Tuesday, September 14, 2010

who moved my processes?

One day I died. And I found myself in front of the pearly gates with nothing more than a rosary and a whole lot of “I’m dead now, I’m so cool” attitude. I marched right over to St. Peter who looked like a frazzled flight attendant and less like the HR head of Heaven that he was. I had every reason to expect a grand reception in heaven. In my opinion I was nothing less than a perfect angel, an example-to-be-emulated daughter, a wonderful friend and so on and so forth. That other people begged to differ was and is of no relevance to me. I didn’t pore over those self help books and morale-boosting literature for nothing, hell-oo! (I should find a new way to spell that. Won’t do to mention hell in heaven and all. Not very politically correct.) So when St. Peter gave me a surly look and asked me if I had my papers in place, it came as a rude shock to me? “It’s very well that you’re dead and all, but there are processes to this place.” he said with a smug government-official face. PROCESSES-o? Shock was to my inherent malluness, what super-effective laxative was to unrelenting bowels – a sudden appearance situation and a lot of embarrassment. How did processes find me in eternal life? I have evaded processes and successfully so, most of my life. That would make me something of a helter-skelter with less organizational skills than a spilt bag of marbles. But still! It has no business following me to paradise. I heard somewhere that hell is living through your one mistake or failing or whatever, day in and day out for the next one million years or so also known as perpetuity (apparently, I should have listened more to this know-it-all) So if someone with ice-creamophobia is judged to eternal damnation, his hell would be filled with giant ice cream scoops of pink and white and brown and honey nut crunch and all the 31 Baskin Robbins flavours. That sort of a thing. But I’m in heaven. What’s processes doing following me to heaven? I must meet the redressal forum.

That’s when I noticed a longer line than I had seen at any passport office or embassy or ration shop or BEVCO outlet extending all the way from the Pearly Gate No. 2 to kingdom come. What’s more..this line had a strange homogeneity to itself. There were only women in white bridal gowns and men in monkey suits. It would have looked like a mass wedding if it weren’t for their noses stuffed with cotton. So then I stopped and asked an attendant angel who looked as bored as a government office peon, “It’s true then? God is a Catholic God after all?” To which he gave me a “Where the hell are you from anyway?” look, followed by a “What else can I expect from a stupid mortal, anyway!” look. With exaggerated patience that DID NOT become a seraph, he tells me, “This is the Catholic gate, you fool.” He then took a look at my white gown “Oh Catholic, eh? Did they like give you last rites? Personally, to me these duds who have their last rites in place are worse than prima donnas. They think they can just wave their certificates in our face and we’ll be impressed. As if! It’s not like they donated an organ or something. Now that would speak for something! They just don’t get it that we have processes (there’s that horrid word again) in this place.”

Considering that there wasn’t much love to be lost between us, I ventured, “So why do you have processes in here?” He glared at me and I honestly thought I had received a look that COULD kill and would be burnt to a crisp. But I remembered that I was dead and I couldn’t be crisped and so I glared back at him. “Because of the way He is. Don’t you know God’s schizo, man? The old fellow’s been around for a really long time. And you dimwits on earth don’t make things easier for him. You silly mortals think ‘aah my God is THE GOD. My religion rocks. blah blah blah’. Conveniently forget that you’re supposed to know that there’s only one of Him around for several billion intergalatical eras, which, by the way, is all of space and time. So you go about inventing new religions every week. One day if He’s wearing his strange Yahweh nightgown, the next day He’s got his Buddha cornrows, then the next He’s all thou-shalt-this-and-that and then He’s all Holy Spiritey and then yet another day He’s the great Jihad propagandist, then sometimes He’s an absolute nuisance dancing all over the place and spouting rivers from the top of his head. Sometimes He just gets silly and wears His Elvis suit. The devil, lucky devil, he’s just the devil. Always was, is and always will be the Devil. Our Dude has so many names. It’s confusing” The angel’s sounding really resentful here and I’m thinking “I’m screwed. No way he’s going to let me jump the processes. A resentful angel will not give me a processes break. And as if he’s read my mind, he says in a voice that reminds me of being deep fried in coconut oil, he continues, “So why don’t you get in line? Please remember that we process only one entry at any given time. We have over 15,000 gates, one for each religious sect. Ha ha… our revenge for your schisms. One entry would require a complete assessment of the life they’ve lived. Then our computer of computers will tally their numbers and we’ll slot them on the basis of credits and discredits. Then St. Peter will review their papers. And we decide if they go to heaven or hell or get recycled and sent back to earth. Recycling is tricky, cos sometimes memory isn’t erased properly and they remember things from their past life and end up institutionalized for being delusional or a schizo. But then again, you mortals deserve it all that’s coming to you. For making us up here look like complete jackasses who can’t implement the greater good. The Devil can’t get his smirk off and that’s just embarrassing. That Perry pastor incident was such a dreadful fiasco. It was an evangelical pie in our faces. And you know what He had to say about it? “THIS I’ve got to see”, that’s what He said. We even had some minor disagreements in here. Muslim souls vs. Christian souls.” I think my eyes must have glazed over cos his voice gets all clipped and he says, “So why don’t you get in line, hmmmm?” “But this could take forever” I wailed! To which he said “like you’re going somewhere huh? FYI (for the record, I don’t like angels who FYI me) this IS forever. Oh imagine an Afghani with a skull cap and a beard and speaks no English trying to clear immigration at Newark? Multiply the time he’d take to do so into 10. That’s about the time you’d take to enter the pearly gates. My dear child this is the heaven of heavens and belongs to the God of gods, what else can you expect here but the process of processes?”

