Paradox Paradise

Would you still call it nonsense, if sense exchanges its meaning with nonsense?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Thanking a woman, who, thankfully, wouldn’t be reading it

She thinks that I’m a virgin. For sure, she has got a lot of faith and confidence in me. She believes that I’ll remain as one till I get married. That’s what I would call overconfidence. Or rather, an overdose of overconfidence, to believe that I will get married, in the first place.

If I ever get married, and if the then-happily-married-to-me wife somehow didn’t get pregnant in three months, she is going to think that I’m impotent. She’s always too demanding. And in the occurrence of such a going-smooth-as-a-river situation where the wife gets pregnant and deliver a human baby, and if, the newborn doesn’t have a pair of big ears, or big eyes, or at least a big nose, she is going to doubt the wife’s fidelity and my virility at the same time. She’s one hard nut to convince.

She thought I would never learn to count to ten. She’s a natural sceptic. She thought I’m never going to clear my nursery exams, leave alone the secondary school! She’s a tad too much of a sceptic.

She wanted me to become a bank clerk, or a schoolteacher. She’s one with high expectations. She dreamt that I could even become a bank manager or a college lecturer, and reach home before six in the evening; but she knew that’s just a dream. She’s a practical dreamer. She thought high of these professions only because of the convenient working hours. She’s, literally, a practical one. She knows those fixed working hours are convenient to look after a patch of land and a few cows, and a few goats, and a few pigs, and some poultry. She’s practical minded to the minute detail, even to the extent of being calculative.

When she cooks anything that has no fish or meat in it, it tastes nothing but fresh turmeric, and she blames it on her husband, who won’t eat anything that looks any shade of white. She’s the spice of her home, the only woman among four savage men!

She hates FTV, because they don’t show anything she can wear; and she loves newsreaders, because they change sarees everyday. She knows her taste. And every day she wonders why don’t Tamil and Hindi actors get chronic back pains! She sure can see through the glitz and glamour. She hates serials and complaints that her husband doesn’t allow her to watch the comedy shows. She got a weird sense of humour. She likes Deepika more than Manorama, because Manorama publishes more non-catholic obituaries. And she will feel disappointed on a day, if at least five people she knows didn’t die. She can’t live without being empathetic.

She got married to the first one who agreed, and the first one her father approved, which could possibly happened in the reverse order. She’s a god fearing, convent-educated girl. She believes her great ancestor had got baptised by none other than St. Thomas in AD. 52! She got good faith. Her husband thinks it must be in AD 53 or 54, because her family just can’t be older, and thus better, than his. He doesn’t know that her faith is unshakable. He thinks she's impossible, and for once, I agree with him.

In July that year, just a couple of months after her marriage, along with the generous south-west monsoon that came with droplets as big as coffee beans to play drum rolls on the tiled roof of her room, came an embryo; and that parasite made a good home in her womb. She’s a good host. No neighbour came to retell her Luke 1:42, and she knew the sucker she’s got is a little devil. She’s good with omens. Albeit, she was pretty happy for her growing waistline, because that let her to leave her husband for six months and be back in her father’s home. She’s one good daughter. Her husband too was happy, because his idea of a perfect job is something that is done with the minimum possible time. And the little sucker was too happy, because he was a sucker, and knew he will remain as one for many years to come. That’s how a happy family was born. She’s a good homemaker.

And the time had come to pass, and the little devil was out to learn new vices. Giving her the pain of her life. It was about this hour and exactly thirty years back that the most horrible hours came to pass her. That little devil remembers her with gratitude, about the pain she endured for him, on this very day in 1977, and every day after that.

23rd of April is also:

St. George’s feast. The saint who protected a country for a sexy chick, and who protects the land and livestock of Syrian Catholics in Kerala for a good chicken… err… rooster. The legend is that he was the Knight of Cappadocia, in modern day Turkey, and killed a dragon, which was troubling the people of Silene, thought to be in today’s Libya. He later was executed by the Roman Emperor Diocletion on this day in A.D. 303. He’s the most venerated saint in Oriental Orthodox Churches, and is the patron saint of Canada, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, and the cities of Istanbul, Ljubljana and Moscow. The Roman Catholic Church has reduced his to an optional memorial in 1969, since there are no available historical evidences for his legend. In Kerala, his feast is also known as Kozhipperunnal (feast of the chickens), for the tradition of giving the best rooster among the poultry to the church on this day. He’s believed to protect the livestock from ailments, and the land from natural calamities, and the people from snakes and wild animals. If he’s pleased with the chick, that is.

