Why aliens have not attacked us till now

I have figured it all out.

There have been numerous alien sightings all over the world. People have seen discs flying overhead, pilots have seen strange objects flying next to their planes. People diappear around the world and when they come back, they have no recollection of the missing days. It does not shock us anymore. Of course, Hollywood’s brainwashing antics have a role to play here which cannot be ignored. There isn’t a city in the world which has not been destroyed by the very human-like aliens who want our resources (as if we haven’t sucked the Earth dry already) or want us as slaves (as if we haven’t done that already to each other). Buildings topple, humans scream and then the countries unite (surprise! Surprise!) to defeat the villians before they can go back to bombing each other for oil.

Of course, no alien attack has happened in reality. They haven’t even made a friendly appearance (how snobbish of them!). But prey, why?

Here’s why.

They are keeping an eye on us. They are the guardians of the universe and they are holding the door so that we do not escape and unlease our destructive potential over the universe. Think of them as the item girl in Bollywood movies who keep the villians (us) engrossed in their pelvic thrusts so that the good heroes (kind aliens) keep the universe intact. Imagine the havoc the villians will create if the item girl is not there.

Let’s admit that we are a shitty race. Look at the turtles or the snails. Even the spiders. They live in perfect harmony with Earth.  But not us. There isn’t anything left on the Earth that we haven’t monetized for profits. We have raped her of her dignity and we will keep doing it till she dies. We are cutting the branch on which we are sitting but who cares till we are mid-air falling to our doom. We believe our religion will come to save us and a wad of notes will cushion our fall. Our children are not our priority and the aliens in their flying saucers know this. They know that if (heavens forbid) we become capable enough of flying outside the solar system to inhibit other planets (which is highly unlikely. We will probably have a World War 3 before that), we will end up repeating our Earthly mistakes on it, killing it in the same way.

As Agent Smith rightly said to Neo, we are the virus of this universe.

And the aliens are here to contain us. So, will they ever attack us, you may ask?

The answer is – Yes, they will.

If they ever get the slightest hint in the future that humans are capable of moving their house out of the Solar System, you will see a full Independence Dayish assault that day. They will spray their pest control laser beams on us and finish us long before we start the countdown of our Noah’s Ark into the space. Just like what you will do if you see an increase in the cockroach population in your house.

So, humans you have been warned. Please stay where you are. Send probes to Mars and Pluto. Gawk at the ice mountains on them. Be surprised at the Earth size storm on Jupiter. But, never ever dare to develop a technology that will let you find wormholes and travel to other galaxies. Because that will be the day when the alien mothership will direct a high precision laser beam at the Earth and break this begging-for-euthanasia planet into a million pieces.

Daddy Diaries : Anika turns two

Seeing your child unfold in front of your eyes is the strangest sight. It is like witnessing a face being carved out from a lump of clay. An individual emerges with her own set of thought and quirks, her own way of interpreting the surroundings. You are awed by the way nature works and wonder if all this is just a dream. You keep reminding yourself that this is the same puny girl with crumpled skin whom you met for the first time outside an operation theater.
I have read enough on the internet to be scared of the terrible two. When I look back at the last one year, I can say that it wasn’t the easiest of times but the thought leaves me with a smile. There was time when I wanted to bang my head on the wall, when I wanted to run away and hide in the hills, when I wanted to sleep peacefully for a night but then there were also millions of moments when my heart melted at the mere sight of her. It was last year when she pointed a finger at me and said Papa. It was last year when I started telling her stories and although she does not understand a word, she listened to them with rapt attention. It was last year when she turned into this non-stop talking machine. I still tell myself that I am not made for being responsible for an individual, that I am still not ready for this but the fact remains that unless you jump into it, you are not ready.
She has started dancing without any qualms in marriages, she started eating Maggi and chocolates, she started admiring herself in the mirror, she started getting scared of doctors and needles, she started copying the maid and broomed the whole house, she started loving those videos on YouTube where someone opens chocolate eggs to reveal gifts hidden inside, she started playing Temple Run, she started liking nail paints and sunglasses, she started loving car rides. Her Bollywood fixation ended, which was a mercy. She is now more into animated songs for children. She is an entirely different person from who she was in the first year. Back then she only slept, pooped and cried. Yes, that was pretty much it.
Having her in my life has made me wonder about a lot of things. There are some things for which you become more perceptive and tolerant after you become a parent. For example, I do not make a face when I see a couple jostling with their crying baby, I don’t say – they can’t even control their child – when I see parents wondering what to do when their child throws a tantrum. I don’t have anything but sympathy and understanding for them. I can even go and help. I also do not understand how people abandon their girl child in dustbins. The mere thought of Anika out there alone send shivers down my spine. I also do not understand how parents allow their daughter to be mistreated by her in-laws. Believe me, I would end up breaking open their heads. I am now filled with more and more anger at how the girls in our country are treated as second-class citizens. I was always a feminist but now I am a feminist with a daughter which makes me doubly dangerous and doubly furious.
This may sound crazy but sometimes I keep thinking of the time when she will leave the house. She might leave to study or work in another city or get married. I know its years away but the mere thought chokes me up. See, its happening as I am writing this. I might cry right now. But, I guess its bound to happen some day. There is a whole world out there for her to see and experience. She will have to fall and fly because that is the only way to live your life. As a father, it is my job to be worried and overprotective for her but I will never take away her wings.
Oh well, I must come back to the present. So she turns two today and I am hoping that the next year will be as exciting and scary as the previous one. She will finally get potty trained which is such a relief because my life savings are depleting buying diapers. She has started joining words so I suppose there will be more non-stop banter all day. She has started understanding the world bit by bit but sometimes it breaks my heart thinking that she won’t remember any of it. She will start making memories only after three and that too will turn vague as time will pass.
Maybe, all this is just for us, her parents, to remember.
She is two and she is sleeping with her mouth open, showing her two front teeth. I must stop writing and look at her. This is an important moment to remember.