*the word processes gets my goat, cow and my entire barnyard. I CAN’T STAND THE WORD. It drives me insane when someone brandishes the word in my face. I’d rather have someone call me a ditzy mindfuck than have them tell me mind my processes. Therefore this post.
** God here, is all those versions of God people seem to have. My God on the other hand wears no nightgown, yawns while He listens (attentively, nevertheless) to mass, inspires people to do cool things like invent Bose speakers, write songs like Stairway to heaven, make awesome movies and fudge and cheesecakes and stuff like that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I am going to find each and every filmmaker of the late seventies, eighties and early nineties. Separate the ones who have made love stories from those who have not and kill the former. Yes, you heard me. Kill them in cold blood. Why? They’ve fed our parents a whole lot of ill-fated love and unhappy endings that parents believe that all love stories must end in tears. Thus the drama unfolds at home. “Mother, father I love somebody” “Whaaaaaat?” Mother bursts into sobs. Father growls so well that the Doberman considers retirement and starts to squeak instead. “What did you say you wretched thing? Is this what we sent you to college for? Is this gratitude for all that we have done for you?” At this point the mother hits her chest and then hits the girl/boy in question. “Whoa, let’s get a grip here shall we? I just confessed to being in love. Not butchering the priest and wearing his intestines around my head cos it’ll make me immortal.” If parents react like this to a confession of being in love, how would they react if I HAD butchered the priest and wore his intestines around my head because I thought it would make me immortal? I bet it would make for a scene in some Ram Gopal Varma movie. Hell, I'm not even in love with the priest! Now I know why directors thank their parents over and over again in award acceptance speech. “Thank you for filling my life with so much drama that has always kept me inspired to make all these movies that fill the audience with so much hopelessness that they want to kill themselves with a pencil sharpener.”
This is all the influence of the movies. Ironically, while I was growing up I heard a lot of “life isn’t what you see on TV.” “Really now? YOU don’t say!” is all I can say, in retrospect, of course.
So now that the confrontation is over and it all looks pretty much useless, I must now cry and throw myself on the bed and bawl my eyes out that I look less like me and more like a basset hound. These are very important lessons. Pay attention. There is a method to everything. So all these movies. I was watching a perfectly wonderful movie the other day. Chithram, for all you Malayalees out there. It kept me laughing throughout. And finally when the heroine and hero take the trouble to fall in love, we discover the hero is a fugitive and he’s slated for, not surgery, not imprisonment, but for fucking capital punishment. The end. Finito. Ever got a resounding slap after being ticked to death? Same feeling! Now what was the point of the movie? Other than leave you with the same feeling a balloon feels when it discovers it’s got a hole somewhere. Inevitable deflatedness.
My mum used to love “Ek dujey ke liye” as a young woman. That horrid, lurid Romeo and Juliet-esque movie where the heroine gets raped and dies and the hero goes and dies as well or something, gets her all dewy eyed. Till date. If that isn’t bad news for me, I don’t know what is. And she speaks absolutely NO Hindi, mind it. So what is it about the whole movie that’s gotten her fancy? ILL FATED LOVE!! God and all the residents of heaven, ..whatever happened to the 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 thingamajig on love, huh? Like love is forever, so all who stands in its way fries KFC-style in hell, hmmm? Not in the Bible? Dang! Just when I thought I was getting somewhere with the scriptures. All the fault of these stooopid film makers. They should have stuck to their “Meri paas maa hai-dishum dishum” routines. All the shaking flowers and the butterfly wings and lovers behind them should have NOT happened. And while I’m at it, I’d also like to ask, why are the modern-day heroines falling in love with either terrorists or vampires? Whatever happened to normal men? Oh, I forgot, they don’t exist. Might as well fall in love with a tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park. Now that would appeal to the family, I bet!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

