Saturday, October 20, 2012

Livin-in my jeans

Jeans have evolved over the years into apparel that blend, adapt and cannot be torn away from one’s skin, if one is used to wearing jeans. The longer it stays on you, you live in it and Jeans becomes an indestructible part of you. You cannot do without. It becomes your second skin! You feel naked when you cloth in other garments and when you are not in it. You come to live in it, to say figuratively.

Live-in-Jeans or Live-in-relationship! The later has an added advantage unlike with the jeans there is no emotional bond that would restrain you from jettisoning out. Is it more a matter of convenience, or am I being prejudiced and or biased?

The Live-in concept that is now commercially attributed to the denim wear may have originated from the live-in relationships human beings have come to adopt. Though, not a rage yet, it is gradually and imperceptibly catching the attention and impending to be the choice of the “Generation- next”. But the similarity between a jeans that we live-in and the new convenience relationship does not extend yonder.
Can one be critical of this new concept of living together without the sanctity of wedlock, legal license or social acceptability? In a world that is increasingly resonating with the voice of intolerance, prejudice and simultaneously the demand for individual freedom, freedom of thought and way of life, I feel an individual need not have to cede to the scrutiny of the Jones next door. I guess, what my son or daughter does with their life as adults are their choice. Can I put the straight jacket of conventions and the overbearing of a sententious father? I feel my nose should not extend beyond my hands. albeit! And indeed it is a capital “BUT”!

I began to wonder about the live-in-relationships and convenience partner concept that is now seen in many case, when a close friend to whom we enquired if she could refer from her circle of acquaintances any matchmaking proposal for my niece. She did not decline, but at the same time expressed fear that it is now considered akin to donning the cross and heavy mantle when such an exercise is done in earnest. The incidences of broken marriages- divorces, separations and in extreme cases suicide are many that people are scared or frightened to engage in match making.

Now I would like to think if marriage is worth all the risk, that is being attributed to the system and in certain cases, uncritically so. Soon after the World War II and when the Cold war gripped Europe it was not uncommon for young men and women to choose not to have children as they did not wager much survival chances for the continent that was then threatened by Armageddon. Some even decided to stay out of wedlock and its collateral commitments.

What is it that prompts the young to disregard conventions of marriage – something that all may have seen practiced by their parents and elders, an institution that has been thriving for centuries? True there are and have always been cases of baleful and unenviable living in wedlock. Perhaps as true and chancy as a violent misfortune that may befall on a travel by Air, Sea or land!

Whatever may be the raison d'ĂȘtre that bring youth into cohabiting and in a living-relationship with out what they perceive as entrapment of marriage, can I as an adult and in the afternoon of my life criticise the right of individuals to live their life as they deem fit? Have not I accepted the conventions of the society and lived a life in compliance to the accepted rules of matrimony? Was not that my personal decision? And what if a young fellow or lass decides to break the boundaries of convention and trappings and chart a life they deem fit for them in their pursuit of happiness?

 Should I fret, fume, feel sad, morally offended, and be outraged?

But what disturbs me somewhere is the probable denial of the chance for posterity to be reared in the undeniably heavenly cocoon, a sanctuary of the family. Of a home where commitments are indeed what bonds the members.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


It is often that what is termed as the sixth sense or intuition, the sense of the unseen and things to come is felt when we meet certain people the first time. Call it premonition or clairvoyance, ESP, so on and so forth. I have felt that with some. In some cases I have ignored the alarm bells and have ended with bruises that would leave scars that stay. In yet other cases heeding the knell of warning have cocooned me from visitations. I guess that these were no exceptions and people out there all may feel the comfort zone with some and the putrid air with some others. We may have also felt an inner warning to distance or avoid some. In some cases it is reciprocal too.

The dead are usually left untouched and it is considered propriety to say no evil about the ones who passed on. But vile may be some of our minds, it happens that with some who are dead one may feel the revulsion that they ever walked this earth. We may wish to forget that such a one as he or she was ever known to us. I may sound mean and filled with malice.

There was this guy who was heading the bank I was then dealing with for my business account. I felt the wind howl and the skies turn ghoulish dark, lightning strike like lasting firmament and thunder rock deafening the moment I met him. The premonition was felt in my body. A profane and reprehensible man! To narrate his conduct- machanisation, ignobility is delving  only the surface.  He lost his daughter in a freak accident at home the very day he took charge after a promotion. The tragedy hardly evoked introspection or remorse in him. There were occasions when I wished that the ground beneath his feet parted and swallowed him, lest I may have to wrench his neck till he ceased breathing. He died of heart attack and when the news came to me a few days after he died, it was just another day at work and though a mortal myself, I felt a sense of justice that he is no more. How villainous I’m!

