If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Jul 22, 2008

The Ambassador for Peace and Goodwill.

A car is a car is a car ? Not true. A car would be either a fiat or an ambassador. Power steering . Yes. He was called Darjee the Driver. Tinted glasses ? Yes. There were little curtains strung on wires across the windows. Air conditioning ? Of course. There was a fan mounted on the dashboard. In the summer you put a khus mat on the roof. And you kept it damp. This kept the heat of summer away from the car. Bucket seats ? Only when you were on your way to the beach and the littlest sat on an upturned beach bucket between the seats. A luggage rack on the roof was a given. For suitcases . For trips out of town. For a seating platform when a little elevation was required. Like when we needed to look over the airport wall at the first ever Jumbo Jet. Or for ringside seats at the Supari Talao football game. Floor shift gears ? No way. It would get in the way of four people sitting on the front seat.
For a trip out of town a waterholding canvas bag was required. It would be strung up in front of the radiator. And halfway up the ghats on the way to Poona or Goa or Nasik, the temperature indicator would be hovering in the red zone. You stopped. You opened the bonnet.You waited for the radiator to stop its gurgling. Then with a duster in hand you took the radiator cap off. Stepping back as far and as quickly as you did when you almost ran into the principal outside the New Talkies matinee in the middle of a school day. Old Faithful had nothing on the geyser the radiator shot up. You then took the canvas bag and emptied the contents into the radiator. With the engine running. Otherwise the cold water on the hot engine would split the gasket. And everyone would be rounded up quickly including the visitors from the local Sulabh Sauchalay [ Ok Ok behind the Banyan tree. ]
before the now green temperature gauge started seeing red again.
For funerals the hoi polloi crammed into the bus if the burial was beyond walking distance from the house. The car would be commissioned for the newly commissioned widow and family because grief does’nt let you walk. For VIP visitors [ Parish priests and Mothers-in-laws ] the car would be trundled out for the short ride home. For occasional trips to the wholesale market in Dadar this chariot of the gods would be reduced to a delivery van.
Over all of this would watch a benevolent St. Christopher. The patron saint of travelers. From his magnetically held perch on the glove compartment. And over him would tower Mother Mary. Stuck to the dashboard . Araldited, so that she could watch over this car forever.

Jul 17, 2008

Majority Wins !

They saw each other. Their hearts fluttered. They went for the Christmas dance. They got married. They had a baby. They called him Baba. Aunty Mary came over . Mummy leaned over into the crib and asked Baba to smile for Aunty Mary, and he did.
For his sixth birthday Baba didn’t want his Godmother to come over. Because she was always correcting him. Don’t eat with your fingers. Don’t drink water from the tap. Don’t put the bottle to your mouth. Don’t come over for my birthday please Godma, he wanted to say. But he didn’t and she did.
A little sister was born into his family.He was no more Baba. He was Joe Boy. His mother wanted him to take part in the elocution competition. He did’nt , but he did. He finished school in a blaze of glory. Distinction. The only one on the whole road with a distinction.
Arts. Forget it. You’ve done so well you have to take science.
Uncle Domnics birthday tomorrow evening.
No I don’t want to come.
You have to come. What are you going to sit and do all by yourself at home ?
So he went.
Your Godmothers in hospital. Go see her.
But she’s always correcting me.
So ? She’s your godmother. Visting hours are between 4.00 and 7.00 p.m.
You want to be a musician ? Are you mad ? We are not going to be here to feed you all our lives. L&T are taking apprentices.
As soon as he finished his apprenticeship he was absorbed by the company. Who knew a good man when they saw one.
Then one day he saw her. His heart fluttered. He asked her out to the Christmas dance. She said yes. They got married. They had a little girl. Old Aunty Mary came over. Joe Boy leaned over and beamed proudly at his daughter. Who gurgled loudly and then smiled at Aunty Mary. Because her Daddy asked her to.

Bandra Talks !

Please write in with your phrases. mail me at clemde@gmail.com
will add to the list to compile the definitve list of Bandraspeak.

