About Me

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Past the Magic Window - A short story

It was almost 11 years. Having returned to the city after a long break, and with plans of staying away for another decade atleast, it occured to me that I might be able to meet her today. Like the petunia plants at the onset of Autumn that adorned the library side walk, her images went out only to return every now and then - the Spring! I must have spent the more significant part of these 11 years ruminating about her. "Would she still smile with her head tilted to her left.. would the parfum on her still tantalize me the way it did almost a decade ago." The next few minutes would give me my answer.
Sitting in our favorite spot in the library, I re-played the words her friend had told me the previous eve.. "Oh! She.. Hmm.. she still sits in the same place at the library...every working day from 5 to 5 30 in the evening..". She had come to become an essential component of the library, as much as the art deco that brought subtle beauty to the walls designed to compliment the Kafkas, the Joseph Conrads and other eclectic books.
Every few minutes, a car's sound would be heard from the Greco-style window raised high above the side wall I was sitting close to. I was sure she still drove the same car, she was someone who respected values and held onto things old, like a sentimental fool. The sound of the cars would start off with a hum, indicating they had taken the final right turn into the path that ran parallel to the old wall, and then like a Shakespearan tempest, rise in pitch as they approached the window. The sound would then either disappear into the silent chaos that seemed to occupy all land beyond the wall or come to a decisive halt at the parking lot, only a few yards after the window level.
Sometimes, someone comes into your life, uninvited and give you the best moments of it. Moments that you come to cherish and moments that you enact in your mind, over and over again. Each time you relive one of the moments, some aspect of it would be lost, until at a point, only the bare necessities of the moment survive, the original having completely been over written. My thoughts drifted to the time when as someone just out of college, and during the first days of work at the nearby Metropolitan Hospital, I would hurry out at the stroke of 5. She would take a walk across the road from the shop she helped her father's friend run, and come to the library to make my day.
"Screeeeeeech!!'. That sounded like the noise I had been waiting for all the while. In the few seconds in which I sent myself back in time, the car had taken the turn and come to an abrupt halt at the parking lot. Very much the way she did years ago. At that point, looking at the dilated pupils in my eyes, a medico would have vouched for the need of a quick run-up on my heart. The hold on my keychain tightened as my sweaty palm embraced it with a venomous grip. The door turned open and in walked a lady. All nervousness vanished at that moment. It wasn't her. Instead it was the old librarian, Mrs. Kiran checking in. Mrs. Kiran, the very person we despised during our brief intimate periods of interaction, though all she did in asking us to stay quiet during those days, was her duty. Inspite of the fading years, she seemed to remember me vividly. Maybe it was the seat I had occupied that made it easy. Maybe it was because, my appearance hadn't changed significantly much during the time. Did she remember her too!
Never one to increase the length of a conversation beyond what was needed, she uttered in quick syllables, "Good evening, its been a long time! The notice outside..er...the library is closed the whole week, but if there is something special your looking for.............".

Friday, June 24, 2005

Crass media attention - Sania Mirza as a victim

Yesterday, while going through one of the mid sized papers in this part of the country, The Pioneer and another larger paper, The Indian Express, I came across a picture of Sania Mirza in each of the papers.
These pictures were of her taken during the match against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round of Wimbledon. After a brilliant fight, our girl who is on the journey to become a lady, lost to Svetlana. The photo in the first newspaper had her squatting on the ground using the inside of her ankles, in a semi-slumping way. Under the guise of showing a Mirza who is famished after the match, the newspaper was trying to display as much of skin of hers as were visible. The other photo had her upper hand in the dropping motion after one of her first serves. This photo too had her tee moved up due to the serve.
Both these photos only display the sheer commercialization of media that has happened of late. This kind of stuff was a common occurence during the early to mid nineties during women's tennis matches, on TV. Then there came a rule from one of the Grand Slams ( I don't remember which one! ) which prevented TV cameras and if I'm not mistaken, even ball boys, from placing themselves below a certain height to shoot. The ball boys were not allowed to be in a bending position during serves. (Someone correct me if this is still so! ).
The phenomenon has started to move to the print media now. And as is the case in all such crass commercializations, the esteemed Times of India stays at the top. Today they published an almost half page picture of Sania again obviously caught in a position that makes her look more like a two piece model on some sunscreen's ad campaign.
Claiming that the players are fine with clothes like that on court, is hardly an argument. Whether its for higher endorsement fees or for comfort, the media has no right in commoditizing these players. That doesn't give newspapers or other media channels to exploit them. I hope TOI and the other papers realize this sooner or later and focus more on the sport and the sportsperson and less on glam. After all, a majority of them are already heading up on the skin-display factors, what with upto 4 sheets of pictures dedicated in the form of Bombay Times, Lucknow Times, Delhi Times, Bangalore Times...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Bredherhood - Part I

