Friday, May 21, 2010

Vignyapan patra ... An experience to rethink ...

Never I thot I would define a statement of this sort. I dint have a clue or near to it practically on what a Government office really is but got an opportunity somehow.The reason I had to go was to get an affidavit. To be frank enough I dint know its synonym until I had to get one. But now I could add it to my dictionary with all possible translations.

Like most indivduals I had the thoughts of getting it using the generic modus operandi bribe. I tried all possible means not to approach the Government directly. Fate came in the form of my close friend. He woke me up and urged to go there and get things done myself. I left his wake up call to snooze and got back to my dream date with some unknown mexican actress. I dont know where she came from but I could see Mexico written in the background. She was beautiful though. The wake up calls went louder because of which I had to turn down the dream and get ready to do the job myself. I would like to hail that guy who laid the day for me.

I reached there by 10 AM. It was scorching hot already. I saw some guys wearing black suits standing outside and selling something. The costume was like that of a train TTEs but I could not correlate their job out here leaving the trains. Without thinking more on that I proceeded straight to the place where a guy pointed is the one for getting affidavits. He said the office timings start from 10AM. The entrance had a grill door locked and people waiting to plunge in as soon as it opens. It reminded me of my age old days entering a cinema hall before the multiplex life style came in.

At about 10:30 a guy came and opened the grill. A kid about 4feet height pushed me down and ran inside. I dint have a clue why these guys were running inside. When I was lost in that thought I was the only one left outside. When I entered inside people went and stood in queues. There were ten counters. Something was written in Marathi in all the counters. I was clueless where to go and asked a guy there. Fate played its first stroke his reply was in Marathi too.

I dint have a clue how it would feel to be in a place where you dont have a clue of the language . I searched if I could find someone who was lost like I was. At the fifth tick of my eye clock I located a fellow companion who was lost too. Luckily I found a board stating "English Affidavit" as I approached near him. The crowd which pushded me down stood in the Marathi queue. I thought in one way not knowing the language has helped me.

As I approached near the counter I noticed everyone holding some paper with a 100 on it. I had something similar to it but dint really know what it was for. Somehoe came to know from the crowd its called a stamp paper. Mind rewinded half an hour back. The black suit fellows were lawyers who did not have clients to attend to and were selling these stamp papers outside. A 100 Rs stamp paper would be sold for a 110. A lawyer had come with his mom as he could not handle the crows single handedly. A 5 Rs stamp was sold for 10. Mind went on calculating. There would be atleast 100 of them like me everyday. Leaving out the bribe he had to pay this guy would earn something equal to the one who sweats out the whole year coding including the weekends.

Finally got the paper and went back to report the details for the affidavit. Thankfully it was not a Marathi questionairre this time. The person sitting at the counter knew Hindi. So somehow managed with my "ek gaon mein ek kisan rahta tha" Hindi and told the details. You could see optimal usage of paper there. All the guys sitting at the counter would have a newspaper. Once they type out your details they tear a peiece from the newspaper and write down some number on it like a token number when you visit a doctor. The purpose of the day was so far so good though with some language barrier. The shock came to me when I went to receive the print out.

A guy handed over the print out to me and asked me to verify the details in it before putting it out on a stamp paper. It was looking like Hindi but I could not understand a word. The whole thing was printed in Marati and I had to verify the details. The board English affidavits was for poor guys like me to know what the queue was for. I thought to myself what to check from it. Just verified my name and address from it as the script was same like Hindi. Apart from that I dint have a clue of what each line meant. So the need of a translator came to me for the first time unfortunately at a place where I could not find one. I was searching for my only companion. He probably would have ran away to get back with some friend who knows Marathi.