lessons for a second woman

Scene 1
You. Me. She.
I. We. She.
She is the on
ly thing constant in this relationship, isn’t she? You and me, we’re just variables. Even when it’s about us, she takes predominance and precedence as the first person and we’re pushed into the third person. But that’s just how it is, isn’t it? It’s never going to be about us. It will, and always be, she and you. She’s always going to be the one. And I with be the other woman.
But ‘we’ happened. Deny it all you want. But we still happened. We weren’t supposed to, but since when do we go by the supposed to’s? Supposed. Suppose. A hypothesis. But we were real. A fact. History recorded. So all the pain I’m left with isn’t a theory. Nor is it imagined. It does not get less legitimate in the jurisdiction of all factual events. I’m entitled to this hurt. It holds valid.

Scene 2

“Do you love me?” “You know I can’t answer that.” “It’s a straight, honest question, isn’t it? Do you love me? Can’t you dignify it with a straight, honest answer?” “Sigh! Why don’t you just get it, woman? Why do you have to complicate things so? You knew what you were getting into. She was first. Before you. As much as I want to, I cannot change that. I can’t possibly hurt her, can I? And what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her, can it? You won’t tell her, will you? If you do, it’ll make her terribly sad. I’ll lose all I have that I call my own. How can you possibly be that selfish? Now why are you crying? You’re saying all this is my fault then? You didn’t seem to want it any less then. Now two years later, you’re acting so strange. You knew I was committed. But when you came into my life, I couldn’t help myself. Mistakes happen. No. I’m not calling you a mistake. Please be okay. Oh god! Please don’t cry. Please. I’m not calling you a mistake. It’s a huge mistake that we can’t be together. It’s a huge mistake we ever happened. But now that it has, I need you. But I can’t be with you. No, I can’t let go of you either. No, I won’t. How can you possibly do this to me? You have to be my good friend, someone I can always call. But I can’t give you me. Why are you complicating things so? Can’t we just let it be? Stop crying please. Or I’ll leave now. God, stop crying dammit. Fuck! My head’s about to burst. Stop it. Please. I can’t take this. Please. You know you mean a lot to me. Please. But I can’t be with you. I must marry her. I must be with her. I want to be. I don’t know. I must. God, my head is breaking. Must you be this difficult?”