Ever been to Chowpatty beach, Mumbai? No!
Hmmmmm... okie how about this..
Ever taken the third seat from the right most corner of the last row in a movie hall playing a Mithunda movie!!!!! STILL A NO!!
Well, this post is not for you and neither is this world. My best wishes to you in hanging yourself with the first piece of Silk Smitha's (May her Soul, RIP) used sarees that u may find and let a better voyeur take your place on planet earth.
Yeps, you guessed it right! What holds together the two locations mentioned at the start of this blog, is the ease with which a couple --- (one guy - briefly balding, hopeless out of luck in finding a new date apart from the one who has come with him, aged 28 and helmet-owner;
one female - holding the helmet, hair generally adorned with jasmine, staring hopeless with love/lust at the bald One) --- can be spotted. They come in all kinds and variations with my favourite pair just being described in the brackets above.
Cut the chase! 'THE BREDHERHOOD' strikes!!!! It was on one of those walks to Chowpatty along with my college mates and dear pals - Sandeep, Prashanth, Shashi and Akshay - some of whom had plans of pursuing a summer internship in Mumbai, that we came across the couple.
Minutes after we had perched our butts on the damp sands of Chowpatty, they entered into our line of sight. 10 metres away from us, and acting as our first line of defence against any raging tsunami or an octopus on 'weed', they refused to let go off the tight embrace they were in.
What appeared to be an ENT specialist's job, appeared as being executed by the guy, repeatedly on the woman's E and T. Gross as much as it was, for the lack of nothing more ambitious to do for that hour we continued our watch... with tea in hand from a hawker who had similar plans.
Our 'vision' was disturbed by a pair of punks who drove the couple out of sight by getting within hand shaking distance (i recollect seeing the female's hand shaking out of nervousness) to them.
Well, it was at that point that The Bredherhood was formed, in spirit and soul. We realized that the only way by which we could prevent society from going corrupt, without doing what the Shiv Sena or Bajrang Dal might put up as a business plan, is by becoming active voyeurs. Those young men I mistook for punks, had with their noble and intentional act sent the couple scurrying for cover. The Bredherhood, which Shashi politely refused to join, siting 'personal reasons', was formed!
Our Motto - 'Voyeurism as the means of protecting woman's chastity'. Though we have targetted only one half of the market, success in the short run, might help us upgrade to a newer motto and better tools too perhaps. The Bredherhood has also had branches opened up in two of the major metros of the country - Chennai and Bangalore in that order.
Not a group to be gender biased, (after all, both women and men are at it on the beaches, theatres and classrooms of our country), there have also been women in the Bredherhood. They go with the simple and collective code name - Shishters, just as we are Bredhers. Shishters do not have any function different from ours and the main motto of the Bredherhood; they only do it subtly :-).
So this I guess gets to be our contribution to society.. though not as notorious as the Freemasons or as one-minded as the Stockbrokers, we I'm sure will find our own path and reason for existence in this big bad world.. Do wait for the charter to be published in 'The Bredherhood - II'.
PS: The 'personal reason' for Shashi not joining our group was found out shortly by one of the Bredhers in the Bandra area - he did IT..
Venkata 'Sigona' Suri.