Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Do you love your mother tongue? ~ From a Nomad’s Diary

X: “Hey! Are you a Tamilian? I mean, how do you speak Hindi so fluently?”

Me (taken aback): “Yes, I very much am a Tamilian, although am born and brought up in Gujarat. Guess, that explains J

X: "Oh! So, you know Tamil also?"

Me (now smiling): "Oh Yes, I very much do."

Such questions set me thinking, “what is the big deal, after all?” Or may be, I do not find it a deal at all considering, I am one blessed soul as my parents and I have always conversed in our mother tongue Tamil, despite the fact that my parents have been up North and West for most part of their lives. As I grew up, I learned Hindi and Gujarati as good as I leaned English (Yes, I am not fluent in Gujarati as I never got much of an opportunity to converse, although I learnt to read and write this language with ease). But, Tamil always is my first and fluent tongue and I love conversing in it, irrespective of where I live.

However, such questions as I mentioned above make me wonder, why? Why is it assumed that most South Indians do not speak Hindi which rings as true as a busted myth that most North Indians do not speak English, or just the other way round? Why a few Hindi speaking people often forget that because Hindi is their mother tongue, they are fluent in it just as we Tamilians are in Tamil. Tamil is our mother tongue, as much as Bangla is for Bengalis, Marathi is for Maharashtrians and Gujarati is for Gujaratis and so on. However, that is not what prompted me to write this post. I almost believed that most of us South Indians may have faced this issue until I was surprised by a close friend who complained to me, over a casual chat that her child does not speak in their mother tongue at all. Of course, I am not sure whether she was actually complaining or feeling otherwise (glad) about the fact that her child refused to or did not understand the language. As, I have observed this in many Tamilians who refuse to speak in Tamil and would endlessly chat in any other language but their mother tongue, just to 'fit in the crowd'. And this uncivilized habit carries forward when people start bantering even as they realize that there are people of yester-generation sitting midst them, who may not necessarily understand what is being spoken. And, it is this thinking that brings me to the crux of my post, "Do you love your mother tongue?". Because, if you don't, you should. And, here is to why mother tongue is important, especially for a growing child.
  • When a child is born, the first language it learns is touch of the mother and the aura of her presence that shields the child, giving him the much needed assurance and security he needs, as he takes his first whiff of the surroundings. And, the second language he learns, are the kind words, the mother uses to communicate with him. This language is the mother tongue, the language that brings with it, a bond of love.
  • As the child grows, his cognitive abilities increase as he learns myriad expressions in his mother tongue, grasps the words being spoken around and tries to apply the words and expressions appropriately, thereby expressing self with an individuality. Hence, this first language brings in clarity in thoughts and actions of a growing child, as young as a toddler.
  • Then, there are many aspects of nature that are better expressed in mother tongue, especially the art of story telling and songs. For instance, when I first tried explaining to my son about moon, he did understand. However, there was a lack of interest. Then, when I sang a small Tamil rhyme showing him the moon in the night, “Nila, Nila, Odi va. Nillamal odi va!” (Nila means Moon in Tamil), he immediately correlated it and said, “Ma! Nila means moon”.  And he further surprised me with, “Ma! Nila in tamil, moon in English, In Hindi what?” . The question led him learning a few words in the third language Hindi, besides learning his first language Tamil and second language, English simultaneously. Grasping power increases manifold when mother tongue is spoken at home.
  • Mother tongue is one of the best ways to bond with people. I believe, it plays an indispensable part in building up strong social relations. Also,it helps a person become confident and independent in more ways than one, as he/she does not grow with a feeling of ‘trying to fit in a crowd’. It helps a growing child chisel a dynamic identity of his own. And so, he merges flawlessly in any crowd he wants to. He never has the need to barge/try/beg to 'fit in'.
  • Lastly, mother tongue is an integral part of every person's identity. Notwithstanding social and peer pressures, it helps a person think in different ways besides fueling his imagination. Fluency in first language always paves way for creative abilities, a penchant for learning foreign languages, academic excellence and a healthy social life. After all, it is the language that heart and mind understands alike.
In umpteen occasions, I have found people refraining from conversing in their mother tongue, either out of a wasted thought of ‘Log kya kahenge’ or out of a false pride in throwing around a facade, “Oh! I am not one of those uncouth regionals!”. And, I don’t blame people for such blatant display of their misconstrued personalities. Because, besides home and school, there are many other factors that decide a person's physical and mental growth. But the strength of not having to give in to the building pressures of peers and other social elements comes from a strong bond with the language spoken at home. It opens up the mind like a parachute giving us a perspective to look at everything differently.

