April 9, 2011

Lemons Hanging From My Bumper

Kim S Macedo.

Ever since i was a child i've heard all sorts of superstitions. Probably because i was born and brought up in India where people believe anything they hear.

I grew up in Bangalore killing donnekatas (chameleons) because it peed on one of the God's feet and so was considered a dirty animal.

Another slimy-looking lizard had to be killed because, apparently, that lizard would grow up to become a snake. It was called the rani saap chipkali (queen snake lizard). This became a major timepass for all of us - being eight years old and an Indian i believed anything i heard.

Next, my friends told me that a creepy looking old lady will come on Amavasya (no-moon night) and tap on everyone's door. If she spotted any children outside she would kidnap them. So i was shitting bricks ever night.

Another story, where, on a full moon night a lady in a white sari would walk the streets asking people for a lift. And the only way you could tell whether this lady was a bhoot (spirit) was by her feet. If they were facing backwards, you better hook it from there before she turns your feet around and you both start doing the moonwalk on a full moon night, backwards, in the opposite direction.

If you wanted to take a pee people would say "Don't pee under a peepal or a mango tree, or you'll get possessed." But if you do end up peeing under either of those trees and the ghosts are trying to take the piss outta you, they said "Better pee in a circle, all the way around you, so the spirits don't enter the boundary of your little toxic stream." So every time I peed under either of those trees I used to do it in circles, which later made me feel like I was playing holi with the ghosts, and the grown ups and ghosts wondered if I was a friggin retard.

Superstitions were associated with everything you did in life. If you broke a mirror, you'd have seven years of bad luck. Now the number of mirrors I've broken in my house; every time I played cricket and football I broke somebody's window pane; now i am counting my shit luck in seven-year terms.

I'd make the sign of the cross or an Om Namah Shivay each time i passed a church or a temple, otherwise i won’t be blessed with jack.

Don't have anything to do with the number 13 i was told. Imagine the guy who is born on the 13th, and it turns out to be a Friday, and his folks name him Jason...I for sure wouldn't want to have anything to do with him.

Never look at your bride’s wedding gown until the day of the wedding or it's major bad luck. As it is whether you look at it or not she's bound to nag you all your life, so don't look at it and add to your misery.

Then there is Karma - what goes around, comes around. You may as well believe in that because, if you act like a stud and go around banging women while your married, someday you'll see 10 comments posted on your wife's wall saying 'I loved the lingerie you wore the other night' with others saying 'me too', 'me too', 'me too', and then you'll have your undies in a knot.

If you buy a car be sure to bless it, especially if you live in Delhi or Dubai. With the number of road accidents happening, I've become so superstitious I feel like employing a priest to drive me around. And I'm glad I live and work in Dubai, else there’d be lemons, chillies and coconuts hanging from my fucking bumper.

Now comes “the don't cut your nails at night” superstition. It's not like your nails are going to grow two inches by 3 am and you become a werewolf. But your nails are long and ugly and you need to be groomed for work the next day, so you cut your nails anyway. The next morning for some reason you’re late to work, your boss is hopping on your arse, the shit luck starts and the superstition comes true.

One very common superstition is "Touch Wood" Anything you do or see or hear, you say 'touch wood.' If one of the guys says, “My car has never given me trouble touch wood,” he'll look around for wood, but in Dubai there's no wood except glass, metal and cement, so his friend, Mr WiseAss, says, “Here, touch paper, it's made of wood.” So instead of breaking the spell and proving this belief all wrong, he's just gone and screwed it worse for all of us.

And so dear people, I know that all of you are from India, so better be sure to forward this story to at least ten people.

Else, your arse is grass.

January 11, 2011

Everybody wants you to fall in love.

Fritz Gonsalves

The most used, abused, quoted, misquoted and twisted four-letter word in the history of four letter words. The only other four-letter word that’s less ambiguous, yet equally interesting, is Fuck.

Love is ambidextrous. It can work as a suffix and a prefix. You can add love to hate and vice-versa and it will work fine.

