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If I can just give to the world more than I take from it, I will be a very happy man. For there is no greater joy in life than to give. Motto : Live, Laugh and Love. You can follow me on Twitter too . My handle is @Raja_Sw.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Paas aakar toh na yunh sharmaaiye (Laadla-1966)

Anybody who knows me reasonably well knows that I am really crazy about old Hindi songs. I never tire of listening to them and I spend hours on the net trying to discover old songs that are new to me. Or songs that I vaguely remember from my childhood but have lost track of. Thanks to the net nowadays, it is possible to trace these songs again and to be able to enjoy them, usually with video. I cannot thank enough those persons who have uploaded songs for the enjoyment of others.

Among songs of which I had just vague memories as a child but managed to catch up on the net are songs like "pretty pretty Priya", "aaye baithe khaaye piye khiske", "aankh milaaye na, muskuraye na" and "sau baras ki zindagi", to name just a few. Songs which I have not heard since the age of six or seven. It really does not matter whether the song was a hit or not, whether it is considered a good song or not - all that matters is that it is somewhere in your subconscious and you get a thrill from being able to catch up with it again.

And then there are songs that I discover every day. I am humbled by the treasure trove of music out there. And this is just Hindi film music that I am talking about. Imagine how much more music is out there - it is an ocean. Sometime, I would also like to know more about other music - country, rock & roll, jazz and other types.

Anyway, I discovered this Hindi film song today - totally by chance. And have fallen madly in love with it.

Madly enough to write about it here, with the video, lyrics and English translation. (As usual the translation is not literal, it is more intended to convey the meaning of the song than anything else).

The song is from Laadla, a 1966 film. I fell so madly in love with this song that I decided to - and managed to - see the movie today itself. It is an AVM (famous South Indian producers) movie. Nothing great about the film in my opinion - average storyline, lots of over-acting (not uncommon in South Indian production-based movies) and a rather unimpressive Sudhir Kumar (of "Dosti" fame) as hero. Kumud Chugani is the saving grace - she is really sweet and pretty. I quite liked the songs in the movie though I had never heard them before.

Without any more bla-bla :-), let's get straight to the song.
"Paas aakar toh na yunh sharmaaiye" sung by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. Lyrics are by Rajinder Kishan and music is by the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOW2-4iFACk


Lyrics in Hindi

R : Mohammad Rafi, A : Asha Bhonsle

R :Paas aakar to na yunh sharmaaiye (2)
Do ghadi ka saath hai, khul jaaiye
A : Aap ke dil mein jo hai, keh jaaiye (2)
Hum sunenge, shaukh se farmaiye
R : Paas aakar to na yunh sharmaaiye (2)

R :Sochta hoon main kahoon ya na kahoon (2)
Chup raha hoon aaj tak, chup hi rahoon
Chup hi rahoon
Sochta hoon main, kahoon ya na kahoon
Chup raha hoon aaj tak, chup hi rahoon
Chup hi rahoon
A :Dekhiye ab aur na uljhaaiye (2)
Hum sunenge, shaukh se farmaiye
R : Paas aakar to na yunh sharmaaiye (2)

R : Baat ye hai, ho gaya hai mujhko “wo”
A : “wo” ? “wo kya ?”
R : “wo”, “wo”
Baat ye hai, ho gaya hai mujhko “wo”
Samajh lo na…ki “wo”, “wo”
A : “Wo” ka matlab aap hi samjhaiye (2)
Hum sunenge, shaukh se farmaiye
R: Paas aakar to na yunh sharmaaiye (2)

R : Kiske pehle “Pa” hai, aur peechhey hai “Ra”
A : “Ra” ?
R : Kiske pehle “Pa” hai, aur peechhey hai “Ra”
Beech mein kaise kahoon, aata hai “ya”
Aata hai “ya”
A : Ye ajab sargam hai, phir se gaaiye (2)
Hum sunenge, shaukh se farmaiye
R : Paas aakar to na yunh sharmaaiye (2)
Do ghadi ka saath hai, khul jaaiye
A : Aapke dil mein jo hai, keh jaaiye
R : O paas aakar to na yunh sharmaiye


Translation in English

R : Mohammad Rafi, A : Asha Bhonsle

R : Don’t be so shy of getting close to me
It is a short journey, just open up
A : Just say whatever you have in your heart
I will hear you out, please just go ahead

