Friday, April 30, 2010

Main aur mere Kaamwale Boys

Jobs that suck, atrocious weather, travelling by local trains, house-hunting, living away from home, and I had thought that Mumbai had tortured me enough. I was, obviously, wrong.

Ankit and I wanted to live the good life. And we decided, after painful encounters with Mumbai's Kaamwali Bais ("Main undergarments nahi dhoegi aur ghar zyada ganda nahi chahiye aur bedsheet roz roz dhone nahi dalne ka aur....... khich-khich, chik-chik!!"), that we shall keep a full-time flunk to cook for us, do all the household chores etc, get cigarettes for Ankit when he ran out of them, have no qualms about washing our underwear and...  let us make the house as dirty as we possibly could. We did not know, then, that this was going to be a big fucking mistake.

So, let's look at the various kaamwale boys we have had:

1) Hero Hiralal

Our first was a decent chap - short, lanky, malnourished, polite, hardworking. He looked very very decent. And apart from the fact that he occasionally wore these ghastly KRK-inspired glittering shirts, we had absolutely no issues with him. He made amazing Aloo ke Paranthe - and that is the one reason why we missed him the most. He also kept the house spic-and-span. When Ankit's parents came visiting, he won their hearts like a susheel bahu. And then one day, the devil played his dirty game.
Imagine. You are called at work and told that your domestic flunk has locked himself up and is not opening the door. You rush home to find 300 angry Marathis standing at your door baying for the blood of your Bihari servant - accusing him of molesting a school-girl. You break into the house (with the help of the angry mob) to find the flunkie crying, in a state of delirium, pleading innocent. You manage to save his life but the flunkie is now an outcast. He should never be seen in Kurla again. The real truth will never be known. But we got to know that the mob's definition of 'molesting' was talking to the girl on the road ("Iske iraade theek nahi the"). And we lost our best kaamwala boy to date. 

2) Two-timer

Then we got someone who was already working at a friend's place to also work for us. He was ok except for the fact that he gave us this step-motherly treatment.  
He was a little lazy but he worked when told. And he always seemed to spend all the money the same day we gave him. And we used to wonder how. Finally he went to his gaon with two months' advance salary and never returned. Worst thing was we were, once again, left at the mercy of temporary kaamwali bais.

3) Kaliya

The third guy looked the kamina type. Let's refer to him as Kaliya. He loved throwing all our stuff away when we were not at home (giving stupid explanations like 'mujhe laga kaam ka nahi tha'). He broke everything precious we ever owned. You get a family pack of ice-cream and leave it in the fridge. It's gone by the time you get back home. You get 10 packets of Lays Chips for the party you will throw over the weekend. Nothing can be found on Saturday morning. Fruits, dry-fruits, churan, he used to hog everything like crazy. Our ration budget went up at least four times. And, one day, when he crossed the line (by answering back), we decided to throw him out.

4) Psycho

This guy came highly recommended through a friend's friend's friend. He was a little old and so we were apprehensive from the very beginning. It hadn't even been a day when he showed his true colours.
He gets up early in the morning and starts knocking on our doors to wake us - it was a weekend for heaven's sake! Then he says something funny:
"Bhabhi ko bol dijiye taiyaar ho jaye, naashta ready hai"
We looked at each other with suspicion. When all three of us shrugged, we told him, "Yahan koi Bhabhi nahi hai"
"Abhi to thi wahan saari pehne huye"
Then without waiting for an answer he runs into the kitchen. We leave it at that, thinking he may have seen Ankit (with his small frame) and thought it was a girl.

Evening 10 PM: We are having dinner.
Psycho comes to us, looking pensive. "Main aapko pehle se hi bata deta hoon. Police aane wali hai aapko pakadne". We choke on our food.
"Aisa kya kar diya tumne?"
"Maine? Maine kya kiya hai? Raat ko aap log hi to sab kar rahe the"
"Kya kar rahe the hum?" 
"Yahan 20-25 logon ko bulakar aaplog andhere mein puja kar rahe the. Kahin baithne ki jagah nahi thi. Aap log zor zor se mantra ka jaap kar rahe the"
"Hum teeno apne apne kamre mein so rahe the. Aapne sapna dekha hoga. Aur police kahan se aayi beech mein?"
"Mujhe mat batao. Main sab jaanta hoon. Yahan, wahan, sab jagah log khade the. Bathroom mein, balcony mein teen log, Kitchen mein.... main jakar neeche garage mein soya. Itna shor. Baki building ke logon ne police mein complaint likha di hai" he looked scared, and dead serious.
"Isne bhoot to nahi dekha?"
Several shots from Ramgopal Verma's horror flicks flashed before our eyes. What if the house HAD ghosts.

