May 23, 2010

The god of small things ...

Dabbling between preparing the steel sector report which I had to submit the next day and answering the highly intellectual questions from my 8th standard cousin athulya was no mean task . "An ant and an elephant went swimming. But instead of swimming together, they took turns getting into the pool. Both were never in the pool at the same time. Why?" she continued ..

As usual I put on my act of thinking by bringing in a few variations of lines across my forehead and tapping my forefingers in slow motion on my cheeks..and after a lot of frantic efforts to think I gave in and retorted with the usual "PASS"...

"They had only one pair of shorts"... The roar of laughter broke through the room , with my 5 th std brother and his gang of friends solely responsible for the 'roar' part of the laughter.

With a sheepish smile I got back to my report " Indian steel sector contributes ..." and before I could complete "Arun cheta , do you believe in god " ...

I didnt know why she asked me that all of a sudden but without a thought I replied "no"..

And what followed was a huge gasp by all the children and there were a lot of whispers and hustles . I was too busy to think and it was a spontaneous answer .

"But how can that be . Why dont you believe in god ???" she immediately asked ..

I was in no mood to give an insightful answer which would go about and bring about a profound change in the children and anyway I didnt believe even if were in the best of moods I would be doing that .
"Why do u believe in god ??" I replied without a thought continuing to type the report .

"Umm ...because he is there everywhere and he helps us......." the reasons kept coming with each and everyone adding on to the chaos ...

The clock struck 1 as I tiredly switched off the computer and waded my way across the darkness of the room with the cell phone light giving me a reason not to trample the little hands of my brother and the not so little hands of my mom hugging him tightly . A few careful steps and there I lay peacefully across my bed .

Just as thoughts across my mind were getting shutdown , one little thought creeped up ..
Does god really exist ??

An image of a man lying across the ghostly white sheets , with several pipes going in and out of various parts of his body flashed across ...those unspoken words that I heard as I stood there ...Those locked up tears which hid themselves amongst my smiles for a very long time finally had a reason to bid adieu to my eyes and landed on the strewn prayer books across the floor..Those screams and cries which strangely I seem to never hear.....and slowly his eyes closed ...the nauseating smell of medicines spread through the room as I felt a strange darkness...My eyes closed for a second and for one last time I whispered "I love you dad"...

"God doesn't exist " the inner voice overcame the pain which I felt yet again and I slowly closed my eyes and drifted off.

It was yet another sunday and my brothers gang had arrived for they had an important cricket tournament today . As usual our hall became the cricket ground and I took the responsible role of the-neighbourhood-mama-who-scolds-children-for-breaking-his-window-pane with the sole aim of protecting our TV screen and gave them stern glances and warnings to which of course no one gave a hoot ...

"Dai , pradeep ...ennada romba naala kaanom..." I asked pradeep the 4th std grandson of our neighbourhood maid . ( Pradeep , what happened to you havent turned up for a long time )

"ella na ...summa thaan " he smiled ...(nothing bro , just like that )

The match had started and soon the struggle of protecting my TV screen got aggravated with the additional role of the umpire controlling the tempers of the warring cricket legends .

The day passed by and it was the evening time and as I was deciding on which biscuit to choose from , in the kitchen ..."Do you know what happened to pradeep " the familiar tone of my mom echoed ..

I lay there motionlessly across my bed staring across the twirling fan which induced strange emotions ..Pradeep's father had left his mom long back for another woman .. And she was working in a garment factory to make ends meet and make him study ..and she did manage to put him into a decent school in our locality..but soon fate had some other plans ..a guy lured her into the acting industry with a promise of giving her an acting chance in a serial..what followed was little bit of manipulation...she did get a blink-and-u-will-miss portion in a serial and along with that a few videos taken secretly to blackmail her ...
Last week she had decided to sleep for the last time but this one was on a railway track....

The question propped up "Do you believe in god ???"

The smile of young pradeep which hid the scars his heart carried flashed across...What did god find so evil in him that he wanted to take that little smile away from him..
The glimpses of the two children who were playing across the rohini signal jumping across each and every car window and spreading an orange cloth and pleading to buy flashed across...and that little smile they had which mocked at the hot afternoon sun as their sweat shone across the dust laden faces ...the small kid who taught me there is so much joy even in the simple art of selling sundal...the old abandoned lady who sipped through the 2 rs tea enjoying its warmth and comfort as I stood there watching.. the images of numerous ppl who struggle across the streets as they fight for each and every day of their lives against the street dogs , against the soaring sun, against the hunger ,against the bruises, against the feelings of being left out and at last against the us ....the us who never had the time to see them ...

