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I Forget…..

I Forget…..

I forget…

Being absentminded is the privilege of the genius. We hear stories of the ridiculous stupidity and feeble mindedness in everyday matters by such greats as Einstein and Newton and chuckle appreciatively.
However, if we of acknowledged mediocre intellect should occasionally let things slip our mind, we are subjected to severe ridicule and harsh name calling.
I unfortunately have suffered from this since childhood, and it shows no signs of improving when I am reaching the age where such senior moments can be attributed to early onset of senility or Alzheimer’s.forget 2
This has led to various problems ranging from mild inconvenience to brushes with the long arm of the law.
For instance, I can never remember my vehicle registration number, and in the days of manual security at public parking lots, I had often to peer inside all the cars to identify mine, raising suspicion, which became worse when on questioning I could not recollect the number. I was often subjected to rigorous questioning before being permitted to drive away my own car. Nowadays the remote lock has made the job of identifying my car easier.
It is worse when I am driving someone else’s car. I usually have no recollection of the make or model either. Once when driving a colleagues car while mine was at the workshop, I panicked on reaching a parking lot with a sea of vehicles. Finally I realised that as a recent arrival from another state, his plates will bear that states number. The rest was simple.
What is worse, in those days, most cars of the same make could be opened by the same key, if the vehicle was old. Once, when visiting my parents, I had borrowed my dad’s car and taken my kids to the market. Returning laden with packets and child in tow, I opened the door of what I thought was my dad’s Maruti and proceeded to load the shopping. A gentleman came over and asked if there is a problem. I thanked him and asked him to mind my child while I arranged the packets. This done I thanked him, sat my daughter in the back seat and got in myself. The stunned gentleman protested,
“But this is my car!”
Profuse apologies later, and the clinching argument
that I would hardly be committing grand theft auto with shopping and a child in tow, and finally on discovering the right car parked nearby, I convinced him that I was not a criminal. But he may have been harbouring a doubt that I was criminally insane.
The other issue is I always drive on autopilot. Once the route has been uploaded on what passes for my mind, I don’t have to consciously plan the drive. Thus, as I used to drop my wife off on my way to work, that’s how I went, irrespective of whether she was in the car or not. I usually realised that she’s not there after I had parked by her office and waited for her to get off. I may have been suspected of being a stalker by some of her colleagues.
Ditto when dropping my daughter off to school. I think the authorities had a lookout for the potential paedophile that stops his car outside the school, sheepishly looks around and drives off.
On the pervert front my reputation takes a beating by another nasty betrayal of my mind. Being an incurable multi tasker, I am usually on my computer when I have called someone on the phone and waiting for them to pick up. So that by the time the response comes, I have completely forgotten whom I have called or why. As I desperately try to identify the voice and remember what it was I needed, the person at the other end shouts
“Hello hello!”whilst listening to my heavy breathing.
When I call my secretary for some work, I may be involved with something else by the time she arrives, and I stare at her asking why I called her. I think till she knew me better she may have been convinced I was the stereotyped evil boss looking her over. I am glad I didn’t face harassment charges.
But what almost brought about a crisis in our marriage was when I was giving a lift back from work to a colleague and the LOH was in the backseat. When I stopped to drop the colleague, she had got off to come over to the front. Blissfully unaware, I drove off home, leaving her stranded midway, without money as her purse was in the backseat. I realised this only when she came home in a cab, and she icily asked me for money to pay off the taxi.
Fortunately, my marriage survives to this day, no doubt as I forget the many hints dropped about reconsideration of options from my long suffering LOH.

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Video promo of Memories a Novella

 

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The Tree

The Tree?
Some strip her skin and boil it
Others tear her leaves and crush them
Roast her pieces and boil them
Smear it on boils and soars
It’s healing for the skin
Some chew on her leaves
Eat her young buds raw, or fried with vegetables
It is good for health
Her green twigs are wrenched off to be chewed and spit out
It is great for the teeth
The physicians praise her virtues
The patriarch is pleased with her
He declares, let her be, she is good for the household
So she is not uprooted
But nor is she cherished
She stays in the backyard
Debris and garbage collect around her
Someone decorates her by paving her base in tiles
It is but another form of garbage
Then one day a new kind of man happened by
He looked at her with love light in his eyes
Did not tear, wrench, skin or break her, just admired her
Saying, How pretty the leaves, what beauty!
Look at that cluster of flowers,
As if a bunch of stars have descended from the blue sky to a green lake,
How lovely!
He stayed a while, admiring her, and then moved on
A poet, not a physician
The tree wanted to go away with him, but couldn’t
Her roots were too deep in this backyard
She stood there, forlorn, surrounded by garbage
Just like that efficient superwoman,
The lady of this house

