Purple and Pink

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Purple is the colour of royalty,

Resplendent flowers, lavender, orchid and lilac,

Eggplant, grapes, plum and blackberries,

And a purple bruise turning bluish black.

 

Pink is a cherry blossom in bloom,

Bougainvilleas in the garden, singing,

Flamingos strutting on the lake,

And piggies on the farm, playing.

 

The inside of a guava,

Strawberry ice cream and shake,

Bursting bubblegum and cotton candy,

And the syrupy concoction for bellyache.

 

Pink lips signing a kiss,

Rosy cheeks, pink in adulation,

Hearty in the pink of health,

A bubbling champagne for celebration.

 

The colour for the female newborn,

The clothes hanging in a girl’s closet,

And the pink ribbon to stand up and fight,

Against breast cancer for the women who got it.

Oranges and Yellows

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Orange is a tangy fruit,

A berry and a tangerine.

An orange marmalade spread,

A decorated pumpkin on Halloween.

 

The resplendent marigold flowers,

Goldfish, parakeets and butterflies,

The colour of a monk’s robes,

And of Tuesdays that Hanuman devotees idolize.

 

The fire that warms you up,

And autumn leaves on the driveway,

The breaking dawn and the fading dusk,

The brightest hue in cosmic display.

 

Yellow is the colour of lemons and mangoes,

Bananas, pineapples, corn and cheese,

Egg yolks, honey and butter,

And custard I could have more of, please ?

 

The mustard fields in the countryside,

A sunflower in bloom,

A canary in song,

And a bumblebee buzzing in the room.

 

The rubber duckies in your bathtub,

The smileys on your tee,

The minions that make you laugh,

And beer and booze and pee.

 

Yellow is a bright Lamborghini,

A slow down sign of traffic light,

Dorothy’s yellow brick road,

A soccer penalty that erupts into a fight.

 

Yellow journalism for sensational news,

Yellow pages for business,

The tropical yellow fever,

And yellow eyes in illness.

 

The haldi and the gold for the bride,

The bright, bright sun,

Yellow is sunshine and hope,

And a bunch of happiness and fun.

All the Single Ladies

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India is not used to its single ladies. They are a cause of pressing concern to the bade-buzurg of the family and the unclejis and auntyjis of the neighbourhood. Their dhalti umar often invokes distress pleas from these well-wishers… “ Kab shaadi kar rahi ho tum,” “ Ladke dekhna to shuru karo,” or “ Ek ladka hai meri nazar mein, baat chalaun kya?” adding unabashedly, “ Ladke hi pasand hain na tumhe?”… Even the caste crazed elders find it their moral duty to let go off their rigid conditions and preach, “ Caste ke peeche mat pado. Koi bhi acchha ladka mile to shaadi kar daalo.”

Rephrasing Miss Austen’s opening line in Pride and Prejudice, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single Indian woman in possession of a good judgement and character, must be in want of a husband. Whether it’s an occupational pause or an emotional clause, poor health or dearth of wealth, the answer to all problems is marriage. Consequently, unlike married women, the single ones have a huge fan following – an army of chahne wale, whose anxiety for their ticking biological clocks burgeons in exponential proportion to their increasing age.  The nanosecond they enter their thirties, it’s a torrential downpour of “ Tees ki ho gayi hai !” “ Kab vyaah hoga?” “ Kab ghar basega?” and “ Kaise vansh chalega?”

The Indian family starts saving up gold for a girl’s wedding the day she is born. An academic achievement here and a career boost there is definitely worth an inaam or two, but ask the parents for jewellery and the instant reaction is, “ Sone ka kadaa ? Uska kya karegi abhi ? Teri shaadi mein denge. Chal ice cream khaane chalte hain aaj India Gate par.” So time and again, they are told ; Betaji, No shaadi, No Gold.

All the Hindu rituals are reserved for married women, be it the haldi ceremony of your beloved sibling or welcoming the groom at the entrance with an aarti ki thaali. The local auntijis are usually the bouncers at these functions, carrying a metaphorical “ No entry for the non-suhaagans ” banner, tut-tuting in perpetuum and casting their glaring, disapproving glances. Everybody is scared of the deadly virus of singlehood the non-suhaagans seem to be carrying, pledging to destroy the world of suhaagans with it.