R : I am wondering whether I should say this or not
Whether I should keep quiet like I have been all these days
A : Come on, stop making it all so complicated
I will hear you out, please just go ahead

R : The thing is I have got “that” feeling
A : “That”, what “that” ?
R : “That” feeling, you know what I mean…
A : No, you please explain to me what “that” means…’

R : What comes after “Pa” and is followed by “Ra”
A : “Ra”?
R : And, how do you say it, in between there is a “ya”
(meaning “Pyar” (love) )
A : That is a strange combination, sing it again please
I will hear you out, please just go ahead
R : Don’t be so shy of coming close to me
It is a short journey, just open up


I hope you enjoy the song as much as I did. I do not think it is a well-known song so it is an added pleasure to make this effort to bring it to a wider audience. Also, I have requested my friend Atul to put this on his very popular song-a-day blog. That should really help to boost the popularity of this song.

So sit back and, now that you have the lyrics and the translation, you just HAVE to sing along and enjoy the song.

Boy, it is hard work to write out the lyrics and do the translation ! Atul, respect, man !

And if it is hard work to just write out the lyrics, think of the creative work that goes into coming up with the lyrics in the first place. Respect to the song-writers too !

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mujhe Nahin Poochhni Tumse Beeti Baatein (Anjaan Raahen - 1974)

A while ago I had posted a song "Mujhe Raat Din Ye Khayal Hai" from Oomer Qaid (1961). A song with beautiful lyrics about a man being torn from within by his love.
The song is sung by Mukesh and picturised on Sudhir.

Today I came across another similarly soulful Mukesh song that took me right back to when I had last heard it - almost 30 years ago !!!

This song is "Mujhe Nahin Poochhni Tumse Beeti Baatein".

This song has some of the most powerful lyrics that I know of in Hindi cinema. I know this is a pretty tall statement to make, given the thousands of beautiful songs in Hindi cinema but I do think this belongs right up there, at least as far as lyrics are concerned.

And yet hardly anybody knows this song. Which is one of the main reasons I am blogging about it. It deserves to be much better known (yearh, right ! Like it is going to be better known because of my blog..ha ha).

Anyway, this song is from an obscure movie "Anjaan Raahein" (1974). Somehow it was obscure though it did star Feroze Khan and Asha Parekh. I saw the movie in the late 70s/early 80s. That is when I heard this song for the first (and to-date only) time. I had the text of the song earlier in my Mukesh book but this was the first time I actually heard the song.

What impresses me most about the lyrics is that, for a society steeped in tradition as Indian society was in those days (and still is in some respects), these lyrics are way ahead of the times. We are talking 1974 here.

Come to think of it, though I do not remember the movie very well now, I think it was ahead of its time too. It dealt with issues resulting from lack of appropriate sex education in high schools. Quite bold, for the times.

Here is the video of this beautiful song - picturised beautifully on Feroze Khan and Asha Parekh. Music is by Kalyanji-Anandji.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4akKkofXlk

And here are the lyrics written by Indivar.

Mujhe nahin poochhni tumse beeti baatein
Kaisi bhi guzaari hon tumne apni raatein
Jaisi bhi ho tum aaj se bas meri ho
Meri hi ban ke rehna
Mujhe tum se hai itna kehna

Beetey hue kal pe tumhaare adhikaar nahin hai mera
Us dwaar pe kyon le jaaoon, jo dwaar nahin hai mera
Beeta hua kal toh beet chuka
Kal ka dukh aaj nahin sehna

Mujhe nahin poochhni tumse beeti baatein
Kaisi bhi guzaari hon tumne apni raatein

Main Ram nahin hoon phir kyon ummeed karoon Sita ki
Koi insaanon mein dhoondhe kyon paavanta Ganga ki
Duniya mein farishta koi nahin
Insaan hi ban ke rehna

Mujhe nahin poochhni tumse beeti baatein
Kaisi bhi guzaari hon tumne apni raatein


Here is my attempted English translation. As usual, the translation takes a bit away from the original but I am making an attempt to convey the meaning more than a literal translation. So please bear with me.

I do not want to ask you (or know) about your past
How you (may have) spent your nights
However you are, from now on you are only mine
All I ask of you is to remain mine (forever)
That is all I want to ask of you

I have no right to the past that you had
So why should I lead you to the door that takes you to the past
That past is now behind us
Do not carry today the sorrow (pain) of yesterday

I do not want to ask you (or know) about your past
How you (may have) spent your nights

I am no Ram so why should I have expectations of a Seeta
Why do people search in humans for the purity of a Ganga
There is nobody in this world who is an angel
(We are all humans) so let us just be like humans

I do not want to ask you (or know) about your past
How you (may have) spent your nights


Now, isn't everything about it just beautiful ? You wish there were more people in this world like Feroze Khan here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

M&M Anand : "I want to destroy everybody"

Meira storms into the living room, all agitated.