Adapted from Banaful’s Neemgach
neem+tree_1boumahousewife

 

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FINAL KIND

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FINAL KIND

My daughter had written a story on death, at an age when one is not supposed to have such thoughts, and it disturbed me. It was brought about by a close brush with death that we both had, but our memories differed.

This is how I remembered the incident.

We had been vacationing in Goa, and enjoying the usual water sports, beach hopping, sampling the exquisite local seafood cuisine and wine. All this, while chilling us out, was ravaging the purse considerably.

That day, there seemed to be a storm shaping up, and the sea was quite rough. There were very few boats out, and they were hurrying back. Warning was being issued on the loudspeakers for bathers not to venture out to sea. My wife was in a shack on the beach, reading, while I was in the surf with my kids.

That was when a boatman approached us, offering to take us parasailing for a ridiculously low rate, as he couldn’t get customers. We had been parasailing earlier at many times the cost and agreed instantly.

Years ago, when hang gliding in Himachal, a similar offer from a guide on a stormy day had been turned down by my wife, and a couple who were in the same hotel as us had succumbed to the temptation, leading to the young man’s plunging to his death. This time she wasn’t around to prevent such idiotic rashness, and I did not remember the incident till much later, and we heedlessly boarded the speedboat.

The waves were very high, and the boat was being tossed around more than any amusement park thrill ride, or grade four white water rafting. I was joking with my kids that this was extra thrills for free, as we screamed in excitement when getting buffeted and drenched by the breakers.

When the waves started going over our heads, I held on to my little girl, who was small and frail, and I thought she may get swept away. My elder daughter, tall, strapping and athletic, and an excellent swimmer, I wasn’t worried about.

All of a sudden, a colossal wave flipped over our speedboat like a toy, and the boatmen screamed” jump!”, and dived overboard. I held on to my little one and followed them.

We were lost in a dark green world being tossed around by enormous forces, and fighting for breath. But through it all, I kept my grip on my baby with all my strength. After what seemed like an eternity, we broke surface, among swirling waves, with no one else in sight. In desperation, I tried to dive underwater to search for my daughter, without letting go of the child. But our lifejackets kept keeping us up, when an extra strong wave tossed us around and broke my grip. Now I was back in the dark currents, helpless, and alone.

Life did not flash before my eyes, nor did any foreboding of death enter my mind, but my only thought was: how could I tell my wife that I have lost her babies?

Through the gloom I could see the boat, upside down, sinking to the bottom and trailing the parachute ropes. Then I thought I saw a hand reaching out for help. But the currents wouldn’t let me reach her.

When I came up for air, I could see no one, and had no idea which way the shore would be. Suddenly, a head popped out, and it was my daughter, barely conscious, a few feet away. I held on to her for dear life, looking around for signs of my baby. When we crested a high swell, I could see the distant shore, and a number of lifeguard’s boats coming towards us. I also saw the lead boat pick up a tiny figure in a red lifejacket from the sea. The baby was safe. Being light, the waves had pushed her a hundred yards towards the shore, as the lifejacket kept her on the surface. She was the first to be rescued. Now all we had to do was stay afloat and hold on to each other, and in five minutes we were being pulled aboard.

In the medical tent on shore we reunited with the younger kid, who wanted to know why I was trying to drown her till she got away and was saved by the boat uncle. The older one, once revived, wanted to kill our boatman, who was pleading with us not to lodge a complaint, as he would lose his licence and livelihood.

I learnt that the boat had flipped on the side that my daughter was sitting in, and she was trapped below it. However, she kept her nerve and managed to fight her way out and untangle herself from the ropes, and fight the strong back current at the depths to push herself up, nearly blacking out from holding her breath for so long. She was bruised and had rope burns, but her feisty spirit was back.

