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Hand in hand for eternity

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Mom Knows


I have been sharing each passing second of my daughter, Agni's, developments with friend and business partner Sulekha Rawat. The latest being the separation anxiety that sets in with the beginning of school. Let me be honest and confess here that this syndrome made much deeper impressions on me and my soul than Agni's. Nonetheless she suffers unimaginably. Sulekha Rawat, the most fantastic Mom and daughter ever, wrote this to comfort me and it touched the deepest corner of my heart! Here is what she wrote:

Mommy Don’t Leave…

I wake up with a heavy heart, 
Don’t like the morning time.
Dread opening my eyes,
Bury my head in the pillows, instead.

I know what happens next,
I drag myself into her room.
My angel sleeps so peacefully,
a smile on her rosy lips.

She puts her arms around me,
And wishes me a happy morning,
But then her face crumples up,
Courtesy
I can see terror in her eyes.   

She remembers its school-time now,
And mummy will take her there.
She feels threatened among the strangers,
In her heart there is a fear.

What if Mommy leaves her ,
And goes away for three hours?
How will she find her mommy,
in the crowd of strangers?

The little girl is scared to let go,
Of her mum’s hand,
She feels safe with her and,
has been her world for so long.

For two and a half years,
They have been a team.
Their bond solid yet so fragile,
Their love so comforting,
and supreme.

When mommy leaves her baby,
and walks away towards her car.
The desperate longing in the baby’s eyes,
Tears at her aching heart,

But they both have to be strong,
Be brave for each other.
It’s only a matter of time,
till the tables are reversed.

Now the mommy will cry,
when the baby sighs.
“I don’t want to go home,
I want to remain at school.
I want to play with my friends,
I like being here.
At home I get so bored,
So please leave me here.”

So cheer up Mommy and Baby,
You are in for a roller-coaster ride.
Enjoy the highs and lows,
Yell with glee and pride.

God bless you both and,
Sulekha Rawat (top left) with Mom and daughter
 long after their separation battles are over
I wish and pray,
That he keeps you safe,
night and day.


P.s. I know daddy loves his angel equally but this poem is about the mom’s experience at the school with the baby. So Daddy kindly understand J

Sulekha aka Lucks





Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nurture to be Nurtured - duhhhh!!!!

The headline is a lesson more relevant to "Blogosphere" than life, but it really seems to spill over onto many situations in both. Okay I think I am going to cut the chase here and get to the point. It’s been a while I took my leave from Blogosphere – it’s been so long that I started wondering whether the agency actually had given me a one- way ticket. The feeling was gnawing and I started to fear my absence in that zone.

Courtesy 
Some of the nagging doubts seemed too close to being real – “What if my friends forget me there?”, “What if followers are too used to seeing that lock on 'howabouthis'?”, “What if I was labeled a sporadic wannabe without any loyalty?” The doubts created a nice and thick blanket of insecurity around me and I was just too scared of shedding it and buying that return ticket!

And then one day his voice reverberated in my head, the voice of ‘Blogos’, God of the blogging world. Nurture to be Nurtured – he said. I saw a vague vision of him – his lips curled into a smile, his lashes blinked and exposed kind large eyes swimming with words and knowledge! Then there was light and the darkness went away.  and the dawn matured into a beautiful autumn day. I felt needed rather than needy. And what a feeling that was. Nurture to Nurtured – duh – but of course I knew that one!

So to my 117 followers I return today with an apology and a promise. It’s a promise to always be there when you come knocking; a promise to be ready for you just in case, even if you are not planning a visit; a promise to visit you even if life here in this world takes over for it is you who make my blogging world and it is you who can take it away.

Courtesy 
Having said the above – here is a question. Is that being opportunistic in some level? Is that like a give and take? Is that saying I will not give if you don’t take or vice versa? Maybe not – because this is what Blogosphere is made of – a lifeline of support. There is nothing else that keeps us together and going. And after all if you need a plant to bloom into a flower you will have to make sure it survives.


I know not if this is a good return but it is one nonetheless and with this I have bought my ticket back. My door will be answered from this day onwards – I will eagerly wait to see you arriving.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Here's to Sulekha


I read an invitation to a tempting call to write at http://sulekkha.blogspot.com/ and this is what it said:
Let's make a collage of articles.
"SOUL-MATES"
 Friends,
 You are invited to my collage making event. All you need to bring to the event is your article on soul mates. Do you believe in soul mates? How and where can you find your soul mate? Does everyone have one?
 If you are interested in helping me make this collage, then Please leave your name and blog link at the bottom of the page, before 7th September.



