Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bhagwanji Da Ghar

Little Karanveer saw his bebey resting on the hospital bed, with a web of plastic tubes bypassing her nostrils and injecting a liquid down her forearms. As he waited for her to open her eyes and narrate him a story, she feebly touched his face. “Bas ik vaari Karan da vyaah vekhna si jaun tohn pehle, par rabb nu je manzoor.

Bebey, story”, Karan demanded excitedly.

Puttar, life is a story. One grows up working his whole life; serving his children, taking care of the family. And the happily-ever-after is when one goes to Bhagwan ji de ghar… Now it is also my time to go to Bhagwan ji de ghar.

“I also want to go to Bhagwan ji de ghar.

“Not now, puttar. You have a long life ahead of you. You have to study hard, get good marks and become a doctor.”

“But when I come to Bhagwanji de ghar, will you meet me there and tell stories?”

Haanji, bete ji”, and she breathed her last.

Seventy three years later, Dr. Karanveer Singh Dhillon walked himself into Bhagwan ji de ghar. He found his wife, Gurpreet, waiting there.

Kinna miss kitta tennu, Gurpreetey! Ik saal vi ni ruka geya je tu mennu chhad ke gayi si.

Both Dr. Singh and his lady lived in a beautiful house in Bhagwanji Ville. They had a bungalow in a thousand square yards, the kind that they had always wanted to buy in Panchkula. They would wake up in the morning and sip chaa with rusk in their garden. They would eat Mrs. Singh’s special chicken for lunch and do paath in the evenings. Dr. Singh would then take their German Shepherd, Tony, for a jog to the garden while Mrs. Singh would get together with her friends from the kitty. The couple lived alone and was happy to be doing so. Bhagwan ji da ghar had been all that they ever wanted. Moreover, they could choose to look the age they wished for, and it remained so for as long as they wanted.

The couple looked thirty and felt twenty-five. They would wear their Ray Bans and hop to the market daily, visiting the Gurudware on their way back. It was the ideal life. They had the energy and looks of youth, the values and ideals of the elderly, and not a care for worldly responsibilities because everything that they wished for was at their beck and call at Bhagwanji de ghar.

The couple visited Mrs. Singh’s in-laws in the pind and then her parents in an adjoining town. The parents would rush to the kitchen and look at least twenty years elder to their children whenever they would hear news of their children coming to pay them a visit. After all, they wanted their children to still look at them with respect and treat them as their elders.

“Papa ji, bebey kitthe ne? Onna da koi number noomber jiss te gall kar sakaan? I’m thinking onha-nu vi mil aavan kissi velle”. Evidently, Dr. Singh was a family man, who was raised very well by his parents. He remembered the time when his grandmother was alive and would love him so much. He wanted to pay her a visit and listen to a few of her stories. He was also excited to introduce her to Gurpreet. After all, bebey’s last wish was to attend Karan’s wedding.

Back home from the pind, Karan dialed his bebey’s number.

“Hello! Who is this?”

“Bebey, twaada Karan bol ra haan. Paeri pauna.”

“Excuse me; do I know you?”

Bebey, I’m Karan, your grandson, remember? I was eight years old when you left us for Bhagwan ji da ghar.

“Oh! You mean you’re Parminder’s son?”

“Haanji, bebey! Paeri pauna. Hor kidaan? Sunaai theek tarah dena hun twaanu?”

Jeetey raho, bete. Y’know, I’m in a meeting right now, can you call me post 7 pm tonight? That’ll be a great time to hear what you got.”

“Sure ji, sure”, and Karan hung up.

“Hey, how is bebey”, asked Gurpreet.

“She sounded a little odd. Nothing like I remember her to be. Anyway, she seemed busy. I have to call her after seven tonight.”

And when Karan called her again that evening and expressed his intent to visit her soon, bebey told him that she was going to be travelling with Jazzy B on his music tour, and that they should catch up a week after her return.

“Can you believe it? Bebey is going for a Jazzy B music tour!”

“Who is Jazzy B?”

“Don’t you remember, that weird fellow who sang ‘Jinne Mera Dil Luteya’, I think sometime in the late ‘90s when we were still in school?”

