Doctor, doctor, solve the problem. ( On WhatsApp, if you please )

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Doctor, sorry to disturb you at night. My tummy has been hurting since morning.

I am sorry to hear that. Where is it hurting ?

Just at a point below the navel on the right side.

Why don’t you come to the hospital tomorrow and we will have a look.

It only hurts here. Not all the time, just every hour or two… ( follows with a pic of the stomach with a finger pointing at the indicated site ).

Sorry, that pic won’t really help. You will need to come in.

What could be the cause, doc ?

I will need to see you to find out. When you come to the hospital.

Still, what do you think could be the problem ?

I really couldn’t say, Madam. Till I see you in the hospital.

I have been looking up the net all day. Could it be syndrome XYZ ? Do you think I should get a CT scan ?

Again, I can’t tell you anything till I examine you. In the hospital. Not on WhatsApp.

The colour of my urine is more yellowish than usual. Should I collect it in a container and send you a picture ?

That, won’t be necessary. I’ll take your word for it.

When the pain starts, I have this ‘gurr-gurr’ sound in my stomach.

Did you record that on your phone ?

No ! Should I have ?!

Nevermind.

Do you think it could be gas ?

It could be. But you just said it’s likely to be syndrome XYZ.

Doc, I’m really worried.

That’s why you should come to the hospital for assessment.

Could you prescribe me some medicines ?

No can do. Not on WhatsApp.

Do you think I should start an antibiotic ? I have Norflox-TZ.

But antibiotics won’t work if it is syndrome XYZ.

So you suggest I come to the hospital ?

Bingo.

There is a clinic close to my house. Could I show myself there ? I will make their doctor speak to you.

Madam, I would still like to make my own judgment. And rule out the Google syndromes.

( Resigns ). I guess I will come to the hospital, then.

( You think )

Can you see me precisely at 9:00 am ? I need to be somewhere at 9:30.

Sure. I don’t know how long the consultation will last, though.

What do you mean ? You think this is serious, don’t you ?

I will have to sign off Madam. Why don’t you see me tomorrow morning ?

Doc. At least tell me what you think. Doc ? You there ?

How not to meditate.

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“ Ok, let’s begin. Sit comfortably.”

Sure. Hari om.

“ Sit in the lotus pose.”

Wait… what ? That’s not comfortable. Do you know how hard this floor is ?

“ Keep your back straight. Don’t move.”

That’s impossible – I need to shift my bottom.

“ Are you in the moment ?”

I think so. My arse is really hurting at this moment.

“ Observe the sensations in your body…”

My nose is twitching. My bum is itching…

“ Now breathe – slow and deep.”

I think I’m about to sneeze. Aaa…. Aaa… Sorry, false alarm.

“ Don’t venture into the past.”

Of course not… I really should have bought those shoes, though.

“ Don’t think about the future.”

Hmm… What’s for dinner today ? It better not be tinday.

“ Be in the present.”

Do I smell chai ?

“ Listen to the sounds around you.”

Why is that kid next door bawling ?

“ Watch your breath go in and out.”

( Snoring )

“ Can you see the imaginary flame at your eyebrow center ?”

Not really. But I can see the imaginary chocolate.

“ Observe your body…”

Chandan sa badan…

“ Listen to your body…”

( Stomach growling )

“ Surrender yourself. Just let go.”

Oh shit, I just farted !

“ Breathe in. Breathe out.”

Are you nuts ? Don’t you smell the fart ?

“ Observe your thoughts.”

I think my bladder is full.

“ Not the past…”

I should have peed before this class.

“ Not the future…”

I wonder how long I can hold…

“ Observe the present.”

I really need to pee.

“ Don’t get carried away. Just be with the flow.”

Does he know something ?

“ Meditation is a thoughtless frame of mind…”

Right. No more thoughts. No more thoughts. Wait, isn’t that a thought ?

“ Be a passive observer.”

Inner peace. Zzzz…. Inner peace. Zzzz…

“ Be aware of this moment. Don’t sleep.”

Wha… I’m awake ! I’m awake !

“ Now watch that flame from your eyebrow center fade away.”

But I never saw the flame ! If it helps, the imaginary chocolate is gone too.

“ Open your eyes slowly. See how light you feel !”

