The long borne wish was going to be fulfilled today (early) morning. Finally, after years of longing and laziness, I was to visit that one tea stall which had been everyone’s recommendation. The ‘Let-us-not-name-it’ Tea Stall spoiled it for me(as it would for any other chai-lover as well)
What you see here is Disappointment objectified.
What the tea-sellers there were were Disdain personified.
After battling the restless crowd, 20-30 minutes of never-ending wait, rounds of calling out “Bhaiya, Bhaiya…(with my voice rising in a crescendo)”, sweating profusely, what I get is this…
This might look like any other ‘chai’ but if only there was some way to convey its taste!
First taste is certainly the last taste!
And the ‘band makkhan’ and ‘samosa’…
Let me put it this way- The sole motivation to finish it up was that we paid 60 rupees for them!!!
When something reaches its peak of popularity, the quality is bound to go down. There is no other way, no evasion.
To avoid degradation, the solution is to be the best, but, in isolation.
Found a commendable tea stall? Do not tell it to everyone! ‘SAVE’ IT FROM BEING POPULAR AND HENCE RUINED. As Kahlil Gibran puts it-
“Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people ruin beautiful things.”
Scene- You happen to guffaw in your class(alone or with your friend). All eyes turn to you.
Whatever be the reason of your laugh, the poor professor will attribute the reason to herself. This will result in the bulging out of her eyes and a deathly stare (comparable with the expression your mother would give when you refuse to eat ‘karela’), followed by the age-old clichéd remark- “ What is so funny? Care to share it with the entire class? Come, tell; we all will have a jolly time…” (It is time that these professors look for some creativity and novelty.)
Next up, you have to come up with an immediate excuse for the teacher to let go off you and to order you to sit(though reluctantly). Now you can go on to sit and resume your chuckling, giggling and tittering, though as silently as possible this time.
Heavens forbid that you have to sit right under the nose of the professor in the class while a funny memory or observation hits you. You have to grapple with a register or a book to hide your reddened face and teared up eyes. You can, also, simply ‘hang your face in laughter’. Also, you have to devise a technique to curb the sound of your giggle.
Your friends and classmates would envy you seeing you happy in an otherwise sleep-inducing lecture.
You yourself would be happy in an otherwise sleep-inducing lecture.
You can apologise before the professor starts off with – “What is so funny…’cliché cliché’…” and escape an upbraiding and continue relishing over your happy moments.
A yawn induces yawn(in a boring lecture). Likewise, laughter induces laughter. It is contagious. Thereby, you can make the ambience of the class a little lighter.
You can escape death( by not choking yourself by curbing your laughter)
Since, clearly, the given pros outnumber the cons- LAUGH OUT LOUD LIKE NO ONE IS HEARING.
Footnote 1- The best laugh is the laugh in which is there is no sound but ‘only’ gasping of air, red face, welled-up eyes and bodily tremors. Only!
You are laughing and not laughing at the same time!
Footnote 2- Remember to “ laugh like parrots at a bag-piper” (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice)
Our alarms start theirt crackle since 7:00 am. After all the snoozing and further dozing, 9:30 am it is when we actually rise up. We have just half an hour for us to manage to get ourselves our breakfast; breakfast for which we wait since the last Sunday- Chhole Bhature…
9:50 am, we reach our ‘dinning hall’. It is both a relief and a mild concern to see other people clamouring for food as well. Relief- the realization that we are not the sole late risers. Concern – we will have to tarry a little before our turn for ‘bhatura’ finally comes.
To while away the time, I head to the tea container. As I pick up the steel cup and pour some tea in it, I think my usual thought- Can it be called tea at all? I prefer to call it ‘sugary water’; for it is nothing but sugar and water! I take two sips and leave the rest and then curse myself for having expected the tea to be better this time. Then too, hope is a never dying thing! I know, my stupid self will come back to this tea container again hoping that some day(one fine day…) these cooks will have pity on us and prepare tea that can actually be called tea.