How could I not respond to this call from someone who actually fits quite well into my imagination of a soulmate. Sulekha completes my sentences and thinks my thoughts for me. Check her blog out at sulekkha.blogspot.com. And here’s to her…


I am to Soulmates what an ant is to alphabets! I am told that soulmates as the name suggests is a mate of your soul – a mate that stays with you in one form or the other in every physical lifetime but is a constant lover in the ethereal world - a world that I have no remembrance of in this state of my existence.

So being the practical ant that I am, I seem to concentrate largely on my mate in this world; my lover and husband here in Earth. For the time being he is the be all and end all of my entire existence. And just in case he is not my Soulmate my heart and head asks me not to look for who is immediately. He will come when he has to and I will deal with him then.

Having said that, contrary to most romantic ideologies about soulmates, I am extremely nervous about meeting this guy. I like the warm and fuzzy feeling of comfort with my existing (let’s just say) “world mate”. I feel dizzy even imagining someone disrupting what we have here. I have put my heart and soul in this relationship – absolutely NOT to find out that my soul was only humoring me when we worked in partnership!! Surely it knew all along who its mate is. Was it actually laughing at my futile attempts then?? Was I really working on someone who was thrown my way to tide over this world only to return to someone else in the next???


Photo courtesy

Well it’s all very confusing to me. I just want to be with people I know and have learnt to love. I am not comfortable with drastic changes and believe that I may just abhor whoever my Soulmate is for disrupting my life like that. “Common SOULMATE – I HAVE A CHILD WITH THIS MAN!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!?” What’s worse – apparently I won’t even be able stop myself from falling in love with this spoilt sport!

And here is another thought – an amateur in spirituality – I am led to believe that all human beings are a part of one great soul. DO I need to elaborate more on this? You get my drift right SM? We are one anyway – so stop looking for me. Please stay at peace knowing I am already you and you me. What’s more – my “World Mate” and baby are a part of you too. It may be an unfortunate thought to you but really we are all one. Let’s stand united in this belief okay?





Friday, August 12, 2011

Dad's Diary 19 - KICK BACK


He had a single name, Dukpa, which meant that he hailed from Bhutan; 'Druk' was Bhutan and 'pa', man. “That's all you need to identify your existence with,” he once explained to me, “with having or lacking a first name, you never have or lack anything extra.”

Dukpa was employed as a 'sahish', running after the horses hired out for fun riding to the tourists in a Himalayan resort by his employer who owned several of them.

Dukpa was a good horse-man; In fact calling him that was rather crude; a horse-whisperer was much nearer the point. His favorite was an aging mare; Pema, he had lovingly christened her.

His employer hired and fired him almost daily; hired him for his horse-sense, and fired him for his weakness in giving Pema as much food and rest as was possible. The net result was that the mare earned less and ate more. The employer resented this; and, in Dukpa's reckoning, had stooped so low as to declare Pema to be the ugliest one of his whole lot.

Dukpa didn't care one way or the other. But what really brought tears to his eyes was the rapacious employer's caprice of kicking the mare for no reason at all. To make up, he would buy colorful ribbons, show them to  the mare as if to assuage her feelings, and tie them on her mane, telling her in a soothing voice that she would go to heaven, and the employer to hell.

The day came when Dukpa decided that enough was enough. He maneuvered Pema in a particular position, and informed the owner that she could not work with injuries in her hind legs. The disbelieving employer came over to personally inspect the injuries. Dukpa tightened his grip on Pema's mane, and beseeched her, “Now baby, now.”

A snort later, Pema heaved up both the hoofs, equipped with new horse-shoes, with all her might, caught the employer under the ribcage, and threw him on to the concrete wall at the far end of the stable. “And that's what I call an ugly kick,” shouted Dukpa. Pema guffawed for the first time in her life.

Courtesy


The employer was rushed to the hospital with multiple fractures, and Dukpa rushed Pema to safety. He rode Into a pre-arranged Buddhist monastery in a far flung area where the head Lama had agreed to take them in.