Such is the bond. It is not a shame to speak in your mother tongue when can and when you should. And, it is important to remember, that flaunting is least necessary when you have the humility to keep your feet on ground even as you may be a flawless bilingual. Bonding with mother tongue is as important as bonding with one's own mother :)

So, do you love your mother tongue? :)

P.S: I am proud for a fact, that my three year old son is fluent in speaking and understanding Tamil. he is gradually picking up Hindi and English and does make a lot of errors. But that does not stop him from interacting more and more with people around, even as he is corrected more often by us and our friends. After all, first language is the mother of all languages. Isn't it?

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Swimming with the frogs..... ~ From a Nomad's Diary

There is a lot of fun involved when you club your activities with children. We learn a lot from our own children as we try to impart our limited knowledge to them. But there is one thing children teach us which we find difficult to learn, and that is being fearless. And that is just one of the lessons we got in our recent swimming escapades which also in the process revealed a lot to us about ourselves.

I am a regular here at the plunge bath in our campus, in the place we live. And I look forward to enjoying the therapeutic effects of swimming in the bluish green waters as it relieves me of all stress and anxieties. (am least bothered at how my skin has tanned). And then, with my almost three year old son, the experience of teaching him to swim gets all the more challenging. Considering that my son enjoys in the pool, I did not face much challenge in getting him to wear his arm floats and helping him paddle his feet. But being a toddler, he easily gets bored and distracted and I always have to search for something to keep him motivated to swim. Such as leaves that fall off from the trees nearby or maybe, some flower carpals that float in the water are enough to keep my son in the pool as he swims to catch them. So the saga continued for days until three close friends also 'pooled' in with their children, one 2.5 years old and the other 1.5 years old. And today, as we swam midst the incredibly increasing decibels of hollering, crying, squealing and whimpering of the three pranksters of ascending age groups, my son suddenly called out to me. “Mammmma….mammma….. see there is a frog!”

For a second there, I almost believed it to be some toy as the frog was still as a stone until it opened its mouth and breathed. All of us freaked out with one of us even having encountered the slimy creature jump over her feet, which she had at that instant, shrugged it off as some leaf. The pool man came and removed it with a huge net. Not forgetting to mention, the children were the most ecstatic with my son super annoyed later at the fact, that the frog had been caught. That instant however changed a lot about the perceptions of an adult and a child. We for one, were still feeling awkward accepting that we actually swam in the pool that had a frog. However, our children were the happiest. They had shed all fears of drowning and were suddenly more interested in searching for more frogs, if any. And boy, children do have an eye for detail for the things they search with all their soul. Four more frogs were ‘rescued’ in the intense search operation that happened, lest they get trampled under the feet of us noisy adults. The pool man later explained that the change in weather from the bright sunny to cloudy and rainy had got these creatures out from the dense foliage nearby. However, nothing deterred us from swimming the laps as we practiced for long. I got more time to swim and try the strokes I did with ease in my childhood. Two of us quickly learned the basics and practiced for a long time until the strong pull of hydrophobia waned. And, the children were having a ball of a time in the pool, learning to swim, all by themselves. Fears had left us and the pool.

Every experience gives a perspective. This was one that just made us look at things differently through the eyes of a child. The children were initially scared to get in the water and we were initially scared of the uninvited amphibians. But both, learned from each other about shedding the irrational fears that clung to us. One of us joked, "May be these guys are checking us out! Eh?" Perspective eh!

The image below sums up what I have in mind right now.....

For people with those 'YIKES' expression can keep their fears limited to themselves.
For people who think we are mad, u bet! We are crazier than the craziest and we love to be that way!
For people who think we are uncouth, let me assure you, we are all well equipped with anti-fungal creams and powders at home, lest you think about the frogs and their sliminess! Also, chlorine itself is a form of disinfectant.

