A few years ago I was sitting with a bunch of gal pals on a gals’ weekend away and we were talking about how our lives are. Essentially the “why” of needing to ‘get away from it all’. One of them said (with a sigh) that mornings were quite hectic because: a) the milkman would turn up b) the newspaper vendor could then come c) the cook would follow d) then the maid e) and finally the dog walker. And while it totally sounds like first world problems to anyone else who’s eavesdropping, but it can be exhausting in its own way.
When I was gainfully employed but still clawing to survive, I did everything on my own. Dishes, clothes, go to the bank yada yada yada. I didn’t have a car of my own and was dependent on public transport and all its vagaries but life was just dandy. Fast forward to circa 2019 and am rotunda housewife who genuinely needs nothing. Wants are a different thing that we won’t touch upon. That’s a longer endeavor than trip down to Tartarus!
TO has been a bit under the weather recently. Summer fevers can be a real beeyotch. It’s hot outside and he’s hotter than he’d like inside- good times. Anyhoo, Red’s out so that meant that I had to channel the patient and placid parent along with my own snarky self. Bipolar parenting is never an easy thing in my book. And yesterday was the day that the door bell rang at almost regular intervals and made life that much more interesting. Thank goodness I’d already got all my parcels the day before.
We get organic, farm fresh (queue the angels’ chorus) milk 2xs a week. Yesterday was one of those days. The morning started with the cook coming in aka Bell#1. Bell#2 was the garbage collectors. Bell#3 was the cleaning lady. Bell#4 was the ironing guy coming to collect the stuff to be ironed. Bell#5 was the milk guy. Bell#6 was the ironing guy coming to return the ironed clothes. Bell#7 was a friend of TO’s. Bell#8 was a friend who dropped by for a chat.
Thankfully for the last two ding dongs TO was asleep else with each bell he called out like an entitled Upper West Side grande dame who lounges in bed with two lap dogs or like this piece of sunshine and goodness and calls out instructions for every little thing. He’d go, “Can you get that?”, “There’s someone at the door Ayu”, “Hey, the bell rang”.
Today two major things happened. Both were unexpected. Well one was in the offing but it wasnt sure if it’d come off just right and the other was (still is) an out&out shock!
The first one is the culmination of many months of tanta and deliberation and quite a bit of taam-jhaam. But it’s absolutely a restorative development and it’s one of the reasons i’ll still have a partial bounce in my step tomorrow.
The other is the one which will occupy centerstage for sometime to come. A close friend’s husband has a stationery business and also a dealership for SIM cards.
Some guy came into his shop today and bought a SIM card and said he was going into the xerox place next door to get a copy of his ID. The man vamoosed and in this time the card had been activated. The man clearly had nefarious intentions in mind because no sooner did he get the card in hand that he started to call various people and extorting huge sums of money. The rest of the story is still vague to me but the upshot of it is this
-the guy escaped
-the phone was found
-the SIM was traced back to the shop
-my friend’s husband arrested &taken for interrogation
-talk of his being cited as an accomplice of the actual guy
-non-bailable warrants being issued for him tomorrow.
-talk of possibility of POTA coming into the picture from reliable inside sources.
-my friend being devastated.
The friend’s hubby, let’s call him M. He’s the most innocuous person around for miles and the most non-interferring. His only mistake here was not being alert enough or not getting the SIM deactivated when he realised that the guy had fled. But whatever his cognitive processes at that time, this much is certain, there is an entire family who’ll spend a sleepless night on tenderhooks and many others like me who’re still up wondering at how quick life can seem to capsize.
Am seriously brainfucked right now.
A middle-aged lady was killed by her domestic help. This happened on the same road my house is. The proximity made me less anxious than the actual incident which occured.
There has been an increasing occurence of people getting grieviuosly wounded or being killed by the people they hire for odd jobs around the house. Now, being in India it’s virtually inconceivable to NOT have a “servant” around for cleaning or even for cooking. But what kind of behavior gets metted out to them?
TOI reported that this boy who committed the crime is only 15 years old. Nowhere yet a man and still with the kind of aggression that many adults may fear to manifest or give into.
Many of us, who are quite comfortable in our situation in life (my how Victorian I sound!) often relegate these individuals to a status which is lesser that that they deserve and subconciously that may creep into our overt behavior towards them as well.
A good friend of mine has a helper from his wife’s hometown. The helper is a 19 year old girl who also takes care of their 3 year old daughter and does stuff around the house while my friend and his wife are at work. He is a good, decent man and exercises care and consideration towards the girl in many ways but in referring to her it’s always “meri naukrani” (my servant).
Semantics aside, just because someone is a hired help does not mean that they do not merit dignity in your eyes at all. Apparently this 15 year old assassin had stomach cramps and could not report for work at the exact moment the lady of the house wanted him to. He came later only to be fired on the spot. When he asked for his wages for the past 5 days he had worked in the house, he was turned out with a flea in his ear. When he came back later to plead his case, he was subjected to more rebukes. In the end he took the ghastly step and stabbed her and ran away with some amount of money.
