Small Town-World View (My Cousin Series)

Some of the things that Private, MS and my cousin discussed were world issues. As this was 1970’s small town with no Internet or TV, everything was hearsay. The fact that they had never ventured more than 50 miles of our town, did not read newspapers or listened to someone who was even remotely informed resulted in very interesting observations:

There definitely would be a world war III. India and Russia would be on one side and Pakistan, America, China and England would be on other side (these were constantly changing alliances and there was no reasoning behind it). We will win because Lord Hanumanjee is on our side and Russians are 7 feet tall.

Never eat meat! If you do, you will immediately become a Muslim and becoming Hindu again will be very difficult. Once you become a Muslim, they will cut your penis (this was their understanding of circumcision). Do you want to be a penisless Muslim?

Japan is a great country to be a schoolboy. You don’t have to read any books. You just make radios in school and TV’s in high school.

Never marry a Luzkrakter (Loose character). Never fall in love with a Sikh or Muslim girl. Their families will kill you.

Never marry a very beautiful woman because all your friends then are not visiting “you”.

Never marry an ugly woman. Your own children will be scared of her and you will have ugly children.

Bengalis are brainy but weak. Gujaratis are good businessmen but cowards (Gandhi never beat one Firangi). All south Indians are Madrassis and all they eat is rice. Always respect a fat man because they generally represent good families and are wealthy. If stereotyping was an art form these were the greatest artists of times.

All white people were from America, England and Germany. I tried to tell them that I have heard about countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark etc. They would immediately dismiss me. “We are talking about countries and you are talking about cities.”

When a girl says no, she means yes. Because that’s how they are!

If you want to find out if a girl is in love with you, all you have to do is shoulder bump her. If she smiles at you, she is in love with you. The details after that were sketchy but it involved giving a love letter as soon as possible. Because if you delay that part, someone else might shoulder bump her and she might become someone else’s.

Never trust or follow a person with toes in the back and heel in front. They are ghosts.

Empowerment videos/ BS and then some

Recently there was a video made by Vogue in partnership with Bollywood star, Deepika apparently about women empowerment. I am a strong supporter of equal rights for all. The video though is over the top, confused and frankly re-emphasize female stereotype. As a man, I am trying to go sentence by sentence and put my spin on it.

Vid: My Body! My mind! My choice! To wear the clothes I like as my spirit roams naked.

Me: I tried the same exact thing. But neighbors complained and yada yada yada, now I have to keep clothes on.

Vid: My choice! To be a size zero or 15. They don’t have a size for my spirit and never will.

Me: Is that why Clooney, Damon, DiCaprio, Depp and Pitt always land those sexiest man alive pseudo-awards? Must be because of their size 15! Double standards..eh!

VID: To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe you can hold expansion of universe or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand.

Me: That sentence is so BS that I won’t even bother to respond. If I stand at a street corner and say things like that, I will be in a Psych facility in no time.

Vid: Your mind is caged, let it free. My body is not, let it be.

Me: You seem to be talking about either LSD, Mushrooms or Pot. Just don’t break any law!

Vid: My choice to marry or not to marry. To have sex before marriage, outside marriage or not to have sex.

Me: Some of my brethren men also expressed themselves in the same manner, by having sex outside marriage. Now their wives and attorneys have cleaned them out, they are homeless and living in a Motel6. So please extend same courtesy to my peeps.

Vid: My choice to lust temporarily or to love forever.

Me: You can always fake lust as love. Win Win!

Vid: My choice to love a man, a woman or both.

Me: As men, most of our fantasies involve women with other woman. So please go ahead and spare us no details.

Vid: Remember you are my choice; I am not your privilege.

Me: Remember it was your choice to sleep with that clown, Ranbir Singh. Don’t blame all men for your own bad choices.

Vid: Bindi on my forehead, ring on my finger and adding your surname to my name. They are ornaments. It can be replaced, my love for you cannot be. So treasure that.

Me: I totally agree. That’s why I don’t do a bindi, ring or the surname thing.

