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

Sep 17, 2012

The Widows Might .

Sudden death in real life hit you more than it did in hockey. It had left her with two children to raise and his aged parents to look after. Money there was plenty of. No, not plenty, but enough. If she was careful.  The perfect life they had envisioned growing old together, traveling the world together , visiting grandchildren many years down the line wasn't going to happen. Everyone gave her a long rope. She didn't need it. She asked for no favors and resented the condescension. And it scared her that there might be long strings attached . So she built her walls. Bit by bit. Set up her independent systems. She couldn't have friends over. Because with friends came husbands. Who would drink when they came over. Who might think they had been called over for themselves and not for their wives. Who might.. And what would the neighbors say. The growing up process for the kids didn't stop because their father was dead. Admissions had to be dealt with. Birthdays had to be celebrated. Cantankerous old inlaws had to be taken for early morning blood tests. And she did it all. She missed him every second.Every day. When she made the single cup of tea. When the father in law died and the brother gave the eulogy. When the boy had to be told about the birds and the bees. She was more uncomfortable than he was. She helped with the sodality. She helped with the CHS.she helped with the ALM. It kept her world secure. She chose when to go out and when to come back in. She chose to let nobody in. Nobody into her world . Nobody who might upset the balance of an equation that was never going be real again. While she wore her coat and the coat of the man who had died suddenly.