I'm not friendly to Savio ! Aber

Godlonose Or should it be Godlonknows? Scribbler

sweetheart give a bloddy kiss man Gavin Dsouza

mudder faader gone to dadder men
i am goin to potoogeese church
coming wot?
vaan i'll give u na you'll know
got a buck wot?
lets go to september garden men
our f@#$%r tony is playing men MagicEye

see that babe passing men! What a fatac !!
That zunt was tring to patao my sass.

I'll take him left and right. Anonymous

Cun cun men, lets go
Seven days became since she died
what you're saying
On the fan/ Off the light....
Vijay and Meera Dsouza

Your grandmudder’s aulas
One caanpat you’ll get...
I’ll call Anton / Bandy (RIP) / Tarzan(and such like) and he’ll take out full kunhaas....he’s a kadu f$%£er
Don’t try and teach your faadur (father) to f$%*
The Jolly Rodger.

1. What goes of yours men?
2. Your name is written on it or what?
3. It be's like that only.
4. Donkey-Monkey Wedding (Drizzle and sunshine together)
5. He thinks his s---t doesn't stink.
6. Come on, hurry up, wear your bushcoat.
7. The buddaman's coming...(when frightening kids)
8. I'll give you one jaap.
9. Good pasting.
10 Don't fadkao, ok?
11. Come outside and I'll show you
12. Good boy, sunna boy
13. I gave him good
14. ...and what all they said
15.Housie: All by itself...
Grandma's Age...
2 and 0...Blind 20
Rochelle Almeida 1-20 .

granny's boras
i'm going to 'maim' (for Mahim) for der novena!
[ Patrice ]

I'll tell my breader (Brother) men, he give you good Cutoos.
[Edward Murray]

Cousins, cousins, make dozens.
Small tree big fruit.
Whose father what goes !
Ball talks .

Wafers ! [ Pray for us ]
Alan [ Sam ] DeMenezes.

Two tight slaps.
Legs eleven !
Two fat ladies !
Sweet sixteen.
Lucky for some.
Top of the house . [ NO not Garavati ]
Baba ! why you're saying like that ?

Jul 16, 2008

Equinoxes and Solstices.

A day dawns in mid March. It’s the day of the equinox. When the day and night are both equal. If you’re Hindu it comes around Holi. If you’re Catholic it comes around Good Friday. For every day after that the days keep getting longer and the nights keep getting shorter.
While the sun spins above dictating the length of day and night, ten year old Jo-Boy heads to church. For his Saturday pretending to be Sunday mass. He’s with the building boys. They don’t sit too far in front. The aisle seat commands a premium because of the view it affords of the communion line. In front of them Aunty Mary settles herself. Her husband passed away suddenly. On the ship. Slipped and fell into the hold. DOA. So her flavour of the month is black. Black skirt. Black blouse. Black bag. She settles herself with her veil over her head. Yes black veil too. Standing up when the priest enters. Sitting down for the readings. Standing up for the gospel. Sitting for the sermon. Up for the I believe. Kneeling for the consecration. Standing for the Our father. A stray giggle from Jo Boys pew. And another. Until Mary is forced to turn around and glare at them.
Which stifles them for a few minutes. While the communion lines form she shouts at them in a whisper. “ What so funny ? ”
Nothing Aunty . Nothing. Because they can’t tell her that her clothes are following the sun and making her Sunday longer than her Monday.

