Monday, February 25, 2008

We the People

The last few days have been amazing when it comes to Abuse of Biharis.

First, The Entire Sons of Soil Vs Soiled Sons episode was enacted in various parts of the country.

Then yesterday, I heard the erstwhile landowner of the land on which our Apartment Complex was built - He also owns a substantial number of Apartments there - say that the Carpenters were urinating and Spitting Pan all over the place – “These Bloody Biharis…” were his exact words.

Incidentally, I am a Bloody Bihari (at least I am from the United States of Bihar and Jharkhand), doing very well, thank you, in Karnataka for the past 6 years, and within that, in Bangalore for the last three and a quarter years, bought a flat and all that. I am not Shah-Rukh-Khan-in-Lux-Ad when it comes to cleanliness, but yes I don’t go around spitting Maghai Pan (Incidentally Maghai comes from Magadha, the modern day Bihar) on staircases and street corners, nor do I expose myself in public and start urinating against walls. Obviously he got my goat. Now, if I was the violent sort and - to lend strength to another unfair generalization- Biharis are a violent lot, He would be in hell and I would be in Jail, which is one and the same thing. Thankfully, for both our sakes, I am not the violent sort. Not even verbally abusive, another generalized Bihari trait, Teri ma ki…

I had to explain to him, very politely, lest the animal (Hardly any Humans are born in my native state, if you go by the opinion of certain morons) in me came out, that being unclean and unhygienic was not geography dependant, but trait dependant – arguably geography defines certain traits, not all. To give him credit, he apologized. I am not sure, if it was to let sleeping lions lie. My recently acquired moustache and the fact that I had not shaved in days, or got myself a haircut, did make me look as if I belonged to Chambal. Incidentally Chambal is NOT IN Bihar, but he wouldn’t know the difference, otherwise he would have been in the IAS, which incidentally the Biharis crack, like they crack their fingers, daily. Bottom line, neither my look nor the fire in my eyes left him with enough Hing-in-his-backside (Any Bihari in his dreams can translate that into Hindi) to continue the conversation his way.

Then today again, in another conversation, the subject matter of Bihar (It’s quite popular as a subject of discussion if not otherwise) came up, this time, apparently the abilities of Biharis to get away with doing almost anything in Bihar. I tend to agree, except that we manage to do it even outside Bihar and not all of it we need to be, or are ashamed of.

But the most important point I want to drive home – home being the tender fat butts of these zealots who want to drive fundamentalist stakes right through the hearts of our founder fathers, is that, like it or not, the Biharis who are an imaginary threat to the imaginary jobs that you would have got if they were not around are doing very well, thank you very much and are here to stay. Therefore, stop fooling around with poor carpenters and cooks and taxiwallahs and hammals and coolies. Don’t grudge them their meager existence, and if those are the only positions you aspire to attain, the test has not been invented yet to test your IQ levels. I rest my case.

Incidentally, I work in a very cosmopolitan organization; there are Biharis there and Gujjus and Bongs, and UPites (who south of the Vindhyas are difficult to separate from the Biharis and you never know which one of them actually spit the Pan on the staircase wall!), we have the South Indians there too. All of us urinate. None on staircases and boundary walls.
All of us, outside of India, become Indians. In fact outside of India, even the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis are Indians, working as cooks and taxiwallahs and Software Engineers, the entire community, with its identical identity lives on, till such times that they are caught urinating against the imaginary walls erected on the platform of jingoism. Such walls deserve to be urinated against.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lick not, Nibble not

Ever since I started growing a moustache, people, especially male friends keep asking me awkward questions such as these:

“How do you manage it?”
“Don’t you feel like nibbling it?”
“How do you stop licking it?”
“How often do you trim it?”
“Doesn’t your wife say anything?”

Hell, Gimme a break. No, I don’t manage it. Yes, I do nibble at it. Why will I lick it, it gives me absolutely no pleasure whatsoever. Trim? My wife absolutely adores it. So there, now you understand, your opinion matters not.

No, let me correct myself, yes, you have a right to your questions, your opinion, your sarcastic wit, freedom of speech and expression and all that. I have a right to ignore or not.