So with some hope the details would be right I went to get the signature from the higher authority thinking atleast that guy should be knowing some English. I even thought I could get it clarified from him. A girl was standing in front of me. The guy dint even ask for any proof. His mouth was watering and he was acting like a cool dude and asked her where she was from. The girl did not have any proofs and was standing tensed with her boy friend. But the romantic officer did not even ask for one and signed out her paper. He kept on talking somethin irrelevant to her. In between took out his comb and styled his half bald head. The drama took five more minutes to reach its end.

Then came my turn. He was still looking at her and was not ready to do his job. I distrubed his romantic session. He would be in his fifties and sighting a 20 year old. I could not control my laughter. He gave a stern look at me the moment I disturbed him.

He pointed out something to me on the paper. It was a place to sign. I thought he should be doing it and told him back "aap sign karna hai". He showed off some face and was screaming something in Marathi. I just went off to sign. He was giving reactions as if he rules the World. I had to get my work done so went back to him patiently. He asked for some proof. I showed them. He turned to his side and spoke something I could not understand to his colleague. He took the papers from me and asked me to come to the next queue. By the time I went he kept the original proof with himself and gave back the signed affidavit alone.

"Wo original documents hai. Main xerox leke ayenge" I said. I have never heard a reply like what I heard then. He showed his stern faceagain and said "what did you do when I asked if I can keep the originals. Once these papers come to us it won't be returned back. If you don't understand the language get out of the state. Don't irritate us early in the morning". All this was said in Hindi which somehow I could understand. I just was taken aback for a moment and pounced at him "I already told you I got a language problem. Dont you even know English to sit in such position. The queue was stated for English affidavits and print it in Marathi. What am I to verify from it.If you want me to learn your language come out right now and teach me. I am not as free as you though with life." The argument went on for a while. I thought for a moment probably its the same everywhere just that I had it at this place. It was not a single handed change to make. I was affecting other's time by the argument as there was none for a support then. So just thought " Hail Government offices and the guy who woke me up for the brow raising experience " and walked out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My 23 yrs 25 days 11:01 hours wid HER

Whos she? What has she got to do with me and why do I have to count till the millisecond th of time I spent with her? Well this write up is about the princess of Padmanabapuram near Nagercoil,TamilNadu with whom I happened to spend all my time. Lucky me to have had the time of my life spent so.

I feel like telling the world what kind of life I have lived. I dont know who held me when I was born but I would be the happiest to know if she did first. When clock strikes 4 in the morning I dont know how many have seen it. Thats when the day starts for her. A typical South Indian Brahmin 5 feet tall,a four layered specs clad in her "Madisar" (name of attire) would be the first sight for me every morning. Let me delve more on that attire. The length of the saree is so much that five families can launch tents and live comfortably. Besides the length of the saree one feels like a roller coaster ride seeing the number of twists and turns it takes to wear it. No homework or lab assignments or issues to be fixed by EOD but she makes it a point to wake up at 4 and prepare coffee for the others.

By the time I wake up the coffee would have completed half day from its time of preparation. She wont mind to heat it up again and hang around till I finish brushing my teeth and hand it over to me personally. Her brisk life doesn stop there. She helps out to prepare the day's meal before retiring. She and her huby look after the home when all are gone for the day. Disaster strikes seven years hence when her huby fails to stay anymore. Everything in the room was sad and full of tears. A small boy aged seven came running in, opened a freezer box and laid 'vibhoodhi' (sacred ash) on her huby's forehead and ran out of the room quickly whispering "Dont Worry. I am there and will take care of you" to her.

I really dont know if I took care of her after that. All I know is I spent all my time after school with her. When everyone was gone she had to stay all alone at home. The fearless and bold woman in her gave her all the strength to spend at least 8 hours all alone without much worries. Watching TV and smashing the maid for her mistakes was her only time pass. The manager in her came out when she showed her mastery at getting work done properly from the maid. She made sure all the vessels were clean, house was swept properly and all the clothes especially the longest one in the universe were washed properly. The poor maid had to dry it out on her own. It requires atleast two people to do the job but thats how solutions with limited resource is achieved. She brought out all the managerial skills in her and took care of all the payments from cable,gas etc.