The birthday of William Shakespeare. There are no records for this either, but according to the baptism records he was baptised on 26th of April 1564, and is assumed that this is done three days after this birth according to the tradition in those times. But somehow he managed to die on the same day in 1616.

Death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes. Though by records, the famous Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright died on 23rd of April, 1616, it was not the same day Shakespeare died. Because, Spain was following the Gregorian calendar, and England the Julian one. Though they both had died on the same day of the same year, Shakespeare had actually died after ten more sunsets. Anyways, 23rd April it is.

The birthday of Vladimir Nabokov. The Russian-American author of the highly overrated work Lolita, which has only two qualities – the shock value in the 50s, and his natural mastery over wordplay. He was also a lepidopterist (one who chases butterflies), and never had learnt to drive a car.

The birthday of Maurice Druon, Manuel Mejia Vallejo, and Halldor Laxness. People I have never heard about before. Maurice Druon is a French novelist, and was a Minister of Culture for a couple of years in the 70s. Vallejo is a Columbian writer and journalist, and was in exile for 7 years after the publication of his first novel. Halldór Laxness is an Icelandic novelist and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955. I would like to read to some of his books. Got the hint?

The World Book and Copyright Day. Observed by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing, and protection of intellectual property rights through copyrights from 1995. The tradition actually started by the booksellers in Catalonia in 1923 as a way to honour Cervantes who died on that day – the feast of their patron saint, St. George.

The birthday of four other people I personally know. And I’ll tell you, all these four people have as different characters as chime, chalk, cheese, and charcoal. And I have my invincible army against the myths of Zodiac in them.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Confessions of innocent minds

It’s something I’m so sure about. Well, almost. The last t thing I do look like is a six feet tall wooden box with netted windows on its two opposite sides, and a supposedly holy soul that has knowledge over right and wrong residing inside it. Agreed that my ears are huge, but not as big as small, netted windows. But people, quite a few of them in the last month, came up to me and made me wonder whether I really look like a confession box. And I kindly forgive them without even asking to say five Hail Marys. Thinking back, I see that it’s been happening with me for years and years, and I can’t remember ever since. May be, I just had an overdose of it in the last few weeks.

They tell me things I never wanted to know, without being asked to. I’m not talking about people who are friends, and may want to excrete the disintegrated thoughts in their heads once in a while, and use my big ears for a comfortable commode. They make me feel wanted, and when they look relieved I would be stinking with pride. That much silly a person is what I’m. But here I wasn’t referring to them, but people, whom I never have met before, and won’t ever meet again. Like a person, who stands in front of you in a queue, or stands next to you in a bus stop, or the auto-rickshaw driver, or the bus conductor. And these people don’t leave me with a feeling of silly pride, but more of wonderment and an unwanted burden of knowledge.

May be this is happening to not just me, but to you too, and to everyone else. I wanted to know. I smile at the fellow, who’s waiting for the elevator to come down, and tell him that the beef masala in Indian Coffee house is the best. He didn’t smile back like I would have done hearing something of that sort; and with a slightly bewildered look on his otherwise blank and bandaged face, he tells me that Dr. Venu’s consulting room is on the ground floor itself. I should have replied him that it is raining in Cheerapunjee, but I didn’t. I don’t even tell him that I don’t want to know where Dr. Venu sits to consult, and starts to climb up the stairs, thinking why I can’t respond the way that fellow did when someone tells me beef or potato in someplace is the best. The next day, I learn from the board that lists the entire faculty in the hospital that this Dr. Venu is the consultant psychiatrist. So, that must be it! All these people who tells me things are freaks. Or at least, I should think that they are.

Granted that there are more crazy people in this world than anybody would want. But is it that they recognize one belongs to their religion when they see me? I have every right to disagree; it just can’t be so. If it were so, I would have done the same to them too, right? And I don’t. So the blame naturally would come back to my looks. Everyone knows people generally go by looks, at least in the case of perfect strangers. My good friends tell me that I got looks good enough to make little kids trust in their mothers’ love and cling to it with their good little lives. And to make big girls believe in what their mothers told them about strangers. Anyways, for sure, I don’t look as an easily approachable thing as a trash can. And hear what happens to me!

