Maxi Fair…

3 02 2006


Maxi fair was tiring. Wouldn’t complain though. It was a whole lot of fun too. I have never laughed so much in public….actually….never have had to try so hard to stop laughing either. The blank faces on the respondents, trying to grasp my version of Hindi, had simply opened the floodgates. “Hanuman” next door wasn’t doing much to help either. Reminded me of my initial bouts with the language… tuition classes with Thomas Master.

Ashwin, Sebin, and I if I remember right… were duds…. The subject….Hindi. Thomas Master used to come to our parish where he was known for two things: his military discipline and tuitions. I don’t know how, but somehow our mothers got to know of our struggle with the language that they decided to call on Mr. Hindi himself.

Now Thomas Master was an army veteran… had worked on tanks, the works. He constantly harped on them glory days during our tuition classes. The army had left quite a mark on him in addition to the knowledge of the national language.

Our tuition classes were fun. I by some grace of God had it a little easier with the language. (Which now on hindsight, I’d have to deny). Hindi was not a very interesting subject. Our Hindi book consisted of several chapters, collection of short stories actually. Essays on each of these short stories were part of the curriculum. The general convention was to learn these essays verbatim by heart. We… sucked at it.

Not to worry….We walked our own paths. If the words didn’t come to us, we made them. We were “good” at it. We could churn out Hindi words like the popcorn machine at annapoorna. A lexicographer of the language would feel scandalized at the rate at which we generated new words. Ashwin especially ruled the roost. A typical creation would be something like “Tenzin Norgay nay Mt.Everest climb kiya aur uthar ek green flag dala.”  (Hara was not as easy then as it is now) It required skill to keep the attention of the reader on the subject at hand. Our masterpieces were often “appreciated” I thought….so much so that it soon rose to means of entertainment.

Now…Thomas Master himself sometimes provided us means of entertainment. He had an ailment….Ulcer or something similar. This often forced him to burp frequently, really long ones too. He would ask us to read the essay. We would be so “deeply” engrossed in the essay when it would break out. The silence torn apart by the deafening roar of his burp……. BUUUUURRRRRRRRPPPPPPP!!! (Just realised that a burp is one of the hardest things to spell!)

The response …immediate. All our faces would dive into the books, peering out to take a glance at the protagonist. The only thing visible would be our shoulders and they would be shaking violently. Let me inform you at this juncture, that laughing to oneself is not very easy. Talk about self-control!!!

The silence would continue to reign till Ashwin’s vocal chords decided to break free…..the silence ………before the storm….torn apart…kind of like the reaction for the action. The rest of us would faithfully follow with wild laughter. Thomas master would only raise his head, snicker and then continue doing whatever he was doing. From all his experience, he usually chose to ignore us. Probably it was because he understood us. “In autumn, the young leaves always laugh when the old ones wither away.” I remember him advise me, “Son, Don’t ever let your senses control you.”

Thomas master passed away in the year 2002, when I was in my 2nd yr of college. It was a cardiac arrest that took him to his heavenly abode. I owe him a lot for what he’s taught me. I know Hindi now….at least enough to survive, enough to last a day in Maxi fair. But more than all the Hindi…..I owe him a lot for what he’s taught me about life.

I am in hanuman chambers ….. The cast sitting right next to me. His tail is lying broken on the floor next to me. I am squatting in the corner, my sides splitting with laughter. I am desperately looking for someone to take over my stall. A simple advice… but yet…

Guess I’m only human…


Of Pigeons and Statues…

30 08 2005

I’ve always had roles around me who stand out in my memory. Of the lot, one of the most prominent would be Mr. Witty, who thrives on the happiness of others. He takes every possible opportunity to ridicule the other. Every chance, to bring out the satire. It could be imitation or plain verbal abuse. In most cases, he has his own loyal following who laugh at his every “joke”. Who seem to have the time of their lives. A common strand running through this true hearted group is one, their poor sense of humour, and two, their very poor sense of humour.
I could never stand Mr Witty And as far as I know, the best strategy for confronting him is not confronting him. Avoidance. He can always take your case, be it your best day, and (God have mercy on you!) your worst! What they don’t realise is the fact that it is not because of ignorance that he is not being hurled revilements in return, but because of decency. The refusal to go down to Mr Witty’s modus operandi. In most cases, Mr Witty never realises this and it often takes a good, brave friend to enlighten him.
Mr Witty is a role and not a character. All of us have been him at some point of our lives. Some of us are/were lucky to get a brave friend to tell us. I, for one, am one of them. Owe a lot to these friends of mine, for telling me how irritating I could get. Seriously a lot.
Sometimes ridicule is good. It helps in the team building process. As a matter of policy, I don’t take the case of someone for something he/she can’t change. You really have to be in the other persons shoe to feel the desperation, to feel the pain. To know, that you can’t do anything about it and you are stuck with it for life. Physical attributes for one. I, myself, have been in similar positions plenty of times. Target of friends and family.
There have been moments. In the case of my younger bro, for instance, I would have just come up with the most irritating line. Then realise how I felt when my brother did that to me. And retrace.
Sometimes u get to be the pigeon and sometimes ………..u are the statue.

Life after Coimbatore….

21 07 2005

Well…. Long time since i blogged…. i m in jamshedpur now… the home of the Tatas… i m pursuing “higher education”….. the flood of memories have begun to hit me.. a new one everyday… I started the day all pumped up….ready to take on the world …. lot of challenges ahead of u… right now… its bout 7 in the evening . here…. I ve been KOed…. down in the ring … waiting for my coach to throw in the towel…
Hmmm… Its 9.45 now in the night…. the mess served pulao today…..(seriously how can they call it that ?) ….. A lot has changed after the above para…. i m all up and ready to take on the world once… again…… what happened in between? Read this blog of a friend of mine…(Seb …. owe a lot to you !!!) Hes having a hard time too, from what he wrote… It always perks me up when i realize there are people struggling to climb out of the rut caused by life running over them…. what do u call it? empathy?…No……..Sadistic pleasure?…No…… rather the comfort knowing that…. u have company facing the crap…that u r not alone, in this struggle called life..

So this is what it takes. A blog from halfway across the country to get u up on your feet and running again. Set the schedule for the night. Yes, its still young. My neighbours are preparing for the upcoming elections. I m the only one stuck with preparing for the quiz coming Monday. Suddenly feeling very independant and in control of life.

I miss the slow lane….

Goodbye sweet home Coimbatore city !!

25 05 2005
Will be leaving coimbatore in about two weeks. Quite a depressing thought to entertain. waiting for the huge wave of memories to hit me. Coimbatore was life. May you always grow this slow. Let not the world chase you down the busy boulevard of dreams. You always had the answer. You made my day for 22 years.
There are so many more to follow in these same rugged sidewalks. I ‘ve loved every crack in them. Can say they will love it too. Cause perfection rarely creates memories. And these memories are one I’ll treasure for a long time to come. The midnight walks. The Under-tree-outside-house conferences, forest college, Sweet Saibaba colony ! Every nook, every corner, a piece of me. A part so sweet to leave behind.
Will keep coming back to you. To relive these great memories and take with me some more. So here’s to coimbatore city, my world for 22 years. Here’s to you, to stay the same, to keep telling the world, “Yeah? It can be like this too !!!”