Scene 3
Me in the mirror: You know you’re pathetic, don’t you?
Me on the outside: (Mumbling) “Yes, I do!”
Me in the mirror: Did you just admit to that? God you’re worse that pathetic, you know! You’re so far gone. (Mockingly mimicking) “Yes, I do!” Indeed!”
Me on the outside: (Begins to cry piteously)
Me in the mirror: “Stop crying, you wimp!”
Me on the outside: (Blubbering) “But I love him so much”
Me in the mirror: (Disgustedly) “You go cheap, don’t you? God! Don’t you have any self respect?”
Me on the outside: (Crying) “What’s with you? You want to kick me when I’m down? Is that it?”
Me in the mirror: (Softly) “You call yourself the other woman. Why would you do that? Get up, girl! You had nothing to lose. You aren’t the low life here. There are rules to this game, you know! You need to know that before you go baiting someone’s man.”
Me on the outside: (Interrupting) “But I wasn’t baiting. He came to me.”
Me in the mirror: “Yes! Yes! I know! The typical one thing lead to another. Yada yada. But Rule No.1 is never fall in love with somebody else’s man. Take him. Use him. Leave him. He’s nothing more than a condom. Now, who gets sentimental about a condom?”
Me on the outside: (Horrified) How can you call him that? He’s more than that. He’s a good person, and wonderful and kind….
Me in the mirror: (interrupting): “..And, yes… That’s why the two of you have first class tickets to the sunset, I suppose? My child, Someone gets used here. You or him. Your choice you gets to be the condom. No sense in turning a feel-good exercise into a crash course in self-loathing. So you are desirable! Great. Wow! Good for you. Believe me, a man like that isn’t a keeper. He’ll never know happiness if it spread its legs in front of him.”
Me on the outside: “Ugh!”
Me in the mirror: “Oh, now you want to go prude on me? You’re welcome to your heartache, Miss Prim, I’m-just-a-piece-of-flesh! Sit and cry for your douche bag for all I care. But I’m telling you, you need to get your lovely ass moving. There’s greatness to be achieved in this time you waste moping around. Look at you wasting your lovely but inevitably disappearing desirableness on this loser. Move on. Move on. Get your groove back on girl! Break some hearts, already?
Me on the outside: (Hint of a smile) “Thanks, I needed that. I try to tell myself this but I never listen you know.”
Me in the mirror: “Well I’m going nowhere. You know where to find me when you need some sense knocked into your head.”
Me on the outside: “Hey babe..we never got to rule no. 2.”
Me in the mirror: “Rule No. 2? I thought you’d never ask. There’s nothing much to Rule No.2. Show us some love, lady? Lean over and give us a kiss, hmmmm?”
Me on the outside: (To herself) “And just like that, as I leaned over to kiss my reflection, I learnt to love the person in the mirror before anything else.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

holey moley

This morning I faced considerable amount of difficulty trying to down my breakfast. Without too much announcement, it just got lodged in my throat and unpleasantly so. I was like Godzilla with the Empire State Building stuck in its esophagus. I was grunting and groaning and making a noisy nuisance of myself. Not that I’m not a noisy nuisance otherwise, but why go into irrelevant details here? I tried all the conventional methods. Drinking water, stuffing my face even more, even tried gluing myself to those agonizingly mouthwatering cookery shows they have on Travel and Living so that a giant tidal wave of a gulp would send it down. Nothing.

Then I went online. And the headlines of the day knocks the bejesus out of me and my rest of my breakfast down my gullet. Ah, the magic of the daily headlines. It clears a safe and clean passage down your throat, so that food may be ingested the way it ought to be. Such, my dear friends, is the power of the daily headlines. So what was this all important piece of news that was of immense consequence that its ignorance threatened to make havoc in my breakfast’s normally predictable route to my tum tum? The state of Kareena Kapoor’s thighs. Yes you heard me. No, it’s not a new state in India, but the condition of her thighs. She’s got, .. Wait a minute, the dramatic gasp should come AFTER I tell you what the big deal is about, right? Not before. Sorry about jumping the gun there! Anyway.. she’s got cellulite! Now you may dramatic gasp here, if you please. Can you believe that? Can you believe this? Such decadence. Thank goodness for such eagle-eyed journalists who keep abreast with her thighs. Why give a damn about the ridiculous amounts of taxpayers money that will go as salary to those jokers we call MPs? Aaah…trifles, my dear, trifles. And boring trifles, at that. Some stuffy old men who are always dissatisfied. The bottom line is that Kareena’s Kapoor’s bottom is out of line. She is answerable for this and it’s our duty to bring her to book for such irresponsible, errant behavior. Shameful. That’s what it is. Cellulite, people. Of all the things. After all the time we spent praising her size zero. Think about the insult she’s giving yoga. So many centuries of our culture and heritage she’s defaming. Where is the culture police’s number? I have to call them now. Isn’t the credibility of yoga in pieces now? What will the foreigners think? How many of them must be cancelling their tickets upon seeing those cheese thighs up for brazen display in a miniskirt, crossing her legs too. The selfish, inconsiderate hussy. I shudder to think about the cataclysmic drop in tourism this is going to bring about and the consequences on our economy. Who wants to spend a lot of money and effort to twist themselves into a pretzel only to end up cheesed off? Not flattering and far from healthy, I say. The sheer callous irresponsibility. I’m thinking she should be debarred from the society of yoga. At least till she’s willing to face the pivotal role she has in endorsing our nation’s cult export. Thank God for Yahoo headlines. I could have missed out on something so important and relevant. To quote the worthy journalist “it’s not done for someone who claims to practise yoga”. Tsk tsk.