And finally, for people who think we are adventurous, bang on! Join the club!

And then, we swam with the frogs……of course, searching for them to be rescued!!


Monday, May 12, 2014

My son and his first best friend TW ~ From a nomad’s diary

The day my son, A was placed in my arms as a cuddly red bundle three years back, I knew the three qualities that defined him – stubborn, thoughtful and social (a combination that is difficult to handle). The other qualities, good and otherwise unfolded as we watched him evolve into an incredibly mischievous toddler from an inquisitive little new born.  But, the three innate qualities remained. His stubbornness drives us crazy. His thoughtfulness at times, surprises us. And his social circle has selective people who he allows in his orbit of acknowledgment. Although, he plays with everyone at school, he has this one special friend back home to, whom he is most attached, of all. This one friend is his best friend, his partner in crime, his friend who is unquestioningly a game to everything my son says and is the one with whom I have seen my son in his happiest self. So, allow me to introduce my neighbor’s adopted year old mongrel – Three wheeler (TW).

How he joined us in our neighborhood, how he became everyone’s darling and most importantly, how he earned his name, is something my neighbor cum friend N shall write about in near future, considering she has monitored his growth and behavior right from the time he was born. Having been his benevolent guardian whose motherly affection and good care is unparalleled, her efforts have paid off making TW the best behaved mongrel I have ever come across. Tolerant in nature and having undergone a tad too many challenges at a time, when affection, food and care were the primary requisites for this pup then, TW has indeed come a long way. Not forgetting to mention, he earned my ire too quite often, when he was a pup. Those days, his notoriety knew no bounds. Be it, pooping in front of my door early in the mornings and then scooting off as soon as I used to open the door or, be it gathering the other pups in assorted mischief, TW was the lead who followed Capt Jack Sparrow’s lines religiously– Fight to Flight when trouble knocks. Ever since, I have seen him evolve from a troublemaker pup into an impeccably alert guard dog.

Coming to my son's blossoming friendship with TW, I realized today that my son does not think TW is a dog at all. Rather, he treats him like a sibling, playing with him, admonishing him, ordering him around and then, hugging him intermittently to the extent that TW has to run away and duck under the sofa to elude my son's persistent pestering. Over a late morning snack of grilled potatoes and some lemon juice today, N and I caught A and TW in the middle of a conversation that was privy to them alone.

Scene 1:

A:  Hey TW, this is a tortoise, a baby tortoise! Look TW! (my son holds TW’s head and makes him look at the small wooden tortoise in N’s home next to a big one)
TW: now looking intently at the small tortoise
A: And, see this one is the big tortoise. This is mine. The small one is yours. OK? Take it….Take it……
TW: now looking at the big tortoise
A: NO! This is mine! That is yours!
TW: back to chewing his bone

Scene 2:
TW: (in tow behind):  skidding to a screeching halt!

Scene 3:
A: Lying next to TW and looking at him, conversing in some toddler language, patting him to sleep. (the tone was hush)
TW: Slowly closes eyes and dozes off!
A: Pretending to doze off!

There were many interesting conversations between them  that had more actions than words. And, so I might do great injustice if I were to elucidate them here, as no amount of words can describe that pure friendship developing between this sensitive mongrel and my naughty little boy.

I know not now, if I shall ever have a dog, as all my life I have been against having pets. But off late, my perceptions have changed. When I see my son vocalizing with TW, the twinkle in the latter’s eyes, so matches my son’s enthusiasm when they meet. It is as good as watching two boys playing, fighting, conspiring little tricks and then, resting together like chaddi buddies! I for one, know for sure that my son is a born animal lover. And his association with his first best friend TW has put all my doubts and apprehensions about bringing a new member in future, to rest.

So long TW, be good and have a hearty and healthy life.....God bless...!!

