Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: HUMOR (Page 1 of 6)

SUNDAY SHOPPING

SUNDAY SHOPPING

 

Sunday is our weekly shopping day. It is the same old routine. Find parking for your car. I prefer the scooter as it is easy to manoeuvre. Hand over a few shoes and sandals to the “Mochi” (cobbler). Yes one odd piece you find shearing off and going to get one from Bombay is not worth the petrol to be burnt.  Our man Friday is such a smiley chap and will wish you with so much of warmth that I can’t help but shaking his hand every time we use his services. He will be waiting patiently even though it would be beyond his duty hours and will also tell you that probably we did not notice that the other shoe too needed a mend. The other day it was raining heavily. We had to get my daughters school shoes repaired and we got late, he knew tomorrow she has to go to school, he waited for us. Advantages of a small place I must say.

Next stop is our sabzi-wala. One of his workers is “Walter”. I love to see him glow with excitement seeing me and my wife. He will wish us the loudest good evening and then speak only in Marathi. By now he knows what we prefer. They generally hand over a basket to you to select your vegetables. I do it the other way, I tell him to do it for me. This way I ensure I will not get a dressing down from my wife as I still have no idea which bhopla (kaddu/pumpkin) is good and which bhindi (okra) is “Kauli” (tender) even after close to thirty years of marriage.

I was noticing how people pick up tomatoes. They will pick up one and drop it. Pick up the second one press it, look around it and drop it, pick the third one up and put it in their basket and this happens to more than twenty they need. I kept noticing that how long that one particular tomato is not picked up. I was amazed that the ones that I had fixed my eyes on were picked up by the next lady. This lady also dropped quite a few and picked up the ones dropped by the previous chap. The sabzi-wala puts up a huge basket full; one actually is confused as to what to pick up and what to drop. As the basket empties out, he doesn’t replace or refill them. A person who needs them will have to pick up from what is placed in front of you. Smart, I would say.

Then I came across one guy not taking off his helmet. He was just pointing out to Walter to weigh what he wants. Soon I realised he had his mobile stuck inside his helmet and was hands free of sorts. We Indians have a jugad (improvise) for everything. Then I found one fellow with his helmet’s face guard over his forehead.  That too was for a purpose. The pan masala he was chewing and the mixture which accumulates inside the mouth has to be spit out.  I asked him then why do you wear it, he said traffic police.

My macchiwali is very smart. She will shout uncle surmai sasti ho gai hai (Fish has become cheap). So even if you don’t want to buy it you get carried away. She will take out a small one and say pandrah shau 1500. You look at her and are about to turn back she says shaat shay pannas 750. You show two fingers meaning 200, now she looks back as if to say, what nonsense you are talking man. I realised two things if you get into a conversation with them you will not be able to wriggle out. Second is become “besharam” (shameless) and haggle and haggle till cows come home. Moment you start become a bara saab you will not know when she has stripped you.

After all this shopping is generally my haircut time. The head massage after that is the attraction. The ladies I leave at a general store to pick up their shampoos and lipsticks.  I don’t know how these barbers know which hair to cut. I find him snipping at the same place for ages neglecting the rest of the circumference. He always asks me “Chota karun” (shall I cut them short). In the first thirty seconds he would have cleared the head and it takes him the next ten minutes to find hair and keep snipping.

I remember going to a saloon in Bombay, that chap took an hour to snip off what my barber does in ten minutes. The only thing was that he used about 11 types of scissors and shavers. Another thing I noticed in our desi barbers. Once they have snipped some hair, they continue doing the sniping action behind your head in thin air. Why they do it, I will have to research. The difference between my barber and the saloon wala nai was 450 bucks. My nai does a better job any day and gives me a head massage free. The saloon chap will charge me a fortune.

Be that as it may, small little things and personal touch matters. My daughter keeps asking me that dad you have friends all over. The auto wala, the sabji wala, the chana-mufali wala, the chicken wala, macchiwali (I call her my girl friend) even the cobbler and the barber greet you so nicely. I tell her yes beta, it is nice to know them too as they do very important jobs. It is our duty to treat them with dignity and show respect. Will my daughter understand the importance of these people, I wonder!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

DISHING OUT HEADACHES

DISHING OUT HEADACHES

 

I am not happy with Mr Tata. The reason is because my life has not become “Jhingalala” even after “isko laga dala”.  It forces me to take a “Disprin” often. You will ask me why, the reason is Tata Sky.

After having got fed up from the noisy news, I said to myself, let me explore other channels that the dish throws at me. I realised, it gets irritating as there are more than umpteen news channels in all shapes, sizes and languages. I try and remember my favourite news channel number not because of the content but because of the charming news anchor. I generally don’t subscribe to what they say, how they say & to whom they say it to. Earlier they used to fight on debates at night, now it is a whole day affair.  I find a “macchi market” quieter.

See I drifted from where I started and this exactly happens on the panel discussions. You start with a topic and land up cursing the founder fathers of India. Tata saab, I subscribe to a bouquet of prime sports but half of them say that I have to subscribe to them separately after paying. Sir please, I would suggest can we have an exchange offer. I shall surrender to you all news channels and you give me all sports channels. One more request, kindly avoid WWF kind of channels. For that I will continue to subscribe to a news channel.

As the definition of bouquet goes, it says an attractively arranged bunch of flowers carried as a gift or for a ceremony. I am sure a bunch of flowers could be of a varied variety or even single. Here we have a single stem with multiple flowers like the gladiola. No smell, same colour, some half open, some withering. That’s how our news channels are. All of them latch on to one story and all have got the same agenda. I don’t want to see a wilted flower but I have no choice but to see and hear what is being doled out to me “Zabardasti”.

I find if one has to really gain knowledge, one needs to get away from the idiot box. As they say you have to be in a learned mans company to learn and that is what happened with me yesterday. I was invited by none other than an Ex Naval Chief. It was a real privilege to meet a man who has seen so much, known so much, reads and writes so much. The hour and a half spent with him felt as if I am in a different world. I confessed to him that this is the first time I am meeting an Admiral. I was in awe, starry eyed, feeling so good deep inside that word cannot express.

His thoughts and understanding of things happening around us is unmistakably from the years of his experience and deep understanding of this country’s affairs. I must confess Sir that I forgot to present you with the mangoes I carried, in my excitement. My wife gave me such a dressing down and my daughter is still laughing. Believe you me sir, my mind was blank but I remember each and every word you spoke. Thank you Sir, it was an honour to shake hands and take a picture with you.

This reminds me of a “Kabir ka doha”. “Ek Ghari adhi ghari, adhi se puni aadh, kabir sangat sadhu ki, kaaten koti apradh”(spending few moments or fraction of those moments with learned people cleanse you or wash away all your dirty thoughts). Thank you sir and that is how I felt yesterday.

Today, we are enslaved by our cell phones. We sway, get carried away and get influenced by the negativity being spread through social media, especially the news. Let me not mince my words here to reflect on the political representatives who are there to just spew venom. It gets embarrassing to hear that the people who love to recite kabir are in what kind of sangati that they create an atmosphere of hatred all over.

I have no choice as my family is interested in dance and singing programmes which also are part of the jhingalala guldasta. I cannot stop them from their entertainment. News channels definitely are no more “seedhi baat” but are pure and unadulterated “bakwas”. Serials are elongated versions of a ball of dough. One can keep stretching them till eternity. They repeat the same expression from 30 different angles in those 20 minutes, with sound effects that never happen in actual life.

Be that as it may, I think I will find learned people and be in their company rather than rely on things that are dished out to me from a dish. I don’t want to become kabir & give pravachans but I definitely want to get rid of the headache by understanding life in a better perspective rather being a couch potato. Will I be able to do it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MISS MONEY PENNY

MISS MONEY PENNY

 

 I have been visiting my new girlfriend Miss Money Penny every alternate day since first of the month. She stays at a very convenient location and on the way to office. Invariably I find her sick as her main door shutter is always half down. Well she is my ATM. Shutter down means two things, either the bank people are filling in cash or there is a mechanic inside trying to locate where all the hidden money is.

Moment I wish Jai-Maharashtra to the ATM guard, you can straight away make out from his expressions that will the darling give me cash or will it show you its tongue by spitting out a white chit of paper, stating no funds.

BSNL net connectivity is another issue here. It works in a typical “Bhartiya” way that unless you kick the ATM twice it will not hand over cash. Sometimes it is so slow that you tell the guard, look friend, I am going to have a cup of tea, in case my sweetheart decides to shower her blessings, please collect the amount for me. The damn thing becomes so slow that to punch those four numbers one has to wait till an X appears on the screen, which takes ages. If you press a wrong pin, out it will spew a “parchi” stating your transaction is cancelled.

Most of the times one finds the home page very dim. One really has to touch the screen recalling from your memory, one wrong touch and she gets angry. Instead of savings if you punch on current you are back to square one as there is a difference between a chalu khata (current account) and a bachat khata (savings account). “Khata chalu nahi hota aur bachat hum se hoti nahi”.