I will, in a moment. If only I can reach the washroom in time.

“ Do you feel energized ?”

Trust me, I’m ready to run. Hari om.

Diet no more

Capture

 

Have you ever been coerced to go on a diet,

When your heart screams no, and your brain shushes it to be quiet ?

A host of ploys that you’re forced to say hello,

Atkins, vegan, detox, South Beach and keto.

 

A morning rinse with lemon water and honey,

A rude early awakening for your raucous tummy,

As you are alarmed by the soury fluid inbound,

When it could have been a warm sugary coffee that you downed.

And for a hearty breakfast as you start getting eager,

Frugality is served with a helping of oats meagre,

Or a strange nutty mixture called muesli,

Taken with milk and raved about profusely.

 

But consider yourself lucky, if you will,

Coz some days may be harder and uphill,

For you may be served a bowl of sprouts,

Whilst you’re looking for food hereabouts and thereabouts.

Those tentacled alien spherules that you are cajoled to swallow,

Invading your food pipe and swarming in your stomach hollow,

And though they may tempt you with their colors weaving,

Look out, because the looks may be deceiving,

Coz for all the health and taste they appear to fake,

They are sure to torment your belly into a writhing ache.

 

As the day gets warmer and you think you’d be cut some slack,

Oh, if you could only hope, to sneak in a little snack !

“ Snack all you want !” your diet yoda would say,

“ But only chew on an apple or sip on a green tea, okay ?”

Carbs are your enemies and veggies are your friends,

So you better throw out the junk, and begin to cleanse.

 

When you assume there is nothing worse left to fear,

“ Don’t be so sure of yourself, ” a voice whispers in your ear,

Loud and clear the instructions boom – “ No rice, no roti, no bread !”

Striking you with a thunderous lightning, as you pray furiously you were dead.

Your innards squirm with anger and unrest,

At this breaking news, as you fervently protest,

“ But what pray, will I eat ?” you cry out loud,

“ Why, proteins my dear !” says your diet, head bowed,

“ And what of sweet cravings and dessert?”

“ Fruits will come to the rescue !” comes a reply curt.

 

How, do you hope to survive this ordeal,

When all you can think about, is meal after meal ?

How would a fruit stand by for a cake ,

And green tea cure that office headache ?

Can oats fill you up like a buttered toast ?

Or the measly sprouts confidently boast,

Of filling the tummy and greed both,

And not sprouting on your insides into a mouldy growth ?

 

What do you do, when you can’t eat rice or bread ?

A terrifying thought unthinkable, filling you with dread,

How do you satiate yourself with salad ?

With gluttony and craving playing a rock ballad,

Do you drink air when you are parched with thirst ?

Then how can an appetite, with such proxies be nursed ?

So please show some heart to our belly and bowel,

And let us enjoy our beloved rajma chaawal,

For no amount of those healthy foods can substitute,

The relish of curry and carbs, and their power absolute.

 

 

* rajma chaawal is an Indian dish consisting of red kidney beans in a thick gravy served with rice.

Laws of motion of Indian lifts

download

Dear countrymen…

Lifts all over the world, are engineered only to go up and down. Pressing the lift button repeatedly in frenzy, will neither move the lift faster, nor move it sideways, or diagonally, or in any 4th or 5th dimension.

The lifts are designed to heed to your call when you press Up if you want to go up, and Down if you want to go down. Pressing both Up and Down buttons simultaneously, will not halt the lift in time-space continuum and propel it through a wormhole to open into your floor.

It is unfair to be treated harshly for no fault of yours, but regrettably, the lift doesn’t run a hyperdrive or override module for you.

The people going up in the lift are not anxious for your company, cool as you might be. So if your destination is at the bottom floor, it may be prudent not to press the Up button, lest the lift stops at your feet and you are forced to flash your sexy grin, waving “ Upar jaa rahein hain kya ?!”

If you are not hearing anything on your mobile phone inside the lift, the plausible conclusion is that there is no network, not that you have to shout louder to hear your caller better.

If the lift starts beeping ‘overweight’ after you step in its confines, you – and only you, must have the privilege of stepping out. Not the already present others you are eyeing, premising that they are the cause of the weighty problem.

