Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#RIP Mr Khan

Have you ever heard a #song and felt it was sung for you. Of course later on closer inspection of the lyrics you might discover to your amusement or shock that the song is talking of murder, drugs or porn or something very inane. But the music just squeezes your heart and transports you to a special memory. You can smell it, you can feel it, you can see it as clear as the day it happened. It gives you goose bumps. You escape your current shell and like an invisible audience you hover over your younger self experiencing what has now become your memory.

One of the songs that takes me back to my school days is “ankhiyon se goli mare”, featuring #Govinda and #Raveena. It’s not what you think. This song was my music teacher, Khan sir’s pet song when he had to boost the spirits of the school choir group. Those were the days filled with music and euphoria. I studied at a Christian school, which obviously exalted #Christianity and ridiculed all other religions. This was funnily strange because 80% of the population in the school was non-Christian. But we were kids untainted by the complexities and prejudices of religion, so we did not care. Anyway being in a Christian school meant a choir which I joined with extreme enthusiasm. Our teacher Mr Jogen Khan was an exceptional human being. Like all artists he was moody and very touchy to even a hint of disrespect. He chucked out many a kids, talented or not, for even a laughter out of place. Despite his idiosyncrasies, I thought he was the funniest and the most adorable #teacher ever. I like to believe he had a soft spot for me even though I was not really the most talented singer around.

I’m a Hindu by religion but I never felt closer to God than when I sang the intricately woven notes of love and worship that is the identity of Christianity. For a 16-year-old teenager from a West Delhi school to be let loose amid toughened, smart-mouthed South Delhi kids was no joke. I remember the two years I spent there as being the worst time ever in school life. But amid the jibes and culture shock, I found solace in the choir. It was in that little music room stuffed with 20 kids that I discovered, to my surprise and glee, the sopranos, tanners, altos and base. I would never listen to music in a lateral, casual way again. Khan sir’s #choir was my saviour. I had a ball travelling to places like the #Rashtrapati bhavan, #Delhi Haat, FICCI auditorium and various Churches to perform. Whenever we were nervous on stage before performing, Khan sir would wink and utter in his broken, adorable Hindi,“ainkhi se goli mare”. And just like that the atmosphere would transform from nervousness to uncontrolled giggles.

I continued to learn the Violin from him after school and even after I got married. Owing to the vicissitudes of life I just stopped going eventually and lost touch with him. I kept thinking I must find his number and meet him. But I thought too long. I recently met a schoolmate who informed me that Khan sir passed away 2 years ago. My shock and regret knew no bounds. I realised I never knew anything about his life really. I did not know anything more than the persona he exhibited to his students. All I knew was that the man who brought beautiful #music and humour to one of the lowest points of my life was gone and I didn’t even say goodbye. Govinda’s “ainkhi se goli mare” will always make me smile at the memory of that wonderful #musician and human being. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#Dark and bitter

Frequently, in a couple’s life, both or either of them look back and see only regret and disappointments. Most of these regrets and disappointments stem from the belief, “What should have been”. This tenet originates from the constant comparisons we make with the lives of other #couples, which is a confirmed, non-refundable ticket to #marital hell. Piggybacking on this comparison is the common excuse that my Kismet is rotten. And bada-boom goes the universe.

Every couple I know struggles with their own unique set of issues. Each couple is as different as an 80% cocoa #Lindt and a #Milkybar. But each one of them insists on comparing themselves to that orange peel chocolate or that chilli chocolate. Imagine a Milkybar saying I want to be a dark chocolate with a shot of chilli. And since it cannot be, for obvious reasons, it makes itself miserable. It begins to hate its white colour, its sweetness, its packaging, its milkiness and even its name. We all are like that Milkybar gone berserk.

We want to be like that couple because we suddenly don’t like who we are. Her husband buys her things without her asking for it. Why can’t you do that? She makes non-veg for him at home even though she is vegetarian. Have you ever made such a sacrifice for me?  She is such a great home-maker, unlike you. He is always holding her hand. He always walks with her, not ahead of or behind her. They both are such a spontaneous and lively couple. Why are we so dull? And.......................
I’m sure you can extend this paragraph to infinity with your own personal comparisons and complaints.