Raj, on the computer, looks up for a moment – and then gets back it, saying to himself “If there is something to know, she will tell me anyway. And if there is not, no point in asking, is there ?”. Simple logic that he has used – successfully for fifteen years.

“Raj, WHAT have you been teaching Rohit ?”

“Nothing…. Well, I did sit with him for math a few days ago but that was because you wanted me to. Why, he hasn’t flunked it, has he ?”

“I am not talking about math. I am talking about something else.”

Raj, realizing that this was not going to go away easily “Now what?”

“Rohit has just come back from playing with his friends.”

“And…there is a problem with that ?” These things could go on and on.

“No…I mean yes…I mean, he has come back with bruises - on his hands and legs.”

“Oh.”

“Is that all you can say ? Oh ?”

“Come on, he goes to play football every day…you get these little things every now
and then.”

“That is so typically you !!! You don’t really care, do you ? How do you know this is not serious ?”

“Because, honey, if this had been serious, we would not be talking here, would we ?”

“Thank God, it is not serious. I have taken care of it. Anyway, what have you been teaching him ?”

“I have NO clue what you are talking about !”

“You cannot just get away acting like you’ve done nothing…you have obviously been telling Rohit something.”

“Honey, this is getting really tiring. Where IS Rohit, by the way ?”

“He is in his room doing his homework. Anyway, today he looked really badly beaten up…when I asked him what happened, he said “I beat up those guys like Dad told me to - and they got together and beat me up”.

Raj looks uncomfortable. “I need to tell my son to keep my name out of all conversation with his mom” he mutters under his breath.

“So you want to explain ? What have you been teaching him ?”

“Hey, I did not tell him to go about beating people up !”

“ So what DID you tell him ?”

“Well, I may have just told him something like “don’t let anybody tell you that you are not good”. Something like that. ”

“So ?”

“And maybe he took that a bit literally. Somebody may have said something and he may have got into a scrap.”

“Looked like more than a scrap to me. Why do you even talk to him ?”

“WHAT ? YOU are the one who always says I should spend more time with him. He came
to me saying his friends were making fun of him, that he was not good at football, so I said – very encouragingly – “don’t let anybody tell you you are not good”. Just nice fatherly advice.”

Meira is not convinced – her look says it all.

Raj now feels a strong need to defend himself.

“Or what would you rather have ? That I just tell him to let it be…that he does nothing and they keep making fun of him ?”

“No, of course not..we don’t want him to turn out like you. Heaven, no !”

Raj feels hurt but lets the slight pass. This was not about him and he was used to such comments from Meira anyway.

“The thing is, Raj, you don’t really know how to handle these things. Instead of talking to him here, you could have gone to the football yourself and told those bullies to lay off him.”

“WHAT ? You want me to talk to 11-year old kids to lay off my son ?”

“What’s wrong with that ?”

“Honey, I have been there myself. You REALLY don’t want your dad or mom to sort out your problems with your friends, trust me. It is upto Rohit to work it out, if WE get involved he will only have more trouble with his friends.”

“Hmm…I don’t know. I think you are trying to escape from this also. As usual.”

“Trust me…he will be fine. You worry too much about him”.

“That’s because you worry too little. You don’t even know which friends he mixes with.”

“Must be his schoolfriends. And the ones in this apartment block. Who else ?”

“I don’t know. Sometimes I really get worried. The other day he came to me and said “Mama, I want to destroy everybody”.

Raj laughed. “Destroy everybody ? That’s funny”.

“What’s so funny ? Your son wants to destroy everybody - and you find that FUNNY ? You are REALLY something, you know. I will NEVER understand you.”

“Come on honey, relax. So he said he wants to destroy everybody. Big deal. Does he even know what he is talking about ? Must have picked it up somewhere in school.”

“And you are not the slightest bit concerned ? Don’t you think we need to find out where he learns such things ?”

“Honey, forget it. I am sure he has himself forgotten it. These things come and go – if you start worrying about everything he says, you will become a wreck.”