We called the watchman. He confirmed that the guy had slept in the garage in the night. But he hadn't heard any noise. Then the psycho threw his trump card.
"Aap log mujhe kal raat ko kitna maar rahe the! Kutte ki tarah patti bandhkar mujhe ghumaya. Sab mujhe laat mar rahe the!"

He was obviously hallucinating. We got so scared we immediately (at 11 in the night) called his family members, packed his bags, called a taxi, gave the taxiwala money and his brother's address and parceled him back.

5) Marathi Manoos

Next was our first and last marathi flunk. He was lazy no 1. He was with us only for a day half of which he slept through. And then he announced that there was too much work so he couldn't do it! 

6) Shehenshah

Next guy lasted some time. He had this gorkha look and was polite. He kept the house extremely dirty but we were so desperate by now that we didn't say anything. He also wore his pants very low so that half his ass was exposed - we didn't bother unless some female friends were to come over.
Then one night, he drank all of Ankit's daru, took Arjun's car-keys, took the car out from the garage and rammed in into another one. He apologized profusely when he came to his senses but we had to throw him out after that.

I am forgetting about a couple of others who came and went like a whiff of stale air, only leaving the nausea behind.

With Sonia now to deal with the kaamwali bai, my life is a lot simpler. Married Life. Good Life.

PS: After I have been threatened with dire consequences if I even as much as try to suggest watching Prince, I have given up on my aspiration of writing the review. Please don't thank me on this blog.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yogi Baba ke Nuskhe

 "Marriage is one of the few institutions that allow a man to do as his wife pleases." - Milton Berle

After having been blissfully married for the last 4 and a half months, I think I can author this blog in the capacity of an expert. For benefits of future generations (I already belong to uncle-category now), I shall generously pass on the secrets to a happy married life:

- The wife is always more beautiful than the hot chic next door or any other female that she may think is good looking (Yes, even Katrina Kaif). If you don't work for a bank and have not been trained in the fine art of lying yet, then you may say something to the effect - "Mere liye to tum hi duniya mein sabse khoobsoorat ho". This is not what she wants to hear, but this will not piss her off completely.

- You should always agree with her views, points, viewpoints, and practically anything she says. But this doesn't mean that you keep nodding your head like a retarded Shahrukh Khan in MNIK. Listen, analyze, contemplate and then reply. For she will occasionally catch you unawares with a "Do you think I have put on weight after marriage?". You have to always reply with a vehement "No"

- Never complain about her cooking. In fact, in this fiercely feminist world, you should thank your heavens if she agrees to cook in the first place. Even if she says "Aaj to daal mein namak zyada hai", you have to pat her lovingly and say, "This is fine, darling" and then take a second helping.

- When you go shopping (which you will do more often that you can imagine), don't ever criticize her choices. Else be prepared to do all the grocery shopping for the whole of next month yourself.  And you don't have to buy her gifts while you are shopping together. Your gifts for her should always be surprises :)

- You should always guess what she is thinking. I know you are thinking 'Am I a psychic or what?' but still you should try. Gradually, you will realize that she gives you these small hints. She loves playing these games to check how much you love her. If you can't get these hints, you don't love her enough.

- You can never refer to her as a woman, aurat or mahila. She will always be a girl (ladki).

- If you think she is being illogical and irrational, you are probably right. But you don't have to point that out to her. Ever.

- Your guy friends are all sad idiots with no life. Accept this fact and start ignoring their phone calls citing too much work at office.

I wanted to add a lot more. But that would take all the fun away when it happens. Marry and then go figure.

Friday, April 09, 2010

To write or not to write

I have never written a movie review before.  
But the temptation is just too much to handle.... ahh

Friday, April 02, 2010

Slow Local

When in Mumbai, do what Mumbaikars do. Which means you need to screech a lot at everyone around. Be bossy, impolite and pushy (and I mean literally 'pushy' - that is you 'push' people away, even if they are not in your way!). And, you travel by local trains.

Actually, you cannot avoid the local train bit, even if you want to. Fastest and cheapest (ok, maybe buses would be somewhat cheaper but then you actually feel you have aged a little by the time you get off the bus), traveling by local trains becomes a necessary evil.

And they are always jam-packed. No matter what time you take the train and in which direction. Even First class! Ok, as many of you will know, my cribbing will have no end, so let me stop right here and start with what I actually intended this blog to be about.