On the subject of moustache, and seeing how touchy I am about my own, It’s quite an interesting subject to cover, is it not. I mean, think about it, size, shape, color, texture, intent.

Let’s talk about intent for today.

Why do people grow moustaches, when it’s so much of a pain in the backside (I know, I know. That’s not where a moustache is normally grown, but still…) to manage one.

Why do I have a moustache for instance? Is it to satisfy my need to grow up quickly, need to look mature, imitate my father, and scare the shit out of potential boyfriends of my daughter (incidentally she is not even two right now…early days yet), what could be my purpose, is it divine like those shadhus we see in the holy Ghats on the banks of the Ganges? Is my purpose fashion, i.e. flow with the times, or is it cosmetic, i.e. is it to look good. Interesting questions those. Is it worth it, seeing that both eating, at the basic end of the spectrum and kissing, at the other end become so unmanageable.

Some people keep moustaches to flex their muscles, technically how that works I have no idea, but apparently it does. Strange. I mean, how can itsy-bitsy pieces of hair bunched together, help you flex your biceps? It will surely take some doing!

What people do with moustaches is equally interesting. Some people stroke it. Like a pseudo sex organ, they go at it. Up and down, twist and turn, two fingers, two fingers and thumb, slowly, seductively. Some people let their moustaches grow unkempt, more like letting it have a mind of its own. Some keep it immaculately trimmed. Some possibly gel it too.

I know a gentleman, who allows his full head of hair to grey, but keeps his moustache immaculately colored black. Huh. On the other hand, I do remember Mr. Hansen, my class teacher in 5th and 6th grade, his moustache was colored in such a way that he looked like a parrot rounds his lips.

My father has a full grown moustache. As far as I am concerned, it’s been there for the last few decades, makes him look like the “Masterjee” of the old Hajmola Ad. My moustache, in front of his, is a travesty of a moustache. I won’t be surprised if he disowns me in his will on this one issue alone. There are other issues. Insignificant.

Time to comb my moustache...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Wherein lies commitment

The other day, I was reading an article in the newspaper as to how a Bollywood actress did a “bold scene” in an upcoming movie which involved wardrobe malfunction (scientific name for your boobs popping out at the most inopportune moment). The writer went on to inform us - was he/she trying to get us to watch a movie, I wonder – that this was the same actress who in an earlier movie had taken off her knickers and thrown the same at her beau! How original. Apart from bad odor and a possible chance of infection, I don’t know what that achieved.

The gist of the article was that this was one committed actress. Huh? Committed to what? International Society of Anatomical Research? PETA? Pirelli Calendar? Society of the Mothers in support of Breastfeeding?

Before I read this article I always thought that commitment lies somewhere between our two ears. Never realized it was anywhere lower than that. Certainly not as low as the Gluteus Maximus, nor anywhere near our breasts (unless someone was referring to the hearts connection to commitment, a concession, I am willing to give.)

I remember my college days, when we used to stash away our smuggled copies of playboy underneath the mattress, never realizing that we could have got away by saying that we were getting inspired to be committed. Nice big commitments some of them ladies had.

Even a few of my teachers at school were quite committed. One of them – I won’t name her, she doesn’t want the world to know her commitments - was oozing commitments. In fact commitment was straining at the seams of her colorful dresses.

I thought I will write a self-help book on commitment. An Idiots Guide to staying committed has a nice ring to it.

The chapters in the book could read something like:

Take care of your commitments. They are vital. As statistics show.
Stay committed to keep your partner happy.
Enhancing commitment: The Silicone way.
Commitment Self Examination is a must.

All the makings of a best seller; let me wait for the big fat advance and keep my cards close to my chest, oops, commitment I mean.

I see light at the end of the tunnel. My answers to a lot of questions that research could never answer.

Why men watch women in bikinis? Obviously, since they don’t like commitment.
What is common between Pamela A, Rakhi S and Bipasa B? They are all hugely committed. Go take a look again.

One question remains unanswered. How do you recognize a committed man?