Thursday, February 25, 2010

Older...Wiser...Oh, Crumbs!


There’s another one around the corner. There ought to be some way of suing a year for having flown by too fast with provision for additional petitions against one of the lousiest 12 months ever.

With another birthday creeping up to bean me one full in the face when I most expect it, I’ve decided that us ageing mortals really ought to come up with an anti-ageing strategy that works. Although I’ve been blessed (or cursed, as I see it presently) with looking at least a decade younger than I really am, I do think there will be probable cause for concern a decade down the line.

The best I’ve come up with is the “Forever 25” - you know, the one where I insist I am 25 for as long as I can - until someone either calls my bluff by digging up my passport or my dentures fall out while I’m laughing raucously at the “in” sitcom that is a favourite with the youngsters of the day.

Besides that, I’ve already begun fibbing and fudging my age in places where I know I will not get caught. Like when a young lass walked up to me at a grocery store recently and asked me to fill out some forms for a free health drink or something like that. I just went ahead and knocked a couple of years off my life. Just like that. Without batting an eyelid. Of course, that innate guilty conscience kicked in right away, for, as I walked way, I am quite certain a bunch of brinjals and a cheeky bottle gourd called me names that I’d blush to repeat. Stool pigeons.

As B-C and I mourned over the merciless ticking away of time last night, we decided that for the next X number of years we’re going to keep celebrating our 24th and 26th birthdays, respectively. And we’ll do that till our very last breath or until we bust a hip while attempting the 2030 equivalent of the Macarena mania.

Of course, the only one who is super thrilled about her age is KO. Naturally, she would choose to opt to be happy about something just so she could appear cooler than the rest of us. Either that or she simply enjoys being able to look down her honker at us humble souls and scoff at “these youngsters” or spout geriatric mumbo-jumbo about “30s being the new 20s”. Honestly, KO? It’s easy to see wisdom doesn’t automatically come with age!

Oh, and that would be another point against the blasted ageing phenomenon.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Down But Never Out

"Burger with bun or burger without bun?"

That is primarily what I remember of Pune's German Bakery. After a tour of the nearby Osho Ashram, Bin, B-C and I went over to the renowned bakery for a bite to eat. I had somehow convinced myself that I would never make it out of the Osho Ashram due to some strange mind hex that would be put on me! Of course, the tour turned out to be far less adventurous. We were taken on a short walk of the garden area, told to maintain absolute silence and informed (with much feigned regret) that this area, that area and the next were all out of bounds. Of course, B-C would choose just such a solemn occasion to point out that someone in the group had "alien toes."

Anyhow, I digress.

The German Bakery's menu was very unusual (being completely organic). While I chose the "burger with bun" and stuck to a more familiar fresh lime water, if my memory serves me right, B-C opted for a more exciting beverage - pumpkin and orange or something like that. Memories of happier times.

These memories came flooding back to me as I watched the news recently - the cool, calm cafe now obliterated by a terrorist bomb and I felt quite a pang. I am unsure whether anything justifies the killing of innocent civilians.

As the media goes berserk, countries issue travel advisories, security goes on high alert all over India, we, the general populace, are left wondering: What next? Who next?

In a country where the average lifespan of a person is over 60 years - given that each day is a battle to survive considering our rash road culture, rickety constructions where some engineer made a quick buck, carelessly open sewers and wells, domestic violence, rabid street dogs and more - it is surprising that even half the population makes it for as long as they do. Add to all of that: acts of terrorism. It's just another risk thrown into the mix. We're a resilient race. Down but never out.

The tears, fears, panic and anger may be pouring out now. However, the fact remains: We'll survive yet. That resilience alone speaks volumes about our indomitable strength.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mind Your Language

Having put myself through the paces of a community social gathering, I thought I left with my sanity and dignity intact.

Until I received “feedback”.

All golden (*preen*)…

Friendly? Check.

Of fair countenance? Check.

Linguistic abilities? N/A


Oh, yes, that’s right; I do not converse in my native tongue.

How terrible, and that coming from someone who has ne’er said anything beyond “hello” before proceeding to nestle up with the cronies and reminisce about the good old days when they used to live by a river bed, cross a paddy field and enjoy somebody’s spinach crop (or something like that - I have long since stopped paying attention).

Having been born and brought up outside of the confines of my community well, I have long since come to terms with the fact that I am a social outcast of sorts when it comes to hobnobbing with my country cousins. Any non-conformist accusations were really just water off a duck’s backside.

Until now.

Suddenly, it has become of paramount importance to speak in my native tongue - something that could do, but opt not to simply because a. I’d actually have to think before I speak - something that I am not used to since I can rattle off like 300,000 words per minute without stressing the old bean out too much and b. I’m not really into paddy fields and munching spinach if you get my drift.

So, that imperfect score card kicked off “Operation Force-Her-To-Blah-In-Native-Tongue-Or-Else”. I had about much enthusiasm about the whole thing as a prospective visit to the dentist would evoke. If anything, it only awakened my inner rebel who was now determined not to do anybody's biding!

When my own flesh and blood never had issues with it, must society now force me to conform simply to please everybody?

What makes people think they have the right to go around clamping down on others’ freedom of expression (in whatever language that might be)? And don’t even get me started on this being a nationwide phenomenon. I am limiting my rant to the confines of my immediate society only.

Personality and virtue be damned, society says. What matters is that you uphold tradition. True enough, but does that mean it must be imposed on one such that it breeds resentment to the point of revulsion almost?

At the end of the day, the sad thing is that such imposition has only served to make me believe that the people who can make me feel most like an alien are my so-called community by birth.

Live and let live: is that such a bad thing and is that too much to ask?!