Coffee Chronicles Episode 4: Ballooning Woes-I

Part I: Dormancy and Dance

 

Ours is mostly a dull and rather boring floor. If a contest were to be held to judge the liveliest floor in the entire office, our floor would undoubtedly occupy the last place. This is not to say that the floor is lifeless. All sorts of quirkiness in human behaviour are on display in the floor. But ours is hardly a floor where the birthday of an employee would be celebrated with a surprise birthday cake or confetti. No sir, not here. There was, however, an exception. Once, when promotional activities for a marathon were going on, one bearded and highly energetic man came to our floor along with a bevy of girls holding placards. He made all the people, most of whom are well above 40,stand against the long wall that runs along the conference rooms and asked them if they “were ready to rock”. His question was met with a resounding and immediate ‘NO’.

The man was obviously not expecting this answer and looked, with some annoyance, at the Communications personnel who had accompanied them to the floor, in a tone and with an expression that plainly said, “I did not sign up for this”. We were coaxed to stand up against the wall, however, and told that we would be made to dance to two songs, the first of which being ‘I’m sexy and I know it’. Now there is one lady in the floor who shares the habit but not the demeanour of a male lion who is the head of the pride. Meaning, she sleeps for twenty hours a day and works as less as possible. She comes to the office, fiddles with the mouse, talks to a few people- one garrulous and loud old man is her companion on most occasions- and tired from all this activity, goes to sleep in broad daylight in the busy office. She rests her face against her hand and sleeps till lunch. Her feat of sleeping for so long and with such apparent comfort in such a position is , undoubtedly, a result of long practice. After lunch, she may work until she feels she does not need to and then reads herself to sleep. She wakes up suddenly at 5:15, when it is respectable to leave office and wastes no time in doing the same.

That day, however, she changed things. When the music came on, and people against the wall started moving their limbs gingerly and some openly complained about the futility of the exercise, this lady, who seemed to have been conserving her energy for this performance, let it all go. She put youngsters to shame. Her hands flew, she twirled and moved and danced her way to glory, and for the bewildered people standing beside her, to levels of extreme discomfort and awkwardness. The bearded man who had been disappointed with a hostile reception from the floor earlier was now delighted and declared her to be the star of the morning, and saluted her energy. The rest of us exchanged bemused glances. Performance over, while people were still talking about what just happened, the lady crept back to her chair and fell off to sleep.

Contd. in Part II

Faux Post: Confessions of an Indian Prime Ministerial Candidate

I am an Indian politician. I have been an MLA for eight terms from the Hindi heartland of the country, from the so-called cow belt which also has many buffaloes and other ungulates that produce milk and can be eaten. I have been a member of many parties schooled in principles of socialism.

Taking the view of my long years of active service in the Indian political scenario, I believe I am the fittest person to become the Prime Minister of the country. I can prove my fitness on several counts.

  1. I do Yoga daily, which by the way, is completely secular. Muslims have been doing Yoga for long. These Hindu baba people have distorted the idea of Yoga by claiming it for their own.
  1. I am vey clear on my views about cows. Secular and socialist that I am, just like the Preamble, I give as much, if not more, importance to buffaloes who have been denied the same status as cows for decades. This preference of cows over buffaloes underlines a racist and dangerously communal trend in the power circles of the country. I, on the other hand, am well-known for my affection towards backward minorities in general and buffaloes in particular. I have been known to deploy top cops to prevent buffalo theft and sack policemen for negligence regarding the same. However, I am all for the banning of beef.
  1. I do not invoke dogs in political analogies and disrespect people by comparing them with our canine friends. The present Prime Minister and his minions engage in such practices, but I do not. When I rarely do, I ensure that I use a relation to a dog in a comparatively senior or dignified position like “big dog” and “elder brother of a dog’s son”.
  1. When I come to power, I will ensure that all the Muslim mausoleums like Taj Mahal, Bibi ka Maqbara, Humayun’s Tomb are handed over to the Waqf board. I will also bring this stupid issue of Kasmir to a closure. We do not know if Kashmir is a part of India. I will form a transnational Waqf board with our neigbour Pakistan and put Kashmir in there.
  1. I am humorous as well as practical. Who can forget my joke regarding the birthday party of my beloved netaji? I had said that the birthday funds for the lavish party came from Taliban and Dawood. Ha ha. It is funny even today.
  1. As Prime Minister I will redeem Delhi’s title as India’s ‘Rape Capital’. The basic problem is that all these women try to get two minutes of fame by claiming themselves as rape victims. Being shamed has become fashionable. I will deal with these cases just like I dealt with the one recently in Lucknow. People liked it too, judging by their clapping. Mobile phones are to be blamed too. I will reduce the accessibility to mobile phones as well.

