Monday, February 13, 2012

ready for the funny farm!

Well its official now. I am ready to be committed. I have become that breed of person I cannot stand and never sympathise with: a hyper-mom. Let me tell you how it happened.
My daughter's sitting for her first ever final examination from Wednesday, the 15th.
Now, not being a phenomenally remarkable student, there is some tension about this.
First she has no concept of studying for an examination which has a extensive syllabus of eight to ten chapters for each of nine subjects thanks to the bright educationists who have decreed that there should be no examinations till class six.
Then she is the kind who reads something and then promptly forgets it. Unless it is set to music and sung by a high falsetto voice claiming to be male. A la Justin Beiber.
Thirdly she needs prodding. “Isha you have your exams coming up, there are only three days left. Go study.”
And lastly she is confident. " Chill, Ma, I have it under control.” (While it is also a fact that she has lost her science text book and all my hair is standing on end trying to procure a copy before the exam. She told me this last night.)
So horror of horrors when, last night she declared that she would 'study late'. I went to bed, uncertain of what I should do. The dear spouse said I should relax and promptly regaled me with gentle snores. The lights blazed in the next room. I hesitated. I decided she was old enough and I should "let go".
I “let go” all right. Only to wander into her room half a dozen times. Twice to comb her hair, thrice to ask if she was sleepy or needed any help and a few times just to see. (I shudder at the fact that she listens to music too)!!! Okay, so it was a few more than half a dozen times. So?
Now I admire those mothers in the ads who set an alarm and wake up, every hair in place, to hand a steaming mug of Complan or Horlicks or whatever to their children who smilingly drink it and declare their undying love for the milk and the mother. I am not so lucky. I followed the scritch-scratch noise and trail of blazing lights to the kitchen and found her gorging on bhujiya and sauce accompanied by a glass of Tang. I almost fainted. She shooed me away. “But I will clean up, Ma, don’t you worry. Its late, YOU go to sleep.” Sigh.
It was well past one. I resigned. I thought of myself sneaking about the house at all hours at that age and went to bed. Ah, but sleep is so elusive when you want to sleep. I shut my eyes and tried counting sheep.
Scuffle-scuffle. The bathroom lights go on.
As she exits I whisper, “have you brushed your teeth?”
“Ma, you scared me!” She whispers back.
“Whatever….”. I mutter.
The light in her room was on for another 30 minutes or so. Then the bedside lamp for another ten. I lay silently in the dark wondering when I had completely lost it. Was it right after she was born or has it just crept upon me slowly?
Of course I fell asleep after all the lights finally went off. At my own risk and cost and expense. So that explains the circles under my eyes, the bleary look on my face and my grunting. . while the daughter in question chirps about the house in the morning having slept till eighty thirty.. Take me away, keep me in a padded cell or I may permanently damage something here.
Till that happens, however, I have thought about it and I have a plan to tackle the situation so everyone will come out it alive. Tonight, I take a sleeping pill!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I learnt a new Bengali word today: “ucchhed”. It means ‘eviction, I have been told. Each day on our way to court outside the PG hospital there’s this silent line of people bearing placards that say something “ucchhed”. By the time I read that word (printed extra large, of course), we are past the place and try as I might I cannot seem to get the rest. So today I dared break the sanctity of the serious silence in the car in the morning and ask my husband:
“what is ucched?”
He didn’t growl, not then, but he came close, “eviction”
“Hawkers,” he was frowning but I decided to push it.
“So they want it or no?”
This time he growled. “ why don’t you read the thing? It’s obvious.”
Well I am not completely daft, even I know obviously hawkers do not want to be evicted, but if I was to read that whole thing on the placard I would have to stop the car, disrupt the rush hour traffic and actually ask one of the guys to stand still so I can read the placard. Then I would probably ask the chap what it meant! (Why don’t they just have a translated version, in English, or am I the only one with this problem?)
I decided to push my luck and went on to explain why I did not “read it”. I also tried to add that I had been trying to read it every morning for more than a week and could never get past the “ucchhed” part.
But I was not allowed to complete. I bristled for a while when I was told to shut up. Then, another though struck me. After what I felt was sufficient time, I raised my hand to ask a question. (Yes, sometimes I am suicidal.)
Hubby grunted, “now what?’
“So what is bicched?”
“Ah yes, as in marriage separation, ‘bibaho bicched’, THAT, I understand.”
But then, since the words sound similar, should they not mean something like each other? I muttered under my breath, ensuring hubby did not hear me. He would not take kindly to any further discussion, his face told me that. And we had reached Court.
Time to think of serious things.
But the thought stuck.
And I have figured that the words’ meanings do have some level of similarity, eviction, separation from accommodation and separation….as in separation…you get the drift? But I am digressing.

Thing is, I really couldn’t be bothered with the plight of the hawkers. A lot has been said and done. Politicians have changed their policies faster that their starched dhotis and things remain the same. Peaceful or loud, a demonstration is a demonstration and a strike is a strike. Today’s leaders are yesterday’s protesters, the one advocating peace is the one who rioted in the first place, the one quelling mob violence is also the one who used mob violence when it was useful.

Politics is a strange place with no principles. That’s the only rule: there are no rules. I do not understand it nor do I want to. We all know of many lawyers who make a smooth transition from law to politics to law, alternating between the black coat and the khadi jacket effortlessly. No such career options for me, i'm afraid, I am ill equipped to deal with these things, my ideas of how things should be do not coincide with the vote bank.

Like the men who spit in public. I think they should all be sent to jail. Or made to clean the spit with a toothbrush.

Like the taxi driver who violently waves his hand indicating he is going left and then startlingly zips off to the right unmindful of the fact that you have screeched to a halt and are praying the guy behind you will not ram into you. I think he should be whipped on the hand as soon as he dares stick it out!

Like the driver who honks for no reason in standing traffic, just because. I think he should be locked in a cell with only the high pitch sound of the blaring horn for company. For at least 24 hours.

Like the litter-bugs. Specially the housewives who slyly throw a plastic bag of smelly trash out on the street when they think no one is looking. They should be made to carry it about for a week, tie it round their necks so the rotting smell does not leave them!

Like the pedestrian who cannot walk on the pavement but insists on sashaying on the road headphones stuck in the ear oblivious to traffic signals or pedestrian crossings. They should be hung upside down from a traffic light on a hot summer day!

Like the guy who stands on the corner and liberally douses the wall with expletives from his urinary bladder because he can. He should be dunked in the vile stuff for a week.

Like the hawkers who take up more than half the pavement and thrust their wares in front of your face in the hope that you will buy something you do not want to buy in the first place. The guy who sits on the pavement and insists his mehendi is the best, the one who chases you with a remote controlled feathered toy (?) till you are safely inside a shop, the one who hangs female innerwear strategically on the roadside like some horror display. Yes, since they are demonstrating against their ucchhed (eviction), lets be kind here, I think they should all be sent to the Sunderbans to help build the embankment which the government has unsuccessfully been trying to build for almost three years since the “aila’ struck! You don’t believe me?
Check today’s Telegraph. Front page. Or try this link:

Alas. Not quite cut out to be in politics, am I?