Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(a+b)2 =?

Good times are short-lived; good times fly by ;( reminds me of the Kingfisher Airlines advert here, ha!!).Talking about times that are good and cherished, the week’s journey to back home and amongst familiar faces, while refraining from the less desirable only enhanced the time spent with the rest( a few, importantly C & A may comment on my being brusque and candid for comfort).

Well there was plenty of spirit, the cherished and the enchanting Glen Livet Single Malt and the lesser cousins of the desi variety; plenty of food especially the daily lunch- the bewitching  dishes of the Mallu kind that was cooked by one of the most favorite- mom!(  chembavari choru,ayala curry, erusheri, avail, chura vattichathu, netholi curry, pullinkari……”).

Tucked in at the corner of the sprawling lawn of the TVM club and in the much cooler air of the night fiercely protected even from rains by the thick overhead canopy of the huge mahogany trees twice my age if not more, I sat and reflected back at the years and stared helplessly at the fact that, a decade and few years more from now, I will be a septuagenarian. Insipid or is it helplessly hastening fact? The less comforting matter of commencing a life midstream or when towards into the rapids- changing course midstream and more perilously because it is closer to the falls!

“(a + b)2 = a2 + 2ab + b2.” He said aloud and I was startled from the stark dream- thought I briefly had slid into. He did refer to his late mother even the previous day when he dropped by at home after knowing of my being in town. I could sense some controlled emotion in him when the topic of discussion was about her and the mess the super-specialty hospital in Thpuram ravaged upon her and in the bargain certainly hastening her passing.

“The difficulty is that I miss her much more amongst the seven of us, perhaps more because of the fact that since I was little I was living with her. The void is quite sore even though she died at a good ripe age.” he said. “The amazing fact was her knowledge of math and her adroitness in algebra even while she was bedridden. You see she was from the old school education and thorough in what she learned that she often used to correct my son in his homework. She used to answer in a trice to our question in jest, what is (a+b) 2.She would say with a wry smile a2 + 2ab + b2.”

“Well she was quite fortunate, she lived a good life, she bore seven children, reared them well and also traveled a fair bit outside India – to Rome in particular where my sister took her once.” He was pensive.
“I guess she lived fairly long after you father’s demise?” I asked.

“Yes, yes she did thirty five years!” he replied.

And he continued, “She sometimes reminisced with satisfaction what father told her when she expressed to him once her fear of her old age, that since the Christian succession laws disqualified married Christian women from inheritance- assets of their paternal or maternal family, she may find it tough in old age from the lack or deficit of financial independence. It was a tough task for them as you can imagine, bringing up seven children and of which there were three girls who had to be married away.He told her this that proved reassuring and a fact, 'I have given you seven children and if not all seven at least one of them will take care of you till your last day', She was indeed  taken care by all!”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Inglorious Basterd

I was mulling over the poem on Balan’s blog, ”The Funerals”. Leaving aside the stark facts the poem dwelled upon, what came into my mind was the opening scene in Terantino’s film, “Inglorious Basterds”. Those of you who have seen that movie would, I’m certain recall the cold scenes with which the film opened.
The stony soliloquies of the SS officer Colonel. Landa laced with feral innuendos, metaphors and sautéed with sadistic overtones still haunts. The lives of a rodent- a rat and his evolutionary cousin the squirrel! It is dramatically incomparable like the lives of twins or siblings from the same womb that diverges far apart in the real world. I downloaded the words of COL Landa from the script of the film.
The allegory can be noticed in many walks in this world. The strangeness of repulsion and fondness that are inexplicable -be it rats and squirrels, dogs and cats or human beings from the same stock or diverse. The injustice of perception! Food for thought nevertheless!
          Monsieur La’Padite, are you aware of the nickname the people of France have given
          I have no interest in such things.

          But you are aware of what they call me?

          I'm aware.

          What are you aware of?

          That they call you, "The Jew Hunter".

          Precisely! Now I understand your trepidation in repeating it.  Before he was assassinated,     Heydric apparently hated the moniker the good people of Prague bestowed on him. Actually why he   would hate the name, "The Hangman", is baffling to me. It would appear he did everything in his power to earn it. But I, on the other hand, love my unofficial title, precisely because I've earned it. As "The Jew Hunter”.         

          The feature that makes me such an effective hunter of the Jews, is, as opposed to most
  German soldiers, I can think like a Jew. Where they can only think like a German, or more precisely, a German soldier. Now if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast,   would be the cunning and predatory instinct of a hawk.

   Negro's - gorilla's - brain - lips smell - physical strength - penis size.
   But, if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be
   that of the rat. Now the Fuhrer and Gobbles propaganda have said pretty much the same thing.
   Where our conclusions differ is, I don't consider the comparison an insult. Consider for a moment, the
   world a rat lives in. It's a hostile world indeed.  If a rat were to   scamper    through your front door
   right now, would you greet it with hostility?

          I suppose I would.

          Has a rat ever done anything to you to create this animosity you feel toward them?

          Rat's spread disease, they bite people -

          - Unless some fool is stupid enough to try and handle a live one, rats don't make it a practice of
       biting human beings. Rats were the cause of the bubonic plague, but that was some time ago. In all your born days, has a rat ever caused you to be sick a day in your life? I purpose to you, any disease a rat could spread, a squirrel could equally carry. Yet I assume you don't share the same animosity with squirrels that you do with rats, do you?


          Yet, they are both rodents, are they not? And except for the fact that one has a big bushy tail, while the other has a long repugnant tail of rodent skin, they even rather look alike, don't they?

          It is an interesting thought, Colonel.

          However, interesting as the thought may be, it makes not one bit of difference to how you feel. If a rat     were to scamper through your door, this very minute, would you offer it a saucer of your delicious milk?

            Probably not.

       COL LANDA
          I didn't think so. You don't like them. You don't really know why you don't like them. All you know    
          is, you find them “repulsive”.What a tremendously hostile world a rat must endure. Yet, not only does 
          he survive, he thrives. And the reason for this, is because our little foe has a instinct for survival and 
          preservation second to none. And that Monsieur, is what a Jew shares with a rat.  Consequently, a 
          German soldier conducts a search of a house suspected of hiding Jews. Where does the hawk look? 
          He looks  in the barn, he looks in the attic, he looks in the cellar - he looks everywhere, he would 
          hide. But there are many places it would never occur to a  hawk to hide. However the reason the
          Fuhrer brought me off my Alps in Austria, and placed me in French cow country today,is because it 
          it does occur to me. Because I'm aware what tremendous feats human  beings are capable of once 
          they abandon dignity…….!