Saturday, February 23, 2013

Another Depressing Post, This Time about Mortality and "It Can Happen to You"

Sorry, this is a depressing post!

Mother-in-law died. There ends the last death of parents, I mean, mine and my wife's. I am so tired of travelling for deaths and diseases that I want to go away to ponder, contemplate, gloat over, my own. Yeah, my own. Meanwhile, I have never had a proper vacation during this times of stress. See, I am the old fashioned type. I guess the old generation has passed the mantle to us saying, "now it's your turn." Thoughts of your own mortality can be damn scary. The thought of being subject to the medical fraternity's paraphernalia of tubes and syringes can be even more terrorising. When you realise your own friends are all similarly affected by some malady or the other, you draw some comfort.

You meditate, do breathing exercises (Kapalbhati, Aulom-Vilom, etc) and walk for an hour each day to keep away afflictions. Yet, the thoughts of your own mortality haunts you, making you feel vulnerable. Our bodies are such tender delicate things. We do violate it often and then pay the price in our old age. Well, the maximum damage is done when we are young when we believe "nothing can happen to me" I am so healthy. But the body can surprise you, it can confound you with the way it can rebound on you. You are left with the feeling, "no this can't happen to me."

Well, it does and one has to pass on the baton. To the next generation.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Moaning Dog in the Neighbourhood Experience

After coming back from Kerala had a strange case of the moods. It's a passing stage is what I can say. A bit depressed but I am going about doing all my usual activities so as to beat depression. A death takes time to get over and coupled with my own afflictions it becomes a bit unbearable. But work on the novel should go one and I am off to the Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) in Sector 11. It's a nice place, not very crowded and plays the television in mute and has some other music playing on the audio system. So, there's a discord between visuals and audio, not that I mind. 

Working from home has its disadvantages I feel. There is a dog moaning in a neighbour's house all day. The neighbour and his wife are away at work and the dog being lonely does what lonely dogs do. It produces this pathetic moaning sound. Somehow I want to go and tell them to stay at home and take care of the dog or sell it or whatever. Do not inflict such torture on a dumb animal. It needs freedom to move, it needs to do its normal activities of a living being and being chained it can't do all these. How would you feel if you were tethered the whole day? I think this dog lover is being dog cruel. 

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Goodbye, Stubborn, Mulish Generation

The funeral is over. Finito. So passes away a generation. First my father, then my mother, than my father-in-law and then (now) my mother-in-law. 

A generation has passed away, a generation that has seen war, scarcities, famines, etc. A generation that held on to their jobs and never let go for thirty years or more. We, of this generation, weren't much patient. We valued our freedom more than anything and would quit at the slightest pretext of impending doom (all imagined, yes, all imagined). We were the fickle generation who didn't hold on. We were easily terrified by harassing bosses and strict parents. We didn't fight back like today's generation. We were the compliant ones, the ones who feared to rebel, the ones who were not like the mules our parents were and not like the bull terriers our children have turned out to be.

We respected our parents, and we, somehow, showed the same respect to our children. We obeyed both and realised the latter didn't need respect but a lot of counselling and understanding. History will judge us by what a world we have left for our children. No, we didn't create utopia, instead, we created: dystopia.

Goodbye, stubborn, mulish generation. You were the better ones.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rest in Peace Kind Lady, My Mother-in-law

Mariamma Mathai, Rest in Pleace
I didn't know it would come so soon. So when wifey received a call at 4 a.m. from Kerala, we feared the worst. Her mother is "gone" said her brother-in-law. Such a simple word, for such a good person. She "went" without much fuss, without hospital tubes pinning her down, without the paraphernelia of modern medicine that does more harm than good, without a lot of people wailing near her bed. She died in her sleep.

I always had a great rapport with my mother-in-law. I received more love, attention, and attention from her than from my own parents. Truly. She was a good lady always ready to help and always defending me against my critics in the in-law camp. I have been fortunate in having such a lady as my mother-in-law. Alas, no more. Gone is the gentle querulous voice, the gentle admonition, the asking if I had food. Rest in please dear lady, you were always a kind and gentle soul.