As you see, I am fit as a fiddle to become the Prime Minister. I will be a secular, co-operative Prime Minister and not conduct any CBI raids on people, aam or not. I am being denied an opportunity to lead the country for the same reason I get detained at airports and am unfairly targeted by other parties- because I am a Muslim.

As one of my good friends had opined, ‘inhe hataiye’(remove the current people at the helm) and make me the Prime Minister.

Yours sincerely,

A Prime Ministerial Candidate

Faux Post: Word of the Year

The Oxford Dictionary have revised their announcement for the ‘Word of the Year’. Earlier, in a quirky turn, the staff at Oxford Dictionary had chosen an ‘emoji’ for this prestigious award, indicating how central emojis have become to language. However, the decision was not welcomed by the majority, and purists were up in arms against the Dictionary for choosing an emoji to be in the same hallowed spheres as words like ‘selfie’, winner of the previous year.

After rigorous data analysis and number crunching, the staff at Oxford decided they had a word after all, and it was ‘intolerance’. A staff representative mentioned that India’s English speaking media, and population in general, used the word at least 75.58 and 34.62 times on an average daily, respectively. Analytics further revealed that usage of the word spiked up in the last few months, turning the existing statistics on its head and upsetting the leaderboard. The word shot to the top, upsetting the table and past other contenders like ‘selfie’, ‘beef’, ‘ISIS’, ‘LOL’, ‘troll’, ‘ROFLMAO’ and of course, the strongest of them all, ‘secular’.

WOTYblog

Reactions to the news varied. Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the news and said it was an official recognition of the fact that intolerance in India was rising. Amir Khan, who got into a spot when he wondered aloud if he should leave the country because of intolerance, said that the announcement made him want to cry. Shiv Sena staged a protest in Mumbai and party workers burnt copies of the Oxford Dictionary. The New York Times ran an article with the picture of the burning dictionaries saying India had become hostile to Western education under Modi’s regime. The Congress wanted another session dedicated to intolerance in the Parliament and Digvijay Singh opined that GST could wait, this was more important. Firstpost ran several articles, all contradicting each other, generating a spate of sharing and cursing. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed ran a blog post titled “15 Reasons why the Merriam-Webster is better than Oxford”.

Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose, the journalist duo, welcomed the recognition of the word with enthusiasm as befits a grand achievement. They said this was a thumping victory of the truth, a badly needed announcement to quash the ‘no intolerance’ stance taken by the Government. #YearOfIntolerance trended on Twitter. Some news channels did try to point out that rising usage of the word need not indicate less communal harmony in India, but The Ashutosh from AAP aired the popular view of most in his tweet, “This is viktory of secularism over BJP. EVEN OXFARD SAYS THERE IS INTOLERANCE. MODI PLS ANSWER!!!”.

Far away, Noam Chomsky, the celebrated American linguist and political commentator, said that it was a testimony to the tolerance of the Indian public that they put up with this utterly useless hullabaloo over a word when there were other pressing issues like poverty and pollution at hand. A coughing homeless man on the streets of the Capital concurred.

Things: That time of the year again

It is that time of the year again.

No. This is not about the highly ‘uncivic’ civic polls recently concluded or the new polls scheduled on 8th. This is not about the retreating monsoon which leaves around the 8th of October with a parting salvo of severely uncomfortable humidity and occasional heavy rains. This is a little about the skies, though- the blue skies with fluffy cotton like clouds.

