Thursday, December 25, 2008

Random musings on a merry day

Christmas...to any kid who has studied in a Christian Missionary Convent, Christmas remains etched in mind, maybe forever. The following musings are random totally but have their own meaning for me.

Mrs.Rita Pillai - my headmistress when I was in Primary School.Even today I can see her sitting at the piano leading us in choir. I can see her directing all the teachers for the proceedings of the day. This included the usual walk of the three kings of the orient, greeting the Lord in the manger [I remember the song' Away in the Manger, No crib for a bed,...'] And of course, ensuring that the Santa Claus had his bag of chocolates in place.

I tend to remember the chapel in my school.A dark place, carpeted red. The statue of Christ on the cross on one of walls. Flower pots adorning the place. We had to remove our shoes to get inside. And had to remain silent. Actually we were supposed to pray. But I used to wonder why Christ's body was twisted on the cross. What would a child's mind understand about the metaphorical implications of pain? Many years later, I found my answer in the book The Agony and Ecstasy by Irvingstone. Mrs. Pillai never found out that I never used to pray there.

My mother - in spite of belonging to an orthodox background her curiosity got the better of her and one day, we marched to Santhome Church to witness the Christmas Eve festivities. So impressed were we that my Mom made it a practice to visit the church more often.

Spenser's - the only mall worth speaking about in Chennai at that time. I and my Mom marched in for some window shopping only to realise that there was a painting competition going on for kids. Mom told me to participate and bought some crayons and colors for me. I won the second prize - a fancy pencil box. [Today, Spenser Plaza doesn't appeal to me.It looks more like Kafka's castle.]

And of course, the plum cake that Dad used to bring. With great ceremony we used to cut the cake and I used to reserve my share for a late night hogging. And then look pleadingly at my brother and sister. No one could resist that look!

College? The whole month we used to play this game called Chris Mom and Chris Child. It involved leaving some secret gifts for the assigned friend. Of course, for the better part of my stay, I thought it was a silly game. In the band, there was no choice, you had to play it.

Christmas also reminds me of the day when the band as a whole got into a soup with our teachers. We had decided to play on Christmas Eve. The catch was that we had not taken the permission of our teachers, who, quite conveniently, were on a holiday.Our band was pretty much in the nascent stage and this was going to be our first standing performance. We put together a few tunes, and played for about 15 minutes. Felt on top of the world.:) We came crashing down the next day when our teachers returned.:( We got a solid blasting for not having gone through the official channels.

Most of all, Christmas always reminds me of that scene in Home Alone [Part 2] The mother comes in search of the kid and the kid is praying in the Church. Praying for his family. And I think of the time when I and my mom used to sit in the church, more out of curiosity rather than reverence.

And I can hear the music,...Hark the herald, Oh come all ye faithful, .......And I just think of a human being who lived many hundreds and thousands of years ago, personifying all the good that man is capable of. And whose message of love and brotherhood is preserved mostly for a day's festivity.

:)Merry Christmas to one and all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I had a great big fall!

The latest bug that has bitten me is that of dancing. Yes, I do  dance once in a while and am also trained in the classical version to some extent. It all started when a group of us were discussing those 'irrelevant things' which, as if by some stroke of chance, suddenly mutate into possibilities of expressing hitherto hidden talents. [Especially when you have nothing else worthwhile to discuss]

In case you have not understood the previous line, some of us decided to dance. The suggestion was put forth by an adventurer and was promptly accepted. Can you picture the six of us crammed in a room, music at full blast, stomping away to glory, with occasional pretensions to being professionals? Of course, we had taken care of the coffee part.

We were indeed an interesting group - called ourselves The Electric Girls - 3 serious dancers, 2 wannabe dancers and 1 adventurer. We yelled, screamed and laughed at our own mistakes. Making the wannabe dancers and the adventurer understand and develop a sense of rhythm and beat proved to be a daunting task.

But oh, when did the great fall happen? We were rehearsing live before an audience and some of us in the 'interesting group' were in a hyperactive state. One hyperactive girl challenged me to a classical dance posture which had been child's play to me earlier. In retrospect, I was an idiot to accept that challenge. I had been out of practice for quite some time now. However, the general consensus was that I should attempt at it, and not be a coward. As that girl held on to me for support, I attempted the impossible-bending backwards and touching the floor with my head (a classical pose pertaining to the snake dance. And yes, in my younger days, I could achieve that!) I miscalculated and instead of a smooth progress towards my destination, I landed with a thud. Nevertheless, my instincts made me reach out for the hand of a surprised onlooker and finally, the three of us, tumbled on each other - a sorry mess right in the middle of the stage. The entire amphitheatre's attention was drawn to the three dazed souls.