Dukpa took the robes and the vow of silence, and slept under the same shade built for Pema, taking care of the mare in her old age. The head Lama approved,  counseling Dukpa that that precisely was his way to salvation. Dukpa fulfilled his assurance to Pema that she would go to  heaven if there was one; the monastery indeed was Pema's heaven.  

BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE


Friday, July 22, 2011

Dad's Diary 18 - The Boss


I crossed the threshold, and walked right into a shattered symphony. A symphony was indeed what wafted from Abdul's words and activities. Something had gone horribly wrong.

The one thing that Man Friday Abdul hated about his boss' demeanor was his indifference to improving the quality of home comforts. 

All the officers' quarters were equipped with calling bells fitted in the kitchen and the domestic-help-quarters except this house. He had made several fruitless requests to his boss. It was a matter of prestige that the bell should summon him instead of the officer's holler. It was too demeaning for him.

CREDIT - polyvore.com


In fact Abdul's persistence had led to the requisition of an electric bell from the government store. But, this being a government quarter, an electrical engineer had to oversee its installation by a departmental technician. The notorious 'red tape' had taken its toll; there was no trace of the engineer concerned. Abdul was in an explosive mood. 

In the boss' absence I offered to pay for a private electrician, and face the consequences later. An overjoyed Abdul ran out to make the necessary arrangements. The bell was fixed even before the boss' arrival back home. When he did arrive, 'krirring krirring' heralded his entry.

Next morning we waited in the living room for the cup that cheers, but there was no trace of Abdul with the tea pot. The boss lost his cool and shouted for Abdul to hurry with the tea, but to no avail. Ultimately we located him huddled up in a corner of the kitchen.

“How many times do I have to call you?” the irate boss fumed. And ignition reached the bomb-wick.

“I heard some undesirable noise,” retorted Abdul, “but I did not hear the bell ring,” adding that the bell switch was meant for the boss to push, not to add color to the wall.

“Yes, Sir,” the boss managed to say, somewhat startled. 

BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE


Monday, July 11, 2011

Dad's Diary 17 - The Image


The boss' Man Friday Abdul had an extremely low opinion about  camera wielding visitors who did not take his photograph. There was another class of visitors to his boss' official quarter who “perhaps pretended” to take his photograph for he never received the promised prints. For them he had unmitigated contempt.

In his boss' absence he would tell the new visitors how shameless had the earlier ones been. Even that did not improve his situation when   one day I arrived on the unenviable spot without a camera. That qualified me as a more reliable confidant, and he poured out his heart rending woes laced with the choicest of vituperative.

I hired a camera and volunteered to click. He mused for a while. Did I know how to handle the camera? Did I remember to buy a roll of film?For he was done with “fruitless modeling; poses were indeed important for posterity.” The interrogation over, he deferred the photo session till the next day ostensibly because I was tired.

With the boss' departure for office came the photo session time. Abdul turned up in an ill fitted suit and a tie with lopsided knot which I discreetly pointed out. He seated himself in the boss' chair in the study, and pulled the table close to cover the front of his unzip-able trouser. The right side of his lips hung in the process of working up a pout on his face “to look important.” I took several shots.

Next day as the boss was leaving for the office I was awe struck to see him in the same suit and tie as I saw in the photo session. It was a perfect fit for the boss. Abdul who stood opening the front door looked at me; a sly smile hovering on his entire countenance.

BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dad's Diary 16 - The Coop



Grapevine at home had it that government officers on deputation from other states to this Himalayan hamlet needed domestic help just like him. And Abdul loved to live daringly. So, he set out for a destination thousands of miles away where the services of a 'cook in particular-cum-all else in general' would extract a premium.

There was a foothold in a neighborhood uncle's den who had preceded him. Abdul posed the million dollar question: where was the market? He lost no time in stationing himself there to weigh up prospective employers. His searching eyes riveted onto the man in the chicken stall. He looked very authentic officer type, talking very very authoritatively.

Abdul had hit pay dirt. His inquiries revealed that this officer also lived alone having left his family back home to join his job on deputation. That made two of them in the same boat now.  He followed the officer to his car, and showing great dexterity, opened the door for him. That was three years ago, and neither looked back on the decision.

(courtesy www.mustee.com)
Man Friday Abdul was indispensable to his boss by dint of his hard work laced with an uncanny presence of mind. Abdul's chicken curry of a secret recipe was famous. He was a past master in dodging persistent inquiries about the recipe, even to the extent that he would commandeer the boss' car to travel to markets 15/20 miles away to buy 'special spices and herbs'.