Now this lady’s attitude towards domestic help, while reprehensible, is not justification for murder. But it is indicative of the kind of morass that the middle-class and upper middle class are afflicted with and which they refuse to recognise as an affliction.
Things may never get to the level of oppressing-leading-to-revolting but this kind of a discontent is rumbling beneath the surface more and more and people ought to take cognizance of it.
Just because someone is being employed by you does not open up routes to censure them at the drop of a pin. I’ve noticed my mother often grumbling that our domestic help caused a crack or a chink in a mug, tray whatever. But not even a fraction of that is directed towards any one of us if the same thing happens. Obviously there are some major differences between the householders and the domestic help and many a times that line of fraternizing should not be crossed but to reprimand them in a manner which is neither benefitting their mistake nor your claim to civility, is to go too far.
Maybe that’s what this lady did or maybe this boy was just a severely disturbed juvenile delinquent. But both have paid for it with their lives; she by losing hers and he by throwing his away before it could even begin properly.
It’s time to bitch about the lil beasties again aka my students. I’d run out of the feedback forms that they fill out after the mock interview sessions. I’d told the bunch to meet me in a while to pick up the papers. The interaction with one particularly bright person went like this-
STUDENT-MA’AM, WHAT IS THIS FORM FOR? ME-THAT’S THE FEEDBACK FORM FOR THE INTERVIEW…WAIT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!! STUDENT-YOU SAID IT’S THE FEEDBACK FORM SO I WAS FILLING IT UP. ME-WITHOUTAPPEARING FOR THE INTERVIEW? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO CRITIQUE? S-WHAT’S THAT MA’AM? M-NEVERMIND….ONCE YOU ARE DONE WITH THE INTERVIEW, ASSESS HOW IT WENT AND WRITE ABOUT IT ON THE FEEDBACK FORM. S-MA’AM IF I RATE IT THEN WHAT WILL MR.******** (interviewer) DO? M-HE’LL ASSESS YOU AND GIVE YOU MARKS *which you don’t deserve, you single-celled organism* AND THE OTHER FORM IS FOR YOU TO RATE THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW MODULE, RATE IT AND OFFER YOUR COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS, IF ANY. THEN DROP IT OFF IN THE FACULTY MAIL BOX ON THE 1ST FLOOR. S-SHOULD I DO THAT NOW BEFORE I GO FOR THE INTERVIEW? M–YES! PLEASE SUBMIT THE FORM WITHOUT WRITING ANYTHING ON IT. GOOD IDEA. EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO JUMP OUT THE WINDOW!!!
I’m going to keep a track of this guy and find out where he lands a job and send anonymous mails to his boss about his superior intellect. Anyone order a brain freeze here folks?!
The fear psychosis is setting in pretty rapidly. With people of Arabic “look”, origins and speech being asked to deplane from flights to pacify other passengers, people being arrested in the name of damage control; I think more wtichhunts are on the way. I hope a neo-McCarthyism doesn’t spring up. One era of his was bad enough. There’s so much of distrust around these days particularly at the sight of a beard or a turban or the sound of a foreign tongue that people have begun to lose their ability to stop and think and just prepare to go into offensive mode. Why talk of others? There was a time when I have travelled throughout Western India extensively, at all odd times of day and night and never have been overwrought. But last night when I had to travel 5 kms in a rick, I opted to let 2 of them go by just because there were 2 guys including the autodriver. Every other day there’s an article in the paper of some woman being found murdered or assaulted when she’s going back home, going to work…anything! There is no set pattern to even crime anymore. Pretty much everyone digs in and gets their hands dirty. I mean I’ve been antsy a few times while travelling in autos because the I caught the autoguy staring at me in the mirror. Maybe he just likes to look but it made me wary and feel unsafe. The solution (if there actually is one) is to not let suspicion get the better of us and make us paranoid and at the same time to pay heed to the frisson of fear and doubt that may creep up. Unless you keep checking to see if someone’s following you or not, then your inner voice of caution should carry you well in life. What a state of things…
Something very distasteful and extremely upsetting was conveyed to me today morning. My aunt is a mathematics professor since the last 30 odds years. She has been teaching in a suburban college of West Bengal (WB) for a while now. She is not just a person whom I’m terribly fond of, she is genuinely a good teacher and loves to teach and will devote all her time if need be, to her students. The incident occured two days ago- admissions for the next year were being held in her college and they had been completed with when a large group of students (read Congress Party thugs in the guise of overgrown, overaged students) came charging in and demanded to be accomodated in the following academic year. On being told that there were no vacancies, they expressed their dissatisfaction in the following manner:
-they went on a rampage -they tore up books -they broke furniture -they physically assaulted the faculty (one of whom was my aunt) -they used filthy, abusive language (the least severe of their offences).
The shit-for-brains, no-balled,pathetic-excuse-for-a-human-being principal refused to lodge a complaint with the police bcause he feared the reprisal and a political imbroglio would probably have put paid to his tenure at the college. So now, you have people threatening the lives of our educators in the name of “right to education”. These student union top brasses themselves are people who have seldom finished their education. They usually drift into politics because of the hold they have over the students or their oratory skills and continue to be the leader of the youth wing long after the sweet bird of youth has flown the coop!