All that we could do at this defining moment was to give a gracious smile and nonchalantly pretend as if this was all a part of the act. [The accusations could be hurled later.]

As for dancing, we did put on our act, with a medley of songs from Madonna, Westlife, popular dance numbers from Hindi and Telugu and yes, the act was widely appreciated. Three cheers to the spirit of adventure! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Queen's observations on an oft read book - The Fountainhead

The questions that The Fountainhead raises are bound to jolt to reader out of his normal mundane existence.Does advancement and progress mean stifling of creativity? Who is a true creator? How can he/his creations stand the test of time, not only the future but the present as well? Most importantly, is it possible for an individual to be a creator and still stick on to his convictions in a world of second handers?

The problem exists. Man has always been improvising upon things handed down by his ancestors, and this process as we know has not been a continuous and a documented one. Very convenient for second handers of today, who just wait for a chance, just like a hunter waiting for a catch. The million-dollar question - Can any individual afford to be himself in this world of second-handers?

As Ayn Rand examines this question we see characters like Wynand - the man who desperately wants to be himself but cannot afford to, Dominique - the woman who knows that she is different and is comfortable with that knowledge, Ellsworth Toohey - the self proclaimed critic who knows knows that the best way to rule the world was to rule the minds of people, Peter Keating - the perfect second hander [if we were to go by Ayn Rand's definition of a one] and finally a person whom I would call original - Howard Roark. The only man who remains true to what he thinks and feels. Even Dominique has to make some kind of a compromise. But Roark remains steadfast to the end.

An interesting story line - an architect who doesn't mind going against the established principles and precedents of architecture to chart his own journey of creation. A case of individualism versus collectivism. Along the way he does pay the price, but surges forward. As we go on this journey along with Roark, we see almost first-hand as to how people can choose to remain uninfluenced. Collectivism, with all its altruistic motives can be used to make the worthless sound worthy, but the price is stifling of creative individualism. Everybody seems to be breaking under the pressure but Roark remains steadfast.

A question that nagged me was how can world even look up to people like Ellsworth Toohey. Did not have to go far to search for an answer. In a world of second-handers, snobs, people with half-knowledge, people like Toohey will reign supreme. And then it was not very difficult to find this element of Toohey in many. Who wouldn't love authority and control, especially over people?

What was the effect of the book on me? Let me tell you one thing. The first time I read it, I was left disturbed. You tend to become unsure of your position in the larger context of a world dictated by fads and uniformity. But all that disturbance is to strike at the fountain-head of the individual. So in some of the worst moments of my life, I have always returned to the story of Howard Roark, and I feel reassured that I do not have to follow the motley crowd.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Towards making the existing model obsolete

In the page immediately after the contents of A Year in Green Tea and Tuk-Tuks is the Buddhist adage “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.” I knew right away that this was going to be a different kind of book. A book that showed

1. an awareness of the problem
2. creative and yet practically sustainable solutions to it.

My introduction to the environmental crisis happened in grade 10. There were a couple of questions on the climate change and ozone depletion. Definite questions which would fetch you 10 marks. As I saw it then, there was nothing much I could do about the reducing the rate of ozone depletion except to convince the examiners that I knew the processes. The equation was so simple and for all practical purposes, the ozone hole became my favourite topic.

My curiosity regarding environmental management shot up when I saw An Incovenient Truth. To tell the truth, I felt a lot wiser but strangely uncomfortable. I needed to know more. Suddenly terms like genetically modified food, ozone hole, climate change, biological warfare etc. started acquiring a sinister meaning.

From the way I look at it, a book that tries to address environmental issues should essentially

1. Give the real picture of the crisis in a language that a layman can understand
2. Practical ways and means to address them both at the local/global level
3. Real life experiences to prove that living in harmony with the environment doesn’t necessarily mean uncomfortable living.

Rory Spower’s book is an excellent instance of environment awareness in daily life. As he narrates his experience of creating an organic farm in a country torn apart by natural disasters and civil strife, we accompany him on a journey to create a more self-sustaining lifestyle.