The local grocers could not be relied upon to keep his marketing list a secret. However, his refusal to reveal the  recipe resulted in a steady flow of self-invited friends to the house virtually demanding chicken curry and rice.

The boss also had to guard against Abdul's possible abduction with inducement of higher salary by other officials. It led to the boss soft pedaling him on all other issues.

One day the boss' boss turned up for a chat,  stayed over till late night, and suggestively inquired what was there for dinner. Abdul, who was hovering around the room importantly, informed that chicken curry could be arranged if they agreed to have late dinner. 
(credit - www.ethnicindiancuisine.com)
Abdul went out of the back door, ran down hill to a house where he had noticed the owner was  fattening a chicken in a small coop in the open front yard. He broke open the coop, and decamped with the shrieking chicken at a speed that a minute later the inevitable pursuers had no chance of catching up.


(credit - www.lifeofanarchitect.com)
That night Abdul poured out his heart in cooking the chicken curry. Next day, when the episode came to light, the chicken owner bargained for and received an ample financial compensation to cover his loss.

I arrived there for a couple of days' stay shortly after the incident. There would be chicken curry tomorrow, the  boss informed me at the dinner table. “No, Sir, now,” quipped Abdul cryptically. The boss almost jumped up, chicken and panic having become synonymous for him,“Where did you get the chicken from?” Abdul handed him over the cash memo with a flourish for a chicken bought at the market. The boss heaved a sigh of relief.

Next morning I asked Abdul, “How come the chicken curry was doubly special that night?” He smiled slyly, “Because the chicken was marinated in adventure sauce, Sir, the same as last night's.”

“Last night's?” I asked in amazement. He had “lifted” the replacement chicken from the same coop, and handed his boss an old cash memo, he gleefully confessed. “Don't tell him, he is so chicken hearted!” he whispered.
       
BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE 

           

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A World Without Books


"Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone" - Tribute to a Reader 



I read a quote by an unknown author somewhere that said “anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book”. I have experienced books change the person I am time and again. I have lived a thousand lives; survived travesties in some and died for my lover in the other; I am passionate and irrational in some and mighty scornful in others; I have been a fashion diva with stilettos that sound to kill in one lifetime and a dwarf who loved a princess in some other…

“Man does not live by bread alone” - When Pandora Poikilos (aka Dora) dished out this topic for me, for her delicious Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour, I couldn't think of anything else but the above picture. Look at it - its priceless! I captured this image during a leisurely satiating post dinner stroll on the streets of Uptown Manhattan. The image is of a homeless man's heavily treasured and protected area. All his possessions are what you see in it - A glass of water and books. I couldn't help but wonder about this man - what happened when his home was taken away from him - did he just hold on to his books and walk away? What happened when he lost the last bit of money he had - did he smile and turn the page? How did it matter to him what happened to Lisbeth Salander in Larsson's sordid descriptions or what John Adam's went through during George Washington's presidential rule, when all that he was left with was some print and water?? Life was not really over for him but I was sure it would be if someone took away the last of his possessions - Books. The world would actually end...

Again dear readers this topic and my write up is a part of the Blog-A-Licious Tour by Pandora Poikilos. Please stay tuned to the following blogs for more on this topic... Sonia's  post follows mine and I am so looking forward to it.





Thursday, May 26, 2011

She Walked On



pic - chasintheshade.blogspot.com 
She walks on – so what if her legs tremble – she walks on. She chews on an Orbit to take her mind away from disastrous destinations and instead focus on innovations of rolling a gum a 100 different ways in her mouth. Smoothen it with the tongue till it feels like a stretched out cling wrap. Destroy it by chewing on it till every ridge of your teeth has made its mark on it. Then repeat, repeat and repeat. Concentrate just on that, even if it makes you look more like a cow intent on digesting half the grass in its mouth itself. “Life will unfold anyway” – she tells herself – “whether I think about it or not. Orbits are great!” She closed her eyes and visualized her jaws shaping with every bite – shuddered at the picture of herself as a Moose lookalike. She walked on and chewed still.