And what about the people they terrorise in the name of freedom of speech and the plethora of freedoms provided under the umbrella of democracy? Well, they get twisted and turned to each individual’s convenience, while the party honchos willingly look the other way to keep the vote bank alive.
i’ve always wondered where the need arose to have so much of hoopla about students and their unions in an educational institution? You’ve come to study. Fine! Study,get your damn degree and be on your way. Why propogate party tenets any established political party in the name of “being there for the students”? What is even more painful for me to swallow is that my home state is in a state of decline. It’s not that politicking and hooliganism doesn’t occur in all states of India. But few states are as deeply entrenched in the age old clutches of politics as WB. The state has seen more than it’s share of misery due to its age-old handshake with the CPM government. The Naxal movement occured and people watched from the sidelines. True, there were reactions against it, but look at Naxalites flourishing even today and look at the havoc they create! Regular encounters with the police lead to a one-upmanship among the two on a daily basis practically. And the body count keeps piling up.
I am so revolted today, so angry and disillusioned that it actually hurts. Melodramatic? maybe but losing faith never came easy to anyone. I just wish there was a way there was to still salvage something from all this. But personally, for the time being, swift and painful retribution will suffice.
Management students! BAH! HUMBUG! I don’t want to sound prissy when I say this but we weren’t like this when we were studying. While being goody-goody DID NOT enter the picture, the level of ignorance, lethargy and the maha lackadaisical attiudes that these people manifest is honestly sickening!! Time management is alien to the majority, sleeping is THE thing to DO and ass-kissing is the subject they’ll all be doing their Ph.D in I’m sure! These “future leaders of the industry” are supposed to report to me to get instructions about their interviews and GDs. Now, with 700 students it’s more than slightly tough to schedule both in such a manner that none of the dates clash, none of the classes get missed and more importantly, things get done in time so they get through their courses and get good placements. BUT NOOOO! they HAVE to be late lateefs, they HAVE to come up with lame ass excuses, they HAVE to wring their hands at the end of it and many resort to a misplaced sense of community-feeling by starting off in my native language so I’ll cut them some slack. YEAH RIGHT!!!! You ask them some regular stuff, just current affairs and DUH-NESS starts to emanate from them and stink up the place! Arcelor? Was he a character in LOTR? Blossom Kochchar as an entrepreneur? Woh kaun hai? Missed a class? Ma’am I dint see the notice about the guest lecture. But i saw the one next to it about the SPICMACAY concert. DUH! DUH! DUH!! Where’s the signature?. Ma’am like, I gave my pen to my friend Ma’am and like he’s not yet given it back to me so like I couldn’t sign there Ma’am. Please write the GD topics- MA’AM, like kahan pe do we write the GD topic? (Reply) Where it says GD TOPIC and has a BIG LINE DRAWN. (Student) Like, OH!
LORD, either up their IQs or bring mine down a notch so we can all talk to each other and be understoof. Am feeling enough of an alien as it is. The Indian economy and corporations aint seen nothing yet. The (corporate) devil’s rejects are coming to claim their prey!!
but for what i wonder? sometimes it seems that there are people with entirely too much time on their hands (i’ve been clubbed in that category at times) and they spend a LOT of time scratching their heads and thinking about stuff that’ll cause a dhamaka…ek sansanati leher as it were. onto the dhamaka, of sorts. today’s TOI carried the news in bold headlines that a lot of the heavyweight miyabhai groups in the city and even their national counterparts have called for a ban on their children singing vande mataram in the city schools. the logic behind this? apparently our national song promotes the idea of adoring and worshipping our country as a GOD. and since monotheism is the name of the game in islam, anyone who indulges in these kinds of activities is a shikr, a word which apparent means heretic or leaning towards unislamic tendencies and notions. honestly, of all the things to protest about- schools coming up like mushrooms and not having playgrounds capitation fees overload of studies peer pressure inadequate teaching facilities bad infrastructure (take your pick)
was this the only relevant thing they found to cause brouhaha about? really! get a life!
read something truly appalling in the newspaper( today’s Deccan Chronicle)that the latest potter book whichis being heralded as the “new thing“in reading pleasure for people all across the world has come to us at a very heavy price! an entire jungle to be more precise! thewhole lot of trees( the dihing-patkai forest of Tinsukhia, India) were mowed down so we could all find out the identity of the 1/2 blood prince! i’m not going to get on a idealistic and highly indignant moralistic high horse but in this day and age when everything boasts the tag of being recycled, to have let an entire forest perish seems just wanton waste!
This thing pretty much left a bad taste in my mouth. just this past weekend i was in a pretty busy neighborhood of hyd’bad and the trees that used to line the streets on both sides were gone and the roads were all dug up and it looked horrid! i mean do we really need all these malls which are going to end up selling the same damn branded clothes and have the same damn eateries, lining up all over the city? why not have some shady spots for a change? some place where one can get away from the cacophony of the entire day?!
i mean social responsibility notwithstanding, doesnt it just make sense of have someting natural abound instead of having a backdrop of concrete as far as the eye can see?