I later learnt that she felt forsaken that I had exercised a Sophie’s choice, and tried to save my younger, and according to her, my favourite child.

In the meanwhile, my wife, oblivious to all this, was lost in some fictional drama, and our reappearance with a crowd of onlookers in tow, looking, well, like survivors of a shipwreck, shocked her out of the make believe word. And our story reinforced her healthy distrust of the liquid element, which had kept her onshore in the first place.

In order that fear doesn’t paralyse us, we went parasailing again next day, at fine weather, and with a safer boatman.

My daughter’s reaction and recollection of the same event is provided in the link below.

https://soumyamukherjee8.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/this-is-an-essay-by-my-daughterabout-an-incident-involving-us-both-my-memory-was-different-sharing-her-version-in-my-blog/

Much later, when watching the Amir Khan Starrer thriller Talash, the scene where he is diving underwater to find his lost child, resurrected my old nightmares.

But contrary to all clichés, our close brush with the reaper did not change us in any way, and we continued to live out our mundane lives like we are immortal.

storm at seashit happens

 

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A Suitable Boy

89311-safe_image-php marriage-relationships-milionaire-millionaire-daughter-losing_a_daughter-hand_in_marriage-amc0586lA SUITABLE BOY

A friend recently posted a link on my facebook page which listed answers of various American children to the question “How do we know whom to marry “with many intriguing responses. This took me down memory lane to the time my eldest had posed the same question to my wife.

I listened in for a while to the very sensible discussions between mother and child as to knowing the person and following the heart and kept having visions of my little child growing up and meeting all kinds of undesirable lumpens and following the very unsound advises of her heart.

I could also for the first times sympathize with my poor father in law, whom till now I had considered an unreasonable ogre for his vehement opposition to his daughter’s selection of a perfect boy like me for a life mate.

The venerable gentleman’s objections were based on our different religion language and caste, and not on my qualities character education or socio economic standing as a suitable groom for the apple of his eye, which I found unreasonable. I suspected that my pigmentation may also have had a bearing on his decision. I had cheekily offered to stop shaving and grow my hair if it helped matters, as a full flowing beard and unshorn locks were the hallmark of the community he belonged to

What I realize now is that it was his natural caution as a doting dad of not losing his little girl to a smart-alecky stranger from an alien culture. Combined with this would be the very natural fear of the traditional middle class patriarch, “what would people say?”

Unencumbered by any such wisdom or scruples and armed with the arrogance of absolute certainty that is the prerogative of youth; we eloped and got married ignoring his veto, no doubt bruising his ego, but also breaking his heart.

Now visions of Karma floated before my eyes and life flashed before me in fast forward to the background scores of ‘Sunrise….Sunset….’  I could visualize being introduced to young men in dreadlocks with piercings and tattoos or with orange hair, or perhaps someone darker than me with an afro hairdo, or maybe a skullcap and beard. Scenes from ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner’, ‘Father of the Bride’, Meet the Parents’, and ‘Kanyadan’ flashed before my eyes and my sympathies were all with the beleaguered dads. I could totally understand Topol’s anguish in Fiddler on the Roof as he watched his daughters leave without the aid of the matchmaker to impecunious youth, radicals and even a Russian! Now objections on grounds of race religion colour or creed didn’t seem so outlandish.

I couldn’t hold out any longer. Ignoring all homilies on good parenting, I interjected –“No, No! Don’t listen to mummy, she doesn’t know, I will tell you how you will know whom to marry; ASK DADDY! DADDY WILL TELL YOU WHOM TO MARRY.”

Years later, when such discussions were close enough in time frame for a potential selection of a suitable boy to be serious, we joked about her childhood query and my response. I tried to establish my liberal credentials by declaring that I don’t believe in race religion or nationalities, but adding a rider for safety that socio economic and educational and cultural compatibility leads to happier relationships, and asking whether I should take my dressing gown out of mothballs and get a pipe, in preparation of upcoming interviews with young men ala fathers of brides in old bollywood. But the GenY  lady’s  response had me completely stumped and reevaluating my perceived liberalism. She asked me, “Does it have to be a boy? Why this gender specification?”

I guess the young will always teach their parents new lessons in tolerance and adaptability

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Fiction, Gender, humor, Humour, memoir

 

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