Sep 1, 2012

The Zonal Filmfare awards

Subash Bhai mopped the sweat beads off his forhead. His banner, ‘Yukta Arts’had not produced a hit film in almost a decade.. “What we need are the fresh ideas”, he told his Assistant Mukri, as he paced up and down his decaying Lokhandwalla office. “What we need are the new stars who are better than the many old ones”, he declared. “People want action, sensation, reality TV put on the screen… “”Sarry Sir” said Mukri, “there have not been too many terrorist acts of late.. “So, go find something exciting!” boomed Subash Bhai. Something with Passion, revaange, laughter, tragedy, badla, something more exciting than even the ‘Saas-Bahu episodes of Ekta Kapoor!” Mukri hung his head in despair. For once he had no inspiration to give his boss. He knew in his heart, that all of Subash Bhai’s hits had been the result of him being his sounding board. He decided to find inspiration in the theatres of Mumbai – Prithvi Theatre was saturated. NCPA was too high brow. He ambled upon St Andrew’s auditorium. Buzzing with activity, Mukri happened to ask what was the action about? “The Zonals” replied one of the organizers, proudly displaying her shiny badge to prove her credentials. “ What means that?” Asked Mukri. “You don’t know what are the zonals?? Replied the busy organizer… “See for yourself”. Mukri excitedly bought two tickets and called his Boss.. “Bass, Come here and see for yourself , they are telling you will find a new heroine, plot line and entire star cast”. Four boring hours later, Subash Bhai is not impressed. Not with British accents the Queen would have been proud of, or the abstract acts that reminded him of the Emperor’s New Clothes. “You call this drama?” He thundered on, red in the face. Pretty girls in fancy dresses acting like monkeys? I am not understanding what you are finding so exciting about this zonals-shonals” With that he stomped out of the power packed auditorium, a sad Mukri trailing behind, his head hung low. For once he had disappointed his boss. Mr Bhai, however was slightly impressed. It was the chikna announcer that caught his fency. “Find out his name”.. ordered the Bhai. Mukhri came back a few minutes later.. Sir, Chicken Masala, sir… “What? Who would name his bachcha after a curry? Growled Mr Bhai. “Exactly right boss.. that was his name.. Curry.. Mr Krish Curry”…” Krish? Who does he think he is? A Superhero?” There had to be something more about Bandra’s most talked about event.. Mukri thought to himself as he ambled alongside his boss. Maybe he should ask someone who calls the shots.. the judges, perhaps? Mukri decides to do some research. He must get to the bottom of this. For his boss’ sake at least . He waits patiently till the results are declared and the show ended. The crowds are milling around him exiting the auditorium. Some are cheering, others jeering. The song of the day seems to be “We are the champions”. Mukri is wondering whether the FIFA world cup is on at the moment. Poor Mukri doesn’t know anyone in this large group comprising of Bandrabuggers, wives, sisters and girlfriends included. There once was a hero in a Bollywood flick named Anthony Gonsalves. “Hey, Anthony”! Shouts Mukri, hoping to get some attention in this melee. Five fellows say “Yes”. One of them takes him aside and wonders what this idli is doing amongst the fugiyas. “I need some help”, says Mukri. “Aks, men”replied Anton. “ I came here to get some ideas for a new film in Bollywood.. in there, all the dialogues went bumper over my head. I am completely lost and confused. Am I stupid or what? Can I meet the judges? “Judges? replied Anton. You’re mad-o-wat? You want to get bashed up and have your teeth broken in height order”? “Sorry” explained Mukri… I just wanted to see Passion, Revenge, Romance, Dishoom-dishoom all in one place. Could not understand anything, in there”. Anthony whispers something in Mukri’s ear. Mukri listens attentively and thinks he has found his answer. CUT TO Scene Three. Act One. Location: Bosco Hall – Late Night. The post mortem meeting after the zonals is on. Mukri silently seats himself in the last row. Right next him is a rather tall actor he had seen on the zonal stage. Tall actor seems to interject the proceedings to make inane points. About a picnic to Uttan. Woman in flower skirt objects to whatever he says. Somebody objects to a performer. Her father was Hindu. But she’s Catholic. Mukhri stops chewing his gutka and quickly swallows. Boundary changes are re-demanded. Are they talking about Kargil or Chimbai ? Real action is taking place before his very eyes. Real Drama - Action. Passion. Revenge. Man with rosary ring wants ticket quota for each zone to be increased. “Over my dead body”, says Mr.Chairman. Duet winner has lodged a complaint. Her winning partner kept the cup in his house for 3 days extra. South West Zone is lodging an objection against themselves that their lead actor was not resident in the zone last year. Disqualification is better than losing by 300 points. Harakiri over dishonor. Mukhri can see it unfolding before his eyes. The Lead actor plunging a ritual Samurai sword into his bosom. While fountains of tomato sauce gush forth. While his lover who played the main lead for another zone cannot rush to his side because of … choir practice. Flower skirt objects to the Dramatics Judge no.2. He’s an old has-been. He held up the judging procedure while he went out for a smoke. His ex-wife was acting in the North West production. Though post separation she lives in North East with her mother. He wished his mother-in- law was more politically inclined and would know that all North Easterners are to be sent back. He wants her back that’s why he gave her Best Actress. Objection over ruled. “Won’t help him” says Flower skirt, “I know she’s seeing a chap from Dadar”. Mr. Chairman in a rare loss of temper tells Flower skirt, “ Next time, you get the judges “ . Tall man objects to the quality of samosas being served at the post mortem. Flower skirt tells him they are much better than his mother’s beef patties. “All patties and no beef”! she proclaims. Tall man asks what can you expect for Rs. 7.65 each. While Mukri misses tall man’s thought blurb which would have let him know that tall man was trying to work out how to put the arsenic into Flower skirt’s Mangola at the next meeting. Mousey gold Bangles is opening her purse. Mukri wonders what her weapon of choice will be. Gun or Knife. It’s full of pieces of paper. Where she has scribbled some code. NW 56.25, SE 63.72. There is a difference of .23 points between hers and the solemn scorekeepers. The North East zone objects to the following. A] The division of zones so that their best tenor was robbed from them. B] The restriction on not using a winning piece. [ After all they all knew that ‘My Prayer’ was the only song that suited Mr. Pimento’s voice and range. ]C] That Roger Drego gave special lights and sound to his zone. Mukri is stunned. Roger Drego ! Are they talking about Roger bhai who gave them fifty foot high speakers for that big song and dance sequence ? The auditorium usher(in his yellow shirt) who attended to lodge his case against the Hershe Bakery’s hot dogs that found their way to row E15 objects to any aspersion cast on his boss. He was also there to return the 153 water bottles left behind by the contestants in the lobby. Flower skirt, Tall man, Mr. Chairman and Yellow shirt usher are all ears for Mousey gold bangles who argues her case against the redrawing of boundaries to facilitate equitable distribution of talent. She asks what they will do if Chelsea gets married and moves to North West. “Remember what happened to East Pakistan” she says ominously. Mukri is wondering what her signing fee will be. Tall man thanks God that the old fool Pimento did not have the range for ‘My Prayer because he had sat up with him at the Bandra Gym the previous night. Suddenly there is Action in the house. Mukri cannot contain himself. The entire South East zone has now landed up in full force. Mukri wonders if he should notify “Aaj Tak”. Would their satellite vans have space to park outside Serpis? Plan abandoned. South East presents their case.. Why have the North Easterners got so much publicity just before the zonals.. that too in the ‘Times of India’? If those North Easteners can call themselves Assam, we are the US of A! Tall man claps his hands violently in full support of their stand while Mukri is rubbing his hands together with glee. Mukri did it again. He had found his plot, storyline, dialogues with all the masala he needed right there that evening. What’s more.. he found his Hero..ironing out the creases, trying to make things better for next year’s zonals at least, and even ending the meeting with a prayer. His new leading man– the chikna Krish Curry! By MS BANDRABUGGER (Aka Annabelle 0

