#humour #KitchenFisasco #BachelorsLife #WhyPigsHaveWings #DifferentTruths
Here’s an interesting account by Soumya, a humourist, on cooking. We are introducing his humour column, beginning this week, on Tuesdays, exclusively on Different Truths. I am a foodie. My girth hints at it. I take a keen interest in the creative process of cooking too, but all strictly theoretical. I also enjoy cooking as a spectator sport. The glamorous cooks on television make it look so sexy. [ 933 more words ]
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#humour #KitchenFisasco #BachelorsLife #WhyPigsHaveWings #DifferentTruths
Whether it is some deep rooted phobia of the tools of colonial oppression based on subconscious racial memory, or merely a guilty conscience I cannot say.For laws are myriad and intent for compliance not so robust, leading to occasionally catching the eye of her keepers.
It was during the impecunious student days that we traveled the city and even the country using public transport, whenever we couldn’t persuade kindly strangers to offer lifts, but neglected the formality of coughing up the fare. Sometimes the keepers looked askance at these liberties, and ingenuous ruses would keep us from their clutches. The classic was by Mohit, who later went on to become a major scourge for lawbreakers.
Our bus was stopped for spot check just outside the hostel, and M was the only one with a pass. So he decided impromptu to jump off and run, with the checkers in hot pursuit. The rest of us slipped quietly into the hostel while the law caught up with M.
“Show us your tickets”
“Don’t have any”
“Come to the police station!”
“We can make you!”
“No you can’t, I have a pass”
“Then why did you run?”
“Is running against the law?”
Today, as a consultant, he provides similar loopholes to his clients.
On another occasion, the law keepers wanted ID to prove that we had reached the legal age for the activity we proposed. Mohit gravely informed them that simple living and Yoga keeps us looking young, for if we had been married off by our parents at an appropriate age, we would have children like these guardians of the law. Helpless with laughter, they let us proceed.
Those days we also were very reluctant to pay the necessary fees to attend shows and exhibitions, and always knew an unguarded back entrance or convenient low wall or break in the fence. We also did not wait for invitations to attend parties, receptions, and weddings hosted by complete strangers. This too led to occasional detection and disagreements, and a host of aliases were handy when providing names and addresses.
The other occasions for incurring the displeasure of the law had moral right on our side, or so we believed, as it was for creating disruptions for various dimly understood causes, in the name of student protests. The Police were unusually patient and polite with us students, and arrested us merely to let us go a few hours later, dutifully noting down our names, and not expressing any surprise that we were all named after the Prime Minister of the country.
But once things went out of hand, and a group was taken to the lockup overnight, with some talk of fingerprinting the next day. A number of the inmates had interviews to attend in the near future, and many were aspiring civil servants whose careers would crash-land if weighed down by police records. As they were held in a temporary camp in a school building it was a simple matter to escape through the windows, and many did.
Trouble brewed next day, when post negotiations everyone was being let off, but the head count did not tally. If the same number of students weren’t released, cops could be charged with Habeas Corpus. An ingenious solution was found. Certain students, including yours truly, broke INTO the lockup, with full police cooperation, to make up the numbers originally picked up, and were immediately released to fanfare from the student leaders.
Although student agitations were a friendly match with the cops, post exam high jinks were sometimes frowned upon.
On one such spirited occasion, on a whim and a dare, a few of us decided to climb a statue of a national hero adorning the town square. This attracted a crowd, and soon a uniformed friend with a large stick.
We naturally did not heed his injunctions to descend at once, but instead climbed higher to escape the flailing stick. The intrepid law keeper then decided to climb after us forcing us to take drastic measures before backup arrived. We accordingly leaped to the ground in different directions and fled for our lives, guessing that he can chase only one of us. Cheered on by the watching crowd we escaped, helped along by the onlookers, always siding with the wrong side of the law.
We have all since grown up into law abiding citizens, some of us law makers and keepers ourselves, and the worst crimes we commit are minor traffic violations. But even nowadays although a rarity, confrontations do happen.
Getting late for work, I once tried speeding through as the lights were changing, and was promptly stopped by a lurking guardian of the law. I tried to plead that we were on the same side, both being government servants on official duty, and after scrutinising my credentials he claimed that I was only partly government. I pointed out that I had only partly jumped the light. Impressed by this astute argument, he waved me on with a broad grin on his face.
The law is not such an ass after all.
This story was told to me by a friend over drinks. I have no reason to believe that it is untrue. For conveniences sake I will tell this in first person, as told to me.
