Monday, September 24, 2012

Half Naked Body, Half Naked Head

The monsoon made its appearance late this year, just like all our clients who realize as soon as September approaches that a trip to their auditors and chartered accountants is overdue. They ruin our Sundays and make us lose our mental balance over balancing their balance sheets. Such is life, but I’m not complaining.

Another quarter of a year ends in one week, and here’s a little update on what life lessons in skin show I have learnt during the last three months.

Lots of Skin Contact Yo!

July started with a mission to do something that would keep my posterior to look like less of a shock absorber. Swimming had always been one of my favorite forms of exercise, and I had maintained a safe distance from the pool since my body sprouted a bit too much of homo-sapient vegetation. But I gathered the courage to strip in front of at least a hundred people, and signed up for a swimming subscription at the pool.

The pool that I go to is no ordinary swimming pool, mind you. It’s the place where our Dilli hosted all aquatic events during the Commonwealth Games. It’s a place which makes you feel that Mr. Kalmadi has actually put his soul into the Commonwealth project. I mean, how else would just entering the vicinity of something CWG make one strip oneself of all shame and expose one’s mammaries to the gleaming water.

Getting back to swimming has taught me a few lessons. The most touching, literally, is to never be embarrassed of male boobs. These three months have been full of naked men bumping into each other in a huge tub of water, and the sight of water dripping down from pointy nipples on sagging male boobs. It’s made me realize that water does bring out the feminine side in a man. Proof being that during all the talk in the locker room, no one has complained of a salute by his manliness inside the water. And, silently, every man compares his boobs to another’s. What’s ironic, though, is the maxim: smaller the better. There are also tan lines on my feet from wearing chappals to the pool. The fair V-shape from the straps makes my bare feet look like they’ve been wearing a kinky thong to the beach the whole summer. There’s not too much hair on the toes, so the need for a bikini wax hasn’t arisen. The pool has also sound proofed all the manly farts. Now, we can fart in the water to our heart’s fart’s content. Just be careful to not let anyone notice the bubbles.

If That Much Skin Wasn’t Enough

It saddens me to see how people fall for looks and do not care to appreciate some really good qualities about people around us. Why else would people praise the cow and get disgusted by the buffalo? The latter gives more milk! So, to free myself from the clutches of vanity and show my receding hairline that I do not give an ounce of fecal matter, I decided to get my hair buzzed. Buzzed as in, -next to bald- buzzed.

The mother welcomed my new look in the house with a: “You dare not enter my house looking like that”, while the sister exclaimed: “Get in fast and better not step out of the house. I’d die before my friends see you like that.”

I have spent the last three months looking ugly as frig, dealing with convincing myself that Akshay Khanna looks good enough to do better than Tara Sharma. I did get a little more attention though. Some friends were jealous, and wished to experience the joy of a hot shower pattering on the skull; while most could not stop themselves from feeling the fuzz in my buzz. Some well mannered ones would ask if they could rub their hands on my head. And, I always obliged. But, shameless were the clients, who even thought it was acceptable to take permission to touch it, and then touched it before I could say no. I am a friendly person to deal with that way. Yeah, that sounds like a good enough explanation. Believable?

I was going for a buzz every fortnight, and then, like a melodrama loving Hindi soap bahu, the mother gave me a kasam not to get my hair cut before my cousin’s wedding in late October. I wonder why she wants me to get some female attention at the shaadi. She’s pretty much always hated my lady friends. But, kasam toh kha li hai! I’m on a hair growing spree now. And, all parties seem to fall during this chhakka phase when the hair is neither idhar ka nor udhar ka.

My swimming subscription ends with this month, and I’m in two minds about renewing it because it’s too much of a pain to wake up so early in the morning. The hair has grown to a decent enough length, and looks ugly only when I skype. The skin show has been fun, but will soon come to an end. I’m happy though, and so is the mother. I deserve a jalebi, if not more. Don't you think? *chomp*

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Here's the Wrinkle. Where's the Smile?

As one of them opens the door to let the others, who form another generation of a family, walk inside the house, there’s no more a welcoming smile on that aged face. The steps silently trod back into a room where a little mandir is the most beloved adornment. The smiles that used to open the door till a decade ago were of their children, who would wait for the bread earners to get back home from a hard day’s work and relax between four distemper coated walls. The walls now boast of expensive wallpapers and imported art work, but the warmth remains missing. Roles have been swapped. The children seem to have grown into responsible adults, who wear ties and drive sedans to work; while the experienced try hard to camouflage themselves in the discomfort of Persian rugs over Italian marble.

What is looked forward to through the years of toil is a smile that depicts fulfillment of all responsibilities. Monthly savings went into school fees; annual savings went into an engineering admission; savings through five years went into buying the first scooter; and savings through all those years since a daughter was born into the house till she completed her post graduation went into making her future-in-laws smile through a lavish wedding. The saviors of the household are still saviors. They sit through the day, inspecting the maid wiping the floor through an open door from their bedroom. And when the others leave for work, they sit silently, counting beads through a prayer of keeping the family members safe and sound. It is a relaxed life. They get food at fixed times, and there are no lessons that they have to sit through to make their children learn for a class test. The children know beyond what they believe they have gathered in their years of experience. It’s a thought to celebrate, isn’t it? It’s a joy of relief to see their children fare better than themselves. But, they wonder what keeps them waiting for a smile to come and spread elegance over their wrinkles.

The shoulders that once seated a son through a pilgrimage uphill now droop under the spell of a heavy age. The skin that once cooled itself down during a weekly television program with the family now resembles the layer of wrinkle skimmed off the surface of hot tea prepared in an Indian kitchen, which gently rests over the brim of a china cup. It rests there in peace, wondering if it belongs inside the cup or its use to the world is as much as its weight on the cusp. The eyes have seen a near one passing away into the land of another birth, and another coming into a fresh life in tender arms. The sorrows, the joys: the eyes have seen all that defines the need for a bifocal lens. The hair has thinned over the years, reminding them that everything that once formed a part of their body, including their children, will one day move away.

The children touch their feet before they leave for work every morning; they bring a watch and a warm drape on their parents’ 50th marriage anniversary. The even littler ones, the grandchildren, eat a handful of food offered to the almighty from their grandparents’ hands. These are kids that their parents are proud of; they bring laurels to the family. But, the gifted watch still reminds the wise of the seconds, minutes and hours they will have to spend on another day, waiting for their children to come home in time for dinner.

As work colleagues fade into a cloud of blur in five years, the group at the local garden shares a few laughs. In another half a decade, the laughs are replaced by smiles at a religious meet at the local temple, giving hints of the literal shortening of the social circle radius. Slowly, siblings either pass into another world or eagerly wait for another life to breathe life into them.

Experience comes with age. It comes as fast as the vigor of youth, through youth and through life’s second stage. And as the third stage approaches, it drags slowly with each tick of a clock’s cogs. It’s funny how life changes its pace. It rushes through work, through health, through family ties in the ripeness of its age. And when it’s time to taste the pulp that one has borne under one’s ever-changing skin, the weight is too much for the stem to bear.

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