Jul 7, 2008

The Goa Diaries. ..1

Once upon a time there were two steam ships. One called the Konkan Sevak and the other called the Konkan Shakti. One left from Goa for Bombay and the other from Bombay for Goa at 10.00 in the morning. They were a few cabins for the very very rich. There was an upper deck for the rich. And a lower deck for everybody else. You bought your ticket at ferry wharf and stood in a long line waiting for the gates to the gangplank to open.
Once they did you ran. With a clutch of bedsheets. And you tried to spread them out on the life rafts that were apread out on the deck. This staked your claim. Bedsheets on the boat deck were the equivalent of newspapers on the seat of the 7.08 Bandra Churchgate local. The ship would sound it's foghorn and the great voyage would commence. You would settle in and eye your neighbours. A half hour ago you would have run them off the gangplank drawn and quaterered if they stood in your way. Now you open your Eagle flask and invite them to share a cup of Earl Grey with you. Ok Ok Brooke Bond. And you discover that you'll are all from Bardez.
Yippe do dah.
Man those guys from Salcette are almost like Mangies.
In fact anyone South of Panjim falls below the pale. The bucket man comes around. A bucket piled high with Limcas and Thums Up. And in his many pockets he has quarts of Feni. Which he sells at Goa prices. Even though you can still see the Gateway in the distance. If Moraji Desai only knew. The bell is sounded for lunch. Where you get fish curry rice. With fish that taste so fresh, they’ve probably jumped straight out of the Arabian sea into the kitchen.
The passengers took turns to eat. You bought your coupon for a lunch service. And carried your feni to the table with you. The ship would meander along the Konkan coast meanwhile. With a sudden listing towards the side when someone spotted a dolphin. Or dolphins. The whole compliment of passengers would line the rails .
The ship would pull closer the coast. A little canoe loaded with bags of rice and chickens and Mangoes and more people than the Titanic carried would come out. Out from the protected harbours of Vijaydurg or Sindhusurgh or Jaigadh or Ratnagiri. Where they’d clamber a rope ladder up the side of the ship. Making sure their saree didn’t snag in the rungs. Chickens and mangoes would be hauled up . While the waves did their best to claim all these elements in transition as their own. Nothing and no one ever fell. A million hands would reach out to help them over the rail when they emerged over the side of the boat. And away the ship would sail.
A man would come around announcing Housie. And everyone who was tired of looking at pristine beaches, at swaying coconut trees, at the rise and swell of the sea would head for the mess. Now cleared of fish curry and rice. Tickets would be sold. The electrical engineer would be deputed to call out the numbers. A few feni glasses would make their appearance. On tables that had a raised border to keep the glasses from getting to know the floor. In the biblical sense.
And the housie would get under way. With Jaldi fives and lines and full houses helping to defray the cost of your ticket. Or add to it if the numbers didn’t turn your way.
Back onto the deck to watch the sunset. While this little world unto itself chugged on towards Goa. The bucket man had run out of Limca so now you were drinking feni with limbu pani. And after the third feni the talk turned to God and love and who made the best Goa sausages.
Dinner was announced in the now familiar as your own house dining hall cum housie room. Back to the deck post dinner. Where the rosary would commence. All five decades. The whole litany. Petitions at the end for everyone and everything. Including Fluffy ,whom the neighbours were looking after, because they did’nt allow dogs on the ship.
The life rafts that had doubled up as card tables, bar counters and diaper changing tables, were now converted into beds. And you lay your weary head to rest.
Some where in the night we’d pass the sister ship, a toot from one Captain to the other to let him know all was well with the world.
Sunrise would wake you up. Smiles to everyone around you. Including the Uncle whose snoring had kept you awake for a minute and a half longer than you wanted to be. Breakfast coupons. Hot tea. .
And you were sailing past Chapora fort. Chapora, then Anjuna. The Baga hill in the distance, with the Jesuit retreat house at its peak. On to Calangute and Candolim. Around the Fort Aguada. Up the Mandovi. Past the barges loaded with iron ore.
Telephone numbers and addtresses are exchanged. Promises to stay in touch. Best wishes for job interviews and pending land disputes.
And as we step onto the jetty at Panjim, a sign of the cross and a mumbled prayer in thanks for a safe and happy jouney.

The world is not enough !

What happens to someone , when the world is not enough? Or when it’s too much ? They decide to short circuit life and bring closure. Closure to problems seen as insurmountable. Or is it to say something? To bring attention to something ? Like the self immolators of south India. Who torch themselves when their heroes are arrested for wrongdoings they most definitely did. Or is the world so overcast that staying around does’nt really hold any attraction anymore ? Is despair so large that they think. Anything but this. Even that great leap into the unknown that follows the end of life. Do they think of the people they’ve left behind. The pain and self doubt that their death may cause. The questioning that any death brings. The if only’s.
If only they all had come across Juliana of Norwich’s words. All things will pass.