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The Eskimo kiss

Saturday, January 16, 2010 , , 26 Comments

I got up to a bright Sunday morning. My entire body was tweaking with pain. I guess I need some more sleep. With half sleepy eyes, I checked my diary, thankfully no appointments today. Last week had been crazy and last night even crazier. I shrug to think about it. I have a splitting headache and need to fix some coffee for self. I looked at the wall where Apurva was standing and smiling at me, carrying a small tray of coffee in her soft, fair hands. It has been 5-6 years since Apurva came to my life.

I lost my wife Rhea in a fateful accident. With her, a part of me died too. She was carrying our baby and with them, all of my dreams aborted as well. Over the years, ma-baba pursued me to remarry and start my life afresh. It was an unfruitful persuasion as taking Rhea away from my life was impossible. Even if I want, I could not do that. The persuasion however got softer by each passing day. How can I forget rhea. She came like a breeze of fresh air in my otherwise robotic life. A life filled with blood, death, pain and sufferings. She bought life to it. I am a cardiac surgeon. I know about hearts, nerves, lungs and she breathed love into it. I am a doctor dealing with complicated medicines and cardio graphs; she cured my loneliness with her laughter, warmth and presence. I have decided that I will never let anyone take her place until I met Apurva one day or rather I should say- one night. Rhea was my life but Apurva became my destiny. Apurva’ entry was never planned; it was unexpected. It just happened one night.

I was coming back from a rural medical camp held at the remote village of Haryana. It was late in the night and I was very tired. I was tired not with my schedule but with the mindset of the people. It was a 2-week camp but a place of 200 years outdated age. It was not poor medical facilities but female infanticide, which was the major health issue there. Girl child in many Indian states is still considered a bane. Newborn baby girls are choked to death by drowning them in a pot of milk. If they do not kill them at birth, they made them to suffer a life filled with suppression, torture and humility. Apurva came from such a place.

It was half past midnight when I heard the marching sound coming from nearby river ground. I came out in my rest house balcony and saw a group of men carrying a girl and rushing towards the river basin. The girl’ mother was running behind them, pleading to let go of her daughter. The men continued to march ahead and pushed the beseeching woman aside. She fell down on stone and hurt her head. Two women rushed to her rescue and tried to take her away from furious mob. The woman half in bruise n half in blood continue to plead those monsters for her daughter. She scurried to the man holding her daughter and fell down on his foot to leave her daughter. The man pushed her away with his other leg and threatened her with dire consequences if she further tries to come between him and his machinations. I was disgusted to see such atrocity and could not help myself but took my mobile and dialed 100 immediately. I took my safety pistol in my hand and ran toward the river along with the rest house attendant. To my surprise, the man who was heading the mob was Apurva’s father. He was holding Apurva in his cruel hands and hurling abuses to her mother for giving birth to girl child. I am a doctor and cruelty of father or a husband is not unknown to me. During my course and practice, I have seen many cases of domestic violence and violence again women. I however am not going to let it happen in front of me. I stopped the crowd and confronted them. They want to kill Apurva only because she is the baby girl born to family of “son worshipper”. The gender of a child is highly dependant on father’ chromosomes, then why do we punish the mother or a child? Apurva was the 7th girl child born in to that family and that made her the 7th daughter about to be killed on the sacrificial altar of chauvinistic thinking. “Doctor Sahib, you pl do not interfere in our matter. We respect you a lot but we would not take your intervention kindly”. “I could not let you people commit this heinous crime. Pl hand the girl back to her mother”.

“No, dr. sahib, you pl stay away from this. The girl’ father himself does not want to own her, who will take her burden? Who will feed her, educate her and pay for her dowry? She will take all our lives’ money only to get married to some other family. We are very poor people and we do not want to lumber our life with another girl. They are curse. We need sons to take care of us and keep our generations moving”.

“A girl is a burden? Do not forget you all came from womb of a woman. If you keep killing girl child like this, whom will you get to marry your sons and keep your generations alive? Who says only a son can take care of his parents. A girl is no lesser than a boy is. We are the people who have created this dowry monster. If we stop taking dowry, we might stop giving it anyways. Instead educate your daughters, make them self reliant and then see how efficiently do they take care of your house”. “No sahib, these are all kitabi-gyan. Pl stay away from our internal matters”.

The argument went on for another hour until I took a stand and made a commitment, which forever changed the course of my mundane life. “I will take care of this child. I will be her father, mother everything. Don’t you dare harm this child. She is a living soul, for god sake”. The mob burst in to mixed emotions of fury, dismay and disbelief. Several hours of persuasion and threat followed and then almost at the break of the dawn, they relented.

