Monday, July 31, 2006

Another POV

I've always wanted to pick up the Oakland accent, grow huge muscles and roam around in a red Dodge Ram, with hip-hop blaring from the dozen speakers on the bull bar . . . now that's living kingsize, if you ask me. The losers who pretend to be intellectually superior, could never become boxers, so try to make up by reading a lot.

I've always wanted tattoos on my biceps, wear wrist bands, ride huge harleys, and have flowing blonde hair. That's like making a statement. The losers who pretend to be world tourers on BMWs are just that . . . losers. They end up writing books that never sell.

Sometimes I've wanted to be an ace shooter, ready to kill for a price and shooting sitting pumpkins from my window.

And right now, I have someone's head in mind. Is anybody ready to pay me?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Deconstructing Bengali Gods

Now out of the 3,300,000 gods that populate the night sky (the Hindu gods alone), the Bengalis have fancied only a handful. This article will be about those gods and what they mean to a quintessential Bengali. And also why they were handpicked out of those billions out there.

The bidhatas, or the almighty (almighties, because we love every kind of plural), are only three: the trinity, or Brohma, Bishnu, and Moheswor. If you think these spellings are a little offbeat, these are how we Bengalis love to pronounce their names. Brohma is the creator, so we don't disturb him much. He has created every conceivable thing and is perhaps happily floating in weightless space. He has conquered the dimension of time, and that involves a lot of hypothetical physics, which I'm no master of. So, like most Bengalis have done, I will leave Brohma alone. I hope he knows how to avoid being sucked into a black hole.

Bishnu, again, I don't know much about. I heard he had mastered the art of cloning himself and sent many of his clones to earth to save it from imminent disasters, and he may also have met Noah at some point of time. I won't be surprised if they exchanged notes over a cup of coffee sometime. I cannot really say he has succeeded in saving the earth much. All his clones went back leaving behind stories and myths surrounding their heroics.

Moheswor is actually Sib (or Shiva). The story starts getting interesting from here. Sib, as we all know and as many of the babas are trying to figure up there in the Himalayas, knew the perfect way to salvation. Leave home, forego your family and material pleasures, and go up to the Himalayas in search of good hash. If it's wet, burn it a little and dry it up. Stuff it into a cigarette and puff once. Puff twice...and you know where he has reached. Stretch your arms and try to fly away to him. Sib has attracted the fancy of men and women alike. Women even have a special prayer called Siboratri, during which they pray for husbands like Sib. If it is for his phallus, which is almost a legend by itself and is his sole symbol on earth, then it probably makes some sense. Indian men are not known to have phalluses like Africans as rumor has it. And if one Indian lady (whom I don't want to name here) can swear that Africans have bigger ones, we cannot possibly blame Indian women for their prayers. May their heartfelt prayers be answered.

After the bidhatas, come the mere gods. And here things get a little chaotic. At this level, the gods can be seen clamouring for space. Space in the mind of a Bengali, because that's where salvation lies for a god, doesn't it? And at this level you get a clear picture of the class divide that is so prevalent up there. There are the elite gods who are out of bounds for the lower castes of Bengalis. Then there is a snake goddess, and many others. Let me come to them one by one.

Durga is perhaps the most beautiful lady who comes visiting us once every year. She has a dudhey aalta complexion, the typical Israeli or even Punjabi complexion you get to see. Flawless. You dare not tell her that she has a slightly oily skin, she can get very touchy about such issues. Durga comes as the goddess of good harvest, as the savior, as the love of every Bengali heart. The fervour with which we wait for her homecoming is perhaps comparable to Europe waiting for Christmas. (Not so much the Americans because they're mostly spent after waiting in front of the discount stores during Thanksgiving. They probably sleep during Christmas, but like I don't know much about Bishnu, I don't know much about the Americans either.) And to wait for the idols being painted and dressed at Kumartuli is another beauty altogether. You sit there with a bowl of jaggery and puffed rice, watching the master sculptors bringing life to the numerous idols.

And finally when she is on earth, we try every possible trick up our sleeves to make those four days longer. We stay up till 6 in the morning, roaming around the streets, visiting the pandals, walking like we never walked all through the year in this Mardi Gras, and still don't fall sick. We eat from the roadside stalls, and still our usually weak gastronomies are not challenged. We survive Durga Puja and are left wiping our tears. If you ever experience a live bishorjon (immersion of the idol on the fourth day), you're bound to find your eyes full. Can seem inexplicable, but it's so universally true. So true!

