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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The downside of reunions

No one ever invited me to any reunion. Not my school, not my college, or post grad people, nothing. And when I meet my old classmates, they look relieved and say thank goodness no one has pushed the idea of a reunion.

We are all vain about our looks and those of us once full cheeked beauties now look like tired old bulldogs.

A relative who was a good decade older than I, was all excited over her batch of 1960 classmates who had converged from all parts of the globe to celebrate their reunion. The first thing they did was say a prayer for those of their batchmates who had died.

Since all of them had retired like, years ago, they all had a lot of leisure time. So the reunion was stretched to include events and celebrations over a month. Unfortunately, during that period three of the batchmates' spouses died and everyone of them was badly spooked. They wound up their celebrations after three weeks and hotfooted it back to where they came from.

Another relative attended his reunion. These were men who were once boys and thought they were boys once again. He came back saying a gala time was had by all. They ate, they drank (there were twelve bottles of Black Label and assorted boose and they made merry.

They must have made very merry because they looked terrible in their group photograph with death rictus smiles and unfocussed eyes. That group photograph was the clarion call for me.

I'll die before they photograph me in a group like that.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Breaking coconuts

There's a new fad in Goa. They "launch" the hotmixing of a road. Remember the time not so long ago, when the steam rollers would roll and the tar drum would boil and the road would be completed without any fanfare?

Now the local MLA or the PWD minister with a goodly gaggle of their supporters with cameras a-clicking strike a pose, break a coconut and look fixedly into the camera nearest to them.

Which means that this entire road repairing thing must be top priority. Maybe even glamourous. Last time I looked roads were roads. After the monsoons they had to be tarred. So what next?

Could be a good idea, giving every mundane job a sense of ceremony. When the minister wakes up in the morning, break a coconut, light an agarbatti, distribute pedas, click a pic. He has risen again to brighten our world another day.

He reaches his office, break a c, light an a, distribute p, click a p, because he is going to do great and glorious things for us and the state.

He meets Illegal Guy wanting something illegal, b a c, l an a, d p because our minister is going to get a huge bribe from the illegal guy. Now he will send most of that money to his accounts abroad, but some of it he will distribute among the poor and needy.

He sets out to look for a poor and needy person. Why there are lots of them right outside his office! He can pick and choose who is likely to convert that gift into most votes. That's a good reason to break a c, light an a, distribute p and click a pic.

He reaches home and his family heave a sigh of relief. Ah their gravy train has not yet been killed, maimed or arrested. Enough reason to ___ yeah yeah...

At the very least more coconut trees will be planted and Goa will look and sound beautiful. Agarbatti and peda sales will go up and photographers will finally make some serious money. it's all good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Forest leeches and the other kind

So it's been a while since I last had something to laugh about. The laugh we aim for here is the hollow laugh, so let me be clear on that. Hollow. With a hint of desperation. Let's see, this column used to appear weekly on The Mirror the Sunday magazine of Herald. I know for a fact that roughly 20 people read it every Sunday because I used to get feedback on my columns. So for someone to go and tell the owner of Herald that NO ONE was reading The Mirror was a dirty black lie. The owner of the paper harkened unto the person who told him no one reads Herald's Mirror and he shut it down quick as a steel trap shutting down on a wild boar's tail. He replaced Mirror with Heartbeats that wrote about the size and girth of penises and the importance of length. Mirror could never compete with that.

One was torn, I can tell ya. There was the relief of one finally not having two deadlines to meet, week after week. I used to whine and complain like nobody's business for every week of those more than five years. So when it stopped yes, it was nice not to turn one's nose up at looming deadlines.

On the other hand. There was the absence of an adrenalin rush when the phone rang. No one wanted to dismember or otherwise maim my person and that was sad, because adrenaline they say is a great cosmetic. With no one angry with me, it tells on my face. And I'm not liking what I see. Am I missing the whoosh of deadlines flying by? If I have to be honest I have to say yes. Because in my infinite wisdom, I have set far worse deadlines for myself with my new venture. I wind up for the day, or night, at 5 in the morning and that's not good.

Mirror had turned into a rabble rouser's gallery with Lionel Messias' red hot RTI produced column showing us idiots whose pockets our money was filling. I miss Lionel Messias' column. He even wrote it for my website www.targetgoa.com and if you haven't read it yet, shame on you. My website, not his column. Well okay, his column too. But then Herald with its huge number of avid readers and my website with its two and a half netizens checking it out did not seem a proper vehicle for all that effort. A pity. Goa needs to know how our leeches are sucking us dry.

At least leeches have limits, when they are full to bursting they drop off the host body. Our two-legged-Constitution-swearing variety along with their bureaucratic underlings seem to have unlimited capacity. Regular forest grown leeches sneak up on you without your knowledge. You feel nothing - no pain no trauma, except if you mash them by mistake. Then it is quite disgusting. Your life flashes before your eyes and you think you're gonna be so dead. Some idiot invariably mashes the repulsive thing filled with your good blue blood and it looks like Jack the Ripper has just done his thing. That's the forest leech.

The other kind and their bureaucrat underlings dipping their suckers in our till, do it openly and laugh at our agony. The only similarity between both species is that they both grow fat on our blood.

A sickle, or salt can get rid of forest grown leeches immediately, but our elected leeches can only let go of you if they die or when we dye our fingers with the purple-black ink once in four years. Or three, or two, or less. We hardly ever have any group lasting full term.