Meanwhile, before I proceed to Kerala for the funeral, here are some pictures I took of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Editing a Novel and Credit Card Payments

I know, I know I shouldn't hurry this thing, though health, blogging, credit card payments get in the way. I didn't know how my credit card outstanding ballooned and I am left facing a huge wall which will, somehow, be scaled. I am sure. Fingers crossed. Yeah!

No more credit cards for me. No more "credit" I hate the word. I will pay by debit card and a live a frugal monastic life. Those B****** are cheats and gold diggers. The interest they charge is obscene and with that the late fee and this and that. Goes on endlessly, the buggers. Why don't they get regulated? Is there no activist out to protest this highway robbery?

And insurance. Another fraud. I ran up bills of Rs 100,000 for a minor surgery and they reimbursed just Rs 20,000. Seems they get a special incentive for denying people like me our dues. And I have been an insurance paying customer for close to five years. Best thing is to do yoga and breathing exercises and not fall ill at all. Yeah, that sounds much simpler.

All this distracts from the main narrative of this blog. It's that I finished chapter nine and will be completing my editing soon. Those hours in CCD is giving good results as I can devote chunks of time without the credit card people disturbing me.

"Kya main John Matthew se baat kar sakti hoon." The voice is thin and strident.

"Han bol raha hoon." I say in my very best thick and manly voice. Maybe, I can floor her with my charm.

"My XYZ credit card company ki tharaf se bol rahi hoon. Aap ka credit card xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx outstanding ho gaya hai xxxxxx. Kab main bhej doon admi ko?"

"Bhej do, lekin payment nahi milega." My voice disintegrates to a croak and wheeze.

The call centre guys need a rap on their knuckles. Such a bad script, must have been written by one of those half-literate technical writers. Ah, well, I was one of them, in some godforsaken past. No more.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Zeenat Aman to Marry at Sixty!

Well, those were the daze. This article in Hindustan Times says Zeenat is going to marry again. Hm. You mean Zeenat Aman? At the age of 60?

She rode to stardom in Hare Krishna as the pot smoking young lass. "Dum maro dum" was on every lips as she gyrated to the chords of the guitar, she was the one playing it. For the heroines of those times this was revolutionary indeed, in fact, incendiary. How can a heroine sing "Dum maro dum" and play a guitar. Ugh! She had the establishment up the ante in protest, there were no violent and vociferous sloganeering and banning as happens these days but people did say "tut, tut." In the staid world of Hindi films where women wore saris and hair-dos like crows' nests, a girl wearing trousers, flared at the bottom, was something to heckle at in theatres. My friends didn't like her. Which made me like her even more.

Compared to today those were gentler times. Friends agreed to disagree. But we saw her movies because her films - Yadon Ki Baraat, Ajnabi - would play for months at the local theatre. There was nothing of the mercenary in actors and actresses. These days they dance like there is no tomorrow, swinging hips and boobs, wearing nothing but underpants. Yet, we don't protest. "Style hai bhai."

She again took the guitar and sang "Chura liya hai" in Yadon ki Baraat." Here again people whistled in a derogatory manner. Who is this girl? Is she chalu? Or, is it a style, image, of a new woman, who is emerging? How can they show such things? Imagine, Kareena Kapoor is far ahead in the future. She did Satyam Shivan Sundaram for Kareena's grandfather. She swung her hips in the rain in "Roti Kapda aur Makan" and in "Ajnabi," the latter was done with the sensation of those days, Rajesh Khanna.

This is just a mood piece, so take it in that spirit, won't you dears. Zeenat, we are happy for you. Life begins at sixty. Yes!

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival Starts Tomorrow

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival starts tomorrow. The program for the literature section is here.

I have been a regular at this festival in the past years and this is a favourite with me. I love the locality - Kala Ghoda - where I have worked close to three years in the Army & Navy Building where Westside is situated. Originally, this space used to be the Army & Navy store which used to stock all types of foreign goodies. 

So I am excited. Will try to attend on all days. And, ah, yes, if you see me or a likeness of me somewhere, stop and say hello. It might be me.

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.