It took few tiring days to finish the legal adoption process and another few tireless weeks to pursue ma baba to accept her too. “How will you manage beta. What will relatives say? What if when she grows up and wants to go back to her original parents. At least get married now… blah blah”, and lot of irrelevant emotional threats followed. A few months later they moved in to my small 2 bed room flat, leaving their palatial bungalow to share my burden. Sooner their worry [Apurva] became their joy of living.

I remember the moment when nurse handed little Apurva to me, wrapped in a sheet of soft woolen blanket, my darkness[dispair] has changed into a new dawn. Little girl opened her little eyes, looked at me and smiled. Her two innocent little eyes made every challenge look little in front of her pristine smile. I smiled back at her and she smiled again at me as if she is saying “Thank you”. Little did I realize that was 14th January morning, a date which took away my Rhea from me some years ago. The pain associated with that date was no longer the same. The day has suddenly become another joyful beginning for me. I lost Rhea, but found Apurva. In Apurva, I saw my Rhea. No body can take Rhea’ place in my life but then Apurva was not competing with her or anyone. She remained true to her name.

"Papa"! She quipped. On her little feet she toddled up to me, handling a little coffee mug from her toy kitchen set. “Papa, cee what I goth for you. Your ‘besth’ hot phil-ter coffee, even before granny brings her. Paapah, you musth drinkkk it before it gets cold”.

“Yes, my twinkle star. Ummm this is world’ best coffee. Bestest than dadi’s”. “Umm and you are the world’s best papa, papa” she said and rubbed her little pink nose on cheeks giving her papa the world’ bestest eskimo kiss.

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3 Idiots, Twitter & NumeroUnity

Tuesday, January 05, 2010 , 40 Comments

These days, every second person I meet, asks me one perennial question- Have you seen the movie Three idiots? However, before I could reply, they throw a bucket of advisory superlatives [another perennial object] on me- You must watch, it is an excellent, brilliant, superb-dooperb movie. “Not yet, I have though read the book and loved it too”, is my defense missile until I met Khanna aunty one day and this conversation happened-

“The book”? Oh, the movie is not as same that book, it is in news also. That Producer guy was so loud; he said “shut up to the journalist”. How outrageous these film people are”.

“Aunty, he just said shut up to a person in fit of emotional turbulence. It is just a plain shut up… “No no, how dare someone can say shut up to media yaar! If media shuts up, all these films will shut down [and vice versa]. These filmmakers have grown too big for their boots; they live on the money that we pay to watch their stupid movies, download some ringtones, merchandizes etc. But this 3 idiots movie was nice ha. Nevertheless, that does not mean a producer can humiliate any journalist that way”.

“True, I agree aunty but the poor chap, he has apologized to media later”. “Yes he is a poor chap; see what that publicity hunger writer bhagat singh is doing to him. He is claiming the movie to be his own story and trying to earn more money for his paperback books”.

“Aunty his name is Chetan Bhagat and he is not wrong, as the story is taken from his book only. Moreover, he is one of best selling Indian author and may not need such a cheap publicity”. [Producer of VVC films is poor. Since when?]

“No- no beta, you do not know these people. He already took big fat money from the producers and now the movie is super hit, he is black mailing to get more money and awards. That munnabhai guy wrote this story. What is his name I forgot, ya Raju Chopra. Is he Yash chopra’s brother?”

“His name is Abhijat Joshi and he has written the screenplay for the movie. The basic plot however, is from the book. By the way, have you read the book aunty? It was an amazing book”.

“No, no who has such time to read such big books on engineering colleges. They said on TV that the movie very different from that book”. “Who said that movie is different from the book, aunty? Media is on author’s side”

Arre, Media to kuch bhi bolti hai. Aamir khan is saying and I know, Amir Khan is never wrong. See he saved poor Indian farmers from paying tax to British, helped poor mental child and even fought that Ghazini villain who killed his girl friend. He is so cute.”

“Aunty, he is a good actor and was just essaying the role and that child was not mental, he has symptoms of Dyslexia.” “You mean to say beta that my Aamir Khan is lying?”

“No aunty, ‘your’ Aamir khan is not lying. He has not read the book and therefore he should not intervene in this.”

