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.

A love story; Boy is all in (part 2).

boyBoy puts his best clothes together. Boy tries them on, discards, hates, likes, throws them away and tries them on again. He puts himself together with effort. He does not have polish, he only has effort. And two tickets to a show for which he has begged and begged. Boy is all in.

Boy walks into the hostel where girl lives. He calls for her. His palms are sweaty. His legs are shaking. Girl comes out. She does not know him. She is puzzled. She does not know who called for her. Boy is scared. But it has to be done. Boy is all in. He walks to her. He starts speaking but realizes he is stuttering. Boy is headstrong. Boy is becoming a man right this minute.

He tells her that if he is not mistaken she likes classic music. It is so difficult to find people who like classic music. It so happens I have 2 tickets for the artist and would she want to go with him. Boy has become a man. He won’t be buried under an unmarked tombstone.

She is speechless. This has never happened to her before. Girl does not know how to react. This is very different from her world. This is illogical, unreasonable and pure madness. Her world has an order. This is anarchy.

Girl tries to place his face from somewhere. Has she seen him before? Who are you? Do I know you? Boy shrugs his shoulders. How do you know I like classical music? Boy is all in. He is going to dive headfirst. I have been trying to sit close to you and I overheard you. Isn’t that stalking though? Boy shrugs his shoulders again. Girls takes another look. He does look scared despite his bravado. At times he seems like he is going to cry. Harmless, girl thinks.

Why do you think I would go out with you? I don’t know. Did you learn classic music? No. How did you get in classic music? My father used to play records all the time when I was growing up. What artists do you follow? Boy had prepared well. He answered it perfectly. They talked some more. The aliens from two different worlds slowly trying to feel each other. She is a white cloud on blue sky, he is trampled grass.

The girl seems to have softened. Look, I appreciate you coming here and offering to take me to the show. But someone already asked me and I did commit. I am sorry. But may be some other time! At this very minute, boy realizes that he is in love. He does not mind that she has already committed and will be going to same show with someone else. He is happy that she simply did not turn him away. He is slowly choking. He tries to say something but the words won’t come out. The girl looks and feels something. He is not coarse. She is touched that Boy can cry. Boy simply nodes, turns around and walks away.

Boy is in a daze. He does not know what just happened. He is a mess of joy, sadness, tears, question marks and adrenaline. He has never been so sad. He has never been so happy. He is almost nauseated with emotions. He can’t believe that she was almost ready to go with him.

Boy wanders around. Someone has a party. Boy drinks and then some. Boy laughs, Boy cries. Nobody knows what is going on with Boy. Boy is drunk. Boy throws all over himself. Boy passes out. Boy wakes up. He is not sure if it was a dream. He retraces his evening. This was real. Boy has a hangover. Boy is throwing up more. Boy is in love, heart-broken and hung over. Boy is becoming a man.

A love story-Boy is all in!

boyThe boy was shy, the girl was not. They were products of the same society but from different strata. She was polished, he was not. They were in same place but circulated in different universes. To see her he had to look upwards, she could not see him even if he was right in front of her. She smelled of generational success, he reeked of self-doubt and destined failure. She was silk, he was all edges.

There are rarely “love at first sights” in real world. It is a continuous hum dum of calculations, league to which one belongs and self-perceived notions of success and failure. The typical love stories are found in grave yards buried under tombstones which read nothing.

Boy sees her face fleeing through a crowd of faces and he feels something. Something within him stirs. A strange feeling! Just a strange itch. Nothing more. Earth did not stop rotating, flowers did not suddenly bloom and there was definitely no music in air.

Boy does not remember after few hours, girl does not even know of his existence. Boy sees her again, same strange feeling again. What is it? This time the feeling persists. He has an ache in his heart. He is puzzled. Boy does not know what to do. He tries to sleep. It won’t come.

He hopes he can see her next day and every day. He makes sure he does. But their paths don’t cross. She has her own friends and he has his own. Even their friend’s paths don’t cross. Boy is learning that even in one world we have different orbits around which we revolve.

The things are getting worse. Boy can’t get his thinking straight. What is it? Sleep won’t come. Everything is a drag. Life seems so barren, pointless and colorless. Not a single thing brings any joy.

Boy realizes that he has to do something. But what or how remains elusive. Does she even know that he exists? Boy tries to gradually gate crash in this world of privilege. He tries to grab a seat little bit closer in class and cafeteria. He wants to hear her voice. He wants to hear her laughter. He knows it is not for him. It makes it even harder.

Boy gets lucky. He overhears her that she likes classic music. Boy can’t stand classic music. But he finally found something that he knows about her. Boy goes home, turns radio to a classic station. This time it does not sound so bad. In fact it is almost pleasant. Boy goes and buys classic music cassettes. Boys learns names of singers, their music and reads about them. But boy still can’t get anywhere close. The invisible barriers are way too strong.

Boy gets lucky again. Or may be he is making his own luck. He finds out there is a classic music concert in coming days. He has heard her saying the name of singer. He begs, borrows and begs some more. He gets two prime seats for the show. Boy is headstrong. He is going to make it work. He will try something that has never been done in these parts. Boy is going to be a man. Boy is all in!        To be continued…..