Friday, July 27, 2012

Dirty Dancing




Man is a fornicating species. Many in the animal kingdom are, except some species of avian. Well can we accept promiscuous behavior blaming it on natural predisposition? In any case marriage and morals were founded by society and imposed on us. Will it be proper to admit that we need not be compliant to what is from outside?

A colleague of mine is so obsessed with sex that he is wildly promiscuous and has no inhibitions to explain and revel in his exploits. He muses that on judgment day it is such wonderful indulgences that stay behind as happy memoirs. Sometime it exasperates, and at times I sigh, what a fancy life he has that which I only can dream of.

I was at a dinner at a business associate’s house and the group was pretty small too. The day before to the dinner night, I was introduced to this woman called L who I met again there. She was with another fellow in his thirties who was introduced to me as her brother-in-law. L was dressed in a short skirt about knee length and in a scoop neck tee shirt. She was not beautiful as beautiful can be, but had the oomph and was splendidly endowed. Admittedly I was fascinated! We were sitting in the garden verandah of the elegant house. She was pretty gay and full of fun. Leaning over towards me she poured another glass of vodka and I could see her titillating cleavage that was well exposed by the scoop neck tee she wore. Modesty forced me look elsewhere though the visuals stayed in mind. She asked me to join her for a dance to a number being played on the stereo. I was timid and swore that I was not able to tango. She went ahead with the guy, her brother- in- law. They held one other close and tangoed to a number. After the dance she jumped and sat on his lap straddling her arms around his neck.

 I observed all that with titillating pleasure and timidity. She was provocative, I felt and he was relishing it. She came and sat opposite me to have another glass of vodka. My eyes were roving and furtive. She moaned again, “Come on A, be a sport and dance with me”. She forced me by the hand and I clownishly did a sort of motion with her. She danced close to my body and often touching or rubbing her body on me. I was coy and was not used to such public display of rollicking.
I mused when I was on my way back that night ,L was equally at ease with me , the colleague who accompanied me, the guy who was her brother-in-law and the gentleman host. Perhaps was I stupidly thinking with some ridiculous notion? Was I obsessed with the idea of fornication, that a societal gesture of a woman was misunderstood? Was she wantonly being provocative? If a woman shows such physical closeness to her brother-in-law can the man be restrained from not reading or misreading the cue or even indulge in incest?

I thought of the colleague who exults in his prowess and keeps the number of women he has had relationships with. And, I smiled thinking of a good friend of mine who has the special knack with women and he certainly was the man for such tango and fun, not this boring, insipid timorous me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Face Book




“Who's been painting my roses red? WHO'S BEEN PAINTING MY ROSES RED? Who dares to taint with vulgar paint the royal flower bed?  For painting my roses red someone will lose his head.” Queen of Hearts, Alice I n Wonderland.

Expressions of opinion can invite fatwa, venomous retorts and one just need not have to paint the roses red. An opinion that the roses would enthrall if it were done red may suffice to send the head rolling.

I stumbled on a pretty trivial post on the Face Book shared by an fb friend. It was a statement by a nondescript but apparently haughty director in the Mallu tinsel world. The gentleman had proclaimed aloud that the Malayalam film industry must jettison the fascination to rope in actors from other states. He was specifically rubbishing an actor from Telugu, “Padma Priya”. Incidentally this young actor has to her credit a few films in Malayalm that manifested her talent and grace. I joined the comment bandwagon quite ordinarily and opined that “perhaps talent was a threat” and the actor was competent as she has showed in her films. There were indeed many comments for and against talent from outside the State.

Later in the day, I saw on the message box in the FB a curt message from the director who proclaimed his ridicule for the actor in question. He wrote in Malayalam that I must have shown the civility and culture attributed to an alumni of the Mar Ivanios college Thpuram. And that he too was the product of the college and why was I outraged when an mere actress was rubbished. I was absolutely at loss to understand the tirade of this guy who was a total stranger to me. I wrote back a sentence saying that “to me talent has to be respected irrespective of its origin and culture is to speak out and stand for what one feels is right and fearlessly too”. He did not cease with that but send another message. From there I ignored the nonsense than join issue.