The art of picking your woman in your arms

You know, I was dying to do some armchair activism today. I was looking forward to write a post titled – Dear India, what the fuck? – and scream my lungs out about the way our priorities are royally misplaced. How we don’t care about rapes and farmer suicides and discuss AIB as if it is the latest discovered deadly virus. How we don’t bother about the bovine Sakshi Maharaj distributing his pearls of unbelievable wisdom but are ok with attack on an activist’s car because she circulated pictures of rapists. But then I thought, what is the point? We should all acknowledge the fact that we have been self-centred chu***as since hundreds of years and move on to other important topics.

Like the art of picking your woman in your arms.

Bollywood has always been an inspiration to the society. You can actually trace back all the crimes to Bollywood. If you go to a jail and do a heart-to-heart with all the inmates, 99% chances are that 99% of them will cry over how they saw a Bollywood movie and lost control of their senses. So, it is only understandable that we can find the roots of how we romance in Bollywood because that too is a crime in this country.

I was exposed to Bollywood as a kid. I think it was accidental that the first scene I saw of a movie was a man strangulating a woman with a wire. I could not sleep the whole night. The second scene that I accidentally saw was of robbers looting a village. It took mom a while to pacify me. For the longest of times, I imagined Bollywood movies to be a dreadful and nasty planet where people hurt each other for fun. Much like Earth.

How wrong I was.

Because then I discovered its romantic side – couples smiling at each other and singing songs while heavens play the orchestra, couples changing their clothes five times in a song as if they had a whole day dedicated to this activity of changing and singing, couples kissing behind gigantic flowers and making the flowers shudder. It was a new world. Blissful and sensuous. But then something was always disturbing me, slowly pushing me into the depths of anxiety. It wasn’t until years later that I was able to put a finger on it.

It was the ease with which heroes picked up the heroines in their arms. Even as a child, I knew that was something superhuman. When Shammi Kapoor lifter Sharmila like a dry twig in An evening in Paris, I gasped. Was it that easy? The question nagged me for years. The first thing I would notice in a song is the picking business and then wonder about it for hours. Of course, there was a category of actresses who were never lifted (like Meena Kumari) because lets face it, our heroes were not trying to be in the Olympics.

shashisharmila

image from here

And then SRK happened in the 90s. I think he set some sort of a world record by picking each and every woman who crossed his way. It drove me crazy. It was as if he was not able to control himself. Whenever he saw a woman in his movie, he had to open his arms, tilt a bit, give her a dimple. And then while she was swooning at the gestures, he would pounce at her and pick her up.