Yet there were a few who, whom when I met first was rather insipid and not entirely without portentous feeling. But later proximity and course of events saw me in close liaison with them, even drawing nearer by fate or call it destiny. Eventually the not so comfortable feeling that clutched me lead to the realisation, how true it is that fortune does not change men, it unmasks them!

Sometimes it is a flaw in the character that supersedes and is the cause of ire and resentment. There was this person and at the sight of his shadow I used to be bedeviled by irritation and anger. It was a strange dislike for him. Not that he offended or did something bad to me. He used to visit my office purely on his assignment as the employee of another firm. Sometimes I have noticed in his eyes a confounded question, an ask –“why”? And I have asked myself after he was gone, “why?” and I still have not stumbled upon an answer.Inexplicable!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


It is often a fact that men harbour lecherous fantasies and intentions more than women do I think so even if someone disagrees with my contention. It is however not untruth that women do not have imaginary or real time liaisons outside wedlock.

Woman as a rule may show predilections for amorous affairs with a man who gives her a sense of security, which can be both financial and emotional or either. Men on the contrary are still in the realm of beasts where financial trappings and emotions play a lesser role when it comes to libertine ways. This is my take from the experiences of the past many years and I do not think I must have to specifically quote any novelette to argue my point

Lamia is married to a wealthy man and the mother of two. She hails from a conservative religious society. But she is dressed impeccably modern and ravishing. She can by simply strolling by, taut the neck of any man, how so ever monogamous and of piety. She is tall, with flowing dark hair and wheaty complexion. She speaks well but accented English and Punjabi flavoured Hindi and Urdu. She drives around in a Toyota sports utility. The few occasions I happened to chat with her I could not resist impressing upon her subtly and politely how I was awed by her feminine beauty. She must be in her late twenties or very early thirties.
Albeit the tag of bored and disillusioned housewife as the clichĂ© goes did not suit her countenance, when the story of her uncontrollable amour and lust was narrated to me in the first person, I was more devastated out of jealousy than out of genuine amazement or shock which only exasperated further when it sunk into me that, for she fell for a man of vapid taste and intellect, a man who can torture you with ennui in his company.
I need not have to doubt his narration, for a day previous I heard her on the speaker of his Black Berry, plead with him in Hindi.”Kal ka plan pakka hai, or naheen?” He said, "abhi thak confirm karney ka mushkil.”She was furious at the other end, “if that is so, I will be in your office tomorrow morning. Mein udhar baitteyga. Until you say yes and come with me.”

Further, his explicit narration of their togetherness till almost day break- driving around the town, sneaking into a pub for beer, schnapps and gin tonic; buying their seat in a cinema and being cuddled, fondling and stimulating mutually in its dark environs when the movie went on for the sparse late night movie goers. All was too disdainful and an insult to my ego who would not agree that I ‘m a lesser candidate for such liaison than he was.

He was rather disillusioned when she was unwilling to leave him at almost day break. She wanted him to swear that he would go with her to the ends of the world. He tried to deflect the matter by reminding her she was proclaiming the impossible and when she had  husband and kids. But, he found her tenacious than a limpet. She trivialised her husband and was not keen about the kids either. She told him that money was not an issue with her and she would not mind leaving the man and children. For she was yearning and craving for a life that did not deprive her of happiness and companionship! She stated that after years since her wedding day she found happiness and comfort in that nocturnal excursion with him. And she wants to ensure that the moon stays in her grasp.

To debate about the psychology and thought of this emancipated, educated and wealthy woman is not my forte or intention. There is not great pleasure in a holier than thou plateau either. But it does make me wonder if the moral picket fences we have are imaginary hurdles with taboos as barbed wires, seldom capable to restrain or resist the primeval infatuations human beings are disposed too, be it man or woman. The waters that beckon with the tranquility and the seeming air of pleasure are often mirages and treacherous!