“I am sure it is because of all these stupid video games they have nowadays. It is all about destroying, killing, breaking. They should ban all these games”.

“Yeah, you may be right – maybe he picked it up from one of these games. But don’t worry – he will get over it. He is smart enough to know it is just a game. And anyway he will move on to something else.”

“I think you are being too flippant about this, Raj. He is our son and you may not care - but I will NOT allow him to get bad influence at this age.”

Raj is a bit tired from all this but he knows Meira too well to expect her to stop without having the last word.

“So what do you want to do ?”

“We need to find out where he gets all this from. Which games he has on his PC, what DVDs we have, which friends he borrows games from.”

“And then ?”

“We need to remove all that from his PC, get rid of the DVDs, we need to talk to his friends’ parents.”

“Don’t you think you are over-reacting ? Just a little bit ?”

“Raj, trust me, this is a dangerous age for him. Today he is destroying video-game characters, tomorrow who knows what this will lead him to. You really have to stop all this now.”

Raj, suddenly noticing the change from "we" to "you" is startled.

I have to ?”

“Who else ? You don’t think I am going to sit and go through those game DVDs ? I don’t even know how they work.”

“Nor do I. Honey, can’t we just forget all this ? I mean, he said it.. what ? Once ? If he says it again, then we will see”.

“As usual. You are using your postponing tactics. And you HAVE to fight with me. You cannot even do a simple thing like this. Why do I even bother talking to you ? You don’t even care about your own son…”

Meira’s voice is breaking - and Raj cannot take it.

“Ok, I am sorry, honey…I will get to the bottom of this. You are right. If he is talking about destroying things, we need to know what’s going on."

At that moment, Rohit walks into the room, scratching his arm.

“Mummy, again I am not able to do my homework. Why do you keep the window open in the evening ? Again there are so many mosquitoes in my room now…give me the mosquito racket…I am going to destroy everybody”.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A bus journey in New Delhi

My recent trip to Delhi has triggered off memories of my life there all those years ago. Those were the early 1980s (so almost 30 years ago) and I had gone from small-town India to one of its biggest cities, the country’s capital.

As could be expected, I had many experiences – some good, some not-so-good at that time - but they were all wonderful from a learning point of view. Later on, I would live in other parts of India, and each place added its share of learning experiences for me.

I've had the good fortune of living in various places in India - the north, west, east and south. I have therefore never really identified with one particular region. My family is originally from, and now lives mainly, in the south. I grew up and did my schooling in the east.I went for higher studies to the north and, before leaving India, was living and working in the western part of the country.

I think I can safely say that although they are all technically parts of the same country - and obviously there is a lot binding them together – they are also very different in their culture, food habits and importantly when it comes to day-to-day interaction, in the attitude and mindsets of the people.

I remember one particular incident in Delhi that highlights this to some extent.

This was during my early days of living in  Delhi. I'd been there for just two or three months and was slowly beginning to get used to the place, to get to know the bus-routes, the places to visit, places to eat and so on. Nothing strange, just what anybody in a new place does when he or she goes to live there for the first time.

One day I was travelling by bus from Connaught Place to Janakpuri in the west of the city. It was a weekday and that meant that the journey would easily take an hour, if not more. Anyway, as soon as I got into the bus at Regal Cinema, I surprisingly got a seat and was pretty comfortable.

The crowd in the bus began growing as it moved on and though the bus was not jam-packed, there were soon plenty of people standing in the aisle.

I noticed that there was a lady standing next to me. I didn't quite notice whether she was elderly, or middle-aged or young,  What I could make out that she didn't seem like a school or college student.

Now, where I'd been born and brought up in eastern India, I'd been used to offering my seat to ladies in buses. It was a very normal thing to do – men would do it quite often out of courtesy to ladies. Ok, maybe some women consider this an insult to their sense of being equal to men, but anyway it was considered gentlemanly behaviour and common courtesy where I grew up.

So I offered my seat to this lady. She initially hesitated, but then accepted. And I just stood next to her in the aisle.

At the next stop, a few people got down. I obviously did not - I still had a long way to go. When the bus started, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was one of my fellow passengers, a man standing behind me.

He : “Oye, utarna nahin hai kya?” (Don’t you have to get down ?)

I : "Nahin”.(No.)

He : “Kyon bhai, kahan jaana hai aapko?” (Why, where do you have to go ?”)

I : “Janakpuri”.

