back to office again with a reminder set . I reach office. Start my work and the alarm buzzes. I crawl to Funjab. Draft not ready yet. Told to stand quietly and not to make fuss. 2 signatures ,3 careful examinations and a grumble over the lengthy college name, I get the draft with a careful pasted tape on the name. Finally I get what I wanted. I nearly missed a breakdown today. I go to work again. Work, work work and head home late night. Give the draft to my bro as if I had won a medal.(You don't just buy a Bournville! You earn it! ) He is amused. I try to explain him the pain I went through. He hears patiently and sympatises. I sleep at night. I cant sleep. I get spasms and muscle pulls as a result of over work. Next day bro comes back from college and says college accept cash now. I faint.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Sorry ! We are Middle Class............................

When god sent man on earth he never knew there was one more class waiting for him here where he would  automatically fall in depending on the financial status and the rest of the course in the  persons life would be decided upon the protocols followed in the class.

So I am from a "Middle Class" now with that comes loads and loads of restrictions..So how do you define psyche of a middle class  person.Lets make things easier for ourselves by analysing a real life story which happens every other day in the lives of people in this class

Once upon a time in a small  sleepy village called OZAR  there was this middle class guy who had gathered some courage to be an exception or rather  behind the scenes gave in to his wife's constant cribbing decided to buy  a car for himself.Now before coming to this decision and at  times trying to forget his wife's angry face  he had to go through the rules to be followed here as per the class.He needed to get a big loan for himself..................

He approcahed his wife as the first option since by default she had some ornaments which were her most beloved poccession and at times were more important than her husband,.He tried to pacify her that he could get some amount in ready cash and take a small loan if she allowed them to be sold.Now with this idea all peace and harmony which was left went for a toss and he was compelled to drop the idea with  immediate effect...........................

He felt taking a loan and facing the consequences as a defaulter would be  far better rather than coming home to a angry wife.Now the next step was to get a loan with the minimum rate of interest which he managed.All thanks to this friend of his with whome he had always maintained a good relation anticipating this scenario.

So now everything was set but which car was supposed to be brought.Wife and children were hoping for a luxury car since he neighbour had one and they couldn't face them if they a brought a cheap one.Now our protgonist when he had thought of buying the car he was always thinking of "MARUTI 800" and never anything beyond that.After a lot of  karan johar scripts and emotional melodramma wife and children give in and protagonist won the battle for a change...

    The car was finally brought with a lot of fanfare and the initial few days were spent going on long drives.Once the initial craze had settled in the next protocol was supposed to be followed
"FUEL EFFICIENCY"  It was observed that  wife and children who earlier used to walk for shorter distances were no longer able to do that since they now had  a car.The peace and harmony was suddenly back to its comfort zone The "CAR"  was  now the centre of all disputes .

By now you must have guessed the end.Yes! the "CAR" finally  found its home for ever and where it was  always destined to be right from the start and rested in peace in the  "CAR SHED" and the family continued with its new struggles.........................

We can conclude in chorus that  psyche of a middle class person is like a pendulum though it sways here and there it will always be back to the middle...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mugging a day keeps parents meeting away..............................................

Since vishal has opened the gates to the dreaded topic of "Studies and Academics" I would like to highlight my approach towards studies which I followed throughout my entire school life which for sure earned me some accolades until this dreadful event  happened which forced me to think for a second,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The approach was simple and user friendly "MUGGING" When somebody ordered me "Go and study" for me it was "Go and Mug" I made it a point to mug  the entire topic with full stops and commas and if I succeeded in reproducing it exactly the same way in the exams I would feel confident about the results and say "Paper ek dam mast gela boss” Now all went well until we got introduced to this no muggers  subject called "Geometry" where we studied  about triangles,rectangles,squares and other crap,But I  was so very comfortable in mugging that I never could  leave that comfort zone and  make the transition to  "Application of Mind" which is what is required to excel here.

I found out ways to stay in the comfort zone and face this subject and phew!!!!!!!!!   like a light at the end of the tunnel I found out this wonderful thing called "THEOREMS" designed by  mathematical wizards who had already taxed their brains and come out with the conclusions so we did not have to use ours and just learn i.e mugg.Basically theorems are results that are to be followed for solving  advanced geomteric problems and  were explained by using examples like triangles or squares with ABC being the principal naming convention used in the text books..Ex Triangle ABC                                                                                            

So here I was one day prior to "GEOMETRY" exams reading loudly when my fellow classmates would be busy practicing for sure.My parents confirmed with me about the time table of the exam since they could not digest my approach to the subject.Not their fault since only a fellow mugger would understand my plight.When the paper began  my funda was to leave  blank spaces initially for the problems which I am unable to solve and straight away rush to the ones I knew.So after leaving two to three pages( I was below average in this subject) I found my home turf "THEOREMS" just a glance at the question and I gave full justice to it reproducing every instance of what I mugged............

At the end of the paper  unfortunately the blank spaces remained blank since my good friend "Vishal" whome I had pinned hopes on at the last critical moments was infact asking me "Start bata re start!!!!!!!!!!!" I later realised that his paper was also blank and the start he was referring to were for theorems which he had mugged but could not  remember the starting forumla.Another serious disadvantage of mugging things illogically probably he could not master the art as I did.............

I was very optimistic until the papers were distributed.Our geometry professor had some trap set for muggers which I never realised and was too late when I actually did.Remember the naming convention I mentioned  in the text books "ABC"  which I had mugged so well was infact changed to PQR in the question and  I had unfortunately reproduced the entire thing with regards to ABC.

The fiasco was well advertised by the geomtery professor and I went into a shell after that and stopped mugging for a week.But somebody rightly said "Once a mugger always a mugger" I went back to my comfort zone after a while...............................................

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