Of course, I never tried it at home at that point of time. With woman that is. I tried with buckets. And boy, were they heavy! When I got married, I told my wife (very early in our relationship), that I was going to pick her up and walk across the room in a slow gait singing a song, just like Veer picked up the heavy Zaara as if she was tied to strings from the ceiling. My wife was game.

veer zaara

Image from here

I remember, the first thing that appeared in front of my eyes after I picked up my wife were stars. Not the romantic, twinkling variety but those that appear with shooting pain. But then I remembered to my horror that I was supposed to walk across the room and my wife was looking expectantly at me, as she gripped my neck in what I think was a deadly Taekwondo lock. There wasn’t much time and I was not supposed to drop her on the floor. It was an arranged marriage.

I galloped across the room cursing all the Bollywood actors. I even forgot to sing the song. We never tried it again.

Now that I look back, I don’t blame the heroes. They must have been on drugs. You really don’t know what you are doing when you are under their spell. It must have been tough for them. SRK had a back problem years ago.

It was a childhood fantasy for me. But I did what I always wanted to do. At least I tried. My wife was euphoric later although I could see beads of perspiration on her forehead when I was sprinting across the room with her in my arms. Isn’t that is what is important in life? Trying.

Valentine’s day is upon us. So I thought I would share the story of what I thought at that point of time to be one of the most intimate and romantic gestures I had shown to my lady. Of course, now I think it was anti-feminist. And no, it isn’t a case of sour grapes. How can you even think like that? Look at the way our society treats women. It is all because of these Bollywood heroes picking actresses in their arms and showing them as weak. Why would anyone pick a woman in his arms? She can’t walk? Did you take her permission? I think we should carry out a campaign, burn effigies and beat our chests if a hero tries to do that again. We should debate this on news channels. How dare they show women in poor light?

The armchair activist inside me is waking up again. Maybe I should write the “Dear India, what the fuck?” post. It is amazing how my perspective changed over the years. It took only a handful of stars.

A Square Meal

 

In 2012, the world’s 100 richest people earned a stunning total of $240 billion in profits. That is enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over.

In 2007, the total volume of trade by private corporations the world over was over $1,171 trillion; the sum of the earnings of all countries was a mere $66 trillion, almost 20 times less.

Earth is a strange place; humans stranger. We have reached a point where money and the privileges that come with it are concentrated with a selected few. There are millions of children in the future generation, who are destined to float away in an unknown void, working hard only to earn the basic necessity essential for their survival – A square meal. There are 1.29 billion people all over the world living in abject poverty, 400 million of them are in India.

The only thought that will come to your mind when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from is to find a way to earn your next meal. You will not think about getting an education for your children or for a better life for them because you need food, because your children need food. The thought is surreal because the people who are reading this have not lead such a life. But close your eyes for a second and think about sending your son and daughter to do manual work instead of a school because you need money and food on the table. Nightmarish, isn’t it? There are millions of people out there who are living this nightmare.

The only way this vicious circle can be broken is by educating the next generation. There has to be a strong urge to uplift the underprivileged children from their current situation, to give them a springboard to reach out for the stars. It is heart-warming to see so many people and organisations around the world coming ahead and work towards the betterment of our society. There are many organizations in India that are working towards encouraging poor parents for sending their children to school. It is a brilliant idea to provide meals to students in school so that they could concentrate on their dreams.

There is enough money and goodwill in the world to make everyone’s life better, to help our future to be better than our present. No child should have to choose between hunger and education. It is inhuman.

Of course, the scale of the fight is humongous but there is always hope. And perseverance.

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda. I sincerely hope you will join me. For every blog post you write, BlogAdda will sponsor meals for an Akshaya Patra beneficiary for an entire year, as a part of our Bloggers Social Responsibility.

I am tagging no one specific, but it will be great if all my blogger friends take up this tag. You can read more about this initiative here.

Daddy Diaries : And she turns one

Dear diary,

Anika turns one today. In the last few weeks, she gave us one jolt after another. First, teeth started sprouting all over inside her mouth. I know that is normal but it was strange to see her with teeth. She looks like a bunny when she laughs which she does a lot nowadays. She farts and laughs. A lot.

She has started walking too. She did a drunk dance for a few days and then one day, got up and crossed a room. Everyone fell silent and looked at each other, as if we have realized that there was a green alien from Mars sitting in the room with us. Then everyone fell upon each other to grab their mobiles. She clapped and laughed and walked. She is still getting the hang of it. Her gait is funny.

She has started eating all kind of food – eggs, yogurt, butter, panner, khichdi – you name it, she eats it. We usually have to put up a song when she eats. Thank God her relationship is over with Justin Beiber’s Baby. The affinity was driving me crazy. Nowadays, it is plain, old Lakdi ki kathi. Bless the Lord.