We get our ‘bhaturas’ shortly later. Ghosh takes two; Sneha also two; I take three. We proceed get our share of ‘chhola’.
As I hold the ladle and churn the ‘Chhola’, I exclaim- ” Chhole mein chhola kahan hai?!”
Ghosh- “Aur kitna patla patla bhi hai!”
Sneha- “Ab dus baje aoge tumlog to aur kya milega?!”
Sneha is right. However, I wonder if logic is required at all while complaining! We just smile.
We take our plates to the table and eat. Shortly we hear that there is no more ‘chhola’ left for the rest of the people; not even the diluted ‘chhola’. I am happy that though late, we are not ‘thaaaat’ late.
Huh! The oil in the ‘bhaturas’ is enough to induce deeeeep slumber in me again.
A loooong lazy day awaits…
(How long and lazy?
I started writing this post around 10:45 am and see the time I am posting it!
Oh, you have half an hour for the next lecture. Come with us.”
“Lecture completed? So, come join us…”
“Waiting for someone? Wait here.”
“You topped the test? Treat, treat!”
“Whose turn is it today for…?”
“Where are we going?”
The place in subject is one.
From at a distance it might look like an ordinary shack, but lo and behold; advance nearer, grab a tea- 5 rupees for the normal one, or the ‘special’ one costing just a rupee more- sit cosily on the stony seat and look around soaking in the ambience.
The person behind this all, the gratified owner of the stall, sells not just tea(lemon tea, samosa, gulab jamun, launglatta…) but a catalyst for the stimulation of ideas.
Gather some friends, grab a glass, or the ‘kulhadd‘, of tea and let your mind go for a swirl. Talks ranging from how the professor from the previous lecture dressed up today to the deepest deliberations on the Bacon’s essays, everything is ‘served’ here.
You can boast your generosity, or show some pity, by paying up for your friends’ tea as well(of course after a lot of debate as to who would end up paying for it- something which is hardly thought of beforehand).
Or with supreme efficacy, evade from paying up for the tea this one time by reminding them how you once paid in the past or by promising to do so in the near future.
Moreover, even if you have no one to chat to/discuss with/ share your tea with, you can indulge in even engaging an activity- EAVESDROPPING!
Again, grab a tea, sit cosily on the stony seat and look around and overhear all the conversations within your earshot.
You will, as per my recollection and experience, hear talks ranging from how Rahul should have batted the other day to the nuances of running the government; from Socrates to Shankaracharya ; from Marx to Manto; from Premchand to Paulo Coehlo; from Basketball to Badminton; from concerns over almost flunking a test to strategies for topping the exams…
If Heavens be more magnanimous, you might even spot a professor or two or even more approaching towards the stall. You can pounce upon the opportunity to initiate a discourse with them on any of the intellectual topics(or even the trending ones like Padmaavat); and, as a bonus, might(rather, definitely) save your money, as the big-hearted professors would promptly offer to pay for it.
If none of these- no friends to fret over the payment, eavesdropping on random conversations, fortunate guest appearances by professors- you can just sit back, with the tea in hand, and marvel at how some water, milk, tea leaves, sugar, and ginger mixed in a divine proportion create the most ethereal potion of all time…
Our customary vegetable vendor pulls up right in front of our house…
My mother, already awaiting him, names out the vegetables and their desired measure to be popped into the basket one after the other…
As Mumma picks up a vegetable, scrutinises it heavily, upbraids the vendor if it is found unhealthy, rotten, undernourished or whatever, proceeds on until her basket brims with shiny, well-shaped, well-grown vegetables,
my frivolous mind wanders over the lush green herbs, corriander and mint, ( and a few more) laid down in neatly tied-up bundles, each costing 5 rupees.
The lustre and density of their leaves gave me a sense of richness and abundance of our natural vegetation and, in my mind, I reiterate the immortal lines by Kavi Sumitranandan Pant-
ओह, समय पर उनमें कितनी फलियाँ फूटी!
