Wednesday, December 22, 2010


“Watch where you’re going YOU FOOL!”
“Zipping away like he’s riding a DUCATI on an empty runway!”
We tried to move another step ahead but quickly recoiled back to the safety of that half of the single lane road that was occupied by double parked cars.
“I know an ophthalmologist. Need the number?”
It’s called a Zebra parking, see the white stripes? They didn’t paint it for your wedding. Oh! But how would you, who haven’t seen a horse, KNOW WHAT A ZEBRA IS??????”
“You’re supposed to stop when you see pedestrians at the crossing, ie people like us who have been waiting for the last 15 minutes trying to cross a measly 4 feet road. Oh yes! You stop even if there isn’t A SIGNAL! YEAH, THAT COLOURFUL CONTRAPTION YOU DON’T PAY HEED TO.”
“You know what Bev? Let’s just cross even if it means running the risk of being hit, at least that way we can put them in jail because we crossed at a pedestrian crossing.”

At that precise moment the injured muscle of my right leg from the auto accident gave a painful throb warning me otherwise and to add to that Bev gave me her ‘Shut up and wait woman’ look.

Finally we flagged down a giant SUV, the driver bemused, at seeing two college going girls who looked capable of murder. Luckily for the motorists we didn’t have to spend an eternity perched on the median but crossed the other half of the so called dual-carriageway road in two minutes. To irk us further Sonya had already crossed both the lanes and was waiting on the footpath tapping her feat and beating a tattoo on the dial of her watch indicating how long it took us to reach her. Like we didn’t know already. The Dare-Devil had dashed across the road earlier: irreverent of traffic or death. She has previously been at the receiving end of caresses from buses, autos, cars and a train too! According to her only a plane is left.

As we were dodging vendors selling kerchiefs, toys, lemonade, fake Ray-Ban glares {and wares than I can go describing in humorous detail for months} on the footpath or something that resembled it we were fuming. On a sunny winter afternoon Bev had smoke shooting out from her ears and Sonya and I were doling out endearments I can’t mention in print; she, with a ghost of a smile as always and I, the way they should be.
“It’s all a matter of rules you know!” I hollered, startling an underwear vendor from his reverie about boxers. He looked reconcilably at me, ready to believe that briefs were the best if that is what I thought. I glared at him, challenging him otherwise.
“Nobody follows rules here, everyone thinks it's their in-laws-place and they can do as they please. Inconsiderate nuts."
“ Luck? You seriously think people do as they like there?”
“Ok Sonz, their daddy’s farmhouse, fine?”
“Ooooh! Now that’s one place I’d be at ease at.” I think something about the colour of my face made Bev decide not to go ahead with the joke.
“They shove rule books in your face at banks, hospitals and government offices where they are least required. A transaction that needs a few clicks on the keyboard takes 100 perambulations around the desks of useless officials.”
“You’re telling me?” Drawled Sonya with an eyebrow raised in derisive amusement at the above said organisations.
“Yeah, I’d rather die of a cold” stated Bev in agreement to which I vehemently said “And I’d rather stash my money under the bed than maintain an account in this country.” {Don’t even bother looking for it there}
We walked in silence for sometime stomping the pot-holed footpath violently.

“Oh how I envy the ease of my cousins’ lives in Bahrain!” burst out Sonya
“I miss the orderliness of UAE!” I exploded, having held in that statement waiting for someone else to say it. I’m always sceptical about comparing my foster country and my country and running the risk of sounding like a hypocrite ex-NRI brat.
“No one gives a damn to rules here.”
“But when the same Indians go elsewhere they follow even the dumbest ones to the T.”
“They chicken out when they have to pay up fines, so they won’t spit, litter or over-speed.” Furnished Bev
“Who’ll fine them here in Mumbai? That pot-bellied corrupt policeman?” Chortled Sonya
“But we have to follow stupid dress codes and attendance policies in college. No one knows where to use rules here.” I muttered in disgust.
“You’re right Sonz. Fools make rules here and fools who can’t understand the difference between Christmas lights and traffic signals inhabit and populate this country. And then they have the audacity to complain about 2G scams??????” I fumed, climbing up the stairs to the railway station two at a time to vent out my frustration.
“Yeah Luck, how true.”
“What’s the 2G scam?”
The walk through the platform was spent explaining to Bev all about the scam that rocked the nation.

Wondering why our country can never reach that state where everyone is carefree like Bev,


Thursday, December 9, 2010

I could really use a wish right now.....

I was one of the few children in school who knew Santa was a myth, he didn’t exist. I lived in a desert where it didn’t snow and none of our houses had exclusive roofs let alone chimneys {we lived in flats}. And to top it all we don’t celebrate Christmas {my family isn't Christian}. But then again, deep down I’ve always liked to believe in things that others thought were balderdash.  I like to make a wish on a fallen eyelash, the first star I see in the sky, hope for good luck if I see two mynahs {starlings}. I waited for a letter from Hogwarts before I turned 11, dreamt that my ancestors had super powers that I inherited after it skipped a few generations or some such romantic claptrap.

I don’t know if magic, miracles or enchantments exist. I secretly like to believe they do but my rational side, measured and cut by experience and polished by dogmatic notions of reality hardly give a sliver of a chance for my esoteric side, rough-hewn as a result of doubt to take lead.
What I’ve always hoped would work is the magic of the smoke from birthday candles when you blow them out. It is almost surreally mesmerizing that something dynamic and consuming like a flame feeds from the depths of a saccharine dish, draws out the sweetness of hope and extinguishes into white-grey wisps of enchantment that twirl and twine around a breath full of wishes and transports it into magical realms. I don’t know if there will be cakes and candles today so I’d not like to allow this special request of mine to be left at the mercy of the vicissitude of birthday plans and decisions.
There is one path to miracles I’m absolutely sure of. Group prayers. You need not believe in God for this. Just the same little request escaping many lips at the same time creates a vibration of positivity so strong that not even the steely bars of cynical rationality of life can cage and thwart the fulfilment of any wish however itty-bitty it is. So this time around I’d like to ask that come 25th of December  a fantabulous, strong, optimistic and lovely lady and writer named Erika can sleep peacefully without battling her arch enemies, phlegm and mucus, ever and also that her gorgeous baby Izzy {Izabella} can enjoy every single day without seizures, vomiting and other torments that her little being is subjected to on almost a daily basis. Erika was hoping for Dear Santa {who I’m sceptical about} to hear her out.

I hope every single one of you who is reading/reads this blog and this particular post; { although I know there aren’t many} and decide to don the Santa suit for a day because those two could really use a wish {and many more} right now. After reading this if you feel an urgent need to put my request into action and can't wait for Christ's birthday which is a fortnight away then please go ahead! If you think it takes a birthday to make magic happen then you are in luck, for today is a birthday too. Well, not Jesus Christ's but a 19 year old girl's. Inspite of all this if you've never had childhood fantasies of playing Santa then maybe just be nice and grant a Birthday Girl her wish: that another’s wish comes true.
Wishing I could cast spells,