He : “Kya? Janakpuri? Abhi to bahut door hai. Kam se kam ek ghanta lagega” (What ? Janakpuri ? That is very far off. It will take at least another hour).

I : "Pata hai." (I know).

He : “To phir seat se uthne ka matlab?” (Then why did you get up from your seat ?)

I did not bother to reply. His tone was aggressive, as if wanting to pick a fight.

He : “Achha, samjha…ladies ko dekhte hi ho gaye shuru…” (Oh, I understand… as soon as you see ladies, you start off with all this).

He let out a scornful laugh and some of the guys around him joined too.

I did not say anything. I was beginning to feel embarrassed and was most certainly not interested in conversation.

He continued “Lagey raho is chakkar mein…khoob tarakki karoge betey” (Keep going at it..you will make a lot of progress).

I just ignored him, hoping he would stop by himself. Although he looked an educated person, I saw no point in engaging in a discussion with him. I did not need to explain my actions to him, I thought.

He kept on saying something or the other - “I know guys like you” and stuff like that.

Finally his bus-stop arrived, he got down and I had peace for the rest of the journey.

This incident did make me think though. In situations when something isn't right, I tend to first blame myself. I know that oesn't make sense but I always tend to first think that I must be in the wrong. So I began thinking “Did I do something wrong? All I did was to offer my seat to a lady. Was that wrong? Maybe they don't do that in Delhi.”

Later on, as I got to know Delhi better, I couldn't help feeling that it was very much a male-dominated society. Men definitely considered themselves superior to women. In fact, I'd even go to the extent of saying that many men saw women as nothing more than objects.

That explained to some extent the sexual abuse that used to be a subject of concern in society in those days. When there is such a barrier between men and women, where there is no respect, this is hardly surprising.

Ironically this was at a time when the Prime Minister of India, living in the heart of Delhi, was Indira Gandhi, a very strong woman.

I know that by narrating this story I am treading on dangerous ground here. This was an experience I had in Delhi almost 30 years ago. Things may well be very different now. Also, it is not fair to give Delhi a bad name based on one isolated experience. I certainly do not want to generalize.

But I must also say that I've never had this in any of the other places I have lived. Offering my seat in a bus has been a very common practice for me – I still do it in Bangalore. I have done it in Bombay (Mumbai),in Hyderabad - no problem. I see it as just common courtesy and something that I grew up with. I see nothing wrong with it, unless it offends the lady of course.

So, what happened in Delhi? Maybe what was common for me in eastern India was not such a common practice in Delhi after all. I do not recall whether I offered my seat after that in Delhi though, in hindsight, maybe I should have. To see whether it was really just an isolated experience or whether there was more to it.

Anyway, pleasant or unpleasant, it made for an interesting experience, if nothing else.

And has remained somewhere at the back of my mind all these years.

And finally found a mention here on my blog. :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

M&M Anand : A "proper" fight

“Raaaaaj Anand”.

“At your service”.

“What a name…Raaaaaj Anand !”.

“What’s wrong with it ?”

“Nothing…just saying..Raaaaj Anand sounds like such a powerful name. “Raj” as in “rule” and “Anand” as in happiness or pleasure. So Raj Anand is like…what…”you rule over the domain of happiness ?” ?

Raj is silent. Not sure how to approach this.

“Come on…say something !”

“Am scared to. You know how it is…if I say something it will end up in a fight”.

“No…Really ? Of course not..you think I always fight with you ?”

“No..but…anyway, nothing wrong with the name. Raj Anand…yes, I rule over happiness..ha ha”.

“YOU rule over happiness ? Yeah, right ! Your parents must have been really optimistic about you to have named you like this when you were born.”

“Hey, enough fun of my name, OK ? What about yours ? Meira ? It is not like you are a Krishna-bhakt or something.”

“Hey, I do my bit of poojas, OK. I am not like you. Nastik.”

Silence.

“Raj, is this what we have become now ? Is this the level of our fights ?”

“Why ?"

“No, I mean..look at us…even our fights are not proper fights anymore”.

Silence. Raj is not taking chances by opening his mouth.

“SAY something. Do you realize in 2 months we will be celebrating 15 years of marriage ? 15 years !”

“Really ? Has it been THAT long ? 15 years ?”

“Yes..15 long years. It feels like just the other day…I was a happy, free person..before…ok, let it be...otherwise I will get depressed.”

Raj, comfortingly, putting an arm around her shoulders “Hey, it has not been all that bad, has it ? You are still the same…ok, you look a little older…obviously you are not the young person you were then…”

Meira, pulling away sharply “What are you saying ? I am old ?”