The footnote of the lift instructions manual alludes to a few suavities, none of which say that it is acceptable to cough in someone’s face or fart in someone’s space inside a lift.

Thirteen commuters mystify

Women-coach-in-delhi-metro

 

I have been a Delhi Metro regular for three months now and the ladies compartment never ceases to amaze me. There are some very distinct types of women in this battle zone which any discerning eye is unlikely to miss. I have, bravely if I may add, attempted to categorize a few as under. Any resemblance to actual persons is coincidentally intentional.

 

Relentless Raiders : These women will attack the vacant compartment seats with full force and at breakneck speed the second the doors open, pushing and flattening the disembarking junta aside. It is not even important whether they really need a seat or not. The Padma Ati Vibhushan is at stake. And if they miss out, they will just instruct the sitting ducks to move apart with a wave of hand, and without uttering a monosyllable, wedge their butts at any acute or obtuse angle just for the thrill of managing to get a seat.

 

Cacophonies : The ladies in this category are brimming with superhuman zeal to let the Metro masses know who is having an affair with who, what happened in yesterday’s episode of ‘Tu Sooraj Main Saanjh Piyaji’, and why suddenly Mrs Vermaji from the neighbourhood  has started wearing knee length skirts. And lest anyone miss a word they are saying whilst talking casually with their besties, they make sure they are audible even to those with sub-subnormal auditory range at the opposite end of the coach.

 

Sidelong glancers : These are the weaker cousins of Relentless Raiders. Having not managed a seat and being too cowardly to attempt a butt hold, they will keep staring at you accusingly for sitting on the trip while they are forced to travel standing, till the guilt makes you hang your head down in shame. Nothing escapes the corner of their eyes – no even the slightest hint of a movement. Adjust your bag this way or that or shuffle in your seat ever so slightly, and they come pouncing in your direction assuming you are signaling the relinquishment of your throne.

 

Mouth chatterers : Mouth chatterers are the womaniyas who the instant they walk inside the Metro compartment, open their pitaaras and potlis and take out a shop’s worth of gajjak / mathries / namkeens / moohfallies, paying no heed to the detail that eating food is not allowed therein. And chatter, chatter chatter their mouths go… while they open hotstar on their smartphones and tune into the perplexing ordeal of ‘Jeet Gayi Toh Piya Morey’. The crumbs of the said food items are philanthropically left behind for the chirping birds to feast upon.

 

Zen Masters : Cool dudenis who are unaffected by the raiders and the cacophonies and by the chaos and the conundrum. They can be seen standing remotely in a sweet corner looking bemusedly at the world across with disdain, listening to music on their headphones, oblivious to the strife of lesser mortals.

 

Chandni Chowkers : The commuters who board the Metro from Chandni Chowk station in the evening after having spent the entire day rummaging through every miniscule item being sold at cheap rates at every nondescript shop of the labyrinthine bazaar. They enter the compartment with boxes and sacks tucked under each arm and over the head, and then spread them all over the coach for everyone to see – spellbound and awestruck, while they dazzle with aplomb in the sweet bargain glory.

 

Yoginis : These damsels can balance and twist themselves into any shape and form in any free crevice of the compartment. They don’t need a bar or a pole to hold onto… they can support themselves on one foot if need be, and read Chetan Bhagat’s latest bestseller with one hand and take selfies with the other, if the situation calls for it.

 

Note Copiers : These are the busybees headed towards Vishwavidyalaya on a Monday morning with their heads anchored in each other’s notes / project reports, furiously copying them down. Because amidst the parties and the social and family obligations on the weekend, time defies all written laws of Physics and inexplicably runs out.

 

Floor Ranies: Patriotic women who are fans of everything Indian (including sitting cross legged on the floor) as well as The Swach Bharat Abhiyaan. So when duty calls and they chance upon the dusty floors in the Metro, they rush in to do their bidding and clean them up with their bottoms, immune to the irritating microphone banter “ Kripya metro ke farsh par na baithein…”

 

Curious peekers : Curiousity killed the cat. But not these oh-so-casual voyeurs who are sitting or standing next to you and nonchalantly peeking into your phone, wondering aloud who you are holding hands with on facebook and why, how tacky your selfie /dp looks, what were you thinking wearing that hideous dress…etc etc. And when you catch them staring, they smugly look away in a flash of a second, assuming reassuringly that they were not caught in the act.