P.S: Photos coming soon!!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

And, the stars welcomed him...in their abode - I ~ Fiction series

"Guide us in the hour of need"

Four year old Nyssa was playing with her bunny Troy. The toy bunny was white with shades of brown, a gift that her father had gifted her, last Christmas. It looked at her with its deep black eyes as she softly whispered in its ears, “Hush Hush Troy! Papa is coming home”…………………………

Sarah Jane stared blankly at the ceiling as her new born was sleeping peacefully next to her, oblivious to the effect, the sudden twist of fate had on her. She then called out to Nyssa and hugged her tight. The tears will flow. They will not stop. Not, this time.....

Shirley Tomas placed the rosary beads back in the drawer. She had held them in her hand, long enough since the dreaded phone call 9 hours ago. She prayed for a long time. Her heart failed to accept the truth even as her mind came to terms with the fact, that she could never relive the phone conversation with her son, about a day ago. And then, the tall gallant man appeared next to her and said, "It is time."


There was a big crowd that had gathered outside the villa of Retd Brig Benji Tomas. The old man stood briskly at the entrance of his two storeyed villa. His face was expressionless, as always. His mustache was neat and trimmed. His rimmed spectacles made it hard to look into his jet black yet, mystic eyes. He stood tall, impeccably dressed in a white shirt, striped scarf, brown corduroys and well polished wellingtons. His wife, Shirley stood there alongside her husband, with glazed  eyes as though they looked into an other world. Matrix, their German Shephard guarded their home with extra caution this day. And then, the old couple looked up, as a huge army truck came at their door step. The moment was overwhelming. The moment stilled the air. The moment was deafening as, Maj Neil Tomas, the hero of Ernakulam, the son of Retd Brig Benji Tomas had arrived home, for ever. 

The lion-heart who stood by his oath, fought his adversaries with all his might, and took the bullet on his face to protect his comrade, had come home to his family, in a mahogany coffin draped gracefully in tricolor with a huge wreath resting on it. Shirley Tomas staggered as the old man held her by her arm, lest she should fall. Her only child now lay there sleeping in that coffin, never to open his eyes again to feel his father’s hug, his mother’s kiss, his wife’s love, his daughter’s delightful squeals and his day old son’s sweet little nothings……

Maj Neil Tomas had arrived at his final resting place, a martyr…..And then, the stars welcomed him...to their abode.....


P.S: The above is an attempt at a short story from my side, as a testimonial dedicated to the brave hearts of our country like Maj Raghuram, Maj Mukund, Capt Deepak Sharma and many more.....who have sacrificed their lives, guarding our motherland. 

"May your tribe increase."


Friday, May 9, 2014

The leaf that looked like a fish ~ From a Nomad’s diary

Circa 1994:

The first time she stepped into the chilled bluish green chlorinated water of the huge swimming pool of GNFC Complex, Bharuch was in the year 1994, when she was about 9 yrs old. The pool had a netted partition that demarcated the baby pool from the actual swimming pool. For her, who never had entered water in her life of 9 years, it was a moment of sheer fear clubbed with awe and thrill. She had faced many such occasions where she had felt both in the same instant. One of which, was seeing a baby snake slide by in the porch of her home. And now she entered slowly in the baby pool as instructed by her father.  It was only after a while, she understood the concept of baby pool, which was least to say, as deep as an adult’s finger. When she saw the elder kids swim effortlessly on the other side, the question that pounded her constantly was ,”why can’t I?”. After a couple of days of having observed people enjoy their laps, she took the plunge. While her father was busy swimming in the deep waters, she jumped from the baby pool into the actual swimming pool, crossing over the netted partition. The next minute, she knew that swimming was no child’s play. It was an art. It was a technique. It was a lesson. And, the first lesson she learnt was, “If you do not swim, you drown”. As  she thought she was  on the verge of entering the other world with a lot of water having entered her mouth and nose and then, someone pulled her out gently. After coughing out all the chlorinated water, she looked softly at her anxious father who she thought, was going to reprimand her for her blatant display of stupidity. However he surprised her as always, “You want to learn! That is a good thing! I will talk to the coach tomorrow. But you have to be receptive and obedient. The coach is strict. OK?” Those words removed all her fears about water. And she knew, she was going to learn.