“I didn’t say that…all I said was that compared to 15 years ago..”

“Come on, say it…I am OLD…just say it.”

“Come on honey, I did not mean it that way…you are still young but..but obviously not like you used to be. I mean…”. Raj is clearly struggling here for the right choice of words. Muttering under his breath “I should NEVER have got into this..”

“And why is that ? Why is it that I am not like I used to be ? Ask yourself. Ok, let me tell you. Because in the last fifteen years, I have had to do ALL the work around here…bringing up Rohit, doing all the housework, attending to my job, even taking care of YOU because you cannot even take care of YOURSELF…how do you expect me to remain the same ?”

“Honey…honey..it is OK…cool down..you don’t have to remain the same..we all change..”

“And now I am OLD ? Of course I am old..thanks to YOU..”

“Honey…”

“DON'T talk to me..I am SO angry with you…I have wasted fifteen years of my life with you..”

Silence.

“SAY something”.

“You JUST told me not to talk to you..”

“Oh, and you always listen to me, right ?”

She glares angrily at him, they stare into each other's eyes.

And suddenly he breaks into a smile.

“What’s so funny ?”

“Just realized something.”

“What ?”

“You really need to be careful what you wish for.”

“What do you mean ?”

“You wanted a “proper” fight, right ? So ? This...“proper” enough for you ? ”

Meira is taken aback for just a moment – and then bursts out laughing.

“YOU…anyway, I guess now that we have had our fight, I feel much better. Don't get me wrong, living with you for fifteen years HAS been a nightmare but …DON’T SAY IT !”.

“I wasn’t going to say anything…”

“Yeah, right ! You were going to say “likewise””.

“I so wasn’t ! Wouldn’t DREAM of SAYING it...even if I thought it..” Ducks to avoid a pillow coming in his direction.

“So we’re good ?”

“Yeah, yeah…I guess we are. Though a hot, strong coffee would make us better than good. It would make us awesome”.

“Coming up, ma’am. Rightaway”.

M&M Anand : Just Another Manic Sunday

“Am I a nice person ?”

“Hmm ?”

“Dad, am I a nice person ?”

Raj looks up from his laptop, a frown on his forehead, his mind clearly elsewhere.

“What did you say, son ?”

“Am I a nice person ? Are people nice to me because of ME ? Because I am a nice person or are they nice to me because THEY are nice people ?”

Raj stares at him with a busy look. It already got complicated after the first question and Raj's attention had given up after the first few words.

“I don’t know, son. Ask your mom.”

Calling out loudly from the living room to his wife in the kitchen “Meira, take care of him please. I am busy.”

“And I am not ?” Meira mutters under her breath.

“What’s the matter, bete?” she says as Rohit comes into the kitchen.

“Mummy, am I a nice person ?”

“Of course you are. You are a very sweet boy. Who says you are not ?”

“Nobody. I just wanted to know. So I am a nice person because I am nice and not because of other people ?”

“Hmm..sorry, bete, you have lost me there. Anyway, what is all this all of a sudden ? You are a nice boy, ok ? Now why don’t you just go out and play with your friends ? I am sure Aditya and the others must already be out there”.

“Ok, mum, see you later”.

Meira comes into the living room to confront Raj.

“You really should spend more time with Rohit, you know”.

“Hmm ?”

“Are you even listening to me ?”

“Not now, honey. Am in the middle of something.” Raj does not even look at her, he is deep into his spreadsheet on the laptop.

“Will you please look at me ? I am talking to you.”

“Honey, I said “not now”. I am really busy. I need to send this out within the next five minutes. I am already late, it should have gone out in the morning itself”.

Meira goes on. “All I am saying is that you should spend more time with Rohit. He clearly wants to spend more time with you, it is a Sunday today and all you do is sit in front of your laptop.”

“I know honey but I am just tired today”.

“Oh, YOU are tired ? Let’s see what you’ve done today. You got up at ten. You then made breakfast for all of us. Oh sorry, that was me. You did the vacuuming and dusting of the entire apartment. Oh sorry,THAT was me too. You made lunch – oops, me again ! You did the washing of the dishes because the dishwasher - which YOU were supposed to contact the service center for repairing – is still not repaired after two weeks. Oh again that was me ! You at least sat with Rohit to go through his craft project for school, didn’t you ? Oh surprise surprise, that was me too. Hmm..let’s see, what else ? You sat with the newspaper and spent more than two hours reading every bit of it, including the matrimonials pages. Yessss, THAT was definitely you”.