There is a pitfall in being preoccupied. You reach your destination far sooner than expected – a boon if you like it. Read a book from Gurgaon to Delhi and you don’t even notice the traffic (of course do not hazard this if you are driving. Hiring a chauffeur is a pre-requisite.). If you are trying to memorize the roads, the journey takes double the time you were expecting it to. What’s worse – the amount of time you have to wait at a red light  makes you forget what you had learnt so far – and then you lose interest and read some more… But I digress.

She was there. Her reality faced her like a gnawing fear – she wondered why she was chewing bitter gourd for so long and spat out a white ball as if it were poison! After her bath, she had wet some tissue paper with which she stroked the bathroom floor gently. The shed hair from her head, that were doomed to live a life of banishment after their fall, clinged on to the paper hopefully. She had grinned at her efficiency and flicked the roll into the bin. Presently she thrust this sordid image of herself towards the exit sign in her brain and straightened herself. If you threw a dog into water it swims to survive – even if it never swam before. She knocked on the door, gritted her teeth and brought a sparkle in her eyes. This was it.

A man whose face read profound and impatient opened the door. His salt and pepper beard deliciously trimmed to suit the shape of his face. His round rimless glasses shone in the sunlight but the piercing blue eyes beat it and penetrated her very being.  He moved aside to let her in – a hint of a smile in his lips. She would be judged and tested. Her stoic attitude fortified her and she walked in with confidence. This was a man she would happily sacrifice her right arm to be with but today she felt hollow.
A world champion chess player was going to sit opposite her today – life separating them instead of a board. Today was the day she would be humiliated and cast aside by a man she longed for forever. Go away, she said – to the image of the cow chewing grass again.

The day rolled by. Many who believed rumors of the man inviting amateurs to his house to play got anxious. Was a 16 year old nobody going to beat the very epitome of a genius mind? Online bloggers had started anticipating a diversion in trend; people’s imagination started running wild; event management companies drafted entire proposals for a celebrity appearance from a 19 year old genius; Cereal companies called urgent meetings to draw a budget for her to endorse them – it was as if a tornado warning had been announced and people were hustling to prepare for it.

But she came out only the next day – arms intertwined with her father after a tearful reconciliation! A union after 16 years during which she was forbidden to meet the man who had left her mother precariously stranded because of another relationship.

pic- filipspagnoli.wordpress.com
She had struggled years together wanting to meet this man. She had dreamed of a meeting in which she demanded answers of a teary eyed loser. She had drawn pictures of herself with him - walking hand in hand in a park. She dreamt of winning the screaming match and leaving him feeling sorry for himself…. She had dreamt of winning him over with a hug and bringing him home to a hating ex-wife.


She noticed a filthy black soft ball on the side of the driveway where she had discarded her comforting friend the day earlier. She smiled at the waiting press and said “He beat me.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dad's Diary 15 - Himalayan Inebriation


India abounds in Himalayan resorts of various altitudes, shapes and sizes. They have different life styles. But a common enough signature that attracts attention is the high incidence of drinking alcoholic beverages.

One such resort boasted of a politician who reached the pinnacle of his career because of, and not in spite of, his inalienable inebriation. Dev was handsome, charismatic, and sported an attractive flourish of his own in whatever he did.

Dev refused to call himself a bachelor, and chose to maintain his status as 'unmarried.' To him, a bachelor conveyed the idea of one eligible for marriage which he avowedly was not. Again, unmarried should connote that he was married, though unofficially. He did not marry his live in partner so as not to pull her into the “minister today, jailbird tomorrow” kind of political vortex.   

He wanted those of the generation next to call him 'kaka,' and not 'mama,' though both the words mean 'uncle.' He refused to discuss the subtlety behind such an assertion.

One of his inner circle friends later decoded the relational nuances involved. A kaka is father's brother, and a mama is mother's brother. Conceptually, one can forge a fonder relationship with a sister-in-law even if it could spur off qualms of conscious; but for the sister it had to be an unmixed affection.

Photo - www.superstock.com
Throughout Dev's tumultuous sojourn from being a trade union leader to general secretary of a political party to a legislator for the state and finally, to a cabinet minister, the bottle was his constant companion. He had no compunction about making it a public affair.

The bottle came under the most intensive scanner during the run up to the last election he fought. The rival candidates filled up the campaign trail with damaging posters and paintings of a sozzled man sleeping in a gutter, and in many other similar poses.