The rest of the world is also not too kind to the Bhartiya single naari. Try going to an embassy for a visa and answering the visa officer’s questions…

“ Single ? Oh, I see. Why do you want to travel to our country ?”

“ I have a conference to attend.”

“ Hmm.. So you are single…”

They are just as scared of the single ladies tribe. For burdened with the constant nagging to settle down, and the periodical beeps from their biological clocks they have to put on snooze, these women may just marry their men and never come back. Much to the anguish of the members of the resident welfare associations of several colonies, many of whom were trying to fix up those thirty something kanyaas with their forty something divorced nephews.

It will take some time for India, to give a pappi or a jaadu ki jhappi to its single women. A little while longer, for the matchmaking enthusiasts, to supress their itch, to eye-roll and bitch. And a leap in spacetime continuum, to realize that the older kuunwaaries, are surprisingly not bechaaries. That they are not yet eager to devour the shaadi ka laddu ; for though they love the company of men, they love their independence too. And although these lovely ladies, dote on children and babies ; they are not ready to raise them yet, for all that this country may frown and fret.

Green

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Green is nature’s abundance,

Forests, plants and trees,

The green, green grass,

Greener in the neighbour’s breeze.

 

Capsicum and cucumbers,

A green salad diced properly,

Spinach and ladyfingers,

And the dreaded mighty broccoli.

 

The outside of a watermelon,

Those peas in a pod,

Kiwi, the health freak,

And the unripe mango, tangy and unflawed.

 

The stridulating grasshopper,

And the hopping frog,

A turtle basking on a beach,

And a parrot mimicking in epilogue.

 

Green is a moss spread in the woods,

The hoity-toity green tea,

Cupid’s ally, the mistletoe,

For lovers to kiss and flee.

 

The lust for greener pastures,

The wads of greens in your pocket,

To make others green with envy,

And to buy that emerald locket.

 

The slimy green slime,

And the mucus and the phlegm,

Those gems you extricate from your nares,

For others to tut-tut and condemn.

 

Green is the military and the Greenpeace,

The third stripe of the Indian Flag,

The much sought after Green Card,

Of which the ‘videshi’ boy likes to brag.

 

The Green Lantern and the Green Hornet,

The green room’s smokes and scenes,

Kermit the frog and Mike Wazowski,

And the magic of the green screens.

 

A greenhouse for the flora and the foliage,

The greenhouse gases to toast the earth,

And the greenhouse effect going awry,

For the fearsome global warming to take birth.

 

An endeavour to conserve and go green,

The green energy and the green revolution,

Reduce, reuse and recycle,

An ecodrive and a green resolution.

 

Green is the colour of life and growth,

And of rebirth, healing and hope,

The colour of nature’s imprint,

Impressed on the Earth’s kaleidoscope.

Blue

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Blue is the colour of raindrops,

Of flowers, violet and bluebell,

Blueberries and orchids,

Blue jays and blue whales, as well.

 

Blue is a sparkling sapphire,

And your beloved denim jeans,

The ink you pen on paper,

Blue movies and blue screens.

 

The blues music you croon to,

The blue small f facebook logo,

And the blue inland letter card,

Letters of yesteryears, forgotten long ago.

 

The almighty Lord Krishna,

The Ashoka Chakra on the flag flying,

And the evil eye you hang,

To dispel the spirits stealthily prying.

 

A blue eyed girl,

The colour for a baby boy,

The blue eyed boy loved by all,

The best worker in the company’s employ.

 

The boundless blue sky,

The limitless blue sea,

Earth watched from the space,

And the moonlit night in all its sensuality.

 

Blue is when you are out of spirits,

A surprise, out of the blue,

It is the biting bitter cold,

But the colour of peace and serenity too.

 

Blue is indigo and aquamarine,

Cobalt and turquoise,

The hue of nature’s best,

The cool beneath the life’s noise.

Red

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Red is a ripe red juicy tomato,

A strawberry or a cherry,

A red brick wall,

And the fire engine extraordinary.

 

Red is the red mail van,

A ladybug on a fern,

Sparkling red rubies,

And a flaming gown that makes heads turn.

 

The cheeks of a child,

The beak of a parrot,

Snowhite’s apple,

And the bunny’s carrot.

