‘TAARE’ ZAMEEN PAR…!!!
If it weren’t my own television set I would have smashed the screen with the remote control I held. Preity Zinta will no longer show off her dimples for BSNL. Instead the long legs of Deepika Padukone are going to lure customers from now on.
Am I happy?
A press on the remote control drives me to a round table conversation, the topic…”Shouldn’t the drunken minister have slapped his wife on her left cheek rather than the right?” Some of the nation’s best thinkers (and that means those thinkers who have nothing else to do) spit out their ‘precious’ opinions.
ME: MAMMMMAA I hope you are not booking tickets to Switzerland to get chocolate.
MAMMA: Kuttu, be patient!!! Chocolate milk is on the way. Ooo…c’mon sonny, you are 21 now…do you know that?
ME: Yeah! And what is that supposed to mean? A quarter of my pals are now employed and messaging me their salaries. And who the hell forced me to join a medical college?
MAMMA : Aha! Okay it’s me. But see the advantage.
MAMMA: Yeah. You have a reason for not touching the daily newspapers.
MAMMA: Because no economic depression or Tsunami is going to deprive you of your bed coffee.
I had nothing to say. I switched off the television.
ME: Do you know mamma how much it hurts to see them suffering?
DAD: “Me? Great…this is the plight of every married man sunnie…” Dad popped his head out of ‘Business Today’.
ME:Dad…I said THEM, not HIM…grrrr…
DAD: Ha ha…Okay continue….
ME: I have to wait near the colossal Silver Jubilee gate of our college every morning to board the bus to the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology. I stand there…watching their miserable lives.
MAMMA: C’mon can you cut the suspense off from this?
ME: They earn their bread selling toothbrushes, towels and stuff…Some are paupers selling notes worth lakhs or crores.
You know mamma, some moments it’s a special warmth you get watching them enjoying giggling at each other, fighting with customers (The Bargain Rajas). My sole competitor for the shade of the gate is a self proclaimed healer who assures the mass around him that what he holds is a panacea that can cure all illnesses.
Bravo…I would say…a panacea being hawked right in front of the State’s official gung ho of registered healers.
Of the many vendors is a mother…emaciated out of poor business knack…perhaps her dingy looks held back customers. Her kid, half naked, is playing with a stray puppy…no…not Dobermann or German Shepherd…well it’s up to the Municipal Corporation to decide it’s breed. She has spicy vadas and samosas. Poor lady…!!!
The next moment, sometimes, I would see fear in their eyes. They would pack their ‘shops’, wrap up the articles and run away. After a few minutes, once the jeep of the ‘Flying Squad’ had cleared, everything went back to normal. My bus would come by then.
DAD: C’mon don’t tell me it’s this that bothers you.
ME: What the…? Dad…it is chaos everywhere…the world is really a bad place to live these days.
DAD :Not ‘these days’ son…the day Adam or Eve or whoever walked in, earth was contaminated!!! But what is philosophy doing here at this time of the day…
ME: A pal of mine called, a while back.
MAMMA: And that worried you? What happened sonnie? DAD :Hi…hi…she said no to your proposal?
I was ready to jump over him. But hey…there must be a spy somewhere in my class…did dad really get the news?
MAMMA: RAAAAJ…c’mon…who is the grown up here…? (Mamma interferes)
Sonnie…which gal was it anyway?
ME:Mamma…et tu brutus….Gosh…
MAMMA: Hi Hi.
ME:K. It was Rekha. My school mate.
DAD: BINGO…Wow…your ex??? …she wanted to invite you to her wedding…right son? Howz ma guess?
ME: C’mon this ain’ fair.
MAMMA: Raaj…cut the crap please… (Thanks mammaa….)
ME: Well mom…dad’s right…it’s her wedding…but she says she ain’t prepared. She wants to take her job at Microsoft and earn some bucks for her own before getting ‘wed-locked’.
MAMMA: Aha…but what’s the rush? She’s of your age na?
DAD : Darling…bad memory…the gal is exactly a year older…remember kuttu’s face on that 14th of February? She had rejected, telling “Hey…you are still a toddler”!!!
(If it weren’t my dad I would have poured a bucket of water over him for reminding me about that black Valentine ’s Day.)
ME:Well mamma…’astrology’ screwed her…they found a “CHOVVA dosham “…and that means a groom should also have the same ‘dosham’. And the parents are worried since they can’t risk throwing away the current proposal. They say it’s tough to get everything rightly placed at a time -“Nair” (a Hindu community), “Handsome”, “Chovva dosham”, “Profession”, “Family background”.
MAMMA: What is the problem with the current proposal then?
ME: The guy is 10 years older than her. Mamma…a 31 year old engineer cum bachelor must have some kinda defect
MAMMA: Well…kuttu..31 years…hmmm…you are right…the fact is… A 24 year old Engg.graduate will have a bank balance of his own…but a 24 year old “just MBBS” doctor will just have passed out of his college. I would demand an age gap of at least five between a couple. Am I right Raj?
DAD: Yes Senior
DAD: Hey I was kidding honey. Well,Kuttu. You know what. Even the most liberal dad will spare time for a second thought when his son falls for a gal of a different community or a religion…
Even the most stringent atheist will wear a mask or use the time of a power cut to visit an astrologer to cross check his child’s ‘fate’ before marrying him off.
But don’t you worry son. Your dad is an odd-man. What is the big deal with all the ‘star troubles’? Even god is a concept manipulated for our own greed.
I don’t even worry about the dowry. Hi hi…a ‘doctor’ son will automatically win a few kilos of gold and at least a Chevrolet…well more ‘degrees’ means…Mercedes or BMW…HI HI…!!!
ME: That’s the spirit dad…that’s the spirit. You know mamma…did you notice our new neighbours? They have a gal…name’s Rhazia…and she’s just entering her college.
It rained last week. I had an umbrella and she didn’t.
Dad, she wants me to hurry…a muslim…she says her dad is already out, searching for a groom.
(I didn’t wait to enjoy the bewildered look in my ‘liberal cum hardcore communist-by-the-heart’ dad’s face. I rushed back having returned the empty glass to mamma.)