As the line outside gets longer, people start losing their patience. They are afraid that the man inside may take out all the money. You find people start knocking & peeping thorough the glass door. I wait coolly as I get hold of the friendly cats that live there to play with.

Then there are some people who just do not come out. After 15 odd attempts he will come out grinning to tell you that he was just checking his balance. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!! Moment you go in you find the damn thing working fine and you swipe your debit card. It says, your transaction is being processed. Suddenly you hear lots of churing, flipping, Cheeeen, Chooooon sounds. Then you hear that very familiar sound of counting of notes, Kharrrrrrr.  It brings a grin to your face that today is my day.

In between the transaction you get a sms that your account has been debited by say 5000 rupees. Your eyes get lit up, though they are fixed at the mouth of the orifice which throws out the money. No money comes. You skip a heartbeat, still no money; you again hear the churning sounds, some solace, out comes parchi inadequate funds. Now you don’t know what to do. It is 8pm now the earliest you can contact the bank is tomorrow morning. The whole night’s sleep is gone. At five in the morning you get another sms that the transaction has been cancelled. Phew! You breathe a sigh of relief.

Next day on your way to the office you wave at the ATM guard who by now is a MIP (most important person). Everyone has his mobile number saved in speed dial mode. If you see him smiling and waving back then “miss money penny” is obliging. If he raises his hand with a frown on his face and with a vigorous twist of his wrist means you are forbidden to even look in her direction.

Our ATM is close to our hospital that means a visit to the doctor is inescapable. Reason is moment you enter the ATM cubicle you get chilled to your bones. From the hot and humid climate when you enter a chilled deep freezer you have goose bumps all over. Moment you come out, the blast of heat hits you again and its “sard-garm” already. You ask the guard “itna thanda kyon”, he says that the cats like it chilled. I looked at the cats and said balle balle.

At last I could get hold of some cash on the 18th of this month. This was not through the ATM but with a self cheque by standing in queue for an hour and a half. The Bank Madam as she is known is very strict. I said madam 18 days of this month have passed, when the ATM will be up and about. She said if you have waited for so long, can’t you wait for another week. I thought to myself why not. I knew that the bank and bankwali are thoroughbred bhartiya from the State bank of “Bharat”.

At last the manager gave 20k to me as a special case and told that do not return this month for more. She doesn’t know I have an account in another bank also. Will that banks Miss Money Penny give me what I need?  I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MALLYA MANSION

It is indeed my singular privilege to announce to the world that Mallya has finally decided to settle down in life just behind our house. It is a hill slope spruced with all kinds of vegetation and trees. Many trees have died with age and exposed a clearing for this mansion to come up.

I was a little skeptical when someone told me that your wife speaks to someone secretly. He comes to the backyard of your house. We have been married for almost three decades now; I couldn’t care less even if she spoke to the most handsome hunk. In fact this morning only she introduced me to him. I was awe struck to see him taking so much of pains to keep an eye on his mansion from a vantage point.

In the mornings I usually have a cup of tea in my garden from where the site of this new development is clearly visible. I am a frequent visitor to that area to look after a host of fruit trees and exotic plants I grow. Our green house, mango trees, custard apples, beetle leaves, coleus collection, star lilies, peace lilies, papayas, exotic peppers and pineapples adorn the place. I did see someone sitting, not realising that he was on a reconnaissance mission. Well, I always thought that people really love this nice green place so he must be finding some solace and tranquility. Actually, he was observing his future house from all angles and at various times of the day.

I was intrigued why he is making such a small entrance and that too on an almost vertical slope. It must be for security reasons I reckon. There are a plethora of people after his blood. Various hawks and predators will not spare him or his family. I really admired his thought process and security concerns. He will be even safe from snakes as they too will not be able to scale that kind of vertical cliff. In case a snake does climb up, it will be exposed for someone to raise an alarm for it to make a hasty retreat.

Then my thoughts went to the construction material he is using. I ran through the numerous kinds of cements available. The toughness and strength of each was worth a look but I failed to understand why he was using the local made clay. First thing which came to my mind was camouflage. As it is he is hiding from the world. If this house blends with the background no one will be able to spot it. I also saw some natural horticulturists on the job. Various vines and creepers were already growing to further add to the blending with the back ground.

Soon my mind drifted to the kind of tunnel which was being dug at the entrance. I at once understood that this should be for limited ingress. I also ran my imagination that what about the air passage if it is a “goofa” (cave). There would be provisions made for air for sure. I also thought about the daily needs and things like that. Fish being available in abundance should be the staple diet I suppose. With such a personality they would have worked out a logistics plan for it without doubts.

Who will be accompanying him in this mansion was my basic doubt? I know he lives life king size. So I kept a vigil to see if someone does visit. As his reputation goes, I spotted a beautiful lady accompanying him. Her attire was out of the world, so fresh, so colourful and so appealing it was. I dared not venture near the couple, as I found them to be very shy. Moment I used to pick up my camera, they would move away. So I decided to let them be. Their dressing sense was out of the world and their choice of colours was definitely classy.

I have fallen in love with my new neighbours and have decided to let them enjoy their stay. Yes, as concerned people I will make available for them all facilities such as water etc. For electricity, I feel they are self sufficient as they are totally dependent upon solar energy. A beautiful way to conserve nature I suppose.

This morning when I heard my wife talking to Mallya from the kitchen, I peeped through the other window and I found a “KINGFISHER” which my wife has named Mallya visiting his nest. This is the “Mansion” on the hill slope. I tried to photograph him but missed the opportunity due to its shyness.

Welcome Mallya (the bird kingfisher) to our neighbourhood. Hope you will have faith in us that we mean no harm to you and your new nest. Can we earthlings learn from this beautiful creature a few things in life and be the king of good times? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PM ON FAST

Gone are the days when Gandhi ji used to go on a fast and the world used to get shaken up. I think the British gave up because his fast was a more deadly weapon then any gun. PM Sahib decided to do the same. He is on a fast as a mark of protest because our representatives stalled all work in our “Gole Market”. It appeared more like a “Gole Macchi Market”. The basic decorum and the discipline of the august houses suddenly evaporated into thin air. PM Sahib must be in a terribly angry mood to take this action. Indeed it is very unfortunate for India but who cares.

I remember we used to ask the Adjutant, how is the bosses’ mood? Last minute check used to be with the COs runner, if he nodded his head straight, then you had a chance to put across your argument. If he nodded sideways meant hell is going to break loose. One entered the COs office at one’s own risk. Many times if you were called, you meekly asked the adjutant Sir, what is the agenda? His simple answer used to be “Danda”. There was no use for any guess about your condition when you came out. A good adjutant used to keep a chilled glass of nimbu pani in summers or a hot cup of tea in winters ready, knowing the aftermath of the firing you got.

Imagine if PM saab is in a foul mood and tells his secretary to call a few ministers to his office. Finance Minister, asking for a chilled nimbu pani “in winters”, holding a shredded noting sheet of a few lakh crores which the PM just tore off for no reason.  DM coming out all guns blazing at the Chief’s, stating PM passed though Delhi Cantt and found the Chuna-Geru was not up to the mark. Transport Minister trying to send a message to avoid meeting to the PM stating he is struck in a traffic jam. Foreign Minister already on a flight to Bhutan, when asked why? She says, because of that dhokla issue or was it dhoklam, she forgot.  General Saab already fit-chuted and ready to para jump over Iraq, just in case some more Indians had to be brought back.

Bosses mood was an indicator for things to come our way. It was like the daily horoscope. I remember one of them used to get in good moods moment you talked about a party. Who is throwing it and for what reason was beside the point. Another one used to be a bridge enthusiast; so one could wait till the cows came home and have lunch at dinner time, office started after that. One used to be that training type, if your dangri smells of sweat and your patka is full of sand, it was ok with him. So you knew what to do moment you saw him, just do a front roll in the sand and your day was through. One was a stickler for punctuality, one second late for any parade meant you were on leave that day.

In the civil I find mood swings more and very difficult to predict. He will talk soft but mean harsh. He will record every incident and keep quoting it, till you die. They provoke you and make you react, burden you ‘without resources’, backtrack from their words, mean something & say something. They assume that you will interpret what they say in a manner what they don’t mean. At least in the fauj a boss used to fire you, abuse you, kick you, and shout at you but at the end of the day things were forgotten over a drink. If he was really annoyed, he sent on an LRP (Long Range Patrol).

Be that as it may, where will the PM go to express is displeasure? For him, our diversity is now becoming our divisiveness. We are no more united. Everyone wants a bigger chunk of the pie. If not then hamper parliament proceedings. That’s what the reason is for the PM to react. How do you control such people, the PM per force has to go on a fast to show his unhappiness; a sad state for India.

