Friday, September 16, 2011

Bhaisaab! Yeh Address Batana Toh

“Sarthu! I can never call you a man. You’re still a boy.”, my friend Aanchal told me once. “Shut up, LittleGirl! I’m THE man, ok?”, I shouted back on text.

I must clarify that Aanchal isn’t too much in love with me to think of me as her little baby and address me as  “SarthuBoy”. She thinks of me the way most of my other friends do. I’m a short man, I must tell you. Not very short, but short nevertheless. 5 feet 7 inches. My nani blames my mum for it. “Raising kids in an apartment is not good for their health, growth and development of their social skills”, she complains to my mum. “They should have easy access to some place where they can cycle, play and exercise. You’ve turned your kids into book-worms.” I get the not-playing part, but social skills? Really? Nani surely hasn’t checked out my facebook profile.

I was always the third or fourth guy from the front in the school’s morning assembly line. I came into college, and things changed a little. I wasn’t called short any more, but was told repeatedly how I looked younger than my actual age. “Oh yeah, baby. I’ll be doing TV commercials when you guys will be getting botox injected in your cheeks”, I’d reply, and throw imaginary Rajnikanth shades on my eyes. I feel happy looking young, but gradually I realized that it wasn’t the look. It’s the way I talk, behave and jump around that gives the impression of a “boy”. I wouldn’t complain about that either. I still love going to the local general store and buying myself a lollipop every once in a while. If you think of it, a lollipop is one of the best forms in which you can get to enjoy a candy. Put the pop in your mouth and the stick thingy sticks out from between your teeth. I believe it makes me look like a cowboy who macho-ly chews on a thin piece of straw. Rugged and sexy! How am I better off than my Texan counterpart? My straw has a juicy, sugary and yummily fruity candy at one end, leaving itself concealed from the world, happily on my tongue. A pop not just makes me look cool, it’s a very practical way of enjoying your sugary favorites. It so happens that every time that I let loose a nice candy on my tastebuds, my sister gets something more tempting to eat. Or probably something that stands at an equal rank by taste, but makes me crave for it at that moment. I bite into the candy hurriedly, and ruthlessly end its beautiful life so that I can munch on the substitute. Not fair. A candy gone to waste. But the inventor of the pop must’ve been an intelligent man. He attached a stick to it, so that whenever his sister would get a tube of Pringles to munch on, he would easily be able to take it out of his mouth, wrap it into an aluminium foil, and enjoy it once he’d be done munching on the chips. A hi5 to you, Mr. Lollipop inventor. I’m sure you rest in heaven.

You know what’s more fun than enjoying a Parle Mango Bite or a Hajmola Imli Candy? It’s talking like Mojo Jojo or the villain dude from Phineas & Ferb after filling your tummy with candy juice. If this is why I’m called a “boy”, I love being a BOY.

On a hot Delhi summer afternoon, I sat at home in my track shorts and an old t-shirt that I wore to bed every night. My friend Anirudh was in Delhi from his hostel for his summer break, and I called him on his phone. “Yo Bro!”, I shouted in a robot voice when he answered the call. “Meet up, man. Chal kuchh kha ke aate hain.” He murmured something in agreement and I strolled towards his place in my chilled out night clothes.

A car stopped close to me and the man driving called out, “Excuse me! Could you please tell me the way to Mother Dairy?” “Sure. Just go straight down this road, take the second left. Keep going straight and turn right from the Paan-wala. It’s just about 4 shops away from there.”, I said with confidence. Somehow, it feels like I’m the savior of anyone who wishes to look for an address in a new locality. I feel like a guide, and it leaves me with a sense of goodness in my heart.

I had hardly walked 10 more steps when an Auto steered through the lane on my right and halted in front of me. “Bhaisaab, yeh address batana toh.

Pata nahi”, I said, and walked away. My mind immediately transported me to a parallel universe where I could see myself burst into the Indian Slim Shady and give the auto-wala a piece of my mind.Bhains ki aankh, “bhaisaab” hoga tera baap! Do I friggin’ look like a bhaisaab? Do you see me wearing an untucked half-sleeved shirt over my ghee-belly and leather chappals with formal trousers? Do you think I take a stainless steel triple-decker khaane ka dabba to office every day? Do you think I smell more of Pan Parag than the Ponds Talcum Powder which I would love to smear all over my body right up till my chin? Do you see me eating kachoris at the local Aggarwal Sweet Corner, with the aalu ki sabzi dripping down my lips? How in frig’s name do you think you could get away with calling me a ‘bhaisaab’? Tere gaaon mein saare bhaisaab branded track shorts pehen ke walk pe nikalte hain?”

I wish he could try a little “Behenji, yeh address batana toh” with the girl walking just 5 steps away from me. Even Snoop Dogg would feel less embarrassed being called “bhaisaab”. With a little more curses down parallel universe, I was back into the physical world, satisfied for having not let him get away with calling me that weird old man word.

I even freak out when some of my lady friends misspell the word “bhayi” while texting in Hindi, and type it as “bhai”. No bhai, man. I’m good being a bhai to the dudes. Watching your spellings is important. And don’t you dare ever write me a text with multiple dots after every phrase and put up a 50 Cent by typing “the” as “da”! I should stop. This topic deserves a whole new post in itself.

It’s now been months since the bhaisaab incident. I’ve started working now. I got myself some custom tailored formals to wear to the office two weeks back. I wore one of the new shirts yesterday and spent some twenty minutes preening myself in the bathroom. I took off my glasses, gave two-fingered flying kisses to the parallel universe audience which I could see in the bathroom mirror. I felt like I could go and attend a nice seminar at the Meridien that day. I could in the parallel universe atleast. It’s a great place to visit every once in a while. I put forward my hand to the sophisticated lady during the high tea at the seminar. “Sarthak Ahuja”, I introduced myself in a James Bond voice that would put Barney Stinson to shame. The alarm on my phone rang and it was time for me to leave for office. Back from parallel land, I left my house. My office is really close to where I stay. A ten minute walk is all it takes to get there. Hoping that the hot air-hostess neighbor would check me out that morning, I walked with both hands in my pocket. A tennis ball suddenly sprang in front of me. It fell from a house’s terrace where a couple of school kids were playing cricket. “Out hai!”, one of the kids shouted as he rushed to the edge of the roof. I stopped to pick up the ball, but even before I could bend down to reach it, “Uncle, woh ball dena toh!

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  1. Every writing of your typically says its u and nobody else could write the same! Very distinctive!

    And of course fun to read :)
    I can literally hear the enthusiasm of your voice in everything you write!

    Pretty good work :D

  2. Preetika: Haha. I'm glad. I think this way you won't miss me as your classroom partner no matter where you go :D

  3. i agree with Preetika, i was actually imagining you telling me this whole stuff ..hahaha...dude i love your writing have this amazing flow are the man :D

  4. Sanjeev: Thank you ji, thank you :)

    Disha: *aashirwad* :P :D

  5. Super cool.....the flare is damn nice for the script.....and SOCIAL SKILLS are definitely not lacking.....

  6. Thank you, Karan :)

    P.S. I wish I could totally put those kids up in flares.

  7. HAHAHAHAHH....Bhai so surely have nailed it :D

    But i liked the part talking about texts "this one deserves a new post"

    As I always say AWESOME is an understatement for what you write :)

  8. your new fan :) :)

    1. Kehte hain mujhko Hawa Hawaii :D

      ^ Supremely over-used joke! And, thank you so much :D


If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D