We were living in Pune at that time, and had a small bungalow with a nice garden. My wife, a keen gardener, had made a great job of the garden, and attracted the attention of neighbours. One of them, a keen gardener herself, became good friends with her, and they started visiting each other. Soon, the day came around when we were called over for dinner to their place. My wife assured me that I would get along fine with the gentleman, as he was jolly, outgoing and enjoyed a tipple.
In their drawing room my attention was drawn to a hockey stick lying in a corner. I instinctively picked it up and weighed it in my hand, checking the balance. I had played hockey for Bhopal, as their goalkeeper, and played the nationals. In ’78, we reached the finals, and dreamt of trying out for the national side.
That final was against a very good Bombay team, and we were a depleted side due to injuries, and had a strategy of playing rough to take out their star players.
The match was later abandoned, when our strategy worked too well and irate fans invaded the ground, resulting in the mounted police coming in, and ending in a mini riot.
I was the main culprit, having tackled their ace forward and captain rather brutally when he was about to score a field goal, which led him to being carried out unconscious, my getting the red card, thus sparking off the fan riots and end of match. My suspension meant I could not go for the national trials, and soon economic realities made me abandon the game and seek remunerative employment.
I did follow instructions and took out their ace forward, but could not rid myself of the guilt, and still remember the sickening crack of wood meeting bone when we clashed.
When my host joined us and with a hearty halloo invited us to the garden where drinks and barbeque had been set up, I had this strange sense of déjà Vaux. After the initial pleasantries and toasting our friendship, our host asked
“Sir, did you play hockey?”
My heart skipped a beat. Add about fifteen kilos, recede the hairline and sprinkle some gray, wasn’t he that ill fated forward? The voice too rang a bell. I had last heard it swearing vengeance and hurling expletives before passing out in pain. And he did seem to have a limp!
“No, not really, not much” I muttered.
“Come on, sir, I saw you weighing that stick, only a player would do that! “He responded.
“It wasn’t anything serious “I mumbled, thanking my stars that goalkeepers wore a mask, and my identity was a secret to him.
“Did YOU play sir?”I queried, trying to get out of the spotlight.
“Of course I did man! “He exclaimed, “Captained Bombay! Played in three nationals! Was the ace striker! Would have made India cap too! But for one dammed bastard…..”
“What happened?”I barely whispered, wanting desperately for the conversation to end.
“It was in the ’78 national finals. We were playing Bhopal. A good team, but no match for us. They started playing dirty, the *****! The worst was the keeper, a runt of a guy! Safe behind his mask and pads, he kept rushing our forwards! And the bloody bugger went for my shins with his stick! It ended my career! Would have killed him then, but I couldn’t move. My Bandra buddies were going to teach those #@#@s a lesson, but the bloody cops intervened. I have been looking for that man ever since. If I find him, his mother won’t recognise him again!”
Mine host was red in the face, and his voice was raised, which made the ladies come over.
“Has Freddie been talking of that match again?”The LOH exclaimed, “How many times have I told you, don’t talk about it. It shoots up your blood pressure. This man is hockey mad you know, please don’t mind him”
I hastily gulped down my drink and tried to make an excuse to get away, muttering about engagements, but my genial host would hear nothing of it.
“Nonsense man, no work on weekends! Have a few more, then there’s the whole chicken i will grill with my special masala. Would have loved to grill that goalie though! Skewered on his stick! Wouldn’t he look pretty, HA HA”
“Ha ha” I whispered, mopping my brow.
“Oh! Did you play hockey?” my wife decided to chip in. “So did my …. You will have lots to talk about then, won’t you? Reliving the old days. I’m sure you will be such great friends.”
“I knew it! Always know a player from the way he handles the stick! Come on man, tell me, where did you play, which position?”
“It was nothing, really….”I tried to wriggle away but my bitter half was not to be denied her boasting rights.
“He’s trying to be modest, “she cooed, “He played the nationals, may have even got India cap”
“What man! Trying to hide this! Whom did you play for? Position? We must talk shop man, I miss talking to a player”
“He played for Bhopal, was the keeper, played the ’78 finals, but some stupid referee gave him a red card and he missed the national trials “the love of my life kept gushing on heedlessly, enforcing her bragging rights.
There was an awkward silence. My darling wife couldn’t figure out what went wrong. My host stood up. He was a tall and bulky man. So did I. I was short and squat. He took a few steps towards me. I nervously measured the distance to the gate, thinking of a quick dash. My hostess nervously tried to move between us. Our host raised his ham like hand and roared………….
With laughter, slapping me on the back, a trifle too heartily, I thought.