An auto-rickshaw driver tells me that the Government should bring a rule to make it compulsory for rickshaws to have transparent roofs, so that childish couples stop cuddling together behind his back. He tells me that he has given it a good thought for a good time. I don’t ask him how long he was waiting for the good guy to turn up to expose his brilliant idea. A lift operator tells me that for the last three and a half years he’s going up and down and hasn’t reached anywhere. I smile, trying to look like I understand him, and don’t tell him to quit his job and take a walk. I don’t have the heart to hear that he got a wife and three kids and an ailing mother, and he has to go up and down to run a family. A recently married nurse, with really beautiful eyes and fairly beautiful body, tells me that she should have cut her hair short before the marriage, because she wants to cut her hair short and her husband doesn’t allow. I smile again, trying again to look like that I understand, and don’t ask her to cut off the relationship and hair in one go. The guy who sits next to me in train tells me that he got two TVs at home – one for his parents and one for his grandmother, because they want to watch different serials at the same time – and he doesn’t get to see TV. He doesn’t stop there. He says that he used to watch the serial about Sree Ayyappan’s legend with his grandmother, and he has stopped it because the actor has put on weight over the past year, damaging the image he used to get when praying to Sree Ayyappan. No, he didn’t dump this piece of invaluable information during a conversation. It was a stimulus, not a response; and the response he got was a smile that would look more like dumb than understanding. He told me all these, just like that, when I was listening to Mr. Enderby’s belchs, burps and farts.

When I come to think of it, books are just like these people. They tell you same or similar things when you are least suspecting. But there’s this big factor of choice, to make a difference. As for Mr. Enterby, Anthony Burgess wrote the story in four small volumes. And with my kind of luck I find the second volume first. I wait for a couple of months without opening the second volume, and find the third one– on which the blurb says it’s the last of the Enderby trilogy. Then two or three more months later I see the fourth volume, which the author had no plans to write when he published the third one. And beside that fourth volume I find the spanking new edition of Complete Enderby with all the four volumes in one, and would cost me less than the price of four books together. Just to substantiate my long wait for the first volume, I pick up the fourth volume and choose to give it a chance till I get hold of the first volume. And about a year after I picked up the second volume, I find a 1969 edition, which claims to be the Complete Enderby with only the first two volumes in one. Well, a classic example of how does 20th century literature, or at least the blurbs on those books, look anachronic today. But like I said, there’s this big factor of choice, to make a difference. I waited for a year, patiently, to hear the belchs, burps and farts of Mr. Enderby, and he will lock up his gas factory on my wish, if I bothered to close the book and look out through the window. May be, that’s the reason why I happily pay for the book, and deter to show any gratitude when I get the same or similar things from people for free.

I haven’t told you anything yet. On a ten minutes bus ride, the guy sits next to me says that he’s recently returned from U.S. of A., and has no plans to go back. He tells me that he’s researching on the activities of black powers and devil worshippers in India - who work with the help from their headquarters in America. He tells me about the Goat of Mendes, and the Intellectual Decompression Chamber. He tells me that they spread their messages through advertisements of consumer goods. He tells me that every meaningless headline in any advertisement is a Satanic message smartly hidden, and will decipher itself in our subconscious mind. I resort to chance, and my stop arrives. On another bus ride, a longer one of about two hours this time, the guy sits next to me says he built a two-story, 5,000 sq. ft. house about 20 years back with just Rs. 60,000. He tells me that he’s a retired physics professor and was wise to get Laurie Baker’s student to design and build his house. He says if everyone in Kerala were as wise as him, the sand prices wouldn’t have reached today’s Rs. 7,000 for a truckload from Rs. 150 that was the price 20 years back. He tells me if everyone has adopted Laurie Baker’s methods in construction, there would have been still sand left in Kerala’s riverbeds; and it’s this sand stealing that lowered the groundwater platform making our rivers and wells go dry. I converse with him without a choice with monosyllable sentences for two hours. I didn’t even tell him that it’s also a wise idea to dig one’s own grave.

I told you about just five or six people. And I met about a hundred of them in the last 3-4 weeks. As I’m writing this piece, I dream of a beautiful world where every single one of them were a computer literate, and had Internet access, and ran their own blogs to write about the things they want to talk about. On a second thought, I think it’s better the way as it is. If that were the situation, each one of them would have asked me to read their blogs instead, making me write down a hundred URLs. And I wouldn’t have been left with anything to write about in my blog.

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