The crux of the matter that is relevant here, though my comment was just like a lay person who expresses his opinion is, I sense that the gentleman was not just targeting women from outside State. Though it cannot be denied that his anguish was the outcome of  a prejudiced, discriminatory and parochial mindset . I also heard from my friends in the film world that this actor was of a different genre and has the gumption to stand up and fight out in a male dominated world where casting couches are still not antediluvian and not phased out. So that presumably may have made her persona non grata to some. Who said that a few seats in parliament when reserved for women would emancipate the sex?
I still cannot understand the diatribe and spat of venom I got for a harmless opinion on a subject of limited importance  on a supposedly benign social network.



Monday, July 9, 2012

An Uneasy Tenancy



Certain matters in social relationships and behiavour are quite delicate and calls for much etiquette based exercise. Timidity often restrains us from committing by word or deed matters that may be necessary. And audacity and arrogance may make us do what others see awkward.

I was moving into a new apartment and, the tenants who occupied the apartment were expatriates from Kerala and where in the Middle East for almost twenty five years. The gentleman was retiring from ‘Banque de Paribas’ and were going back home. The apartment owner assured that I can move in on the 1st of July and the Mallu couple also confirmed to me that they will fly back on the 30 th of June.

Then came a little shock, the tenants called me up on the phone and said that they may have to extend their stay till the 3 rd of July and would I mind to move in on the 3rd.That indeed put me in a little difficult position with my then owner to whom I gave notice of transfer by the 1 st of July. Timid as I felt about the issue of going back to the apartment owner and negotiating another extra week to clear off! I had to gather all diplomacy that was alien and braced for the unpleasant discussion with the apartment owner. All this while the man who was leasing me the new apartment played an intelligent game and told me that as far he was concerned, his agreement with the occupants lapsed and since he has the new contract with me and also because the tenants were Mallus it was my choice to let them stay or evict them. A real quandary!

The shocker was yet to come. The relentless  Mallus called me up and said that the flights back to India were flying full and tickets were available only by the 10th July and could they stay till then. Another more outrageous suggestion followed -if I desire, they have no problem in I moving in there and all that they needed was just a room as all their utilities were shipped out. 

It reminded me of a socially satirical and relevant film in Malayalam in which the house owner had to forcibly move in and live in one room to hound out the boorish and heedless tenants. And he had to bore brickbats for the alleged connivance to free his own apartment from the recaltricant and audacious folks who put up in his house brushing aside his pleadings to move out. My predicament seemed not too dissimilar.I could not react and express. The thought of having to live, even if it were for a few days with total strangers seemed preposterous and unease. I asked if that would not be too hard on their privacy. To which the Mallu gentleman asserted that they had no difficulties. That literally incensed me. . And now the guy has the temerity to suggest that they may have no discomfiture if I move in and live there before they are gone. But again timidity leashed me.

The guy was very rich. And could not he and his wife move to a hotel for those few days? It may cost him a few nickel and would save awkwardness. I personally would have done that and would not in the most perverted wild dream think of such a proposition or arrangement as this.

The epilogue to the story was that I moved into the apartment and cocooned in a room. I had to fix airconditoners in all rooms as they had ripped out theirs. And consigning them however irritated I was to the sultriness and heat of the summer sans air-condition was pretty cruel and impolite. And I guess I took care not to offend them and display any mean spirited tantrums I may have lying latent.
However I decided that when I wanted to go to the pub and have a few sundowners before going home, I did exactly that. I did, not care to see if that was discourteous or impolite. I would go swiftly into my room and shut the door lest the lady would notice the whiff of alcohol. At least I need to have that right by birth and fundamental in the house I pay for.

But it was awful difficult and uneasy however one wanted to be not churlish, though I must pat my back that I managed to live through displaying timid smile.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Narcissus





Tales from Greek Mythology has always been fascinating. The story of Narcissus- who was beguiled by Nemesis to a pool, where he saw and fell in love with his very own reflection and unheeding the entreaties of his love Echo, lay hypnotised and obsessed with the image of self and dies eventually. The Gods later turned his remains into a flower. The Narcissus!