“So you were the blighter! Plucky guy, I must say! Only YOU stood between us and the cup! You did your job man! No hard feelings. It’s all in the game. Glad to have someone around who can talk of the old game. Come make a large one!”
We remained good friends, meeting frequently over drinks, talking shop about the old times.
A BRAVE NEW WORLD
God had taken a summer break
Left me to mind the job
I decided, what the heck,
I could rebuild the orb
The seventh planet from the Sun
Needed an overhaul
I thought it would be good fun
To set rolling the ball
I checked the forests, mountains seas
And thought they would all do
I spied the birds the beasts the fish
But all were tickety boo
I wondered what should I refine?
Who do I need to shun?
Till I figured, that natures fine,
I have to get rid of Man!
Written for a prompt on project 365 on how I would design a new world
How do I unwind An Ode to Wodehouse
In response to a prompt on project 365
After a horribly hectic day
(The stuff we do to earn our pay!)
When the minds quite boggled out
And all good cheer’s quite up the spout
The milk of human kindness has
Quite curdled up, and in a flash
I might go up, in flames and smoke
I get some help, from a quiet bloke
He shimmers in, and calms my mind
Perks up my mood, helps me unwind
And takes me to a Wonder land
That doesn’t change or age or wan
In this world stout butlers butt
And men in spats try out the Putt
Where Lords keep pigs, which are their bane
And Aunts aren’t all Gentlemen
Where every problems solution
Is the Gentleman’s personal Gentleman
Whenever the world looks glum
To cheer you up, there’s always Plum
Escape into his magic land
Where words cast spells, and Puns abound
But first get into something loose
Throw out the tie, kick off the shoes
A frothing mug, a cup that cheers
Put up your feet, forget your peers
And Ring for Jeeves, he’ll take you there
Let guffaws thunder everywhere
My fascination with words began early, perhaps not as early as Abhimanyu, as I don’t remember anything
prenatal, but soon afterwards as I was fortunate in a literate ayah, who was my major childhood influence, and a literary mom, who had a sizable library at home. To keep me quiet, my babysitter would read to me from anything available, including Bangla translations of the English classics, and the Bengali Mahabharata. After such a classical grounding, I could not help but be a lifelong addict to the magic world of fantasy and fiction, initially oral, and later of the printed word.
But addictions have fatal side effects, and I became quite useless at all useful skills of survival. I wasn’t focused on studies, and my handwriting made me suitable only for the medical profession.
I learnt to read, so that I wouldn’t have to wheedle others to read for me, and was a very precocious reader, forcing my parents to hide books in unconventional places, and put covers on some. That’s how I knew which to read first, and in secret.
The inevitable next step was joining the ranks of my heroes, and start writing myself. Writing was fine, but I faced the problem of all would be authors, how to get readers? I had a captive audience in my family, but they couldn’ t or wouldn’t decipher my writing. Solution – a little brother I could bully, who would copy it out for me.
Jump cut to high school. Obliging friends copied out my stories for our hand written wall magazine in exchange for doing their maths homework, and other obliging friends copied out pieces for our first handwritten cyclostyled little magazine, edited and mostly ghostwritten by me in exchange for names on masthead to impress girls. Believe it, bong girls fall for such stuff.
Fast forward to the 80s. Handwritten contributions are no longer acceptable, and typing is a skill I’ve failed to master. However, obliging young ladies willing to support the arts help out, and college, univ, and company magazine continue to feed my need to be heard. That’s how my partner to be first heard me.
Working life and matrimony soon put all creativity on a backburner, until my children appeared on the scene, and mealtime, bedtime and anytime stories took care of all my creative juices, and was well within my technical knowhow.
As time passed, I hankered for a wider audience. By now, I was empowered with a stenographer, and a bit of charm could overcome my tech handicap, and double spaced typed offerings with self addressed envelopes haunted editorial desks and found kind supporters like Jug Suraiya of TOI and others and I had the ultimate high, seeing my babies in print with my byline, and being paid for it.
Work and family took precedence, and creativity was limited to sales pitches and the incredible job of bringing up two daughters to be independent freethinking individuals, well adjusted in life, until they no longer needed or heeded me, and the craving for an audience hit once again.By now, the world had changed beyond my tech challenged comprehension, and the virtual world ruled, denying me access. My wife, who had moved with the times, my friends, who had learnt to cope, and my children, who were born with mouse in hand, had no patience for my illiteracy. It looked like my outpourings would die unheard through lack of virtual space.
Finally, with patient coaching from few young colleagues and friends, I attempted the new medium, THE BLOG and the FB and through many blunderings in unexplored and mysterious realms of which more shall be disclosed later, the end results are for you to see