Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Elfish Tale

It’s funny how the world works. Sometimes, all it takes is a very everyday event to make you realize that all this while; you had just been looking, without really seeing.

Little waifs selling nick-knacks at traffic intersections is a very everyday sight, at lest in this mighty country of contradictions. In fact we’ve become so used to them, that they kind of have become like house elves in a Harry Potter book- always scuttling about, but never really visible.

I was at the intersection near the Forum in Koramangala that day. While waiting for the traffic from the other end to stop, I noticed this little punk across the road. He looked like spirited imp, in his rather over-sized clothes, well worn, of that murky urchin colour, that is not quite grey, not entirely brown. Now, this one was prancing happily in this side, with his sack of sellables, till he reached a waiting car. Then suddenly his happy expression changed. It became desperate, desolate picture of the poor hungry urchin on the road. The homeless, hapless orphan, forced to the streets, in an age when he should have been in school. Transformation was complete and he played his part well.

As the light turned green again, he hopped back to his elfish oblivion again, clutching the loose change in his hand, waiting for the next traffic light, next transformation.

As I watched this li’l drama I realized that what I felt for this kid was not sympathy. It was a strange kind of respect. This child, all of perhaps six, had already learnt to live, he had learnt that important lesson in life that most of us don’t, at least not until it’s too late. That this world allows the survival, only of the fittest.

He had figured that he lives in a world that not only is unfair, but is also never unfair in his favour. Had accepted that to live, he had to put on an act. So life pulled a past one on him, he just had to pull a faster one on life.

It’s funny how the world works. Most of us- the so called “privileged kids”- are expected to be good at dealing with challenges of life. That’s what we are trained for by parents, drilled at school by teachers. We are told what to expect in the “real world”, and for nearly 15-20 years, trained to face it. But still, when the fabled reality finally strikes, most of us are knocked silly.

No one warned these kids. No one trained them to face the “real world”. They were born into it. It’s the only one they know. Yet they deal with it, everyday, day after day.

These li’l elves are survivors. Brave brand of fighters whom no one applauds, no one thinks of giving award to. And they do it without whining. Because they know no alternative. They live their lives, from one stop at the intersection to another.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Who's love is more true, whose faith is more strong...the one who would die for it, or the one who would kill ofr it?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

U Know U Are In Kerala Again

Well, was there again! Plus this seems to be the season for sequels. Ice Age 2, X-Men 3 ( The Last Stand, apparently. From now on, they sit. Ok, sorry, real PJ), n if you thought sequels and trilogies were boring, there's always Ocean's Thirteen (now this has possibilities, I'll be looking forward to an Ocean's 56, but that's next year), KKRISHHH (er...no comments!). So I wouldn't want my poor humble blog to feel left out would I? So after the phenomenal (spelled wrong??gosh!don't tell anyone I studied Eng Lit in coll!!) sucess of the original post (yeah right!) here's the much awaited sequel (actually not, but what the heck, no one's gonna sue me for saying that)

So, u know that u are in Kerala again, when,

U notice that though most school don't extend their uniforms to shoes, they will however, insist that girls wear big fat ribbons on there thick coconut oiled black hair.

There will be atleast 3 strikes/bandhs/harthals every month. If everyone's having a busy month they may settle for just a 'panni-mudakku' or only one harthal. And they are all different things by definition mind you, even though, eventually it is just a reason to be lazy.

All the shops will be closed by 7 p.m, 8, if you happen to live in the most happening part of the town.

You will find Mohanlal, or Mammootti, or Kavya Madhavan grinning at you from top of sign boards of every other shop. Current favourite, I believe is Prithviraj, even though he is faaar behind dear old Lalettan (copyright violation, owe this to Sreejith)

You start confusing saree shops...er showrooms, or jewelleries with shopping malls. How very stupid of you. Just because the the saree showrooms n jewelleries are spread across spaces as big as a football stadium, and are 5 floors high, each specialised for a specific kind of saree or jewellery, customised for your comfort, does NOT mean that you think they are shopping malls. Seriously, they should give out store maps that have a red cross marked saying 'you are here' and another one saying 'you'd want to get your ass here' before they let people into a Joy Allukas or a Kalyan silks or sundry other mazes pretending to be showrooms.

This is the sure shot way of knowing that u really are in Kerala. You will find 'showrooms' for umbrellas, with high-tech umbies that come in all shapes, colours n sizes possible- With lights, with automatic open-shut buttons, hands-free ones, that sing when you open them, ones that jump up and do a li'l polka dance when u close them. And there will be familiy loyalties running across generations towards a particular brand name. Their ad campaigns can give Coke n Pepsi run for their money. "Mazza Mazza, Kudaa Kudaa. Mazza vannal Popy Kudaa"

This again more applicable for Kottayam-Cochin side. Every small town junction will have a 'Kurishupalli' regardless of whether there is a real 'palli' (for non-mallus, that's church) around or not.

People will still stare if you wear jeans and a short tee. Sometimes if are really unlucky you will meet jerks who will leer at you in such a way that you wonder if u have you cloths inside out, or if ur fly's open. :( :(

You will find atleast 2 bus stands in every town, no matter how small the town is- one for 'private buses' and another for 'transport buses'(these are KSRTC buses). Nevermind the fact that both the buses are used for 'transport' :D

Buses will have bells, with a loong rope running through one side, that the conductor can tug, to signal stop or go to the driver. One ring means stop, two to go. Pretty innovative :)

Killies. No, I don't mean the winged variety. This is the post given to that additional guy in most of the 'private buses' in Kerala. Why a guy would want his job description to mean 'small bird' is beyond me, but this is ur friendly neighbourhood chap who stands on the bus ka steps, helps the passengers climb in n climb out, helps poor ladies by pulling up their luggage into the bus, helps old ladies, by pulling them into the bus, n also tries mild forms of firting with pretty young things. Generally tells u to move in, make space for others, hold on for dear life. Tells the driver when to stop, when to move on. Very unique, n very special to Kerala.

There will be associations, and cooperative societies for everything. Last time I went, the state conference for the all Kerala bakers' association, innovatively named "Bake' was being held in Ernakulam. 8

To God's own country...And to His own humour sense ! :)