“Honey, five minutes ?” Raj pleads. Years of experience with Meira have made him wise to the futility of any attempt to counter her arguments. If anything, it only lent her more ammunition and that could only mean a longer and more tortured dialogue.

“Do you even know which class Rohit is in ?” Meira is now in full flow and is not going to be stopped mid-way.

“Err..”. Raj is thinking fast – should he make an educated guess and risk being caught out or just delay and hang in there, hoping the question will pass by itself ?

“You don’t, right ? Brilliant ! Do you even know which SCHOOL he is in ?”

“Err…come on Meira, what do you take me for ?” Raj says in a low, not entirely convincing, tone. This is getting too embarrassing, even for somebody to whom embarrassment came in his mother’s womb.

“Ok, come on, tell me..which school ?” Meira senses an opportunity to go for the kill here and is not going to let go, she is in that type of mood.

“Hmm…that one round the corner”. Raj manages to mumble.

“Which one ? Round which corner ?”

“That one..the one with a bus-stop opposite”. Raj makes one valiant attempt. Which school in the world does not have a bus-stop next to it ?

“You really have no clue, do you ?” Meira is finding it hard to believe how this conversation is going.

“I know, I know..St. Anthony’s High School, the one on the main road near the station” Raj shouts in delight. The relief is tangible – he had himself taken Rohit to the school when he had got admission there a few years earlier. So there ! He was not going to allow himself to be mocked so easily today.

“WHAT ?" Meira cannot take this anymore. "Will you please remove that smug look off your face ? You really are the WORST parent ever !!! . Don’t you remember we had gone to St. Anthony’s, filled up all the forms but at the last minute decided to put him closer home here in DAV Public ? Don’t you remember ANYTHING ?"

Raj looks sheepish, his eyes lowered. Caught outside the off-stump...

Meira continues. "How would YOU know ? If only you had attended even ONE Parent-Teacher meeting in the school in all these years...instead of my having to go every single time, taking leave from my work...my job is also important to me just like yours is to you…but I still manage to balance work with Rohit and other house work. Not like you…escaping everything under the pretext of “office work”...You are always looking for an escape.”

Raj, now totally exposed in Rohitgate, decides the safest recourse is to get back to his spreadsheet.

Meira knows she is talking to a brick wall but she carries on relentlessly. She will not give up so easily.

“Sometimes I really wonder why I married you. I had so many better options..I should have listened to my friends instead of my parents... DON’T TOUCH THAT MOBILE…” she screams as she sees Raj reach out towards the mobile on the small table in the living room. “I am TALKING to you”.

Raj looks at her with the ultimate beseeching look, one which has “please please please please please” written all over it.

“Am not touching the mobile, honey…. I am just looking for the remote. Do you know where it is ? The match will be starting in five minutes, I want to know who won the toss and what the pitch looks like today”.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi (cricket parody)

I make these parodies every now and then. They are usually about cricket, they are often after a big defeat for the Indian cricket team (or any team I support) and, for me, are a perfect outlet for my emotions.

I invariably feel good after expressing my feelings through a parody. :-). Perhaps this is my way of saying "after all, it is only a game".

Over the last couple of years, I have made many. For every occasion I managed to come up with a parody, whether of a few lines or a complete poem. But somehow I never really bothered to post them on my blog. Not only are they sometimes somewhat irreverent (I spare nobody !) but one has to ask oneself : does one really post SUCH stuff on one's blog ?

I have decided that

a) since there is SOME creativity involved (however pathetic :-)), it would be a pity if this were not saved somewhere online. I do have them on my cricket forum also but, as is normal in a forum, they are intermingled with others' parodies also. I therefore thought having just my parodies in one place may be the right way to go

b) this blog is not called "InsideOut" for nothing - and my thoughts expressed, in any form, belong totally here,

and, very importantly

(c) nobody reads my blog anyway so this should not bother anybody. :-)

So here goes.

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Situation : World Cup T20 in the Caribbean. India has just lost to the West Indies today, thus effectively (barring a miracle) getting themselves kicked out of the tournament.
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Based on : Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi (Awaara - 1951). An all-time classic.

