Thursday, 2 August 2018

A fish pond



I had always known, nay…experienced, that watching the swimming fish, whether in a pond, sea, lake or fish tank is very soothing and reduces stress.

The old woman was lying on the bed. She felt like getting up and roaming about but was not able to. It was as if she was tied to the bed, but she wasn’t.

To start with various tubes were connected to her body. She was on saline and various medicines were being administered through the drip.

But, even if this had not been so and she were hale and hearty, she wouldn’t have wanted to step down on the floor. For, her bed was surrounded by dirty water, freely flowing in from outside. Even the fish took the free ride inside to inspect the hygienic surroundings of the reputed hospital.

Hospital, did I say?

Unfortunately yes. The rains have been incessant but the civic authorities have been extremely efficient and effective in cleaning up the drains. So much so, the fish were gleaming in the morbid slush!

So the old woman passes her time by gazing at the elegant movements of the fish, who have a free run of the hospital, and eases her stress to hasten her recovery.

Last heard, she went back fully recovered, achieved by drastic reduction of her stress levels and the hospital won the award for introducing a revolutionary new method of saving precious life. They named it, ‘Aqua Therapy’

And the fisherfolk are plotting their next netting trip to a hospital, though they take care to handle their tools of trade, like the net, with gloved hands…

Yatindra Tawde

Friday, 29 June 2018

Man Creche


Written with tongue firmly in cheek. To be taken with a pinch of salt...

The zombies are roaming around the shopping malls of the city. 

The ladies are shopping for all types of products which catch their fancy. And sometimes they  are accompanied by the zombies who are left with no choice but to chaperone their better halves. 

And so they come with sleepy eyes and memories of good things which they left behind at their respective homes. Good things like sports channels on TV, video games, novels, magazines and all these along with a cool glass of beer. 

But then an order is an order! 

Once the order comes from their high command, their’s not to reason why. The order comes either in the form of a formal command, sometimes it comes with a sweet smile whereas sometimes it is just to act as a chauffeur to transport the fragile frames of their command centres  from one shopping destination to the next. 

All these disliked commands and the sweet memories of all the leisurely activities left behind at home take their toll, resulting in turning a hale and hearty male into a zombie. 

So this is the community of docile zombies which you see in any shopping mall near you. 

Sometimes the zombie stands beside his female owner but his eyes are on the other such female owners who have their own zombies with them. 

Other times he answers in monosyllables to the enthusiastic questions posed by his owner, “Do I look fat in this dress?”… “no”. “Does this colour suits me?” …”yes”. “Do I buy this dress or the other one with the embroidery “… “This” or better still, “both”. 

Same is the story in jewellery shopping. The owner takes her own credit card for making payments but when the moment of truth finally arrives, the card doesn't work. That's destiny! So the zombie dips into the unfathomable depths of his pockets to get his own cards and do what needs to be done. Sometimes he just sits in the car, hoping that this action will hasten the shopping process but he sits in vain. 

But then people live with the presumption that things will brighten tomorrow. 

And my fellow zombies! Please take out the trumpets and sound the bugle. The day has finally arrived! 

A mall in far off Manchester has come out with a Man Creche! And happy days are here again. You drop the better half to the relevant shop and head to the Creche. 

Or maybe it's the other way round…the better half drops you in the Creche, and she gets a token with a number written on it. 

Your hand is held by a lovely lady, working in the Creche and designated as a Support Worker, who first puts a corresponding token band on your wrist, then  leads you to a table with a game console where you can play your favourite games or read e-magazines like “Car World” or “Times” or any other. 

The Support Workers bring you a glass of chilled beer served on the house. There is even a facility for rest and recuperation in the form of hammocks where you can catch up on your nap. 

And there is also a Premium section where you are given Shoulder and head massages. In India it might take the form of Ayurvedic massages. 

There are table tennis tables available for the sports oriented. 

But guys, don't get into too much of day dreaming since your better half will return shortly, since now the time will be spent  quickly, deposit the token, the support worker will lead you by your hand to the counter, the better half will take possession of you and lead you out of the mall, but not before you have cleared all the bills (don't worry, the Creche comes free). 