Did I not mention when I began this that men harbour lecherous fantasies and would desist if it dawns that a long term commitment beyond carnal pleasure outside wedlock threatens?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Once, I abandoned myself bathing nude in in the open air in a pristine mountain stream. That was at night and was in the forest out of bounds for Paparazzi even if I had the tag of the prince or any such royalty. But thankfully I'm just a mere commoner and that helped me enjoy the time with a mug of beer in the stillness of the jungle, with the moon throwing her luminance through the canopy of the trees. I had my friend B, for company. This was a few years ago.

But well if I had frolicked in the stream with a consort or even with my wife in the prefect dressing I chose that day, could I fret, fume and cry foul if a paparazzi or a clandestine acquaintance chose to shoot my revelry and splash it to the outside world. Can I be offended and cry hoarse, allege intrusion into my or her privacy if my consort or wife were to be pictured topless or more in public? By demonstrating the will to be free of inhibitions in public will certainly invite scrutiny and publicity, especially if the subject is elite and not a commoner.

And by that yard stick why must the house of Windsor be agonised, offended and sue the French publication “Close” for publishing the would be Queen bathing topless in the open air pool? The comfort of a closed bath is to avoid peeping toms and to enjoy privacy. When one chooses to revel in an act that is generally done away from glares then one must be prepared for a quantum of publicity as well. Don’t you think so? What has the argument based on privacy has to do here?

It is indeed pathetic that some members of the Royalty are hounded by hungry paparazzi and columnist. It reminds me of the fascinating romantic film “Roman Holidays”. How Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) vanishes from the watchful eyes of her attendants and the prying media to see Rome as a commoner and unnoticed.

But the hullabaloo the British Prince William and his wife Princess Kate created is perhaps less understandable. She was photographed bathing topless in an upscale French Vila. Perhaps now with the swirling furor the British Royalty fanned by crying wolf and suing the French magazine, more of the world have come to know and seen the fascinating picture , which would have not deserved a second glance like the many topless sunbathers in European beaches or elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Someone said that there is nothing we can call the right plan or the correct decision and for that matter the wrong plan or the wrong decision. It is the future course of events and how we handle the plan that makes it right or wrong and correct or otherwise. In retrospect it is  pretty easy to pass critical judgment. If we had the sagacity and the vision as to the outcome of our decisions we may have seen a much different life than we live now. Ratan Tata has said that he does not believe in making the right decision, but in making one and then toiling to make it right. Sensible indeed!

The Road not taken and treading the path less travelled makes all the difference! The subject that bothers me is the decision of A, my son. It has not rattled me but a bit apprehensive. He has been harbouring the idea now for some time and he finally after seeing much huffing and puffing from me since I came to know of that from his mother, called me up a few days back and narrated his plan.

He graduated in Visual media and has been into some practical works in a couple of films with a few friends of mine who are in the film industry. He ostensibly has planned to do Master’s in cinematography. And he has been scouring the net for avenues – and institutions where he can go to. Fair enough. But his decision to take time away from the immediate priorities (as I gauge it) is a matter of consternation to me. He wants to be in Bangalore or Chennai for a while and be participating in English theater activities. This is when he has concrete offers to work in films as an apprentice in cinematography and that which will aid in providing him much practical knowledge when he files his resume for the Master’s course where ever he chooses.

However he has his decision made. And though I have my apprehension – the fore most being the possibility of wasting time in something he will not dwell thereafter; ignoring offers to involve him with acclaimed faces in the films, may be construed as rude and indifference.

So finally when he called me and spoke on the matter, I had to shun my reservations and fear to tell him that if he has found his choice of the road, the one that he thinks is right, to go forward and make it right. Can I stand in the way of a young man who must have weighed the pros and cons of his choice and who is tenacious that he has to follow a certain course to reach his destination?

I do not see the idea of something called destiny as Paul Coelho did in his novel “The Alchemist”. I find no reason to believe it as a predetermined city square to where we eventually reach. Each one of us is unique in our own way and we are the only ones responsible for our decisions. If he can be comfortable in his decision, he can exhibit a single minded purpose in reaching the destination which people call in retrospect- destiny, it can then be the treasure which “Santiago” the shepherd boy searched for. If that see him forging the road not taken or less traversed so be it. He needs to be his own alchemist.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”                                                                                                                W.Blake

But as a parent who has had half a century of vicissitudes to remember it is a tad difficult for comfort.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Admonishment On A Birthday Morning

I do not know the origins of celebration of birthdays. Perhaps it came about from Man’s acknowledgement of what he considers special and precious-“life”. When after one is gone, birthdays become observation of birthdays and no more an occasion to celebrate. That may last until one’s near ones are alive. Then “pooh”, all become star dust and vanish without a trace.