Vid: My choice. To come home at 4 am and don’t be fooled if I come home at 6pm.

Vid: So then don’t bitch if we come home at 4 am and go out again after coming home at 6 pm.

Vid: My choice to have your baby or not.

Me: My choice to impregnate you or not! No pressures.

Vid: To pick you from 7 billion choices or not.

Me: Are we freaking including children, al-Qaeda, Putin and people in coma as well.

Vid: So don’t get cocky. My pleasure may be your pain. My songs your noise. My order your anarchy. Your sins, my virtues.

Me: Did you really have to pay someone to write this crap? This is as nonsensical as; my sugar may be your salt. My apple your orange. My head your feet. Your body odor my fragrance.

Vid: My choices are like my fingerprints. They make me unique.

Me: My fingerprints are not even my choices. So what the heck does that make me?

Vogue, just because you shot the video in black and white and added some classical Indian music at the start does not make it “classy”.

Bathing and such luxuries in 1970’s small town India

lifebuoy

A Lifebuoy soap broken in half with a hammer. This was done to “save money” by housewives.

One of the things I remember growing up in India was bathing and washing products. The first memories of any soap I have are of Lifebuoy. This was not the type of Lifebuoy soap in some fancy wrapper you see now days. It was a no-nonsense hardcore tool. It was pretty much a red rectangular thick brick. It used to produce very minimal foam if any. I think the plan was to rub it vigorously against skin so that top layer would peel by sheer friction. This torturous activity was carried out in all households with children at least 2-3 times weekly.

The children protested it and based on their method of protest could be categorized as screamers, hiders, biters, spitters and cursers. But the soap them ruled all was Lifebuoy. Though highly unlikely that any kind of dirt will escape Lifebuoy’s vigorous rubbing, there was also a rock specifically designed to get rid of that stubborn dirt that even Lifebuoy could not get off.

mustard

Yes, it was a cooking oil as well!

After the bath, the body was massaged with mustard oil. Those of you who never had this soul scorching experience, just imagine a yellow colored, foul-smelling thick viscous grease. This thing adhered to anything it was applied to. And applied it was! It was rubbed in hair, to face and whole body.

The torture did not end there. After this there was Kajal (mascara) applied to eyes, which was equivalent of water boarding for a child. If you never had the pleasure of this experience, imagine being 5-6 years old, being held down by all fours, someone forcing your eyes open and slithering a black powder inside your eyelids. It was applied to both boys and girls eyes. After this a black dot was put on forehead or face to protect one from evil spirits. There was also a black string tied around waste for the same reason. Only after all these things were done in this particular sequence, you were ready to face the world.

thapi

This is what was used to beat the clothes.

The washing soap was even more hardcore. It was a thick rock looking slab. It produced no foam. Women (no men ever washed clothes) continued to rub it against clothes and beat the heck out of clothes with a cricket bat like wooden slab called Thapi. In fact women were very happy that this soap lasted so long. I honestly believe that this was another cruel joke played on women by men. This thing was no soap, just looked like one.

This was creepy as hell!

Once in a while we were taken to barbershop. Rather we were conned into going there. We were made to believe that we are going to get some sweets/toys. Once we realized the con, most of us started to scream, cry and run away. But it was too late. The shops had one person whose job was to hold kid down while “master” did the cutting part.

At times your barber could be a trainee. This could result in some real unfortunate results. Grandmothers got very mad when they saw what has been done to apple of their eyes. As all grandmothers believed that their grandson was the best looking kid, they walked right to shop and told the shop owner what they thought about them. The “master” would try to fix trainees misdeeds and occasionally slap him a couple of times too.

A Search For New Gods!

MODI2As if having millions of gods and goddesses was not enough, we have added few more. Let no worshipper be left behind! There should be no one who cannot find an exclusive god of his/her own. This also represents ultimate in recycling as you can always recycle gods. Here are the latest gods:

PM Modi: A man who won an election. But this apparently resulted in him being god to his millions of followers. He can do no wrong. He started life on earth, discovered sun, invented sunlight, killed dinosaurs so we can live and in free time invented internet, uterus and Mt Everest. He works very hard, tweets, takes selfies and has had his pictures taken with every major world leader. He leads a right wing party that has some path breaking ideas. These include beef ban, criminalizing homosexuality, encouraging hindu women to have more and more children and undertaking extra-judicial killings.