I consider it a matter of shame if the PM has to go on a fast like this. Knowing the Indian mentality it will make no difference to any of those elected representatives who did not let the houses function. Had these guys thought about the country first, things would have been different? I wish the PM follows our adjutant and introduces stalls of Nimbu Pani and Chai outside both the houses, for all MPs found misbehaving. When will this Gole Machhi Market return to the stature and maintain the dignity required of our Parliament? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BHARAT KYON BANDH

Today there is a call for a nationwide Bharat Bandh I suppose. The Aam Admi is going to be the only one to be most affected. Commuting will be difficult, we are used to it. Essential services will be hit, what is new about it. Banks and Sarkari offices may have to be closed, so what. Vandalism may happen, well that is in our nature. Poor taxi-walas, chai-walas and daily wagers will be the sufferers. It happens every time. The big-wigs will still get their essentials through their back doors, from milk to liquor at a premium which they can afford to pay, nothing novel about it.

Bandh will be declared successful depending on the number of riot like situations created, police stations burnt, vehicles turned to cinders, number of lathi charges and the number of people who die in stampedes or firing. Neta ji gets more fuel to ignite and exploit the situation as also curse the government for poor law and order situation. His pride will be to court arrest by doing a drama in front of the cameras and get carried by policemen. Ho gaya bandh. Desh gaya tel lene.

Opposition takes to the streets, nothing original about this too. They go all out to defame the ruling government, this is routine, irrespective of who is in power.  Police will declare a red alert and a precautionary 144 but who cares for “Dhara ek sau chawalis”.  People gather in groups, in multiples of 50. Police catch people whom they can single out. Then situation goes out of their control, alas the police become moot spectators.

Daily wager sits and waits to feed those five people in his family who per force will go hungry today. They are now fully acclimatised to such bandhs. Schools would be shut down as a precautionary measure. Buses would be forced to be off road. Lonesome streets with ply card yielding “Hai-Hai” shouting people would only be seen. Most of them are paid for a day’s work. Ask them individually what their issue is, they won’t be able to tell.

Do we need Bandhs in the first place? Is it necessary to bring the country to a grinding halt? People may be travelling for business, joyous occasions, solemn occasions, interviews, hospitals etc just to be stuck and stranded for no fault of theirs. Is it justifiable? Should it be tolerated by the voters?

Where is the law to ban bandhs? Netas call it there democratic right. My foot! Neta ji can do bhashan baazi, neta ji can demand apologies from all and sundry but netaji will do nothing to refuse a call for a bandh. Netaji will never blame himself for any chaos. Neta ji’s have gone to the extent to bandh karo the parliament. Neta ji is netaji ji, period! They prefer to gorge on Chola-Bhaturas and then sit on a day long symbolic fast without realising the poor people they represent will go hungry.

I would suggest that all those who want to participate in a bandh can very much afford to get one “fawra”, “genti” “belcha” “jharoo” and one small tarpaulin. Let the netas lead from the front. Let the people who give “chanda” to parties provide dumpers and let us clean our cities. Every drain and every nali can be cleared. Every single piece of plastic & paper can be picked up by those who congregate needlessly for sloganeering.  Let no parliament function but then let all citizens get together and clean up India on the day of bandh. Is it possible?

I can assure you that the power of collectiveness which is shown by wasting precious man hours sitting and gossiping on stages, giving bhashans, cursing each other while the common man looks up to the “mai baaps” for redemption from the shackles of bad times will transform India. Clean your parks, clean your stadiums, clean your roads, clean your public amenities, clean your busses, clean your trains, we will see the difference. All those who can afford it, just do “geru-chuna” to the trees along the road. Netas who claim to be leaders of men need to set an example here. See how things transform in this country.

If bandh is a necessity, then let’s bandh karo corruption & useless bhashans. Let us band karo communal divide and suffering of a common man. Let us pledge to bandh karo throwing garbage on the roads, let us bandh karo wastage of electricity and water. Let us bandh karo obstructing parliament & getting fake news spread. Let us bandh karo all those who vandalise, burn, loot or damage things during bandhs. Let us bandh karo the very concept of bandh. Does it make sense to the planners of such bandhs?  I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

MY CHOICES AFTER TWELFTH

If I were a twelfth class student today, fresh out of the exams, would I have already thought about my career? What would be going on in my mind? I think there would be utter chaos and confusion of selection of a stream triggering random thoughts to do this or something else? The twelfth mark sheet would be instrumental in further planning. Retest is besides the point due to these leaks.
If I get about 70-80 percent in twelfth, will I have a future? What career options do I have? Is there a scope for me to pursue something of my interest? Actually, do I know what my interests are in the first place! I am now transiting through a phase from a school going kid to adult life. I definitely need a career which should fulfil my dreams, excite me, suit my temperament, allow me to continue my hobbies and also pay me well.
Mom and Dad have generally been struggling all through their lives. We don’t have our own house as yet. Mom always picked up jobs in every place father got posted. They always insisted on savings. I saw them buying gold for obvious reasons. Everything used to be on a tight rope, there was a kind of an unseen discipline which we loved to hate. For them books and studies were the only priorities.
Dad preferred his scooter to the car. Mom would never let us feel lonely and dad always boosted our morale. Now was the time for my transformation to step into new shoes, walk my own steps and face my own challenges. Dilemma in the mind was eating me up.
Easiest for me was to continue studies. Now it will be college time, freedom, independence, new place, new friends, time to experiment with life, learn new things, get worldly wise and enjoy. Second was to become a professional as professional could be.
Donations were a big no from Dad. He was there for guidance, sharing knowledge and unflinching dedication for us. Mom had additional virtues of love, care and affection, besides being the best cook. Will I survive in this mad bad world without them? Will I miss home and homemade food? Will I be able to take on a hostel or paying guest? Percentage of marks was below the cut off of a good college, so admissions on merit would be an issue.
Suggestions from people were overflowing to do this & do that. The final decision was ultimately left to God. He would be the guiding light. As the saying says “God helps those who help themselves” so it again boiled down to me. The confusion kept compounding.
Had I scored well, my mark sheet would have spoken for itself. Medical is too tough, engineering I can’t even spell, Literature is not my cup of tea, arts is Greek and Latin to me, Law is difficult, then what else is left.
I decide to join the forces.  I love adventure, mountaineering and sports. I love to travel, I like to meet new people and I love to drive. Dad doesn’t know I have been driving the car on the quiet. I can name all kinds of battle tanks existing in the world today.  Let me give a try for NDA.
They will not only make me a graduate but give me all that I desire. I don’t have to worry about marks much plus they do give a good pay. I just have to be an upright, truthful, hardworking and an honest person. I have been standing first in debates and declamations in school and participated at state and national level and won prizes, which should help me.
Mom with her heart of wax said “mera sona beta” will not join forces. They have a very tough life. No food, no water, inclement weather and terrain. On top of that these militants. If he gets posted to Kashmir what will happen. He should never go to the North-East, it’s too dangerous. Deserts are too harsh. Dad just sits and watches all the rona-dhona and winks at me.
Phew! I won’t have to appear for JEE, CAT, NEET, TOEFL, PMT, CET blah blah blah.  One day, Mom wakes me with a registered letter from UPSC. I open it and see that I am 200 in the merit list and on 01 June I have to join NDA. I pick up mom and give her a swirl; she is like what the hell. I say mom “zindagi ban gayi”. I pull that letter from her hand and rush to announce it to the world.
Can I have a better career after twelfth other than the Forces? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!
JAI HIND
© Noel Ellis

THE ITCH TO FORWARD MESSAGES

These days I find a message circulating regarding a massive earthquake in and around Delhi which will cause large scale destruction. People have been advised to leave the town and go to safer places to avoid aftermath of this calamity. Well, thereafter it being a fake message gained momentum. People rebuked their friends for spreading rumours to the extent their discussion ended up in fights. Some quarrels went thus far that people were removed from groups permanently.

The description of various kinds of people that exist on social media has already been doing the rounds. Most dangerous are those who see a long message and just forward it to everyone including their groups blindly. There are bound to be occasions when this starts a chain message competition. What do you do about it? Should we believe it, ignore it or simply delete it, is the dilemma.

A sane person will just ignore it I suppose. Some intellectuals will try and find out whether it is authentic. If they find it fake, they too would ignore it. Some of them may still forward it that just in case it happens, let me inform nears and dears. Some pranksters forward such messages for fun, to see if it really returns back.

Let me now become an urban metro man. Firstly, I am looking for a free wifi to save on my data charges. My main concern is that my mobile should continuously keep receiving messages irrespective of which social media platform they come from. “Akhir apna bhi tashan hai”. (My reputation is at stake) People should know that I have a costly phone and the damn thing rings. Most people I find just keep scrolling their phones. They would have opened say face book or Whatsapp and they would continuously keep rubbing their thumb on the screen. Then press the side button to switch off the light. Repeat it several times a minute.