Going , going, gone.

He was a shippie. Six months on two off. A lot better than the days when his father was a shippie. Then it was twelve on two off. And the ship had Internet. And a satellite phone. A big ship whose masters paid him big bucks. Big bucks to take cars from Japan to America. Wheat from America to Africa. Once they even loaded iron ore off Goa. He could speak to her on his cell phone. Every day, for the three days they took to load up. Sometimes thrice a day. The big bucks were useful for buying the flat. The day he put down the down payment, he proposed. Yes yes yes. Three voyages and the money her grandfather had left her paid for the wedding. Honeymoon in Bali. Three days back home and the company wanted him to join a ship in Australia. No honey I can’t take you on ship with me. Only first officers and captains are allowed that. I’ll be first office next year. So he checked his email at the end of each watch and before the beginning of the next. It was raining back home. The BEST had gone on strike for a day. The parish priest was transferred. The new guy was a Keralite. He came home from that voyage and the party lasted sixty days. Back on board the Phillipino cook was trying to learn how to make Biryani. It just wasn't the same. She was sick. Go to your Mums house. You can't be by yourself. Not sick , sick. Morning sick. What? You heard me "Daddy. " He wrote to the co. Immediately so that he,d be there for the delivery. The only thing they stuck to a signoff schedule for, births and deaths. Eight pounds of heartbreaking smallness. As much hair on her head as he had on the back of his hand. Two little eyes that smiled at you, two little ears that .... And one big voice that raised hell if she wasn't fed or changed within three seconds. No honey, children below three aren't allowed on the ship. How can we leave her with Nana. The planning for the first birthday started via email three months before D day. The building had never seen a celebration like this. The whole compound walll was covered with pink balloons. Even the watchman got Biryani for dinner that night . Officially. Unofficially he got some beer. Another voyage, another ship, other ports. It's either her birthday or Christmas. Christmas. We'll celebrate her birthday next year. So Christmas it was with the dance at the gym and the Christmas bazaar where everyone who was linked to Bandra by a thread showed up. Where he stood in line with her on his shoulders to get her gift from Santa. Where he dried her tears when Santas ho ho ho set them off. He wasn't there for her first day of school. But she cried only a little bit she said. Master . That entitled him to family accommodation. The company schedule and the school schedule were at odds. Ok next voyage. Honey I'm sick. Yes yes the good sick. Can't talk now have to take Kim for her dance class. The Doctor says September. Too many large whiskies at the new years dance in Jan and you become a daddy in September. This contract finished in June. Two off meant he'd have to resume inAugust. Don't worry I'll manage. Mummy's here to help me with Kate. A boy. He didn't haul the first officer over the coals for the shoddy docking at Shangai. Damn He should have been there for the delivery. The school wants both parents for the admission interview. It's either that or her first communion. The dentist recommends braces. Forty-five thousand bucks ? Are they made of gold ? Shhh. Don't play the TV so loud . She has school tomorrow. Can you take them out for dinner You,ll laugh so loudly. Even the neighbors would get up. No we can't go to Goa in May. Kim has her piano exam then. Ok you go. Yes I know you work very very hard on the ship. Yes I know you need a holiday. The kids exams are in two months. The teacher says if we don't take it seriously now the kids won't take them seriously later. Ok. I'll be back late. He walked his little girl down the aisle . He knew where the time had flown. And she thought her daddy was crying for her.