Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Humor thoughts-What's Lalit's Rashi?

A few years back, when formation of IPL was announced, nothing much was known about Lalit Modi, except that he was the sire of the Modi Empire. Nothing was known about his past escapades on Indian and foreign soils. First he entered Jaipur cricket, then BCCI and then he was Commissioner of the IPL. He came up very fast. During the formation of IPL, his photos started coming in papers occasionally. Now of course, he is here, there and everywhere.

Once, during those early IPL days, we were sitting in our society’s compound as retired people do, when we came across this photograph of Lalit Modi in an evening Hindi newspaper. One of our society members, Mr. Agrawal commented: “How can an institution like our cricket board with intelligent stalwarts like Sharad Pawar trust a man (Lalit) like this? He is so cunning.”

Another member: “How can you say that?”

Agrawal: “He has fox’s eyes and face. He is capable of betraying his own father, let alone board members and friends. He is capable of going to any extent if it serves his purpose.”

Me: “How do you know that? You don’t know him.”

Agrawal: “He is like me. He has my traits. I know the likes of him when I see one. I am sure that his mind works like me.”

Now, it was rumored that Agrawal was once very rich. Because of one woman half his age, he tried to betray and throw his sons out of business that they were running together. The sons threw him out instead and Agrawal was left with very little of what he originally owned.

So I asked him: “Then how it is that Lalit Modi jets around the world, has a hi-flying lifestyle and you are sitting with us idling around, while both of you have the same traits?”

Agrawal paused, thought for a while and said: “I am sure we are the same. It must be his Rashi. My Rashi didn’t favour me. His did. My Rashi is Libra. What’s Lalit’s Rashi?”

Monday, June 14, 2010

Humor thoughts-The witty doctor

My wife has a strange habit. When our maid comes for cleaning utensils and sweeping floors, my wife puts everything on our dining table and sofas. She puts dining chairs on dining table and center table, news paper stand etc. on sofas. Small flower pots go on widow sill. She insists that nothing should remain on floor so that the maid can sweep the floor clean properly. Same is the case of our bedrooms. Small carpets, stools etc. are kept on beds. The maid comes in the morning and there is a whirlwind for the next one and a half hours. We are a family of five and as such we have plenty of things apart from furniture, from a bicycle for my grandson to steps to dust our walls and ceilings. Every thing is removed from its place and placed on top of something or the other to facilitate our maid. And then, when the maid leaves, things would come down one by one, as and when required and by evening our house is in order once again. Sundays and holidays are particularly chaotic because all the members are present in the house. There is shouting all around to get out of the maid’s way. We have got used to it.

Once, the husband of my wife’s sister who is a Doctor by profession, came from Kolkata for a few days on visit. On the following Sunday morning, there was usual chaos. My son felt a little embarrassed. But we observed that the Doctor was taking things coolly and dodging the maid and my wife expertly. My son asked him “Mesho, does Mashi do these things at your place too? That is, lift everything and put them on something or the other?”

The doctor, quite witty, replied ‘Are bolo na. Eta to kichui na. Tomar Mashi parle amaake o tule kothao rekhe debe.” ( Don’t ask. Your aunty would lift me also and put me somewhere if she could.)

My son was happy. He found sadistic pleasure in knowing that there were others sharing our fate.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Experiences-My terrorist act

Prior to Operation Blue Star, when terrorism was in full swing in Punjab, I was once arrested by a constable during random checking near Amritsar for possessing weapon, a big knife. The offending knife in question was a paper cutter with broad steel blade and wooden handle resembling Nepali Kukri, useless for anything other then cutting papers. No amount of explanation that I was dealing in gift items and had a catalogue detailing the article impressed the constable who took me to the police station.

It was only after three hours that a senior Babu came that I was able to explain my tale of woo, when he ordered my release but only after penalizing me for my “improper and suspicious behavior and causing commotion”, advising me not to return to the town for three months. Three months? I never went back.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Musings-Pronunciation blues

In continuation of the previous article, once I was on an official visit to Calcutta. My Punjabi friend Darshan Singh accompanied me. On reaching Calcutta, I introduced Darshan Singh to one of my Bengali friend Bapi and requested Bapi to show him around as I was busy with my official work. Bapi, my childhood friend readily agreed and did the needful. Both Bapi and Darshan Singh got along very well and almost formed a mutual admiration society. Bapi fulfilled every wish of Darshan Singh and took him to all places worth seeing . Darshan, on his part, being a large hearted Punjabi, matched Bapi’s rupee for a rupee in expenses and was not a burden on Bapi. So all went well for the two of them, that is, until the last day when Darshan left for Delhi.

Darshan Singh and I were to return to Delhi together, but I had not finished my work. So Darshan decided to return alone. On the D day, Bapi and I went to see him off at the Howrah station in Bapi’s car. We found Darshan’s seat, put his luggage and were standing and talking on the platform when another of our mutual friends (Bapi’s and mine), Vivek spotted us. After preliminaries like ‘hi’, ‘hello’, Bapi introduced Vivek to Darshan:

“Darshan, meet my friend Bhibhek and Bhibhek, this is my friend Darshan from Delhi.”

Darshan, not knowing Bhibhek was for Vivek, and thinking that this was some Gujariti name he had not come across, said in all innocence:

Oh yes, Bhibhek, nice meeting you Bhibhek.”

While returning to the city in his car, Bapi could not contain himself: ‘shaaaala, tomar bondhu. Eto shob korlam or jonne. Betaaa, jete jete bans diye galo.’
(this your friend, I did so much for him and he made a fool of me while returning).

There was no use explaining Bapi of Darshan’s innocence. Later, back in Delhi, Darshan asked me: ‘strange name this, Bhibhek, what does it mean’?

You tell me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Humor thoughts-Bengali pronunciation

Bengalis- Don’t get offended by this article, for, I am a half Bengali myself.

Bengalis, as a rule rather then exception, have a tendency of converting alphabet ‘A’ into ‘0’ and ‘V’ into ‘BHI’ while speaking a word, among other peculiarities. But for the time being, let us talk about these two. I can sight innumerable examples of this trait in Bengalis, but, for the time being, two will suffice.

Once, our family went to Ahmedabad to visit my elder brother’s family. We reached Bombay by train and from there to Ahmedabad by car. The two families were having good time and gossip after elaborate lunch when my brother asked my wife by which train we reached Bombay.

‘Frontier Mail’: replied my wife, pronouncing ‘Fro’ more broadly then Bengalis usually do. My brother didn’t catch. So he asked again ‘which’?

Again my wife replied: ‘Frontier Mail’, putting even more stress on ‘Fro’, sounding like FRAU.

The reply went above my brother’s head. But, his sixth sense probably told him not to venture the question for the third time. Usually my brother understands and speaks Bengali very well, but this Indianised or rather Bengalinised ‘Frontier’ was beyond him. Or he had bear one too many before lunch to grasp this stylish vocabulary. Anyway, he looked at me helplessly.

‘Frontier Mail’: I said as it should be told. ‘Oh’: He said. Ever a gentleman, my brother tried to contain his mirth and succeeded. Others could not.

My wife is Bengali and we are married for a little over forty years. It is said that after prolonged togetherness some of your spouse’s habits rub on you. I have not picked up this trait from her in all these years-YET. I thank God for small mercies.

As for ‘BHI’, another article.