Another funny thing is that people keep their phones on the minimum light mode. This is done for two reasons, one is to hide from your neighbour who has a bad habit of glancing into your phone while he is scrolling his own aimlessly, the second and most important is to save battery. Battery is the juice of life and without it survival would be next to impossible. The brightness settings are modified moment the thing is plugged into a charger. If I say it in simple terms “Mufat ka chandan ghiss mere nanadan”. (Use anything which is free)

Today, we all have become virtual zombies, constantly checking our mobiles, constantly forwarding something which may or may not pertain to anything and constantly trying to distribute “free ka gyan”. The logic is if it has come to me it has to be sent. People who had never wished me good morning ever, now send umpteen morning wishes. You ask them is the morning really so good. The reply comes, I sent you because of its content. I then ask, it is 8 pm in the evening and still its morning for you. Have you shifted to the US? He says no. Then I ask who this “Chimman Lal is”, he says I don’t know, so I can’t but resist asking again that see the last line after good morning. Oh! He says I didn’t read till that far. I say fine and delete it.

Many moons back, while learning radio telephony (wireless communication) our instructor’s taught us the meaning of a few terms. The first one was “OK”. This meant the message has been received. In mobile terms that the message has been delivered, the bell of the mobile has rung and your face has lit up that there is a message. The second term was “ROGER”, which meant “message sun liya aur samajh liya”. (Message has been received and understood). In today’s terms, that single grey tick has now turned into two grey ticks and possibly blue. Samajh liya is notional as no one has the time. The third used to be “WILCO”. This meant “message sun liya, samajh liya aur us par amal kiya jayega”. (I have received the message, I have understood the message and I shall act upon it as directed). In today’s terms, I have seen the message, I may not have read it or understood the contents of it but I shall forward it to all my contacts as a habit.

Be that as it may Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sending this long article, let me see how many really acknowledge that they have seen it, reading is not compulsory, commenting I dare not ask. Many of you will forward to your friends. Let me see how many of you have understood the meaning of the three terms and are itching to contact me? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

THE FOODIE WITHIN ME

I wish I had a job like these guys who come on a programme “Highway on my plate”. Some appetite those guys have. 30 years back I could have beaten them hands down. I like the one who is a non-vegetarian. Ghass-Phoos is not my cup of tea to be frank but due to dietary restrictions and age catching up, perforce I have to munch on my veggies and sprout salads. Nevertheless, I want to understand how they control their weight. For me even when I drink water, it goes and gets stuck on my waist like the after effects of Desi Ghee.

Imagine one gets paid for eating. This is some naukri I must say. Their crew must be dying salivating. The beauty is that they publically announce whether they liked or disliked the food. I wish they have a NDA second termers “square meal” as a daily ritual for their diet. In case they ran away from learning table manners I would send all the Drill and PT ustads hunting for them till the time they not only have a “flat foot” but a flat belly too.

Be that as it may, how can one eat so much and not have acidity. I am sure ENO salt people would have them on their cross wires. I think better would be “agar pet safa, har rog dafa” kinds. Kayam Chooran can claim to reduce the emissions of their obnoxious gases for free. By the way, these guys must be farting and farting non-stop. The only way to make way for the next morsel must be to release some gas. I pity the crew who accompany them as their car would be no less than the Nazi gas chamber of sorts.

When these guys must be reaching homes they must be insisting on their wives to make that “patli peeli wali khichiri”. People don’t get to eat two square meals and here we have two chaps who polish of meals for twenty chaps without even belching. I am sure they believe in the adage “pet bhar gaya par neeyat nahi bahri”.

In NDA, I and my cousin used to go to a tamarind jungle near Kondwa gate? We used to target the ripest pods, get them down with a fagot and squeeze the sweet, sour and tangy pulp on the slices of bread. Call it a “Tamrindwich”. We used to sometimes pick up “mixture” (namkeen) from gole market, mash a few “boondi ladoos” in it and stuff the “thing” in buns and wash it down with water, as going to get tea room on a movie day for a second termer meant trouble.

 Many moons back my wife once asked me yaar we have been married so many years and you have never told me that what you would like to eat. You just eat what I make. So please tell me. I said OK make Chicken Mayonnaise. All hell broke loose that day. “Don’t you know there is no chicken”. “First get chicken and then demand such a thing”. “We also don’t have mayonnaise”. “You do it on purpose”. Well I said you asked for it, what’s my fault. “No, you don’t love me and just want to embarrass me”. I learnt my lesson to keep shut and eat what you get ever after.

A few years later, when love overflowed again she said. “Yaar you never tell me how I cook”. “You never find any faults with my dishes”. “You just say “theek hai” never say “achha hai ya kuch kam-ziada hai”. One fine day I said “Namak kam hai” and all hell broke loose again. “How many times have I told you salt is not good for health”. “Don’t you find the salt and pepper shaker in front of you”? “This Tata chap is not making good quality salt”. “If I have forgotten to put it once why do you have to highlight it?” I said my dear, if I don’t say anything you have an issue. You coaxed me to say something, now there is an issue. Just tell me will I get dinner today or not. Believe you me there was double the salt in the dinner and I ate quietly. She sat with a grumpy face and decided to eat quite late. Then meekly came and said sorry and asked me how I ate with so much of extra salt. I told her I am Ex-NDA from 66 course. I can eat anything which moves or doesn’t move. We are Lakkar Hazzam and Pathhar Hazzam. (We can digest wood and stones)

Since that day I have been saved the agony of commenting on any food. By the way she is a terrific cook. My paunch reveals everything. Nevertheless, when will I get a chance to just taste food and be paid for it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

MY MARATHI & MY ENGLISH

I was just calculating my days spent in Maharashtra. Three years in NDA, Khadakwasla, one odd year of my Mech YOs (Young Officer’s Course) and Radio Course in Ahmednagar and then after retirement it has been eleven years I have been drinking Marathi pani. How come I could not pick up this language? Suffice to say, I understand it very well but I am not comfortable speaking it.

In my first term at NDA, I did not know what speak meant. In my second and third term no one let me speak, I only heard choicest adjectives being hurled at me. In my fourth term I could barely open my mouth to speak. In my fifth term I spoke what I had heard in second and third terms. In my sixth term I only spoke to practice my word of command in the bathroom. Besides “oye patilya, kaye re”. All the Joshi’s & Pawar’s used to wonder why I address them as Patilya, as I always thought that’s how you respectfully address a “taant”.

My second encounter with taant’s was when I met a unique family called “Camble” from Kohlapur. Well they were actually Kamble’s. My Sali ji was getting married to Sir Kamble and I was in charge of looking after them. So like a well groomed Liaison Officer of my battalion, I walked up to the would be mother in law before she retired for the night and asked her, auntie what would you like to have for breakfast? She said “supperchand”. Now my brains got shot circuited and I rushed back home repeating this word, lest I forget. Our whole family shook their heads, as none could decipher what missile she was referring to. I mustered some courage and walked up to the elder brother of the groom and hesitantly asked him what supperchand means. He coolly said A for apple. My foot I murmured & got back home, asked father in law to join me for a drink. We had two quick tots and went to the railway station, as at that unearthly hour the only place to find this fruit was the station and bought two kilograms of supperchand.

I was travelling to this place where I am working now, for my interview. This being a remote place we kept asking for directions. Everyone just said “saral-saral”. I said yaar if it was so saral (easy) then why are we not reaching anywhere. After three hours plus finally I came to understand what this word meant, “keep going straight”. Some of them also said “pude” and “maghe”, they sounded very unfamiliar and I did not trust them. I was a quite sure when I reach saral I would be at my destination.

Now, about my knowledge of English; my name sounds English, though my mother tongue is Hindi. Punjabi I spoke fluently as I studied in Sainik School Kapurthala, Punjab. The English faculty of NDA put me in class 6 which is for weaklings because of the reputation of my school in English. Believe you me I failed in English and was about to be relegated. Our teacher was Mr Warriar with an A not with an O. The poem in the exam was BYZANTIUM by William Butler “Yeats”. I wrote to my dad to help me as this poem was beyond my comprehension. He told me to send the poem. In ten odd inland letters I copied the poem and in twenty odd envelopes he sent the detailed reference to context.

Mr Warriar being the officiating principal, used to sit near the most dreaded place called the centre dome of NDA. I had just visited the Com’s (Commandant’s) office close by and escaped relegation a few days back for discipline. It took me great courage to arrange a meeting with Mr Warriar. He dismissed me on seeing my face but my pleading eyes got the better of him. My head bobbed up and down like the “Hades’ Bobbin”. With great reluctance he offered me a seat and from my KDs (Khaki Dress) which could carry 40 toasts came out those 20 letters from a father to his son. He read each word and then got hold of my answer sheet. His only anger was I had not written a single word he had taught. It was natural as I was never awake in his class. I had pasted my dad’s version verbatim. He asked me, what does your father do? I told him he was the HOD English of my school. My grade was changed from F to an A+. I visited the centre dome during my course get together after thirty odd years recently; my eyes went moist as I shouted Byzantium. The echo still reverberates in my mind.