Suno ji, I’ve always judged your taste in music. It’s only been in the last few years of our marriage that you gave up on that old music from Harbhajan Mann and started listening to shabad. How do you think I would even know someone with a name like Jazzy B? The only one of these crazies I can remember is this fellow called Honey, you remember? Honey Singh, was he?”

Paagyawan, Honey Singh had a song with Jazzy B too. Wait, let me show it to you on Google.”

And Dr. Singh swiftly took out his iPad to show his lady the wonderful songs from his childhood, which he would learn by heart and sing in the name of ‘rap’ to impress Mrs. Singh.

“Guess I shouldn’t blame you for your bad taste in music then. It probably runs in your genes”, Gurpreet remarked. “But what boggles me is that Jazzy B must’ve been famous when bebey was no more. I think you got a wrong number and someone’s messing with you.”

The week went by with the Singh’s holidaying in a part of Bhagwanji da ghar that looked like Canada, and another watching movies, eating food and generally making merry. Finally, two weeks later, Dr. Singh decided to give bebey a call again.

“Hello, bebey? Paeri pauna ji, Karan this side.”

“Oh. Hi, Karan. Yeah, tell me. How’ve you been?”

“I’m very well, ji. It’s been so long I had almost forgotten what you sound like! Seventy three years, to be precise. Did you know, I became a doctor and got married to this beautiful lady called Gurpreet. Our son became a doctor too, and is a surgeon in the States. I wanted to see you with my wife. Where do you live? When can we meet you?”

“Hey. Um, I’m at 920, Godville. Why don’t you see me Friday night for dinner? We’ll order in.”

“Okay, Friday night then.”

“And, uh, just don’t call me ‘bebey’ in front of anyone, okay? I mean, it’s totes cool between you and me, but I’m kinda uncomfortable being addressed like that with people around. I hope you won’t mind.”

“Uh, beeji or dadi then?”

“People know me as GK. That’s short for Gurbaksh Kaur. So, I hope we’re clear on that… Okay, cool. See you Friday. Ciao”, and she hung up.

“Gurpreetey! We have dinner at bebey’s on Friday. And remember not to call her bebey or beeji. She’s known as GK.”

As Friday approached, the couple got dressed in the best of their clothes and reached house number 920, Godville, only to find a note on the front door that read: Hey, Karan. I’m sorry, but I had an urgent appointment with the doctor, so had to rush. Nothing to worry; I’ll call you. Love, GK.

“Appointment with the doctor? In Bhagwan ji da ghar? Does she think we’re stupid? No one needs a doctor at Bhagwan ji da ghar. You’ve been chilling at home with that board hanging outside our house that reads ‘Dr. Karanvir Singh Dhillon’. Have you ever seen anyone walk in for any medical emergency ever?” Gurpreet sounded really upset.

“Ah, well. Let’s forget it. I’ll speak to Papaji about this on our next trip to the pind. Let’s just head to the Sector 17 market. We’ll have some good food; come”, Karan smiled.

“Hey, look. There’s a Yo Yo Honey Singh concert here”, Karan exclaimed in joy en route to the market.

“Dr. Singh! You haven’t grown a single day since twenty-five.”

“Well, I’m still young at heart. You’re to blame. You switched from ghyo to olive oil in your cooking long ago.” And Dr. Singh planted a kiss each on his lady’s young cheeks before he parked the car and rushed to the concert enclosure.

*Pehli baat toh yeh, jo tu tik-tok tik-tok chalti hai*

*Yaar tera super star, desi kalakaar*

*Kudiye ni tere brown rang ne, munde patted ni saare mere town de*

“Wow, this is awesome. After so many years!” Dr. Singh was as elated as elated could be. He stood right there, not a budge, even when Honey Singh was closing the concert with his thank you speech.

“Thank you all for coming tonight. Godville’s a great audience. Love performing here every single time. Saare fans nu dher saara pyaar. Lots of thanks to my lady, and the star performer at all of my shows. Please give a big round of applause for the diva – GK.”

“Did I hear that right?” Karan asked Gurpreet as a lady walked on stage, throwing flying kisses at the audience.

“He said ‘GK’, right?” exclaimed Gurpreet, and the couple stared at the stage flabbergasted.

