Friday, August 17, 2007

Independence day!

I have some good news and some bad news.
My wife left this morning for Bangalore. The bad news is that she’s coming back on Sunday.
No, I'm just joking. We're missing her terribly, especially when it comes to locating our stuff. My sons are a little better than me. They usually find it. I am doomed to wearing yesterday's clothes till she gets back.
She of course knows exactly where everything is. When all is lost, I call her up and she can tell me which drawer, what pile, which color, everything. Why don't I simply call her then? You're not married, I guess. Each time I call her for instructions, my stock drops a few points. I am currently in the same position as a McChicken Burger would be in a gourmet food festival. Any lower down and I'd be dog food. (I am of course making the tacit assumption here that a McChicken Burger is better than dog food, an assumption that is highly questionable. Besides the point, of course. I'll get back to the main story).

As I was saying, I have decided that I prefer to retain my dignity. Yesterday's clothes for me, I think, even though my closest friends open a window every time I get into a car with them.

Her absence had its plus points too. My sons chilled out in the manner of the peasants when the Tsar was overthrown. The peasants feasted in the palaces, it is said. My sons played computer games. I celebrated by wearing a bright blue shirt and formal brown trousers. Shoes? Reebok, of course. What do you think I am? I saw grown men wincing when I passed by and mothers gathering their children in a protective embrace when they spotted me. Yippee!

We saw a movie, Rush Hour 3, a Jackie Chan slugfest that is in no danger of winning the Oscar in any category. The boys enjoyed every minute of it and, if I may be permitted a guilty confession, so did I. Then I took them to Andheri by train, which in itself was a treat because of its rarity and bought them a few PC games on DVD. These are banned in our household, for the sheer mindlessness and crass gore that they contain. I agree with Sheela entirely on this point, but the pitiful whining of the young scions melted my stern heart. The end result of all this is that whatever little missing-you-mom emotion lingered in the lads vanished completely.

The eventide brought an invitation from Akhil. His wife and he subscribe to the view, baseless, in my opinion, that minus Sheela, I am a complete doofus and cannot be trusted to walk ten steps without falling into some trouble or the other. I grant that I have given, off and on, some reason for such generalizations but on the whole, I’m a very level headed bloke. Indeed, I specialize in balanced decision making. Present me with a real life problem and you will find me sifting the evidence, evaluating impartially the merits and demerits of the case and taking a balanced and judicious decision, which the spouse diagnoses as completely wrong and overturns.

Anyway, we went out to dinner to a place called Yoko Sizzlers which, sadly, does not have any scantily clad Japanese go-go dancers as the name might suggest. They do a sizzling steak on a platter with veggies and fries, laced liberally with moderately spicy sauces. The peppery and garlicky kind, not the chilli kind. Nice food and sumptuous in quantity. It also teaches one the meaning of patience, because if you chomp a large bite, the temperature of the food will burn up your tongue pretty bad. I pigged out, as did the descendants, and a great time was had by all.

The after dinner conversation veered around the Hindi language, or my mystification regarding it. I am especially at sea when it comes to the Urdu version, as used in the movies and on telly. Kashmakash, for example. It sounds to me like a particularly passionate embrace. Turns out that it means struggle. Same thing perhaps, if you're a wrestler. Or "suroor" as in Himesh Reshammiya's latest, "Aap Ka Suroor". Isn't that a vegetable of some kind? Or am I confusing it with "Suran"? If the movie is about Himesh Reshammiya's brain, may be it DOES mean vegetable.

On this very intellectual note, we dispersed, celebrating sixty years of non-accountability, which succeeded 200 years of British non-accountability and about 5000 years of Indian Maharajah non-accountability before that. The fact that India is not only surviving but growing stronger is testimony to the resilience of its people.