People you are likely to meet in a (packed) Mumbai Local Train:

The Gujju Stock Broker (and his gang) - Sitting on top of each other in some corner playing cards, or standing in the doorway discussing stock movements, property prices and what not (and, unintentionally am sure, blocking the entry/exit), mirthful, teasing each other on silly things like 'teri pant kitni tight hai', laded with jewelery of all sorts - chains, bracelets, earrings, rings, diamond-studded-shirts - seriously! (and, yeah, gold is passé, they prefer platinum now!) - you just can't miss the Gujju gang in a Mumbai local. They speak only in Gujarati and hence, it might be difficult to follow the entire conversation - but what I like about them is their being so full of joy, energy and jest, all the time. While I did get irritated at 'all the loud banter' first, I have begun to like such gangs. They, somehow, find a reason to smile, a reason to joke, a reason to have fun. 

The Motu Uncle - He will push his way through, occupy as much space as five people and then give you a dirty look that would say 'don't mess with me'. They rarely apologize after nearly crushing you to death. As a co-passenger once commented (after a Motu Uncle started squeezing him) - "Uncle, aapko gym hi jana padega. Aise dabane se pet kam nahi hoga" :)
Though, occasionally, having a Motu Uncle in front of you, when you have to get off a crowded train, does have its benefits. You can easily pass through after he has cleared his way. Just ignore the massacre all around.

The Gunda - He is rude, loud-mouthed and found mostly in Virar fast. He won't let you get onto the train, he won't let you get off. He will be a nuisance in general. He is occasionally with his other gunda friends, when he creates twice as much trouble for others. He will chew tobacco and spit everywhere. He will blow smoke in co-passengers' faces after smoking a beedi. He particularly hates UP Bhaiyas. He will abuse and crib. You will find it easy to hate him.
An advice: You should always ignore him - though the temptation to sucker-punch him or push him off the moving train would be very intense.

The College Nerd - He is the standard studious type. He will carry a huge bag filled with books. Even in a crowded train where people can barely stand, he will have the uncontrollable urge to take out a book and study. And this is no Calcutta where studious kids are offered seats by other passengers. Geeks like me will associate with him but when, in the jostling crowd, you realize that he is taking up extra space, you start giving him dirty looks. 

The Newspaper Freak - He is the grown-up version of the College Nerd. His books are replaced by Newspapers now. He has embarked on this impossible mission to read the entire paper before the train reaches his destination station. He takes multiple poses while reading the newspaper (some of which look inspired from Kamasutra).  

Mr. 'I-don't-believe-in-bathing-at-all' - He is the smelly kind. No more words.

Hairy Harry - These are uncles with an overgrowth of hair on their heads. Now, now, I am not making fun of them because of envy at their hare-bhare gardens. But in crowded trains, they tend to shake their heads a little too often which means that those standing around them will be gifted with loving strokes of their tresses. Best is when the Uncle in question has a penchant for applying smelly hair-oil. You will actually achieve a state of eternal bliss when a strand of oily hair brushes past your face. 

Raasta bhatki Aunty Occasionally, a lady will board the unisex compartment (mind you there are no men's compartments) and then all hell will break loose. Men, who have accepted the kicking and jostling as part of their lives, will be forced to behave appropriately - try fruitlessly to save that poor woman from the torture that mortals are subjected to in a Mumbai local.

Mumbaiya Tapori - He is the milder version of the Gunda.He tries to boss around but gets shooed away by other passengers. He lacks the evil look and tries to make up for it by using a lot of swear-words. He is the wannabe Gunda. Maybe he will never achieve the same perfection. But he tries for what he is worth. 

The Gay - You find them everywhere. And you gradually learn to ignore them. And, frankly, in a crowded train it is difficult to identify who is trying to molest (if guys can be molested at all!) you and who is just another victim. A warning though: Some of them get pretty aggressive if you continue to ignore them. And, a dirty look will suffice to ward them off.

The 'madly-in-love' couple - Coochey-coo couples, falling over each other. Thankfully, this variety avoids crowded trains. They, instead, choose to do PDA (public display of affection) on the platform.

Oye Chakka Chakka oye - They run India's largest extortion racket. First class compartments are well within their reach.

The Chotu Ustaad - The modern-day dwarf. He cannot reach the overhead bars. He is usually crushed between bottoms and has to shriek to make others notice him. He will hold on to you like you are his long-lost-kumbha-mela-wala brother. Though he is particularly crafty in squeezing past people in crowded trains.

The Mandir ka Pujari - This gang sits together chanting mantras and hanuman chalisa. They often occupy an entire compartment. And also distribute tasty prasad after their puja is done :) 

Now, now, this is definitely not an exhaustive list - but I had fun writing it :)
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