This is not about the traffic that blocks the roads of the city now. It is a little about the things that cause the traffic. Structures that look like bamboo scaffoldings tied with coloured clothes at the joints. These objects of nuisance starve the already narrow roads of space and contribute heartily to the slow and serpentine movement of traffic. Carpenters can often be found in front of these structures making elaborate patterns of wood. Overnight, these scaffoldings are clothed and before you know it, there is something draped in newspapers sitting on the platform inside that passers by with folded hands seem to pay silent obeisance to.

This is not about the huge banners and hoardings that blind the sides of the streets and render the city unrecognisable. This is a little bit about the reason for such extensive sponsorship by companies. Soon the city would be covered in advertisements of companies in every sector conceivable. Banners will come down from houses, every inch of space available will be used creatively for posting advertisements. People have recently claimed that this is as much a festival of consumerism as anything else. However, this is not new, it has been this way for long, even when the state was under a communist regime.

This is not about the innumerable count-downs shown at the corner of television channels or the deluge of people at shopping complexes. We are not talking about the home grown fast food joints that will mushroom out of the courtyard of houses and put out hand written menus at the gates. This is not about special ‘sharadiya’  magazines eagerly awaited for by generations of loyal readers. This is a little bit about the aniticipation, of something the entire city seems to wait and prepare for.

This is about the smell. The early morning smell in the soft sunshine and of incense- that seems to grow with every passing day. This is about the white and orange sheet of shiuli flowers that are laid dutifully at the bottom of certain trees every morning. This is about the lights that are put on all the houses of the para. This is about that maddening, intoxicating sound of dhaak, that familiar beat that your pounding heart recognises. This is about the feeling of unbridled joy that takes captive every being in this city, despite the silent sweating metro rides, the despondency of directionless dirty politics and torturous weather.

This is about a feeling which is an experience in itself.

And this feeling comes around this time. Even if you do not stay in the city during the pujas, even if you hate passionately the leering drunken crowds in the streets who seem to have come from elsewhere, even if you curse feelingly the long hours of being stuck in traffic, you cannot deny this feeling. And you know why.

For it is that time of the year again.

Faux Post: Tired of reviewing movies, Kejriwal starts reviewing everything under the sun

In a strange turn of events, Arvind Kejriwal became critical of everything, not letting even his own party go by. People with knowledge of the matter said it was a hangover from his movie review frenzy. Having run out of movies to review recently, he has now turned his reviewing skills towards other things.

What with Somnath Bharti becoming a fugitive after complaints of domestic abuse by his wife, the Delhi CM lashed out at his former minister in a series of tweets, reprimanding the same man he had backed so firmly during his infamous night-time raid in Delhi.

However, Kejriwal did not stop at that. His next target was his colleague The Ashutosh.

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He did not spare his political opponents, of course.

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His tweets even drifted towards the abstract:

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Finding his tweets going wild, he continued:

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He even dared to take on the Nation:

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But the best were of course:

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Faux Post : Congress reveals psychological campaigning methods employed by BJP, appeals to EC

The Congress is becoming nervous ahead of the Bihar polls. This was clear when they asked the EC to take ‘Mann ki Baat’- the radio programme of the Prime Minister aired on Sundays-off air. The EC refused to comply with the request, but a dogged Congress has identified other avenues through which they feel BJP is influencing voters secretly. Congress representatives have claimed that BJP has tied up with a renowned management consulting company to send out subliminal messages to voters ahead of the Bihar legislative polls. Manish Tewari has even come up with a name for it, calling it the Below the line Campaign Ghotala (BCG-gate), while asking the EC to look into the matter.

From what we could pick up from several sources is that after master strategist Amit Shah’s plans did not work out in Delhi, the BJP decided to enlist the services of a strategy consulting firm to consolidate its position in the Hindi Heartland. As part of it, the said firm has drawn up an elaborate scheme of innovative marketing communication practices. For example, Anubhav Yadav, a resident of Shamsher Nagar village, said, “I am frankly surprised by the sudden proliferation of lotuses in my pond. Although the pond does look very pretty now, I have been spending sleepless nights thanks to some people who keep coming to my house offering to clean my pond. I even woke up one night to find them putting out fish nets in the pond.”

A  lot of people in and around Patna have also said that there has been a rise in the saffron hue in their surroundings. Unassuming objects like banners and hoardings have become increasingly saffron tinged.  All the people we spoke to could not deny that the associations with BJP were strong.