Today a very funny incident happened. Someone came to our house and my wife asked the bai who is it. She could not trace anyone. Bai then went around the house and found that someone had left two gunny bags of manure. She came and told my wife that someone had got “Bomar”. My wife gave a blank look as she could not make head or tail. Ultimately our bai went out brought a dried piece of cow dung and said “Maveshi cha Potty”. My wife said Gobbar, she said hau bomar.

Be that as it may. Should I learn English first or Marathi? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

LOTUS LOTUS EVERYWHERE

Today, I think there are only four out of 29 which are BJP free states. When are they going to be conquered, well let me not conjecture? Slowly and steadily they have been taking objective after objective in military parlance. In case they have not been able to destroy and decimate the opposition, they have been able to get enough foot hold to make their presence felt and even align with a few to form governments even if they are diagonally opposite in ideologies. Now, sooner or later the lotus is going to change its colour from pink to saffron.

A few things which I want them to achieve if they want to really do justice to the mandate they are getting. I know they have not been able to create jobs, I know they have not been able to sort out Pakistan or China. “Achhe din” are nowhere on the horizon. Well, that should not deter them to sort out Kashmir at least. They need to bring in uniform civil code. If nothing else they should do away with reservations of any kind.

You make us wear saffron, no issues we shall consider it as an Indian uniform. You make us do yoga, no worries again, as churning my stomach, twisting and entangling my hands with my feet is a distant dream for me. You want us to chant shlokas, no sweat; the only thing is that someone will have to explain to most of us what it means. We will sing Vande Matram, we will shout Jai Hind. We will stand for Jana Gana Mana without debate. The only problem with me would be to change to a complete vegetarian; Thori gunjaish rakhna bhai is main. I promise to eat my vegetables and salads with curds in the afternoon. Actually with age catching up I have no choice but to listen to the doctor’s advice.

The experiment stage of BJP government is over. This I say in case of GST and de-re-monetisation. Now any further experiments would be at the peril of something. Can we have free flow of goods between states? Can we have better storage of grains and cold store chains for all perishable goods? Can we have better policing? Can we have better politicians? Can ladies be safe? Can education be abundant and free? Can law and order be maintained? Can judicial cases be disposed off quickly? Can we eliminate the corrupt and corruption? Can we breathe pure air, drink pure water and milk? Can we get unadulterated medicines? Can medical treatment be affordable for all? Can everyone have a home? Can everyone have dal-roti at least? Can we all communally unite under the lotus?

I have asked for too much. I am being too idealistic. So let me then get down to mother earth in true Indian style. Let me move with the current, manipulate what I can, influence where I should, lick and get my work done, butter the correct side of the toast or maybe butter both sides, get a Tigrrum (jack) for all my needs, bribe my way through, get hold of a good lawyer to see me through in any court, get a good CA to help me file zero income tax return. Get hold of someone in the police who can bail me out in crisis, last but not the least get hold of a mai-baap the politician, who’s one word on telephone or a letter on his letterhead will do the trick. If still I am stuck then use his paplu (personal staff) for that personal favour.

Nay, I can’t do that. It is not in my blood. I would rather die than do all the above. However, how can I contribute my bit to nation building? I pay my taxes and EMI regularly without default. I obey traffic rules. I wear my helmet and seat belt as a drill. I have linked anything and everything to my adhar card. I do swach bharat from my heart. I motivate people to be good citizens. I use the shauchalaya even if I have to bear the stink in the sulabh. I save water, petrol and electricity as much as I can. I do not litter and sometimes I admonish people who litter as their birthright. I plant trees for the environment. I am sure there would be many like me.

Well, any party and its ideology don’t matter to me but what matters to me are my fellow citizens, their welfare, safety and security. If the lotus can achieve it, I am for it but if I have to bear the brunt of paying for someone who runs away with my hard earned money from my paid taxes, I will not tolerate it. Can I do anything about it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

WATCHMEN AND AUDITORS

Malya’s and Modi’s have taken this country for a ride because our chowkidars were sleeping. At least king of good times gave good times to many. I wish I was in his circuit when his times were good. At least my beer belly could be blamed on someone. I would love to enjoy at least a few weeks of your hospitality. Thereafter, let people blame you for swindling, I won’t even think of writing about it. That’s a promise.

Mr Modi, jewellery wale, I have fallen in love with diamonds. I always want to give one diamond piece to my wife every year. Till now I have never been able to go beyond one tiny earring. Today, the situation is such that I don’t even step into a jewellery shop. Basically for two reasons, one that hope this jeweller will not scoot moment he has made enough. Two, I just can’t afford it. May I request you to present a fistful of diamonds to let my wish come true? I know you have a heart of gold.

Coming to your name sake who is running this country. He is definitely doing sewa of all the gareeb, shoshit, vanchit, peerit only. I the common man is nowhere on his agenda. The moneyed men, he has on his cross wire is perfectly fine with me. The man who is actually bearing the brunt of this firing is the middle class. I don’t even have money to book my ticket and run to Bangkok. On second thoughts why should I run, I never did any hanky-panky. I am actually taxing myself by paying all sorts of taxes. Why am I on PMs Sniper’s scope? I don’t know.

Be that as it may, the desh ke chowkidar reminds me of security guards in most of our housing societies. Invariably they are old, retired and looking for some time pass in their twilight years of life. One guard’s wife confessed to me that “Buddha doesn’t sleep at night; he will do a good job guarding your assets”. We in India select or rather elect our own security guards. Their performance is generally far below expectations. They may not have the requisite qualifications or temperament and they do not have a magic wand either. Last seventy years we have been experimenting with our chowkidars. It should not take us a hundred to finally decide whom to keep.

A typical security wala is given a chair, a danda, a head gear and a tie. He sits there day and night looking at his mobile or gazing at people passing by. The only thing he actually secures is his attendance register, where he signs and shows it to the supervisor. He is never briefed except one odd day a trainer comes and makes him do savdhan, vishram. Poor chap will not know how to wear a belt even. He will invariably be wearing plastic shoes. Shaving is out of question. Half the time he would be on an errand of someone, either to walk the dogs or get dhaniya & paneer. He does look forward to some bakshsish on holi & Diwali and maybe someone who can give him a bottle of cold water and a left over meal.

The buildings security is actually ram bharose or on the street dog who has adopted the building. Who comes, who goes & who does what, is not the guards concern? He is only responsible to open the water connections at the correct time or all hell will break lose. Now, if the society is India and the guard is anybody’s guess. What should we expect?

Today, all these frauds are blamed on audit. Well lesser said the better about audits. It is the same whether it is a safety or a security audit. Yes, audits are conducted on paper. When a tragedy happens army is called to build foot over bridges where as the audit reports bite dust for years.

Financial audits are also a kind of hog wash. Auditors are supposed to find irregularities and suggest remedial measures. Audit reports run into many pages. Presentations are made, follow ups are done. Sometimes, dictates’ that not more than three audit observations will be accepted. Non compliances are an absolute no-no. Auditors are “entertained & looked after”. A fee is set. This is at whose cost?

Now that an audit regulatory body has been made, the government can refer cases to them. My view is that this is cosmetics to give employment to a few. Initially as a new broom there will be lot of sweeping. Slowly they too will be put into place.

Do we need an efficient, non corrupt chowkidars and auditors? Or do we need people who understand and know how to manipulate the system. They constantly keep the poor common man guessing, confused, illiterate and divided? When will we understand this simple thing? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

NANI TERI MORNI KO MOR LE GAYE

Have you heard that old Hindi song, “nani teri morni ko mor le gaye, baki jo bacha tha kale chor le gaye? It is true as Mallya and a couple of Modi’s  lagaoed solid choona  under the very nose of the pradhan chowkidaars of India.

I wish I had that money was a dream. Some I will donate to charity. I also started imagining how many bundles it would be. Will it fit in one big truck? Should I start vacating a bedroom to keep this entire mullah? I still won’t quit my job so as to be richer than these guys besides Ghar ka kharcha bhi to chalana hai.

What would I do with the first gunny bag? Open it, smell it, count it, recount it and put it back. I would go to the bank and ask them what would be an amount which will not draw the attention of the IT dept and start depositing small amounts. I would open bank accounts in the name of everyone in the house. Suddenly I realise, if I save, someone else will take a loan and run away so I cancel this bank wala plan.

Then I thought of buying real estate, one big farm house in Alibaug and a resort in a hill station with fruit orchards and a river quietly flowing by. Sitting on a beach chair with my angling gear deployed, hat on and my line cast. My spinners, flies, bait and jigs all gleaming in the early morning sun. Little droplets of water like glistening diamonds hanging on the line. A fire lit besides me and a kettle hanging with steaming water. My dog next to me and every time I cast I pull out a big one.

I decide not to buy in Alibaug as even Sharukh was not spared and his property is sealed. For a farm house you have to prove that you are a farmer. So I decide to buy some agricultural land instead. I am confident that with just a portion of that money a few hundred acres will be mine. Then I decide choro yaar, kaun pange main pare and I drop the whole idea.