Diary,

A few days back she made the first connection between a word and what that word means. It was a bit surreal. I don’t know how to explain it. It is like that moment when you understand the first word in a French movie because you have started learning the language. That happiness. That first click. I felt that for her.

And that was the first time I felt how far away she has come from being an unknown face floating in liquids that she was a year back.

Last year, we were worried about everything going right, worried about her grand entry in the world. And when the doctors brought her out – a pink mass of flesh, completely dissatisfied with the change in her quiet existence, hungry, crying – I felt a surge of blood to my face. Something changed inside me. I went to the nursery, saw the nurses put some identification on her as she tried to open her eyes and look at me. I stood there a long time trying to comprehend what had just happened. I became a father. Holy crap!

Dear Diary,

It had been a crazy one year journey. Geet and I went through myriad collection of emotions. Our limits were tested. Sometimes, there were cloudbursts of happiness. Sometimes we went through volcanic eruption of frustrations. But we clung to each other. We watched her face change every day. We saw her pick up new habits and discard the old ones within weeks. We saw her smile one fine day and smiled with her. I won’t lie if I say that there weren’t times when we wanted to break free, when we wanted our own personal space, when all this got too overwhelming for both of us. And that is when our families came to our support. I don’t know what we would have done without them.

But you know what, Diary? We always felt guilty about leaving her behind whenever we went for a movie or a dinner date. We kept talking about her. I remember both of us getting restless when we went to watch a movie leaving Anika with her grandparents for the first time. We could not sit through the second half. And that is when we realized how much our lives have changed. How much this girl has crept up in our thought process. How much she means to us.

In January ’14, Geet and I went on a holiday with Anika to Kasauli. She was seven months old and everyone scared us to bits about taking such a small child to the hills. We still went ahead and immensely enjoyed the trip except for that one time when we had to go to a temple on the top of a hill and taking her there in the pram was not an option. I picked her in my arms and climbed the hill and then scared a monkey away who tried to kidnap her. I was Superman in Geet’s eyes that day. Her jaw scraped the ground and she had no idea how I did that. Neither did I.

Diary,

 I wonder what is in store for us in the future. I am scared that she might not pick up my habit of reading or watching movies. I want to discuss books with her. I want to discuss old Hollywood classics with her. I know, I should not be imposing any sort of career choices on her but I want her to an artist – a singer or a painter or a writer or a dancer. I want her to love her profession. I want her to choose a career that fulfils her, not something that just pays the EMI of  her apartment. But, well, I think I am thinking far ahead. We will cross the bridge when we come to it. All that makes her happy right now is her plastic fruit basket that she loads and unloads relentlessly with plastic mango, papaya and bananas.

So, one year has gone by Dear Diary. Who knows what the future holds. But I do pray that the fun continues.

Happy Birthday Anika.

20130521_175348E

Mechanophobia minus Matrix

image from here

image from here

No, I am not going to rant about the impending doom of humanity because Terminators are here. Neither am I going to convince you that we live in the Matrix. And no, my laptop did not transform into a Transformer and attack me.

What I am going to tell you is that I am suffering from mechanophobia. I fear machines. Not the imaginary machines whose fear Hollywood have instilled in millions of us over the years, but the real machines that surround us all day. It is strange how that fear is instilled by small minor incidents that stay with us and grow their inky black tentacles in our brain as we grow up.

Take for example, the ceiling fan. A very harmless machine, you might say. Not for me. I remember my grandfather telling me years ago how a man was decapitated by a ceiling fan that suddenly decided to part from the ceiling. I was a kid and the story stayed with me and every time someone would switch on the fan, I would look at it with fear as if this was going to be the last swirl of air to hit my face. Till date, winters is my favorite time of the year. A few days after my grandfather told me this story, a ceiling fan fell over my uncle’s massive and turbulent tummy as he was sleeping. It is another story that the fan just bounced off him because of the fats he had accumulated over the years. He lived to tell the tale.

A few days back, a guy died in our locality because he had left his laptop switched on to download movies in the night as he went to sleep. The battery developed some problem and emitted some sort of a poisonous gas. The poor guy did not even knew what hit him. Now, I have this habit too and ever since I have heard this story, I have developed a fear of leaving my laptop switched on at nights. I do not want to wake up in heaven without even knowing what happened. I have started sniffing my laptop and I look very suspiciously at it.