There is no problem without a solution. This is exemplified in his attempts to address the need for comfortable yet ecologically sustainable living. Is he joking? NO. He proves that this is possible with a few modifications to the design and structure of of our living areas.

Electricity? Spowers tells me that I can generate enough power in my own backyard and stop depending on the unpredictable power grid, or fuel my living expenses with diesel. From what he says it appears that it is also possible not only to recharge a laptop but to address all the electricity requirements of a household using solar power.

But what about the costs involved in designing and restructuring our living space in a manner that would preserve the biodiversity and promote sustainable lifestyle? Spowers does not simply throw statistics at us. When he calculates the cost of this kind of sustainable living and the savings and the profits that can be generated out of it, we can see that the man knows his economics. Sample his narration of the Doc Man’s life style [Chapter 3] and his own attempts at building his domicile in a cost-effective manner.

Colin, the doc-man hits the nail on the head when he says that ‘the only way to reverse the situation was to bring economics and ecology back into synergy, to apply ecological truths to our corrupted economic thought and make it beneficial not only to all human beings, but all forms of life.”And this remains the effort of Spowers. Combining ecological and economical sense in designing a sustainable lifestyle.

The best thing about the book is that it is not just mere narration, but narration backed with research, experiences and most importantly, a tinge of humour. And when it ends, you have the ‘highlighting of the horrors of our predicament with respect to various apects of our life’ along with the ‘initiatives, projects and technologies that give us a cause for hope.’

And it was this section which caught the interest of my curious mind which was in search of knowledge about the fuel consumption by vehicles, genetically modified food, the effects of pesticides, the impact of the pharmaceutical industry, so on and so forth. Here Spowers blows apart many myths about the role played by the developing technologies in creating a sustainable and peaceful life. According to him, they seem to be directed only along the capitalistic lines and the generation of profits with scant regard to environment. He does manage to make his point here.

The final solution apparently seems to be in education. Right type of education which would enable us to be informed beings living in harmony with our environment rather than machines living in isolation. For which the ‘illusion’ of us being separate little selves rather than a ‘manifestation of one universal and absolute self’ has to be removed.It is on this affirmative note that the book ends. One of the quotations used in the book remained in my mind for quite sometime is:
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

And to make the existing model obsolete, we need to understand our own roles both as a part of the problems and the solutions. But for that mere concepts, models, and theories alone do not suffice. You need to have your heart in the right place. At the end of this journey of exploration, discovery, challenges, minor/major victories, minor/major defeats, the point really driven home is that there is no problem without a solution. To make the existing model obsolete, you need not only need a new model, but also your heart and mind in the right place. That remains the USP of this book.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Life throbbing in my hands.


It was a tiny creature, almost the size of my palms. Slowly, with love and care, it had learnt to fly. But it made a point to return to the hands that had nurtured it. My palms were but a temporary refuge and the creature slept before I realized. It did not peck, it did not protest. It perched comfortably in my palms and took a short nap. If it had lips and teeth, it would have given a smile of contentment. But the closed eyes were enough for the adequate expression of the feeling. Softly, I stroked its head. It did not flinch. I patted it,...it snuggled further into my palms. For five solid minutes, life was throbbing in my hands. In the silence that surrounded us, I could feel the throbbing heart of the creature. It sounded just like mine. The bird was small, much smaller than me in size and much more fragile. But the heartbeat was the same. No wonder it felt so contented in my palms. A short walk we had together, the bird and me. As I approached the end of the corridor, the caretaker stepped forward to take the bird. Gently, the bird changed hands. Yet again, it did not flinch or protest.

Life was throbbing in my hands,...for five minutes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Glimpses!

[This post was originally written in 2001. During those practice teaching days, I had a diary in which I used to pen down my daily sob stories and all the varied stuff that used to come to my mind. This time when I was at home I rediscovered that diary and the original post. Made a few cosmetic changes and there you go,...]

A flight of stairs is an interesting sight. I was sitting in the lobby of a Primary School awaiting my turn. I had just completed my final sessions of practice teaching and a post-mortem was going to follow. Not a very pleasant frame of mind I should say coz when I use the word ‘post-mortem’ I mean it. So picture me sitting there feeling like a gladiator being thrown to the lions [okay make that a female version of a gladiator, whatever!] In short, I was feeling condemned. Anyone of you who have done practice teaching here would know how exactly I felt. Good place to see teaching and learning in practice.