If our idiosyncrasies can be excused because it can be related to a genetic inheritance or even to a vain childhood and formative days , well then no felon can be incarcerated and no murderer can be consigned  to the gallows. For, all our deeds are not of our making or volition, but psychological aberrations that metamorphosed into what we are. They are the acts of Nemesis!

He is pleasant faced and charming; the boyish grin of Cupid is his hallmark. He would not bate an eyelid if he was asked for help and without demure and with eagerness ran errands that he need not have to. A highly felicitated and appreciated worker, he was the darling of the top management. What he has been able to achieve in his official capacity was the envy of the top brass and his colleagues .A jolly good bloke who ensured his presence in every situation that calls for assistance, even often much that is not relevant to his position in the Bank where he worked. His foibles made him the darling of the people who was acquainted to him and the cynosure of his friends. The world knew him very well and brooked no traits in him that was unpleasant. A Good Samaritan who cared for everybody who crossed his path! A guy who loves banter and fun!

The moon has a dark side and that is not strange in the matters of men too. It did not take much long for a fairytale relationship that climaxed in marriage to churn and show signs of curdling. At home he permeated an exasperating air of cussedness and that would be an unthinkable disposition the outside world would attribute to him. Known only to the folks very, very close and his wife, he showed distinct gauche that she a self styled sophisticated lass found hard to fathom and live with.

He did not diffrentiate between what to discuss with the world outside and what not to. Perhaps he did not understand. The little storms that happened between him and his spouse were bared in public. This was handy to the frivolous and the dissolute ones among his friends and acquaintance and to the utter charging and apprehension of his wife. He began to display the selfish side of the feeling of hurt ignoring the unpleasantness such matters inflicts on his spouse and his near ones. The ingratiating ones took note of the opportunity to shower pity and empathy on him stating that they feel for his plight and the callousness of his wife. The very same would flatter her to deceive and express serious reservation about his behavior.

His escapades into delusion of self-importance with little regard for the other seemed to have eclipsed a life of mutual respect and affection. His conduct increasingly seemed inane and unacceptable. Sometimes, he entertained acquaintances at home and brooked no reservation about the etiquettes in doing so while his wife and little children, their two little
girls were around. A family holiday turned sour when he his wife and little ones had to be virtually escorted after he got inebriated.
He simply refused to hear any chiding of his strange ways. Often he seemed to commit excess in foolishness.

The woman in his life attributed his behavioral problems to Narcissism. 

His wife who was a working woman chose to seek a transfer to a faraway city. Perhaps a mistake, though a wise recourse in her opinion! And, communication between them became uncommon and when it happened it bordered and even slid into acrimony. Quite incorrectly she was acquiescing his behaviours during the afterglow of their marriage. However, perhaps when the sheen was wearing away she felt a lot depravity. 

There was no love lost for the woman in his life and the love and affection for his little girls was limitless. It often seemed that he was incapable of expressing affection and love as a woman would expect. Perhaps he is entwined by an illusion that he has to commit excess to be noticed? That would be a terribly misconceived thinking. There seemed to be a distinct deposit of inferiority complex in him. And he did not heed. His heart that went wild, often ruled his mind.

What can bring about a redress? People who cared for him and his family worried.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Summit




“Summit”- the word denotes the highest or extreme point of something (usually a mountain or hill); the highest degree of achievement attainable, the acme; and a meeting of the heads of governments.
The just concluded G20 Mexico and the G20- Rio summits in the one of the most environmentally threatened and polluted cities in the world flatter to fall in any category perse except the last. For it to denote the pinnacle of something great is a misnomer. I would call it a retreat and a jamboree cocooned in hedonistic opulence amidst the surrounding filth and squalor of Rio de Janerio.  Thanks to the insane ideology of development and the privileges that go with political and bureaucratic positions of power, the pageant was enacted.

Rio de Janerio- the concourses that swarmed into Rio for the conference of G20 behemoths and the United Nation’s sustainable development may have dreamed of white and pristine beaches straddling deep blue waters on the Atlantic coast But like any visitor who flies into the financial capital of India, “Mumbai” would notice- the slums and squalor around the landing strip of the airport, what the summit men in Rio would have seen and felt was the stench of sewage and filth. This is because the airport in Rio is by the bay that takes in more than a billion liters of untreated sewage water. However when you are cocooned inside the air-conditioned and super filtered environment of the seven star hotels and condominiums one erases the realities outside. An avoidable and unnecessary nuisance best wished away and forgotten!