 

Teletaskers : Ever the multitaskers, these stris are seen and heard passing loud and clear instructions on their phones on the Metro. “ Hello !! .. Haanji ! .. Sun rahe ho ? .. Main bol rahi hun .. Kyaa ?!!! ” which continues into “ Kaam waali se kehna 7 roti banayegi aaj. Aur sabji mein namak kaam daalegi. Aur haan, dahi jamane ko keh dena usko … Aur, Aur – are poori baat to suno – use kehna bartan saaf karke jayegi…” The khichhdi continues simmering.

 

Touch-me-nots and squealers : These women are the ones who want at least a meter long human-free perimeter around them. Even your bags should not enter these red zones. Their eyes will start rolling in their sockets if you dare to hold the bar close to their designated space. And if you’d somehow shove them accidentally or step on them by mistake in a crowded compartment, all hell would break lose as they’d turn into squealers crying a shrill “Ouch!!” even if your erring hand or foot had barely managed to touch them.

 

Refuse-to-budgers : Ladies who’d position themselves right at the door entrance whispering sweet nothings into the speakers of their mobiles ( “ Main aaj kaisi lag rahi thi ?”… “ Tumne to mujhe compliment bhi nahi diya.” …and some such nauseating nonsense), refusing to move inside the compartment. No dirty looks, no polite taps on the shoulders, and no nudges from the angry passengers getting in and out can unfaze them. They stand resolute and strong, very ‘pehredaar’ like.

 

The author of this piece, meanwhile, is trying ever so earnestly to transform herself from a dumbstruck and occasionally irritable commuter into a zen master. Her headphones, incidentally, broke on the Metro today, while she was attempting to get off at her destination station in one piece.

 

A little Diwali cleaning

diwali

 

As Diwali approaches, and we go frantic cleaning and sprucing up our houses, what would you think of a little detour, a shot at sweeping away a few of these societal offenses …

 

Honking on roads as if arses were catching fire, changing lanes as if worms were swimming up the innards higher and higher, and the ever so popular, “Abe ch***ye, jaanta ni main kaun hun ?” crossroad choir.

 

The mad bull charge for the coveted throne – the elusive Metro seat in the combat zone. Praan jaye, par seat na jaye.

 

Bargaining with street vendors in a Zara outfit – “ Bees rupiye to bohat zyaada bol rahe ho bhaiyya. Theek lagao. Aur dhaniya free chhaiye mujhe.”

 

The “Ai hello…!” calls to beckon people for help (Well Ai hello to you too, shitface!).

 

The ‘Aak thuus’ of the spits and the paans of the Thuuko Men and the unabashed display of the piss streams of the Susu Men.

 

Telling kids it’s okay… it’s okay to litter worldwide, it’s okay to potty roadside (and let the passersby watch the great divide), it’s okay to bully and behind Dad hide, and it’s okay to throw a tantrum for a toy Mom denied.

 

The cacophonic phone chatters about the really pressing case of ghar-ke-bagal-waali Sandhyaji in a quiet movie hall.

 

The roadside talents of men erupting into a mesmerizing rendition of ‘Chalti hai kya nauh se baara’, the moment a girl walks by.

 

Men in boxers and Women in nighties. Outside. In full public view.

 

Calling big women “ Hai kitni moti ho gayi hai tu!”, calling single women “ Hai bechaari!”and calling all women in general, “Hi Aunty!” (which, I petition, should be a punishable offence).

An apparent apparition of an appalling agglomeration of apparel.

 

Capture

 

Have you often wondered how the Indian parents unfailingly and unflinchingly, never miss a chance to embellish and adorn your wardrobe in front of others ? It is a known fact that larger the audience to listen to their tribulations, taller are the claims. And the more you deny those claims, the more ridiculous those exaggerations get. So beware and tread carefully and watch out for these weapons in their armoury.

 

Clothes, clothes everywhere, not a single one to wear

This is the time when you have just dropped a hint of an inclination to buy a nice outfit, for an upcoming wedding or a party, and pat comes the whacking wail , “ Har baar kehte ho ki kuch pehnne ko nahi hai. Phir almaariyon mein kya pada hai ? Har das din mein kuch naya kapda to khareedte rehte ho. Wo sab kab kaam aayega ?”