So, picture me sitting there, lost in gloomy forebodings. If I may be permitted to use a hyperbole, lines from Ode to Dejection were playing around in my mind. Suddenly there was this deluge. A swarm of small boys blitzed down the stairs on their way for lunch. The accompanying acoustics and the dynamics of their movement jolted me out of my intimations of mortality and I was hooked.

One took the easy way down. He slid down the banister with faint concern to life and limb. Few others took the hint and followed suit till a stentorian warning from a teacher discouraged them. One came down on an imaginary chariot, encouraging his imaginary horses to gallop faster. Another budding singer timed his descent to the hallowed school prayer, which he sang aloud with energy and gusto. Didn’t care a bit about the wrong timing though.

Another came down, whistling like a train, leading a coach of boys behind. One would-be philosopher came down, lost in thoughts and consequently stuck to the wrong route till a friend took the initiative to direct him onto the right path.

The best, of course, was the chap who decided that the world had no choice but to listen to his wailing. He made his way straight down the stairs, crying all the while. He walked up to me with tear stained eyes and demanded ‘Where is my Mamma? I want her!’ I was left clueless. The whole idea of the post-mortem was ejected as a mind that used to dwell on Eliot and Yeats and theories of criticism suddenly started racing furiously in searching the answer to the eternal question – HOW TO MAKE KIDS STOP CRYING? Maybe we got some short term solutions along the way. But convincing solutions? No. My idols offered no way out and all the theories of psychology and behaviour that I had studiously learnt as a part of the paper on Educational Psychology had not prepared me for this kind of an eventuality.

I had a brainwave. I dived into my bag and retrieved a chocolate. A chocolate that was supposed to be all mine after the ‘post-mortem.’ The reaction/response time was instant. Three things happened in an order that I couldn’t quite figure out. The wailing stopped, the chocolate disappeared from my hand and the kid ran away.

Truly glimpses!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Celebrating sloth with coffee!

Okay you may think that I goofed up royally by arriving at the airport five hours ahead of the flight. But you are mistaken. It was a calculated move on my part and I had my reasons. I had missed my flight once before due to a combination of reasons [divine intervention and self created] And I was determined that history was not going to repeat itself this time round.

I parked myself in the Departures Lounge all the time being pursued by the watchful eye of the policeman. He had looked at me quizzically when I showed the ticket. So there you can picture me. I saunter into the departures lounge with a sleepy visage [I had only managed a few snoozes in 48 hours]. Remember I told you that I didn’t want history to repeat itself. This time it would have been something like me being in the airport sleeping peacefully while the flight took off sans me. And guess what, I don’t have trust this airline. I don’t want to make any allegations and instead would settle for an instinctual suspicion.

The best thing to do was to order coffee and read a book. I had a book on transactional analysis, but the time and the place and more importantly the distinct possibility that I might sleep on it encouraged me to search for greener pastures.

I found the usual fare of best-sellers in the bookshop, all prominently displayed. Ludlum, Coelho, Chetan Bhagat, Amitav Ghosh, Sidney Sheldon, Robin Cook – all those gentlemen made their presence felt. Understandably, there were a number of copies of the book ‘The World is Flat and Fried’. I had almost decided to make my exit coz there were no copies of Wodehouse that I had wanted when I noticed ‘IT’. If books could talk, then probably it would have screamed, ‘Check me out!’ Tucked away in the corner was a small blue book that no one would have noticed. It was geographically disadvantaged.

Written by Wendy Wasserstein, Sloth is a nice mix of humour, parody and satire. Taking well-aimed potshots at self-help books and various practices that claim to make lives better, she apparently proceeds to present a case on how sloth can actually contribute to a more self-fulfilling life. Now it should be no rocket science to the reader as to what Wasserstein is actually hinting at.

The question is why Wasserstein had to resort to such an ‘antimethod’ of celebrating sloth to present her case. It is quite easy to discern the note of irony in the following statement: ‘Come on, wouldn’t you like the royalties of whoever wrote the South Beach Diet? It makes a lot more sense than, say, writing poetry, academic criticism, or – god forbid – plays. Those things take genuine work, and the monetary rewards are generally not commensurate.’ Wasserstein dabbled in the third.