The citizens of Rio are certainly poorer by a good millions of dollars now that they have to foot the bill for the epicurean confluence.

What did the mela achieve? The G20in Mexico that preceded was attended by the heads of the two largest economies, the USA and Germany. However, they chose to see the G20-Rio summit for sustainable development which followed as trivial and avoided Rio. The moot question is what has such summits, be it the Cancun, the Rio and the many others  achieve? Apart from burdening the tax payers of the cities that host the fantasy, what else have they given back?

An underdeveloped or developing country like India had to honour her commitment as the member of the IMF and dole out a few billion dollars to the charity fund to bail out the extravagant lots in the developed world from the nook they have got themselves in. It is ironical that institutions like IMF and the developed economies of the west that has always been sententious and condescending to the developing and under developed world, now need doles from the later to resurface from the abyss they have went down themselves.
 Since seldom has such fĂȘtes changed the world, is it necessary for the group to come together like this and waste millions in cost when technology like video conferencing can be used at almost insignificant cost? The millions that go for hosting of such circuses can be diverted to clean up the squalor around. It is plain and simple truth that developed Europe and the Americas are adept in keeping their environmental stables clean while their excreta and garbage is shipped and thrown into the third world. The intertwining of the global economy has ensured a safety net for the developed world. And a Damocles sword for the underdeveloped and developing world! A hiccup in a distant economy among the developed countries will create flutter and tremor in the far off impoverished Timbuktu.
The myopic and narrow concept of GDP as the measure for success and economic growth is outdated and should be jettisoned. If the world in its scramble for growth or development has nothing to sustain and leave for posterity then such agenda is not development but a death knell.

The end of the story is that opulence and extravagance or living beyond one’s means by a distant cousin on the other side of the Atlantic will siphon the meager savings of the poor cousin on the far side of the world, in the Indian Ocean. In fact the perilous fellow has to borrow to bail out the other-his rich distant cousin! It is like the annual UN General Assembly and frequent Security Council meetings! Have these prosaic conferences managed to stave off  wars, a systematic genocides? 

As for sustainable development it is a well coined phrase and pickled in hypocrisy. I wonder if there is any one in the world who would bate an eyelid for something beyond the threshold of his comfort.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Forbidden Fruit


And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:16:

 The moony naked couple in the Garden of Eden has been a curious and interesting subject and so are  the paintings and caricatures of the first couple as scriptures tell us. It is curious and interesting because of the dress code they followed in the early stages and in due course of their evolutionary process and damnation. The serenity of the Garden itself with the sole exception of the serpent was wondrous and ran pleasantly in the imagination. 

As a child of about eight, I was taken to the cinema to see the film, “The Bible”, directed by John Huston. The film recounted from the times of genesis to Adam & Eve, Moses, Abraham, Noah, tower of Bable and almost a good number of chapters from the Old Testament. Honestly, the serenading nude couple did not titillate my imaginations as perhaps I was too young to decipher and provide attributes. However the film invoked a spark of fire that in later times proved to be exasperatingly inquisitive to some but a means of immense acquisition for me and my thought process. (Later in my teens, I sneaked into watch a film of the same name produced by some non-entity in Malayalam knowing well it was much sleazy and titillating is another matter held secret). 

Exiting the cinema after watching John Huston’s Bible, the questions that I asked myself and some other elders were not answered. One such incertitude was about the great deluge and Noah’s ark. A naturalist of sorts and a conservationist, his love for animals and other living things was app laudable. But I wondered why did he leave out the dinosaurs from having refuge in his ark? And there seemed to be all possible beasts of the wilderness in the Garden of Eden but dinosaurs was nowhere to be seen. Did the great flood precede the prehistoric times when those beasts roamed in abundance? Or was creation as laid out in the Genesis precede the advent of the dinosaurs? Well those were too impertinent asking by an adolescent. And later I found to my amusement the answers!