Love to my understanding is an all-weather, all-terrain bike.

Everybody loves love. A friend of mine had an interesting point. She said, “I love the idea of falling in love.” Also very insightful – the stuff people believe in to make sense of their usually mundane life.

But enough of my technical mumbo jumbo; let’s get to the bottom of this four-letter word. Let’s figure out why Bryan Adams still sells, how Karan Johar made money and why Ghalib still, and will always, make sense.

Everyone wants you to fall in love: your friends, their friends, colleagues, boss, insurance agents, journalists, Shiv Sena, Eric Segal, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, late MJ, etc. There is no escaping their cajoling.

The reason is simple: Love is good for the economy.

Money, greed, ambition, takeovers, mergers, Gordon Gekho, jargon-stuffed MBAs, Discount Coupons, Buy One Take The Whole Freakin’ Shop Free offers don’t really push GDP chart northwards – it is love. Love is the mojo that keeps the capitalist engine humping.

It’s simple. A guy in love is more likely to marry, settle down and have kids. Which means that he is more likely to buy a diamond ring, swipe his credit card for over-priced, yet tasteless, buffets, fly to Dubai for shopping, book a house, buy a flat screen TV, opt for front loading washing machine, have a club membership, sedan, hatchback, insurance policies, pay EMIs.

Love is the bait marketers use to swell their market share. Deodorant, burgers and fairness cream makers, they all want you to fall in love.

Usually love, from being just another four-letter word to a stomach-ache-inducing malaise, happens in middle or late school. Or first year in college for sure. I mean, if you don’t fall in love by college you need therapy.

Let’s start with the illusion of first love - Copyright of Eric Segal & Company. It’s awfully simple - boy meets girl, girl meets boy and they fall in love. Boy starts bunking classes. Girl starts collecting valentine day cards. Boy starts guitar lessons. Girl by-hearts Glenn Medeiros only-claim-to-fame song. In three months they realize they are meant to be. After six months they are sure that they will get married no matter what. By the end of first year courtship they are caught holding hands inside a movie hall (More often than not this accidental spy will either be the girl’s elder brother or father. In India it’s compulsory to have a bad temper if you have a daughter or a younger sister).

Moving on, probably one of them might try suicide by drinking phenyl, and survive, while the other will feel bad that he/she didn’t try the suicide first. They will live in agony for six months, then get bored, watch the next Karan Johar movie and move on.

College romances somehow fizzle out by the time you submit your final year papers on “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, which happens if you opt for Organizational Behavior as your main subject.

Moving on, after college the love bug stops at corporate crossroads. Office premises are a massive pool of would-be lovers. You might not find Obama in the white house for a second term, but you will find love sitting crossed-legged right next to your cubicle. It’s a guarantee. All it takes to fall in love with an office colleague is an existing boring boyfriend or a colleague whose is worth staring at waist upwards.

Love is the new corporate focus. Though wasteful in the short-term, in the long-term scheme of things it keeps the balance sheet healthy. Married or individuals in a relationship are less likely to switch jobs, which keeps the cost of hiring low; they work extra hard so that their children can go to expensive boarding schools and are more likely to swallow shit in case they have a boss who likes to scratch his balls every time anyone gives him a worthy suggestion.

Even religion thrives on love, especially if s/he is a Roman Catholic, goes to church every Sunday, belongs to the same parish, sings Christmas Carols, goes for Confession, Novenas on Thursdays and has a cross tattoo on the thumb.

Summing up, love is tough. It makes you go mad. It makes you press the rewind button so many times, the damn finger starts complaining. It makes Boyzone, Backstreet and Westlife sound so cool.

It makes philosophers out of bankers. It’s worth swiping your credit card. It’s scary. It’s the highest degree of freedom. But it’s worse than bonded labour and I read somewhere, “If you are vulnerable, you’ll fall in love”.

I will just add: If you are vulnerable, you’ll either fall in love or end up a Jihaadi.

Choose wisely.
.Anyone can contribute a short humour story here. Just send your story to me at dezymacedo@gmail.com