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These aren’t the voters you are looking for…

Says General Secretary Digvijay Singh, “They are employing BTB (below the belt) campaigning methods. Our Party President Mrs. Gandhi finds it all very disturbing. Ever since that weirdo Sitaram Yechury  gave her a copy of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci’s Code, she has been wary of symbolism of any kind.”

However, the most controversial claims of the Congress are related to the radio program by the Prime Minister. Congress has alleged that the program implants messages in the sub-consciousness of listeners using hidden frequencies, forcing them to support BJP even without knowing it. Unconfirmed reports say Rahul Gandhi was the mastermind behind the claim.

Meanwhile, Mallika Sherawat has announced that she would start a radio programme herself, titled “Tann Ki Baat” . One Congress official said on conditions of anonymity that he did not have a problem with Mallika’s program, but expressed disappointment that the show was on radio and not television.

Subramanian Swamy,with a sly wink, had  the most definite say on the matter. He tweeted, “It seems saffron has become a state of mind. #SurrealSaffron ;)”

Coffee Chronicles Episode 3: Elevator Entries

*Mini Prelude*

The elevator is an important part of an office. Apart from its contribution to ruining many a new year resolution of using stairs, its importance also lies in the fact that it is symbolic of the rise and rapid descent of the aspirations and positions of the people who ride in it. It is perhaps because of this reason that people leave their facades at their desks and are unabashedly themselves while they are in the elevator.

Consequently, the elevator becomes an amazing place to observe some queer actions and their owners.

*Episode Begins*

I was not particularly sleepy, and was, in fact, met with a sudden work load I was absolutely not prepared for, when I decided to saunter in to the mini-kitchen and grap a cup. My brain longed for some lemon tea to rouse itself, so that I could ask it to focus on drab Excel sheets for the next three hours.

No sooner had I picked the cup up and pressed my lips to its rim, no sooner had my eyes closed and taste buds become alert in anticipation of the tangy taste to come, than my manager called out to me and asked me to attend a meeting a few floors above. Not one to waste a cup of tea, I left, with the tea.

I went up the elevator. I was on the 7th floor, and my destination lay on the 15th. I reached there right in time to be told the meeting had been cancelled for the day. Cursing softly to myself I walked back to the elevator.

When I got in, I found three other people standing there. All of them seemed very relaxed, leaning against the shiny walls. I found one semi-bald specimen particularly happy. He was standing with his back and head against the wall, near the floor-number panel.

At 14th, the elevator stopped, and a new man walked in. Within seconds, the happy fellow and the newbie had establshed their familarity, and also their intimacy. This new man was standing at the back of the lift. One thing to be noted, both the men had slightly bulging bellies.

About to stop at the 13th floor, happy man smiled and asked new man something. In response, new man reached out and pinched the belly of happy man, answering the question as he did it. Happy man could hardly contain his glee and proceeded to pinch back new man on the belly with another question.

For some reason at once strange and inexplicable, the elevator stopped at every floor until 7th. These curious and cringeworthy exchanges of belly poking and pinching continued throughout. Towards the end of my journey down that somehow seemed to take an incredibly long time, happy and new man had come close. Shuffling their feet, swaying, blushing and poking, they were quite a sight. If I did not have the propensity to be surprised by such things like most people here – no doubt out of practice- I would have followed them down.

I later rued having got out of the elevator a little too quickly. However, I was not disapointed for long. While coming up after some work at the ground floor, I had with me another queer companion. Soon one gentleman got up. His belly apart, he was quite thin. Now the queer one present on the elevator expressed a cry of delight on seeing him, and began-I kid you not- rubbing the odd belly of the new entrant. The entrant was embarrssed, but that in no way deterred the perpatrator of the action. The rubbed man got off just before I was about to, and while I was getting down, I heard the belly-rub-ber say that he was very fond of the other man.

My delusions that I was immune to such strange ways of greeting were dispelled the very next day. I was waiting downstairs, after a horrible ride in the metro, when I espied a man who had earlier convinced me to donate blood. He gave me a cheerful smile, and evidently feeling there needed to be more cheer between us, came towards me and hit me on my belly with the back of his hand.