It is indeed matters of food for thought that we seek, read, and spend considerable time of our short life to learn and acquire knowledge or information on matters that do not concern us, affect us or about people whom we may not even ever meet in life; of people dead and alive we have no business to learn and know about. We go to many frontiers to know about matters that are hypothesis, conjunctions and those that may be probable in the future, by when we would be dead and gone, to be recycled back into a pinch of stardust. We often show childish curiosity in many matters that are around- a “neotenic” trait that baffles. And as some would argue, should not be cared a hoot as it is not pertinent to our living. But then why do we go about ravenous, hunt and devour knowledge that may in fact be insignificant or of no use to our living?

Old Testament mentions the decree of God that Adam & Eve desist from eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge- the forbidden fruit. Clearly God’s way of telling that he shall rather not have his creation enlightened and acquire ideas that can also be used to usurp his position. He did admit to his jealous nature when he without mincing words said, “I forbid you from worshiping any other Gods, for I, your God is a jealous God”( Exodus). This is precisely what we hear and see politicians and authority go about desperately trying in their vile and cunning ways to enforce- proscribing books and banishing artists, their creations, snuffing opinions and expressions. The officialdom and the seat of authority have always been wary of acquisition of knowledge and ideas by the masses. The diktat Catholic Church pronounced against the fairytale of “Harry Potter” is one among the many recent examples. 

All of us have been fed with fairy tales and stories of witches and sorcerers in our formative age. I wonder if that have in any way distorted our character, inhibited our intellectual growth or displaced our moral values. It is in us that we have to seek knowledge. It is in the acquisition of knowledge and information with the naughty intensity of a child that makes us human beings. It is perhaps that what has aided in distancing us from our primordial cousins’ the apes and primates. It is in us, that juvenile characteristics are continued by the adults of our species. And it is that which keep us from plummeting into an insipid and inodorous life, where skepticism and hunger for knowledge is banished, muffled, and is nonexistent.

The aphorism that there is enough in the world for man’s needs but not for his wants is true and if man can substitute the seamless material bounty he seeks unashamedly and greedily with hunger for knowledge, then, that would make life a splendid dream to live.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Super Salesman



Perhaps a long forgotten post may come handy when one is snowed under by blocks and lack of ideas. A total famine of topics and one gropes around in the dark. Something here , to feel enlivened. I guess.


 
This is the story about a sales man, a Super salesman!

 Into a department store in the English country side, one late summer day, walked in a salesman. In fact he was not a salesman, not yet. He was prospecting for the position. The young fellow managed to get to the General Manager of the store and put forth his resume and his case. All that he could tell the General Manager from a persuasive point was that he was a sales man and he would appreciate the sales job in the store. Though the credentials where vague and rather plain the General Manager decided to take a call on the fellow and then conclude a judgment of the fellow for the job. He offered to put him on probation for a week and would reach a decision after surveying his skills in selling.

  Later in the week the General Manager walked into the floor of the store and watched from a distance the young lad selling a fishing rod to a customer. The young fellow was enlightening the prospective customer about the fishing rod and smartly convinced the client about its quality and value. He concluded the sale. He then continued and offered the customer a choice of buying a can of superior quality fishing worms. The sale was done too. The lad was in no mood to let the client go. He suggested that the weekend might be a bit cold and nippy as it being the fag end of autumn and would be perfect if he could keep a mackintosh, which would be handy while he fishes by the stream in the woods. It did not take long to convince the customer about the comfort and quality the mackintosh can offer. The sale was done too. The young sales apprentice continued, “Sir we have some fascinating new books to choose and you can read them in comfort while you fish and wait for the bait to do its job. I strongly recommend, you buy one and enjoy the week end fishing trip”. The customer was acknowledged that was a good proposition and he chose and bought a book as well.

The General Manager who was keenly observing the sales was awed and went to the sales man and tapped him appreciatively on his back. “Well done young fellow! But let me ask you how the heck did you managed to sell all these assortments to a guy who came in here to buy a fishing rod?”

The apprentice sales man politely said, “Sir he did not come in here to buy a fishing rod! In fact he came here to buy a pack of sanitary napkins for his wife and I suggested that he go fishing this week end”.