Present Day, 2014:

She remembered this incident on this day as she saw her almost three year old son trying to swim with the arm floats tightly wrapped around his little biceps. She never learned swimming with a float. Her coach was from old school, where floats of any kind were a big NO. She remembered how he had kept her head under the water till she learnt to flap her hands and paddle her feet simultaneously. The first time, when she was asked to dive from the diving board, she almost staggered. And then, she was picked like a doll and hurled into the water. There was no time for fear to grow. She realized that it was a different time then. With no coach for her son, she decided to teach her son with the arm floats. And then, the challenge began.

She: “Hey! Paddle your feet! Flap your arms!”

Son: “No mama! I will drown!”

She: “No! You won’t! I won’t let you! And these teddy floats won’t let you, either!”

Son: “Mama! Please hold my hands”

And then, suddenly he yelled, “Fish!! Fish!!”

She turned around to see a big brown leaf floating in the waters. For a second, she was tempted to correct him. It was not a fish. It was just a leaf. But she held her horses. Today was not the day to correct him. And then, she smiled.

She: “Hey see, there is a fish! Want to catch it with your hands! Go!”

Son: “Yes! Yes! I am going to catch it!”

Saying this, he paddled hard, flapping his arms vigorously, in the process deflating one side of his right arm float. Even as the realization eluded his attention, his focus gained over and he caught hold of the leaf and exclaimed delightfully, 

“See mama! I caught a fish that looks like a leaf”

She smiled as she swam towards him. She saw the leaf and then corrected her son, “Well, my munchkin! It is the other way round. It is a leaf that looks like a fish!”

Yes, the leaf that looked like a fish!


Thursday, May 8, 2014


As she sat there, silently chipping away her choco chips from the vanilla waffle, he reveled in her presence. They had not had a single conversation without an argument, ever since they met. Yet, he loved being around her, talking to her and yet, fighting with her. There was a spark in her brown eyes when she spoke about herself, her parents, her childhood, her friends, her hostel life et al. None of it mattered to him, as long as she kept talking to him. Sometimes, she would dose off in their late night banters. Even as he would try to hang up, she would be mumbling in her sleep. Her voice soothed him. He could discuss almost everything with her under the Sun. He had never felt this close to another human in a long time. And then, she looked up to catch his soft glance. 

She (with her mouthful):So, had dinner??

He: "Hmmm.....well I had a late lunch. So, thought of skipping dinner. Maybe, I will have a bowl of fruits when I get home..."

Of course, he was hungry and thought about asking her to join him at a small restaurant near by, that was named Valentines' Square. And just as he was about to ask her.......................................

She: "You know, the ice cream ain't that bad as I thought! It is good, actually."

He: "Yes, it is! You are suddenly talking sweet! For a change, no jibes, no digs and no potshots!"

She: "Hmm....I have to agree on that, as I do not really have much energy to engage in any futile argument with you."

He: "Then maybe, you should have some more ice cream!!"

She: "No, thanks! I do not take anything sweet in the night. And for the ice cream, it was to give you some company....!! Also, I have to travel, remember?"

He: "Well....well....you did give me company...Now, considering that your bus is usually late, care to join......"

And in that instant, there came a bus honking.....rather blaring!!

She: "Hey! That is my bus! It is on time today! What a pleasant surprise, isn't it?"

He: (Pleasant surprise?? It is a rude shock!)"You said, the bus is usually late! How come it is this early??"

She: "Hey, hey! It is not early....It is on time....which usually is not the case though! OK, then see you maybe next week, if I find you still whiling around in this part of the city!"

He: "Well....so that is it! Here, let me help you with your luggage!"

She: "Not needed....it is just one bag, which the bus is going to carry for the next 9 hours.....So, chill :) And before I forget, thanks for the company and the ice cream....."

He: "Don't forget to call me once you reach home....good night and take care!!"

She: "Sure!"

He found it difficult to let her go in the bus all by herself. He felt like accompanying her home. And as she waved from inside, he felt all alone, all of a sudden. And then, her number flashed on his mobile.....

She:" Hey! ......am just going home for weekend....so don't sulk too much.....will be back in the fighting ring day after tomorrow.....and you see, you cannot get rid of me that easy!!"