The implications of the statement ‘You have the right to be lazy. You can choose not to respond. You can choose not to move’ are actually relevant in a very positive way and trust me it has very little to do with sloth. It has also got very little to do with can possibly be termed as sloth by ‘shallow people.’[I am really tempted to give some names here. The attention seeker in a place I know who smacks of xenophobic tendencies and who has contributed in a major way to what is currently discussed as ‘urban terrorism’ by CNN-IBN is a good example. Probably the personality would make a positive contribution by not doing anything. And does it need to be added that the world abounds in attention seekers? [See, the irony is already working on me.:)]

And when we accept that we can choose not to ‘move’ or ‘respond’ the implication by default is that we are the choosers. At one stroke the concept of freewill and fate are negotiated and you arrive at the epiphanic understanding that you decide on the quantum of happiness/misery in your life. The key, as I saw it, is not to take life too seriously.

Suddenly, I spilled coffee all over myself. Hot coffee. I ran and was promptly pursued by the CISF guy. As he approached nearer, he realized the predicament I was in and directed me to the ladies restroom. And as I came out, the sales guy at the coffee centre offered some paper tissues. I could feel the embarrassing stares of people. The way out? – I smiled. I smiled at the fact that I had arrested attention by making a fool of myself. When you know that sound and fury is not going to help, probably choosing ‘not to move’ helps. I continued with the book.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The 'Magik' of Rock On

I remember pestering somebody for quite some time with the question 'Do you like Rock music?' Finally out came the answer which was obviously negative. The point is rock music is something similar to what Edwards tells Vivien in Pretty Woman about the opera. You either like it or you don't.

I personally feel that rock music works at a different level altogether. The drums and the electric guitars make a conscious connection with the listener. Remember the opening bars of music of Numb by Linkin Park? Or the number 'Wake me up when September ends' by Greenday? And before people dismiss rock music as mere noise, remember that there are many kinds of rock. To enjoy rock, you need to pick and choose according to your taste and mood.

No, I am not a die hard rock fan. I am quite selective about the rock music I listen to. But, yes, my conditional love for rock only enhanced my appreciation for the movie Rock On. Almost on the lines of Dil Chahtha Hai as far as the basic plot is concerned, the movie moved me by its rocking music more than anything else.

Breaking all possible limits of rhythm seems to be the motto for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Look at the variety of music that they have composed. And even rock? Let me tell you, the rock that we get to listen to in Rock on is the kind of rock with a touch of authenticity. Music that makes you want to hum, sway, join in and feel lost in its sheer exuberance and spirit. Don't miss the final performance of the Magik as Aditya sings out to Joe. That pitch - amazing! Expresses the sheer need of a friend in the most expressive and exquisite way.

To be happy in the present we have to make peace with the past. In order to do that, first we need the courage to confront the past. That is what Aditya Shroff and Joe seem to be struggling for. Reminiscing over their failure, they negotiate their past in such a manner that their creative self is effectively hidden in the closet.

As a tribute to friendship the film does fall a little bit short of expectations when compared to Dil Chahta Hai. The plot construction is fragmented as compared to Dil Chahtha Hai which used a mixture of flashback and retrospective narration. And this mode of presentation does demand some effort from the viewers.

Arjun Rampal continues to amaze me. First his sleek performance as the antagonist in Om Shanti Om and now Joe, the self-consicous artist [yes, I consider rock also as a form of art!] who is clearly unwilling to compromise his personal standards for commercial purposes. So much that he withdraws into a shell and yet maintains a calm exterior. The passion for rock is all there behind that stone-faced performer. Farhan Akhtar as Aditya Shroff seems to be slightly overshadowed by this towering performance. And yes the two other members of the band, fighting their own battles put on an a touching performance laced with humour and emotion. However, it is the impact of rock music on the lives of these four gentlemen that sustains our interest in the story.

The magic of rock cannot be explained. It needs to be experienced. And ironically, that turns out to be the actual magic of rock.Rock on rocks!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Desperate Remedies!

Falling ill is like opening up your life to public scrutiny. The enquiries about your well-being, the phone calls when you are fast asleep, the various suggestions as to the possible remedies, so on and so forth.