MODI3

If you ever make the mistake of criticizing, challenging or questioning him you will be attacked by his rabid followers with bayonets drawn. A temple was being built for him by his followers. But he being a real nice type god, asked them not to (off course as always land grab was the real motive). In exchange his followers insisted that he change clothes three times a day and never wear the same clothes again. And he does not! It must be hurting him from inside as he really leads a poor country.

godseGodse: He is a symbol of our tolerance and universal love for all life forms. Incidentally he was also the guy who shot and killed Gandhi. But that should not deny him godliness. That would be too narrow-minded. A temple was being built for him as well. But some local ignorants did not allow it. The right-wing Hindu groups claim that he in fact killed Gandhi to save millions from being killed. Only God..Godse knows which millions he was saving by killing an old unarmed feeble man. Remember Godse is a god with 2 extra letters! It takes a saint to embrace a killer. We have all achieved sainthood now.

lalithaJayalalitha: Most powerful goddess of all. If not, definitely the richest. Currently in prison for corruption (you know how Jesus sacrificed himself. She chose going to jail). Proud owner of 6000 pair of shoes, 20000 sarees and so much gold jewelery that Nepal uses her as gold reserve. Amma to her followers, at least 5 of them commit suicide every time they charge her with corruption or she goes to jail. Five more commit suicide out of joy when she gets out of prison. She was also a movie star and “very close” to a very powerful politician who was somewhat married. But such things only matter to humans. Gods and goddesses are above all such things. She in fact does have temples where she is worshipped.

mayaMayawati: Another goddess who arose from humble beginnings. Again she does many things for her followers. These include building massive marble elephants. Why does she do that? May be she sees happiness and joy in elephants or that elephant is her political party symbol. The tax payers seem to love such cute little gestures.

Mars, Baba, Untouchable and Science

mythologyAt this time even PM is upset. He confronts right wingers. What exactly do you want? They remind him that he is one of them. Now just because he has become a PM, he should not talk about nonsense like science, secularism and all being equal etc. But how will I run the country? I have made promises to voters. Country will do well if you can find a way to get rid of minorities or make laws to convert them all to our religion. PM has decided to change his shirt to a pacifist white.

Baba now informs that Pandit would not share the same space with untouchable. He wants everything washed with gangajal (water from holy river Ganges). Minister of higher education informs that women’s rights groups want a very qualified scientist to be on the mission. The scientist unfortunately happens to be a woman. Baba would definitely not allow a woman on the mission. This could lead to lustful ideas. What if she wears lust inducing clothes.

But feminists want a woman. Baba goes wild. Are those the women who …you know…with other women. No, those are lesbians. Feminists are just asking for equal rights. This somewhat calmed Baba though he still could not understand what more women want. They are driving and voting already.

The committee meets again. It appears male scientist will have to be bumped off the mission. They need a minority. But Pandit feels “they” can never be trusted. What if “they” hijack the rocket and land in our eternal enemy country. Scientist has even stopped pretending that anything he says matters. Baba encourages Pandit that may be he can carry out a religious conversion of minority to majority during the mission. It will be a successful mission if he can. Pandit is somewhat happy. He insists that woman will have to live separately. She also better not have menses because that will contaminate the whole mission.

During this minister of higher education has been keeping a low profile. She is very sensitive to her lack of higher education. In fact she has pretty much no education. She had been made minister for playing a traditional housewife on a long running soap opera. At one time she claimed that she had a degree from Yale but when she called it Yalley it got exposed mercilessly. She came with a wonderful idea. What if we upgrade untouchable to Pandit just for the mission. We can change his last name to a Pandit type name. As soon as we get back, we will demote him back to dalit. Pandit blew up. Are you telling me that anyone can be put in the same category as me. God makes Pandits, China makes everything else.