Whenever I am using the grinder in the kitchen to chop onions or garlic, I have this fear that while I am putting them in the grinder, it might get accidentally switched on and I will lose half of my finger. Every time I operate this machine, I imagine half of my finger finely chopped with the chopped onions while the other half squirting blood like a fountain. I just can’t shake off the image.

The machines that carry us places terrify me even more. Whenever I sit in cars or buses, I keep wondering if this is my last day on Mother Earth. What if the car explodes in flames or one of the tyres of the bus burst while the driver is over-speeding? What happens if the Metro fall off one of its pillars? What if the train I am travelling in collides with another one and I am stuck with entangled metal and dead bodies with an iron rod jutting out of my shoulder? I can’t sleep at nights in a train. I keep imagining that all of us are going to DIE! Whoever came up with the bloody idea of running this crazily heavy machine on two thin metal tracks was a fool.

And ever since that Malaysian flight has vanished, my fear of flying has multiplied. Think about it. There is this huge machine made up of a million part flying thousands of feet above the ground and you are encased inside it. Thousands of things can go wrong. One small part stops working and that it it. You will end up screaming to glory, falling to Earth in a huge ball of fire. Or worse, end up as shark food.

And don’t get me started on lifts. Every time I hear that slight creaking of the lift as it fills, I keep imagining that the metal wires that keep it dangling are going to snap and we will all experience zero gravity before splattering to our death. I hate confined spaces that does not give you any chance to save yourself.

I fear the drilling machine too. Every time dad brings it out to drill a hole in the wall, I get all panicky when he switches it on. I keep imagining that the drill bit will fly out of the machine any time and head straight for my head. You can’t imagine how many deaths I die before that machine goes back in its box. I keep imagining the drill bit embedded halfway in my forehead.

And I can go on and on. What if my mobile phone explodes? What if the room heater catches fire while I am sleeping? What if the CFL falls on my head (It fell off once in my room and shattered to pieces. Thankfully, no one was standing beneath it)? Sometimes I feel like a walking Final Destination. All Parts.

Of course, I do not let anyone around me know of my fears. I behave as if I don’t care and am perfectly normal like every one else. They have no idea about the storm raging inside me. But then what do I know about the kind of fears other people are living with? On a basic level all of us are the same. Phobia is a part of our psyche. There was a time when I thought that I was going mad, fearing things that are a part of our every day life. I thought I needed some help. I realized it is not the fear of machines per se. All the phobias stem from our fear of death, of losing something. If you ask someone what they fear, you will always get a couple of things – Dads, Bats, Lizards, Darkness, Men, Women, Loneliness, Sea, Company, Self etc etc. So, I think I am all right. I am not falling to pieces. Not yet.

Now if you would excuse me, I need to go and kill a cockroach. I am the only one in the house who is not scared of them.

Daddy Diaries : Music, Sounds and Radars

Dear Diary,

Sometimes I feel that children are born sadists. How else do you explain their waking and wailing at exactly the time when you are praying to God for a minute’s respite? I can give a million examples –

  • Geet and I put Anika to bed and even though we are tired to the bone, we think of indulging ourselves with a bit of ding-dong. We are on the cusp of happiness when Anika raises her head from the cot and start wailing.
  • I desperately want to work on the book and miracle of miracle happens and Anika goes to sleep. I haven’t even greased my mind properly to write a few words and there she is, sitting and grinning at me.
  • We are getting really late and as soon we glide towards our car, Anika dumps a royal poop in her diaper.
  • I have an implementation the next day and I have to get up at 4 am and all I am praying for is a good 3 hours sleep. Anika somehow hears my prayers and wakes up so many times in the night that I wonder why I didn’t stay in the office.

I think children have this radar that catches adult happiness pretty quickly. Then, very clandestinely, they start making elaborate plans for ruining that happiness. I wonder how they do it. Is it some form of a seventh sense? I am glad that some children lose the ability as they grow because the world will be inhabitable otherwise.

Dear diary,

Two teeth have mysteriously appeared in Anika’s mouth and she looks quite cute when she laughs. But before those teeth appeared, we had a harrowing time grappling with the indicators. So almost a month before the twin towers appeared side by side, Anika had an upset tummy that lasted for almost three weeks. Geet and I nearly died of exhaustion during that time. We were changing her diapers for 10-15 times a day. We felt as if there is no other purpose for us to exist other than to be a diaper-changing-machines who were dragging on all four after those horrendous three weeks and were praying to God to have some mercy on them. Anika, of course, had no idea as to what her poor parents were going through. She was busy being a poop Niagara. Finally there was some sunshine and the teeth appeared as our saviour.