Dev had a tough time controlling his volunteers from tearing off the posters. His instruction was to make sure that the defaming posters remained intact till the day of the polling. “Guard them with your life,” he pleaded. None knew what ace-strategy he had up his sleeves.

This threw the rival camp into utter confusion. Unable to fathom what was going on, they tried to retract. Now the defamed were hell bent on protecting the insulting posters, and the paster were equally desperate to remove them.

On the last day of campaign Dev approached the microphone with a leonine swagger, and greeted the massive congregation.

The gist of the relevant portion of his speech : 'Look around yourself; look at those posters; I have been defamed and insulted for drinking. But I will not apologize. We are the Himalayas; we have a distinct lifestyle of our own. Some overdo it, some don't. I was a heavy drinker when five years ago you reposed your faith in me. Now look at those posters again, and ask yourselves, have you not been defamed and insulted?

Photo - The Himalayan Beacon
Now here is my last appeal: let only the drinkers vote for me; teetotalers vote for the rival candidates.'

Dev won the election by a thumping majority polling the highest number of votes of his career. What better strategy could there be in a constituency where an overwhelming segment of the voters not only drank, but loved to drink?! 








BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Long Long Time Ago I was crowned


My Crown * 2
I am ashamed, no utterly guilt ridden, of not having acknowledged the jewels I carry with me as a blogger, gifted to me by some fantastically gifted bloggers themselves! Yes it was a long time ago that a traveler and a writer thought kindly enough of me to have sent generous awards my way – Jim and Sulekha crowned me Meme and Stylish Blogger respectively. I was suddenly respected in Blogosphere and people started taking notice of me.

It was time to act a little uppity, talk like I know things and pretend to have the power to judge but that did not happen – what happened instead was life. It took me by the hand and sent me on a whirlwind. I have finally managed to control the reins of this fierce force and am planning to take up all those planned actions now. Please forgive my delay Jim and Sulekha and do accept my heartfelt gratitude for the honor.

Below is the pleasurable responsibility that I should have undertaken long long time ago:

Jim this is for you:

7 Stylish Bloggers of my choosing.

1.     Tammy Bleck – I should ideally award Tammy as Funniest, the most uplifting, the most enjoyable and the most stylish blogger. But alas I am restricted by rules. If you are a blogger and haven’t read her – there is definitely something wrong with you. Common people hop on over to http://singlepast50.com/blog/ and have the most fantastic read over.

2.     Pandora Pokilos – She is as splendid a writer as can be. She in many ways makes me want to be like her. Utterly enjoyable read and a splendid cyber personality. Thanks Pandora for enriching my experience with http://peacefrompieces.blogspot.com

3.     Sonia Rumzi  - the more you read Sonia the more you want to read her. Again an inspirational writer and completely awe inspiring. I especially love her dialogue with Baba Rumcake – its a sheer joy to read her. She is at http://soniarumzi.com/

4.     Jessica Brant you do the most fantastic things with your blog. Bring knowledge to people, vent, give courage, encourage, inspire and keep us going. You are fabulous and although I wanted to do this for the longest time ever – You are a stylish blogger for me – You are fantastic. Dear Readers if you haven’t already been to Jessica’s blog she is at http://findingonesway.com. You will love to share her journey and that’s a promise!

5.     Basabdatta Dasgupta really has panache and the most interesting topics in her blog. I came across her recently and kept wondering why was it so recent? Why wasn’t I reading her all this while? Why doesn’t she write more often? She is a must visit at http://basabs.blogspot.com

6.     Mari Sterling Wilbur at http://mariscamera.blogspot.com will fill your senses with color, style and beauty. She has the capability of making an artist out of a horse and she will prove it to you in her blog. A must must visit and a definite follow.

7.     Sukanya Bora enthralls me. She is a classic writer and can make the simplest of incidents the most intriguing. A dream can become a intricately woven story that will make you ponder all day. For me she is a cherished treasure that I intend to keep in safekeeping. She is at http://sukanyabora.wordpress.com/

And now for the Meme Awards. I do have to answer the following questions as per procedure. I promise to make it quick

1. If you could go back in time to relive one moment, what would it be?
The day I won my first pitch for an account

2. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
Nothing

3. What movie or TV character do you think you resemble most in personality?
 Kristin Davis in Sex and the City

4. Which TV or movie character would you like to be?
Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
  
5. If you could push one person in the whole world off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
A surgeon whose careless mistake killed a friend

6. Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
Being Moody

7. Describe yourself in one word.
Unpredictable

8. Describe the person who named you in this MEME in one word.
 Enigmatic

9. Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.
I enjoy it
 
10. Name at least 3 people or more to send this MEME, and then inform them.

1.    Jim Brandano
2.    Anna L Walls


To the Awardees -  if you are named here and have already been awarded these awards (and you find yourself gritting your teeth instead of smiling ear to ear) - please accept my apologies for repeating the honor. I do relieve you of the procedural responsibilities of being awarded if you do not want to take it up. I hope you will still love me : )

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dad's Diary 14 - Cane and Cannibal

In my early teens, I was once ensnared by a cane wielding cranky old man. He summed up my pedigree in an extremely unpleasant manner: “Here at last I get to see the illustrious son of an illustrious father who himself was the illustrious son of his illustrious father.”  

After over half an hour of one sided wordy attrition I gathered that my father was a thief at my age, and that my grand father even thought that his son amply exhibited cannibalistic tendencies after he and his group of friends had eaten up all the dogs and cats in the neighborhood. I made a feeble attempt to defend my father and suffered cane-nudges on the knees.

At last I resorted to my last line of defense: “Why don't you take it up with my father instead of me?”

“Simply because I don't want to get eaten up by a cannibal,” said Crank seriously, “and you have been stealthily looking at my grand daughter the whole of last week; that's almost stealing. I know you can't help it; runs amuck in the family.”

My father was not at home; he along with the rest of his old body building chums from his teens – Group of Six - were having a get together. I ran to the place, and insisted on an emergency meeting. I related the whole episode, and placed my thieving-cannibal-father right between the devil and the deep sea.
Pic from www.bestbuytoday.com

To my utter amazement, instead of bowing their heads in shame, all of them burst out laughing simultaneously. Still he owed me a cogent explanation. I was determined not to pass up this opportunity, a rare one at that, to pay him back with his own coins for the trouble he took in disciplining me.

My father agreed to make a clean breast of everything, but bound me down to a promise of not misbehaving with Crank. Here is what had happened:

Crank in those days was known as a crackpot. He had inherited the heavy cane along with an unmatched gullibility, and his favorite past time was chasing boys and cane-nudging them for no reason. Thoroughly irked, the Group of Six decided to retaliate.

They entered the kitchen through the back door opening out to the backyard, and decamped with the entire family's dinner. They also left an anonymous note saying, “Stop caning and avoid starvation.” Crank spotted my father who was the last to clamber up.

As a pre-emptive move my father confessed everything to my grand father, and escaped with a severe tongue lashing. Crank came to complain with the piece of evidence in the form of the warning letter. My grand father told him, “It is because of my strict discipline that you still have hands to carry your cane. He has strong teeth. Don't go anywhere near him; he is dangerous.” He mused for a while, and then added, “I wonder what has happened to all the missing pets.” Crank was suddenly in a hurry to get back home.

Grand father also informed my father, “Don't go anywhere near him (Crank). He is uncontrollable when he is really angry. And he is now vow-bound to murder you and your nefarious group.” They avoided each other for decades, and Crank unburdened all his resentment against my father on me.

The next day when he got me within his cane-range I stood my ground, raised my half clenched fists paw-like, pulled the facial muscles as far back as was possible and bared all my teeth. I could almost read his mind, “.... runs amuck in the family.”

BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dad's Diary 13 - Infernal Pizazz


He stood ramrod straight when he didn't have to speak. When he spoke his head seemed fitted on a loose neck. His favorite nod was sideways; his neck moving the head first right and then left. And he had an extra set of teeth in his lower jaw placed just behind the normal one.

His name was Pratap,. In school he terrorized the English language teacher who incidentally had been terrorizing the students for umpteen number of years.

The instruction was simple. Write a sentence using at least two new words that had not been discussed in the class. Pratap wrote, “The foolish old man lost some of his zing when he found the smarter student had great pizazz in sentence construction.” He underlined zing and pizazz as his two new words.

The teacher swallowed hard, but did not give up immediately. His red-inked note advised Pratap that pizazz should have four Zs, double Z occurring after each vowel. He was asked to write another sentence with the correct spelling. Pratap humbly said “OK Sir,” and his head nodded side-wise more than twice which betrayed him of being under great stress.