The drama actress in her comes out when she watches TV. She goes so much deep into the serials that she feels hit if a character is hit on screen and starts screaming for it. Whenever there was an exam for me I come back home by noon. The TV volume can be heard anywhere down the street. I have no other choice than to sit with her and watch the parallel dramas. A villain comes and chases the heroine. He would get cursed so much before the hero comes in and saves me from hearing it anymore.

I would go for a snacks session before lunch as she was busy with the serials. By the time I get hold of the chips packet a hand grabs. For a moment I thought she would ask me to put it off as I wont have lunch properly. It would be the other way. She fights with me for her lion's share. I would go in for a lil video game session before preparing for the next exam. She would be chanting calling me for lunch and gets exhausted. Finally she goes in takes the meal in hand and runs around me feeding. By the time it strikes six she would start searching for her son and would be really worried if it crosses eight. She would be asking for him every 2 minutes. The first sight of him gives her all the relief on earth. I challenged my mom be like her. My mom would kill me if she sees this but she herself would agree to it.

I was fourteen by then and had so much craze on cricket and got a cricket kit. I had to search for a company to play when my friends prepare for the next day exam. I had no other choice than calling her. Since she is not used to playing cricket I tied the leg pads, gloves for her myself and finally put up the helmet on her. The writing pad used to write the school assignments would be our stump. It was an under arms game with a tennis ball. The gloves and helmet were just to give an additional effect. Can you imagine a game of this kind played? Whenever she fails to give company I use the house wall for company. She would be screaming all the time at me for washing out the wall paints hit by the ball and breaking tube lights and lamps. She would be ready to lodge a complaint on what I broke that day to the concerned person. Once I finish off the punishment formalities it would be quarrel time with her.

The holidays creep in soon after the exams and my house would be completely filled with my gang. She hates the noise we create disturbing her peaceful day's sleep. There was one peculiar aspect where I used to have a quarrel with her every day. She fills water bottles and keeps in the fridge. The water bottles are meant to be for the family members was her principle. The so called gang got to move stealthily and steal a water bottle out of her sight and drink. But none of them succeed from the bull's eye. But the guys had the trick of pacifying her in different ways. Her main worries on any day would be some one needs to take the milk from milk cover everyday on time, the idly flour needs to be prepared and placed on fridge. There are shops doing it. She wouldn't be satisfied if the flour vessel doesn reach home on time. My guys took advantage of these aspects and pacified her every time they get caught.

I had to be away from her for a while as I left for studies. What was inherent in her came out just then. I got blessings from her and dint expect the next thing which happened. She came out to me and kissed on my cheeks blessing me. I dont remember if someone ever kissed me before. I gave a hug and that was the first time I was away from her. Semester vacations pop in. The moment I step into the house the first thing would be to go to her and get that kiss on my cheek from her before talking to anyone else. When I leave back she would somehow have to give me something when I get a blessing from her. She walks up to her almira and keeps something special in hand waiting for me. She developed a craze for limca during this time. She infact had a feeling anything can be cured by a drop of limca. If some one refuses to get one for her his head is torn out. I make sure to get one everytime I step into her room. I used to advice her its not good for health but she feels the joy in it. So I din't stop her anymore.

What started as a small gap between us went on for years and I could meet her once in four or five months duration and ended up more of talks over phone. As time passed by she could not hear properly. Time has passed too much now.

I got a call two days back when she breathed her last. I dint know what to react. Everyone were around her except me at that time. What have I lost now? A treasure or my second mom or my first girl friend or a legend or my best teacher or the bold woman or my all time companion or the most caring soul on earth for me or what not? I have lost everything together at one sight. I dont know how to treasure the times with her. I would like to have a kiss from her this second. I miss all the love and care she had. I miss all that superficially but nothing can shake a bit of what she has put in me during these 23 years. I love her so much and she knows it too ... Its time for a walk with her reading her life ...