Anika has started to crawl with the dexterity of a crocodile master crawler. She can be from one end of the bed to another during the time it takes us to say – Oh Shit! She can now sit in her walker and pose immense threat to all the show-pieces and flower vases appearing in her range. She needs her favourite songs playing in the background when she eats her food. Her favourite songs include – Justin Bieber’s Baby (Sigh!), O Gujaria (Queen), Tum Hi Ho (Ashiqui 2) and Baby Doll main Sone di (Ragini MMS 2), Aaj Blue hai (Paani)x8 (Yaarian) and Gandi Baat (R…Rajkumar). In fact she is so smitten by Tum Hi Ho that she starts staring at the wall the moment the song plays and loses the sense of all her surrounding. It is the correct window to put dollops of Cerelac in her mouth. Bless the Music Director!

Dear Diary,

Anika has started filling the house with her sounds. The first sound she made was Pa-Pa. Of course she has no idea what she is saying and neither does she associate the sound with me. He even calls a flower-pot Pa-Pa. Then the second sound she made was Ma-Ma. Then came Ba-Ba, Ka-Ka, Tat-tat and Bye-Bye. It was a bit surreal after all those cries and throaty laughters.

Sometimes her growth scares me. I mean, she was like a toy earlier to play with but now she has started turning into more human with all those sounds and the way she now recognizes family members and her reactions. It is as if the human that was hidden somewhere inside her is coming out. It makes me more and more aware of the immense responsibilities that Geet and I have as parents. I hope we do well. She is a happy child. She laughs a lot and cries very little (only when she has to oil her happiness radar). We hope we will demolish the radar as she grows up.

20140206_220919

Open letter to my maid

image from here

image from here

My dear Maid, 

I know guys don’t write letters to maids and they definitely don’t call them ‘dear’ and I hope you do not take offence in me addressing you as someone who is dear to me. So help me God. I have seen women write incessantly about the love-hate relationship they share with their maids but guys usually shy away from it. I blame our system for it, much like Rahul Gandhi. We are not supposed to feel affectionate towards our maids. I am breaking the barriers here and that is why it is so important for me to call you ‘dear’. It is not a word, it is a hammer and I am using it to break the wall and show my gratitude to all the lovely ladies who have worked in my house over the years. 

Let me begin by saying that I was brought up with a sense of being higher up in the pyramid of society. My grandma used to keep a separate plate and glass for you to eat breakfast and drink the tea she provided with a sense of charity. We were not supposed to touch those utensils and it was blasphemy to eat in your plate or drink water in your glass. You were supposed to be a lower class nobody who could never be satisfied with what has been given to her and your whole community was supposed to be like you. Well, let me tell you dear, that the phoniness of this unabashed display of superiority pissed me off as a kid and I gleefully indulged in numerous acts of blasphemy when I ate in your plate and drank water from your glass, much to the utter shock of my grandma.

Dear maid,

I remember so many unintentional hilarious and sad incidents involving you that I have lost count. So, thank you for the doses of laughter and the pauses of pondering I have collected over the years. I remember, when grandma in her rare moods of philanthropy, started teaching you the Hindi alphabets. I was surprised to know that you could not read or write. I was young. And then, grandma and you reached the alphabet ‘sh’. She would say ‘Sh se Shatkon’ and you would say ‘Sa se Satkon’ and it went for such a long time that I thought that only a calamity like grandma grinding all her teeth to dust or an astroid hitting the Earth could possibly stop the loop. And your name was Geeta which is one of the many ironies of life. Then you transformed into Bhagwanti. You were usually beaten blue and black by your husband when you came to work. You were 2D thin. I always wondered how much endurance you had for doing such physically challanging work when half of your body was swelling with pain. You made me laugh by the way you cleaned the utensils with all your might as your sari danced like waves with your movements. Then you turned into Sheila, who used to steal spoons for reasons I could not understand. It was hilarious because once mom caught you while you were trying to hide a spoon in your salwar. You said that you were itching terribly and merely rubbing the spoon over your skin. Then you turned into wide-eyed Sampa who would, in excited shrieks, tell her sisters over the phone that you went to the mall with us and saw a movie in the theatre and had chow mein in the food court. 