We apprehended an explosion of some sort the next day when we found Pratap standing ramrod straight outside the classroom to greet and escort the teacher inside. He peremptorily acknowledged Pratap's greetings, and stepped in.

Once inside the teacher and the student locked horns. The former quietly extended his hand which duly received the English notebook. The teacher nearly missed the header-word on the top of the relevant page. It read 'Confirmation' instead of 'Correction'.

The teacher's grim countenance bore ample testimony to his head having gone haywire. He kept his cool with great difficulty, and read on. It said : “The foolish old man has never heard of the thesaurus, and writes pizazz with four Zs, even though three Zs are also lexicographically acceptable, as if using an extra Z will add more dynamism to the word, as if spelling 'pilllar' with three Ls instead of two will make the pillar itself stronger.”

The teacher looked up from the page. If a rigid stare could cause violent death, Pratap would have dropped dead. He approached Pratap with an eloquent silence, but the latter could not hold back a last minute jibe : “Please don't lose your oomph, Sir.”

He caught Pratap by the shoulders, and said, “If the chattering of teeth in the ensuing freezing winter do not claim that extra set of ignoble teeth in your foul mouth, I will supply you with enough teeth breaking words next year to correct your infernal dental imbalance.”

There escaped a sound from the teacher's throat that could either be a chocked cry or a suppressed giggle. None in the class believed it to be either. Then a roar of laughter almost shook the classroom as the teacher took the lead, Pratap picked it up a fraction of a second later, and then all joined in. The school closed on winter vacation the very next day.

BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dad's Diary 12 - Himalayan Caprice


Darjeeling is one of those inscrutably inimitable Himalayan resorts that defies satisfactory description in its totality. Fond memories of these daunting hills of abundant greenery blossom like a hundred-petaled marigold of multi-color hues.

Old bungalows mostly in picturesque remote areas that were built by the colonial British rulers occupy a place of pride in its history. Electricity was not available for these bungalows then, and for many decades later  many such bungalows remained out of bounds for power companies to maintain the old ambiance.

One such bungalow is Lepcha Jagat.  A wooden bungalow with sloping corrugated iron roof right in the midst of a dense forest of oak, rhododendron, pines and other Himalayan flora, and no electricity.

Often obstinate rain accompanied by strong wind collecting sighs, whistles and drum beats from the hill slopes embrace the bungalow, wind swept foliage paste shifting shadows on every conceivable medium. Stand out in the veranda for a couple of minutes; with a cold chill running down the spine you may even regret that once you were chary about believing in the woes of a tap dancing ghost. But this one's not a ghost story.

In 1940s, a senior British official visited the Lepcha Jagat bungalow with his pregnant wife. They could not return home without experiencing a rare Himalayan view that the bungalow was famous for.

pic from - www.jkindiatrip.blogspot.com
On a clear day one could have a bird's eye-view of the then three Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim lying side by side on a huge idyllic expanse with the snow-capped Kanchendzonga, the highest mountain in India, and third highest in the world at 8,586 meters, dwarfing everything else. At night twinkling electricity bulbs in the kingdoms gave the appearance of the sky having come down on them. This was reason enough for the British couple to reserve the bungalow for three days.

It drizzled lightly when they arrived. By night fall fog invaded the bungalow and the surrounding forest, and then soared high and kissed the low hanging black canopy of cloud. One could not distinguish where the fog bank ended and cloud bank began. Hail storm reigned the next day. Open spaces went under a carpet of white stones. The third day was no better.

Tired and disappointed, the visitors decided to give up. The official asked for the voluminous guest book, and recorded his experience. With a heavy heart and a sigh he mentioned, “It's raining even as I am leaving.”

Pic from - http://www.mobwiki.com
The capricious Himalayan weather continued to bless some and curse others. Some bantered that the bungalow actually existed in a cloud castle, and there was nothing but rain - right, left and center. Many doubted whether it was the opposite of the fictional utopia called Shangril-La.

Much water had flown down the river Tista, two decades after India gained independence from the colonial rulers in 1947, a young foreigner went almost mad laughing in one of the worst spells of rain and hailstorm for several days at Lepcha Jagat. On his day of departure, he asked for the guest book. He marked out an earlier page by its number, and wrote, “Father, it's still raining.”   


BY TAPAS MUKHERJEE