Another idea struck me as I had worked with a few builders in Mumbai. They will help me to buy property there. One house next to Deepika Padukone and one next to Sachin Tendulkar, just a choti si asha. One, I will give on rent and one I will keep for my personal use. Then I thought I don’t visit Bombay often, how I will maintain these houses. I decide to give both the houses on rent. Well, I had decided to leave Bombay to lead a peaceful life then why trouble trouble. Idea dropped.

I haven’t spent anything till now, so what to do with it. I decide that I will buy a Bentley for the family, a Merc SUV for me and a Harley for my daughter. We will go on long drives and visit hill stations, stay in best of hotels and enjoy. Then I realise that all this will be minimum ten to twenty day trips. Will the corporate give me such long breaks? The answer was to forget it. Well, I have only one garage for parking so this idea also fizzled out.

I decide then to have the best of food at least. I ordered from Grofers. I got a reply that sir your place is way out of limits of our delivery zone. I realised that as even Axis Bank promised to deliver my cheque book in four days are still trying to locate my place after 21 days. A personalised customer care representative keeps arguing with me that I have changed my address. I tell her sweetheart, my adhar, my pan, my driving licence and the bank website still show me staying at the same place. Why will I run away from the cheque book delivery boy? I better send my GPS fix, as I heard blue dart delivers stuff even to the North Pole.

I get up from my dream and realise that yaar khani to dal roti hi hai, why take unnecessary tension of keeping so much of money. Even if I buy all geetanjali jewellery, how much beyond a nau lakha which now may be called a nau carora will my wife wear? So let me dalo mitti on this thought too.

I have decided to live as an izzatdar citizen of India. What these guys have gained by fleecing us that time will tell. Hello Mallya and Modi saabs, still nothing is lost. Come back and face the music, return what you can and peeso chakki for what you can’t and be done with it.

Hope the pradhan sewak charges you guys with dafa 302, tazeraat-e-hind.  I have decided to completely dafa karo the thought of so much money? Can Nani sleep in peace then? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

SATRAH KA PARIVAAR HAMARA

As life takes a turn where our children start getting married, suddenly you realise that you are becoming a “Buzurg”. I happened to attend three weddings technically over the week end of the SEEKERS family. Those teeny weenie, pram bound, diaper and nappy wearing lap kids were ready to start their new journey of their married lives. How time flies, as if it was yesterday. The image of the kids and the parents still remains of what you saw when you met them for the first time ages ago. The kids were replicas of their parents.

It took me some time to fathom that our kids are now bankers, marketing wizards, architects, interior designers, roadies, army officers and women officers in the Indian Armed forces. Some are psychologists, some HR Professionals, some IT champions, some engineers and some like mine are still in school.

The parents with more grey in their hair, more bulges around the waist, wrinkles galore, some balding, some already grandparents but with a heart of a teenager still. On meeting time became static. We are transported into an era when we were in our twenties and early thirties, some newly married, some bachelors. Some of course remained chronic bachelors quite long. The dainty looking brides who joined the paltan now transformed into loving mothers and mother in laws. Their nakhras and jhatkas still intact but the outlook to life now sees a sea of change.

As I looked at all the kids my heart felt so happy and proud, completely filled with joy to just meet and give all of them a hug. It had been ages that we had met after being duty uncles at mess parties. Thanks to the social media I was in touch with some, however, meeting the future generations face to face was an out of the world experience. I supposedly was the common factor of one wedding and I have the proud privilege to be called “Noel Ram Gharjore”. I can pat my back for it.

Kids’ handling their parents was an awesome treat to watch. Dad who won’t listen to anyone was now quietly obeying them like a puppy. “Dad avoid sweets”, back went one rasogoola out of the two he had picked up. Mom, don’t forget your medicine and pop came out a pill and went into mumma’s mouth. Life had changed I realised.

After the initial pleasantries and bear hugs, the topic very intently discussed was health. Earlier bachelors discussed girls, movies etc. Now they were married and discussing life style changes. When I said I do not drink anymore and have quit smoking, it came as a shock to many. Diabetes was the centre of discussion, followed by arthritis and asthma. Most of us had morning “starting trouble” from joints to the obvious. Blood pressure was fluctuating and was directly proportional to the happiness being generated. The heart beats were keeping pace with the sudden gush of love. Laughter remained the best medicine though.

The parties where we all used to stand throughout the night as youngsters saw a change as people like me could pull chairs to sit down. How dare one sit if a senior was standing were the ethos but things had changed. Old anecdotes, the loud laughter did not change. Who did what to whom and why did not change? Many secrets which were hidden deep inside, now were freely flowing across the table. The echoes of laughter and the interjections added to the flavour.

Another thing that had changed was that most of us had retired. Most of us were enjoying the second innings, some still working and some in no mood to work. What did not change was the josh and gusto. What did not change was the brotherhood. What did not change was the camaraderie. What did not change were the spirit, love and affection for each other. What did not change was the mutual respect for each other. Ladies looked more beautiful and stunning was another thing I noticed.

Yes perceptions did change and especially about me. Everyone praised my writings, though there were critiques too but they were for me to improve. It was an honour to be commended by very senior officers who saw me with one pip on my shoulder. The way I received blessings from them, I shall continue to look forward for more and strive hard to write better.

People who were not there were missed and stories of such people were the most interesting ones. A little “tarka” to the tales was an added bonus.  Unlike in the good old days when you were supposed to just listen as opening your mouth had its dire consequences.

Another nostalgic thing that happened to me was that I could share a room with my buddy and room partner of Infantry YOs, Commandos and Mech YOs. The only thing is that the bugger snores like a road roller. I did hear a lot of people confessing about their snoring sins. Well very few admit it openly like me. I have mastered the art of answering back my wife in snores perfectly.

Well, Arjit & Pooja, Ila & Shubhanshu, I wish you all good luck and God speed, may almighty shower his choicest blessings on you all. Also to my seniors and juniors and their better halves may our bond grow stronger. There is one life to live and one life to love and our children helped us to relive it. Thank you children and be blessed. Let me live up to the new name Noel Ram Gharjore.

Three Cheers to the “Satrah ka Parivaar” and HAR MAIDAN FATEH.

IF WISHES WERE HORSES

As we grew in service we realised that there were some things we did not like and some things were not done in good taste by our seniors too. There used to be many things which were required to be done due to the circumstances prevailing at that time and sometimes we had an indecisive person. Some were welfare oriented, some were strict disciplinarians, some were hard training masters, some were party people, some were professionally focused and some were technological wizards. Only some were perfect thorough bred Officers and Gentlemen. However, there was something good about everyone. There was something to learn and emulate from each of them.

I remember we had a boss who used to say, if a senior officer opens his mouth shove a chicken leg in, if he opens it wider shove the second one too, nothing wrong with this approach. One day the Army Chief landed up in the unit, I was told. It was midst of summers and the unit was under canvas (tents). You name it and every imaginable cold beverage on earth was catered for. The unit baniya’s tent was co-located and on a pre-designated signal, he was to start piping out hot jalebis. As a courtesy the dignitary was asked, Sir what would you like to have? He said a hot cup of tea. It was like a nuclear bomb which fell on the tent. Mess had not catered for it; baniya was already churning out jalebis, so our waiter just warmed the kettle of chai from the langar and served it. The Chief was so happy to drink it that all officers whose smile had been wiped off suddenly breathed a sigh of relief. Life goes like that. No one thanked the waiter and his presence of mind.

There was another VIP visit in a different operational sector. No stone was left unturned to make it a memorable one. Waiters and cooks were mustered from every unit and formation. Due to his reputation even the cooks wore a helmet to prepare the banquet. The menu was continental. We all proceeded for lunch after the operational briefing. The spread looked delicious and sumptuous. As the dignitary went around shaking hands with all lesser mortals like me, one senior officer asked him sir how about a glass of beer. He said do you have soup, the answer was affirmative. Sir you want a hot one or a cold soup, the answer was cold. It was served in a jiffy. He asked for a slice of bread and shouted loudly; friends’ lunch is served “CHARGE”. No one moved, then he told his story which went like this, “Jab Khane peene ki umr thi to kisi ne khane nahi diya, ab umr nikal gayi hai to tum khila rahe ho” (When I was of age no one offered me a meal like this, now I am at an age where I can’t eat all this). I can only have soup as permitted by the doctor. Well, we ate till our belly’s ached.

Be that as it may, it disillusions me to find our “pradhan sewak” acting like a “pradan alochak” for whatever that means. Had he been in place of Nehru and Gandhi what would he have done is a matter of conjecture. Why, what those people did at that time is history. Why are we digging those old graves? It is quite obvious that elections are around the bend. The need of the time is to look ahead by at least fifty years if not half of it or are we so myopic that we can’t see beyond 2019. Your time is now Mr PM, do it for the country. Tomorrow, the next generation should not start cursing you for your decisions or indecisions of today.