Needless to say, I did not return the gesture.

#Footnote

I spotted a new coffee machine downstairs, one that had hot chocolate as well. A dedicated fan of hot chocolate, I picked up the cup, placed it beneath the spout and pressed the button. Some water came out, and then a few drops of milk. I waited there for 5 minutes waiting for the rest of it to come out, but nothing did. I threw it away and returned to my floor, to the familiar coffee machine, which discharged a cup of tea dutifully. I picked it up, and sipping it, went back to my desk.

*The End*

Faux Post Breaking News: AAP secures speech sponsorship from Tide, sparks detergent-funding rage

In a path-breaking development, detergent brands have started sponsoring political parties in India. Corporate funding to Indian parties has always been clandestine. While industrial heavyweights in the US have been open about their political donations, such a thing was never thought to have been possible here, until now.

It all started after a speech by Arvind Kejriwal in Bihar. Following the speech, there were widespread allegations that the entire speech was peppered with veiled product placements for Tide, after AAP interns roped in the brand for some much needed donations in an unprecedented and novel way of funding. The interns also said that they might change the AAP logo to a washing machine now; the broom was losing favour with the masses.

In his speech, Mr. Kejriwal  declared that the Clean India campaign was a failure and that the youth was disillusioned with the government. He meant Narendra Modi’s government, of course, not his own. Mr. Kejriwal pointed out that though much publicity was done for the Swacch Bharat campaigns,not much was clean at the end of it. In a long speech marked by fiery oratory and surprising lack of coughing, he proposed that the failure of Clean India among the youth had deeper implications.

Taking the recent incident of a man abusing at a lady at a traffic signal, he said, “That is why I said the youth has rejected his cleanliness drive. They have become foul of tongue. Gandagi hai inki dimaag mein. I have also listened to Honey Singh songs. They are undeiable proof of the fact that even art has become filthy under Modi. Everything the youth associates itself with nowadays is dirty.”

Politics will be sparkling white, soon.
Politics will be sparkling white, soon.

Mr. Kejriwal said that one simply needed to go to the rooms of the Boys’ Hostel of any engineering college to know how disillusioned the youth  with the cleanliness drive. He said, “Jake dekhiye, go and see, what the condition of those people are. Wrappers, empty pizza packets everywhere, unwashed clothes lying on the furniture. And let me not get talk about the smell. If this is not their way of protesting against this superficial exercise of cleaning, then what is?”

Mr. Kejriwal was not done at this. Speaking ahead of the Bihar elections, he said BJP’s promise to clean up the system and bring back black money had failed because of a dirty nexus between the industrialists and the BJP leaders. He roared, “Sab mile jhule hain. Sab gande hain.”.

Mr. Kejriwal’s unusual hankering on cleanliness instead of things like Government autonomy in Delhi raised suspicions initially. People were convinced something was afoot when the Delhi CM said, there is a rising ‘tide of awareness among the aam admi’ to counter the Modi wave, with great emphasis and an unnecessary pause for effect after ‘tide’.

Mr. Kejriwal further said that a party like BJP which disrespected its elders and had no internal Lokpal was in no position to take on cleanliness. He said, “Look at us. We are such a clean party because we have a very democratic foundation. We just conducted an internal survey yesterday and the results show that a whopping 97.856% believe that our party is clean.” He then flashed a sparkling white handkerchief at the audience, and promised to bring “chamakti hui safedi” to the system.

Brought back to the idea of Swacch Bharat and asked if the responsibility to keep the country clean belongs to the citizens as well as the government, he placed his hand on his chest, adjusted his Gandhi cap and said, “Hum saab aam aadmi hai. Humara koi aukat nahi.” Then he paused to eat a banana and threw the peel off the stage into a garbage dump on the side of the street.

The claims of corporate sponsorship by Tide were initially denied by AAP. Congress however, expressed relief at the development. One Congress representative said, “Phew. About time too. I do not understand why corporates should shy away from funding political parties. Now we can officially move into our offices in the DLF complexes.” Last heard, they were in talks with Ariel for a tie-up.