It was fun and glowing in warm attention during the birthdays each year when one was little. There was a sense of importance, a satisfaction of being acknowledged and given a pedestal , gifts  being thrust in the hands, kisses planted! 

I did not approve of a luncheon get together of sorts on my fiftieth birthday a few years ago. It was the persistent disobedience of my sister and wife that saw me blow candles, slice a cake, photographs taken and with a few close friends asked to join.

Come again, today- another birthday and I was pleasantly surprised by a text message from my daughter, Radhika. My son spoke to me early this morning and as true to his self he was reticent and matter of fact with his birthday greeting. I often feel that in that sense he is more of a photocopy I managed to create!

The girl was unambiguous and displayed in her text message an admonishing fact it is good , I guess that children have the courage to chastise and gently rebuke the parent. I wonder if I would ever have dared to dream doing that when I was her age .It is good thing that she may have done some thinking and decided that I was in the wrong. But the law of Nature or the law of probability is that eight out of ten the father is in the wrong! 

“The Child is father of the Man”, the Wadsworth ode has much substance, though he sang that reveling in the beauty of the rainbow and Nature.

This was what she messaged.
“Achaaaaa!!!!” (Meaning father). Happy Birthday! I hope u make a resolution this year to stop fighting. Losing your temper is no good. Take life as it comes. Even if it is crap that life gives you, take it without fretting. Every end will be a happy one. Happiness is on its way. You just have to be a happy person to feel it and get it."
 "So … A promise you have to make is, NOT to fight with Amma. And not to lose your temper. Be happy. If you do not, I will be like so.......

So keep it. Have a great day “achaaa….” Love U! Ummaaaaa!"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hang Without Further Delay!

 There has been wide endorsement of the Supreme courts upholding of  death sentence for the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist of 9/11.It is claimed that the sentence will sent signals to the terrorists and their bosses across the border that waging war against India will invite severe retribution. A fascinating argument! But has no proof amongst terror perpetrators that they are hounded by the fear of death. But behold, they will suffocate if freedom is denied and are incarcerated. It is not death that they fear but it is the dream of freedom in Paradise that they believe will be theirs if they put to sword  apostates, that drive them to their savagery.

India may have the wherewithal in conventional terms to be in hot pursuit of the terror wings across the border. But such an attempt we all know will be inviting an all out nuclear conflagration between two nuclear armed neighbours. Hence the weak kneed reactions from us.

In my fair bit of reading, I have not in any Indian mythical treatise stumbled upon an instance where a man or a woman was executed, or given capital punishment. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, was not an Indian moral. There have been many wars waged and stories mentioned in Indian mythology, but an execution or taking away life as punishment – NO. Then , on what premises dose the so called custodians of Hindu Dharma and Indian culture the VHP, the Sangh Parivar and the political clan of BJP clamour and cry hoarse for death for Kasab and even for Afsal Guru who we all know was given a kangaroo trial in the Parliament shoot out case? "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", was a Jewish dictum and then followed by Islam. Christ did not preach snuffing life as punishment for misdeeds. It is the archaic fallout from the Semitic faith that hangs on. The mythical heroes of Indian mythology who we see as incarnations of Gods have not spoken in favor of death penalty.

.Our longing for revenge and vengeance will be satiated when Kasab is hanged. But will his death deter potential terrorists who are blinded by fanaticism and indoctrination by extreme religious elements, both from foreign soil and from within from committing terror in future?

No is the answer. We all know that. The clamour for Kasab's death is only the off shoot of our thirst for vengeance-  It is the beastly instinct in Man that drove Kasab and his cahoots to dance the macabre dance of death in Mumbai and it is the same ghastly instinct that we long to quench by putting Kasab to death

Let the lone surviving terrorist be incarcerated for life. And let that be the beginning of a new thinking. Is it not better to convey that we value life than the terrorists who commit barbaric acts in the name of God and for God? When an extreme form of penalty such as taking away life will not be a deterrent, do we have to continue to embrace that barbaric punishment?

Let Kasab spend his life incarcerated and rue the moment he chose to be prey to the fanatic elements who indoctrinated him to commit the horrendous acts. Let his supposed entry into Paradise be delayed by Nature until he withers naturally.