Now the only thing which remains are the memories of a time well spent and the stories of shopping which your better half has done on her own, her trials and tribulations faced in trying out umpteen dresses. 

Last breaking news was that the number of zombies in Manchester have reduced and it is now an endangered species.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Raazi



What a mesmerising performance by the Bhatt girl! Carrying such a serious film on her slender shoulders is no mean task. 

She first showed promise in ‘Highway’. Her performance flowered in ‘Badrinath ki Dulhaniya’ and then reiterated her reputation in ‘Udta Punjab’.

But in ‘Raazi’ she has excelled all her previous performances and left the competition far behind. 

While most of her contemporaries continue to be glamorous side-kicks to the Heroes, here is an actress who pushes the envelope with most of her performances.

She has captured the nuances of a real spy who faces many moral challenges while she goes about performing her selected duty towards her country.

Till now, we have come to accept the role of a spy as defined by a glamorous James Bond, outside the Indian shores to the Salman Khans and Hrithik Roshans of our very own Bollywood. It is nothing but a celebration of the Alpha Male replete with the style and swagger.

But here is Alia playing a spy who is delicate, appears so waif, so vulnerable but when faced with life threatening challenges, she takes lives of those who might expose her deceit.

Well played, Alia!!

Rajit Kapoor and her real mother, Soni Razdan, play the roles of her parents with passion. Soni Razdan makes you feel, ‘Why doesn’t she act in more films?’. She is so spontaneous!

Vicky Kaushal, who plays her husband, Iqbal Syed, manages to hold his own in front of the brilliance of Alia. Watch his breakdown scene when he comes to know of her subterfuge and the following scene with his father.

Shishir Sharma plays her father-in-law, Brigadier Parvez Syed, with the required grace and excels in the emotional scenes.

Arif Zakaria! He plays the role of the suspicious Abdul, the house help, with conviction. He is seen on the big screen after a long time.

And what can one say about Jaideep Ahlawat! This role, for him, is a role of the lifetime. He is sure to get more such mentor roles, in the days to come, he is so convincing as Sehmat’s trainer and mentor.

Why doesn’t Meghna Gulzar make more movies? She has handled this movie with such conviction! 

But when you do movies like ‘Talvar’ and ‘Raazi’ , the amount of research required for such movies based on true stories, is bound to be time consuming. Her best movie till date, certainly.

However, there were certain anomalies in a truly well made movie. 

How could she set up the entire wiring for the morse code apparatus in the open terrace without anyone watching? 

How did she get a separate washroom for herself where she installs everything for sending messages?

However, that’s not to take away from a well made, well researched movie.

Yatindra Tawde 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Airlifted!

Airlift!

Three helicopters were put into service. It was quite a unique task for the pilots as well as the support staff. Taking off from the city’s airport, the three reached the highway in time to airlift the gang of six.

These were special type of helicopters with a larger catchment area. After all the task was so, where everything depended upon the area available for the airlift, such was the package being lifted.

And even after deployment of such large helicopters, the area in each was just enough for two. Hence the three copters.

Reaching the copters to the site was the easiest task. The real fun started once the copters had reached.

How do the support staff persuade the package to climb into the copters? That was the million dollar question!

But in the country in which the drama took place, time is of essence. So the support staff took the easiest and fastest route and just shot the package! Oh, don’t worry.

It was a shot of tranquillisers and soon the 6 buffaloes (the package) were snoring away. After that it was quite easy to persuade the buffaloes to climb into the helicopters and reach heights where no buffaloes had gone before.

And that’s how buffaloes are kept clear from the autobahn in Germany. No if’s…no but’s…though it was a quite unbelievable for me, when I read it in the morning newspaper, that some adventurous buffaloes managed to give the creeps to some speed demons on the German Autobahn.

Nearer home, animals of all shapes and sizes manage to walk on the highways as if roaming in the garden.

In fact I have seen some buffaloes sitting prettily in the middle of a busy road, in a city I happened to visit.

When I asked the experienced taxi driver, “How do they manage to sit calmly in meditation on the busy road?”

He just smirked and answered, “The air displaced by the passing cars don’t allow the city mosquitoes to get a toehold on the buffaloes and thus they are protected from deadly diseases like malaria…buffalo malaria”

That logic convinced me about the common sense and wisdom of Indian buffaloes and I promptly went off to sleep in the taxi.