Haaye, rabb! I need to speak with bebey”, and Karan ran towards the backstage, where he found GK entering the green room.

Bebey!

GK looked in the direction of the sound and immediately ran inside the room, embarrassed. Karan stood there banging the door.

GK came out while still tying the belt on her robe with one hand, and gently placed the other hand on Karan’s chest.

“Listen, sweetheart. You’re Karan, right?”

“Yes! And bebey, what are you even…”

“Shh. Listen, boy. I want you to meet your grandfather first”, and she ushered him inside the room.

“Honey, baby, see who’s here to meet us.”

“Karan”, Dr. Singh introduced himself as he extended his hand to greet Honey Singh.

“Ishyoboy Yo Yo Honey”, the super star said and pulled Karan in a half embrace – the kind that you expect macho Punjabi super stars to do.

“Karan, this is your grandfather, Mr. Honey Singh. And Honey, this is Parminder’s son, Karan. You didn’t live long enough to see him”, GK explained.

“But my grandfather’s name was Ghanshyam Singh”, Karan tried to explain.

“I know, baby. Ghanshyam was later born as Honey before he came here. I learnt about it only when I came to Godville looking for him, and then was told that I had to wait another sixty years to see him as he was serving another lifetime on Earth. He’s on probation and has been ordered another lifetime to serve before he becomes eligible for moksha.”

“Isn’t that sick, bro”, Honey remarked at Karan.

GK continued, “And while he’s here for this little while, I want to be with him and make the best of my time with him. I’ve waited long enough and it was difficult for me to explain the whole thing to you… I hope you know that I love you, but I’m really not in the mood for bebey time for the next three years while your dadaji is still here. I hope you’ll understand?”

“Yes, bebey. Sure. Can I touch your feet at least?”

“Just quickly do it before anyone else enters.”

Gurpreet seemed worried waiting for Karan in the car, and asked immediately on his return, “Hey, are you okay? How was it? Did you meet bebey?”

“Haha. No no. Apparently, GK is a very popular name in this part of Godville. Lots of GK’s in town. This lady had nothing to do with our family. As for bebey, we’ll have to wait to hear from her. She has my number. I think I’ll let her call when she wants to see me. That’s all we can do.”


The couple hugged and Karan pushed the accelerator to drive back home. He switched on the radio and Brown Rang played on the stereo. He hummed along with a huge smile on his face, and a whirlwind of thoughts in his head, “Yo Yo Honey Singh is my dadaji. That’s frikkin’ awesome man! Sach kaha hai, bhagwan ke ghar der hai, par andher nahi.


******

I took inspration about the idea of a trip to heaven from BJ Novak's book on short stories called One More Thing. You must read the book. It's kinda crazy. Makes you feel he was high when he wrote it.

Image Source: worldreligionnews.com

6 comments:

  1. Hmm, I'll have to look up BJ Novak. It's funny you thought that, because while reading this, I was wondering the same about you. "Is Sarthak high?" xD

    Also, I am traumatized by the idea of finding out, one day, that Yo Yo Honey Singh was actually my dadaji reincarnate, and my dadima is performing in Heaven as his diva. I wouldn't say I laughed out loud at this, but I was definitely bemused in a this-shit-is-crazy kinda way. By the way, I don't think Novak would ever have imagined someone reading his work and being inspired to write about Punjabiyan da Heaven. So, you get bonus points for turning your inspiration into something closer to home in as hilarious a way as possible.

    Also, for some reason, I loved reading the Punjabi spelled out in English.

    Twaade liyaan jalebiyan he jalebiyan, Sarthak paaji. @@@@@@

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BJ Novak is an actor/producer for the American version of the TV sitcom, The Office. He plays Ryan on the show. Super funny guy. *Psst, I have the ebook version*

      Yo Yo Honey Singh as one's dadaji would be every Punjabi guy's dream come true, no? B-)

      Delete
  2. Reminds me of etgar keret @@@@@

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I shall look him up and read some of his work now. Thanks for the recommendation :)

      Delete
  3. @ @ @ @ @ very interesting weaved story of Bhagwaan ji villa with chaii and rusk. The Honey singh Bebey part is funny and humorous. Amusing story line and characterization.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Khanna sa'ab. It means a lot more when it comes from you :)

      Delete

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