Janta Parivar has announced a tie-up with Ghari Detergent. Mulayam Singh Yadav was initially set on Nirma, for he loved the ads, but the rest of the leaders mounted a strong opposition saying in addition to Jaya, there were also Hema, Rekha and Shushma in the song, which might give out wrong signals to the voters.

BJP was quiet on the issue. When our tireless correspondent finally got through to the party Chief Amit Shah and asked him his party’s reaction on Kejriwal’s cleanliness comments and the recent developments, Mr. Shah  said, “Daag acche hai”.Then with a mischievous smile, he got into into his car and left.

Faux Post: Trinamool Congress to visit Kanha-Pench corridor to show solidarity with tigers

Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) today declared that they would send a three member team to the Kanha-Pench corridor that the Central government has decided to widen. The three member team comprises Derek O’Brien, Abhishek Banerjee- the nephew of the TMC supremo and President of All India Trinamool Youth Congress, and Dr. Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar, Minister-in-Charge, Dept. of Environment in West Bengal. This trip will be undertaken to show solidarity with the tigers, whose movements from one forest to another will be considerably hampered by the heavy traffic on the roads.

This comes closely at the heels of the announcement that TMC would send a three member delegation to FTII to empathise with the students. The plan was subsequently cancelled due to some reasons. This also follows an incident where Ms. Banerjee was booed off the campus of Presidency College in Kolkata by angry students who demanded an investigation into the ransacking of a heritage laboratory by alleged TMC goons. The West Bengal CM had to beat a hasty retreat through the slush covered fields, a point reiterated by the media.

A TMC representative said, “It was very bad. As it is she walks about in slippers, and negotiating the muddy and slippery field in such haste was a difficult task indeed. Thank God nothing happened.”

Our sources say that the recent misadventures with the student fraternity has made TMC look to other areas to stamp their say on matters. And at a time when the world is looking to save tigers, there was one major issue at hand.

When we asked Mamata Banerjee as to why this issue was selected, she pursed her lips, looked askance and replied, “Thish iz a nashanal ishoo. We are a nashanal partee. It iz naycharall we will phight for naychar.”

She further added, in a flurry of sentiments, “Tiegar iz bhery preshush to Poschim Bongo. We habh phrazes like ‘Bengal tiegar’ and ‘Bagher baccha’, meaning ‘Kid of a tiegar’. We demand the Gawverment roll back the highway.”

Abhishek Banerjee, her nephew, claimed to be an aggressive environmentalist. “We all love tigers. We don’t want them to become homeless. We will take up this issue seriously. If anyone even dares to glare at tigers we will gouge your eyes out. Cut trees and we will cut your hands off”, he mentioned, menacingly.

Derek O’Brien, who detractors say is in the party just to handle the English speaking media, said, “We are viewing this problem at two levels. At one level, it is a violation of the environmental habitat of the National Animal. At the second level, it is an extension of the land-usurping schemes of the Government. After innocent farmers, they are now trying to take the lands from where tigers earn their livelihood.”

However, just before this article was going in to print, we got to know that the trip had been cancelled. We could get through only to the TMC representative mentioned above, who said, “Our plan has indeed been cancelled. Some party programs have come up. Madan Mitra is finally well enough to be investigated by the CBI and we plan to celebrate his return to health by throwing a party.”

Derek O’Brien twitted, saying, “Postponed trip to visit #KanhaPenchCorridor. Hope to go on a safari later. Ciao.”

Disheartened at missing out on an opportunity to go to one of the most celebrated national parks in the country, the representative said, “I was supposed to tag along, but now we won’t be going”.

“But no worries, we had gone to the Dooars for a conference once. We can schedule our next conference in Kanha”, he signed off with a smile.

Coffee Chronicles Episode 2: ‘SOMETIME’

It was not even 11:30 and I felt I would drop dead on the desk if I went through that Excel sheet again. The meeting that was scheduled at 11 o’clock was cancelled and I had nothing to do until my guide came and gave me a new set of incomprehensible instructions. I tried reading the news, but there is only so much about the vagaries of stock market that one can take. it went up and down so many times that it seemed even Arvind Kejriwal’s marvellous ‘U-turns’ were easier to follow. There was an interesting article about a Muslim man who got beaten up when he talked to a female Hindu colleague, and I spent some time reading the insightful comments on the piece. Reading routine Bollywood gossip was never much fun, but I attempted to do that today, only to be forced to switch windows again and again when alarmed looking men stopped by my desk. Having no other way, I proceeded to the mini kitchen to keep myself occupied for some time over coffee. I genuinely felt the need for a warm soothing latte.