Have you ever considered that the other Milkybars out there think you are the coolest couple around and they aspire to be you? Or they want something that you have but they never can? Since the Milkybars and the dark #chocolates and everything in between know that their taste, colour and packaging is a result of their ingredients, the chocolate world is at peace. If you realised and accepted that your marriage is a product of who the two of you are, you would never make another comparison. Because if you are the milk and he is the sugar, you cannot be a chilli chocolate. Unless you want to add a third ingredient called polygamy or polyandry, which is of course illegal.

So be happy being a Milkybar. Make yourself milkier and sweeter, if you want. If you just want to be dark and bitter. Well, tough.

Monday, August 11, 2014

#Threads of #love

This #Rakhi was different. My brother wasn’t here. Neither was my sis. Nothing new there. They've been away in Canada for years. But I never missed them so much before. I think it was the endless traffic jam--a consistent feature on every Rakhi-- with masses of people literally hanging onto their wits and last threads of energy atop precariously balanced bikes or within stuffed, rickety buses.

Once upon a time, all five of us--me, Shveta, Babbu, mummy and papa--would settle into our Maruti 800 every year and head for west Delhi. Majority of my cousin brothers lived there then. Of course, I and Babbu would bully Shveta to sit in the centre as always, while we occupied the window seat. And we would set out towards that far, far, away land. I remember the jokes, the little tiffs and the inane conversations en route.

 I remember especially my brother’s moniker for that side of the town. Ulti Nagar. No offence meant to anyone. But we laughed our guts out on that one. We were parked next to a DTC bus wherein a dressed-up, young woman who, in her love for the festival, must have travelled afar to meet her brother. The momentum of and the duration on the bus did not sit too well with her. And all her agony came hurtling down Babbu’s window. Thank God, the window was shut but it was disgusting nevertheless. It was Babbu’s shocked expression that sent us into a crazy fit of laughter. The moniker that shortly followed upped the hilarity of the situation by significant notches.

So yesterday when I was parked next to a bus with a girl who looked decidedly yellow and disturbed, I recalled the Rakhi days with my family. Tears came unbidden. I missed the torturous travel on Rakhi with my family. And I must mention that I and Babbu don’t exactly see eye-to-eye. But I missed him like hell. Now we all are just dispersed across the globe. So I spend my Rakhi with my husband’s family. It never bothered me before, but I guess as times flies by, you miss the beauty of the simple things you took for granted and probably hated doing before.

But #hope is a wonderful thing. And I hope that one day Babbu and Shveta will be here and all five of us would take a trip down the #memory lane of Ulti Nagar.   

Sunday, August 03, 2014

A bizarre #love letter

My dearest #Coccyx*,

I know I’ve taken you for granted. Please don’t be upset with me. I was just being adventurous. I did not know you will get hurt.

Without you, my life has come to a standstill. Music seems bland. Dancing without you is no fun. Going out with friends is impossible without you. Food has become a sin since I lie all day like a slob. Even the idiot box doesn’t distract me as your absence constantly invades my reverie. My car stands idle, waiting for an excursion to the mall or someplace exciting. Romance has deserted me for pain is now my constant companion. The outdoors beckon each day but I look away in resignation. For without you indoors/outdoors are evil vacuums mocking my immobility.

I have a new best friend. It’s called a doughnut #pillow, with a cover that says “invalid ring”. Seeing that was as shocking as being informed that I have #fractured you. I am supposed to carry the insipid orange doughnut everywhere so I can sit. It is not a very flattering accessory. If you don’t come back soon, I might have to bedazzle it. So please make haste. I promise I will never ever, ever, ever take you for granted again. I truly love you, with all my being.

PS: I hope when you come back, you will be stronger so we can glide again. The #ice-skating ring awaits. And this time, my dear Coccyx, I will protect you from all harm.

Yours lovingly,

*Coccyx- the tail bone.