A burning red chilli,

A red umbrella in the monsoon,

The nose perked on a clown,

And a girl with a red balloon.

 

Red is the colour of roses,

The scent of seduction,

Of rouge lips and the first kiss,

And of yearning and attraction.

Red is a wife’s ‘sindoor,’

A beaming bride’s dress,

The red ‘tilak’ on forehead,

A lovers’ passionate caress.

 

The break of dawn,

The fading twilight,

A stop sign on your way,

Warning danger in sight.

The prick of a thorn,

The sound of a squeal,

The blood we spill,

And the wounds we heal.

A distress call,

An agonizing, seething burn,

And also a red carpet,

Beckoning you for a twirl and turn.

 

Red is the colour of love and passion,

The hint of a blush,

And the flushed embarrassment.

The colour of pride,

Of burning rage,

Of fire and fury,

And the wars we wage.

The colour of bravery,

A soldier’s valour,

Of pain and anguish,

And of zeal and ardour.

 

Red is fierce, Red is might,

Red is a big, bright burning light,

Red is appall, Red is enthrall,

Red is the grandest colour of all !

The Jat Brat

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There is this thing about the Jats. It’s an opinion that you’ve had about them for years, possibly not knowing how it came to be. Those bull headed, bandook brandishing, brainless brutes, speaking with the thick Haryanvi “Ghana utawala ho raa sain” accent. And it probably stuck in your head from a few troublemakers you saw, or the movies you watched, or some conversations you heard…

“ Mat time waste kar. Jat buddhi hai saala.”

“ Main to us area mein jaati hi nahi hun. Saare Jats rehte hain wahan par.”

“ Chaudhary bana phir raha hai.”

“ You’re from Delhi ? Must be so crazy, na… with all the Jats there”

I am a Jatni born and raised in Central Delhi. I am yet to be acquainted with the moustache twirling, gun wielding ‘quintessential’ Jat. It’s true, I have not lived in villages. My dreams haven’t been crushed by the hand raising, muscle flinching males of the family. Obviously I wouldn’t know. But let me tell you about my family.

My Badi Nani was a Jatni raised in Haryana. She’d work arduously in the fields from dawn to dusk ‘like a man’ while the other ‘privileged’ women fiddled with needlework at home. She suffered many miscarriages but raised one girl, like God’s greatest gift. This girl, my Nani, wasn’t asked to sit at home and do ‘chuulah-choka.’ She was asked, in the 1930s, to study hard. And when she grew up, she was accepted at Lahore Medical College. No, she didn’t become a doctor and yes, you probably expected that. But a ‘khap panchayat’ wasn’t called to punish her for following her dreams. The ‘elders of the house’ were probably reluctant to send her to would-be-Pakistan in those pre-independence years. She went on to work in the Air Force. She married my Nanaji, who had worked in the Indian army, and a few years later they settled in Uttarakhand where my Nanaji, singlehandedly developed the most treacherous jungle terrain into agricultural land. They raised seven kids and all of them got the best education in the most limited means, to become successful professionals. Including my mom, who became a doctor, fulfilling her mother’s unmet dream.

My Dadaji was a small Jat farmer in a village in Uttar Pradesh. My Dadiji was illiterate, as were most women of most communities at that time. No one in my father’s family had completed school education. But that did not stop them from ensuring that my father did. Nor from finishing his masters in Physics. And when my Dad was accepted for a fellowship in Medical Physics in the UK in the 1970s, my Dadaji borrowed loans from all his Jat relatives to send him there.

A community has many faces. And the thugs are a part of many. In all corners of this land. The irony is that while the country is lauding some sportspersons who happen to be Jats, many are labeling all Jats as loose cannons in the same breath. And Jats are not just your heroes – the Virender Sehwags, the Sushil Kumars, the Vijender Singhs, the Saina Nehwals, and the Geeta and Babita Phogats. They are also those nameless Jat farmers, men and women, who working tirelessly in the fields, raising the rice or the wheat chapatti you probably ate. The nameless Jat soldiers who lost their lives for the country. The Jat doctors and scientists and engineers and politicians and entrepreneurs, who believe it or not, went to the top school and colleges in the country. And they are not the ‘atypical ones’ or those one-off ‘good cases.’ They are in plenty. All doing their bit. All trying to make a difference. As countrymen. Not as, or for, Jats.