The office employs people from an organisation for housekeeping services, but they have been associated with this particular office for so long that they have become extended employees. Beyond their routine tasks, they serve tea and more often than not, treat themselves to it. I walked into the kitchen to find three such men standing with the exact same expression. They were holding empty cups and looking, for some strange reason, at the photocopier, as if my entry had interrupted a most interesting conversation with the photocopying machine which had just turned mute.

Seasoned in a few weeks to ignore all such instance of seeming abnormality, I picked up a cup, put sugar in it and pressed the button for latte. As the foaming liquid filled the cup, a wayward drop landed on my hand causing me to react with a meek ‘Oooh’. I turned around to find one of the said weird men looking at me, with an expression that said “You deserved it”. Again, I ignored that- my sagacity was growing in leaps and bounds- and moved on to pick a stirrer.

I was stirring the coffee, and unbeknownst even to myself broke into a hum of ‘Kabhi kabhi mere dil me  khayal aata hai’, an old and very cheesy Bollywood song. I turned to leave and found a man looking at me, a full time employee this time. He hands were frozen forward, and his mouth was open in a very evident expression of surprise. My first thought was that I was singing too loud, but I looked around to see that the photocopier-chatting group did not take any notice of me and concluded against it. Meanwhile, still surprised, the man proceeded to the machine and I made way as soon as I could.

Coming back to my desk, I wondered what the English translation of the song would be. Not very good in things like that, I Googled it, and sure enough, a few seconds later I was reading an elaborate post on the subtleties of translating the song. The explanations were long and tedious, and I skipped most of them to go to the main translation.

Now, I had mentioned that the song was cheesy, but nothing had prepared me for what I read next. The first two lines of the song, which go thus:

“Kabhi kabhi mere dil me khayal aata hai

 Ki jaise tujhko banaya gaya hai mere liye”

had become,

SOMETIME IDEA COMES TO MY HEART,
AS IF YOU ARE MADE FOR ME
”.

I was intrigued. The translation had left me absolutely speechless. I moved on to the next two lines:

Tu abse pehle sitaron me bas rahi thee kahi 

Tujhe zameen pe bulaya gaya hai mere liye

BEFORE THIS YOU WERE LIVING IN STARS SOMEWHERE ,
YOU ARE CALLED ON EARTH/LAND FOR ME

Now, this song was never a favourite. I had always regarded it as somewhat lame, but this translation had changed it forever. It goes on:

SOMETIME IDEA COMES TO MY HEART,
THIS FLESH, THESE EYES ARE MY TREASURES.

But the high point of the song comes in the lines when the songwriter speaks of how, on the wedding night, the groom warms up to the bride in imagery long associated with sensuality in India. This has been translated, in a stroke of genius, to the following lines:

ITS(sic) WEDDING NIGHT I AM REMOVING VEIL,
YOU ARE COMING TO MY ARMS BLUSHINGLY.

Needless to say, rest of the morning, till lunch, passed  like a breeze. I did not even know when it was time for lunch, as I sipped my latte and read the blog, my admiration growing with each stanza. The ending, like the beginning, is in a flourish that encapsulates the spirit of the entire exercise:

AFFECTIONATE GLANCE WILL LOOK UP TO ME LIKE THIS,
I KNOW YOU ARE STRANGER BUT JUST LIKE THIS,
SOMETIME IDEA COMES TO MY HEART.

I drank my latte to the dredges, and closed my laptop. Then, content and still amazed, I passed by the photocopier and one of the weird men who seemed to be looking lovingly at it, towards the elevator for lunch.

#Footnote

I have now discovered a way of justifying any random thing that I do, just like this post. The sincere reader can well ask for the reason for inclusion of this incident and all I have to say is:

“SOMETIME IDEA COMES TO MY HEART”.

*The End*

P.S.: You can read the absolutely awesome translation here.