As my experiences tell me that every new incumbent takes time to settle down, you have had four years already. In the army, before a CO says Jack Robinson his successor is in. The new one goes around changing things. If nothing else he will make a trophy with his name and change the curtains of the guest room. The very thought that my predecessors were nincompoops should never happen. One must keep adding values to enrich and improve, rather find faults and curse the founder fathers.

So dear PM Sahib, I am looking forward to achhe din. The founders of this country have left a legacy. It is now your duty to take it to greater heights. They gave us India in whatever shape, should not be questioned. They freed us from the Union Jack. Their intentions can never be doubted and their integrity cannot be tainted. What have your party predecessors achieved for India, if I may ask? There will be no end to the argument then.

What does this country have in store in this century you cannot predict? What will be the circumstances, what will be the resources, what will be the compulsions, what will be the world order, if Gandhi and Nehru could have predicted this 70 years back, India would be in “bahut achhe din” phase.

If wishes were horses and beggars could ride and turnips were watches I would have one by my side! Sahi ya galat? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CHAI PAKORA TALES

I came across a byte how the “pakorawala’s” shot into fame when they were mentioned in certain despatches in the Rajya Sabha. The famous “chaiwala” has already left a mark and now is a chance for this man to come to lime light. I saw many news anchors; mind you head of news channels going around their studios tasting various types of pakoras made by these hard working simpletons. I am convinced that to become successful in this country one has to either become a chaiwala or a pakorawala. This reminded me of days many moons back when “khalis doodh ki cha” and “garma garam pakoras” were in vogue.

I honed my skills of making chai as a little boy. The cuppa tea I used to brew used to be one litre of pure “bhains” milk, two big table spoons of tea leaves, two green elaichi’s nice and crushed in a “kharal”, four or five big spoons full of sugar and boil all these together. Tea used to be a minimum “dus ubala” which meant the concoction used to rise and fall at full heat in the “degchi” ten times. The dancing tea leaves would come up to the brim and then I used to lift the vessel off the “pump wala stove” to let it settle down and repeat. Then put one tea spoon of tea leaves in the “channi” and pour the liquid into my mug enamel. The brownish colour used change to coffee colour and that’s what I called a good cuppa steaming hot tea.

Well, if chai comes can pakoras be far behind. My favourite used to be bread pakoras. The “besan” coated ones I used to relish “aloo bhar ke”. All these were deep fried and in fact in the good old days it used to be in Dalda or Rath ghee. I recall dalda used to be a yellow colour tin with a few palm trees and Rath used to be a sky blue one with a chariot printed on it. Later they started calling it vanaspati, I couldn’t make out the difference. Much later refined oil came in. Today, if you tell the doctor that I had ghee, he will start looking at his watch as if my time to walk this earth is over.

They say that my dad’s era used to be of desi ghee, my era was of dalda and the present generation are the refined oil kinds. Meaning that all the desi ghee kinds were strong and hard working, the dalda kinds worked hard but the refined oil ones just don’t (pun intended). Never heard my dad or grand dad fall ill or had cold or cough. Their sweet dish used to be a hot cup of sweetened milk with a big spoon of desi ghee and a dash of haldi. Halwa of any kind meant ghee floating on top. “Tarka” meant shudh home made desi ghee ka tarka. Roti always had ghee “chipor” ke.

I remember in my ancestral home town doodh & jalebi made in pure ghee used to be a staple breakfast. There used to be long queues to get that crispy, juicy, entangled piece of sweet. The way the halwai used to “fainto” the milk and jalebi’s together was a treat to watch. The milk used to drop more than a meter and a half & not a drop used to spill. The attraction to eat was not only to do with the taste but the presentation of the milky wonder.

In Punjab it used to “chola bhaturas”. Deep fried ones in ghee. The small flour ball was pressed and lifted in the palm. Two or three claps of the hands used to turn it into a bhatura. Then with an artistic throw in the piping hot Jacuzzi of ghee with the anti clock wise rotation it used to be chucked in. Swirling and turning as it went down. Before the bhatura hit the bottom of the “kadhai” it used to start rising. A huge sieve used to press upon it. Out of the bubbling ghee used to pop a crispy bhatura which was flipped in style while the next one was thrown in. All of us used to wait for our turn, mouth salivating all this while.

One could never master was the chutney these “rehriwala’s” used to make. Mom could never replicate that taste. Their green and red chutney was different from our home made ones. Everything was served on a “pattal” and licked clean by us. At the end of it asking for additional free chutney was our birth right. The “committee ka nalka” was the only source of water for the burns in the mouth. If we were lucky, it used to be a bottle of “milk badam” or “bante wala soda” from the next thela.

Life has moved on, the place where I am is “vada pao” and “kanda bhajia” territory. Let me assure you the taste is out of the world. Order a plate and you will repeat the order before finishing it. I dare say should these pakorawals go on strike; there will be hell to pay. Will they be able to live a life of dignity as was mentioned in the august house? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

FM HIS BUDGET & I

Yesterday was a leisurely lazy Sunday after ages. To have a hot cuppa chai in bed was amazing. The week gone by was hectic, not because of the budget and its analysis but due to many parties I attended. I walked out into my balcony to get a bird’s eye view of my garden. It was a pleasant surprise to see our mango tree in full bloom in the backyard. The sweet smell of the blossoms just took my breath away.

Be that as it may, I switched on the TV to catch up with the world. Lo and behold there were quite a few channels showing post budget interview with the FM. For me the budget came and went. Being a total zero as far as finances are concerned I go into a tizzy when I hear the financial jargon used to explain the budget. Our FM saab was throwing them one after the other like a volley of arrows at the anchors which were piercing through them and the audiences heads. To save me from the agony I switched on my mobile to catch up with what my friends had updated on social media.

In the background, the duel of words between the FM and the anchors kept running and I kept switching my eyes from mobile to TV and back. As soon as I heard the word “middle class” my ENT nerves awakened. It appeared as if lakhs of crores will flow down like a waterfall from the TV to my drawing room. Moment he said “gas” my stove lit up and started preparing breakfast. “Petrol” was a little confusing. He somewhere mentioned income tax, I raised my brows to listen keenly as if all my taxes will be washed away like my sins but then he mentioned the “tax net”. I found myself entangled in a fishnet with no way to escape.

He talked about miles of roads & rail, millions of houses, this subsidy and that subsidy. He also mentioned somewhere about the Sensex. My eyes sparkled again expecting my investments to double by the end of the interview. Then he brought in the long term gains. That’s where I switched off mentally. I lost patience when he started making comparisons of inflation, fiscal deficit and all those kinds of words. I switched off the TV and carried my cup of tea to my garden to watch my investment of time in the flowers which were paying rich dividends. I swear the smile returned to my face. Flowers were my gains, my achievement and my accomplishments.

In hind sight, I started to visualise the intelligent looking faces of those “clued-up” anchors. In garb of what the opposition says and critiques say, they were trying to weave a gauntlet around the FM. They were constantly trying to give a knockout punch as also check his knowledge and grip on the budget. I must admire the FM, he never lost his cool nor was he found lacking on the subject. With a calm demeanour he just counter attacked them with questions, facts and figures which under no circumstances could the anchors rebut immediately.

I was just thinking how much of research work these financial analysts do to cherry pick loopholes into the budget. There was not one word of praise by the anchors for either the budget or the FM. They were only there to strengthen the “chakravyuh” which the FM was well prepared to break. One by one, item by item he demolished and justified every pai that he allocated and was going to extract. The anchors must be worried about their own pockets as if the FM would tax every question they asked and levy GST on them. You pay and then proceed.

FM being a master of this subject knew the ropes well.  He also knew that these anchors come with a script and cannot deviate. He bombarded them with figures with a straight face; frankly the anchors would have had no clue of. Even if he told some untruths, I dare say lie, one can always cover it later. He justified every word which was in print and he did it with grace and finesse. I closely observed the FMs body language when a mention of Raga and his tweets on the budget came up.  His piercing look appeared to tell the anchors go teach him the table of two and the spelling of budget.

Finally, FM very well knows that this government needs to survive. Elections 2019 do matter and so do the people. My only fear is that my meager savings should be preserved. Will the FM shower his blessings on the common middle class man in the next budget? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BUDGET CAME AND BUDGET WENT

It was nice to hear about the increase of pay of the topmost people who are involved in governing India in this budget. I feel it is less. On deeper thought, this way it is the easiest for the parliamentarians to justify their salary hike. Actually, they don’t have to get it passed through the budget directly. All of them sit and decide, move a bill and the motion is passed by a voice vote as the “yay’s” always have it. FM is capable enough to cater for that amount without a bat of an eyelid.

Be that as it may, I would like to thank the government for whatever we got for the OROP and the serving people through the 7th pay commission. Yes, there are issues to be sorted out, let us give it time and I shall leave it at that. With this the armed forces have definitely been looked after. So “Jai Jawan” stands good. You may or may not agree.