Couple of days ago, in the night, I started feeling weird in my throat and had a choice between strepsils and Coldarin. I took Coldarin praying that the darn thing should end by morning. But by then, it became a full-blown throat infection accompanied by ominous signs of approaching fever. The various remedies suggested since then:

1. Half a teaspoon of honey [which probably increased the fever]

2. gargling with dispirin [made me throw up my breakfast]

3. milk with a generous dosage of turmeric [not much of an impact other than changing the milk to a thick yellow]

4. crocin [generously donated by my head of the department, which only knocked me off]

5. good old strepsils [I liked the taste though I honestly wonder whether it made any significant impact on the condition of my throat]

6. Some flu medicine [reduced the fever which returned with increased intensity]

7. Plain chocolate mixed in hot milk [this is the one remedy I liked and wouldn't mind having more of it!]

8. Finally antibiotics [which seem to be working currently but have transformed me into a zombie!]


Of course the best remedy of all was the consistent phone calls from mom and sister. If I have to fall ill to feel so much of love and affection in a world where relationships are business transactions, so be it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mango Party

Mango Party
The Mango season in Hyderbad is quickly coming to a close, whilst yet another year, I rue the missed opportunities. For what? Sitting under a tree and eating a mango with bare hands
When I was a kid, I had this aunt of mine who stayed in a village in Andhra Pradesh. Come summer [not September!] our tickets would be procured and the three of us would be packed off to this village sans our parents. What halcyon days they were!
My aunt was a wonderful cook. In a jiffy she could make anything that was mouth watering and fit to be consumed on those lazy afternoons or nights under the sky. But when that, sometimes, didn’t happen, the mangoes were always there as a backup. Gorge into them, no questions asked. And where did we get these mangoes from? No, not from the supermarkets! In that village, most of the people had their own mango groves and it was customary that each family gave a basket of mangoes from their grove to all others. And of course the kids from Chennai had a special place in everybody’s heart. From the village doctor [I wonder whether he was really a doctor or a registered medical practitioner] to the official village painter – they would troop into my aunt’s house with baskets of mangoes. It was considered offensive if you refused their offer.
The best of course were the invitations to the mango groves where you could sit under a tree, pluck a raw mango and eat to your heart’s content. No gardener to shoo you off! Strangely enough, the visits to the grove stopped after a village kid told us that the groves were frequented by ghosts very often. But the mango party continued. Morning, noon and night.
In Chennai, we had a custom at home. We would not eat mangoes until the completion of my grandfather’s ceremony in the latter half of May. It seems my grandfather used to love mangoes a lot and as a tribute my dad stopped eating mangoes till the completion of the yearly ceremony. We followed suit. So two days before the ceremony, Mom, brother and I used to go the place in Parry’s corner in Chennai and purchase tons of mangoes [hyperbole of course, what I actually meant to say was as much as we could carry between the three of us!] And post ceremony – it was all mango celebration.
After I came to Hyderabad, the interest in mangoes weaned away. Especially this year, I had hardly had a decent mango. Even the mango faithfully given by Chachaji would just rot away in my house. I mean what is the fun having mango in your own room with no company of either human beings or Mother Nature. And of course, there is also no fun in having perfectly cut pieces of mango in a bowl with a fork to go along with it. Many a time I felt like using my hands, but etiquettes had a better claim over me.
And of course, the place where I stay, we used to have mango party every night. Want to know how it went? Mango’s would be cut and given in a plate. [I was not worthy of cutting mangoes with a kitchen knife because after one attempt, my friends concluded that I would cut my hand instead of the mango] and you had to partake of it with a spoon. The seed inside was of course, condemned to the dustbins. So this was the rather sorry state of affairs. The season was going to come to a close without my having manhandled, or rather womanhandled a mango. But then … fate intervened.
Day: Thursday
Date: 19-Jun-2008
Place: in front of friends who thought that I had gone mad!
I had had a difficult night the previous day and lost my appetite during breakfast. Naturally at around 12.30, rats started running in my stomach. I became desperate for food. There was a distinct possibility that I might turn into a cannibal when I spotted Chachaji. Without any prelude, I stated my problem, and in an instant he took me to the room where mangoes had been stored. Without pausing to think, I picked up opened it up with my hands and ate it to my heart’s content. Of course, a liberal dosage was on my face and hair as well, and everyone knew why I ate less lunch. Whatever, after 4 years, I actually ate a mango with my bare hands. Cause for celebration, right? I got four more and I am going to attack them tonight!