Ghar Aaya Mera Team Desi
Haar Ke World Cup T20

Tu Mere Dil Ko Todta Hai
Tukdon Mein Usko Chhodta Hai
Kaise Samjhaun Jalan Kaisi
Ghar Aaya Mera Team Desi

Aur Tu Vaade Mat Karna
Mujh Se Tu Khel Ab Mat Karna
Kasam Tujhe Ghayal Man Ki
Ghar Aaya Mera Team Desi


Here is the original, if you are interested.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9HD2EyjatA

Ah, now I feel much better about the defeat ! :-)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Lessons in Moral Science

Back in my primary school days we had a subject called “Moral Science”. It was about ethics, good and bad behaviour, morals, values and the like. I do not recall it having anything religious about it.

I remember one particular year – I think I was about eight or nine then – when each chapter of the rather thin textbook was about a particular virtue. Or vice. For some reason, I found this very fascinating and loved that year’s “Moral Science” lessons.

The approach followed in the textbook was very simple. Each chapter discussed a particular virtue or vice. It would be about 3 or 4 pages, it would start with a brief discussion of the virtue or vice and then come up with an anecdote from history (I thought then that they were all real-life stories but now I have my doubts) to illustrate that virtue or vice. That was it. Short and sweet ! It was written in simple language and, if you were interested, really made you think.

I remember some of the virtues discussed – Truth, Honesty, Patience, Righteousness, Respect, Perseverance, Humility, Sharing. Among the stories extolling these virtues I remember the one about Sir Isaac Newton and his manuscripts being burnt when his dog upset a candle. (That one, true or not, made a major impression on me). And then there was one about Robert Bruce and the spider.

Then there were the vices. I don’t know why but I think I found these chapters even more interesting. Pride (as in arrogance), Selfishness, Anger, Greed, Jealousy, Cheating and some others. There were the usual lines like “Pride comes before a fall”.

All nice stuff to read. And, at that impressionable age of nine, it made quite an impression on me.

I may have forgotten many of the stories but I have never forgotten these lessons about virtues and vices. They have been fundamental to my character-building and even today at least some aspects of my character can be attributed to those lessons learnt all those many years ago.

As with many things in life, I did find application far more difficult than the theory. The theory is that one should be honest, one should not lie, one should be unselfish – but in practice, in day-to-day life, confronted with daily situations, it was often a battle between doing what I had learnt in school and doing what is quite “normal” in “the real world”, even if in contradiction with my textbook.

I finally decided that the only way was to go with my conscience. And, with the strong influence that these lessons had had on me, my conscience was very conscious and alert. It would prick me everytime I deviated from my learnings. And I will admit that I sometimes did – never particularly comfortable, but I did.

But more often than not, I did not. Like I said, I just went with my conscience most of the time.

This often put me at odds with the more “practical” people of this world. Maybe it is also one of the main reasons I am not particularly comfortable with socializing in today’s materialistic world. I have been called all sorts of things - “na├»ve”, “mad”, “weird’, “saala Gandhi bana phirta hai ! (who does he think he is, Gandhi ?) ”, “you think you are some saint or something ?” and lots of other, not particularly charitable, stuff.

Fair enough. Each person lives his or her life on some principles and mine were set for me by that textbook at the age of nine. Like I said, I do deviate from them now and then but it is a conscious decision, depending on the exigencies of a situation, and made with full knowledge of the baseline I am deviating from. That is the concession I make to the needs of “practicality” that the environment I live in demands of me.

Over the years I have found myself sometimes trying to relate these virtues and vices to events happening around me. And, in the world at large. To find a reference. To create my own set of real-life stories, if you will.

This has also helped me to answer one of the questions I used to ask myself a lot over the years. Assuming these virtues and vices are of varying degrees of importance, which of these virtues are more important than others ? Which of these vices are more evil or destructive than others ?”

I agree that it is not all that clear-cut. But surely there are degrees.

While the jury may still be out there on the “virtues” discussion I am increasingly convinced that I have the answer to the “vices” debate. This is not to condone any of them but one of them stands out in my mind, way ahead of the others. In fact I have been of this opinion for many years now but I have just allowed it to be out there - to be tested with more empirical evidence. As every day passes and I observe events, I can only say that my conviction gets stronger by the day.

I will not disclose my views yet. I will probably do this in a subsequent post while discussing this vice. It deserves a complete post in itself. (Hint : in my opinion, this vice is the “root cause” of unhappiness in this world).

Assuming that somebody in this world is reading my blog at all – and this post – I would be interested in knowing what that reader thinks. :-)