Dear Maid,

I know sometimes people are ruthless and you end up doing more than you could endure. You are constantly pestered at times, even when you are doing fine. Sometimes, you rebel and then you are told that you belong to a category of society that can never be thankful for what is being given to them. Have you noticed the crazy flip-flop of hatred and harmony you experience with a family? At one hand, you are sitting with them and having tea in your designated cup, telling them the story of your life and how miserable everything is, expecting some gift on Diwali and New Year and on the other hand you are blamed for being lazy and not doing things properly. How do you handle such relationships when you are at the receiving end? Of course, you grin and bear it, just like all of us who take shit from people above us in the pyramid, conveniently forget it and do exactly the same to the people below us.

Dear Maid,

I would like to thank you. Thank you for cleaning my room, my wash-room, my clothes, my utensils. Thank you for dusting my house, for making the food, for folding my clothes, for making tea for me, for being there. I know it would be impossible to survive without you. I know everyone knows that, no matter how high in the air their nose is, no matter how much difficult they find it to give you a raise which is equal to the price of a plate of chicken tikka kabab in a mall. 

And in the end, a small note for my present dear Maid –

It has been a month since your mother-in-law died. I know you have no love for her (and I am quoting my mom here), but you have already extended your 15 days break to 30 days. Yes, unbelievable as it may sound, my household has been operating sans you for a month now. It is a miracle and we are enduring one day at a time but a day does not pass when we don’t remember you. What you have done is unprofessional but it is OK. As always, mom will forgive you after giving you a nice piece of her mind. And then everything will be as it always was. It has nothing to do with the pyramid, believe me. So, you should return now. We are somehow, barely holding the fort but we need reinforcements. We have never told you how important you or your successor (who might be a reality soon) are to us and that is what this letter intends to tell you in addition to the fact that we are dying without you.

Thank you,

A humble dependant.

p.s. I will be a bit erratic for a while on my blog and all the amazing blogs I regularly read because I am working on my second book. Please forgive me.

Daddy Diaries : Beds and Hobbitses

Dear Diary,

The day for which the Sharma family was eagerly waiting arrived a few days back. Anika started crawling on all four (more like an alligator) a few days back and the house was buzzing with gossip about how long we had before she would fall off the bed. Everyone was of the opinion that her crawl was more of a slither and that she won’t be able to pass the single pillow barricades. How wrong we were! It so happened that one fine evening when Geet was stuffing stuff in her overstuffed almirah while Anika sat sprawled in her pillow cage, she suddenly heard a thud followed by a blood-curling wail. Anika had broken the cage and fallen off the bed.

image from here

image from here

There was a sudden buzz in the house. Anika was passed from one hand to another, like a stack of bricks at a construction site. It was one of the landmark days when you realize that your child has crossed a very important milestone. We almost had a party to celebrate the bump on her head.

Anika has also started reacting to all the food that is never going to get into her mouth for a long time. She hates her Cerelac and mashed bananas but stares gluttonously at the aloo paratha in my hand. She then licks her lips and makes sound with her tongue as if she has not eaten in months. She stares beseechingly at Geet’s dinner plate but closes her mouth the moment I try some fruit juice on her. She seems to be a pretty good actress.

Geet and I left Anika with her grandparents and had some ‘us time’. We watched the desolation of Smaug and had pasta followed by brownie dipped in boiling chocolate sauce and got nostalgic about the good old days when we used to eat chocolate off each… never mind. So, we came back home and I decided to create a Lonely Mountain in our bedroom. The trigger was the fact that Geet was feeling tired and wanted to have a nap. So I turned Anika into Bilbo. I was Thorin, the Dwarf king and Geet was Smaug who was lying under her comfortable duvet which was actually millions and millions of coins. I commanded Bilbo to go into the mountain and find the Arkenstone which was nothing but Geet’s hairclip. Bilbo quietly slipped into the mountain of coins but she wasn’t very quiet. She woke up Smaug but before the dragon could shoot fire at the hobbit, Bilbo snatched the hairclip and pulled it with all her might. Smaug bellowed and Bilbo and I ran for our life. Thankfully, that was not the day Bilbo fell off the bed but Smaug made us feel sorry that we woke her up.