This year’s budget also shows a quantum jump for the rural and the agricultural sector. “Jai Kissan” must be in mind while doing allocation.  People will always argue it is far less. Well, we are still a monsoon based agricultural economy. Come drought farmers are in for trouble, come floods the crop is washed out, come good monsoons, we have a bumper crop thus prices fall. Our “ann daata” needs to be resurrected.  If this budget can uplift them, nothing could be better.

Frankly, budget was “Greek” to me. My “Choti si asha” was to see my income slab shift a little higher but FM saab left it untouched. People in the tax bracket should not ask for more he means. For every hundred rupees we earn, you take back 30 rupees. My company pays me salary and government takes tax before I even see my pay. Yaar ye kya baat hui. For my services to the nation I earned a pension. You cut tax from my pension too. If I save and make an FD you don’t spare it either. I invest in stocks; you take the devil’s cut from it also. Catch 22 for me.

I pay GST on a sliding scale which goes up to 28 percent. So out of my 70 rupees left with me after 30 percent is cut, you snatch 28 more, so effectively I am left with 42 rupees. Overall what message does it convey that more you earn more tax you pay, right. Who will set out this definition of “more”? I don’t know.

I think let us forget about saving and shaving both. Enjoy what you get; blow it off today, tomorrow one doesn’t know what all will be taxed. I like this term “Cess” which pops up every now and then. If they find that the tax collection is lesser than expected, they levy a cess on it. Wah bhai wah, tax bhi lo aur cess bhi. Paisa bachao to tax, kharcha karo to tax, karo to kya karo.

On the eve of the budget I and my neighbours got together in our lawn to watch the lunar eclipse and there was an eerie kind of discussion on the budget. The gist of it was to hell with the budget let’s admire the moonshine. I was lucky, I was in office yesterday so missed out on the FMs bhashan. I was also lucky to have gone to attend the Raising day of the Indian Coast Guards in the evening and missed out on the discussions on the subject. Swear I am feeling relieved. As I don’t know what FM said and now I am not interested in what he meant.

I can understand FM saab, it is a tough job. You can’t keep everyone happy. To visualise it across the length and breadth of the country considering India’s diversity, must be a herculean task. I am also convinced that to dole out a financial system which will help this country grow needs a visionary with a third eye and a million brains. I also am convinced that one has to take risks and experiment. What might work, what may not, will only be seen in times to come? I fully understand that FM saab you also need votes in the next elections.

My wait for the next budget has already started. Let me assure you sir, just raise the tax slabs by five lakhs which is less than five thousand a month, more than 75 % of the salaried class will vote for you and dare I say you shift the slab by another five you shall have all of us in your kitty. Will the common man be “bambooed” too much this year? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

A SHIP CALLED INDIA

I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India.

At a drop of a hat we gather together to show akrosh. We gather in thousands without a thought, without an aim. Most of us are tamashbeen. Throw stones at a bus; break them and burn them. We are so illiterate & blind that we cannot even recognise a school bus. The poor driver, conductor and students have no defence but to let it happen.

Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS (…—…) call.

Issue is there are no more morals left. Today, the Zameer is dead, Insaniyat is finished, humaneness has vanished, tolerance has been subverted, patience has evaporated, humanity is in danger, compassion has been swept under the carpet and civility no more exists. Did the founders of India even dream of such things when they set sail on this voyage?

We can talk of projecting India as a super power. How can it be if we are so communally motivated? The negative energy thus being produced is actually not letting the wheel of progress turn. Everyone is exerting without being in sync and tune. If we have to find faults and pick holes in every system and oppose its implementation we can forget about progress. It appears that India is like a rudderless craft. It is carrying a lot of stuff but drifting with the current and the wind. The Captain is trying to steer it but the power train is not firing all cylinders. He often leaves the ship and goes abroad to accelerate its growth but comes back to find its crew has burnt quite a few of the ships compartments. Though the captain knows the ropes but appears to be caught between the devil and the deep sea.

On this Indian ship, the security is vigilant but the internal organisations are at loggerheads. The crew which belongs to various regions, ethnicities, speaks various languages and belongs to different religions is taking too much time to start functioning as a team. The diversity is difficult to fathom. The galley cannot cater for every ones choice. A thambi will have to get used to Chola bhaturas and a Punjabi to sambar vada. The engine room is the parliament and is so noisy that all issues get drowned in its noise and heat. The crew is just making steam without understanding the need of the ship, as they are oblivious of the weather, wind conditions and currents while they work deep inside their work stations. Hope time has not come to shout May Day.

The journey for us is long, moreover our own crew has become in-disciplined, the sea is rough with hazards popping up every now and then, course is being set and reset but the ship appears to be relatively static. The expectation is to move this 125 (crore) tonne ship at the speed 69 knots and even more. We find the engine room not responding, the oars are not being pulled in unison and attacks by pirates are stalling the progress. Why can’t we have all hands on deck?

Task is difficult and time is running out fast.  Let us not self destroy our ship by agitating and protesting. Let us not add to the misery by burning our own bunks. Let us for once think and act as one team India and climb the Jacob’s ladder to reach a different world. The Admiral and his fleet is as effective or efficient as each crew member. Individually all crews may be brilliant but when it comes to brand India the flotilla appears scattered, is a feeling I get. The star board side of each ship is not aware of what is happening on the port side and the stem doesn’t know what is happening in the stern. The saving grace is it is still afloat.

Let the Captain be the guiding light. All those who are trying to make a hole to sink the ship need to be taken care of. Let’s not create a situation to abandon ship. We need to be above board and leave no one marooned. When can we have such a BRAVO ZULU moment? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

 JAI HIND JAI BHARAT

A movie has become such an issue that most of India has decided to see it moment it is screened. The rest of them are waiting to get a free show. The judges have seen it, the jury has seen it, the judgement has been given but egos cannot see it. Some people have decided to carry batons to the hall. Just in case they find things going out of hand they would at least sort out people selling popcorn at exorbitant rates. A movie today can hold a country to ransom is a new high of sorts. With all due apologies to the people of the toughest martial clan and all the sons of Raja’s as they are the “poots”. I just want to ask where their Raj is and where is their Rajwada (Kigdom). Many of them are unemployed and most of them are living in their Jhooti shaan (false pride).

Be that as it may, I have one suggestion that as Pakistan continues with relentless firing every day. Kindly take your naked swords to charge at the real enemy. By intimidating a few artists, producers, lawyers and maker of movies if you all are achieving that sense of pride & honour which was achieved after conquering the enemy’s garrison then I will not utter a word. However, if this Dhakosla (pretence) is going to cause destruction to national assets and loss of life, it would be the most shameful thing a warrior clan can do.

Times have changed; those forts of yore do not exist anymore or are in ruins. People have even looted their stones. Most of the haveli’s have been converted into hotels and resorts why not object to your traditions of the bygone years for this. The place where decisions were taken to fight the enemy is being used as dancing arenas. Place where horses and elephants were stabled are now nowhere to be seen. The place where troops used to rest are now places of entertainment, why not object to all that. The chivalry has gone.

When you can’t afford to continue that royal life style then how can these few meters of celluloid hurt your sentiments? I think the issue is not with Rajasthan alone. That’s how we have splintered ourselves in India. Instead of binding and bonding we are looking for opportune moments to disintegrate besides spreading hatred and spewing venom.

Well let me then get to my clan, the clan of the Olive Greens, where someone is committing Jauhar for the Izzat of India on a daily basis. The actual enemy are the insurgents, militants, terrorists, jehadis & pakis or are they the corrupt which we don’t address but find a movie maker our biggest enemy.

Let me take an objection then to all movie walas that stop making movies about fauj and faujis. We are not rum drinking, merry making, and partying type of characters. We don’t jump off aircrafts and land in our girlfriends arms. We are not gun trotting people who shoot anyone and everyone. We are not Rambos who kill by the dozens and don’t keep a count. We are through professionals. It’s a shame to show faujis selling the country by movie makers then. My engineer friends would love to have girls hanging upside down from bridges while they diffused IEDs. I can assure you if that happened, no challiya, or challiya ki girl friend would walk this earth again.

I then also want to say that why is it that only “Micheal” daru pee kay danga karta hai. What about people of all other communities. Let me not get into it as we are just two percent of 125 crore deshwasis. Who all like to speak English, especially after 8 pm, who all are into “chitta” (drugs), Kala (Black money), Dab-Khadabba (spotted, tainted with corruption and criminal cases)? If all of us start taking objections to such portrayals then this country will only move towards self destruction. If we don’t educate ourselves & continue to stick to the old virtues, we will never progress. Choice is with us to go back to the dark ages.

Let us stop doing this nonsense. I suggest in case one is so touchy then better become a “Kamikaze” pilot and go across and sort out the enemy. If that is not workable then get after the corrupt. Two things will happen, one, India will have peace, and second, India will progress. Bharat and Hind will be saved from the enemy without and evil within. When we are going to unite as one? When we say one for all and all for one, I see one for one and all for none. Can we make our Bharat Mahan this way? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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