 

Shopper’s Paradise

Try leaving your clothes carelessly in the house. Go for it, give it a shot. Before the seconds hand strikes 12, you will hear a voice booming and echoing across the walls…“ Har kamre mein isi ke kapde hain. Sari almariyaan bhar rakhi hain. Hamare kapde to do khano mein aa jaate hain. Dukaan lagake rakhi hai, dukaan…Ek board laga dete hain ghar ke bahaar – ‘ Kapde hi Kapde : Verma ji and son’.”

 

The guilt

The Bhramastra in the armamentarium. A design to make you realize your sins. “ Jitne paison mein tere saal bhar ke kapde aaye hain na, utne mein to hamaari chhoti car aa jaati.”

 

The exponential factor

No matter how many clothes or shoes you have – few or many, this number is aggrandized by a variable factor ranging from 10 to infinity, by the Indian parents in front of your relatives or family friends. For instance, “ 200 T shirts hain iss ke paas.. 200. Kali T shirts hi 30-40 hongi. Ek hi rang (blue!) ki kam-se-kam 20-25 jeans..”  While you are left mouth agape with incredulity, overwhelmed by this calculation, trying to wonder where those 200 T shirts are tucked away, your parents have already moved on to how many shades of purple they counted in your wardrobe yesterday.

 

The space constraint and the alternatives

If you have dared to buy new clothes from the mall, make sure you quietly sneak them into the house. Lest you want to hear this – “ Phir kapde khareed layi. Kahan hai jagah iss ghar mein, bataa. Kahan rakhegi inko… mere sur pe ?”

 

Comparative and Superlative

Whether in school or college or work, be it marks or awards or salary, comparing their kids to others is inherent to Indian parenthood. So your wardrobe too, is unlikely to escape the sharp, mindful eye.  “ Behenji,  itne jute hain hamare ghar mein, main kya bataun. Utne jute to Jayalalithaa ke paas bhi nahi the.”

 

Do Jodi Jute

“ Hamare zamaane mein…” is the song of every parent. And it is sung at home at least once a day. So if you have too much footwear ‘for your own good,’ you would know these lyrics by heart…“ Chhatisson prakaar ke jute. Har colour ki sandal. Inhe to jute bhi matching chaiyyein. Hamne to poore college do jodi juton mein hi kaam chalaa liya tha.”

 

The Queen’s obsession

The British left our shores many years ago but this doesn’t stop us from obsessing over their monarchy every now and then. So if your cupboard abounds with apparel, you have a fair chance of being equated to a king or a queen. “ Ek Queen of England hai. Ek hamaari Queen hai. Kapde bhi baraabar ki takkar ke hone chaiyyein.”

 

Calendrical guesstimates

This is borne out of gigantic amplifications matched by an astute knowledge of days and weeks and months. “ Itne kapde hai hamare suputra ke paas, ki har roz agar alag-alag kapde pehnega, to bhi 6 mahine mein koi repeat nahi hoga.”

 

Foreign returned

No one can escape their parents’ elaborate renditions of their foreign travels and the trips abroad. Those accounts can be applied everywhere in their lives, and used to tackle every situation by merely substituting a few words and phrases here and there.  They only have to start off by interrupting any conversation saying, “ Jab main vilaayat gaya tha…” So in the notorious case of ‘your wardrobe situation,’ the blanks will be filled thus – “Jab main vilaayat gaya tha, to ek attaichee thi mere paas. Jitne kapde-jute leke gaya tha, unhi ko teen saal chalaya. Aaj ki generation ko dekho.”

 

Murphy’s law states that no matter what the size of your wardrobe, it will always be the subject of speculation, judgment, exclamation and comment amongst your parents and bagal waali auntyjis. Addition of any item before the stipulated ‘appropriate time’ would land you in the way of stormy questioning and saucy critique. And any attempt to convince the world of your dire need to buy a shirt for your office, or replace your shredded underwear, or purchase a pair of sneakers for the gym, will be pointless and unavailing. There is, lamentably, no escape button, mes amis.