Yatindra Tawde

Saturday, 5 May 2018

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? Or a name board?

To be precise, what’s in a name of a wine shop?

The authorities in one Indian state have suddenly woken up to an 69 year old law, which states that no one can advertise…or rather, openly advertise any liquor brand.

Yes, it’s the same law due to which many marquee names advertise so many different brand names of tonic water on TV, which are suspiciously advertised as capable of giving you good times.

So all the legal wine shops which sell wines and liquors legally and openly…since that is allowed; cannot have billboards advertising any of the brands which they sell.

I can see the future…I go in search of the manna which gives me a good time on weekends.

I reach the usual corner of a building by walking on the path well trodden, expecting to see the brightly coloured billboard which makes up the shop facia…but hey! Where has it gone?

I blink my eyes once…then twice. With a lump in my throat, and a quiver in my voice, I ask a neighbouring shop owner, “Where?”

With a compassionate look and a reassuring tone, he answers, “Don’t worry. It’s still there. You only have to look minutely”

That reassurance is music for my ears. With a spring in my step I bound towards my target.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

The brightly coloured billboard has been replaced by a drab little board, which just announces name of the wine shop, the license number and the time of working.

Half expecting them to ask for a prescription, I hesitantly place my demand. And lo and behold!

My demand is met instantly by the shop assistant, who disappears and appears within moments, with my manna in hand, though a tad somberly.

Three cheers to small mercies! I return to my house with my manna in hand, thankful that some things will remain the same, albeit with less glamour.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Innovative Road crossing


Acknowledgement- Sudhir Karandikar

I am a retired person who finds great joy in playing with my grandson. So I make lot of trips to my daughter’s place, usually in the evenings. She stays at the other end of Pune, near Pashan Road. Sometimes I travel there by my own scooter however many times, I prefer going by bus. And for catching the bus while returning back, I have to cross the road.

For those who had seen Pashan Road in the late 80’s and 90’s, crossing this road may seem the simplest task. In those days most of the motorists had not discovered this road; nay, there were not many cars at all.

However now this road is a nightmare for most pedestrians and especially senior citizens like me.

So whenever I have to catch a bus for returning back to my home, I have to wait for a long time to cross the road. It is a routine to wait for a long time, as the cars zip by without giving much of a thought to the plight of senior citizens like me, waiting to cross. And whenever a small window opens up, I take fastest possible strides to cross over to the other side, before another lot of cars come zipping by.

However, one day, the traffic was not letting up and I was just not able to find that minuscule gap in the traffic when I could shuffle across to the other side.

So there I was, feeling quite helpless, cursing my old age as well as the progress made by most Punekars, who were now able to afford more and more cars.

Suddenly I espied a small boy, ambling across the road, sitting on the back of a giant Buffalo, gently poking it to walk faster. He had an excellent way to guide the buffalo to walk in a straight line by poking it behind its ears with his feet, so that the buffalo did not stray into the middle of the road.

Watching this spectacle, I had an Eureka moment!
I called out to the boy to stop. First he ignored, but then curious to know what this grandfather was calling him out for, he stopped.

And within a short while, the giant buffalo was crossing the road, with the boy on top, escorting a grandfather, ambling across.

Ands so friends, I crossed the street successfully inspite of the rushing traffic. After all, which car owner would like to have his car dented by dashing it into a buffalo. And for all the trouble I had put the boy and his buffalo into, I payed him for his services.

Then for some days thereafter I had traveled to meet my grandson by my scooter.

The next time, after almost 15 days, when I had again traveled by bus, I was waiting to cross the road once again in the evening.

And lo! And behold! I saw the same buffalo crossing the road, with a few senior citizens escorting it, coming towards me. As soon as the procession was near me, I could see them paying the boy and then walking away.

As soon as the boy saw me, he waved to me and I waved back at him. He got down from his buffalo, rushed towards a flower shop and within no time, he was again standing in front of me with the widest smile on his face, and a bunch of flowers in his hand.