Dear Diary,

Seven months have gone by and Anika has turned from a sleeping beauty to a roadrunner. It is hard to catch her and make her stay still. As much as Geet and I are scared of the terrible twos, we are also looking forward to having a full night sleep, an act about which we have very faint memories. Recently Anika went through a phase of nightmares and would wake up screaming like the heroine of a Ramsey movie. We had to eat Crocins before going to work during that horrible phase.

We have realized that with a child you never know what the next day holds. And as a wise man once said – The smaller the package, the smaller the problems. I find solace in believing that nightmares followed by screams, diaper rashes and hobbitses falling off beds are smaller problems as compared to what lies ahead.

Why homosexuality should be encouraged in India

image from here

image from here

When the Supreme court acts like a Khap and bans homosexuality in a country like India, it is indeed a dark day especially when allowing it would have done wonders for the country. Decriminalization of homosexuality would have turned us into better humans over the coming decades but by making it a criminal offence, all we are doing is being consistently thick-headed

This criminalization bit basically means that two consenting adult men or women cannot indulge in ding-dong inside their own house behind close doors. Strange and insane as it may sound, from now onwards they will always be haunted by images of God wiggling his finger at them reminding them of the ‘natural order’ of things. They will also be haunted by Baba Ramdev trying to seduce them into their ashram so that he could cure them by teaching them how to tie themselves in a knot. And this happened after giving four years of hope to those consenting adults that they would be treated like ‘normal’ human beings.

I am disappointed majorly because this was such a golden chance for India to set a few things in order. Take the example of population control. Now we all know that two men or two women cannot produce a baby because of chromosomal complications. That would be like Rakhi Sawant spelling Czechoslovakia correctly. This decriminalization would have helped India to solve this problem of babies popping out of every nook and corner of the country. We would have slowed down this production line of wailing babies for a while.

Another major change would have been lesser dowry deaths. The LGBT community does not believe in arranged marriages and matrimonial websites could not have possibly exploited this aspect of our society. We usually burn around 8000 brides every year which would have considerably reduced. We would have also reduced cases of marital rapes, which by the way, are completely legal at the moment as per the natural order.

Consider female feticide as well. Parents might not kill their daughters when they would realize that after attaining adulthood, their daughters might leave with another woman. There would be no need to save money for their dowry and marriage for the rest of your life. In fact parents would have encouraged it (at least in case of women) and we would have seen ‘Become lesbian in 10 days’ posters on the rear windows of autos. 

“Hello Mrs. Chadha! Where is your daughter nowadays?” asked Mrs. Ahloowalia.

“She got married to her lesbian lover,” Mrs. Chadha replied with pride. 

“Really! How lucky! Our daughter turned out to be one of those silly normal ones. My husband spent his entire pension and savings on her marriage.”

“Pity! We are going on a Euro tour next month. But your son did turn out all right, no? He is gay, right?”

“Yeah, and thank god for that!” said Mrs. Ahloowalia. 

“What about the family tree?”

“Oh fuck trees! They are adopting!” Mrs. Ahloowalia beamed. 

We would have also seen a rise in the number of adoptions happening in our country. Usually same-sex couples end up adopting children to complete their family. This would have taken the burden off the conscience of parents who leave their children in garbage bins. Of course, our ultra complex adoption laws would have to be amended. They anyway need an amendment at present because by the time a couple is able to finish the formalities of adopting a 6 months old child, he/she is already 18.

Maybe decriminalization followed by making same-sex marriage legal would have made us more tolerant to people who are different from what we consider normal. It would have opened doors for other kind of kindness too. For example, we would have stopped looking down upon all the Chinese from the Eastern states of India or the people who work in our houses or collect garbage for us or who pull the rickshaw or who live under the flyovers or who are not married or who are differently-abled or who are raped. One kind of acceptance would have opened doors for another kind.

Another good thing that would have come out if it is that the country would have shown a middle finger to all the people who are the mouthpiece of Gods. It is strange how God has nothing better to do other than frothing via the mouth of his fan club dying to set the world straight. All around the world, the countries that have moved away from conservative religious zombies and madmen and have kicked them in the ass are the ones where people have a much better living standard. This was our chance to be progressive. And we supremely fucked up.

It does not matter if we hurl a hundred rockets towards Mars or set up an Indian colony on that planet. As long as we poke our nose in the affairs of two consenting adults and do not give them freedom of choice, all those scientific advancements don’t mean a thing. As long as we do not open our minds to the fact that it is every one’s right to be happy irrespective or their orientations, gender, caste or religion – we are still very much where our ancestors were. On the trees.