The French Bengalis, who reside in Chandernagore and speak only Bengali and French, have a French Durga in place, who is lovingly called Jagadhaatri (or, the one who's held the world in her womb). Everything about Jagadhaatri is similar to Durga, only in a smaller scale, and restricted only to Chandernagore. I cannot imagine experiencing similar emotions during Jagadhaatri Puja, but would love to visit Chandernagore to see the lights. Someday.

Some of our Bengali gods are even more pricey. They come once in four years wearing the yellow jersey of Brazil. The chaos that ensues in Bengal during the football puja is best not written about. I owe allegiance to the gods above and if I show an iota of extra love for our Brazilian gods, I may invoke the wrath of god knows who.

Back to the gods, some are really not so lucky. The average upper-class hilsa loving Bengali does not worship Manasa, the snake goddess. She is worshipped mostly in the suburbs and remote villages where the snakes pose a threat. Even Santoshi Ma, who is about 150 years old and is mostly considered from the neighboring state of Bihar, is not worshipped in Calcutta households. This not-so-subtle discrimination among gods has gone unnoticed all these years, but nobody's complaining. And even if they do, Indra, the king of the gods, wouldn't probably have the time to listen.

Indra is another colorful character. When he does have time from watching those endless strip-tease and pole dancing shows, he's known to be thinking of some bollywood sirens. I don't want to elaborate, but not a single Bengali worships Indra.

They do worship some of Indra's qualities though. Indra is a connoisseur of good liquor, and Bengalis are no exception. And their favorite watering hole is Someplace Else at the basement of The Park on Park Street. However, there's a huge debate about whether Bengalis visit Someplace Else for its drinks or the couple of gods who perform there. If you hear one speaking about Nandanda or Kochuda, you know about the two new gods in town. They are reincarnations of Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Mark Knopfler, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, JJ Cale, you name it . . . oh, how could I forget John Lennon, Bob Dylan, or even Dave Gilmour? The Bengali is very touchy about the god named Robert Zimmerman, although one may argue whether he had any sense of music in his peanut-sized head. If you like Tambourine Man, the Bengali will buy you a large drink.

So, let's raise a toast to some of our gods here. Here's to you, all you up there and deep in our collective Bengali psyche. You guys sure rock.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

How are you?

When I asked you how you are, I wanted to know how you've been and not that you've been to Tasmania lecturing on animal husbandry. I did not ask about your new Mitsubishi Pajero, just about how you are. For old times' sake.

Nonetheless, you featured in my fantasy last night. And as I lay there, creating and perfecting the imagery in my mind, I knew I had to be a little careful with you in my dreams. You are kinda point blank. You, despite being a girl, straightaway want action. While I, despite being a man, believe in foreplay and something before that as well. Do not undress in a second. Can you hold on for a bit? The tease? The gradual removal of each piece of cloth too has a charm of its own. I do like to see those little pink flowers, but I'm in no hurry, this is just a dream and I have a lot of time.

I went behind you and touched your long hair . . . it is still as lustrous as they advertise in those shampoo ads. Or do you use some brunette hair thickener? I planted a slight kiss on your neck and saw your eyes close. Did they close in pleasure or in reminiscence of what happened last time? As I was about to turn you around for a fuller kiss, you moved away, and before I could even say 'no,' you were naked, sitting there like a huge ameobic lump of white flesh on the hotel bed, your dress flung toward the door. The pink flowers were magenta now and the hair on your crotch still brown...but they faded soon.

I turned around and went off to sleep.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some more

"I know how to change a tire, how come you don't?"

"We're talking about motorcycles here, June."

"But I thought a motorcycle has a spare tire?"

And then fleeting memories of the Czech classic Jawa with a spare tire tied to the side came to all of us. We came out of the pantry like zombies. The Jawa kaleidoscope went on . . .


"Do you have a 50p coin?" she's been asking almost everybody for about a week.
Finally Shantanu found a 50p coin and gave it to her.



" He he, now I have Rs 10 worth of coins!"


Monday, July 10, 2006

Aaron's first ride

That's him, lifting the visor to give the photographer in the jeep a better view.

We rode to the forests of Mudumalai, 250 kms from Bangalore . . .

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

all the curves

all the fucking curves are sinusoidal
so, buy a recliner and wait for the peaks . . .
throw in a little football, a Thai woman on your lap
and blast away. . .

there was this video, i tell you
and when i saw what she did to him
i bought a ticket to Thailand in my next dream

if i buy a waterbed and some hot charcoal
you'll know i've found my Thai woman
holed up in a hole
now that was bad rhyming, but i don't wanna rhyme
all i want is to tell u a story of when things are blue
relax . . .
this will pass too . . .