He: "yeah, take care!!"

And, he was about to blurt those three magical words that had been driving him crazy but he held restraint. Maybe, this was not the time. But he knew, she was the girl he was going to marry. He did not know, when. He did not know, where. He did not know, how. But he knew that it was to happen. And then, he looked up to the sky, thanked his mother (now his guardian angel) and then, walked to the restaurant - Valentines Square. He was hungry. Despite being the carnivore he was, he stepped into the veg restaurant and took a seat near the garden (the place where she had mentioned she sat usually) and then,

Waiter: Sir, this is our menu card......

He: I know what I want....Two rotis and one palak paneer.

They were her favorite. And now, he would love them too!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014


She left her home at 9:45 PM sharp, for her stop that was about five minutes from her home. At any other time, her mind would have wandered to the mind tingling aromas of lip smacking scrumptious snacks her mother would have been preparing for her only child. At any other time, she would have called her father and would have told him about her list of things-to-buy from the newly inaugurated Big Bazaar in her hometown. At any other time, she would have been deciding which movies to watch with her mom. But this time, the tall dark handsome image flashed all over in her head. She continued walking, and at the same time smiling to herself....it would be more appropriate to say, she was blushing.....

Dressed in a simple blue kurti and Jeans and with a stroll around her neck, she made her way to the bus stop.  And as she was crossing the road, she saw him standing there, smiling at her. Somehow, the euphoria of seeing him there all of a sudden, slowed her down, stranding her right in the middle of the road. It was just a fraction of a second and her mind drifted to a wonderland of sunny weather, blue tulips, a picnic banquet and just him. And in the nick of time, he pulled her out of the road, as a Tata Sumo zoomed by. She was jolted out of her dreams. It was then; she realized she was dreaming a lot ever since she met him.

He: "Mad girl! You could have got yourself killed!"

She: “Oh really?? That guy would have stopped had you waved at him....you know that!.........

(Some silence)................................................................................................................................

          Ok! Maybe, he may not have.....
          Ok! I owe you thanks!!”

He: ”I do not ask you to thank me. Try to be a little more careful next time. Anyways, care to have an ice cream?? Which flavor do you like??”

She:Who ever said, I like ice creams?? But you can go ahead and have. Don’t you worry..... Your tummy won’t ache if you sit across me with a cup of ice cream or a candy!!”

He: “You are one of the feistiest females I have come across...I am getting two scoops of vanilla for both of us. And, now I am not asking you. I say, you give me company!! I have rode a long way to see you off!!”

And, they sat at an ice cream parlor, with him placing an order for two Vanillas topped with choco chips! An ice cream?? And she remembered, she had not had her dinner. She wanted to have something salty and here, he was buying her an ice cream! She remembered, she had refused her roommate’s pestering on having dinner with her. Her stomach now growled!! And worse, she hated ice creams!! Sigh!!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

2 States ~ Movie review

A cute intelligent Tamilian girl, a droopy eyed Punjabi boy,  feisty parents and in-laws to be,  moderate acting, mediocre songs and some tadka of inter-state romance ..... Chetan Bhagat has surely dramatized the notable events of his life through this movie.

So, did I like it? I am not sure I can say Yes. But, neither can I say a No. Even as a beautiful  love story blossoms between the TamBrahm Ananya and the Punjabi Krish in the campus of IIM, the couple faces the challenge of taking the road of commitment to marriage. There follows a lot of emotional cocktail between the obsessed mother of the boy (played impeccably by Amrita Singh) and the dominating mother of the girl (played by Revathi). And, it is important to mention here, Amrita and Revathi give some priceless insights when it comes to dealing with multifarious situations where cultures and backgrounds clash like fire and water!

As far as acting is concerned, Alia Bhat seems to be on a roll! She has somehow been able to replicate the chirpy, independent and feminist personality (innate in most south Indian girls) with aplomb. Arjun Kapoor as Krish fitted the role apt, although he has been heavily shadowed by Alia’s prowess in acting. Ronit Roy and Shiv Kumar Subramanian have done their parts well as the complicated fathers who have difficulty in being accepted the way they are.