Do you believe in god ??

Well , yes I do ..

But its not found in those statues . Its not found in those hilltops where people throng in herds to find him...Its not the one whom I blamed for all my troubles ...Its not the one for whom people kill each other..

Its rather right there amongst that little smile that pradeep had ... amongst that little joy which those kids across the signals had ...amongst that iota of happiness which every sale of sundal brought to the boy...amongst that little smile which signifies human spirit...that spirit to keep standing up each and every time we fall and put up that little smile...

God is really not something I cannot see ..its right there ...right across the different faces which have only one religion...the religion called "human spirit" ...a few are lucky to be smiling now...and a lot who are not so hope to do so one day or the other....Each and every one of us go through a lot of struggles . For some its comparatively easy , for some its hard , for some the pain is unbearable ...

At the end of it , this too shall pass .. and so does each of our struggle...but that little smile that we find at the end of each painful period we go through...that is where I see god...

So maybe next time before you drop a ten buck note into the coffers of a so-called-powerful-temple , probably you can feed a hungry stomach...n probably bring that little smile ..

and who knows , you might even get to have a glimpse of god too in the deal !!!

May 15, 2010

My eyelids were about to kiss themselves , as the cozy sofa provided the perfect settings for a lazy sunday afternoon..ta nah nah ta na nah na na .. a thean-vanthu-payuthu-kathinile ( honey-coming-attacking-ears ) kind of soothing music slowly ventured into my ears and slowly moved through the various long-time-no-use parts of my brain and along the path it went on to trip a few nerves which brought my just-about-to-kiss eyelids to the wide-open state . The eyes traced the origin of the music to the 22 inch plasma screen across the room . It was the new tanishq ad for the wedding jewellery collection . Watch it below ...


Beautiful ad I thought . It was so subtle , poetic and somehow stuck a chord with me...But soon the highly anticipated kissing scene between my eyelids replaced the ad and soon I was fast asleep... na nah na...

"Anushka ....good girl ...good family ...why dont you meet her???" my father hinted..

"Not Interested pa" I smirked.

"Settled in St Jose ...
America " the story continued..

"Not interested " I replied nonchalantly .

"Do you have a girlfriend .."
I gave a stern glance...

"Then what marriage is a good thing ..." he was about to start again if not for the abrupt shout by my mother..

"Stop here " she shouted ..." I need to eat . You both continue . I will be back......".

Soon we were sitting inside the hotel .

"Is this the time to eat ??" my father quirked in an irritated tone.

But before the arguements could continue the waiter placed a huge chicken leg piece on my plate . The leg looked juicy and reddish hot with the aroma of the different spices fighting amongst each other to enter my nostril ."Aaahaa " I exclaimed as the smell took over to my head while the reddish brown leg piece gleamed with its reflection originating at the centre of my pupil and slowly spreading out . Then came the biriyani . The leg piece seemed to peek secretly from the midst of the biriyani rice seducing my already starved lips . na nah na... the music kept playing.

I slowly took the piece by its leg and felt a vicarious tingle already ascend through the taste buds .
But suddenly the waiter realising something , asked "are you the mappilai ??" ( are you the to-be-bridegroom ??)

"Oh this is the kalyana special chicken biriyani..mmm...We are not interested . leave it arun . Lets go " my mom quickly remarked and got up.

I gave a long look at the chicken piece...I got up and slowly walked out not before turning again for one last time and gave a desperate sigh . A
sigh which if I had the authority to amend the English language would have added a few more 'h's and made it sighhhhhhhh to explain exactly what I felt..

A few minutes later as we steered across the traffic , I casually asked " What was the name you mentioned ???"


The same background music na nah na...

My dad got a message from my mom...

"Its been 25 years and you still don't know that our son is a theeni pandaram !!!!"

( I beg your pardon...please dont ask me to translate ) na nah na... Biriyani that makes you marry ...

AAArrghhhhhh ....the shout of my bro slowly echoed across just about a few windows ,a few homes ,a few trees , a few streets and finally just barely managing to reach and disturb the peaceful sleep of the stray dog lying on the last street.

I lay there across the bed innocently with my bro's arms instead of the leg piece in my mouth .
After listening patiently to the not so likely-to-be-expected-from-a-10-year-old-swearing words , I innocently asked still amidst my dreams ,

"Where is my leg piece..Am I not married , yet !!! "