“Then why Aamir Khan said that author is shrewd? He must have read that book otherwise why he would poke his nose. Are they doing it to promote the movie?” “No Aunty, the movie is so good that it does not need any publicity. Why Aamir is doing this, we do not know. All I can say is unless…

“No but I know that Bhagat person is lying. The movie is very different from the book, I heard. In the movie, two side heroes go out in search of their college friend main hero and this was not there in the novel. The author is saying so to sell more books, get bigger money, and go to Hollywood”.

“Aunty that book is already a best seller for some last five years. The writer has launched 3 more books after that and all of them were best sellers. In fact, they have already made a movie on his second book. The controversy is point less, except the makers, a million people has read the book agrees that story is from book. Moreover, scenes in a movie will be different from the chapters in the book as the medium of story telling is different. The basic plot remains same as the story of 3 boys who came from different backgrounds meets each other in an engineering college and their years there.”

Hmmm betaji is movie mein bhi aisa hi hai but book mein nahi likha hai na ki dono dost teesre ko dhoondne jaate hai”. “Aunty, a book can be adopted but can not be completely copied as in a movie, a story is the writer’s imagination and a movie, a director’ vision.”

“Woh to thik hai but if this writer is that good then why did he make that crap call centre movie? Main aur Mr. Khanna went together to see this movie, together hamare head mein headache ho gaya. Khamkha waste of Rs 600 on PVR ticket. Hum to sallu ko dekhne gaye the but heard that he was also angry with the film. If this Chopra had seen that movie, he would never have taken this bhagat singh guy. I have heard that this writer writes books only for small town non English population and he has no literary sense.”

“Auntyyy [by this time I got my head mein headache], Chetan Bhagat just gave the story from his book- One night at call centre and not directed the film. Moreover, the film failed, not story. One failure does not mean that a person cannot start again. This writer is one of the best selling, widely popular English authors in India and that is more important than how many alliterations are in the first page of a novel”.

“Hmmm you are right but this writer signed the contract and agreed then. That Raju Chopra has even uploaded the contract on his website. I even saw writer twitting away to glory about the movie, director and everyone. So why is he making so much of fuss now, why was he quite all this time?”

“You are right aunty and I guess that is the basic issue. No, not about you being right but the entire episode of washing the personal linen in public. Both the parties should sort out the issue maturely instead of calling each other dirty names. Writers and filmmakers need each other and stirring pointless controversies like these will only add to creative loss. By the way aunty did u say twitter, are you on twitter? What will you do there, I mean wow what is your twitter id?”

“Hee he beta, you know na these days every body who is anybody, is on twitter. I never used to understand all this bird-whale business until I heard that apna favorite Shah Rukh Khan has also joined this twitter. Since then I cannot stop myself and requested your uncle to teach me. Funny as there was a time when my grand mother’s grand mother use to send messages via pigeons and now after 100 years, am sending message through this virtual bird err Is it pigeon or sparrow? Whatever, I am so glad that I can talk to my children pinky- sonu via twitter. God bless this twitter bird, for now I need not have to knock sonu’ room ask him to eat, I just send him tweet. My daughter is doing her masters through distance learning course via twitter. She says- ma its kewl! Sach mein beta, bhala ho twitter walo ka. Kewl must be one of her professors. Arre you also do lot of that what blocking things on Internet na, what is that?”

“That is blogging aunty and Kewl is not any college professor but it means cool but please do not ask what does that mean [my readers must be already growling]”.

“Oh! Blogging right. Your mom was telling that you were picking well and then you started playing some stupid farm games and keep hooked to it all the time. She was telling how many people were telling that you are very good writer and asked you to continue writing and turn author like many other blockers do”.

“Bloggers aunty”. “Yes, I heard how people first write blogs, become authors and publish their books. Who know you can be next Chetan Bhagat. However, I still think that he is the culprit as my Aamir khan is never wrong. See he saved Indian farmers from paying tax…

“Aunty, we discussed na that with due respect to actor, he should abstain from commenting as he has allegedly not read the book yet”. [Also, people ask me to write books as I write long posts [like this] and they get bored. I am no talented].

“Yes beta, you are so right. These people should call a neutral party may be someone like you to compare and help resolve the conflict without having any vested interest, why like you, may be you as you explained it so nicely to me. Warna mein kya-kya sochti. BTW beta, you must be on twitter also na. What is your “alias”? Mine is- My-name-is-Khanna; add me as friend”.

“Sure aunty. I would hee he love to help them resolve this conflict n regain peace. [Is a certain Mr. VVC listening :0)] In addition, my twitter id is- Numerounity! Tweet tweet tee hoo!

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