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.
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.
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).