“Thank you, grandfather. That day you presented me a good opportunity to make extra money. Usually, at the end of a tiring day, I take my buffalo home by this road. I waited for you the next day also to help you cross the road, but you never came”

“But I saw there were other people who were not able to cross the road in heavy traffic. So I asked them and they were too happy with the offer. I was able to help them and in the bargain, made some quick money” so saying, he offered the flowers to me.

“Come. Today my Harya will help you cross the road for free”, so saying he mounted his vehicle, and guided him towards the other side of the road, with me ambling along.

Upon reaching the other end, I offered him money again, but he just smiled and went off with his prized possession!

Yatindra Tawde
I read this in Marathi and was inspired to translate

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Husbands - A Cause for Stress

Survey! Yes, that word once again.

A survey says that husbands cause twice the stress to wives than their children do. And that set me thinking; do I ever cause stress to my wife.

Let me ruminate on my married life…

I remember, since I crossed the age of 10 years, my aai used to say,"evdha ghoda zalay pan kadichi akkal nahi ali". What she meant was I had become as big as a horse, but still the growing years were not reflected in my intelligence or my maturity. And this dialogue of my mother was repeated umpteen times till I got married.

And then the baton got passed on from mother to my better half. Take today's example.

My Sunday morning was rudely interrupted by my wife "get up early! The bai is not coming so please pick up all the pillows and bed sheets". And the watchman called to say "today there will be water cut after 10 o'clock.  So the next farmaan by the better half, "go for your bath, fast".

Being the dutiful husband, I scooted off to the bathroom. You know how the Sunday bath is... A lazy stay under the shower with lots of shampooing. But alas... No sooner had I spent hardly 5 minutes inside, when I am rudely interrupted by a stinging rap on the door, "what's taking you so long? The water will be cut off soon and still myself and the daughter have to have our bath. Come out fast!!"

So the shampooing is cut short, and out I step after drying myself with the towel.

Let me tell you, after my bath, the wet towel drapes itself on the bed. All these years it has always found this place for itself. And today is no different.

And the consequences are not different too.

As I am combing my almost bald pate, a shout makes me jump on the spot and I lose a few more hair. "Yatin, why is the wet towel lying on the bed. So many times have I told you, but your towel is always on the bed".

I hear but I pretend not to have heard. But the next warning is shriller.

So I have to go and pick it up and put it in the balcony to dry.

Now tell me folks is it my mistake that my wet towel likes to lie on the bed on a Sunday morning?

Like every Sunday I stretch myself on the sofa to read the papers awaiting a hot cup of tea.

And a hot cup of tea does reach me but it is served before me with a frenzy since I am then told to rush to the market for the weekly dose of non-veg, without which the daughter cannot survive on a Sunday.

Since Sunday is a yoga day for the better half, there is no option. So the hot tea vanishes into the throat, I get dressed and off I go to the market. It is either chicken or fish which usually satisfy our non-veg urges and today it will be the turn of the unfortunate fish.

Though we love our fish, we are not very choosy, it is either pomfret or the Indian Salmon (Surmai). So today we have salmon.

One thing I must say, the fish preparation by my better half is exquisite. And so we eat till everyone is satiated!

Then we proceed to that calming activity reserved for lazy Sunday afternoons-the afternoon siesta.

After a good 2 hour nap, I lazily got up, and what do I see, my better half has taken up her most favourite pastime- filing of assorted bills , bank papers, et al.

When I see her in this mood I get vertigo. Don't get me wrong- I too am a strictler for filing of paper, only thing is that my files are not bound by any boundaries, they are all across the house.

The empty dining table can be one file, the various drawers are other files, some papers find their way into my office bag, so on and so forth.

 So you can well imagine my anxiety about filling those free paper souls in a bounded file.

Poor bills and other assorted papers!

When these bills are lying about the house I can find them easily but when they get filed by the better half, the job becomes impossible. If I ask my wife where she has filed a particular bill, she too has forgotten!!

So folks, the same drama is repeated on most days. I really feel that I am the one who gets stressed in the above situation but the survey says otherwise.

Surprising, isn’t it?

Awaiting your honest feedback…

Yatindra Tawde

Mumbai - 2025

Mumbai - 2025 I am wandering through the lanes of my place of birth, Dadar, getting nostalgic about the days gone by. Hindu colony and my ...