Overall, the movie was just fine. Songs were not that great. The movie, I felt was long. Rest, it is a one time watch!

Rating: 2.5/5


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Hypocrisy (un)veiled!! ~ From a Nomad's diary

X (to media): “The leader that he claims to be, has a wife too. A fact that he kept hidden all this while. And then, he wants to lead this country!! How can he keep such things personal, away from people's eyes? Truth always comes out.”

X (in reality):  “So what, if I am marrying a woman half my age, with whom I have had an affair for long? It is my personal life!! People need to mind their own business!”

A recent political scenario just exemplified the above example of blatant hypocrisy. Who said it, and who over reacted, is something most people know. Hypocrisy when steps out of a closet, stretches to unbelievable limits. And coming to think of it, hypocrisy is a second nature to every politician. But then, I wondered, are we all quite that sincere that we brand politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities as anything but honest? I guess, they are just upfront about their hypocrisy. The moment, power ascends to the head, hypocrisy tags along as one inane quality for every politician. However, if one looks around, there is enough around us too. We just either fail to take notice, or choose not to.

For instance, we all talk about big values, social development and a lot more about being civilized. How many of us truly act on what we talk? Do we take it in the same stride when our own kids and our maid’s kids go to the same school? How do we react when our children after watching us holler and  gyrate in parties, try to ape some of our own actions? How comfortable are we with the fact, that no matter how much we believe in being honest, we always put on a facade to not let the people around know what we really feel? How open are we to the idea of accepting people of the same gender in love, if they happen to be our friends and relatives, despite our advocacy for ban of Article 377 of Indian Penal Code? How many times have we lied to appease a person’s falsified ego, just because we thought, the situation demanded? How surprised we seem when children/teenagers back answer parents and teachers, when we ourselves have had our own hormonal surges, when we were their age? How far does our pretense go, when we understand the cascading effects of human behavior on success?

There are too many questions. And there are only arguments, no answers. The fact remains, that hypocrisy is there, all the time in each one of us. Only that, we become the hippopotamus from the stories of Tinkle Digest, who makes fun of every creature in the jungle, not knowing how he looks himself. It is just that, each one of us is a hypocrite. Only the degree varies.



He: “What time is your bus for home?” 

She: “Why do you ask?”

He: "Do you have to throw a question at me for every question I ask? What time is your bus?"

She: "It should come to my stop at 10:30 PM. usually, it is never on time. By the time, I board the bus; it is always 11:30 PM. And of course, I am curious.....why do have to know all of a sudden??"

He: "What time will you reach your home town?"

She:"hmmm.....maybe around 8 in the morning. But, you haven't answered my question and you are throwing a handful at me!!"

He: "Ok! I will see you off. Be ready at 09:45 PM."

She:  "For what joy? I mean, why? I have already asked my colleague to see me off."

He:  "A good friend, I suppose?"

She: "Yes. But I have called him only because he lives about 10 minutes from here. You will have to ride 15 kms on your bike from the city to see me off, which I guess is terrible, looking at the city traffic!!"

He: "You don’t have to worry about that!!"


He hung up, annoyed. The time was 9 PM and he was about to have dinner at the mess near his home. Somehow, the appetite had died after the conversation. After fifteen minutes of smoking oblong circles into the nippy night air, he threw the cigarette down, crushed it under his feet and then took his bike and rode off. He was going to see her, for sure.

She was surprised and confused at the same time. It had been more than two months since she knew him. They had met through a common friend and after weeks of cold war, jibes and darting glances, a strange friendship bloomed. They talked almost every day since the day, the first sms of ‘kalai vanakkam’ arrived in her message box. Yes, it was just friendship until this day opened up a new chapter of unspoken love that only soul mates seek in each other. She was overwhelmed. As she sat down to make a call to her parents, his number flashed again.

She: "Hello....."

He: "Listen, I am already half way through. I am coming to seeing you off. Spare your friend off his brotherly duties today."


And then, he switched off his mobile. He smiled. There was no way she could refuse, now. She sat there, staring at her mobile screen for a long time. After heaving a long sigh, she grinned. Needless to say, ear to ear!