कितनी सारी फलियाँ, कितनी प्यारी फलियाँ,-
यह धरती कितना देती है! धरती माता
कितना देती है अपने प्यारे पुत्रों को!
हम जैसा बोयेंगे वैसा ही पायेंगे।
And while I stand there, contemplating that no matter how much we ‘pay’ for these vegetables, it would never be able to equal the love our Mother Earth showers upon us, my mother, done with her successful negotiations with the vendor, hands him the money, takes the change back and concludes-
Not more than a couple of days ago did we have a long hearty talk, just like our other usual talks, wherein we detail out our respective lives, elaborating vividly what all happened with us, around us in the days we did not talk; wherein we feel as if we are talking vis-à-vis with liveliness so unparalleled that even the dust around us assumes life, unmindful of the people around, instead of over our dead mobile phone; wherein we know the very expressions and gestures the other person is making use of.
” Hello, who’s it?” The voice from the other end of the phone continues.
I still stand pondering.
‘People change‘, so I had heard; but ‘this quickly‘, I had never known.
‘Even the closest pal would someday desert you‘, so the elders had warned me; but ‘out of the blue, with no apparent reason in sight‘, I had never even remotely imagined.
Yes, we are in different colleges, pursuing different streams, but that does not justify the change of “Hello!” into “Hello?” within no time, does it?
“Hello? Hello?” The voice now sounds exasperated.
“Hey, hello, it is me…” I painstainkingly utter.
“Hellllllooooo!!! Whose phone are you using?”
And even before she asks further, the foolish me realises that I have called her using a new number. Thanks to the network providers offering unlimited free calls!
I clarify. She laughs. We laugh.
The long hearty talk follows.
Huh! After suffering the puny heartache on hearing “Hello?” I can only wish that may you always be greated by the same old familiar ‘Hello’ or rather
‘Hellllllooooo!!!’, come what may.
When was the last time you got offended?
A month ago?
A week ago?
While reading the title?(Who knows, for, apparently, getting offended is the new cool!)
What’s happening? Have we lost the ability to laugh at ourselves? Seems so.
Has it really become so intolerable that a jibe or joke is aimed at us and we can’t let it off without being offended?
I write this through experience.
Barely months ago, while talking to a friend and her friend, I, unmindfully jibed at her(my friend’s friend) . Little did I know that my seemingly unhurtful remark would so offend her that I would receive a message of the length of short newspaper column(yes!) that coming evening(of course about telling me about my ‘misdemeanour’ and how I had put her off in the presence of other students!!! )
This is only one instance of numerous such episodes.
And this is just my example. Assuredly, many of my fellow readers would have been a part of such a predicament.
So, it has come to this that people who cannot help but pull a joke every now and then, like me, cannot be their usual self without giving out a verbal disclaimer- “Sorry to say but”, “Don’t take it the wrong way but”, “I do not mean to offend you but”…- before fighting their conscience(Should I say this or should I not?) to pull that joke!
No wonder it’s an era of growing stress and cynicism! Dejection, anxiety, apprehension seems to pervade every other indivisual. This further creates a vague sense of social insecurity.
The problem is so grave that I fear people wont to their wit and frenzy would stop cracking jokes at all.
Imagine, a world without self- depreciating and slapstick comedy! Certainly not a world Charlie Chaplin would have dreamt of.
I believe, joke ‘crackers’ should undauntingly crack jokes as and when they feel to and the joke ‘crackee’ should take it in good humour, come what may.
After all, aren’t there enough problems already that people should create more of them through a medium that is supposedly meant to ease those problems- humour?
Here is a thoughtful thought by Joss Wedon to be kept in mind-
“Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
So, joke. Spread smiles, laughter, grins, smirks.
Make yourself and people around you happier.
Need another reason for being humourous?
Psychologists from Medical University, Vienna, have concluded that people who crack dark jokes and also people who can understand those jokes hone their intelligence and cognitive skills.