PM is now realizing that when you sleep with devil, sooner or later devil will ask for a blowjob. He just sits there with his head down while Baba, Pandit and minister go about the business of ruining…err.. running science and country.

My Cousin-Sex Education

questionMy cousin asked me, if I know about “it”. I asked him about “what”. He asked if I know how girls are different. As I was 10, I told him that apart from being annoying they are just like us. He shook his head. But why are they girls and you are a boy? Because god wanted it that way. You are an idiot, aren’t you. That’s the problem with you city types. You don’t know anything about real life. He was real frustrated. (In 70-80’s small town India there was no sex education. It was a taboo that nobody spoke about. Society did very best to decline existence of sex).

He changed his tactics. Do you know how babies are made. I told him parents pray and they get what they want. If they are real lucky they get boys. But where do they come from? To repeatedly not sound like an idiot I told him what I knew. I had heard somewhere that there is an umblical cord. I assumed that babies come from mom’s umblicus.He just kept on staring at me. What is it that you learn in those city schools?

He got write down to work. He drew some real disgusting sketches and crude drawings. They were so bad and not even remotely close to what you will call “reproductive organs” that even god could not have identified them. I told him so. He got real angry this time. Is there anything that you city types know?

He realized that there is no point going around in circles with me. He asked me what vagina is. I told him is it something to do with Japan. “You idiot, that’s where the babies come from”. No, they come from umbilicus. And besides how do they get in there in the first place.

“You really are an idiot”. He tried to find out if there was a cow giving birth on nearby farms. So he can show me a live birth. I told him that I have no interest in any such thing. But then how would you know about vagina. I had no idea that you needed to watch a live cow birth to find out this vagina thing.

His next idea was to show me a “magazine”. This was a very strange magazine. Most of the pages were glued together. I asked him why are they glued together. He said something like “beggars can’t be choosers”. As soon as I opened first page, I realized it was a “dirty” magazine. I immediately closed my eyes and told him that I am not going to look at dirty things. This time he got really mad.

“What is your real problem? Why don’t you want to learn anything new. Do you want to end up like that farmer from 3 farms down who did not know what “it” was and went childless simply because he did not know about “it”.

 

Corruption 1-800 Toll Free

corruption

It is not a problem in Kolkata!

Recently a state government in India started a 1-800 number for reporting any corruption/bribery that a citizen is facing. In the wonderful world of organized corruption that India has, this is equivalent to reporting a dog bite to a Crocodile. You are essentially reporting corruption to most corrupt of them all, the government.

corruption1Here is one of the first complaints:

Citizen: I would like to report a case of corruption please.

Toll Free: Please state your name, your father’s name, caste, DOB and address.

C: Why do you need all this? Is it not supposed to be anonymous?

T: Yes, it will remain anonymous. But we need information. Besides we already know who you are and where you live. We scan all calls.

C: I am being asked for a bribe by junior engineer for providing me with water connection.

T: What is his name, father’s name, caste, DOB and address?

C: How am I supposed to know all these things?

T: Well government cannot work if you do not provide us information. Please go to engineer and ask all these questions.

C: But if I ask him all these questions he would know that I am complaining about bribe.

T:Well..next time please try to have this information. Do you at least know what office does he work at?

C:That I can tell you.

T: Hold on please!  (after 5 minutes) Well..I have engineer on the other line now.

C: What do you mean you have him on other line. You are not supposed to tell him.

T: May be you can settle your differences right here. Do you know that both of you belong to same caste. Engineer looks like a reasonable man. If it goes to his higher-ups, you might have to pay even more.

C: I don’t want to report anything now. If I do I will never get a connection.

T: In that case Government is thankful for your time and concerns. You might or might not get a survey in few days about how we did. Please do not waste your or our time as nobody will read them. If you want to complain about us, you can call this number again. But we will not take another complain from the same person till the first complain has been resolved. We also feel that if someone is complaining too much, problem might lie with them. In that case government will file a case against you for wasting our time.

C: Is it some kind of a joke?

T:No sir, it is just your government at work!